Mental Health Update

Mental Health Update

I just want you all to know that it might be some time again before I do a serious blog post, mostly because I think I am becoming depressed again. I am not certain, but I feel it and have seen no signs of cessation. The diminishing of my appetite is often a serious sign that something is wrong, but until I get my head screwed on straight, the only writing I’ll be doing is outlining for an SNI (shiny new idea) and writing for When Stars Rise. Otherwise, it might be a few more days. I do know what I want to blog about, but I just don’t have it in me to blog about it. It’s too much for me right now. Heck, everything is too much for me right now, but I’ve got to keep coping and not succumb to this possible depressive episode.

I can tell you, however, that the next post will be about where I want to go with my writing–I want to take my writing to a more literary level. Less genre. My SNI will be included in the post.

 

Contemporary Fantasy and Updates

Contemporary Fantasy and Updates

So things have been going slow on the When Stars Die end because my contract manager is having some major tech issues and pretty much only has her smart phone to rely on. And as we know, smart phones aren’t always smart. But I spoke with Raymond Vogel, founder of AEC, and we’re hoping for a September release and I should be getting back to When Stars Die some time next week after he’s looked through it. (And I also can’t wait to see what my contract manager has done.) It’s coming at a great time too because I should be finished with my contemporary fantasy this week. Then I can let it cook next week while working on When Stars Die, then I’ll probably be able to get back to work on it the week after with line edits.

The mental illness questionnaire I posted on here and Tumblr has yielded some positive results, and I cannot wait to get to line edits. I also have three potential titles for the novel: From Children’s Hour, When Heaven Was Blue, and Good and Ill. More titles might be surfacing as I do the line edits and read more poetry by some of Gene’s favorite authors.

I also had three different people help me with the blurb, which is no longer two sentences. I am horrible with blurbs. If it weren’t for Nazarea Andrews, I wouldn’t even have the blurb for When Stars Die. So here’s the new summary for my contemporary fantasy:

Life is difficult enough for fifteen-year-old Gene White when sudden, disturbing hallucinations of a man in a gold suit threaten to drive him mad. The trauma drives him to suicide, but an equally mysterious puppeteer intervenes and saves him.

The news he brings is hardly reassuring.

The puppeteer offers him protection from the man in the gold suit, who is very real and even more dangerous. Gene is wary but finds himself desperate for any assistance he can get as his tormentor relentlessly attacks his already-battered mind, sending him into a continuously downward spiral of hopelessness.

I want to thank Mariah Wilson, Jake Bonsignore, and Kieran M. for helping me with the blurb.

 

Mental Illness Questionnaire, Critique, and Line Edits

Mental Illness Questionnaire, Critique, and Line Edits

*Note: Anyone who contributes will be going in the acknowledgements of this book.

I am nearing the end of His Vanity and very much want to rally my Stars on board to help me with the line edits of this thing once I get around to them. I don’t have an official blurb for the novel, but here’s one I threw together: Gene White is a suicidal teen rescued by a puppeteer and doll maker who wants to protect him from a man in a gold suit. But this proves difficult when this man in a gold suit torments Gene’s own mind in an attempt to make him his. Feel free to critique the blurb. It is something I just threw together but would love comments on. I did mention in one post what I wanted to accomplish with this novel, so I’ll list those again.

  1. To get across that mental illness is serious and real and should be treated as any other illness.
  2. Mental illness is chronic. For many, it’s forever, and sometimes medication and therapy aren’t enough, especially if the illnesses are resisting medication.
  3. Illnesses that aren’t being effectively treated are pretty much terminal. Especially those who suffer from suicidal ideation, mental illness can be a cancer of the mind.
  4. Some pain doesn’t get better, or it gets better, but only for a short amount of time. But that doesn’t mean one should just quit fighting.
  5. Let’s be honest: Mental Illness sucks. It really sucks. There is nothing heroic or beautiful about being mentally ill and being able to live IN SPITE of it. You’re simply living with a sucky illness that can make your mind turn on you at any moment. And then you’re left helpless, and even if you do overcome it, you’ve sustained some trauma just from your own mind betraying you.
  6. It doesn’t matter why someone is mentally ill. What matters is that they are ill at all and need help, whatever help can be given.

