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“I had a manic episode this past July,” says Veronica May, who with her girlfriend and Lovebirds bandmate Lindsay White has been very open about her battles with bipolar disorder. “[I’m] about a week off of Zyprexa and I can't sleep. I feel as though I have drank a tub of coffee. But less meds equals more me.”

“The process of recovery has begun,” she says. “This is what it feels like.”

“I walk into the delusion as if I am walking from my hallway into my living room. One minute I'm here. The next minute I am in a different universe altogether. Colors are warmer, my heart beats at exactly 120 beats per minute, eyes widen, energy attracts to me like a button to it's adjacent slot on my light cardigan that I slowly shrink out of. The weight falls from me like a bomb drops from a plane. Destroying its personalized ecosystem.”

“After the destruction comes the clean up crew. Thank God for the clean up crew. 90 days pass and I'm back on my feet. Until the next bomb goes off. The ticking is always lurking somewhere deep in my beaten hippocampus.”

Image ”It takes over. My car. I'm the driver. My car. I'm the passenger. My car. Running over my brain. Running over my will for anything at all. It washes over me like a Baptist baptism. Completely christened in the name of delusions, demons and the holy spirit.”

”It hooks me like a crane. Like a scrappy, unfair fight. Coming from behind without warning. Lifting me above the tallest skyscrapers. The tallest mountain. The highest cloud. Past the pearly gates and into white space. Then it drops me. It drops me from the sky, through the clouds, past the dirt where loved ones are buried, lower than the lowest crust of earth into the other side of the hemisphere. Out into the bottom of the universe, past hell into black space.”

She describes her time this past summer in a mental health ward as “Tackled to the ground and pumped with sedation. Taken to the pits of the ward. So confused. Staying up all night paranoid that they were all coming to kill her. Hearing footsteps down the hall. Staff opening the door every hour on the hour, flashing a flashlight in my eyes to make sure I was still alive. To make sure we were all still alive.”

The message May wants to spread is one of hope and recovery, a promise she is living by example, not only for her friends and fans, but also for anyone whose life may be affected by bipolar disorder.

“I have to make sure and stay alive. To experience what it's like to summit and stumble. For I have seen the spectrum. Like God holding hands with the devil. The very left hand of God touching euphoria and the very right hand of Satan clenching his fist around my lungs.”

May has been playing piano for over 20 years, percussion for over a decade, and guitar for several years. She grew up in a small town with big love. Her mom and dad played in a 1970s band called the Flatlanders.

In San Diego, she particularly loves Ocean Beach, a place she likes to take out-of-town visitors. “I would have them all blindfolded on the way. I would walk them to the edge of the shore and announce regally ‘Unveil yourselves!’ When they took off the blindfolds, made of organic materials, they would see the ocean. I would have a tape cassette cued up with Enya’s ‘Only Time’ playing. There would be tears...”

May won Best Acoustic at the 2008 San Diego Music Awards. In 2011, she became the new Glee Club Director at Clairemont High School. She and girlfriend Lindsay White also perform as the Lovebirds.

Image “Pretty little harmonies with a pretty little lady,” is how May describes the duo’s music. They also play together in the Forget Me Nots, a 1940s-inspired ensemble.

“The Forget Me Nots sound is throwback Americana jazz, blues, and even some country, with rich four-part vocals,” says White, who got her start playing open mics at venues like Lestat’s Coffee House. “We make the new, original songs sound like antiques. My solo music is very soft and folksy but with potent lyrics. The Lovebirds is sort of a mix of all that."

May concurs. "I’ve always loved Lindsay’s singing...she has a nostalgic voice that renders kindness and understanding. And I love that.”

May, who once collected Mad Magazines (“This explains a lot about me”), also fronts a self-named solo band. In addition to music, she earned a degree in Music Therapy at Colorado State University (class of 2005), and is a Board Certified Music Therapist.

“Working with children with autism, we use music to achieve non-musical goals. Ask me, if you are interested. No, we don't throw glitter and sing songs and call it music therapy!”

All in all, May seems poised to enjoy her current recovery and artistic rebirth.

“It is a good thing life isn't really like a box of chocolates, because I would most certainly have no more life to live. I love chocolates!”

Here's May performing last year at Anthology:

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Comments

DannyHaszard Dec. 30, 2011 @ 8:39 a.m.

I applaud your blog! I took Zyprexa 4 years had wicked insomnia for 6 weeks from Zyprexa withdrawal need to go off it in gradually decreasing increments.Best regards-Daniel Haszard My own Zyprexa saga www.zyprexa-victims.com

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HansZ Dec. 31, 2011 @ 7:46 a.m.

The very best to you Veronica May. Be careful with your withdrawal as coming off abruptly can sometimes result in severe problems. Here is a guide about how to come off psychiatric drugs in case you need it. http://theicarusproject.net/downloads/ComingOffPsychDrugsHarmReductGuide1Edonline.pdf

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HansZ Dec. 31, 2011 @ 8:03 a.m.

Or go to

theicarusproject.net

On the right hand side of the page find the graphic with the title on it of:

Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs

Its in pdf format and if in a hurry to know what to do, then PAGE 31 is the Step by Step guide to coming off as safely as possible, although the rest of the file gives invaluable information surrounding the general issues.

