Welcome to my Hell: A Glimpse into a BiPolar Day

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Let me start out by saying that right now,  in this moment,  I’m fine.   I really am.   If I wasn’t, there would be no way I could write this without melting into a puddle of emotion wracked goo.

Awhile ago I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about what it was like being bi-polar.   I want to write something more serious,  because I’ve come to realize that while people around me generally know what manic depression is,  they don’t really understand it.

I don’t blame them…because honestly,  sometimes I don’t understand it.

As I explain what its like for me on a “bad day”,  keep in mind that I hate asking for help.  I hate appearing weak.  Most of all….I hate needing help.

Here it goes:

I am very good at hiding what’s beneath the surface.    Some days it takes a lot of energy,  and, as I grow older,   I find it harder and harder not to let cracks show.

One of the problems is that many times I have no idea that anything is wrong.   I might be feeling like I’m having an off day.   Sometimes I get hints in interacting with other people.  I’ll see an expression on their face that says, “That was an odd thing for David to say…”.    Of course only my close friends will say anything.

Physically, the most frequent clue I get that my “mood is starting to skew” is something I call “electric skin”…parasthesia….exposed skin (usually my forearms) starts to tingle.  Mentally, emotionally my thoughts are jumbled and I have problems concentrating.

If I focus,  I can sometimes get things back in order…or near enough that no one can tell.

But inside,  I’m hyper-sensitive,  hyper-aware….and just plain hyper.

Things continue to slide.   Sitting at my desk,  I look at my emails,  at my notes,  at my screen and none of it makes sense.   I know what the words mean,  I know what the tasks are…but I can’t put it together.  I can’t  decide what needs to be done.

My nerves start to fray…..I hunker down and try to force myself to perform….try to act like there’s nothing wrong….which just makes things worse.

Its like my brain becomes a spiderweb of steel cables,  stretched tight…almost to the point of breaking.

Every input,  every syllable,  every noise, every task, every phone call,  every thought….every little thing I perceive is like a hammer blow to the spider web,  sending reverberations throughout the entire network,   until I want to scream.

Outwardly,  to most people,  everything seems fine.    You could be having a conversation with me and not realize that inside I’m desperately trying to keep things together.  I’ll hear what you’re saying, and I’ll respond appropriately (sometimes),  but really,  I’m reviewing everything I’m saying 15 times,  analyzing what you’re saying….words, body language, syntax, facial expression,  relative humidity, wind direction, magnetic flux lines,  trying to figure out what it is you’re really saying.

At this point, the more astute will notice that I will try putting off new tasks,  and defer questions which I would normally be able to answer.   I’ll start writing notes to myself.

People who know me well,  at this time,  someone might ask me if I’m okay.

Most of the time, it’ll be “Yeah,  I’m just caught up in this task.”,   when really,  the best way to describe what’s going on inside my head would be to show you a video of a rave, you know the ones…where the camera is at knee level and being jerked around….yeah….that’s my brain when I’m manic.

If I manage to tell you that I’m not okay,  you might ask, “What can I do to help?”

I would love you for asking that, and might even cry (although I probably wouldn’t, because even after admitting that I’m not okay…there’s no way in hell I’m going to tell you how bad it is)….lots of times I wouldn’t know what to ask for.

If you talk to me,  I probably won’t make much sense.  It might sound like I’m making sense…but I’m not….I’m just saying words and phrases that sound good and are based on the visual cues you give me.

Its not that I don’t want help….its just,  I don’t know what to ask for,  I don’t know how to ask for it, because, when I’m in the throes of a manic episode I’m not thinking clearly enough to be able to comprehend what I need,  or how to ask for it.

But now, as I write this…I’m okay.   So I can give you some clues:

First,  if I catch it early enough,  I’ve found the trick is to decrease stimulation.    I will turn my phone off,  turn my lights off and tune the world out.  If I’m at work I will pick one task and focus on it.

I’ve found that many times 10 to 30 minutes in that mode and I will be back on an even keel…..still in the middle of a storm…but things will be under control.

Of course, that’s not always the case,  and is largely dependent on my noticing that I’m slipping early enough to catch it.