If there is anything profound you’d like to mention about mental illness, particularly suicide or depression, feel free to add to the above list because I would like to make HIS VANITY a contemporary fantasy with literary elements that says something about the universal human condition of coping with pain and why we fear pain so much. Okay, now that I’ve listed what I’d like to accomplish with the book, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. In list form, again.

  1. Some of Gene’s idols, ironically, include people who have ended their lives by suicide. He doesn’t idolize their suicide but idolizes them for what they did in life. They include Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allen Poe, and Sylvia Plath. Would you be interested in Gene including some of their quotes at pertinent points in the book, quotes that relate to suicide or mental illness in some form?
  2. Just how much do you want Gene to delve into depression and suicide? In my current draft, he delves into the nitty gritty of it and is as real as a teen can be about it. A note: I don’t want to sugar coat these intense topics.
  3. Gene develops a crush on a girl who looks his age but is in fact a few decades older than him. Obviously no relationship is going to develop between them but Gene holds on to the crush because it feels good to him. Do you want it to stay just a cute little crush, or do you want me to really delve into Gene’s sexuality to show that in spite of his depression, he is still capable of feeling and feeling deeply? He doesn’t want to deny himself any good feeling he can latch on to because he doesn’t experience good feelings that often.
  4. Claude is the puppeteer and doll maker who rescued Gene. He is about tough love–mostly getting Gene to do what he should be doing, like taking care of himself. However, Claude does have some natural fatherly feelings toward Gene. Claude has his own POV chapters. How deep would you like me to delve into these fatherly feelings?
  5. Why do you think life is valuable?
  6. If you had to live the rest of your life in pain (serious pain), what reasons would you have to keep going?
  7. I want the title to be literary in nature. John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars came from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Knowing what you know about Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Edgar Allen Poe (especially Poe) and applying the universal human condition of pain, throw some title ideas out there for me.

I would appreciate all answers in the comments below!

Finding the Heart of a Novel (Or Ripping it Out)

Finding the Heart of a Novel (Or Ripping it Out)

I hate that when I’m re-writing, I can’t find the heart of the story until a little more than halfway through, and then it just pops up and hits me like a freight train, and I’m left on the rails as a bloody flesh sack wondering why it took so long for the train to hit me. But this at least means that the most complicated part of a novel for me to write, the final few chapters, have been taken care of because they convey the heart of the story so well. Of course, this also means that when line edits come, I’m going to have to smash the heart of the novel into every line that I’ve already written–or at least see if the heart is there, a heart I couldn’t see until that ‘aha!’ moment.

I honestly wanted my second draft to be that draft where everything is all nice and smoothed out, but the truth is, that’s a difficult thing to do because even as I’m re-writing I’m coming up with better ways to tell the story, and finding more plot holes that I can’t smooth out until I do line edits. But what’s different this time around is that I hopefully won’t need whole re-writes with the third draft, that I can actually work on a few chapters a day and get line edits completed in about two weeks.

So what is this heart that I’m speaking of? Originally His Vanity was simply about a suicidal teen being taken on a journey to get better. Of course at the time I knew there was more to it, but you can’t really know the heart until you start writing. Even then it’s difficult to find the heart of anything in a rough draft. In reality, His Vanity is about a sick teen learning to cope with the pain already present. There’s some healing and what not along the way, but I am doing my best to present a realistic view of depression for those out there with treatment-resistant depression or those out there who can’t get treatment for depression. Treatment is not as easy as some media make it out to be. You go through meds, they fail, you try again. You find meds that do work, but you get crap side effects, so you have to drop those meds. For some people, it’s easy. One med and that’s it. But for others, it may take a year or more to find that stability, and so I want Gene to be the voice for those who struggle, really, really struggle because from what I’ve read in the sick lit genre of YA literature, there really isn’t that voice. They pop a pill, and suddenly they’re stable. Crap goes awry when they stop their meds. 

I desperately want this book to be more than just a fantasy novel. I want it to be in the vein of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. His Vanity is a book about mental illness that just happens to also be a fantasy book because the fantasy aspect is needed to show Gene there is an entire world out there that exists beyond his own. It also exists to help foster within Gene another perspective of life that he would not have gotten staying home–because his parents are very protective of him. Not only that, but the fantasy element also exists to show anyone who is afflicted with a mental illness that there is something special in them, even if it can only be a metaphor. There is truly something special. Pain demands to be felt, but it also has the ability to change us, and we can choose to let pain change us for the better. We can use that pain and make a difference (NAMI springs to mind).

