Tag Archives: Mental Health

Update – Back in Winnipeg

My last post found my family and I still in the Northwest Territories, and now we are back in Manitoba. It’s been a long tough journey and it’s not over yet. I was given too much lithium by the doctors up north and suffered the effects of lithium toxicity, and I also started having seizures. I was having seizures every night to every other night, and it got to the point where my husband was afraid to go to work or leave me alone with Ivy for my safety, so he asked his work if we could have a 3-month leave of absence to go back home where I could get proper medical care, which they granted us.

I’m still having seizures even though my lithium dose is now down to 600 mg (it was up to 1500 mg before!!!), so I’ve been put on the wait list for the psych ward at Grace Hospital so I can get the tests I need (CT scans etc that they didn’t do in NWT), but also the psychiatric care I need (I have bipolar disorder, and this crazy fluctuation in lithium needs to be closely monitored for my own safety, as well as the possibility that these seizures are probably psychogenic since they are non-epileptic, so I will probably need some further analysis/exploration in that area). This is a really tough time for myself and my family. I hate knowing that something I am sick with is taking my husband away from a job he loves, and I hate not being able to control my own body (a few days ago I had a seizure in front of my father-in-law and brother-in-law; they were good about it, but it’s embarrassing all the same).

I’m still trying to read as much as I can, but it’s been really hard lately. I’m really sorry to any authors who were really counting on a speedy review, but I am very sick right now, and I just can’t read the way I used to. My head is full of a lot of noise all the time, and it’s like I can hear all sounds all at once at the same time. I also feel like something about my personality has changed since I started having seizures, but I don’t know what exactly. I have a very strong sense of paranoia almost constantly that I’ve never had before. Things are scary.

I might not be using this blog to post about books only as much as my own personal journey. I need somewhere to vent and my pen-and-paper journal just can’t keep up with my thoughts as fast as my fingers on the keyboard can. I’m sorry for those of you who followed me expecting literary reviews only (as this blog was meant to be originally), but I feel it has evolved somewhat, so I want to include some more personal things too. Thank you everyone who reads/likes me. Your support means a lot to me. This might sound completely pathetic, but sometimes, I forget that I actually exist, so knowing people read this helps remind me that I do. It makes no philosophical sense but I think it might be part of all the depersonalizing that has been occurring lately.

Anyway, so that’s what has been going on with me. We are currently staying with Graham’s parents, and Ivy is having an amazing time. Our black cat, Lestat, has bonded well with the other cats, especially Abbey (my in-laws’ youngest cat). Here is a picture of Abbey grooming Lestat:

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Just Before Christmas

IMG_4155.JPGThe title of this blog is ‘SharaLee Reads’. SharaLee has honestly not been doing a whole lot of reading as of late. SharaLee has been sick, and dealing with a very busy toddler, and feeding a hardworking husband. When SharaLee gets time to read, she spends most of it sleeping.

SharaLee also has bipolar disorder, type I. And currently, she is in a low. Writing about herself in third person makes it seem less hard to complete this entry, so please suspend your disbelieve and bear with her. ❤

It has occurred to SharaLee for the first time that what she deals with truly is an illness, not just a character flaw or something she’s not doing right to be happy. She could give you all the facts and all the sarcastic arguments and memes out there about educating yourself on mental illness, but most of you WordPress lovelies are proficient in the use of Google and Wikipedia, so I’ll just leave you to it. Instead of muscle spasms or fluctuations of physical strength, SharaLee experiences emotional spasms and fluctuations of impulse control strength. Spasms is also not the right word, too short and sporadic for the length and duration of the emotional pain and/or elation that characterize much of SharaLee’s life.

Okay, enough third person. I think I can handle this now. I woke up feeling suffocated in my own sadness, cried once while watching ‘Elf’, and had much support from my husband, took comfort in the joy of my daughter.

Thankfully for me, Christmas is a good time for me. That means that this low should be okay, since Christmas is in five days, and hopefully the low will be under control by then.

However, got a call from Yellowknife today that my credit card payment did not go through for my meds, which means I am using my last dose of lithium tonight and won’t get more until after Christmas.

I know this will be tough but Graham and I have been through a lot, and we can get through this too.

Thank you all for your continuing love and support. It’s reciprocated. ❤ ❤ ❤


My Psych Shelf

So, as many of you know, I deal with some mental health issues, including Bipolar Affective Disorder: Type I and Borderline Personality Disorder. I try not to let them run my life, though I concede that they do greatly affect it. I try to learn as much as I can so I can learn to deal with these things the best I can so I can make the most out of the times I am well and better handle the times I am unwell (that part has more to do with bipolar than with BPD, but I digress). All of this, and my very curious mind has led to what I have come to dub my ‘Psych Shelf’. It’s basically a collection of books, some non-fiction, some fiction, some for necessity, some for pure interest that I have collected, all of which have something to do with the psychology of the human mind (usually abnormal psychology but sometimes social and environmental psychology too). I thought I’d share it with you! Here it is:

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Here they are, from left to right:

– New Hope for People with Bipolar Disorder by Jan Fawcett, M.D., Bernard Golden, Ph.D., and Nancy Rosenfeld

– Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

– Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris by Asti Hustvedt

– Silent to the Bone by e.l. konigsburg

– Dying of Embarrassment: Help for Social Anxiety & Phobia by Barbara G. Markway, Ph.D., Cheryl N. Carmin, Ph.D., C. Alec Pollard, Ph.D., Teresa Flynn, Ph.D.

