Lemons or Lemonade?

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5TH day at Hampton Inn and Suites. A large room. Very comfortable. King size bed. A bathroom that isn’t moldy, which is a real luxury to me.

I had plans to see a few close friends while I’m here. Do a bit of shopping, maybe get my hair colored. I DID get together with ONE of my closest friends, and had a great three hour gab lunch at a fabulous deli. It was packed and noisy and I felt like I was in New York again. I could eat good deli food every day!

But I got slammed with my yearly bout of winter bronchitis, which means bed rest, unless I want it to slide into pneumonia, which it’s done twice before. I was born with a lousy immune system. Asthma’s back, so back to steroids for relief when I can barely breathe and I’m wheezing all over the place,especially when I wake up. God, I hate it. Then add my thyroid and psych meds and I’ve got a whole little black bag full of stuff. And I’m only 63! If I live another ten or (God forbid) 20 years, I’ll spend half my day preparing my daily doses and popping pills, which will leave me only a bit of time for 60’s reruns and my sleep hypnosis video. I’m trying not to slide into pneumonia, but I’m DEFINITELY sliding into the “Third Act”, as some call it. Yes, as The Beatles said, “Life is very short..”. And according to statistics (and my psychiatrist) a real long life is probably not in the cards for me. So maybe that’s why I haven’t “met” many in this community who are my age. A few, but not many. If you’re a senior, don’t be shy, we welcome all ages! Get in touch with me!!

As someone whose been around a few years, it really is a good idea to try to find what works in helping to “manage” a mental illness. Then there can be a little room for a few good times and maybe even a little joy, or, dare I say, Fun!

I haven’t used the time I’ve had alone in this hotel, while my husband is working, to finish the second draft of my manuscript. It’s a real mess. No, I’m using my sickness (physical) as an excuse to indulge in escapism, while my husband has been in rehearsals, 2 gigs, and is now at Sunset Sound, finishing up the last half of an album. I was hoping to get over to the studio, to hang out, but I just didn’t want to get out of bed.

I’ve had to take care of my husband because he’s in need of a lot of good healthy food and rest, but he’s got so much going on, it’s near to impossible for either of us to keep up. One things spills into another. My husband has had a tough year, health-wise. He was diagnosed with vertigo last spring, took two trips to the emergency room, had a Cat Scan and an MRI, but nothing serious showed up. He did physical therapy to get the “crystals” in his middle ear back in place. It didn’t help much. They still don’t know what’s wrong. No tumors, nothing to pinpoint. He’s taking meds for stress and sleep, which are helping. Diet and a couple of meds and supplements is all he’s doing. But he still gets dizzy in the late afternoon and it really does a number on his energy level. He’s borderline hypoglycemic, so he’s cut way down on sweets.

No day is ever the same in our world. But what’s the big deal? For me, I never know what’s going to come my way. Bipolar 1? Generalized Anxiety? Agoraphobia? Of course not!

As soon as we get home tomorrow afternoon, my husband’s got three students and another regular gig at the Hyatt. I’ll be driving home, and the rental car is comfortable, so I hope he can get a couple of hours sleep. And we’re finally going to break down and get a new, bigger car. That’s why most older people drive big cars. They need to feel as comfortable as possible. Like they’re in their living room. Lazy boy should team up with Ford, or Chevy, or Toyota. Maybe they have already. I’m just really out of touch with that kind of stuff.

The project my husband’s working on is with three top of the line, renowned jazz musicians, and there’s going to be a tour coming up sooner than later. Quincy Jones was at the club on Monday. He’s good friends with the piano player from Toyko. This guy is a monster player, and they’re all working their bums off, but having a good time, because the music they’re making is real good. My husband wrote three songs for this album. A lot a jazz instrumentals can be boring to those who aren’t diehard fans. Some people, including one of my old friends from high school just don’t “get it”. I totally understand. Many people don’t. It’s not for everyone. And I don’t care for some of it, either. I have a lot of friends whose spouses are jazz musicians and they hate jazz. And that’s o.k.

Another time, I’ll write about my love of music. I’m all over the place with what I like! Pretty eclectic. As long as it’s Good! And I keep up. I like a lot of indie stuff! Even some hip-hop.

