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Posts Tagged ‘bipolar disorder’

I don’t love you enough to fill the windshield wiper fluid before  your 12 hour car ride

I don’t love you enough to stock the fridge with unspoiled food after your 12 hour car ride home

I don’t love you enough to adhere to your therapist’s suggestions on ways I can alleviate some of your stress

I don’t love you enough to seek a support group for myself regarding your condition

I don’t love you enough to ask about your doctors appointments

I don’t love you enough to research constructive communication techniques regarding your condition

I don’t love you enough to care about what medications help with your various conditions

I don’t love you enough to include you in parental decision-making for our child while you are 700 miles away

I don’t love you enough to keep an eye on you after the therapist and your mother told me you were vulnerable

I don’t love you enough to spend time in the same room the second day you returned home from your suicide attempt

I don’t love you enough to have my own issues addressed, possibly alleviating some of your stress

I don’t love you enough to move in order to improve your health, increase your support system and decrease your loneliness

I don’t love you enough to inquire about your feelings everyday

I don’t love you enough to acknowledge your presence

I don’t love you enough to notice when you are crying while we are in the same room

I don’t love you enough to put your shoes on my feet to feel what  you are feeling

I don’t love you enough to change anything I do that has negatively impacted our relationship

I don’t love you enough to find out why I do the same things over and over again, adding to your frustration

I don’t love you enough to tell you before I tell my parents that divorce is imminent

I don’t love you enough to offer comfort when your businesses had to be closed and your career ended

I don’t love you enough to leave my parents

I don’t love you enough to sacrifice video game time

I don’t love  you enough to resolve a conflict before I leave for vacation while you stay home alone

I don’t know you enough to take our child away from his friends and grandparents

I don’t love you enough to stand by your side during the lowest point in your life

I don’t love you enough to waste another 3 years of you trying different medications

I don’t love you enough to do all I can to save our marriage

and I don’t love you enough to deny the fact that  love for my child is greater than the love I have for you, knowing this information will prolong your depression

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It is a chemical imbalance and I cannot snap out of it. Visiting with family and friends only takes my mind off dark places FOR THAT MOMENT, it does not go away. In the evening hours when people are usually sleeping I am ruminating about EVERYTHING NEGATIVE. Being in Buffalo has helped and I feel supported, but I am still grieving in the midst of my depression. I live 700 miles from my son, my animals, my house, my garden, my address, my doctors, my therapist, my career, my independence,  my belongings and my panic attacks are endured without the help of my husband to calm me. My psychiatric care is transitioning from NC to NY and is another added stress. Having to tell my story over and over again to a perfect stranger (not even knowing if I will like them) is excruciating and  deletes my energy and raises anxiety.

OCD-obsessive compulsive disorder for me are negative thoughts playing over and over again. Imagine that song you just heard and it plays over and over in your head, that is how it works. I dissect them in so many ways and they never turn out positive. Everything is my fault and no one can uplift my thoughts permanently.

Depression changes energy level, my behavior towards others and myself, my emotional state and my actions are either lethargic or violent. If conflict is not resolved my anxiety takes over and just builds up to where the only outlet is to lash out with unkind words, punching, slamming or swinging at SOMETHING. Depression creates confusion in me and does not allow for rational decisions to be made or talking sensibly, which adds to my frustration.

Making decisions, planning, organizing, memorizing or retaining details, initiating anything, and motivation are all compromised at this point. It is all an overwhelming feeling and sometimes I do just walk away………and worry about how it will all manifest.

Buffalo is a whole different world but not without new problems…….

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Bitch is an understatement. When I am depressed with anxiety or paranoia, it is no picnic.  Since medication is currently ineffective, “others” that are close to me need to be highly EDUCATED on the illness, my stress triggers and my symptoms of mania, depression or mixed episodes. Communication is ALWAYS a problem because my perception of anything is usually different from yours. Emotions will always be expressed with a bit more passion and my sensitivity level tends to stay on the high side. These traits are part of the bipolar illness, but don’t have to ruin all relationships if all parties did their share to cope and research…………… I need to have hope but with certain circumstances and ultimatums thrown in my face that hope is diminished.

