Tag Archives: marijuana

Better

I’ve spent the better part of the last decade in therapy and on meds. Going to therapy, takin’ my meds. Rescheduling therapy, adjusting my meds. Adding more therapy, adding more meds, then backing off a little on both. Though I’m still a habitual marijuana self-medicator, I’ve more or less stopped drinking over the past year. I definitely stopped that shit where I pick up a 6 pack on my way home and drink alone in my living room with my guitar before the sun even goes down. A bottle of gin in my house has a way longer shelf life these days. I been good. A model prisoner of my illness (or whatever poetics you wanna stamp onto this situation).

A week or so ago in therapy, my doctor commented on how much better I was doing. I’ve been on Depakote for like 5 months. No hair loss or anything! I’ve had some kinda funky depressions and at least one pretty awesome hypomanic episode, but overall things have been less sharp and less rough. I’ve been writing a lot. I’m working on a collection of poems and I’ve been writing some essays just for shits. I feel stupid and wordless a lot. Then I don’t. Sometimes I feel proud of myself. It’s real weird.

But my doc says I’ve been doing better. She has my chart. She’s been treating me for 8 and a half years. I told her I didn’t really believe her, but that she’s the expert. So here we are. I’m better. Yikes.

Part of me is upset by this prospect: better. It makes me wanna destroy myself a little and I certainly know how, but there’s a large part of me that feels I owe it to my psychiatrist – to all the hard work she’s done and all the shit she’s put up with from me – to stay better. Why don’t I feel beholden in the same way to myself?

Couple theories: Firstly, and most obviously, if I’m doing terribly, I probably can’t get a whole lot worse. There’s nowhere to fall from rock bottom. It’s paradoxically comforting to know there are no threads left to cradle you. You get to lie all the way down.

Secondly, I’ve had more experience with depression than…almost anything else over the past decade. I know how to navigate it. Sure, it hurts like hell, but it’s a hurt I’m used to. I can change all the dressings ‘n everything. I’ve been ill as a full time job for years and years. I’m getting fired or something. Additional metaphors relating to the unknown, etc.

But I think my biggest problem is: what now? My identity is kinda shifting away from simply Bipolar Laura to _______ Laura. Not sure how to fill in that blank. I mean, I’ll always have bipolar. I didn’t get here by magic, I worked toward this. I don’t think, though, I ever really thought concretely about what I was working toward, just that I needed to keep pushing in an upward direction. Now I have more time and energy (most days) and I don’t need to use those circumstances to patch myself up the same way. I can do things!

I told my doctor that I’ve arrived at the downside of up and she said, “Yup, that’s the downside.” She recognizes that the new imperative I’m facing to do something with my life is not an easy thing to tackle. Maybe it’s even complicated by the fact that there are like a hundred things I wanna do with my life. Basically, I’m having a Sylvia Plath problem:

tumblr_mt1afsX54X1qebh0ko1_500

The Bell Jar

‘Cept I’m starving not just because I can’t decide, I’m starving ’cause even if I do decide, I can’t rely on my own self-motivation which has been directed entirely at my mental health for so long that I don’t really know how to use it for anything else. I just haven’t really had to, and though people keep telling me to be easier on myself, I still insist that I’m awfully lazy.

So let’s not confuse “better” with “cured.” I still have to take care of my illness, but the difference is that it’s not the sole thing I have to take care of right now. I still have mood swings and panic attacks and episodes. Like, that shit’s never going away entirely. Not unless I cloister myself in completely perfect behavior and probably take some stupefying meds that I don’t want. But that’s not a life. I’ve always been scared of the future for the same reason I’m now scared of being better. I don’t know precisely how to move around in it.

That’s basically where I’m at. And don’t think that I won’t stretch my indecision and cowardice and self-doubt into months and months of soul searching or some bullshit, ’cause I definitely will. Out of fear and hesitation. I have some thinking to do. It’s probably gonna be a minute.

-LB

Advertisements

Medzzzzzzz…

I had like 3 fucking meltdowns over Christmas weekend which is sorta normal for me but this year was probably worse than previous years ‘n I don’t really wanna talk about it right now, not because I don’t wanna revisit that shit but because I’m sleepy as fuuuuuck…..

