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About Me and My Illness

I’m a married 50 year old professional woman (ex-Construction Project Manager) who, when faced with enormous job-related stress, began hearing voices in my head,  which I thought were ESP.  I had no history of mental illness and no history of drug use.  But within 3 1/2 months of hearing voices,  my hallucinations and delusions progressed to the point that I couldn’t tell fantasy from reality.

My slew of delusions and hallucinations included believing that  I was a mermaid, seeing people with green skin (whom I believed were mermaids), believing that people were communicating with me via ESP, and hearing fish, cats, and dogs talk to me.  Oh yeah: and chatting with one bad-tempered blood pressure machine. Right before I was involuntarily committed to the mental hospital,  I quit my (well- paying) job because  my boss (via ESP) told me to.   In the real world, my (real) bosses assumed I quit and filled my position.  I spent money we didn’t have  buying things we didn’t need, including a $55,000 Lexus Convertible Coupe, as well as thousands of dollars worth of plants, shoes, clothes, makeup, etc.

I lost my well-paying job and just about destroyed my marriage and my financial future before I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, where I spent three long weeks getting pumped full of nasty chemicals in an effort to rebalance my brain chemistry.   The cost of medical care, including the $60,000 for the three week stay at the mental hospital as well as the $550 a month in medicines, is tremendous.

A huge blow to our finances is the fact that I can’t work at my old job- the job I loved and was well-paid for- any more.  I loved the pressure-cooker environment of that job. But let’s face it: it landed me in a mental hospital. If I want a return ticket to the loony bin, I’ll go back to that job.  That is if they want a project manager who can’t think very fast or very clearly, and who has balance problems and a few more unmentionable side effects of the meds.  And who hears voices when she gets under stress.  That project manager- the new me- would probably be a hard sell.

I’m slowly  learning to come to terms with the limitations of my new life as a Mentally Ill Person.  Upon admission to the mental hospital, I was diagnosed with Bipolar One with Psychotic tendencies. However, because my “go-to” symptom is hearing voices when placed under any kind of stress, my diagnosis has been “upgraded” to include Schizoaffective Disorder.

To give others the benefit of my experience, I’m writing this blog and have finished my memoir.  The name of my memoir is Pangaea: Confessions of an Erstwhile Mermaid, which is available in Kindle form through Amazon.

As a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presenter, I give talks to various groups including college students and police officers, describing life as a mentally ill person.   I also run a NAMI-sponsored support group called Connections. I look forward to making a positive contribution to the world through my relationship with NAMI as well as through my blog and memoir.

Comments»

1. Top Ten Bipolar Blogs 2009 | World of Psychology - October 28, 2009

[...] Wellness Writer, Gus Greeper, Bipolar Happens, If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going, Bipolar: Crazy Mermaid’s Blog, and Patient Anonymous. Cheers to [...]

2. susan - October 28, 2009

Hey, you do have a brilliant blog. I never saw it until tonight and I will be definitely reading you! ;-)

Crazy Mermaid - October 28, 2009

Thanks! So do you.

3. Cristina Fender - October 29, 2009

Great blog! I’ll definitely add you to my blogroll.

Best,
Cristina

4. Sommer - December 30, 2009

I just read your entire blog and it’s obvious you are a highly intelligent woman. I throughly enjoyed every bit of it and will continue to read as you post. My mother is mentally ill, diagnosed bipolar/manic depressed, and I feel I have a better understanding of what she must struggle with daily from reading your accounts in your blog.
Thank you sincerely.
Sommer

5. Autumn - January 13, 2010

Hiya. I recognized a survivor sister of strength when I started reading. I also have problems with severe ultra-rapid cycling bipolar, stayed in Fairfax (though as a teen and for several months), have had on/off problems with psychotic episodes (though usually not obvious to me or others until after they’re done), and have been on SSDI since 2004. And so on.

Just wanted to say that I like your writing style, very easy to relate to your stories, and I’m bookmarking you to come back from time to time to read what you write.

Nice to see that you’re doing well… I myself am currently on a downward slide back toward inpatient treatment if I can’t figure out how to get my head out of my ass, but it helps me feel more hope for figuring out how to resolve my issues to read how you’re making your way through yours.

Peace.

p.s. if you have a LiveJournal account and are interested in reading about a journey with some similarities to yours, shoot me a note and I’ll friend you – I keep most of my posts locked to friends-only.

Crazy Mermaid - January 17, 2010

Thanks for the kind words. I’d love to hear your story. How do I set up a LiveJournal account?

6. Carrie - March 23, 2010

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself here.

Look forward to reading more about your journey – :)

7. Kel - November 26, 2010

I Recently helped someone with mental illness similar to your story….thank you sincerely for the information you are providing me to glimpse in his dilemma.