When things are bad,  here are some random things that will help me:

1)  Don’t treat me as if I’m BROKEN

2) Don’t take anything I say personally…

3) Tell me that things will be fine

4) Don’t look at me funny if I start to cry

5) Don’t ask me what started all this, what happened, or why am I this way

6)  If you try to talk to me, or make me laugh and I ask you “Please don’t”…don’t be offended…just go away.   I’m at a point where I can’t articulate and I’m busy trying to keep my mind from jumping off a cliff

7)  Don’t minimize or trivialize what I’m going through.  “We ALL have bad days!”  (yes, someone actually said that to me)

8)  When its over, its over.  Its okay to ask if I’m okay,  but please don’t make an issue out of it.   I’ll be trying to move past it and will be hoping very hard that everyone else will too.

One of the most important things is to realize that these aspects of my personality,  that the fall out from them  (the irritability,  the absent-mindedness,  the forgetfulness), are all aspects of my disease,  and not character flaws.

I don’t speak for everyone whose bi-polar…..this is purely my own experience.



An Open Letter to my Mom

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Hi Mom;

How’re things?

Sorry I haven’t been around much, but you know…the new house is eating up a lot of my time.

This is sort of an embarrassing subject to bring up, but, well, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a Tory MP wants to implement this thing where our ISP’s will have to block porn sites unless we ask them not to.

The Conservatives seem to be trying to act like everyone’s parents, so I’m sure that if this bill comes to pass that they will also want notes from our mothers to say its okay to unblock porn.

As I understand it, this is an attempt to “Save the Children” or something.  I suspect by  “The Children” they mean those smallish folk with enough computer savvy to defeat any filter,  but they might be referring to everyone who isn’t in The Harper Government.

Be assured that I’m not all that interested in the porn itself,  I just read the articles.

So yeah…gonna need that note.

Oh, warn dad that as The Harper Government is taking over the parental role that this Steve guy might be joining us when we go to the movies.



Gawker doesn’t think too highly of Canada…

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As evidence I present this:

Gawker's offer to defile the Canadian Flag

Gawker‘s offer to defile the Canadian Flag

For those of you who aren’t aware,  Gawker was approached by someone they allege is drug dealer from Toronto, Ontario who claims to have a video of their mayor Rob Ford,  smoking from what appears to be a glass crack pipe and calling the newly minted leader of the federal Liberal party,  Justin Trudeau,  a “fag”.   This video was viewed by two reporters from the Toronto Star who have attested to its existence.

The drug dealer wants $200,000 for the video so,  in a world where a photo of a celebrity’s baby can fetch millions of dollars,  Gawker started a crowd funding page to raise the $200K.

They’ve provided “perks” for those whose donation reached certain thresholds.

I went to the page this morning out of idle curiosity to see how close to their goal they were (as this story has all but vanished).     $175K,  with another 40 hours to go.

I looked down the list of perks.  Being a world-class skimmer three words caught my eye “Canadian Flag” and “defiled”.

Deliberately defacing a nation’s flag in any manner is considered a desecration.    However, doing such is protected speech in most countries,  Canada included.

One has to wonder at Gawker’s motivation.   Is this just an ill conceived idea that they didn’t think through?

In today’s day and age its possible that it didn’t occur to them that they were insulting a nation in offering to sign a flag as a reward for what to me appears to be nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Its equally possible that it did occur to them.

Lady GaGa: Pro-Zombie!!!


Note:  I started writing this shortly before Shelby’s rapid decline in health that led to his passing 1 year ago today.
I finish and post it today to honour his memory.   I know its lacking, but that empty indelible space his passing left in my heart is especially noticeable today.


I know…its pretty shocking…but I’m afraid that the evidence is overwhelming.

Yesterday morning my iPhone alarm thingie came on.  My “Divas” playlist was on and Lady GaGa’s “Monster” was playing.

Then it hit me…

“That boy is a monster…”,  “then he ate my heart and he ate my brain“!!!!

Zombies would be considered by some to be monsters, and its a widely accepted fact that zombies prefer brains over anything else!!