My doc and I decided to halve my Welbutrin dose ’cause I think neither of us is 100% sure that I still need it. I tried it a long time ago, pre-bipolar diagnosis as a treatment for depression and that didn’t really work out, obviously (see LBD: antidepressants). Then a couple years ago, while on mood stabilizers, my doc prescribed it again to help me quit smoking because I have like zero willpower and I get upset a lot and it’s super easy for me to rationalize breaking my tobacco fast if I’m really, really, really upset (so, like, often). Welbutrin makes smoking really uncomfortable (I frequently liken it to trying to inhale a large marshmallow I picked out of bag of wet garbage) and also disrupts your brain’s ability to enjoy nicotine so you may as well just be smoking the paper for all the good it’ll do in terms of calming you down.

The other reason we went with Welbutrin is that it’s kind of an upper – not in the same way that speed or even caffeine is, but among its peers, Welbutrin is the most likely to give you a little boost. All my other meds are sedating so the intention was to sort of counteract that problem with more meds (I’ve written about medicating my medication before, but probably not thoroughly enough, remind me to get back to it).

This time around, I don’t think I’ve been prescribed Welbutrin specifically to combat depression, but if it happened to do that, then yay? So last week, my prescription ran out and I was talking to my doctor about it and we thought maybe cutting to dose in half might be fun (ahem: a medically sound choice that is reversible if it happens not to work out). I didn’t start taking the smaller dose until after my Xmas meltdowns because I fucking hate the holidays and I didn’t wanna start experimenting until they were over. Which turned out to be, probably, a really good idea.

This is either day 2 or 3 of the halved dose and I’ve been a fairly drowsy. Which, I mean, is unsurprising considering the drug’s invigorating properties. I suspect I’d feel similarly if I switched from coffee to tea or something – which will never fucking happen, when I die, I wanna be ground up like coffee beans and served, hot or iced, to all my mourners (no I don’t, that’s gross, Laura). 

So, like, I spent the day fucking around with my roommate’s mandolin and working on some poems just for fun, and I think I paid off the balance on my Target card. Like, I got some shit done. I taught myself this song on mando:

Don’t get impressed or anything, it’s not a super complicated song, just a really good song and a fun one to sing and play. But now my fingers hurt ’cause mandolin strings are a little more ouchy than guitar or banjo strings ‘n I’m not really used to them yet. But I did like, at least one or two things today and I didn’t actually have to do anything today, so good for me. Fine.

But it’s me, so I worry a lot about these specters of things that are pretty unlikely, chiefly here: I’ll be sleepy forever. Before my various Christmas freakouts, I had been doing really well. Depakote seems not to have given me the stupids like I worried it would. My moods were pretty even, almost predictable (!!!) and I was feeling good about myself and having all these neat ideas for creative projects which, at this point, I haven’t been neglecting as severely as I usually do when I have good ideas. Good. Cool.

But I wanna take as little medicine as I can get away with and Welbutrin, among my other meds, is the easiest to play around with, so here we are. Slightly less medicated, but markedly more sleepy. This should go away. I mean, if I were taking Welbutrin and nothing else, I’d be about 100% sure the drowsiness would wane after the physical withdrawal was over, but that’s not the case ’cause, like I said, I’m on other meds, 3 others exactly, and they all sometimes make me very tired. More specifically, they shorten my battery life. It’s not that I’m evenly sedated throughout the day, it’s more like I only have energy for one or maybe two activities in a day and I don’t like to stay out late anymore.

So right now it’s a little after 4 p.m. It’s rain-snowing like the goddamned apocalypse outside and I’m legit afraid my power will go out. I’ve run out of shit to do except take a shower which is only necessary because it’s my habit to shower daily, I’m not actually dirty enough right now to warrant bathing. After that, it’s very likely that I’ll get high and watch cartoons or something. Maybe reread my poems a few hundred more times. They are part in Italian and I’m like real stoked on that point. But that’s about it. I don’t have energy for much else. I could:

Clean something, like my desk maybe (nah…)

Investigate the meaning behind the text I just got from my sister which simply reads: “Butt fun?”

