Patient’s Bill of Rights

Code-Green Advocacy founded by Iggy [https://colormebipolar.wordpress.com] is aimed at fighting stigma specifically in USA. This list of patient’s bill of rights is vital for any person suffering from a mental illness. An informative read. Supporting this blog is supporting yourself and the mental health community at large. Lets join forces in the fight and follow Code-Green Advocacy

Code-Green Advocacy

Do you know your rights as a mental health patient? Many do not and just conform to what they are told to do. The information I am about to give you was taken from the Mental Health and Aging Advocacy Project Please keep in mind that this applies to the United States. This may vary from country to country but I urge you to find out your rights. After all, to be the best patient we can be, we need to be informed!

As a person receiving mental health services, you have the right to:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Choose the services or programs in which you participate based upon information about rules, treatment procedures, costs, risks, rights and responsibilities.
  • Ask questions and get answers about services.
  • Participate fully in all decisions about treatment or services.
  • Request changes in treatment or services.
  • Receive treatment in the least restrictive…

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Turn it around

Since my dismal annual increase my thoughts have been in a fear-based loop. So I decided to change my current direction of thought. Its one of my coping skills – turn it around. It brings a shift in perspective. So I made a decision to…

… stop being driven by fear and bemoaning what I don’t have, and celebrate what I DO have. To turn it around. And I’m so grateful for the things I do have. I may not eat out at fancy restaurants. I may not fly to Mauritius on holiday, I may not have a wardrobe full of clothes and shoes and a fridge full of fancy foods. But hat I do have are luxuries a large population of South Africans don’t have…..

While most live in real poverty, I have a home with a beautiful view….

….I have running water

….and I have a flushing toilet

I have a washing machine and don’t have to do washing by hand…..

…..I have electricity which gives me lights, a TV to watch, a laptop to write and blog, a fridge with basic, healthy foods like vegetables…..

….. and I have a job and I earn a salary and, because I have a salary, I have a cell phone that can take these photos. Perspective – I am so grateful for all I have. Its more than most.

 

What’s real and what’s illness is a difficult business

Last night, out of the blue, thoughts broke free like a horse nearing home. Couldn’t relax. Couldn’t sit back. I began to decorate. Re-organize. Moving this and then that. Then putting it back. This there and that here but it didn’t fit so I tipped the house upside down to find peace in my cracked and mismatched home. Unpacking cupboards and swapping and switching. Stuff. Old curtains out and new curtains in. Swop them around all over again. Change the walls a new colour. Mind ticking over. Big plans. There were ladders and fabric, old clothes for charity, broken pots now layered in dust, old pillows abused covered and back on the bed to be used. My place looks like its been hit by a storm. A hypomania storm? I’m confused, lost my step and my sleep, can’t figure these things out anymore, can’t keep score. What’s real and what’s illness is a difficult business. No trigger. Just suddenly couldn’t keep still. My mind and my body are definitely ill.

Eat your vegetables

A meal between breakfast and lunch is called a brunch. But there is no name for a meal eaten between lunch and dinner. So I’ll call it an early dinner. V and I went out for a treat to restaurant that not only meets our budgeting needs, but serves the best bowl of two-veg – butternut and creamed spinach. Mom always used to say “no dessert unless you’ve eaten all your vegetables”. And I did. Well almost. A full tummy halfway through, I took home this delicious doggie bag. Plenty for proper dinner time.

There are only two ways to cook a cheap cut of meat. Slow-cook a stew or grill it and burn the bejeezzus out of it. I chose the latter. It had a bit of a dry snap to it, but generously salted it hits the spot.

 

 

His and hers

His and hers. Hers and his. Mine is on the right – coffee with cold milk, white sugar and in true OCD form, a neatly wrapped sugar packet with a neat twist. His is on the right – coffee with hot milk, brown sugar and a laid back scrunching of the packet. Two different people,with different experiences, different perspectives and different interests, finding a common appreciation of one another. Him and her. Her and him. Together, enjoying an early autumn dinner out. If only all of life could be as simple as this observation of a moment in time. But that moment was mine and so I am happy.

Lackluster

Woke up with fear in my gut
Wanted to keep my eyes tight shut
Got no money in the bank, it’s a deep and empty tank
Annual increase is laughable
Implausible
Impractical
Totally irrational
I must look like a sucker to those rich motherfuckers
In their castles on the hill while I work myself ill
So I didn’t do my hair because I don’t care

I didn’t paint my face and not by mistake

its a rebellion

against the reccession that has become my life

of the highs and the lows and the anything goes

the why’s and the woes and the who fuck knows

I’m tired

mired in this uphill treadmill

of going nowhere slowly

headed to the end lonely

I have to say, it’s been a lackluster day

This is not what I had planned

I wish I was a professional artist who had enough time to indulge words and senses all day long. To feel fulfilled. To feel passionate. To feel satisfied. To express, unrestricted and unrestrained. To be dark or expansive without excuse. To feel I’m living a purpose. To be true. Unapologetically true. To feel alive. Because this, this is not what I had planned.