OMG…I had always thought that this song was about an encounter with..ummm…hmmm…okay, let me tell it this way…

One day in the boardroom where the IT department gathers for lunch I was telling my co-workers of an incident where I was banging along with Rage Against the Machine’s “Know your Enemy” when I glanced up to see a guy from Finance staring at me in horror.

I don’t particularly give a rat fu….fornicate what anyone thinks of me with very few exceptions, so I wasn’t particularly bothered by his look of horror, I waved and went back to programming.

So sitting down I mentioned this, and the finance guy’s reaction.  I mused that perhaps it wasn’t a big, burly middle aged guy singing along with his iPhone, but maybe he wasn’t a Rage fan (because, well….they are a protest band).    I put forward the idea that perhaps I should try someone else, like Lady Gaga.  My co-worker looked and asked, “Bad Romance?”,   I thought for a moment and said, “Naaa…Monster.”    She did this humorous sort of combination spit take, choke on her food thing that would’ve been great for YouTube.

When she recovered she said, “People will think you’re gay.”

I pointed out that I have  a collection of fairies in my office, and a pink lunch bag, so people probably already suspected that.

“Good point”, was the response.

Umm…what was I talking about?

Oh yeah,  Lady GaGa….”Queen of the Zombies” maybe?

As I lie in bed pondering this realization, Shelby the Pro-Zombie Cocker Spaniel realizes that I’m onto his compatriot and tries to distract me by telling me he needs out…like RIGHT NOW!!!

Too late little buddy…the jig is up.

One Year….

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They say time heals all wounds,  but today I’m calling bullshit on that.

One year ago my friend,  my little buddy,  Shelby the Pro-Zombie Cocker Spaniel passed from this mortal coil to the next.   Right now, as I type this the pain in my heart is as fresh as the day it happened.    It makes no sense I know for my brain to be wailing, “I MISS MY DOG!” with my sweet princess, Colorado,  Queen of Spazmania sitting not 4 feet away looking at me as if I’ve lost my mind (oh how diametrically opposed that happy crappy is right now).

But I do,  I miss him.  Shelby’s quiet, stoic companionship filled a void in my life.   I can’t describe it…but as I explained to my shrink one session not very long ago…its like with any good friend.   They can be in the room with you,  not saying a word,   not even in sight,  yet you know they are there…..and you know when they are not.   The realization that presence will never come clattering in, announced by claws on hardwood again is painful.

But life goes on.  It has to,  I have to.   Tomorrow the pain won’t be so bad.  I’m dedicating this to my little buddy, Shelby.   I miss you old friend.


Shelby: Pro Zombie Cocker Spaniel

Shelby: Pro Zombie Cocker Spaniel



Civilian vs Military Life

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I saw on Facebook that an old friend is retiring from the military in around 100 days.  That got me to thinking about the time I left the military in 2000.   I sent around a list of things I noticed were different in civilian life at the time.  It was well received but is long forgotten.

But, in honour of my friend Steve I thought I’d list off the differences in order to help prepare him…

In the military they’re called parade squares…if you’re on one you’d better be marching.
In the civilian world they are called parking lots,  you park your cars on them…and no one cares how you walk across them.

In the military pockets are mostly just for show.
In the civilian world,  you can put your hands in your pockets…even if they aren’t cold.

In the civilian world a shirt collar is not a measuring device to see if your hair is too long.

In the civvie world if your boss tells you to do something inherently dangerous,  you can say no.
In the military doing things that would make people shoot at you is in your job description.

In the military there is a dress manual that tells you exactly what to wear and how to wear it.
In the civilian world there is sometimes things called a “dress code” that gives you a general idea of what to wear to work.

In the military you get paid what some bureaucrat thinks you should get paid.   The bureaucrat’s decision is weighed heavily on the fact that in many cases your skillset is not transferrable and its not like you can quit and go join some other military.   This generally means that you are underpaid in comparison to your skillset and willingness to sacrifice and serve.
In the civilian world your pay is based on how much the competition would pay you,   factored in with how much your employer wants to keep you.

In the military you have a fair amount of job security.
In the civilian world you could wake up employed and feeling secure in your job,   and go to bed that same night unemployed.

In the civilian world if the tailor or dry cleaner messes up your work clothes its their fault
In the military,  its yours.