Learn more mandolin chords and maybe develop some muscle memory and build tougher calluses

Mulch Arturo more thoroughly (Arturo is my pet blueberry bush. He lives on my patio and should be able to withstand a northern Midwest winter storm but he almost died this summer so I worry about him a lot)

Play some solitaire chess. Gotta stay sharp ‘n whatever.

But I totally won’t do any of these things (except maybe find out what the deal is with “Butt fun?” ’cause there is zero context for that text and it’s fucking funny). I’m probably just gonna return my roommate’s mando to his room, take my evening meds (including the ones I prescribed to myself), move from the office to the couch, watch some Jaclyn Glenn youtube videos, lazily entertain sexual thoughts about this woman who I only know through her Etsy shop but who seems like my kinda people even if I can’t quite see what she looks like or tell how old she is from her tiny picture, and maybe see which of the cats is more amenable to being used as a pillow today ’cause one of them will usually let me do that, but it’s not always the same one. All eminently slothful pursuits.

Anyhowl, getting back to things, I’m gonna give it maybe another 7-10 days of grogginess before I decide if the new Welbutrin dosage is right for me. Like, fingers crossed real hard, I guess, ’cause, like I said, the less medicine I can get by on, the better. In the meantime, jammies ‘n couches ‘n…”Butt fun?”

-LB

Hi. Poe. May. Knee. Uh…

*big loud screeching noise*

*laugh track*

*laugh track*

*honkey tonk guitar lick*

*words words words words words words*

*the sound of my tongue moving in my mouth*

*tasteless lesbian porn*

*laugh track*

*trains, lots of them*

*I can hear my eyeballs slide*

*Ok Ok Ok Ok Ok*

*distant hisses*

*laugh track*

*uh, um, uh*

*lightbulbs popping*

*a belly flop from which I never recover*

 

Theory: I am, in fact, my dad’s kid even more than I thought, which is to say, my natural state is quiet, ponderous, shy, and introverted. The only reason people don’t believe this about me and the reason I don’t always believe it about me is because these traits are squashed by my big, loud, sexy hypomanias. Which means sometimes I don’t live up to myself (?) which, in turn, causes a fair degree of dissonance upstairs ‘specially  when I have to perform Laura when Laura is feeling quiet, ponderous, shy, and introverted.

One Reason To Think This: I’ve been hypomanic for about 2 weeks and it hasn’t been particularly euphoric but hasn’t been irritable either. It’s been creative above all else and it fucking rules. I’ve been reading and writing frenetically and, while I’ve been enjoying other people’s company more comfortably than usual, I’d rather be in my office makin’ shit with my suddenly cartoonishly oversized brain.

Another Reason To Think This: I’ve been super, super good about not drinking and this is probably the first hypomanic episode I’ve had where I haven’t had a single drink, not even once. I’ve had to learn about 9 times (non-hyperbolic) that Laura + hypomania + booze = a noise blasting sex monster that’ll chew your damn ear off. Instead of expending this energy and disinhibition on trying to fuck your girlfriend, I’ve been shoving creative production out of my being with superhuman strength and I’m enjoying it a great deal.

 

What about the eventual fall?

What about it? Fuck you.

 

So I can’t sleep for shit. I’d been self-medicating with weed or NyQuil (or both) until my doc asked me to please stop doing that and prescribed me Sonata. Cool thing: Sonata gives me crazy vivid dreams. The people in my dreams are so lifelike, I’d deem them identical to their IRL forms. I dreamt of my dad the first night. I saw his real face, his real height, his real glasses, and I heard his real voice. I’ve not seen, in any hallucinatory form, my dad so lifelike since he was actually still alive. SO. FUCKING. COOL.

 

What about the eventual fall?

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK you.

 

So, I’m sober, sleeping about 7 hours a night, laughing ’til I get stomach cramps, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, just diggin’ it, really. I haven’t frightened anyone yet, not even myself. Good. More than good.

FRENETIC. The word has a great mouthfeel and is an entirely apt descriptor. I’m good with it, I’m just good. Barking for a speeding ticket, gesticulating even more than usual, tying together the windblown threads of my savaging mind because there is good stuff up here, and despite alienating people who might be put off by my pace or my presentation, I’m fine. And safe. And diggin’ it. Absolutely.

 

What about the eventual fall?

Not even dignifying that one right now.

