Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

Posts tagged “mental health

I’ve got good news and the bad news

Okay, gimme the bad news.
I shit my pants.
The good news?
My belly doesn’t hurt anymore.

True parenting conversation I had this week.

So, where did I leave off? Mid November? I came back, cleaned and organized like mad while my Dr’s tried to get me into a neurologist/eeg/mri. I finally have an appt for a Neuro consult in early Feb. Things weren’t working out quickly enough to get me in before Christmas and so I was coached through how to get into the hospital through the ER to end up on the Med floor not in the psych ward so I could actually get an eeg instead of a benzo. And it worked! But the Med floor was full of the elderly and the dying and honestly I did not need to be in the hospital so to my agreement and delight I was moved to the Psych ward for the rest of my vacationstay. It turned out to be full of interesting times, including 9 hours of oxygen in the ambulance for severe vomiting- they were threatening to put me on IV and the other patient being transferred having a heart attack. The paramedics were so on the ball I didn’t even realize what was happening at first and they had her stabilized and back to the hospital lickity split. I was 2.5 hours late for the EEG and pretty much missed the neuro appt where they told me my brain looked lesion free and I could go ahead and have the reproductive evacuation done. No clear answers from that, but nobody was really expecting there to be. It’s looking more and more like I will be spending a couple weeks at UBC in hospital having a neuro/psych eval done. Should I have a poll- neurotic, psychotic or both?

Internet time is up!
Christmas was lovely!
We are warm enough.
We are out of propane.
We are *hopefully* moving to Trail for Jan 15-April because hiking in with kids, water, wood, food, going to the laundromat, pool, etc is tricky, especially with all this health stuff.

Love to you all. I’ll try and update sooner.

PS. 158lbs baby! That’s something like 108lbs of weight loss!!!!!!


Looking at mental health and diet: Wheat, Bipolar and Schizophrenia

Wheat & Mental Illness

Wow. I’m really just wide eyed and dumbfounded by the internet. I’ve been out of the loop for ages and ages and just haven’t had a chance to dig through the web. I keep finding fascinating stuff that is stopping me in my tracks.

I have a new girl crush and her name is Emily Deans. She writes a blog called Evolutionary Psychiatry. If you or someone you love have mental skillness, do check it out.

Today we made cookies with spelt, oats and dark chocolate. I ate ONE cookie. I very quickly felt violently ill and 2 hours later still have a belly ache. I had chills and cold sweats. Wow. I actually didn’t really believe the stories of “carb poisoning” before this. By far the most grains/sugar I’ve had in ages. So not worth it.

Now, I really don’t know enough about any of this to have anything of my own to say about it, but it seems important to pass on!

For Manda Gail

If you were an animal you would be a sparrow

wild and free

split tailed and tornadoing downwards

in a spiral of glory

you would know where old time wheat grows wild

in ghost farms of the rural south

content in the gabels of a composting barn

you know the weary arms of a farm woman; modern day

work undone even after all these years.

Show me your prize roses, still in bloom,

Show me your peach preserves.

You are a woman, soft and warm.

Yield to love, love is unyielding.


I may as well start at the start.

Suddenly, as I was driving my mood lifted and I felt genuinely happy, a calm happy, safe secure.

Finally. It’s been 6 days since I have felt much of anything, which was a mixed blessing. I just had a fairly major medication overhaul. The first few mornings I awoke with a weight in my heart and by late morning felt emotionally flattened which stayed for several hours. Then I was hit by how productive I felt.

Last month during my cycle I just didn’t post for 3 weeks. During those weeks, I had a darkness. Everything felt clouded with grief and my chest ached. Nothing had changed around me. Plenty of things changed inside me. I have Bipolar Mood Disorder. Which basically I have had two major depressions and one major manic period. To me, it doesn’t feel like a mood disorder- it feels like an energy disorder. Lucky? For me my moods have a bit of a schedule:

When I ovulate Severe migraines with auras. Hyper sensitive to criticism. Weepy.

A few days later- really “up” mood, go go go, edgy, snappy. I start getting OCD about this time- about whatever I happen to be into at the time. Usually in a productive way.

After a few days of high production, little sleep I fall into a darkness. I ache. I retain water. I am cold all the time. Migraine auras bring me in and out of consciousness, the pain is so intense. I have great difficulty paying attention to my surroundings. I just want to sleep. I must surely die, I think. For 3-4 days I am in agony and misery. It hits like a wave.

People tell me that I don’t seem bipolar to them.

That’s because I stay away from people I know when I am depressed. My moods change so quickly that only after 14 years of menstruation have I finally begun to chart in detail.