In the civilian world you can tell your boss to f*** off and you’ll only get fired.
In the military,  you’ll end up wishing they’d just fired you.

In the civilian world,  when the feces hits the fan,  you pick up the phone and call for help
When you’re in the military, you answer the call.

Thanks for your service Steve,  and everyone else who continues to wear the uniform.

On Gun Control…


Post Sandy-Hook I’ve been following forums and comment boards and reading pro and anti gun control diatribes.   In several places I have asked straight out,  “Why is gun control bad?”.  Asking for facts, not hyperbole.

I’m going to start this off by saying,  I like guns.

I do.   I like shooting.   I like the discipline involved.    I have been considering joining a gun club and purchasing a large bore target rifle as well as a hand gun so I can do some target shooting.  When I was in the military I was a pretty good shot.

Of course,   there are many,  including in the anti gun control crowd that believe that I should never,  ever have access to fire arms.    Why?   I suffer from a mental illness.   I make no secret that I’m bi-polar….I’m also more stable than most “normal” people.

So,  in the absence of absolute hard evidence that gun control doesn’t work,  let’s take a look at some of the arguments the “gun rights” people make to support their point of view…

Point # 1

Its not the gun’s fault!!!!”

Treating, or referring to a gun as a sentient being would be a sure sign of mental illness of some sort.
Having said that, this is a very true statement.  A gun is an inanimate object and cannot operate autonomously (that’s a fancy word meaning “on its own”).    I would be willing to wager that most inanimate objects are also horrible shots.

But seriously,   talking about advocating gun control as “blaming the gun, not the person” is about as moronic an argument that a person can make.   If the person can’t get a hold of a gun,  then he/she can’t shoot anyone.    There’s a word for this phenomenon ….  “logical”.

And yes, there are people who get stabbed, and who die in auto accidents so by following this logic there are a whole parade of bright bulbs who feel that I’m advocating banning knives and vehicles.

To those of you who are smugly nodding right now let me point out that knives,  and vehicles have practical and utilitarian purpose in our day to day lives.   Unless you are a soldier you really have no need of an assault rifle with a 15+ round magazine.    If you need a weapon for hunting,  a good old 5 shot, bolt action rifle should do you just fine.

The idea,  in my opinion,  behind gun control is to limit the risk of another Sandy Hook.

So,  in essence, in advocating for gun control I’m not blaming the gun.   I’m blaming the dipshits who think they need near/to military grade fire power who don’t happen to be on-duty soldiers.

Point #2

“It is our constitutional right to bear arms!”

Most people spouting this line are talking about their 2nd amendment rights to the US constitution.   Surprisingly,  many Canadians believe that we too have our rights to bear arms enshrined in our constitution.
This isn’t true.   The arguments I’ve read claim English Common Law and the British Constitution of the 1658 (or some year way back).   The exact text of that particular caveat talks about being armed to protect yourself from illegally armed Papists.    So yes,  if you’re being attacked in the 17th century by Catholics with illegal firearms,  you are in fact allowed to have firearms.
English Common Law does not give you the right the bear arms.   I would argue that it means the exact opposite.   English Common Law is the rule used to determine the outcome of a case where there is no law or precedent.     Specifically it calls for the magistrate to consider The Common Good.    So,  unless you’re a soldier, police officer,  a legitimate hunter, or a farmer with a legitimate need…English Common Law does not apply.

The whole constitutional thing,  regardless of location,   is trumped by everyone else’s right not to get shot while going about their daily business.

I’ll point out that the 2nd Amendment does not specify what type of firearms you have the right to bear.   So perhaps everyone should be limited to muzzle loading muskets.    Hard to shoot 20 kids with one of those eh?

Point # 3

We need guns to protect ourselves from government forces!”

Yes,  believe it or not,  that argument cropped up in several places by, presumably,  different people.
If you believe this,  that would make you a criminal,  as criminals are generally the only ones worried about government forces.   (At least in democratic societies).    If you are a criminal,  why would you worry about gun control laws?

This leads to my next point…

Point #4

If you take away guns from law abiding citizens,  only criminals will have guns!”

Yes,   and criminals will have a lot fewer guns as there will be fewer to divert through nefarious means into the criminal underworld.