-LB

Among Others

Would you mind just knowing when I wanna be alone but not alone alone, so like maybe you could hang out in the next room with the door open but I wouldn’t have to tell you to do this, you’d just know it’s what I need right that sec?

Is there any way we can ensure that you’ll say exactly what I need to hear, at the pace and in the tone in which I need to hear it but without my having to instruct you at any point regarding what is the right thing to say because I honestly have no fucking clue?

Can we make arrangements for you to be gone when I’m feeling spontaneously creative and would really like the house to myself so I can make all the noise I want for the purpose of later choosing which noises I like best except I’ll never have to actually ask you to leave?

Can you please refrain from commenting that I seem like I’m feeling better because it places a lot of pressure on me to stay better and I don’t know if I can do that, plus having this conversation has the potential to make me feel un-better, so just like, know not to do that, Ok?

Would it be possible for you not to take, “FUCK YOU, [LOVED ONE], COME CLOSER AND I’LL PUT YOUR GODDAMNED LIGHTS OUT!” personally when I’m having a panic attack, and while we’re on the subject, can you jettison your natural instinct to comfort me physically when I’m freaking out because your well-intentioned hugs feel like burning sandpaper, but I don’t wanna have to recoil when you touch me, so you’ll just not do it?

If possible, can you try not to resent me when I’m in bed at 6 p.m. reading and rereading the same news article for 45 minutes because my brains turned to gutter slush while you’re downstairs both cooking and cleaning up dinner which I probably won’t eat until 4 hours later, and I probably didn’t clean the litter boxes either but you’ll just understand that an apology for this shit may or may not be coming several days later?

Is it alright if we have an implicit understanding that when I say I’m gonna “power down” for the evening it means I’m gonna get stoned and watch episodes of cartoons I’ve seen so many times I can recite them by heart and then fall asleep at 9:15 when my Depakote kicks in ’cause I’m still not totally used to it?

Can I not have to defend my irrational attachment to the 3 saplings that took root in the yard this summer so we can plant them in the spot I picked out and cross the low-hanging power line bridge when we come to it because destroying trees of any size makes me cry?

ch870113-1

Thanks. I love you a lot, though.

-LB

Live! From An Implausible Afterlife!

Yeah, fuck it, I don’t have a fully formed post in me today. But I’ve been missing. Kinda. Sorta. I’m not dead. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m not dead. I posed a hypothetical to a philosophy buddy of mine (never do this) where I asked, What if when we die, we don’t know we’re dead, we just keep on trucking like normal, but, over time, things get incrementally better and better in ways too small to feel implausible, into infinity, each day getting slightly better than the one before but not so much that we legitimately wonder if we’re actually dead and in heaven?

Which is just bananas, let’s be serious. But wouldn’t that be kinda cool? I think so. But not grounded in reason, as are not most (all) conceptions of a human afterlife. Feel welcome to disagree, but, after having given it like a decade of thought, the notion that human consciousness survives the death of the body strikes me as wishful thinking in the best cases and a manipulative threat in the worst (Hell). But I’m an atheist, and I will see your Pascal’s Wager and raise you a Russell’s Teapot every time, up unto the point where doing so is illogical, but that has yet to happen, not to me, at least. When I die, I’ll be dead. Like, I’m pretty sure I’ll be dead after I die. But I can’t prove that so much as ponder it deeply, so I welcome any arguments to the contrary. I like to be proven wrong when I’m wrong, but only when there’s actual proof (see: necessary truth and my further abuse of Wikipedia’s watery philosophy articles today).

ANYway, you can close your textbooks ’cause I mostly came here to tack up the following stray thoughts in a lazy, disorganized manner because I’m fucking depressed and my motivation’s in the can, and words, more words, larger words, showoff words, curse words, edited words, reedited words, precisely selected words, words I don’t mean, words I do mean but not as much as I’m making it seem, words I mean more than I’m making it seem, and then close with a curtsy.

AHEM:

– The Welbutrin dosage increase is fucking with my already fucked appetite and it is SUCH A GODDAMNED PAIN IN THE ASS. I want my protein pills, Bowie. Will supply own helmet. Don’t let me down, dude. I’m hungry.