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Luketn Jan. 1, 2012 @ 2:15 p.m.

The words Veronica uses are very reminiscent for me of my own manic episodes. Far from being a positive article about bipolar recovery, for me this is a story about a bipolar sufferer deciding to go off medication and back into the degenerative and destructive cycle of mania and depression. 

Bipolar is a chemical condition of the brain. It needs medication to balance it out and give a sufferer a chance at a stable life. 

For the person experiencing mania, they may feel the are more themselves, more creative, energetic. From outside though, the person will be grandiose, arrogant, self-entitled, selfish and without insight into the negative impact of their behavior on others. 

I hope that she is able to return to her recovery before the disease degenerates further and her episodes worsen. 

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Hamilton Jan. 2, 2012 @ 5:38 p.m.

Zyprexa does not work by correcting anything wrong in the brain. There are no known biochemical imbalances and no tests for them. That's why psychiatrists do not draw blood or perform spinal taps to determine the presence of a biochemical imbalance in patients. They merely observe the patients and announce the existence of the imbalances. The purpose is to encourage patients to take drugs. Ironically, psychiatric drugs cause rather than cure biochemical imbalances in the brain. In fact, the only known biochemical imbalances in the brains of patients routinely seen by psychiatrists are brought about by the psychiatrists themselves through these drugs.

Check out the micronutrients in Empowerplus made by Truehope.com - they have successfully gotten over 70,000 people off of prescription drugs.

Good luck to you.

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nan shartel Jan. 2, 2012 @ 8:31 p.m.

without Zyprexa my sis is delusional 100% of her waking hours

with it she's clear most of the time

she says "it puts the voices in a room without a phone"

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Ponzi Jan. 2, 2012 @ 7:26 p.m.

One word. Lithium. Stay away from the big pharma concoctions.

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nan shartel Jan. 2, 2012 @ 8:34 p.m.

my sis took it for years Ponzi...it helped a little but not a lot and played hell with her kidneys

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Ponzi Jan. 3, 2012 @ 11:30 a.m.

Nan, how true. That’s why they have to do periodic blood tests to check on liver and kidney function. It’s good to hear your sister is responding well to Zyprexa.

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veronmay Jan. 6, 2012 @ 8:20 p.m.

While I appreciate this article I wanted to give you the full-length piece I wrote recently. I did slowly get off of zyprexa...took about 4 months of titrating. Off it again...we will see how the second time goes!

First thing that comes to my mind: Summer.

Summer. When everything glows and the heavens open up to me. The more they open the further away I connect to the earth. Until the cord just isn't long enough. Like the 3rd string on my guitar, the one that always breaks. Just like that.

I walk into the delusion as if I am walking from my hallway into my living room. One minute I'm here. The next minute I am in a different universe altogether. Colors are warmer, my heart beats at exactly 120 beats per minute, eyes widen, energy attracts to me like a button to it's adjacent slot on my light cardigan that I slowly shrink out of. The weight falls from me like a bomb drops from a plane. Destroying it's personalized ecosystem.

After the destruction comes the clean up crew. Thank God for the clean up crew. 90 days pass and I'm back on my feet. Until the next bomb goes off. The ticking is always lurking somewhere deep in my beaten hippocampus.

It takes over. My car. I'm the driver. My car. I'm the passenger. My car. Running over my brain. Running over my will for anything at all.

It washes over me like a baptist baptism. Completely christened in the name of delusions, demons and the holy spirit.

It hooks me like a crane. Like a scrappy, unfair fight. Coming from behind without warning. Lifting me above the tallest skyscrapers. The tallest Mountain. The highest cloud. Past the pearly gates and into white space. Then it drops me. It drops me from the sky, through the clouds, past the dirt where loved ones are buried, lower than the lowest crust of earth into the other side of the hemisphere. Out into the bottom of the universe, past hell into black space.

So next time someone tells me I can control it. Mind over matter. Everyone has ups and downs. I will utter no words. It is incomprehensible to even myself. Because they never thought they were God. They never thought they were Jesus coming down for the second time. They never thought they were Michael Jackson reincarnated. They never thought they had to stab themselves so the ball of energy would be able to leak out somehow. Kill themselves to release the spirits of every person, every thing that ever was. Trapped inside one brittle skeletal system. They were never locked up. Tackled to the ground and pumped with sedation. Taken to the pits of the ward. So confused. Staying up all night paranoid that they were all coming to kill her. Hearing footsteps down the hall. Staff opening the door every hour on the hour, flashing a flashlight in my eyes to make sure I was still alive. To make sure we were all still alive.

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veronmay Jan. 6, 2012 @ 8:20 p.m.

I have to make sure and stay alive. To experience what it's like to summit and stumble. For I have seen the spectrum. Like God holding hands with the devil. The very left hand of God touching euphoria and the very right hand of Satan clenching his fist around my lungs.

I am so thankful that I am finally able to get all of this out of my head. It's been almost 6 months and no words. Flying from my finger tips like a humming birds wing pace. thank goodness for words.

I love you and I hate you. I pull you toward me and I push you away, dear thoughts of mine.

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