Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Me Before Meds

OK, this is a picture of me laughing my head off, out of control, while no one else found anything funny and the teacher tried to ignore me:

Also pre-meds, I burst out crying when this teacher announced a test and spent the next twenty minutes of study time weeping uncontrollably.

Yeah...I was pretty sick.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Hundred Things About Me

My therapist suggested I make a list of ways to describe myself, so I see that I am more than my disorder. I am going to make a one hundred item list. Here goes:

1. I am bipolar.
2. I am smart.
3. I am funny.
4. I can write all kinds of things well.
5. I am Jewish.
6. I am spiritual.
7. I care about the people around me.
8. I am not an animal person.
9. My favorite colors are purple, black, and brown.
10. I collect cabbage patch dolls.
11. I have three good friends at school.
12. I have five good friends outside school.
13. I go to boarding school.
14. I need a lot of emotional nourishment from the people around me.
15. I know how to give emotional nourishment in return.
16. If push comes to shove, I can stand admirably on my own two feet.
17. I love clementines and am fond of all fruit.
18. Peppers are the only vegetable I will not eat.
19. I would rather stick close to home than go off on adventures.
20. I like to read.
21. I have been to Israel and Canada.
22. In the continental US, I have been to Texas, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kansas, Missouri, Idaho, and Nebraska.
23. My favorite dessert is pie.
24. I prefer savory/spicy foods to sweet foods.
25. In my opinion, a bowl of chick peas with pepper and salt is a perfectly adequate lunch.
26. I have a woonderful immeciate family.
27. I am a sister.
28. I am a daughter.
29. Some day, I will be a wife and mother.
30. I have a friend.
31. I call my best home friend my "sock sister" because socks belong together and we grew up together, like sisters.
32. My best school friend is the most selfless, humble person I have ever met.
33. I can't wait to get back to school.
34. I love to sew and knit.
35. I just got done making myself a tallis.
36. Now I am working on the tallis bag.
37. I also plan to knit myself a scarf this winter.
38. I love to play in the snow and come in all wet and cold and drink a mug of hot chocolate.
39. I like to drink a cup of hot milk every night before bed.
40. Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw are two of my favorite music artists.
41. Country music is my favorite genre.
42. I like to read children's fiction.
43. I also like to read Jewish philosophy.
44. My birthday is in February.
45. I hate physics.
46. I will turn seventeen this year.
47. I can never donate bone marrow.
48. This makes me extremely sad; it's the only dream I really needed to happen.
49. I am committed to finding another way to save lives.
50. I am short.
51. I wear glasses.
52. I have long, ripply, brown hair.
53. I sleep with my hair braided.
54. If I don't, my nice ripples turn into a ball of frizz.
55. My favorite foods are olives, grape leaves, dates, rice cakes, and bananas.
56. I like green and purple olives better than black ones.
57. Israel grows a particular kind of date considered to be the best in the world. I do not remember the name of this date.
58. I like my rice cakes plain or with jam.
59. I like my bananas best when there's still a little bit of green on the peel.
60. I speak much better Hebrew now than I did before I went to Israel.
61. I can read and write Hebrew very well considering it's my second language.
62. If people speak Hebrew slowly, I can understand almost every thing they say.
63. I understand much more Hebrew than I speak.
64. I have taken a year of Arabic.
65. Some day, I want to learn to speak Arabic as well as I speak Hebrew.
66. My middle name is Tovah.
67. I am named after two of my great-grandmothers.
68. I want to name a child Ruth.
69. I also love the names Nurit and Deborah for girls.
70. For boys I like Solomon, Saul, David, Nachman, and Barak.
71. I am firmly connected to my heritage.
72. I am absolutely determined to pass on Jewish tradition and religion to my children.
73. One day I would like to live in Israel.
74. I am lesbian.
75. I realized this on the first full day of my Israel trip.
76. I am not sure where to find my niche as an observant, lesbian Jew.
77. I have faith that my life will work out as God wants it.
78. I believe that in order for my life to work out as God wants it, I have to take steps to help myself.
79. I am a blogger.
80. This blog is one of my steps to help myself.
81. This blog is my declaration and commitment against being overwhelmed by sorrow and anguish.
82. I like to think hard about life.
83. I have had some amazing visions, demon fights, etc.
84. I get exhausted by the visions etc.
85. I have often wished I did not have visions, demon fights, etc.
86. I have left my body and lived to tell about it.
87. I was perfectly healthy at the time.
88. I have never been psychotic.
89. I have never had a vision when manic.
90. I love to wade in the creek near my house.
91. I need nature around me to be happy.
92. I believe all people are creations of God and should ideally be respected and cherished.
93. I believe we are all responsible for one another.
94. I dream of ways to save the world.
95. If I cannot save the world, individual lives will be fine too.
96. I want to major in psychology in college.
97. I also want to take courses in Jewish studies, philosophy, theology, and theater.
98. I have two brothers.
99. My parents are married and in love.
100. I am overly obsessed with my younger brother.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Still Grieving

