World Bipolar Day

Once again, it is World Bipolar Day. We don’t celebrate the fact that we have bipolar disorder, we celebrate the fact that we are strong enough to live with it. So to all my fellow people who live with this illness, I celebrate you, your strength, your tenacity and determination to survive and even thrive with this illness. I have hope that with all the research that is going on, there will be better and better treatments available for us, until hopefully one day, the treatments will work so well that we won’t even be aware that we have this illness!

Until that day, we will band together, support each other, and write, write, write our blogposts to learn, blow off steam, inform, educate, offer support.

Congratulations fellow people with bipolar d/o, congratulations on your strength and determination!

Must be the season

This blogpost, posted by Hannah Crowley on, took the words right out of my mouth! Feel like a fraud, feel like I am not good enough, all that is spot on. Now just waiting for the recovery after the relapse. How can this happen to me over and over again? And yet, each time it happens, it feels like it will never end, It feels like I’ll never get better, the hopelessness, the shame, the self blame and recrimination, the gut wrenching heartbreak, not pretty. Just waiting it out, don’t feel good enough to do much else. Tomorrow, I will go to the gym, tomorrow, I will feel better, tomorrow, I will be me, I promise.

Is Mental Illness Relapse a Part of Recovery?
A mental illness relapse tricked me into thinking I was a fraud. As the author of the blog entitled Getting Through Tough Times, I am required — by the very delineation of the phrase — to speak about my own tough times. It’s my job to share obstacles I have overcome and urge other people to do the same (Mental Health 101: Developing Coping Strategies). But recently I’ve felt like a fake, a fraud. I’ve sat in front of a computer screen with my fingers poised above the keys, ready to type a stream of words that sound fancy and wise, and I’ve stood in front of a camera with a bunch of rehearsed clichés, prepared to spout them out robotically.

But I could never go through with it because I was struggling with my own form of mental illness relapse. And for those with a history of mental illness, that is what struggling so frequently means (Anatomy Of A Mental Illness Relapse).

I Felt My Mental Illness Relapse Coming On

Mental illness relapse is probably the origin of the phrase one step forward, two steps back. How can we handle a scary mental illness relapse? Read this.Over the last few weeks, I’ve gone through a series of “tough times” that have left me reeling. Somehow I’d trained myself to believe that I was invincible; that I was no longer drastically affected by pithy little “bumps in the road” or any type of mental illness relapse. As an individual designated to helping others, I felt that I wasn’t allowed to struggle. That somehow struggling made me a counterfeit blogger (Denial Keeps Those With A Mental Illness From Getting Better).

But I was wrong. Every individual is not only entitled to face adversity, but we should expect it — and if we can, we should embrace it. Breaking away from the passé injustice of life, I believe that hardship only highlights our strengths. Instead of retracting into an introverted mass of reticence and self-flagellation, we can take comfort from the age old idiom that where there is life, there is hope.

Mental Illness Relapse Is a Part of Recovery

Mental illness relapse doesn’t have to manifest itself physically, or drastically. It can be a series of distorted thoughts, a heightening of anxiety or the brutally incessant urge to cut. It can even just be that dark, destructive thought that “I am not good enough for this.”

But I am good enough. And today I am going to take my own advice. I’m going to toss aside the masochism and work through the darkness. And if I can get through to just one individual — this will all be worth it. Because “every wound leaves a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says I have survived.”

Armor not shackles!


Just saw this graphic, and I absolutely love it! It resonated with me so much. I wanted to share it with all my blog readers and friends. As a person with bipolar disorder, with a family history of bipolar disorder, tragedy has certainly touched my life. My grandmother lost her brother at a young age, most likely to bipolar disorder, and I lost my precious, beloved brother Farooq, he was only 26 years old. So, to see this graphic put into clear words something that I was always (subconsciously) trying to do, it is helpful and inspiring, and emotional all at the same time. Imagine, all your tragedies are now your armor, they strengthen you by having gone through them, they do not shackle you to weakness.

This is so empowering for me that I really wanted to share it, hopefully all who see it will get the same empowering message as I did. Love and peace.

Upheaval. Strength. Calm.

end of scrabble lookin up meme nap meme

Pictures of Leonidas and two memes I made with his pictures. Isn’t he adorable!