The challenges of being married to a person with a mental illness or disorder are often made considerably worse during the divorce process-Read more:

Most relationship problems can be resolved with five questions: What am I not facing? What truths have I not spoken? What have I been blaming others for that I need to own responsibility for creating? What choices do I need to make? What actions do I need to take?

Mental Illness or not, these are red flags for anyone………

Signals of impending divorce

No Conflict Resolution

The noted researcher John Gotman has argues that it is not lack of communication that sinks a marriage but, rather, lack of effective conflict resolution. Couples who have not evolved a way to resolve differences without injury to the relationship end up avoiding disagreement and conflict. One or both has arrived at a point of despair that it is pointless to try to resolve a difference with his/her mate. It may be that one or both are simply conflict avoidance. Or one or both may regard every conflict as a fight to be won by bullying the other into submission. What matters is that someone has given up. Differences are submerged resulting in a loss of respect, increasing distance and gradual withdrawal.

Emotional Disengagement

Emotional engagement is a minimum requirement for the development and maintenance of intimacy. Willing discussion of feelings, one’s own feelings and the other’s feelings are a part. Interest in the emotional life of the other and empathic engagement of each other’s emotional life all constitute the required elements for an intimate relationship.

Disaffection

Emotional engagement is generally accompanied by the withdrawal of affection. If your wife has disengaged emotionally from you she probably doesn’t feel much love for you. Divorcing people commonly say that “they have fallen out of love.” And depending on how sour the relationship has become one or both probably don’t like each other very much

Lack of Sex

Sex both expresses and reinforces emotional connectedness. When a couple has not had sex in a long time it is usually a reliable indicator that emotional disengagement is advancing steadily. It is yet another indicator that the partners take no pleasure in each other and that the bonds are rapidly eroding if not already in a terminal state.

Increased Focus outside the Marriage

Empty marriages are very boring. Some couples compensate by pouring themselves into their children so that child centered activity becomes the sole content of family life. Others pour themselves further into careers working late every night so the time with the other is minimized. And as emotional satisfaction is sought exclusively outside the marriage the probability of an affair soars. The majority of affairs I see in my practice have started with a coworker who takes an interest and is fun to be with.

Preparation for a Single Life

I recall a couple I worked with many years ago in which the husband, as part of his planning for the coming divorce, took a second mortgage on he house to pay for a hair transplant to improve his dating prospects. Although this was a bit extreme it is typical for the initiating spouse to begin preparing herself or himself by getting in shape, losing weight, attending to hair and wardrobe and other things to enhance appearance. And particularly with women who have stayed home we often see a new interest in refreshing or acquiring a career to be less dependent on the earnings of the husband. We also will often see the initiator taking up an activity such as tennis or golf without involving the other spouse and generally beginning to build a social network as a single rather than as a couple.

Differentiating- In this stage, partners begin to stress the “me” instead of the “we.” In other words, the individuals begin to assert their independence. They may develop different hobbies or activities. The relationship may continue to dissolve, or this stage may be a warning sign that the couple needs to address their relationship status.
Circumscribing: Communication between the couple diminishes during this stage. They tend to avoid certain topics of discussion. Outwardly, the couple appears normal. At this stage, attempts can be made to discuss the relationship and return it to a positive state.
Stagnating: During the stagnating stage, the individuals avoid discussing the relationship because they think they know what the other will say. Others begin to take notice that something is wrong.
Avoiding: The pair begins to physically separate themselves during the avoiding stage. The individuals try to reduce the opportunities for discussion.
Terminating: This is the final stage of the relationship. Termination may come naturally, such as at the end of the semester when roommates move out, or arbitrarily, through divorce. Termination of the relationship can occur positively or negatively.