Change, they say. Get a new job. New friends. Move house. Move town. Get a hobby. Get a life coach, a personal trainer, a financial adviser, a lover, a husband. You are your own change, they say. Follow your dreams, they say. Live a life you have designed….. Live simply, dream big…… Live with no regrets…..

They? The ones that make it sound so simple? They are the ones who live free. Myself? My reality is I am forced to live within the limits of my illness to survive. Bipolar a heavy weight of confinement and commitment to my personal management plan – avoiding triggers and over-stimulation, keeping to a strict sleep pattern and predictable daily routine to maintain stability. My world is stunted, narrowed. Every, single, day. Whittled away piece by piece with each year I age. My soul inked with sadness. My mind stolen by mania. My body raked by fatigue. Bipolar is my dominatrix. So here I rot. Deceived by hope. Dreams far from my grasp. This is not what I had planned.

Twenty One Pilots (Forrest)

Let me be me

Coping with bipolar at work is difficult. Rage, memory loss, fatigue and tears are my downfall in others’ eyes. Because I have a problem with rage I try to not talk at all. I’ve had many complaints and sat in the manager’s office far too often. So, if my mouth is closed maybe nothing will slip out. I won’t have the chance to offend or confuse. If I want to stay out of trouble, if I want to keep my job, I need to keep my mouth shut.

Keep your mouth shut

Keep your mouth shut

Keep your mouth shut

is my daily mantra to avoid exhibitions of rage.

Crying is seen as a ‘weakness’ so I cannot let the tears slip out. I cannot go to the bathroom and cry. The reaction to red eyes and nose would draw a collective eye-rolling and I’m ignored for the remainder of the day. So I lock the sorrow in my throat, where it seeps and brews until the drive home. I often wonder what other drivers must think of me, sobbing and snivelling in peak hour traffic.

Memory loss is humiliating and costly. I make big mistakes that result in financial loss. It could one day cost me my job. I have to keep a diary of my day to day, minute by minute work output, not only to cover my back, but to act as a reminder of what I have and haven’t done. I have a checklist taped to my desk, ticking off the tasks one by one. There is also a white board to one side. This white board is a graphic representation of my check list. I have to draw pictures, like a child, of the elements of my workload. And I have to tick off this check ‘list’ too. Despite all this, I still forget. Then I want to cry. But I can’t. Then I feel angry, but I can’t afford to.

I live in constant fear of losing my job, suppressing every emotion along the way. Constant restraint. It’s exhausting. Not a comfortable way to spend 8 hours daily. Its not healthy either. But I have bipolar and this is how I have to behave at work in order to keep my job to keep a roof over my head, a medical aid, medications, and a full tummy. I wish I could be myself. Just for a while. With no apologies. Just for a while.

-3 Doors Down (Let Me Be Myself)

Mental discord

My racing thoughts have tripped over into hypomania. But without the euphoria. I can’t think straight, concentrate or keep still. Just thinking thinking thinking and talking to myself in my own mind and then answering myself but there’re whispers of other ‘selves’ also talking and wanting attention. I’m beside myself. Sweating. Agitated. Anxious. I’m not doing my work too busy again posting, writing, reading, walking a path through the parking lot, thinking, thinking, thinking, music, art, friends I’ve lost, rhyming words. I keep holding my head in my hands but that doesn’t help. It doesn’t calm me ground me. Normally I take an Alzam but they’re at home. I try telling myself ‘centre, centre, centre’ but then my mind goes ‘centre, centre, centre, shopping centre, oh my god I need new shoes I’m going out tonight what if they break that’s so embarrassing what am I going to do…….’ Then I bring myself round again and tell myself ‘centre, centre, centre’ but that turns into ‘service centre’ because I need a new spare tyre and a jack because the other day my car broke down and I realised I had no spare tyre and no jack but lucky that wasn’t the problem…

centre…. centre…. centre….

Its still not working.

Yesterday is dead

the coal from the last burn, still hurts

it was the worst

of human touch

but let go I must

it will not define me

cloud me

isolate and hide me

with my face to the sun

I shout ‘come on’

the day has just begun

so let’s have some fun

but I’ll keep a hand to my heart

not fall so hard or fast

Lover stitched his net of lies

but I won’t let him deny

the good that I should own

the good that’s mine and mine alone

yesterday is dead

let’s look ahead

tomorrow should not be a threat

but something I embrace instead

***

This poem was inspired by sentiments from the following blogs:

……don’t listen to your bipolar brain. There’s too much activity up there to get a good reading. Ride the wave while it is there. Don’t be in a rush to find fault. Your first responsibility is to LIVE. So keep going out with him. Keep letting him into your world. Savor every drop. Live every moment as if it were your last. And if it is your last, make it the best last day of your life. Leave your mark by being the best lover this world has ever known. Love his encouragement. Love his eyes. Love his understanding and reaching out. Never give him a reason to believe you are hesitant. Go all the way. Be reckless. Be wild”

https://ericghoff61.wordpress.com/

…the coal from the last burn still hurts”

https://lookingforthelightblog.wordpress.com/

I’m going to take it slow as fast as I can”

https://kate1975.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/healing-quotes-littles-876/