I do like the stuff my husband does. And you’d be surprised to know that a lot of musicians rarely listen to music in their off hours. They’re too busy making it, teaching it, writing it. And when they can, they need to get away from it for a while. They usually have other things that they like. Hobbies. My husband likes golf, and zoning out to to old 60’s and 70’s reruns. Speaking of golf, he met someone at the club in Hollywood who’s CEO of some big company and he’s going to be in our neck of the woods, to play two of the best courses around next week. His wife is doing something else, so my husband gets be a guest at a course that’s a golfers’ dream. Every so often, these kinds of perks come up for him. And he really does deserve it. We’re not rich, but where we live, the rich aren’t really snobs. A good many of them share their good fortune with others. They especially appreciate artists and musicians, who, for the most part, have to work REALLY hard to pay the rent, and all the other things that go with daily life.

I haven’t worked since 1996, and I only received a “partially favorable judgement” by the court, when I filed a claim. That means, they acknowledge that I’m mentally ill and unable to hold down a job, but denied me social security disability benefits. I have to practically be out on the street before I could qualify for SSI, which isn’t enough for anyone to have even the basic necessities if they’re disabled. And I also got diagnosed two years too late. My SS coverage ran out two years after my last job, and my diagnosis wasn’t until 2000. Four and a half years of litigation,for nothing. MY 1991 5150 record at Sylmar Hospital was lost in the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. That would have provided a little more leverage. And my psychiatrist cost me $600.00 to show up in court for me. He testified that, from my history, in his opinion, I exhibited bipolar symptoms since at LEAST 1989. No luck. So I know how tough it is out there. It really sucks. AND IT’S NOT FAIR. AND THAT’S WHY I HAVE THIS BLOG.

So my husband is the sole supporter, and we have no health insurance, until we sign up for Obamacare. And I hear it’s pretty hard to figure out what to chose from.

My husband puts the TV on most of the day, to block out all the noise from outside. I tell him to put on headphones, but he rarely complies. I can’t stand commercials. They tear through my ears like a runaway train. It’s awful. So when I’m near the TV, I always make sure I’ve got the remote close, because it’s just unbearable. Like nails on a chalkboard!

That’s a trigger for my anxiety. Commercials. But also, the touring that’s going to be happening when this album comes out. Japan and Europe, for sure. I want to go back to Japan. We’ve got friends there and I haven’t seen them since 2007. I miss the culture, the graciousness of the Japanese people, the Buddhist temples, going out with my friends and staying out late in tiny, backstreet clubs that stay open all night. The Bullet Train. And the Tube in London. I guess I’m ready for a change. The money is going to be good, and my husband needs to play with musicians of his caliber because that’s what he’s done all of his professional life. In our area, there is much love of music but there are maybe three players (including hubby) who are seasoned pros and play at his level. They do regular local gigs and “casuals”, which is musician-speak for weddings, private parties. They pay pretty well. And once a month there’s a Sunday Jam at a local hotel, where everyone, young or old, amateur or pro, gets up to play or sing. It’s beautiful fun. But it really is time for him to get back on the road. It’s just something he has to do.

With my husband being off the road for almost five years (except for some dates in St. Petersburg, Russia, and some other weekenders) and taking the direction of teaching instead, he’s looking forward to touring. There is nothing like a live audience. Musicians NEED an audience. That’s where the magic is. In the interaction with the audience. The gigs went more than well. The place was packed and the crowd went nuts. That’s good. Everyone is happy. But my husband is exhausted. Like anything, as we get older, we tire more easily. As I’ve said before, music is made for listening. I get a big kick out of watching my husband perform because he’s really animated onstage. I guess that’s why so many people ask him to play on their records and tour with them. I’ll pull out some of my road trip stories one of these days. But I’m selfish, and I will wangle my way into at least going to Japan and London (and probably Italy). I adore London. Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, was a month every year, three years in a row. I had a ball. Even though I was so spaced out on Lithium and Klonopine that I had to go down the stairs with both feet on each step and my hands trembled terribly, I had a love affair with London.

This has been a ridiculous ramble, but I guess it’s my way of getting my mind off depressing things that have happened recently that I haven’t yet processed.

You understand. You’re the only ones I can count on to understand. Or at least listen. Thanks for your time. I hope you have a good day and night.

Peace of Mind and Love,
Nana

My Goal

Through blogging, I want to share my story, life experiences & give hope to others struggling with mental health issues & the stigma that goes with it.

Although diagnosed late in life, and with many challenges through the years, I'm finally living life fully and gratefully, with my grandchild, family & friends! I hope to make some new friends here.

 

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Resources

Feeling suicidal? Please dial 911 or contact the following:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline toll free:
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Veteran's Suicide Prevention Hotline:
1-800-273-8255

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Psych Central
Mayo Clinic
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

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Information presented on this blog is not a substitution for professional medical care and a treatment program. If you or a loved one has bipolar disorder or any other mental illness or mental health issue, please immediately seek the services and advise of a medical doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment.