Truths…at least at one point or another.
Thank you, #NBC #ThisIsUs for handling mental health issues with honesty and sensitivity.
To name a few – Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, PTSD and Medication Dilemmas .
A friend who also “suffers” with Bipolar Disorder is tanking. Trouble with school, personal care, family, and so many opportunities for which she has worked. I know she will pull herself back up. She’s had to do it before. Most of us with this “disorder” do. But I’m infuriated and outraged. I hate Bipolar Disorder.
The hell of it is that tomorrow night, at this same time of 11:40 p.m., I could sit here and write that having had the disorder makes me a fighter, able to achieve, and offers blessings of unparalleled creativity and intelligence. Just give me time, and I’ll believe that again. I’ll “feel” it. It’s a lie. It’s all a big lie.
Bipolar is a liar. I could never articulate it better. Bipolar. Is. A Liar.
Speaking of my friend again, she’s quite successful and brilliant, but she doesn’t know that right now. I know that. I like to toss a saying around that I once found funny and have hung onto, and it’s a smart idea as well. “Surround yourself with people smarter than you.” That’s definitely the case with this friend, though she is leaps and bounds more than that. She’s warm, nurturing, caring and loving. But she falls down. We fall down. Sometimes it takes her a while to get back up, and sometimes sooner rather than later. But more often than not, the depression strike and anxiety spike, and we spiral down, we feel a tremendous hit.
A hit on self-confidence. A hit on beliefs. A hit on our physical selves and immune system. A hit on the love and energy we can give your friends and family. A hit on how you can care for your basic needs.
There are days, when we have to count – the brushing of teeth, the journey of walking from the bedroom to the living room, the task of grabbing some small something to eat, and possibly, though often not, the basic grooming and taking of a shower – count all of that, as a win for the day. There is no way to express what it takes in our minds to achieve even that some days. I wish I could describe it, but every minute seems like an entire day. Time. Moves. So. Slowly.
A brain screaming at you to move, to not move, to cry, to try, to smile, to die.
And next week, possibly a month, the frenzied energy and lack of control of mania visits. But if you don’t like it, hold on. It will change.
A happy medium, doctors and therapists call it stability, but honestly, that’s bullshit. In my experience, we aim for that, and if we get it for a week or two, it’s amazing.
My friend will get back up. I get back up. Then it’s wash, rinse, repeat. It goes on and on. Spin cycle. Roller coasters. Whatever.
I understand why people give up and actively commit suicide or passively allow it. The fact that I know this will be my existence until the day I die is exhausting and horrifying. But I’m expected to be a good mother, wife, daughter, friend, animal lover, wanna-be volunteer, blah, blah. I understand the overwhelming point people get to when they say, I cannot take this fight another day. I cannot. It just has to stop. This ingenious, lying disease has beaten me, and I’m fine with that, just want it gone.
I want to be gone. Knowing it will never stop. I will never be free.
But, there are things that still stop me, thank goodness. The roles I mentioned above, because I do love being those things when I can do so. And friends who know this torturing bastard disorder with hands outreached to hold mine, and me hold theirs, when we are feeling overburdened and unable to move.
That’s how I know my friend will be okay, even though she is beyond any type of description of hurting that I can relay, because we’ll help each other get up, and move, and survive
…even if sometimes that’s not at all what we want.
So, my friend is moving back to Texas. She will still live five or six hours from where I’m living, but I’ll still be able to see her more often. This is wonderful, because this person is family. She helped me through so many good times and bad. She was a friend when I hardly had any, due to my family situation at home. She knew that my step-father was, at best, rude and crude, and at worst, violent. Yet she still came to my home. Years later she would help me move my belongings cross-country because my hideous ex-husband threw all of my things out on the lawn and had moved on with another woman. I can tell you for certain I would NOT have survived that incident without her. There are many memories and lessons learned and even a few tough times she and I had to work our way through so as to keep our friendship. I’m so lucky she’s been in my life whatsoever, and I hope I’ve helped her just as much.
This caused me to think about several things, but mostly that I don’t have many relationships of any sort in my life right now, and that’s mostly because I’m not putting myself out there. I’m not trying.
The point of this is to say, I’m so happy she’ll be back soon. It got me to thinking about things that make Bipolar bearable. Straight away, these are the things that first come to mind. Things that can lead me, inspire me, help me remember…whatever I need to start moving. An emotional move that needs to take place. Emotional efforts. Emotional chances. Sometimes, I believe I fall into not taking on these emotional issues because I want to remain steady and not rock the boat. Not feel any new pain, any new hurts. But the not putting myself out there, the lack of trying, is actually helping the Bipolar defeat me, and I will not accept that.
So what helps me? What drives me? What is realistic? What is not? Can I set up proper time management. Do I have a Plan B. I was taught that by a therapist over and over. Always have a Plan B. (Sometimes, I have a C.)
What is important and healthy for me?
God, good friends, family, writing, listening to music, dancing around for a few minutes in a locked room with only the cat to watch me and think of me as foolish, previously mentioned cat, art, books, learning, nature, people to discuss books with and attending Bible studies. How can I incorporate some of this into my life, because I’ve figured out that without planning or meaning to, I’ve become mostly isolated. Thus, it’s time to go to work.
These are things I have planned. If I don’t manage all of them, I’m not going to call it failing. Rather, if I accomplish some of this, I’ll put a huge check mark in the win column. Joining a book club, finding a church that has an evening service (because I sleep so little it’s hard for me to make morning church services) volunteering for CASA and going back to school with hybrid/online classes. I’ve got to be around people, and I must use my mind.
Additionally, I must feel emotions. Feelings that don’t come just because of how my brain chemistry works that day, but out-in-the-world, real-life feelings. Even if there are a few bad feelings with the good. I’ve got to live a life. I must learn to navigate and build friendships, and fall on my face, and attend class on a day when I feel like hell.
I’ve got to live a life. Otherwise, even if I feel somewhat stable, it’s a stability I feel while shut away from the world. No. Just no.
What gets you going? Is there something you need to do? Are you living a full life, according to your terms? Are you struggling with any of this? Found things that help? Advice or feedback?
Would ALWAYS love to hear from you guys.
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.