It has not been an easy book to write because mental illness is not easy to write about.  It’s messy, it’s painful, it’s so, so, so, painful, but I’m doing my best to show that mental illness needs to be accepted as any other illness; I also have to accept that not everyone is going to get that. You don’t need to have a tragic story to be afflicted with a tragic illness. People simply  need to accept that if you’re sick, you’re sick, and that’s all that matters. The reasons are pointless.

So this is what I want His Vanity to accomplish:

  • You don’t need a tragic story to be sick
  • Getting treatment for mental illness is not as easy as mainstream culture leads us to believe
  • Mental illness is as serious as any other serious illness
  • People who are mentally ill are simply sick, and that is that
  • People who are mentally ill are not broken
  • People who are mentally ill are going to have to accept the pain that comes along with their illnesses
  • But people who are mentally ill have it in them, somewhere, to overcome their pain, even if they can’t completely erase it
My Whiny Exhausted Self and Some Updates

My Whiny Exhausted Self and Some Updates

This week has been draining because it’s been raining like crazy and bad weather usually equals fatigue for me. Sometimes pain. But mostly fatigue. So I’m feeling disconnected from everything. I feel stuck in a rut, plain and simple. Everything’s been so routine that I’m tempted to jump out of an airplane and land splat on a landing strip (by the way, WordPress brings up some not so pleasant pictures when you type in ‘landing strip’). While writing is nice, it’s still routine. Revise this chapter. You have notes for how to revise this chapter, so you know what you’re going to do when you revise. Oh, this isn’t working, let’s re-do that. Darn it. You stupid girl, you didn’t add that one important character, so now you have to re-do it. Oh, you’ve got more ideas. Save those for line edits so you can get through this revision.

And of course my part-time job has sucked lately because all I work is the dang mall, which has sucked, and I’m getting tired of it because, well, it’s the summer and people are on vacation, so getting appointments has been a bunch of root canals, so I’ve been so negative at work lately. Coupled with the fact that I’m probably the only one not getting sells because I only work the mall, and you’ve got a nasty stew of inferiority. Luckily I’ve got a client’s manuscript for some extra money, but it’s not like I can take on a bunch of these. At least ballet has been going well, but we’re off next week, so that’s sucktastic.

I’m crabby today, if you can’t tell. I feel exhausted…for no reason. And just stale. Flat out stale. I suppose I’m just tired of this bad weather…and routine. I’ll change it somehow. Extra money means being able to go out and spend said extra money.

I honestly don’t even want to do this blog post I feel so bad, but I like to keep you guys updated on my writing life…and my life and me and all that yummy stuff.

But the good news is that my crummy mood did not interfere with my productivity and practical writerly responsibilities. I am 37,000 words into His Vanity (which was previously Stolentime). This is about halfway through. When I finished the draft, I ended it at 57,000 words, but obviously since it’s a fantasy, it’s going to need more fat on it since I’m a bare bones writer when it comes to rough drafts. But I’ve got ideas to flesh out one character’s chapters in the line edits and my chapters are longer than they were in the draft (10 pages per chapter on average). Revisions are going very smoothly and I do have ideas for when line edits come about. Hopefully I don’t have some sort of existential crisis with my writerly life  and find myself rocking back and forth while my cat just watches and licks her paw.

I’m also realizing that John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is really influencing the way I write about depression and suicidal ideation, and that’s not a bad thing at all considering I read TFIOS for the purpose of helping me with Gene’s contemporary voice and making certain I make Gene a realistic character–let’s be honest, depression and suicidal ideation suck. He’s not going to be a bright, sunshiny character. He’s going to be morose at times. How could you not be? But this kid’s a fighter, even if he just wants to give up at times. So I’m really thinking that a good marketing line for His Vanity can be something like ‘A clash between John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Jake Bonsignore’s Empyreal Illusions.’ Sounds good to me.

As for When Stars Die, my contract manager is halfway through. It will have a gorgeous new cover, and I’m actually thinking about using my own old cover for swag and what not, while also using the new, not-yet-approved cover. Hey, I’ve got the money. Why not? I’ve even been contemplating about making a When Stars Die t-shirt (text, maybe a design. Not certain).

But, other than being in a mood, at least I have nothing tomorrow and I can just revise. Maybe I’ll try to fit in two chapters, if this blasted weather doesn’t wear my poor body out.

