Category Archives: bipolar

You don’t say

Hey,how are you? Me,I’m doing okay. I can feel the depression nudging at the edges of my brain,letting me know that I’d better not get too cocky or it might take me down with a swift stroke to the back of my knees. So I’m just hanging out,trying to get things done,praying it just stays there,just in my peripheral where I can keep an eye on it,making sure it stays put. This time of year is especially worse for people with bipolar. They don’t know why but the hospitals are filling up and we are all on extra vigilant watch.

So the other day,I posted the link to my blog with a little blurb about how I have come to terms with having bipolar and I wasn’t going to hide it any more. Well the outpouring of love I received was overwhelming. I was so scared to post it.Worried what people would think or say when in fact there was nothing to be worried about. Everyone was super cool.

Then a few days later I was in Starbucks,getting my sneaky ,I need a fourth cup of coffee,when someone I know just gave me a hug,not a hello hug or a goodbye hug,just a hug.She didn’t say anything. Just a hug.You know what,at that moment,I needed it. I had swung my legs over the bedside in the darkness of both morning and my brain. I wasn’t having a good start to the day and this,this just lifted me up a little.Enough for me to take charge and push the monster back in it’s cave.So it made my day. I was so thankful. The best part,she didn’t say anything. you see when people say stuff to you,it can be well-meaning but it just comes out wrong,really wrong and then the anger or self loathing breaks its bubble and you flounce off,day ruined.Done.

So,here’s a few things what not to say to someone suffering from bipolar ,whether or not they are in the midst of an episode doesn’t matter. The reaction might just be stronger.

Don’t say “come on,shake it off” You don’t think I haven’t tried that??over and over again. IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT!!!! It’s a real illness,that’s like telling someone with a broken leg to shake it off and get up and go for a run. Yeah,right,that ain’t happening.

Don’t say “go for a walk,it’ll make you feel better” Are you bloody kidding me? I barely have the energy to make it through the next agonizing minute of this dreadful day without using any of it to take a walk. I don’t want to go for a freaking walk.

Don’t say “I know how you feel” (well unless you have bipolar and have experienced the mess it can make in your life) that one will make heads spin,around and around!!

Don’t say “did you take your meds” that’s none of your bloody business. If I’m having a rant about something that I’m pissed off about,I could be doing just that,having a rant. I still have normal feelings and express them . Don’t assume that I’m having an episode and need my meds that I’m ultra vigilant about because I hate what this does to  me anyway.Yes of course I’ve taken my bloody meds.

Don’t say “when are you going to feel better” we hate being ill anyway and that just puts pressure on us to hurry up and get better. You wouldn’t say to someone with cancer “hey,can you hurry up and get better,this you having cancer is sort of getting in the way of me enjoying my life.

You can say,how are you today? can I help you with something,do you want some company (don’t forget to bring the starbucks!!) what are you feeling?This one is especially important because if we are having suicidal idealizations ,we may open up and tell you because really,we don’t want to hurt ourselves.We just want the pain to stop.

Sometimes just sitting with us and not saying anything at all can help so much.

Thanks for listening today :0)

On guard

Ever since my magic little pill started doing it’s magic,I have been on guard. Worried that tomorrow it won’t work any more and I’ll be the sniveling wife on the end of the phone complaining that I just can’t do it.

I’ve taken advantage of my new found happiness/ability to function. I’m using it to prepare. Prepare for the next installment of my unpredictable life. The cupboards are stocked,the freezer is full and there’s food for the week in the fridge.

You see,when the depressions claws drag me down to the rocky bottom,I can’t think about cooking or doing anything really.I’m already overwhelmed that I have to feed four kids and a husband along with the fact that there would not be any food in the house because I couldn’t bring myself to go to the store when everyone was at school.I wouldn’t have the energy to plan a weeks worth of meals,like I said,just the one day had me rendered paralyzed. When this did happen my husband would often help if he was home,run out and get a pizza or take the kids off my hands and with the silence I would somehow be able to rustle something up. I hated it being like this and the last time I was in the throes of depression I vowed to prepare as soon as I was better. But I am having a double winner here. Not only have I planned dinners for two weeks in a row now,I have been able to do my savvy shopping and walk out with way more than I would’ve paid for if I hadn’t used the sales. Before I had my first really bad episode I was a whizz at feeding the family good healthy meals on a budget. I got a kick out of it and would call my husband saying “guess how much I saved this week?” but this last episode went on and on and it was all I could do to go to the closest (most expensive of course) store and get just enough for the night. Well I’m back,baby!! Today I saved $89.88 and have enough dry goods,pantry staples,meat in the freezer and detergent to last us a couple of months!!! That means that even if I do have a rough day or few next week,I won’t really have to think.I’ll just be able to auto pilot dinner and fall into bed. Feels good though,with my husband being the main bread winner in this house I like to try and stick to budget so not to put more pressure on him. Also,when you feel good about something that you have done,it helps for the next day to be better.Well, sometimes. I guess I like to think so but to be honest,with this,you never know what’s coming until you open your eyes that morning,adjust to the light and see if your body is screaming at you or not. Because that’s life,mine anyway.