Some coping techniques for spouses of bipolar sufferers

  • You may dearly miss the person you fell in love with. Keep in mind that with proper treatments and your support, that person will come back to you
  • Find your own therapist. You may need a professional to help guide you through the hard times
  • Look for a support group for partners of bipolar sufferers. If there isn’t one in your area, consider starting one
  • Go with your spouse to a few of his/her therapy sessions and talk to their therapist. Ask questions, listen to the therapist’s conclusions or views of your spouse’s care. Try to be interactive in their care rather than inactive. Don’t be overwhelming, though.
  • Find time for yourself with such things as hobbies, walks, jogging, sports, and writing. Sometimes it helps to vent a bit of frustrated energy. You can go for a vigorous walk and clear your head.
  • When your partner is in a healthy mental state, talk to them about your needs and hurts. Don’t be confrontational, don’t blame, just gently tell them how you feel about things from your perspective.
  • Remind yourself continually throughout the day that there will be better times ahead. Make it a mantra.
  • Allow yourself to reminisce about the good old times when you were both happy and give yourself hope that the good times will come again. Look through photographs of better days, read old love letters and watch family videos. Spend time with the kids talking about funny family stories.
  • Research and find reading material about mental illness. Get to know what you and your spouse are battling against.
  • View your spouse’s illness as something you both have to fight as a team.
  • Help monitor your spouse’s medication so that you can be aware they are taking the prescribed medications or not. You don’t have to be a nazi about it, just let them know you are keeping track.
  • If you have family, spend time with them.
  • If your spouse is hospitalized, ask family and friends to help out with the children, housework, cooking, and even with visitation. Ask for help, this is very important.
  • Treat yourself ever so often. Allow yourself to sleep in one day a week or take a long, hot bath.
  • Have a good cry once in a while. You don’t always have to be the strong one.
  • When your spouse is enjoying good mental health, spend pleasurable time together. Go on a date. Spend time with the children. Go for walks, etc.
  • Try not to take unpleasantness personally. It is not your fault that your spouse is depressed or suicidal for that matter. They may be emotional powder kegs ready to blow at any moment, irritable beyond belief, even spiteful. You must remember that most of the time it is the illness talking, not them. I know, this is easy to forget.
  • Learn to relax when you don’t have to be on guard. If stress is physically manifesting itself as back aches, sore and stiff muscles, or general aches and pains, consider going to a massage therapist.
  • Let the people around you know when you are going through an especially trying time. If possible, take some time off work.
  • Don’t argue with your spouse when they are in a deep depression or manic. It is of no use. They will not be able to see your point of view and it will just cause more tension for everyone.
  • If your spouse is hospitalized, talk to their nurses about their progress. It is a great way for you to get daily updates on your spouse’s condition.
  • If it is hard for you to visit a hospital, ask if you can have an off ward pass for a few hours. Take your spouse to a nearby park or restaurant and visit with them there.
  • Don’t have high expectations of someone in poor mental health. You are setting yourself up for disappointment.
  • Do not turn to drugs or alcohol to take away your pain and frustrations. You need to be strong for you and your spouse’s welfare.
  • Laughter is always good medicine. Rent a few comedies one evening and invite a few good friends to come down and watch them with you. Laugh.
  • If you have become so resentful and angry at your spouse that you have begun to experience marital problems, consider visiting a marriage counselor when the spouse is mentally stable.
  • Don’t blame everything on your spouse. It is not their fault that they are ill.
  • Don’t blame everything on yourself. That is not fair.
  • Try to focus on what is best for both of you.
  • Don’t get muddled up with all that is wrong with your spouse. Instead, look for the person trapped deep inside, the one you dearly love.
  • Sit down and take stock of your life, what is important and what is not.
  • There are a lot of motivational self-help books out there. Go find a few and read them.

 

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My drug of choice is Adderall for my ADHD and is the one substance that allows me to function when in depression. Without this medication I am a COMPLETELY different person. In the mornings before taking Adderall I am confused, weak, shaky, paranoid, overwhelmed, non-social, and pace or just sit and stare filled with anxiety about the day. This is exactly how I feel 7-8 hours after the medication wears off.

Sometimes I will purposely stay in bed and not take this stimulant just to save more pills for days I want to function for longer than 8 hours. I also need to adjust the time it is taken to correspond when I have an appointment and need to be social. This medication which is a controlled substance is highly abused, very addicting and was discontinued by my psychiatrist. I then sought a doctor who only deals with ADHD and would prescribe it. There are mixed schools of thought about Bipolar patients taking Adderall.