Mental Illness and Creativity

Mental Illness and Creativity

I’d like to thank litebeing chronicles for inspiring me to write this post.

People have this conception that a prerequisite to creativity is some form of mental illness. After all, don’t you have to be some sort of mad to spend hours on some piece of art that may never see the light of day? I suppose so, but then there are a variety of mental illnesses out there, some that might enhance creativity, and others that may inhibit it.

I can only speak as a person with bipolar disorder who has gone through mania, hypomania, mixed states, and depressive episodes. I can’t speak for any other type of mental illness, like schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder or panic disorder or even borderline personality disorder. So my experiences with creativity, or lack thereof, only come from my experiences with my own mental illness.

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on can...
Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on canvas, 73×92 cm, 28¾×36¼ in. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mental illness can enhance creativity in some aspects. I never hallucinated during my manic episodes, but the fast, racing thoughts and overexcitement of life seemed to have resurrected dead creative brain cells that were lying dormant in their little graves. Stolentime was partly the product of a manic episode and mostly the product of my sanity working through what my mania came up with. Of course, the novel was a completely different story then, but only because my mania had no filter and no way to logically structure a story. So while my mania came up with an idea, it couldn’t bring that idea to proper fruition because the thoughts I had were too grandiose and I couldn’t look at reality properly. I was completely delusional, so to speak.

I once read some of Van Gogh’s paintings were a product of his mania, but there was no mention whether he painted them while he was manic or after he was manic because mania can give you thousands of ideas, most that you’re not even going to remember.

But depression inhibited my creativity. My brain was so weighed down by this thick, heavy black fog that it couldn’t come up with anything new. It kept trying to grasp on to those ideas it came up with during mania, but it didn’t have the energy to put any sort of logic to them. However, I do think some writers have used their depression to their advantage. Apparently Sylvia Plath wrote her final novel when depressed before ending her own life, so it is possible to write while depressed–just very, very difficult. I couldn’t really brainstorm Stolentime while depressed, but I had enough in me to work on When Stars Die because it didn’t take whole re-writes.

Overall, I think mental illness can enhance creativity, but after the fact. It’s very difficult to enact creative processes while ill, but that doesn’t mean one can’t use one’s illness as a source of inspiration–might as well make something good come from the bad, right?

Psychotic Depression

Psychotic Depression

For those of you who don’t know about my latest project Stolentime, I’m going to give you a gist of what this thing is about.

Gene White is a suicidal teen rescued by an eccentric puppeteer who takes Gene to a world far removed from his own. Fairytales are no longer in one’s imagination in this place, but for Gene, this means being stalked by the demons in his head, mainly a man in a gold suit who threatens to destroy Gene’s already imbalanced mind.

There are young adult books out there that deal with mental illness, but it is either an undiagnosed mental illness or if it is diagnosed, it’s oftentimes depression. There are very few books where the teen knows the diagnosis and fully understands what having this diagnosis means. What’s more is that there are very few young adult MAINSTREAM novels on other severe mental illnesses: schizophrenia, panic disorder, shizo affective disorder, bipolar disorder, ect…

Usually these illnesses only exist in other characters who are not the protagonist. What’s more is that these illnesses are often stigmatized in the protagonist’s mind because depression is arguably an uninteresting illness and makes the person seem sane compared to the person experiencing hallucinations or a bipolar depressive episode with psychotic features. So while I have made Gene depressed, I decided to take it a step further and diagnose him with psychotic depression not just for the added darkness, but because Gene is taken to a world where he must suspend his disbelief but is having a hard time doing so because he regularly hears and sees things.

We take it for granted that characters are just going to accept these fantastical things they are presented with, especially if they live in a world where that’s not common at all, but I wanted to ask the question, “Well, what if they don’t?”

tumblr_mojeqhCgt21stzuqno1_500

So if you hallucinate in psychotic depression, how does this differ from schizophrenia? Well, with schizophrenia, you’re often not depressed, and if you are, the depression is a symptom, not the actual syndrome. So Gene has suffered for a while hearing and seeing things. In fact, they can become so real for Gene that he gets lost in the hallucination and can’t even remind himself that it’s not real since his senses are so overloaded with wrong brain signals. If Gene weren’t depressed, he wouldn’t be experiencing hallucinations. This is not so in someone with schizophrenia.