Family and friends

Depression is a very selfish illness. I don’t include mania in that statement because you tend to love everything and everyone and thats not very selfish now is it? Although mania can make you snappy so I guess you could include it.Ah well!

Yes,depression is a very selfish illness. I feel so sad,so lonely,so hopeless. Me,me,me,me,me! You don’t really give a thought to those around you. Those who care. Also,so helpless,unable to help you in any way. It must be so frustrating for them and painful to watch as loved ones cry in pain and sadness. The pain from depression is real,you feel it in your bones like a chill you would get from being damp in the cold air. Oh it hurts so much and you know you are trapped there and the only peace you will have is when you close your eyes and (hopefully ) sleep. But who is there to take away the loved ones pain? How do they cope? I have put my husband through the wringer and yet he’s still there,like a rock,to hold me up,hold my hand.Wipe away my tears and try in any way he can to make it even the slightest bit better. He has read up on my illness and understands a lot and even when he doesn’t,he doesn’t brush it off . He still tries. I’ve said before, he helps me survive this beast of an illness. The remorse I feel for the pain I must have put him through when he was thirty minutes away and he knew I was going to hurt myself,I was going to try to end the pain. Yet he still saved me.He still saved my life. When I am on the rockiest bottom he will still try and find a way to make me comfortable. Yet I can’t be there to soothe his pain. We don’t mean to be selfish or mean and nasty. When thoughts are racing through your head at the speed of light and you can’t think straight so you snap someones head off when they ask you the simplest of questions,we don’t mean it. Its just really hard to think straight with all of those thoughts swirling around like a big bowl of spaghetti.

I guess all we can do is try. Try our hardest to manage our illness so it has little impact on those around us. Also be thankful that we are loved and say those thanks because they could mean the world to a tired,overwhelmed family member or friend. Show remorse if you know that you’ve hurt someone and always be kind (when you can) because we don’t know what all of those around us are going through and like I said,depression is selfish so we don’t think about it an awful lot., and everyone has feelings.

There was once a girl, part two.

So I started to tell you about a girl that I met,when I got distracted with other thoughts. Hello ADD (I’m allowed to joke,I have it!! ;-0 )

So names kept inside my head but we’ll have to call her something. Let’s see, Penelope,yes that suits her (if you saw her you would agree) So Penelope was very sweet but man did she have balls!! I wasn’t the best behaved in there,in fact my doctor told my husband that I was quite difficult to treat as I knew what I wanted and made it very clear what I didn’t ! (there I go,getting off track,meds should kick in soon!!) Penelope shared a room with one of my now best friends. She didn’t really bother with her, just spoke to her occasionally but me, well I for some reason caught her curiosity so she was around me a lot,which meant that I was there to see all the fun stuff and boy did she keep me amused. There was a long tall desk for the nurses station with a locked gate at either end and I’m standing there one day,probably complaining that I wanted to go home and that today I was leaving,when all of a sudden,there she was,behind the nurses station, casually picking up everyones folders and flicking through them as though she was doctor of the day. No one noticed until I burst out laughing so loud that I made my nurse jump. I started saying “Penelope,what are you doing,you’ll never get out if you don’t start behaving” (this wasn’t the first offense) Obviously then all in charge see her and are calmly saying “come Penelope,come out of there,what are you doing”? “No” she said quite defiantly,which made me laugh even harder and I got a good dose of the side eye from my nurse! Whoops,what can I say,she was so brazen about it. So she’s still flicking through our folders when they finally get her attention properly.She firmly puts the folder back on the shelf and says “No,I’m not coming out.I’m exercising my patient’s rights,I want to see my reports ” By now,I am practically rolling around on the floor laughing and I am sternly told to go to the TV room! Ha,no way,this was better than TV!! So now they had the two of us refusing to move! You couldn’t blame her for sneaking in there,the sacred place of donut holes,cookies and crumb cake!!  I don’t know how they got her out eventually but I know that she was still there when I went back four weeks later and still causing a ruckus!! I don’t know,maybe you had to be there to see it, maybe if you’ve been in a psych ward you’ll get the gist and understand just how comical it was. All she needed was a white coat and she would have fit right in. So anyway, That’s the first story of Penelope, the attempted escapee,(oh yes she did!) A woman that knew her rights,even when  our minds weren’t working right.

