I haven’t posted much lately because it’s been scary inside my head.  There’s a fine line between sharing my practice of bipolar disorder and giving voice to the blackest symptoms.  When self-loathing and unrelenting despair become the landscape of my mind, there’s no scenic overlook.  While I strive to be honest here, I also know the scenery will change as my brain rolls on down the road, and that perspective provides a much better photo op.

While I attended Lutheran Hospital’s out-patient program, I stopped taking medication for Binge Eating Disorder (BED).  We needed to see if it was causing my headaches and contributing to the irritability and rage.  Subsequently, all the BED symptoms poured back in—food mania and uncontrollable bingeing.  I gained 15 pounds and hurt all over.

BED creates a downward (outward?) spiral—more weight causes less activity which gives all that food more permission to stick around.  I was already morbidly obese, but was at peace with my body.  Without the Vyvanse, negativity and self-hatred stuffed my head like a Christmas turkey.  The spiral became a hopeless vortex.

Nothing in my bag of tricks helped.  Death fantasies dogged me, but I knew two things would always stop me from actually taking my life—my cats (who are getting old) and the book I haven’t written.  In a weird perversion of logic, I decided that I’d better get cracking on that book if I wanted it to be a party favor at my funeral.  At least I’d have a project to work on.

So, this past weekend, I stayed with my friend, Lily, in Minneapolis and met with another friend, Jinjer, to talk about her experience of self-publishing.

coming-back-to-myselfAnd a very bipolar-ly thing happened.  Being with these friends, who love me unconditionally, traveling out of the struggle of my everyday life and into a few days of watching Netflix in jammies and spicy tea in handcrafted mugs, jolted the positive neuropathways awake.  The hateful Muzak in my head stopped.  My friends’ tender care helped me remember myself.  All the bits and pieces that BED and depression tore off me, fluttered back like Monarchs to their winter home.  Art happened.

And a book will happen.

While I knew Jinjer self-published at least two books, I had no idea one of her many talents was designing books.  So instead of beginning a steep learning curve, I gawked at a path as smooth and clear as asphalt.  She will take my manuscript (when finished) with the accompanying artwork and midwife it through the process.  I started working on the second draft as soon as I got home (and also started back on Vyvanse).

This book is my legacy, not a parting gift.  It’s proof that I lived and survived bipolar disorder, BED, PTSD and whatever acronyms stick to me next.  Like this blog, it speaks to the speed of landscapes passing through a traveling mind.

I’m still on an Adventure.  And I’m making my own Atlas.



16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bradley
    Dec 14, 2016 @ 22:46:54

    I love this idea. I have never thought of my unfinished novel helping me to stay around for awhile. Definitely something I’ll hang on to when ideation rears its ugly head.


  2. David Kanigan
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 01:26:54

    I gawked at a path as smooth and clear as asphalt. Inspired by you and your turn. Yes Sandy. Yes.


  3. Littlesundog
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 06:38:47

    I am curious about self-publishing too… but I have to get my book written first. How wonderful to have supportive friends who will help guide you in this journey. Your honesty is one of the things I love about you most. You have been the one person I could talk to when my screaming head was out of control. I am thankful you have Henry and Emmet, and a book to work on. I hope there are more books up your sleeve… and maybe more furry companions along the way. Lots of love to you, my friend.


  4. Cheryl LaVille
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 07:19:48

    Well done, my friend. So happy you’ve begun the publishing journey.


  5. Linda Noel Schierman
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 08:26:40

    Darling SandySue. I am so happy for you, that you have such essential friends, that they invited you out of your spiraling despair mess, that you found an experienced creator-of-books that will nurture&guide you, that you didn’t end you-all. I too have been sugar-bingeing most of all the fat back…BUT I am confident that the technique I accidentally discovered last November will work again, one day at a time, but must be consecutive days…and I will follow your example of asking for Nurture from a few gems ‘o friends! Oh, and your WRITING here is again stupendous. No pressure…you just can’t help it! 😉


  6. donnaanddiablo
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 10:20:56

    Your journey and your strength are a source of constant amazement to me, Sandy. Happy that you were able to find safe harbor with friends.


  7. pegoleg
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 11:25:42

    I’m so glad you got some relief with your friends. I’ve got several book ideas in the hopper and when I think of them, the looming pile of “should dos” causes a ton of stress. Good for you for seeing it as a positive goal.

    Did you and your doctors conclude that Vyvanse was NOT causing headaches, etc? Did symptoms abate?

    I so know what you mean about the binge eating cycle. I gained back most of the 63 pounds I lost a couple of years ago. Have been working diligently at it for most of this year and got back down 48. Gained back 3 in just a couple of days of binge eating Christmas cookies (which is what I want to do ALL the time.) It’s scary to know how easy it is to undo all that work, and the feelings of self-loathing come rushing right back in along with the weight.


    • Sandy Sue
      Dec 15, 2016 @ 12:49:36

      Re: the Vyvanse, the only thing it wasn’t responsible for was a return of old jaw pain (TMJ). I’m willing to deal with headaches and irritability if the binge eating goes away—for all the reasons you wrote about. I had my annual physical with yet another new care provider and wanted to slap the judgment off her face. So much for irritability…


  8. Sawsan
    Dec 16, 2016 @ 18:38:04

    I’m SO in love with how open you are.
    There is no other way.
    YOU just picked me up ❤


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