I’ve had mild psychosis when I was depressed and in a mixed episode–mostly delusions and paranoia–but it’s common in bipolar depression and mixed episodes and doesn’t warrant another diagnosis. But what Gene goes through is flat out dangerous.

In the first chapter, Gene is hallucinating a shadow with a dagger. He begs this shadow to kill him because none of his methods have worked, but the shadow goes away. His mom comes in for a little bit to comfort him, but Gene is still undergoing some serious psychosis, which eventually prompts him to run away from home. Before he even leaves the house, he sees the shadow with the dagger again, so readers at this point know just how dangerous it is for Gene to be leaving his own house.

Now I don’t just touch upon the aspects of psychosis, which Gene is very aware of when it at first begins, but I do touch upon the aspects of depression, which he is also very aware of for someone his age. But he doesn’t know why he’s depressed. But he does mention he’s heard voices since he was a child but was eventually able to drown them out with thoughts of his own. That isn’t so anymore, and he doesn’t understand why.

So I ultimately chose psychotic depression because I really wanted to write a self-aware teen who understands all aspects of depression, while demolishing the trope that the main character knows what he/she heard/saw. These characters never stop to question if they’ve just been hallucinating, especially because they’ve never seen these fantastical things before in their lives. They just accept them, but not Gene.

 

The Madness of Character Voice

The Madness of Character Voice

The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars (Photo credit: TheNerdDilettante)

I am about 16,000 words into the revisions of Stolentime. I’ve got self-doubts plaguing my brain, but I know that’s a normal part of revisions because in spite of knowing what needs to be changed, you still wonder if those changes are good enough, or could they be made better. But I’m not going to panic because the next step after this revision will be line edits, then proofreading on a hard copy, then making the changes on this Surface. Novels are malleable, critique is mandatory, so Stolentime has a chance. It will not die. I had these doubts with When Stars Rise, the sequel to When Stars Die, but the freelance editor loved parts of it, regardless. It just de-railed in the middle, but I’m more experienced and outlining can prevent that de-railing.

In any case, one interesting thing I’m noting throughout these revisions is how I keep slipping out of Gene’s voice. I am so used to writing stories that take place in the 19th century, so both narrative and speech are very formal, even for teenagers. Gene is a 21st century boy, self-aware and intelligent, so he doesn’t really slip into slang or does he speak like someone in Pride and Prejudice. For example, from the rough draft of Stolentime:

I was too busy picking at my nails as a tight feeling began blooming in my chest, realizing I hadn’t been out in a while due to my social anxiety.

One thing I realized as I was reading this sentence was that I slip away from Gene’s voice just by using the word ‘blooming.’ I’m not saying boys can’t use the word ‘blooming,’ but it’s not likely. So I had to chop this sentence up with an axe to come up with this:

I’m too busy picking at my nails as a tight feeling begins to expand in my chest over the realization that I haven’t been out in a while due to social anxiety.

Notice the tense shift too because I decided to bring Gene’s anxiety to the present instead of leaving it in the past to bring a more immediate feeling. But Gene is more likely to use expand than bloom. Since I am very much about the art of writing itself too, the sentence is still slightly formal because, well, Gene is intelligent. He’s a freaking smart kid who knows his literature, and so his thoughts and speech are going to be influenced by what he reads in literature. He’s definitely not Hazel from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (which, in my opinion as I’m currently reading it, is trying too hard to be philosophical), but he’s still a bright kid.

So I have to be constantly aware of Gene’s voice since I am so used to writing 19th century voices. It’s a bit difficult too, because there are times when I catch myself being formal, and then other times, when I re-read, I find sentences that are too formal and use words that are perhaps a bit too colorful for a 21st century kid.

Do you guys have any trouble with the voices of your characters?

In Honor of Mental Health Awareness Month

In Honor of Mental Health Awareness Month

tumblr_mock2ovc4x1rivzjmo1_400May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I had no idea. I should have known, but I guess with being so busy with all this ballet and writing-related stuff, the world has passed me by. But I’ve been more mood swingy lately, and I’m not sure what’s going. Earlier today I broke down crying because I felt so bad, but now I feel fine–I think. Is all this busyness catching up to this fragile mind, or is Mother Nature about to send me her Gift, even though I don’t think I’m due for this said Gift for another month? I don’t know, but I have a psychiatrist’s appointment next month, so if it continues, I’m just going to try not to let it get to me. I might sleep in later tomorrow. That might help. I might slow down tomorrow too, take a walk on the treadmill–I get to see Man of Steel tomorrow night! Huzzah! But if my mood is about to take a turn for the worst, I don’t want to let it overpower me because I simply can’t because I have this life now, this career I want to develop, and a client who depends on me to whip his manuscript into shape. And I will do it.

