Goodbye Friend xo

I need to say something more than what I’ve said here, or express it more eloquently, but I just can’t right now.

I lost a friend of 10 years.

I met her through an online support group, as she and I both have Bipolar Disorder. Today, I’ve just found out she died while sleeping on August 15, 2017. There was no immediate, obvious answer why, so more testing is being done to figure out the cause of death.

She had attempted suicide at least three times prior that I know of, and apparently was drinking some again recently, constantly struggling with sobriety. That, mixed with her medication, and maybe she accidentally took a bad combo. She also seemed to be physically ill quite a lot, often times doctors couldn’t give reasons why. She and I bonded over that pain as well.

My hope and prayer is she fell asleep peacefully and went on to life after hers here on earth and is no longer hurting. You can call it struggle, or something in need of management, several terms and descriptions, but bottom line, she was hurting.

That’s the only good thing…she is not hurting now.

But I’m disappointed in myself because I had to detach myself from my friend in this past couple of years because we mirrored each other so much, and I felt we often brought each other down even further than we had been feeling when we’d first begun a chat. And I was worried she would eventually succeed with suicidal attempts and felt I couldn’t handle it. That sounds so selfish. I made it a point to speak and catch up every few months, and send cards on holidays, etc. But I feel I let her down.

I’m just shattered. Actually, not the final result of being shattered, but the cracking, splintering, ripping parts that combine as a whole to register you down and out…shattered.

She was caring, loving, generous, and loved her cat Millie. She encouraged many people on the online support group, even when she felt low. And she could be wickedly funny. I’m going to post a photo of Millie. I don’t want to post a photo of my friend without family consent. I never even met my friend in person, as she lives on the other side of the world.

Lived. 

Reach out, folks. Either ask, “Do you need help? How can I help you?” Or reach out and say, “Please, I need help.”

Hug and love the people in your lives, guys.

My long-time friend, R, I pray you are dancing in delight, and am glad you’re relieved of the burden.

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Much love, strength and “peach.” (Inside joke.) But I certainly wish you peace along with the “peach.” I will smile when thinking of you. 💙💙💙

 

 

Forgive, Live and Love

I’ve been thinking and praying.

To start with, I feel like I am a funny, intelligent, loyal, decent human being. I feel like I’m a good mom and wife, though I know that like most of us, I could improve. I’m a good friend. I think I’m a good daughter, even though that’s been a long, rocky relationship.

That word I just used, though. “Rocky.” I was thinking tonight and wondering why I have a few of those rocky relationships that don’t seem to get resolved over time. Problems begin that are not necessarily huge, outlandish arguments that completely sever ties, but are powerful enough to cause a lot of mixed emotions that just compound over time. We go along weary of saying something wrong to each other and causing hurt feelings, but then because we’re not talking, our feelings are hurt in that way.

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I think what I’ve figured out is this. I don’t kindly, yet firmly, insist that when the initial problem arises, that is fully and completely settled then and there. Now of course, not 100% of a misunderstandings will be settled and put to bed at the immediate onset. Time is needed to think and settle, and both parties have to be willing to sit down and speak to one another from the heart. Instead of years worth of misunderstandings, avoiding the other, blaming the other, and/or blaming myself, it is my hope in the future to settle things early on, instead of trying to just get out of dodge when it first comes up, with mixed emotions flying all around me, and nothing truly being put to bed with peace and forgiveness found.

In the beginning, when I try to duck and hide, I say some stuff I want to say, though probably not in the best manner, and honestly afterward, I more often than not run away. There is no closure.

Now, I am a big believer in how receptive the person on the other end of the line is, depending on what I choose to say and how I choose to say it. However, if things aren’t settled sooner rather than later, bad memories/thoughts come to the surface any old time they want to, and I experience the same sadness I did when it all first took place.

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I need to put my heart on the line in the beginning, ask how I can better our relationship, and share what I need as well. I need to discuss and sort, with respect to what each person can handle at that time, and feel forgiven and that I’ve forgiven them, and that we’re still loving family and friends and are moving forward.

Happily.

Peacefully.

Lovingly.

Because I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel uneasy and sad. I want things to be better. I want to do better, and I want others to treat me in the same way. However, over time, if I try to chip away at it with gestures that are not reciprocated or misread, it causes even more pain, and honestly, things get all jumbled up like a ball of yarn you’re trying to roll back into place after the cat destroyed it. Sometimes you give up on that yarn and trash it.

I need to settle up at the beginning, so to speak, and put it to an end. I need to respect my boundaries and those of others, but I cannot go on dragging things out over long periods of time, all the while feeling angry, unloved, undervalued, insignificant, and somehow making the other party feel hurt, followed by a brief time of peace, and then boom!!! we are back where we started.

I need to say and do what I need to say and do in the beginning, because after all, I believe that most people want to get along with others and love them. I believe most people have good hearts and that they do the best they can with what they know at the time. I believe people can misread each other, that folks have bad days, and that as I misunderstand them, they misunderstand me. When I mentioned above that at times I feel anger…come on folks, really and truly, what is anger at its core?

Pain.

Hurt.

 

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I believe if all involved would try to remember these things and just speak from their heart with honesty and without pointing out blame on the other side (the other person) that there could be such peace and love instead of confusion and heartbreak. Most importantly, even if the other person doesn’t do, think, and feel as I just mentioned, as long as I act and love in that way, at least I can know I tried. Maybe later down imaginary roads, forgiveness and peace can be found. Time runs out so fast, though. So fast.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and I lost my dad about 25 years ago. So yeah I know, my sisters know, my stepmom knows, that time runs out so fast. And when that time runs out, I don’t want anything left unsaid, and I don’t want someone wondering if I loved them, or not. I do. I really do care for the people in my life. I just hurt, and that blasted pain gets in the way. Happens to most of us, I assume.

I hope to forgive and be forgiven. In the end, it is truly that simple. Maybe I’ll get my courage up to make a phone call or two tomorrow.

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Three Faces of Jen

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.

~Jen