I was beside myself! This child of mine, the one who feels too much, the one whose reactions are extreme called me today. He called and said his beloved pet cat had eaten lilies and he had done a search on the internet and had found out that lilies are horribly poisonous for cats. Once a cat ingests them, kidney failure and death follow within 36 hours. My son said he could not take this, he would go into a depression (oh no, oh no, no, no), he would not be able to finish his semester in Law school. He would not be able to stand it. He was blaming himself for buying the flowers for his girlfriend, saying it was all his fault. He was on his way to the veterinary clinic with his little cat. I tried to calm him down, while massive amounts of anxiety suddenly swirled in my chest, so much so that breathing was difficult for me. Oh god, what should I do? How should I get there fast enough to be at my son’s side, to be with him should the unthinkable happen? I immediately booked a flight for tomorrow, getting in at noon. He got to the clinic, the cat was rushed to the back. I called my son and told him our Puffin had had feline infectious peritonitis (a deadly disease which kills the majority of infected cats) there is no cure, but our Puffin survived and lived to be 18.5 years old. I told him cats have nine lives, and his baby boy Leo was young and strong, he would make it through this! I told him to have hope and wait and see what the doctor says. I told him he did not cause the accident, but he may well have saved his Leo’s life by acting so quickly! The vet gave his adored baby Leo some emetics to make him vomit up the lily flowers. That was done. Then they did a blood test to determine the levels of kidney enzymes. If the kidney enzyme levels are elevated, it means that kidney damage has occurred. Thankfully, the levels were normal. So the little kitty was made to vomit up the offending flowers and his kidney enzyme levels were normal! I breathed a sigh of relief. I changed my flight to a later date. I talked to my son again. He was taking the kitty home, he was recovering, as was the cat. The vet actually told him that he saved the cat’s life by bringing him so quickly to the clinic!!! Leo is to go back to get his kidney enzyme levels done again on Monday. That will give him an absolutely clean bill of health. Fingers crossed!

I was at the mall, buying my Derby dress and hat and having a fun time… And all of a sudden… Oh my god, such upheaval. Of course these accidents can happen, but what floors me is his reaction, his saying to me that he wouldn’t survive if something happened to his most beloved Leonidas. I told him that he has to be stronger, things can happen, something may happen to me, to him, we all have to be strong and go on. At this point, he listened to me and said “Yes, you’re right.”

But his emotions, his feelings, his reactions, so extreme.

Are they so extreme, though? If something similar had happened to me at his age, I may well have reacted the same way, felt the same way. My side of the family, all of us are very intense, feel very intensely and our cats, our pets are very dear to us. And it is times like this when we realize exactly how dear and valuable they are.

Our sweet Puffin, at 18.5 years of age had to be put to sleep because she developed lymphoma. And this time, there was no miracle recovery. I held her as she took her last breath, I sang Mozart arias to her because she liked them. I was strong for he. Even my husband couldn’t stay. But I stayed with her. I was strong for her.

It seems I am strong and my strength is there for my son, my husband, my sister, my brother, my niece, my nephew, my aunts, uncle, my cousins, my friends. All the people I love beyond measure. And I will always be there for each and every one of them. No matter what happens. I don’t mean to be maudlin, not at all. I suppose this is just a way for me to reassure myself, that I am strong and I am strong for all my loved ones. Even though, sometimes having bipolar d/o makes me feel weak. I am not weak.

My Dearest Son, I offer you all the strength I have, I promise you I will always be there for you no matter what life brings our way.

Please be calm, be peaceful, be at ease. You too have my strength and you will handle all that life brings your way as well. Remember once you were very young and you were singing and I said “Oh Aral, you got my voice!” And you said “But mom, how will you talk then?” And I told you that even though you got my voice, I still have enough to speak. Just like that, you have my strength and I still have enough to be strong for you and with you. With all my love for you my Aral.



Some words that have the power to change your thinking, the power to pull you up by your bootstraps, the power to pull you out of the seemingly bottomless hole that is depression and anxiety:

RESILIENCE, that is what we have, what we are to recover over and over again from black depressions, from the mean reds. We get up over and over again and brush ourselves off and go on! How resilient is our spirit, how resilient are we! I marvel at this ability.

PLASTICITY, this is what our brains do in learning or after any experience. An experience leaves a mark on our brains, good or bad. But this is not permanent. Our brains have the ability to form new connections and lose old ones. This happens between neurons. Once it was thought that an adult brain is like a structure made of stone. There is nothing further from the truth, the brain is undergoing changes all the time, whether it be in repair, or neuronal cell growth or growth of axons and dendrites. This all makes our brain very adaptable and repairable and changeable! So if we have undergone bad experiences, our brain can recover from those through plasticity!

