“I’m here because the hormonal shifts of menopause overcame my bi-polar drugs.”
Eleven men slumped down in their chairs shaking their heads murmuring, “Oh no, she didn’t just say that,” in the opulent dining room in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. I’d been selected to give the woman’s view of my first experience at the Festival. I was there with a Chorus from the VA hospital in Chicago where I’d participated in Music Therapy since my first hospitalization for bi-polar disorder there in 2001.
“Ya haven’t lived until you’ve been the only woman on the locked ward at the VA. As they say—the odds are good, but the goods are odd.”
During menopause I was hospitalized five or six times. Back in the seventies when I tried birth control pills, I threw a blood clot in my lung. Hormone therapy was out of the question. Besides, I’m cold all the time. I miss my hot flashes. ;-(
I do not, however, miss my mood swings. I’m a rapid cycler and most of the time I’m fairly normal. Unfortunately, I moved away from Chicago where I got really good care to a more rural VA where they refused to change my meds even when it was clear they were not working. They just kept increasing the dosage. I kept “going off” on people and in between, I was experiencing increasing dementia—forgetting what I was doing, losing words, etc. I’m a writer, I’m in Mensa and I was in my fifties. I was terrified and my daughters were so upset, they made me give up my apartment and move in with my eldest.
Bi-polar disorder is easy to misdiagnose. People think of it as euphoric highs and crashing lows—going from periods of intense happiness and creativity to periods of paralyzing depression and, indeed, many bi-polar people are like that. But it can also include horrible temper tantrums, spending sprees, going from sexual promiscuity to total lack of desire. In really severe cases, people hear voices and it can be misdiagnosed as schizophrenia. I spent several years on Prozac not realizing I was only treating half of my disease, because I didn’t realize my tantrums were the other half, until I had a roommate who was bi-polar and recognized the symptoms. She gave me Patti Duke’s books, Call Me Anna, and A Brilliant Madness. I read them on the pysch ward at the VA in Washington, DC, where I was living at the time. They diagnosed me and regulated my meds.
Many of Katie McGowan’s experiences in Rock Crazy are mine. Arguments with her mother are real. I believe my mom was bi-polar and self-medicated with alcohol. I hit puberty when she hit menopause and “it was not a good match,” at Katie tells her friend, Annie. We fought pretty hard when I was in high school. But Mama was a good person. She adopted me just because my mother was asking around the neighborhood for a home for me. And I know she loved me and was proud of me because she kept the first story I ever wrote when I was seven and had chicken pox. I still have it. She was just sick, like me, and like Katie. I hope you’ll read Rock Crazy and enjoy it.
This is the end of my blog tour. Leave a comment and you’ll qualify for a chance to win your choice of a signed copy of my first book, Rock Bound, or a Rock Crazy tee shirt or mug. Thanks for following me on this journey. I hope you’ve discovered some blogs you didn’t know about before and I hope we’ve gotten to know more about each other. I’ll notify the winner, or have the blog host notify them.
Rochelle Weber is a Navy veteran and holds a BA in Communications from Columbia College in Chicago with an emphasis on creative writing. Her first novel, Rock Bound, is available at Create Space, Smashwords, Amazon and BN.com. She edits the Marketing for Romance Writers Newsletter. Rochelle fights her own battle with bi-polar disorder, quipping, “You haven’t lived until you’ve been the only woman on the locked ward at the VA.” Her song, “It’s Not My Fault,” won a gold medal in the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition
Katie McGowan is bi-polar, and she’s run the gamut of medications, but nothing works anymore. Everyone says her she should have a microchip implanted in her brain that can regulate her mood swings. But Katie doesn’t want to be a robot. In a tough love move, her husband, Scott takes her to the Moon—and dumps her. Katie’s stuck on that God-forsaken “rock,” and thinks she’s space sick. But she’s wrong; she’s pregnant. Now the surgery’s too dangerous and she has to go off her meds until the baby’s born.
Scott’s elated that he’s going to be a father and assumes Katie will take him back. He has no clue how badly he’s hurt her, how thoroughly he’s broken her trust—or that he may not get her back at all.
Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/museituprockcrazy