But I wanted to write about the breakdown that landed me in my first psychiatric hospital in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. I’ve never talked about it for reasons I can’t even think of, so I might as well finally talk about it.

It probably started some time last summer. My body was giving me grief in ballet. I’d be in so much pain during barre exercises that I couldn’t move anymore. My sleep also became spotty. Some nights I’d fall asleep just fine, and other nights it would take hours. I struggled with unrefreshed sleep already because I’d wake up frequently throughout the night and then go back to sleep, but it happened maybe once or twice a week. Those times sucked because I’d have to pretty much take bed rest due to pain from unrefreshed sleep. Eventually I thought I had gotten my sleeping problem under control, until the fall came, and, out of nowhere, I just couldn’t fall asleep.

I’d lie in bed for hours, unable to get myself tired enough to fall asleep, so I’d sleep like maybe four hours a night, and even then they were four hours of unrefreshed sleep. I finally got fed up and got some Tylenol PM, which did help, but the damage was already beginning. In spite of sleeping well, or seemingly well, I was moody and couldn’t understand why. It was also flare season for my fibromyalgia, so I was in pain everyday, but I couldn’t fight it like I was able to when it first emerged, probably because I realized fibro is forever. About once every week or two weeks, hypomania would claim me, which didn’t make sense to me because I felt so euphoric but my sleep was crap.

I didn’t start becoming suicidal until the crashes from hypomania. I had felt so great then and kept wondering why I couldn’t re-claim that feeling, why I couldn’t simply get over the thick despair choking me. My fibro flares weren’t helping either. I just couldn’t believe that the illness was forever, that I was always going to be in pain, and it didn’t help that I was working a lot while going to school, so the stress just made me a ticking time bomb.

My parents also think the Lyrica I was on at the time may have had something to do with the suicidal feelings, and that could have been it–at first. Lyrica can be used to treat bipolar disorder, so I suppose it’s a possibly it could have had an adverse effect on my mental health. tumblr_mifyjn5H7m1r1gj30o1_500 I was breaking down though. I probably broke down at least three times a week, where I’d cry alone in my room and sometimes cut to stop the pain that made no sense to me.

Eventually my friend found my Tumblr and contacted the guidance counselors, who contacted the dean because they can’t force me to see them since their appointments are scheduled. So I saw the dean of students who was genuinely concerned about my mental health as a person, not just a student. She encouraged me to see the school counselor, even though I was waiting on the referral to see a psychiatrist. She also became my ally, my advocate. So I decided to see a guidance counselor who, because of my suicidal feelings, thought it was best I not be alone for the weekend since my parents were going to visit my brother.

My fiancé stayed with me, and I felt horrible the entire weekend. I seriously considered swallowing a bottle of Unisom sleep gels because I couldn’t take the pain anymore and couldn’t stand waiting to see a psychiatrist. I skipped out on work Sunday not only because my stomach felt horrible but because the stress from this undiagnosed mental illness just debilitated me. It was then that I decided the best thing for me would be hospitalization because it would get me in to see a psychiatrist and would get me started on a proper course of treatment. Plus, it would keep me safe from myself, and I figured it’d be a good place to “detox” from the Lyrica.

But, of course, things were not so simple. The Remeron I was prescribed launched me into a severe manic episode. I should have known something was wrong when I felt immediately better THE NEXT DAY after taking it. So it was probably within a week I went manic, and I was manic for the next two weeks before finally being hospitalized again because the psych appt. the first hospital scheduled me was too far out. But I suppose the good thing about going manic on Remeron was that I received what I’m sure is the right diagnosis because antidepressants don’t make you manic unless you’re predisposed to bipolar disorder, or so it’s believed. Wellbutrin, a med I took a few months ago, also made me manic, but it took longer to do so.

But I’m in therapy now and on meds that I pray aren’t crapping out on me. I’ll just have to really gauge my mood now, which is what sucks about bipolar disorder. It’s often a life-long illness and any change in mood that happens for seemingly no reason makes you alarmed.