– I started journaling again. It seemed like a good idea. Plus the journal I bought is really pretty and accommodates my stupid, gigantic handwriting nicely. But the best thing is that it’s intended to be completely private, so I don’t need to edit anything or spellcheck anything and I can write down the things I probably won’t ever say to anyone but which do weigh on me uncomfortably enough. You guys, I’m totally cheating on you.

– I’ve been having panic attacks and then getting mad at my Klonopin for making me feel better – erm…mad at my Klonopin because I sorta need it to make me feel better. Which, I mean, that just further underscores the reality that I probably can’t have a real life without my meds which makes me even more depressed. There are like a dozen reasons why we bipolar folk are hard to medicate. This is one of them, for me anyways.

– I’m pretty busy being a bigger pothead than usual, but I semi-promised my psychiatrist that I’d stop getting stoned so much once I ran out of weed, so it’s gonna be a few minutes.

– My aforementioned stoniness is not helping my aforementioned appetite problem as much as I’d like it to. So, the only logical step here is to smoke more weed? Uh…

– I’ve gotten even better at rationalizing my vices and I was already really good at that. Depression will absolutely do that to you. I feel a twinge. I shouldn’t walk on this leg, I really shouldn’t. I did plenty of standing and walking and bathing and speaking yesterday, better nurse this mystery twinge. I taught my husband how to use the French press. The coffee I’ll badger him into making me will not be as good as if I’d made it myself. Sub-par coffee is the second or third worst thing human beings do to each other, now I’m doubly wounded. Go on without me, just go. I’ll make sure to turn myself periodically to avoid bedsores.

– I recently bought body lotion that’s supposed to smell like a mojito, so it’s probably good that I don’t drive.

– I told my psychiatrist that I’ve been having problems feeling secure in my identity, or that I feel like I jettisoned my identity five or six years ago and have been basically a nobody for several years. She recommended that I read Oliver Sacks ’cause she says that he discusses ideas of personal identity a lot in his work. Anyone wanna back her up on this? I’ve had him recommended to me before but that was when I was still on lithium and couldn’t read very well because of it.

– I wanted to jump rope today. Jump roping is fucking hard. I have to do it for 5 minutes at the beginning of each of my MMA classes, so I thought I’d do it at home some so I wouldn’t tire out so easily in class. I’m not gonna jump rope today. My belly hurts. And I’m sad. And twinge. There’s always tomorrow. Unless I am dead.

Words, curtsy, shut up, bed.

-LB

God God Damnit Damnit

Well, there went June. I mean I was in California for half of it, and I’ve been pretty sad for the rest. My grandma died the evening following the previous post, so, like 5 weeks ago at this point. It got really ugly. The last few days she was in hospice, we were all kind of hoping she would just go. Watching her struggle to catch her breath and then feeling my stomach drop in between breaths as the pauses got longer and longer and I thought, this is it, she stopped breathing was pretty brutal. The last 2ish days she was really loaded on morphine and lorazepam so she wasn’t really even there, but there was a really brief window when she was still lucid and I got to say goodbye to her.

Fuck saying goodbye to your loved ones forever so hard. It’s the roughest thing I’ll ever be grateful for. At this point, I’ve lost 2 really important people in two different ways. My dad died without warning and the shock was unbelievable…and the regret and the guilt and the wondering if I had a hand in it and the accusing other people of having a hand in it, but not to their face because: You’re a fucking backbreaker who worked your husband into the ground (I’d say “literally” but my dad’s not buried in the ground, he’s in a mausoleum with mostly strangers and now my grandma)…is like maybe the quickest way destroy a relationship with someone. Probably. Not that it was great to begin with, but at the end of the day, we were all shellshocked and miserable and shitty to each other. I had to watch my grandma die. I saw her shut down piece by piece. I saw her fingers turn blue as she got less and less oxygen with each breath, I watched her chest heave reflexively in a morphine twilight, I saw tears of pain gather at the corners of her eyes that she didn’t even know were there.

I heard her whisper in Sicilian: Mama, I’m coming to be with you.

God god damnit damnit.