8. lookinginthewindow - December 9, 2010

I will definitely be reading your blog regularly. I too suffer from various forms of mental illness. I was recently approved for Social Security Disability. Thought it would be good for me, although it’s turning out to be more isolating than I ever thought.

Crazy Mermaid - December 10, 2010

Could you explain your last sentence please? What part of it is isolating? Thanks.

9. David - January 21, 2011

Thank you for your blog! When you have a moment would you please contact me regarding your experience with NAMI?

Crazy Mermaid - January 24, 2011

My email is crazymermaid@live.com. I would be happy to discuss NAMI with you.

10. Laddie - March 31, 2011

Wow. I admire your courage in sharing your life through this blog. I never thought of what it must be like to go through the onset of mental illness later in life. Your blog is thought provoking.

I’m 28 and Bipolar One but I was diagnosed when I was 13 so my experience is very different than yours. It always amazes me to read about all of the different ways people handle their illness.

I have to figure out how to do a blogroll on my blog so that I can follow yours.

11. Lori Alger - April 24, 2012

Wow. You sound just like my sister. She has a bachelors in Nursing and is falling through the cracks right now. The reason I googled HIPAA getting in the way of helping your loved one is because she is in Utah and I am in WI and I can’t find out ANYTHING to help her! She is so overmedicated she just told me she can’t even make a cup of coffee. WHy on earth is she out of the hospital? Can I talk to anyone regarding it? No, nobody will tell us anything!

12. Gledwood - July 10, 2012

Your memoir sounds really interesting; I would love to read it.

One query: I was just wondering how old you were when you had this breakdown?

After years of depression, which started in childhood and got me sent to a psychiatrist aged 19 or 20… and drug addiction, and increasing amounts of weird symptoms that were NOT depression and not caused by drugs, I eventually went full-on manic aged 38 and only got the diagnosis “schizoaffective” then. I had known for ages that “something” was wrong and that it was not just depression, but nobody seemed to have any idea what it was. They even started suggesting I must have a personality disorder (I don’t). I’ve been on medication for about a year and a half, but I still hear quiet voices, still get depressed. When I’ve stopped taking my meds I’ve gone either highly irritable and depressed or hypomanic, and I usually end up back on them quite quickly… The full-on mania I had got so strong so quickly it felt like my brain was in a nuclear explosion ~ broken up bits of words and thoughts flying all over the place. I keep getting flashbacks to that state… that’s why I’m looking through schizoaffective blogs, to see if I can make any sense of the experience :-)

PS: Sixty thousand dollars for three weeks’ inpatient treatment? That is a LOT of money! :-(

13. Tracy Rose - July 11, 2012

Hi,

We were wondering if you could include http://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder as a resource on http://crazymer1.wordpress.com/

Healthline provides a very comprehensive overview of bipolar disorder as a critical starting point for individuals and/or their loved ones.

For more information, visit: http://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder

Also, Healthline just launched a photo contest “What Does Happiness Look like to You”: http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/pinterest-contest We encourage you to share the contest with friends, family & anyone you believe would be interested in participating.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Warm Regards,

Tracy

14. Jordi - October 25, 2012

I would really like to talk to you if possible. My husband is going through similar situation. We have five little kids including a handicapped daughter. I need help. Thank you

Crazy Mermaid - October 25, 2012

Hi Jordi: I don’t know where you live, but there is likely a NAMI chapter there. They can help you. Give them a call.

15. jeanmarieheller - March 8, 2013

Thank you so much for sharing those deep and frightening experiences. I do not suffer with this disease directly, but suffer even more so possibly, as I have seen my closest family members, including my own children, fade away from me and from reality completely due to paranoid schizophrenia, which I have come to learn has a very high genetic probability in our family. It is tragic as none of them have reached your state of awareness and they all live outside of reality, with no emotion, no love and very limited connections to the real world.

16. Tara Harrington - June 22, 2013

My sister is going through the same financial issues. Our father recently passed away. I’m not sure how to help her. Writing about your experience helps me to understand better, as I cannot get her sit and talk with me for more than 5 minutes at most. I am concerned about her children, in their 20s, and how to help them cope. Her husband, God Bless Him, is at a loss on what to do anymore and has health issues he is dealing with himself. If he cuts the financial access completely, will she be okay in the end????? We all love her so much!!

17. Mike McAvoy - September 25, 2013

Thank you for writing this blog and spending time talking to me today. I was one of the Officers you spoke with and found your story incredibly interesting. Looking forward to reading your book.

18. Dixie - October 29, 2013

Hi “Crazy Mermaid” I love your blog. I’m not a big blog reader but found this while searching for info’ to help some people I know who (like me) have a brain disorder. THANK YOU for being so honest. Your blog is fluid, well written & truthful. It will help Anyone who reads it. May I post your reference on my FB?

Crazy Mermaid - October 30, 2013

Thanks for the kind words. Feel free to post on FB.


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