The last 7 years have been insane, with 5 pregnancies (two early miscarriages, which I am at peace with, but mentioning because that was a special hormonal roller coaster in and of itself) and continuous nursing. During my first miscarriage, I was just 20 and Mr. T and I were relatively new to our relationship. I went crazy. Totally bat shit crazy. I tried to use mind control to plead people to help me. I wanted to die. I felt as though I was dying. I had severe constant nausea and vertigo and completely delusional that the baby must not have died. There was some mistake. I now know I was rapid cycling and had amazingly severe migraines.

I was convinced deep inside that I was schizophrenic (which heck, maybe I am) and I was scared as hell. My brain was constantly moving, flipping through images like a Rolodex. Mr. T yelled and stomped his feet and was generally angry to be around.

Mr. T and I parted ways for almost a year shortly after that. I think we were both scared of how badly the whole thing went down.

I tried to find Jesus with all of my heart. I opened it all the way up. When I couldn’t find Jesus I looked for God.

I felt immense solace in communion and prayer. I went to church several times a week and to a bible study here and there.

Months later, after a 10 day silent Buddhist retreat I found atheism, which has been a comfort to me over the years.

During the Buddhist retreat I found the solace I was looking for in meditation.

I also came to terms with the fact that I would marry Mr.T, and left the retreat no longer resenting him, much. We had not spoken to one another for ages.

I didn’t even really like him. Seriously.

But I was drawn to him and I swear, we are just starting to like each other now- and it’s been 8 years. We share the same vision, and we just happen to be the person who is in the others perfect future, so I suppose we rode it out hoping we would get to where we are now, still alive and still married.

I am sharing my story upon multiple requests. I am at a place where I can write about it now. I didn’t write, journal, take may pictures, make art for most of my motherhood journey. I was just too damn tired. I don’t regret it really, because I carry it here in my heart. And there is a lot I have forgotten and would rather keep that way. I’m at a place where I don’t need to be worried about. I have a great doctor, a supportive husband, amazing parents and extended support. After 7 months of mood stabilizing meds, the cocktail still isn’t quite right. I cycle between low production and high production and feeling like I am dying and like it might possibly be the best day of my life. I’m sorta striving for the middle ground, which is a bit confusing, because there are days truly, many of them, where I feel exceptionally great, and in between I’m very good at faking it, which feels like many tiny little lacerations on my spirit. Other days I can’t get out of bed.

I’m pretty sure that pre puberty I was quirky, but not yet crazy. At 16 I went on the pill because I was having really bad cycles. Right before and during my period I had/have hot and cold flashes, aching kidney feeling, nausea, migraine auras (which I just just figured out what they were. At that time I thought everyone’s vision was like that. I frequently have had the sensation I am going blind and dark bars slide in from the side. For me auras are strobing lights, bars, boxes. A true aura of fading rainbow colours around objects. I have a strong sensation of dejavu and the feeling of watching the scene from outside of it. I frequently have a hard time telling what was reality and what was an idea or dream. I see things move out of the corner of my eye and hear buzzes, beeps and other non specific sounds. Today I swore I could hear a cat meowing loudly, but the kids swore it was quiet. I’m pretty sure most of this is migraine related, because I have some rx meds for migraines that take care of all of these symptoms.

I literally feel like I am going insane after a few days of migraines. Last month I waited 17 days of on again off again migraines until I went to the ER and begged for help. The little dissolve in your mouth discs cost $20-$60 per dose, depending on if the first ones work, or the migraine comes back 8-12 hours later. I am having a brain freeze on what it is called….Even after I have taken it, it is still extremely difficult to keep my attention focused.


Maybe today I will plant Dahlia

Before the sun makes it over the trees I am a major grump.  To put it politely.

I hate the cold, I feel like I have been cold every single second since I got here.  I hate getting up with the baby in the frigid night.

I hate crawling out of bed and seeing my breath, putting on my jacket, changing #3’s diaper and putting his fleece suit on over his jammers, wool slippers on his feet.

It makes my head pound with angry heat, and I stub my toes and bump my elbows and curse myself for coming home this early.  Why didn’t I wait another 10 days?  10 more days and the mornings wouldn’t be like this.

Sun pouring honey over new leaf buds

It’s morning on the mountain and the chickadees dee dee dee

Sonny boy laugh away some morning dew

Already planning today’s river and civilization destruction

rapid creek water flowing from the gravity fed

turns my yard into valleys and waterways of epic ages

ground steams in the warmth of the day

just begun

July 2010-He finally understands cat ladies

We were in the front yard, the voluntary sunflowers were drooping down overhead, a little bit sparkly.  I was shovelling new garden beds into the stepped (cliff) front yard of the Yurt.  By this time I was wearing ear plugs and sunglasses, even inside the Yurt.   Not that Yurts feel like you are inside anyway.  They seem like….an outdoor room.  I was shovelling quickly, the baby was either on my back on in the jumperoo, or the playpen- which I kept outside.  I couldn’t let him loose, I was too afraid of losing him or throwing a shovel full of rock on him.  The bigger boys sat on the path cutting blades of grass with scissors for hours and hours.  I worked like a maniac.  It made me stop thinking, it made a change I could see.