I’ve been ignoring how unsteady I’ve been since she died. I went back down to my normal dosage of meds because the extra olanzapine was making me really tired. I had a panic attack in San Diego. I cry when I think about this, so I don’t think about it a lot. I’m motivated to shower and drink gin and impulse buy shit off Etsy. I made a Pinterest board of things I wanna put on my back deck. I won’t ever actually put them there, but in my mind (and on the Internet), I have a killer back deck. I haven’t picked up a guitar since I borrowed one in Carmel like over 2 weeks ago. Sometimes, without provocation, my heart pounds real hard for several minutes and then goes back to normal. The last thing my grandma ever ate was a pancake and they had to stop feeding her when she started to choke on a piece. When I think about pancakes, I cry. That reality is 100% not workable.

I missed 3 MMA classes in a row, but the third time was to see Serengeti at one of my city’s myriad summer street festivals/glorified block parties with sponsors, which, at the time I decided was worth it, but I’m gonna be like, cursing his name at the gym on Sunday when I barf on the floor after 90 seconds of jump roping. I’ve been trying to work out at home. I’m not a self-motivator. I need my class. For many reasons. But live music is also a tonic, so it wasn’t a loss, really.

I’ve been smoking cigarettes kinda. I quit 2 years ago, but watching my grandma suffocate slowly warranted a number of cigarette breaks in the hospital parking lot with my sister. The cognitive dissonance was not lost on me. But I really needed some timeouts, so whatever. I have an e-cig. I have more than enough vanity to keep me from using it in public. Nobody looks cool smoking a e-cig. It’s not really the same anyway. I had intended to go home after the Serengeti set last weekend because I had no other reason to be at the festival. I hadn’t slept much so I wasn’t drinking because I didn’t wanna fall asleep in the grass. But I hung out for like an extra hour just to bum cigs off dudes which is really easy so I made the most of it. I bought a few packs in California – which were unnervingly inexpensive compared to here – but I purposely left them behind places so I would only smoke like 2 or maybe 3…which I guess means they were sorta, kinda way more expensive than they are here cause I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I’m not real worried about it. What I am worried about is that I made my husband promise not to let my buy any more cigarettes but I very frequently want one. Like right now would be one of those times. I just feel like smoking a lot, which is generally indicative of: a) I’m drunk b) I’m anxious or c) I don’t know what to do with my hands right that sec. Thanks to all the weed in my life, I can have orgasms again and my husband has been out of the house a lot the last few evenings which are the only times I watch porn ’cause we don’t like the same kind of porn so “c” is not really a problem. (Trying super hard not to think too much about that last sentence, ’cause it’s just depressing.) So I’m sitting here puffing on my e-cig. I am unwashed and I do not look cool.

So, here’s something that’s fucked up and terrifying and one of the gifts you get when you come from a line of mildly inbred Italian hill people: my grandma died because her lungs shut down. She never smoked in her life and she never let my grandpa smoke in the house. She was rarely sedentary and spent a lot of time outdoors. She ate really well. She took care of herself. But she got a cold or something sometime this past spring and it triggered an autoimmune response that resulted in her lungs overproducing heavy mucus and basically strangling her from the inside out. The reason this is so scary to me is because so many people in my family are carriers of autoimmune disorders, including my mom who’s a type 1 diabetic. There’s actually this freaky subset of couplings among my grandma’s cousins wherein the children of those couples have a 1 in 4 chance of developing an autoimmune disease. 4 kids came out of that batch, one got diabetes, one got MS and one got scleroderma. I wanna say the 4th one is safe, but my grandma probably thought she was too until a fucking cold turned her lungs into rocks at 89, which is exactly my point: this shit could happen to me too. And, as with my grandma, I might not know until I have 2 weeks left to live. So from now on, I’m gonna be massively paranoid every time I get the sniffles ’cause they may be my last. Or something. I’m not a doctor. I could be wrong about all this. Paranoia is part of how I grieve.

I’ve been subject to this weird glut of deaths in the last 8 years and the thing we all keep telling each other is that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. It doesn’t matter how well I understand this concept or how threadbare that platitude has become by this point, I always think I’m fucking it up. My grandma lived a good life. She was happy and virtuous by her own measure. Unlike me, she was a person of faith, so she probably felt a brand of comfort and homecoming in her last days that I’ll never know. She was industrious, humble, sweet and nurturing. She always put herself last. When relatives came to the hospital to say their last goodbyes, they’d say, “I’m gonna pray for you.” My grandma would respond, “No, I’ll pray for you.” And she did. When she died, she was the most beautiful person at her funeral. She was buried in the dress she wore to my wedding. She was stunning.

