Hold. On. Pain. Ends.
(Accurate description of anxiety felt with Bipolar Disorder, in my humble opinion and experience.)
Here’s a thing about my Bipolar. Sometimes “difficult” times are beyond difficult, beyond dark. They are black. Though it’s not popular to say in most crowds, sometimes I would like to disappear in that blackness, that dark secret release, wash away in the current of a beautifully obscure river.
Just fade to black.
So instead, I’ve gotta cry. Find a different release for the time being.
Cries because of stress-induced migraines, sick with a virus for almost two weeks, not knowing where I’m going to be living, sleeping for a while and then nothing at all for days, chronic-physical pain that often makes me think I cannot go an inch further…not one step further…not one moment further.
The river. The black. The peace. The quiet, save the gentle sloshing of the water. All on hold.
I am not yet going home. I cry. I sob. I wail. I scream into the pillow. I beat that pillow when I see every single thing wrong splattered across that fluff.
Eventually, I feel better. I know it will come, even during the bad times, which is why I float, but do not allow myself to drown.
There is help.
There is love. There is kindness. There is empathy. There are those who care. There are those who have been where you are right now. Just reach out. Just talk. Just believe you are important. Just believe you have the right to be happy. Just know you make others happy.
Just know you matter.
Last night, I had an extremely heightened, loud, dramatic and exhaustive argument with my mother. My mother lives with us, so there was no home to which I could retreat and decompress. No respite. For a while after, like a 2-3 hours kind of while, I sat stunned. Staring. A lot was brought up and said during that argument, mostly by me, but my mother has never been one to talk much, whether she has negative or positive things to say. Mostly negative, though. Count on that. She feels I have been wasting her money, as I have been taking care of all accounts, bills, insurance and doctor payments, etc while she was away with surgery and rehab. She also does not (or won’t?) recognize the physical and emotional toll that her return from the hospital has had on me (and lack of following through with her physical therapy program and gaining strength and independence). She actually asked me, “Well, what do you do for me?” I heard an audible gasp from my son, who was unfortunately in the kitchen, while this loud disagreement was going on in the living room. I told her I’d write her a list. (Currently, it’s two pages long.) I explained to her the system I had in place for using her money, and the why behind it. The reasons for the financial plan in place. It is simply taking care of her future should she need to go back to a rehab or nursing home. It’s long and sorted and not really the point. Just kind of setting the stage for you.
The other part of that is that I lost control and yelled. I mean, I yelled loud and hard about things from the past, and some current day. To me, they still have much to do with one another. I yelled about feeling I’ve never truly been valued by her, that she always told me how to do it better (if I was lucky) or, more likely, how and why I was just plain wrong. I brought up a step-father who was quite abusive and liked to show off his guns, often pointed in the face. So many things burst through some sort of compartmentalized type box.
That explosion has ravaged my mind and body today. Anxiety is through the roof.
Depression, right along side it. I’ve had a fibromyalgia flare-up. Arthritis is more symptomatic today. My feet hurt (braces for each are due in about a month – feet and leg – due to tendinitis and other issues that came about from pushing my mother in the wheelchair). They ache, and it is proving difficult to walk. My lower lumbar fused back is on fire and stabbing. My head is about to take me down, with its clustered migraine.
This is what angers me the most. Stress leading to chronic pain becoming so severe I can hardly breathe when trying to move. I’m going to set up a time to speak with my therapist soon. This cannot continue, or I will not make it to 50 without several more visits to mental hospitals and ending up in a wheelchair myself. I’m 40 years old now. I’m so tired.
Next entry, I’m going to discuss and ask for ideas on how to prevent this cycle, or at least effectively treat it and not be down and out so long.
Hi, my name is Jen, and I thank you for stopping by and having a look. I’m sure I’ll get better at navigating all of this and have a more striking looking blog and site. I’m sure I’ll learn to better relay and organize my train for thought. Bear with me, please. Patience, please, and loads of thanks ahead of time!
So, allow me to tell you about the Three Faces of Jen.
We have depressed Jennifer. We have manic Jen, which mostly manifests itself as irritability and rage. (Only occasionally do I feel giddiness with my mania. Lucky me, lucky family.) The third version of myself is the ultimate goal. This person can be absent for days, weeks or months. The one who is supposed to govern these other two trouble-makers and maintain stability. That’s tricky.
Tricky because I’m dealing with chemical malfunctions in the brain, folks. Tricky because I also have several physical issues, which are really struggles, but “issues” sounds better, right? Comorbidity, they call it. (They? Who is they? I think it was some doctors and fellow Bipolar peeps who first told me about that.) Basically, mental health issues and chronic pain issues, in my case, are running buddies. (So thrilled for them.) Also tricky to govern because of possible medication interactions. Fun stuff too like hyperthyroid that, when is overly hyper, is extremely problematic and mirrors anxiety and paranoia. I got thrown in what I lovingly refer to as the prison nut hut due to a hyperthyroid foul up. (I call it prison nut hut not because I was in prison, mind you. Because the staff there treated the patients as if we were indeed in prison instead of checking in on our own for help. Later entries about that to come.) Point is, it’s a tricky son-of-a-gun to manage. For one to maintain stability, level-headedness and middle of the road…tricky.
The efforts alone are exhausting. Manage meds correctly. Grounding work. Calming music. Distraction activities when they can be helpful, but not an excuse to avoid difficult things that need to be done. Prioritizing. Small steps. Exercising…but wait, my feet and shins/calves are now in braces, my lower lumbar is fused, have fibromyalgia, and knees are experiencing arthritic pain and changes due to everything else falling apart. Like freakin dominoes. So, I do what I can. Mainly stretches and stomach crunches. (Did you know you can do stomach crunches while sitting on your couch?) I journal…sometimes. I talk to friends – those with and without Bipolar. I take care of my 17 year old son, who also has Bipolar, by the way. I try to manager all of that, plus so much more, and if I pull it off, Governing-Face-Three, that I am, can help me along to stability, without flatness, without apathy (not giving a crap about anything) but instead, walking a straight line in hopes that I’ll find one or two things along the way that bring happiness, or maybe even a smile.
Some days, I do “settle” for contentment, but let me tell you, contentment can be a saving grace. And if there are days when I just get out of bed, brush my teeth, take out the trash, and pick up my kid from school, that’s a HUGE WIN. What do I mean “if?” When. When there are those days… I’ve learned to accept that. I’ve learned to put the so-called star on the chart and go to bed.
I will hopefully sleep, and if I’m really lucky, it will be before 3am. Maybe it will even be restorative. Then, tomorrow, I start all over.
You wouldn’t even want to read all of that again, would you? (Don’t worry, I’m not offended.) I wouldn’t want to type it again, either. Imagine living it each day, never knowing which of the three I’ll first encounter when I wake.
I guess that’s it for now. Here at the beginning, my goal is to discuss when I get it right, and how to improve when I get it wrong. I hope to talk to people, and LISTEN to people, and maybe answer questions. The STIGMA must be ANNIHILATED! Suicide must be seen as a permanent solution to what is truly a temporary problem. It should never be viewed as a coping mechanism and final act to end the pain. That pain will only be doubled and passed on to those after you. I hope to post during my good days, bad days and everything in between.
Peace out, folks.
With Love, Hugs, Prayers. Hope. Always Hope. Always Dream. Just Try.