Point #5

We need our guns to defend ourselves!!!”

Most police officers the world over shudder at the thought of a civilian using a firearm to protect themselves.
Shooting a person is not easy.     Soldiers and police go through training to desensitize them to the thought of putting holes through another living person.   In fact,  before this training was put in place it was common for soldiers in combat to deliberately shoot over the heads of their enemy instead of aiming at them.
This is because we are conditioned as a society to think that shooting someone isn’t very nice and shouldn’t be done.
Of course, many criminals have no such inhibitions.    They would happily take your gun away from you as you point it at them with shaky hands and turn it on you…and then divert your legally acquired handgun into the criminal underworld.

The second,  very large, problem with this is that you might decide to “defend yourself” from someone cutting you off in traffic by shooting at other cars,  or some equally silly rage-fuelled reason that, without access to a firearm would’ve resulted in nothing more than rude gestures.

Point #6

“If  [insert people here] had been armed,  that mass shooter would’ve been stopped dead!”

Before I say more let me point out that,  according to reports,  there was at least one armed guard at Columbine.

Next,   I will say,  rolling my eyes and in a tone dripping with sarcasm…”Yes,  MORE GUNS!!!!   That is the answer to gun violence!

I talk about the difficulty it would take to properly identify,  engage and neutralize a shooter in this post

To this utter bit of nonsense I will counter

If the mass shooter hadn’t had access to a fire arm,  he/she would not have shot anyone!

I would further suggest that in cases such as Sandy Hook,  instead of arming teachers,  that only former special forces commandos who have passed rigorous psychological screening be permitted to be teachers…..that,  or ninjas.   Because everyone knows ninjas don’t need guns.

Point #7

Only an armed populace could’ve prevented Leftist Socialist Dictators like Hitler and Stalin.

Well,  yes,  this doozy was floated around and staunchly defended.

Let me point something out first (being a “Loony Lefty”)….while Hitler and Stalin and their ilk claimed to be left wing socialist/communist types,  they were in fact the polar opposite.   For those who believe they were truly left wing I would suggest that first you run out and educate yourself as to what being left wing really means,   and then I would ask you if I put on a red suit and told you it was blue,  would you believe me?    Because believing those nutjobs are leftists is tantamount to the same thing.    I was going to say something about bacon being labelled as a health food,  but you know…I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.

A bit of a history lesson here folks…

Hitler was elected to office.   Yep,  popular vote.    He then,  through manipulation of the media,  and intimidation by police and his brown shirts eventually took over.   An armed populace would’ve resulted in a lot more innocent people being gunned down in defense of the Fatherland.

Stalin was a compatriot of Lenin.   They overthrew the Czar to free to Russian people.   Of course, they had millions of ordinary Russian people helping them.   After a few minutes of true communist every man is equal utopian bliss they decided,  essentially,  that all men were equal, only that some were more equal.   If you had a problem with that,  you’d be kindly asked to carry this blindfold to a nearby wall and to put it on and stand still for just a second.

The populace was armed in this case…first with pitch forks,  then with firearms taken from the Czar’s military and police.

All those guns and still Stalin managed to purge hundreds of thousands of innocent Russians for silly things like reading the wrong books, or saying the wrong thing,  or having an opinion.

In Closing…

Gun Control and Gun Rights should be about balance.  Gun Control should give society the ability to feel reasonably safe without placing onerous restrictions on those responsible and law abiding citizens who partake in shooting sports.
Gun Control should mean that no citizen has the ability to engage in a firefight.   Gun Control should mean that if someone attempts a mass shooting that their fire power is limited so someone has a chance to stop them.   There is no reason for a citizen to have an assault rifle,   even a semi-automatic one.   There is no reason for a citizen to have a high-capacity magazine for any weapon.
In fact,  maybe Gun Control should include something like, “No citizen shall have the ability to fire more than one round every two seconds.”.

Guns have no rights.   They are inanimate, unfeeling, unthinking objects.  Gun enthusiasts need to understand that regardless of how responsible and law abiding they are,  there is always a risk that their legally obtained firearms will fall into the wrong hands.    It is for that reason that advocate for the ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Anyway, here are some other posts I found…

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