I never really know what exactly was going on around my vivid memories.  Maybe Mr.T  was at work, maybe he was at home.  I was happy- my mood was elevated and I had tons of energy.  I couldn’t sit still.  When I was still, I couldn’t turn off my brain.  This means I was not getting much done.  I was dizzy.   That damn phone was ringing.  The radio was playing.  I heard dial tones, people laughing.   I stopped asking the kids, my husband, my brother if they heard them too.  I just sort of lived with it, since I can vividly remember hearing the radio/phones a lot when I was a kid. I hear things.  But they aren’t bad things really, just things.

What really got to me was when I started seeing things.  A duck would turn into a paper bag, though I swear it moved.  I saw mice all the time, in the corners, zooming by outside, running over my feet. 

Let me tell you a little story.

There was a big ol’ Grandpa mouse and he was eating the peanut butter off the mouse trap.  TWO days in a row.  We live in the woods, mice are bound to be an issue at first.  I mention to Mr.T that we should get cats.  He mumbles, which I think signifies he agrees, and he thinks signifies he isn’t listening to me.
The kids and I went on an awesome playdate with a couple girlfriends to an amazing little fairytale park bordering the forest with a huge grassy knoll and a view of mountains in Fruitvale.  It was lovely.  Somebody started screaming about something once we were in the car, I put in my earplugs for a quiet drive home, taking the scenic route hoping whoever was screaming would fall asleep.  Wait.  What is that?  How is it possible?  FREE kittens?  I stopped the van swiftly, backed up and eased down into the valley that held the farm of our future beauties.

“! WHO WANTS A KITTEN” I exclaimed while unbuckling Coach Rapper and his Lordship Ali.

And the children, in disbelief scrambled out of their seats and to the lady sitting on her steps ruffling her doggies fur.  “You’re here for the kittens?” She drawled; raising her eyebrows and taking a deep breath through her extra long, extra lite virgina slim.  She was wearing riding boots and had one leg resting on the stairs.  Or something like that.  There was a woman there anyway.

We picked the cutest two kittens (what, how would you pick out a kitten?) and drove them home to show off to Mr.T.

What?  No…It’s okay, we talked about it.  Surely you remember?

Within a few weeks our tiny, cute, rodent like kittens had killed the fat Grandfather mouse.

But I STILL saw mice.  Everywhere, running and zooming all over the ground.

I asked Mr.T if we could get outdoor cats for the outdoor mice.

“I finally understand cat ladies” he said as he walked away.

I took that as a no.

April 2011- Our cats are grown up, beautiful and great at killing mice-where ever they are.

PS.  If you have read all of this, and actually find it interesting, please pass it on.  I googled how to get more traffic to my blog, but it would take me a week to even figure out how to sign in to stumbler.  I won’t admit to how long it took for me to figure out wordpress.  I read the tutorials, oh yes I did!  Besides, I don’t have my own laptop (see for examples of why) and in a couple weeks won’t have internet access.  So for me to keep posting, I will have to borrow a computer and drive to the internet cafe.  I really won’t have time to both blog AND figure out how to find people to read my blog.  And to be honest, I’ll probably lose motivation to keep writing for 30 people with all that extra work! 
Maternal Mental Health awareness is really important, I know from sharing my story in person, that many women can relate to it.  Or are at least comforted by the fact I am crazier than they are!  Plus, you have the added TV reality show like hurdles I’ve created for myself in trying to wade through all of this off the grid! 

All of that rambling right there is basically begging you to share my blog, with whoever you think might enjoy it.  Because, simply, I don’t know how.

September 2010 Mental vs Rock, a love poem

 By this time I was wearing earplugs and sunglasses for extended periods of time, both indoors and out.


This rock has never been held by hands or eyes

 this rock is immortal

It is history, a record, a time piece

I wear no watch

and through it I am immortal too

I wonder what these strange hieroglyphs say

white line through slate black

They transform before my eyes, glinting in the sun

I squint and feeling how I was trying to feel when I was a church goer and looking for Jesus

this feeling that I am part of something more

I lick it, I always got off on communion

It tastes like…rock

And I am grounded, just like that

suddenly blinded, lush, green, light

The children’s  thirsty voices break my fog

and I dip my vessel , watching clear new water spring out from the rocks

they drink it clean