Wind out of my sails

I glanced out of the window and there before me was a rainbow of tree tops. Oranges,yellows,greens,browns and reds.It was so beautiful yet I felt a sadness in my bones. You see it was two years ago that I had my first,and second pretty damn quickly after being released the first time,stay in a psychiatric ward. One thing that bothered me immensely was that during that time I missed the changing of the leaves.When I went in,they were barely changing and by the time I came out after the second stint,the trees were bare. Fall is my favorite time of year and ever since then,I have made a point of taking in all of the beauty to be had yet it sometimes catches me off guard and saddens me. Reminds me that I’m sick and must manage my illness or I will become very sick very quickly,again. It also reminds me of those stays. Yes,I met some really nice people, found an awesome doctor and had some laughs but it was also an extremely sad time for me. I felt so alone,so full of despair that this “thing” had it’s grips on me. yet its good to grieve so I let myself feel that pain again instead of trying to push it down. I let it wash over me today and right now,even though I feel a little off,I feel better. Again,with the acceptance comes some freedom. Instead of fighting those feelings today and ultimately making myself feel worse, I let them be and now I’m free of them for now. I was able to do my children’s homework with them and have supper with them. Drop off the boys  to their football practice and now hang with the little one as I write this. Once upon a time,the thought of doing one of those tasks would have had me diving under the bed clothes. Always remember, it can,with work,get better.

Acceptance

Accepting that you have a mental illness can be very hard. I think it wasn’t until I had my third hospital stay did I stop using air quotes when talking about my bipolar with my therapist.

over 57.7 million Americans are diagnosed with some form of mental illness. These are just the ones over eighteen. We can’t forget about the kids because so many suffer with labels. Such as “bad” “troublemaker” “weird” when they too are suffering inside and need someone to recognize that. Anyway,as I was saying,I didn’t take to my diagnosis very kindly. I didn’t do anything to help myself.I drank.a lot. Slept irregularly, ate what ever I wanted and didn’t listen to the advice of those closest to me.in fact,I could be down right mean and nasty as a snake if I was offered advice that probably would’ve made me feel better. It so hard. You just don’t see it. The mood swing,irrational thoughts, slowly isolating yourself from people and that really helps the depression dig its claws in. That’s when the suicidal idealation starts and you just think everything and everyone would be better without you. My husband is like a hawk and I can’t thank him enough. I would actually be dead today if it weren’t for him so to say that he helps me survive this thing is an understatement . I suffer from the kind where you get about 95% depression and 5% mania. Boy when I’m depressed do I wish I was manic,at least things are fun then. I feel capable of doing them and I just know I’m going to succeed (grandiose ideas anyone!) !!!! But seriously living in either spectrum of this illness isn’t any fun and it takes such a long time to find a balance.

Sadly,not for the effort of millions,there is still a stigma surrounding mental illness. Heck,I haven’t even brought up this blog on my Facebook page yet because I’m scared.will people think I’m crazy,will they not let their kids have play dates at the house of that mum with the crazies going on in my head. There,I admitted it.Im scared to share with those who know me that I have bipolar and I shouldn’t be. I’ve told myself that I’m going to share by the end of the week so we shall see. I just hope people don’t treat me differently.

The reason that I started this blog was to share,so that others who also are afraid to talk about it,can read and know that they are not alone. Because YOU,yes you,you’re not alone. There’s always someone that can help. It’s just the asking that’s the hard part.

So anyway,I don’t use air quotes anymore!! I don’t drink anymore, in fact I think I’m coming up on my sixth month sober anniversary! I’m still trying to exercise as I know it will do me good but I’ve come along way from that angry,sad,hopeless feeling woman standing by the door begging to go home and that feels good.

There was once a girl

Now in my experience,anyone that doesn’t have experience with mental illness think of psychiatric hospitals like one flew over the cookoo’s nest.All stark white with bars and people running around shrieking scaring the living daylights out of anyone with their wits about them  (or not) The sad thing is,they are still not like regular hospitals that you are admitted to until you recover. Your worried family and friends visit,sit by your bedside holding your hand,bringing you flowers or grapes and telling you funny stories.No,sadly,it’s not like that at all. Where I went for all of my stays was pleasant,the beds were comfy,the people that worked there, nice (well,most of them)you had groups to go to and activities to go to BUT you were locked in and if you went near that door a nurse that was built like a brick shit house would start to walk towards you and you would run!!(or you wouldn’t,hilarious story to come!!)