HOPE, well what can I say about this word? This is the little, four letter word my world rests on. It is so powerful that even in the darkest of circumstances, just say it and things will get brighter. Your heart will get lighter. You will breathe easier. Take it away and , oh no I can’t even fathom taking it away. Always have hope, as long as you live and breathe!

STRENGTH, we with mental illnesses all have to be strong. We go through hell so many times that the word hell sort of loses its meaning. My muscles are getting stronger because I have a FaceTime personal trainer and that is just fab. But my mind has to be strong, my heart has to be strong, my will has to strong to withstand this sick disease. We all do. And we all are, that is why we are still here. We are strong for our children, for our friends and loved ones and we are strong for ourselves!

OVERCOME, when I am in a very depressed state or manicky phase, I do have lucid moments when I tell myself that I will overcome this too, just like I have been doing since 1985, yes I will overcome.

and a sentence: THIS TOO SHALL PASS, everything passes, good, bad, indifferent things pass. So of course whatever phase you’re in, it will pass.

Take heart my friends and stand tall and strong, easier times are ahead. I am sure of it!

As the days get shorter… :((.


As the days get shorter, unfortunately, my face gets longer. My mood gets choppy…
(A note: Please don’t think I am whining, I am not. At times it feels like the rug being pulled out from under my life, at times, and this is the worst, it feels like my heart is breaking into a million, jagged pieces, and at times it feels like I am living in pitch darkness. None of it is good, and I have lived with this, on and off, for twenty eight years. So please believe me when I tell you, I am not whining or needlessly caterwauling. I am not.)
Getting hard again. Sadness creeping in. Emotions too close to the surface. Crying a lot again. Missing my friends. Missing my precious son. Memories creeping in. Ammi, Farooq, Mamoon, Ammi Khala, Khalid Mamoon, all gone, lost to me. Tears on the brink of falling, hurriedly wiped away. Life is never easy, but it gets much more difficult when bipolar strikes. God, I thought I might escape it this year, with the increased dose of medication. Haha, no such luck. But I go on. I cook, I bake, I even model (!!), I read, I go see plays, I talk to and even laugh with my friends and family. But the heaviness in my heart remains. No one knows. I don’t think anyone suspects. I put on a good show :)). Of course I do. There is nothing else I can do. Uneasy feelings or not, life must go on. I must go on, although thoughts of not going on cross my mind. But I shoo them away, I have a son and nephews and nieces for god’s sake. I would never do anything that would even hurt one little hair on their precious heads. Of course I go on. I summon the strength with which I was lucky enough to have been born. I remember the love my grandmother, and my mother and my aunts and uncles gave me from the day I was born. That is the love that sees me through. I have their faces and their hearts imprinted on my heart. My Amma, my Ammi, my Farooq, my Mamoon, my Ammi Khala, my Khalid Mamoon. All full of love and caring and such steely strength. We are descended from a great Sufi saint named Baba Farid! He preached love, nonviolence, meditation, and living simply, and he practiced it. I am his great, great, great, … grand daughter. I have read his poetry and it’s very sweet and sounds a lot like Buddhism. One of his poems says that he thought he was the only one in pain, but when he climbed on the roof of his house, he saw every house was on fire! Another poem says not to strike someone who hits you, but kiss his feet and go home! Even one step beyond ” turn the other cheek”… He is still worshipped in Pakistan and India, by Moslems, Hindus and Sikhs! What does this have to do with bipolar disorder? Well, in times when I feel weak, I draw my strength from the love my family gave me and the teachings of my ancestors. It’s about having the strength to hang on with the tips of your fingers when the mountain you’ve been scaling, starts to crumble in a landslide. Of course I am going to call my doctor and increase the Seroquel dose or the lithium dose, and then I will be as right as rain again. These medications are a godsend and a blessing for me. Without these, I would be nowhere, so I am very fortunate that we have them and that they work for me. So, as usual, when the days get shorter, my mood goes awry. Seems that I can’t avoid it. But, and this is a big but, I can control the severity of the swing and quickly squash the phase by staying on higher doses of medication all year, and then increasing one or both as soon as I feel bad. That is indeed a great blessing and something for which to be very thankful!