I hate taking it because my thoughts, motivation, and social skills are  DRASTICALLY changed and serves only as a band-aid for me. When the medication is active the fog surrounding my brain is lifted, I am no longer confused or overwhelmed, activities have meaning, my mood is uplifted, my thoughts are more positive and I can carry on a conversation as if I had no mental illness. It is all fake and when I basically turn into a pumpkin I am filled with anger, anxiety and disgust everyday it wears off. Maybe it won’t happen today, maybe this is the day I will feel good and not need it, but that day never comes. Am I addicted to the drug or addicted to feeling somewhat normal?

When you are constantly depressed and bipolar medication isn’t working, what are you supposed to do? Self medication is the answer. Even though Adderall is a controlled substance, it is a FDA approved medication which releases my guilt of having an addiction problem.

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  • I have constant fear that there is no medicinal solution for me. The typical Bipolar medications have failed and now trying alternative approaches, with the last being electric or magnetic surges, shocking my brain for several weeks
  • I have fear that my panic attacks will occur in public. When they start there is no stopping them and this one reason I don’t venture outside too often
  • I have fear that my son will inherit this condition because he is showing signs
  • I have fear of abandonment and it terrifies me. I cannot live alone and can barely take care of myself when depression hits hard. People pass away, move or just end our relationship and this is not something I can handle. I will have to depend on someone, ALWAYS and that frustrates me. I am damaged goods with so much baggage and hate having to rely on others..
  • It is not easy to experience my rage, speedy mood swings, mania and depression. There are times when paranoid, evil and wicked thoughts enter my mind where I hate myself and I hate anyone near me. The strong language, violent tantrums, selfishness and intense anxiety will cause me to lash out and rip you apart layer by layer with no regards to children being present. I cannot keep too many people in the close circle because they will eventually throw in the towel and leave, not understanding that it is the illness and not Diana. There are only a few close family members who endure these horrible episodes
  • I fear never regaining my brain function or energy level from the past. Life moves so slow and I am trapped in this unstable body trying to keep from calling 911 or having an extended stay in the hospital or crisis center
  • I fear not being able to work anymore or the fact that I will have to work for someone other than myself. I have been fired from most jobs in the past because of my illness, not respecting authority figures, thinking my way is the best, or getting pissed before entering a violent rage
  • I fear uncertainty and this is what life is all about, not knowing what will happen next. I have to prepare myself and brain for EVERYTHING, otherwise panic sets in-did I take care of the dog, did I turn off lights, do I have keys, money, phone, panic attack prevention items, with all of this being checked 2-3 times because short term memory is shit

If we ever meet, I cannot guarantee calmness. Do not take offense to anything said by me and when I strongly suggest not to talk about a certain subject, it would be for the best to wait until my mood changes, which could be minutes or hours away. I was told that my mood changed 3 times within 45 minutes, which makes for a very unstable conversation. I hate the unpredicted moods, making it extremely difficult to make plans. It is only when I feel decent that spontaneity can occur.

I can sleep days away because it’s easier than dealing with my fears and anxiety, avoiding conflict, stress, disgust and depression. My dreams are ALL MINE and not the illness.

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Watching TV and even laughed last Tuesday night. Decided to go to bed and thoughts flooded my mind within seconds. Impulsive actions and switching from happy to sad in the blink of an eye is the evil of Bipolar Disorder. I can engage in positive behaviors and thoughts that would fool you and me into believing everything will be just fine. Rumination of negative thoughts play over and over again in my mind when Bipolar controls me.Switching from one extreme to the next is called a “mixed episode” which are dangerous. I always had the suicide plan in my mind, even plan A and plan B, but had no intention of implementing on Tuesday.

Plan A overdose  failed and was driven to the hospital for stabilization where I slept 3 of the 7 days away. For me, the suicide attempt is no big deal and assumed I would come home mow the grass, vacuum, and follow through with other tasks just like nothing happened. This bizarre thinking is all Bipolar impulsivity. I minimize most of my negative words and actions, which then confuse people around me. I also get confused when people react appropriately or serious and don’t view it as I do. When I go into a rage and verbally attack, it could be seconds later where I am thinking about what to cook for supper with no apology on my part because it was no big deal. I think this is one a the actions that people without mental issues would jokingly say, “They are psycho” or “She’s Bipolar”, with the latter being true.

Since I don’t see this as a big deal, family is taking precautions. My anger over this has passed and I have accepted the need for intervention. I feel like the hamster in the wheel, different words, thoughts and actions play over and over again without a moment to gasp for air.