I’m bothered that I’ve been able to keep as much together as I have, which isn’t to say I’ve been keeping it 100% together, obviously, as evidenced by the panic attacks and low motivation and nicotine cravings. But I still feel like I’m not giving my grandma the reverence she deserves. I asked my therapist what’s the weeping equivalent of a standing ovation. She said she didn’t know. But I hope I figure that one out because my grandma earned it.

-LB

I Don’t Have A Perforated Uterus And Other Stories From My Womb

I don’t have a perforated uterus. My IUD did not fall out. I’m not pregnant. There isn’t a hunk of levonorgestrel-laced plastic trashing my entrails and burrowing through my abdominal wall. Theses occurrences are extremely rare and I know that now and I knew it two nights ago when I went on a fishing expedition looking for the part of my IUD that chills outside of my cervix that I’m supposed to be able to feel. I couldn’t find it. And I had a tummy ache. Like a really bad one. So, naturally, I assumed I wouldn’t survive the night and would hemorrhage to death in my sleep, the thought of which did not prompt me to go to an emergency room because by that point I was already stoned and being stoned in the ER sounded really, really boring. Clearly, my decision making skills are top notch. And people still occasionally give me shit about the fact that I never want to be a parent. Like people who actually know me.

I’ve never been pregnant, as far as I know. If I ever have been pregnant, the thing peaced out before I knew it was even there, but that scenario seems pretty unlikely, not just because it’s unlikely for anyone, but because, from the get go, I’ve always been super on top of my contraception. I have never wanted to be pregnant. And I decided I didn’t want kids once I was old enough to understand that not everybody will or should be a parent one day. I think I was about 15 when I made that decision for real.

There are a lot of reasons I don’t want children, only one of which is related to my bipolar. But that’s worth talking about because it’s an issue that a lot of women face. Many women with bipolar want and have children. Many other women are advised not to. Assuming you’re working with a competent doctor and are willing to shoulder the extra burdens mentally ill pregnant women face, you can have bipolar and a kid. Lots of people have done it. Shame on any doctor who dashes the hopes of a would-be mom solely because she has a mood disorder.

But I do wonder what it’s like. I mean, I’m a biological female with a female gender identity and, now and then, I wonder what it’s like to be pregnant. I wonder what it’s like to give birth. These are experiences many women hold dear, and part of me is curious to understand, fundamentally, why. But curiosity is not a good enough reason to get knocked up, so my curiosities will remain curiosities forever because, once you’re done glowing or beaming or whatever pregnant chicks are supposed to do, you have to take care of this (temporarily super helpless) human being for the rest of your life and I don’t want that for myself, nor do I want it for the unlucky hypothetical I’d be squeezing out. Over the last several months, I’ve been trying to acquaint myself with my weaknesses so I can address them rather than ignore them, and what that exercise has done, among other things, is reinforce my understanding that I would not make a suitable parent. I’d go so far as to deem it unethical for me to raise a child. Babysitting is one thing, but being responsible for a kid’s well-being, moral and emotional development, education and physical health from birth until self-sufficiency is not something of which I feel I’m capable or even willing to do.

But, like I said, some women do do it. I’m pretty interested to know about those experiences. How’d you deal with your meds? All my meds are Category C which, as far as I know, falls under the umbrella of: these have the potential to harm your unborn kid pretty seriously, but you might have no choice but to take them, so roll the dice. As far as exposing a kid to my moods and my self-destructive behaviors once it’s born, that just seems really unfair. I mean, I feel bad for a lot of the adults who have to put up with some of the wackier shit I do, I wouldn’t want to force a developing child to see me be me on a daily basis and have to explain repeatedly why I act the way I do. I’m simply not up to the task.

But maybe you are. Are you? Did you do it? Tell me what it was like in the comments. No two experiences (with pregnancy or with bipolar) are exactly alike and I spent most of yesterday thinking about my baby-making equipment, so it’s got me thinking about it. Share!

-LB