I felt safe there but I didn’t want to be there and I wasn’t easy to deal with.They said I was having a mixed episode I believe( i’ll have to double check) I was sad,wanted to hurt myself but I was having racing thoughts and was very angry,nothing was right and nothing was the way I wanted it. I was worried because all of a sudden I had disappeared from my children’s lives.poof,there one minute,in the ER the next. what would they think,what did anyone think.Everyone would think I was crazy and stay away from me.It was a very sad time. I was there two weeks when I had finally had enough.I convinced my doctor that I felt fine,everything was great,yes I would go to outpatient and yet less than a week later I was back,again! Funny thing is,a lll of this happened around two years ago to this day.They say that its seasonal.When I saw my doctor the other day,he told me that the hospital was full of people with bipolar. Also the weird thing is,i’ve been feeling pretty darn good yet I wake up this morning feeling off,sensing the darkness creeping in around the edges of my brain.Today is a bloody horrible day,overcast,windy and cold. I busied myself up to now but I still feel off.

This post was supposed to be about a girl I met. A girl with obvious illness,but man was she funny. She took a liking to me,well up until the day I said “for god’s sake” and she took great offense.I should have guessed by the loud singing of the hail Mary that filled the corridors at night time!! She forgave me in the end when I realized and apologized! She did some funny assed things and I’ll tell you more another day.

Cheerio

Life today

Hey there,

I have been having a good two weeks.How about you? It has taken my doctor TWO years to find the right combination of meds that work for me.I remember taking that new pill that night and pleading to anyone up there,out there,to please give me back my life.Let me enjoy things again.Let me experience pleasure.Well someone was listening because when I woke up the next day I could tell something was different.Firstly,I got out of bed without spending twenty minutes willing myself to move my body and just get through the day. I have a high schooler and middle schooler among my brood so I have to be up early anyway which is not too pleasing in itself but at least my limbs were cooperating and moving. Then I realized that I wasn’t pissed off about nothing in particular,hmmmm something was going on here.Then I didn’t place my forehead down on the cold kitchen counter and tell myself “you can do this,you can do this,go get the kids up,you can do this”

I looked in the mirror,no sign of tears behind my eyes.I looked again.I wasn’t a slumped over mess of a mom that I had become used to being.I wanted to run around and shout “its working,it’s working” but I didn’t want to jinx myself. Give it a few more days I told myself as I hummed along whilst making packed lunches. Well its been over two weeks of that same morning.Granted,a few days I just couldn’t be arsed to get up but I didn’t feel as though something was pinning me down. I’ve laughed, experienced joy at things my kids have shown me.Got on better with my husband. I know that I’m not cured. there are 5.7 million adult Americans with bipolar and there is not a cure.I can only imagine if there was…….. The thing is,if you are reading this and you feel as though there isn’t hope.Don’t give up. I gave up once,another story for another time,but I’m so glad I’m here to say there is hope.

And tomorrow,I share some of the gory details and funny stories from my stay(s) in the psych ward. Until then,keep pushing your doctor,keep trying,keep going. You to can experience happiness again.I know you can.

Girl interrupted

So here I was,strapped to a gurney on the fun bus to the psych ward. Well,it wasn’t really a bus,it was an ambulance, and it wasn’t fun!!A $300 dollar ambulance ride!! can you believe it? I could have gone out on the town and took a limo back for a cheaper and more thrilling ride than that!

Just make it stop
Just make it stop

But something had to be done as I had lost all faith in myself. I didn’t mention before but along with the drinking,I was cutting myself. People look at you like you’ve got three heads when you tell them.I get it,its hard to wrap your head around but its also hard to explain.It lessened the pain that was running through my veins , making my chest feel as though it was full of tar and I couldn’t breathe.This let me breathe. I started to panic in the ambulance,I wouldn’t be able to use my vices in the hospital,what was I going to do?my coping was being interrupted,thrown off balance.I was going to die of the pain and sadness that filled my body.Every inch of it.I don’t remember if my husband came in the ambulance with me,I’ll have to ask him.I just remember the people being very kind and caring. As we pulled up to the door I started to cry,I just wanted to go home but yet I didn’t,I wanted help.I didn’t know what I wanted.My head was spinning.I decided that I wasn’t staying.I would talk to a doctor and then they would let me come home.Little did I know,it didn’t work like that. They lifted me out of the ambulance and the doors opened. I was about to start a chapter of my life that would change it forever and I wasn’t going to make  it easy on myself.