– Bedlam by Greg Hollingshead

– Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay

– Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace

– Eutopia by David Nickle

– Asserting Yourself: A Practical Guide for Positive Change by Sharon Anthony Bower and Gordon H. Bower

– An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

– Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison

– Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison

– The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

– The Hypochondriacs: Nine Tormented Lives by Brian Dillon

– Broken Glass by Tabitha Freeman

– The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr

– Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

– Mind Games by William Deverell

– Secret Lives of Great Authors by Robert Schnakenberg

– Page Fright: Foibles and Fetishes of Famous Writers by Harry Bruce

– The Secret Language of Eating Disorders  by Peggy Claude-Pierre

– The Anorexia Diaries by Linda M. Rio and Tara M. Rio

– History of a Suicide by Jill Bialosky

– Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists by Suzette Boon, Kathy Steele, Onno Van Der Hart

– Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Not pictured on this shelf, but mentally included by me are:

– Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

Psychology: First Canadian Edition by David G. Myers

– The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

Have you read any of these? Do you recommend any more? Have you got a specifically themed shelf at home? Let me know in the comments, keep your brains sharp and happy reading!


‘Someone To Call My Own’ by Bianca Harrison

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It has been said not to judge a book by its cover. This one, however, is just as strange and confusing and loosely tied together as the cover would suggest. First off, it begins with the main antagonist, Camille Young, having a dream (a foreshadowing dream, at that), which automatically puts it straight on my cheese shelf. Before I knew it, and without attaching me as a reader in any way to the characters in this book,  I was catapulted into Harrison’s world of interwoven extramarital affairs, kidnapped newborn babies, stabbings, shootings (it’s amazing how many people can apparently get stabbed or shot but not die in this book, except Nikki, whose injuries didn’t even seem bad enough to cause the damage that killed her), and one-dimensional Detectives named Floyd and Ball (who is actually described as being both short and round. I half expected Detective Floyd to be called Detective Chain instead, but since that might actually have been a good idea and we are apparently supposed to take this book seriously, it was not to be). As a mother, the part about the kidnapped newborn was extremely upsetting and difficult to read as it was not handled properly. The baby in question was put in several disturbing and life-threatening situations, the severity of which were not treated with the proper restect, and having the concept of kidnapping a child that young merely for revenge treated so cavalierly was very off-putting. It was like being forced to read 48 chapters of all the worst parts of The Young and the Restless.

It did not seem to me that any serious research had been done at all for this book. Greg Langston, the married man who is cheating on his pregnant wife (mother of previously mentioned kidnapped newborn baby), is a lawyer, and there is a lot of TV legal drama lingo used when trying to find his kidnapped son, all of it vague and none of it effective or truly making sense. The police force is also misrepresented, as in the scene where Detective Ball and Detective Floyd find Greg at Camille’s house. He has gone there to question her regarding the disappearance of Greg, Jr. (yet another original name), and has found baby items. He tells the detectives he suspects Camille of having stolen his son, but decides to HIDE THE EVIDENCE HE HAS JUST FOUND IN CASE SHE HAS NOT DONE IT. And instead of attempting to get a search warrant for her house, they take him to the police station for questioning for TWO HOURS, since he is a person of interest in the case, and he doesn’t even tell them about the baby items!!! No parent in their right mind would do that, and the police would normally have interviewed both Greg AND Camille, would they not?

ALSO (and this is one of my biggest beefs about this book): when it is discovered that Camille is… shall we say….”troubled” (have I mentioned that she poisoned her first husband because HE was divorcing her for another woman?), it comes out that in the previous State she lived in, she was seeing a therapist and that she has been diagnosed with ‘a bipolar disorder’. AND THIS APPARENTLY EXPLAINS EVERYTHING. Um, bloody hell it does. I happen to live with Bipolar Disorder myself and nothing about Camille or her behaviour is indicative of that particular mental illness. I’d believe that she’s a sociopath or a psychopath, in the truest clinical meanings of those words, but bipolar? If she is, her behaviour is too calculated (she plans for MONTHS to kidnap Greg, Jr. and even has a special soundproof closet built into her OWN closet so no one will hear him crying) and does not line up with what I know of the disorder (and believe me, I’ve been through and know a lot of people who have experienced a lot in regards to that disorder and done many things, but none of them like the things she did to Greg Langston and his family). Harrison shows an attitude of ignorance and disrespect to people with mental health issues that simply cannot be ignored. I just can’t believe there are still people out there who actually think all criminals are crazy or vice versa or who even use the terms ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ to refer to people with mental health issues.

To put icing on this lovely little cake, there is an actual STUDY GUIDE AT THE BACK to examine the moral dilemmas presented in this book, with such peerless gems as “Do you really think Camille was insane or using that as an escape to not go to jail? Why or why not?”, “Was Michelle wrong for sleeping with Detective Floyd?”, and “Who do you think kissed who first (Michelle or Ed)?”. I’m supposed to read all of that and then take it seriously and try to learn from it, too?

An absolutely jaw-clenching, terrible read. 0 stars out of 5.


What’s In My Bag? (My First Collaborative Video!)

I included this here because breelark has books in her bag. 🙂