Realistically my expectations are low for medicinal relief, but if a month passes without suicidal thoughts, I would take it. So as the hamster goes round and round, medicinal changes and additions have been on the same wheel for 3 years………….

Today I mowed, did some laundry, and thinking about what to have for supper.

 

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Are you uncomfortable and don’t know what to say? Is this why the majority have ignored me? Well you are in for a bumpy ride. I can guarantee that when my son died you had no earthly idea what to do or say, but you DID sent cards and called. When someone is dying from a PHYSICAL illness or is enduring a PHYSICAL illness, you reach out. I have not been home (Buffalo) in 3 years (could be a clue) and had the COURAGE to publicise my  illness, including its severity and I can count the responses on my 2 hands. It would be hypocritical to send cards and attend funerals for those ignored during their illness, wouldn’t you think? Some Bipolar Disorder stats for you; there is no cure, the illness is in my fucking face everyday, life expectancy cut by 9 years, suicide is the number one cause of premature death, 25-50% attempt suicide once, one in five are successful, Bipolar Disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability in the world, affects 5.5 million in USA, 1/3 of homeless population have Bipolar, 90% divorce rate, 50% with drug addiction, bankruptcy and financial issues are higher, ……….

“The stigmatization and the excruciating pains of social alienation have compelled most victims to conceal their status while the malevolent ones continue to distribute the virus free of charge to unsuspecting men and women”Oche Otorkpa, The Unseen Terrorist

Suicide-for those of you who view this as cowardly and selfish, try putting this in your pipe and smoking it….

When we criticize the suicidal for being selfish, we are actually criticizing them for not enduring their pain with grace and good manners. These are nice qualities; we may be correct to reproach average citizens for not having them. But to expect everyone in pain to have them is unrealistic. Bearing pain quietly is what moralists call a supererogatory act–an act that is above the call of duty. Expecting everyone to who is suicidal to behave in a way that is morally above average is simply abusive.”David L. Conroy, Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain

“Even when we turn around, there are no footprints behind us… Nor the road we came along, nor the tune we hummed… When we die, No-one will know it’s happened”Kazuya Minekura, Stigma

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.”Shannon L. Alder

It is sad that I had to seek internet studies and writings to validate my feelings

Think about what it would be like to spend most of your time alone because being around other people is just too difficult. You feel that others are judging you for your mental illness, and so you are scared to face the world. You withdraw to avoid this stigmatization. This social withdrawal is emotionally very costly. But this is a two-way street — the mentally ill withdraw from society–society withdraws from them

Social relationships are important for anyone in maintaining health, but for the mentally ill it is especially important. People with mental illness value contact with family. But families may be unwilling to interact with their mentally ill family member. Social isolation is also sometimes due to the unwillingness of others to befriend the mentally ill. The public may avoid them altogether. The stigma associated with mental illness creates huge barriers to socialization.

Another reason the person with mental illness may experience social isolation is the nature of their mental illness. Social phobias like agoraphobia, or severe anxiety or depression often cause the suffering person to be afraid to venture out into society.

When anyone, mentally ill or not, does not have enough social contact, it affects them mentally and even physically. Loneliness creates stress, taking a toll on health. Other things affected can be the ability to learn and memory function. High blood pressure is also seen. It can be the trigger of depression and alcoholism. (2) Imagine the consequences, then, if you are already depressed or have other mental illnesses? Loneliness can make you worse. Loneliness and loss of self-worth lead many mentally ill to believe that they are useless, and so they live with a sense of hopelessness and low self-esteem

Too often the public does not understand the challenges of the mentally ill and doesn’t want to try. It is therefore necessary to confront biased social attitudes in order to reduce the discrimination and stigma of people who are living with mental illness.

WHAT HELPS WHAT HURTS
I know you have a real illness and that’s what causes these thoughts and feelings. It’s all in your head.
I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help. We all go through times like this.
You are important to me. Your life is important to me. You have so much to live for– why do you want to die?
Tell me what I can do now to help you. What do you want me to do? I can’t do anything about your situation.
You might not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change. Just snap out of it. Look on the bright side.
You are not alone in this. I’m here for you. You’ll be fine. Stop worrying.
Talk to me. I’m listening. Here’s my advice…
I am here for you. We will get through this together. What’s wrong with you? Shouldn’t you be better by now?