And right now, I'm too sadly wide-awake to go to bed. If I go to bed I will have sad dreams, which will wake me up and then I'll be more sad. Then tomorrow I'll be tired and even more sad...

Yes, I got "well" quickly. But I'm not truly well; I'm in remission. Even if it's a permanent remission, for the rest of my life I will have to take mood stabilizers every morning and every evening. For the rest of my life, I will have to deal with the extreme thirst that is a side effect of Lithium. For the rest of my life, I will never again be well.

All this for the rest of my life.

Making a Tallis

My current big project is making a tallis. Updates are over at

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I have finally started to realize that Iam sick, that I will be sick for the rest of my life, that I cannot escape this.

Every day, for the rest of my life, I have to take medication in the morning and again at bedtime.

Every day, for the rest of my life, I will be endlessly thirsty.

Every night, for the rst of my life, I must be careful to get enough sleep.

And every day, for the rest of my life, I have to face the possibility of unpredictable cycling.

I am grieving. I didn't want this.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Israeli Politics in a Song

Shirat HaSticker (The Sticker Song) by HaDag Nahash (The Fish Snake)

Please watch it. You won't regret it. This is my favorite song.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Sanity Savers

1. Baby Name Books: When I cannot sleep at night, I read baby names. They are interesting enough that I can bear being awake, and boring enough that they don't keep me up.

2. Bright Lights and Loud Music: I have spent hours today (going on three or four) shut in the den, listening to loud music with bright light on. Because of this, I have stayed only mildly depressed today.

3. This Cabbage Patch Kid: This is Autumn. Autumn is cuddly and feels firm and strong to me. She is good to squeeze when times are hard:

4. Hot Milk Before Bed: I used to do this all the time when I was a kid; it warmed me inside and out. Now it makes taking my meds something to look forward to.

Just giving credit where credit is due.

Three Poems I Wrote

I would like to share three poems I wrote about Bipolar Disorder. The first one was written while I was feeling psychiatrically normal but very sad. The second was written at the beginning of a manic episode. The third was written during a very depressed evening, on the tail end of a mixed state day.

So, Bipolar Traitor, you tried to steal my life.
I thought that you were me.
I thought we understood each other.
I thought that I was you.

Guess what, you Double Crosser?
You cannot have my life.
I will still grow up,
I will still have fun,
And my world will be beautiful.

Take that,
And that,
And that.

I cannot understand you.
Words hit my head and scramble.
And everything's too much--too much!
And I cannot slow down.

My thoughts are swirling,
Gray tornado,
They make me sick; I cannot watch.

But I'm not crazy.
I'm still me.

My World
Everything is dark.
The world is naught but one big night.
Everything is dead.

Dead things start to smell, you know.
And then the stench envelops you:
You cannot think, you cannot move.

What does it matter?
You and I--we're both dead too.
Lie back down and let it come.
Death could be our friend.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Simple Pleasure

Favorite Food: Turnips

Favorite Drink: Milk

Turnips + Milk = Bliss

Monday, November 16, 2009


Depending on how bad I'm feeling on a given day, these are the adjustments I have found necessary in order to live well with bipolar disorder:

1. Water: I have a glass of ice water or a nice cold water bottle with me everywhere I go. One of the medications I'm on, Lithium, makes me unendingly thirsty. It's just better to drink a lot than it is to sit there being thirsty--safer, too!

