Mental Illness Labels : Alphabet Soup Poem

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Yesterday I commented on a post by blogger Myloudbipolarwhispers about mental illness labels. In the comment, I explained how one of my foster kids once had a therapist who talked about the dangers of “alphabet soup”, which is when people start collecting so many labels (ADHD, ADD, ASD, PTSD, SAD, OCD, DID, BPD, RAD, and so on and so on) that they lose sense of themselves as a person or even worse, those treating them lose sight of their humanity and just see them as a list of diagnoses.

I shared in the comment that I even wrote a short poem about “alphabet soup”, which ended up in my book about foster care (From Both Sides). Myloudbipolarwhispers mentioned that she would like to see the poem, so I figured I would just share it in a post here, since it definitely fits the themes of this blog:

Alphabet Soup
By: Maranda Russell

Some good old-fashioned RAD,
a touch of PTSD,
just a hint of OCD,
a generous helping of ADHD
and a pinch of ODD
to taste.

Add it all together
and what do you get?

Alphabet soup…

and a kid
made entirely
of labels.

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Hypomanic Therapy, Festivals, and My Little Pony Toys

Today was a busy (but good) day! I had therapy this morning, which went well. I am a bit hypomanic, so I think I talked for the entire hour straight with my therapist not getting much room to say anything. We discussed my difficulty dealing with criticism (which I may do a separate post on later this week) and we also talked about my long list of things I would do if I weren’t so anxious and scared to try. It was a long list! Maybe I will share that sometime too if anyone is interested.

After therapy, my husband and I went to the local Sweet Corn Festival in Fairborn, Ohio. We shared a delicious funnel cake, then bought some homemade soap, a jar of a concoction called “Black Bear Jam” (made with blackberries, blueberries, and black raspberries), and a little bit of handmade maple candy.

Lastly, we went to do a little shopping and I found these awesome 35th Anniversary My Little Pony Windy and Skydancer toys for sale at Target:

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They even came with 80’s style puffy stickers! I had been hoping they would re-release some unicorn and pegasus ponies, so that made my day!!!

Astrology Talk: No Wonder I’m So Emotional

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My personal astrology chart

I don’t know if any of my readers are into astrology, but I’ve always found it fascinating (one of my Asperger obsessions maybe). I don’t give any credence normally to the daily astrology forecasts you find in newspapers and magazines, as I figure much of that is probably made up and not even necessarily written by people who really have a good grasp on astrology, but I do find that there is some truth to the fact that people born under specific signs seem to share certain personality traits, characteristics, and life themes.

One thing that many people don’t realize is that according to true astrology, it isn’t just your sun sign that makes a huge impact on your personality and life path. Your moon sign and ascendant sign matter a lot too. There are websites where you can put in your birth information and find out what all three of these signs are, as well as lesser astrological influences.

When I looked mine up, I found out that all three of my major signs are water signs: Sun – Scorpio, Moon – Pisces, Ascendant – Scorpio. And what are water signs known for? Being emotional and intuitive. Just like large bodies of water, we are fluid, constantly shifting, and often unstable. With three major water signs, is it any wonder that I often feel ungrounded (lack of the earth element), apathetic and lazy (lack of the fire element), and heavily weighed down by uncontrollable feelings (lack of air element)? Seems to me water signs were made to be bipolar lol.

I know some people think this is all mumbo jumbo, and I respect their opinion, but I still enjoy studying it. If any of you would like to hear more about astrology in the future, let me know!

A Bipolar Self Image

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Just like with my thoughts and feelings, my self image changes so wildly with my mood. A good example of this is my view of my looks and/or attractiveness. Most days I think I look average when I look in a mirror. I’m not delusional, thinking I am some kind of supermodel or show-stopping beauty, but I also don’t feel like I am a troll or a goblin.

Once in a while, when I am slightly or fully hypomanic, I look in the mirror and think I am beautiful. I will never be gorgeous in the artificial Hollywood kind of way, but when my mood is just right I can see a kind of classic or wholesome beauty in myself that I like.

But then there are days, like one I had recently, when I feel as if I am sitting in the rock bottom level of despair and gloom. On days like these, I may accidentally catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror (because I wouldn’t intentionally look), and upon viewing my reflection, I feel down to my very soul that I must be the ugliest thing in existence.

Bipolar and other mood disorders can skew our view of reality so much, sometimes I feel like I am living in different realities from day to day. Today isn’t too good, but it ain’t too bad either, so I guess average wins out again.

Walking Towards Depression

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I recently sold this oil pastel drawing shown above, but I wanted to share it because it is one of my favorite pieces I have done recently. If you can’t tell, the image is of a person and a little dog walking through a rainbow world (which represent happiness and life), but ahead of them lies the darkness of depression and they either don’t see it coming, or are impelled to continue walking, perhaps against their own will.

As someone who struggles with bipolar type 2 and chronic severe depressive episodes, this is clearly a personal feeling conjured into a visual image. I thought I would share though, because I bet some of you can relate to it too.

Hypomania Turns Me Into a Jerk

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Yesterday was a weird day. I started feeling hypomanic (probably because of my psychiatrist upping my antidepressant again). Even though I was already feeling restless and off, I decided to go ahead and go with my husband to our weekly meditation group. Turns out that wasn’t the best idea. Have you ever tried meditating or even just sitting still in the dark for 30 minutes while hypomanic? STRESSFUL.

I didn’t outwardly spaz out or draw attention to myself, but I sure felt like it. My head was buzzing with what felt like a million thoughts and feelings, and my body wanted to get up and run around the room. I wanted to scream, but of course I didn’t want to make a scene and freak everyone out, so I screamed on the inside. By the time it was over, I felt like a nervous wreck.

As we were leaving, I told my husband what was going on and how much I had struggled, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t really get it, because a few minutes later he sort of sent me over the edge a bit. We stopped at the Chick-fil-A drive-thru to get some ice cream, and I became pretty agitated because there were two lanes and the one we joined took FOREVER. People who joined the other line after we got there had gotten their food and driven off BEFORE we ever got to order! Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me so much, but in the state of mind I was in, it was infuriating.

My husband tried to distract me and cheer me up by being playful and sort of tickling/poking me. Normally this would make me laugh, but with all my senses already on overdrive and feeling angry, I screamed at him to stop and smacked his hand away. It was a huge overreaction and I felt bad afterwards, but I simply couldn’t help it. The rest of the drive home I could tell he was not sure how to act and that made me feel even worse.

Today I’m feeling more normal again, but we’ll see how it goes once I take my medication…

The Cold Commercialism of Society

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I am often disheartened by the cold commercialism of society. As I watch the rise of the giant corporations and mega conglomerates, I feel like life in general is becoming less conducive to humanity and relationships and more about flashy advertisements and raking in the money. Those few people running the world don’t just seem to be garden-variety-greedy anymore, they seem to be Scrooge-McDuck-diving-into-a-swimming-pool-of-gold-greedy.

Recently I was walking around a Walmart, my head almost swimming from all the useless stuff trying to attract my attention, when I suddenly had the impulse to go around the store and ask every employee I could find whether they believe Walmart really gives a shit about them as a person, or if they think they are viewed as a replaceable number only. I resisted the urge, but as someone who spent a short amount of time working as a greeter at Walmart, I can almost guarantee that if the employees answered my question honestly, probably none of them would say the corporation gives a damn about them. And that microcosm of Walmart, represents an entire world of similar sentiments.