Oft-times the diagnosis of bipolar distances people even more greatly from their empathy, removing people’s compassion for the suffering one who lives with this disease. Without that compassion and empathy, we become unable to hear the cries and screams of our loved ones with a bipolar diagnosis. At the same time, in their minds, people’s silence and “not knowing what to say” equates to them hearing us screaming back at them to “snap out of it”. Meanwhile, that same pregnant silence makes the opportunity to openly discuss what’s going on in the mind of our loved one with bipolar even more remote.

In other words, we experience unheard screaming in the silence: First and foremost, society’s silence, in refusing to have an open, frank and meaningful conversation about mental illness. Bipolar manic depression seems to be the most misunderstood diagnosis. Secondarily, there is the silence of the One trying to communicate what dire straights they are in (while they are in a downward spiral). And last, but not least, there is the silence of those living with and around those living with bipolar. The sad fact is, all the while, a distress signal is being sounded – but unheard.

We must also remind people that we may have a mental illness, but we are NOT the mental illness, itself.

Severe anxiety can literally cause physical pain to the point of mimicking a heart attack, yet many people are told to get some fresh air or try deep breaths. Someone with bi-polar disorder, who may be having a manic episode, can seem irritated or agitated — “So maybe we need stay away from Dave at work today because he’s in one of his moods again.” Someone with depression may not be able to get out of bed to hang out with friends — “Stop being a baby and come out!” All of this advice from friends, co-workers, and family, may seem light-hearted and they may be done with the best of intentions, but it is usually these words that seriously affect the way a person acts and reacts to others with regards to their condition. Not only do people with mental health conditions suffer inside, they are judged on a daily basis by those closest to us. “What’s wrong with her again”, “You’d feel better if you left your house once in a while”, “You’re just having a bad day”.

“Not only do I feel like absolute crap, I then have to convince others, or prove that I have a legitimate reason for feeling this way. “Dealing with a mental illness can often be a very lonely, misunderstood place where you feel stuck no matter what you try to improve conditions. Imagine the battles we face daily in our own heads, now add the stress of dealing with the outside judgmental world.

Sympathy towards those with physical conditions flows freely. If we as a society can somehow react the same way towards someone struggling with a mental health condition, life could be a little bit easier for them. It’s not helpful to dismiss how someone may be feeling , like their mental health issues are not legitimate or valid. In fact it can actually make things worse. You think most people want to wake up and feel like they can’t even get out of bed to shower, or that we want to worry about things so far in advance to the point it makes us physically ill? Most of us with mental health conditions so badly want to live a “normal life”, but we still need to realize our limits and take care of ourselves.

In a nutshell, bipolar people have troubles due to the symptoms of the illness and others who do not understand associate the stigma and prejudice. That can only hurt those with bipolar disorder. It doesn’t help anyone. It only alienates those who have the disorder, and then, it just picks at them to their core.

Social Distancing- when people feel that an individual with mental illness is dangerous, that results in fear and increased social distance. This social distancing may result in the experience of social isolation or loneliness on the part of people with mental illness. This stigma and social distancing have the potential to worsen the well-being of people with mental illness in several ways. First, the experience of social rejection and isolation that comes from stigma has the potential for direct harmful effects. It has long been understood that social isolation is associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes and even early mortality – “the lethality of loneliness.”

More, people with mental health issues recognize and internalize this stigma to develop a strong “self-stigma.” This self-stigma will often undermine self-efficacy, resulting in a “why try” attitude that can worsen prospects of recovery. Further, as people begin to experience symptoms of their mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, stigma may cause some people to try to avoid, separate from or suppress these feelings, all of which have been linked to the worsening of well-being.

Thank you to the 10 people who reached out to me and NOT a close family member of mine (those supportive words never reaching my ears). I refuse to acknowledge your concern and would appreciate help destroying the stigma of mental illness you are supporting instead. Send a card or call someone (other than me) with a mental illness and let them know you care. They might not respond, but that is part of the mental illness package…….

Emmy award-winning actress Glenn Close has launched a BringChange2Mind Campaign to fight stigma

 

 

 

 

 

 

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