2. Boycotting the outdoors: I mostly do not go outside anymore, unless there is a very compelling reason. I tried to go for a walk yesterday and came home very quickly. My mother, who is also my psychiatrist until I go back to school, asked what happened. I said, "The cars are big...and go whoosh..." Outdoors is just too overwhelming right now.

3. Sleep: Yeah. I haven't slept through the night in a week. Because of this, I get very tired around eight pm. So you guessed it, I go to sleep every night around eight pm. Hopefully I'll be sleeping by the time I go back to school, because that arrangement will not work there.

Bipolar disorder cannot steal my life; it can only rearrange it.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sanity Savers

So, here is a list of nonmedical things that keep me "on the ground" when manic and "above ground" when depressed:

1. Solitaire: I discovered this one after I spent a whole day playing, stopped playing, and started feeling manic. Something about solitaire is very soothing...when I'm really manic I play three games in a row and feel much better. I never win when I'm manic, which frustrates me, but we can't have everything.

2. My friend "John": before I came home early from my class trip to Israel, there was a period of two or three days when I was suicidally depressed every night. And every night I would go find "John", who held me and soothed me and helped me find a purpose for which to live. Every. Single. Night. He also managed not to get angry when I, uncontrollably raging, grabbed his arm and spilled his iced coffee. And every time I asked if he was OK, he told me it wasn't about him and to just focus on me right now. Need I say more?

3. "Lucy", "John's" sister. Their entire family is incredibly supportive, so when I needed someone to turn to while "John" is still in Israel, "Lucy" was an obvious choice. She is loving and sweet and strong and reassuring...everything I need right now.

4. Cabbage Patch Kids: OK, this might sound a little weird, but I collect cabbage patch kids, and I have on and off for going on five years now. My cabbage patch kids are something to cuddle and hold onto when I'm feeling my worst; they give me something to focus on other than my disorder.

5. Writing: I write a lot of everything: poetry, stories, essays. Even when I don't write anything down, I am constantly "writing" beginnings, middles, or endings in my head. This has saved my sanity (in the colloquial use of phrase) many a time.

So that's it! That's how I keep myself feeling my best and not focused on Bipolar Disorder.

Growing Up

There comes a time in life when you have to do something that is difficult, perhaps seemingly impossible. Then you decide to do it, and you do it because you have to.

And people make comments like, "You're such a strong person," or, "You're my inspiration," or sometimes, "I don't know how you do it."

And you just smile and nod and walk away, knowing all the time inside that you've simply grown up, and they haven't.

Everyone grows up eventually.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Where has all my sleep gone?

I need sleep. I can feel how tired I'm getting. I've woken up at least three times every night for the past three nights. The first two nights, I was manic; the third night, I was depressed.

How can I tell the difference? Simple: if I wake up at two in the morning feeling way too happy, I'm manic. If I have a very sad dream and wake up at two in the morning wanting to cry, I'm depressed.

I'm just tired of having mood swings at night!

Oh, and I don't particularly enjoy being on a medication that makes me thirsty 24/7, either. Trivial thing to be complaining about, perhaps, but nonetheless I am.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My New Blog

I got tired of having five blogs and didn't want to just create a sixth, so this blog is really bipolar disorder plus life in general. I was diagnosed about a month ago. Currently I take Lithium, Lamictal, Risperdal, and a multivitamin. I will head back to school in December and we'll take it from there.

Today I found out that I cannot donate bone marrow. The Lithium renders my bone marrow useless. I feel...cheated, somehow; marrow donation was a pet dream of mine. Over the last year and a half, I nurtured it and it grew, until marrow donation was the only sure thing in my future.

And now it all comes crashing down.

Everyone loses dreams to bipolar disorder...Heck, everybody eventually loses dreams anyway. But mine was not a normal teenage dream. I didn't dream of traveling the world and getting drunk; I never wanted to party all night. All I wanted was to donate bone marrow, to give up my body for God's purposes and save a life.

And now I can't.

Why do bad things happen to good people?