The sucky anniversaries

I have dates this week with reminders of loss and heartache. The reason I found my positivity was forced—I stopped believing. I have lost pieces of my foundation. I will learn to stand on my own, and to live once more.

It always surprised him when he thought of it later that he did not sink under the load of despair.” ― Chinua Achebe

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how many times can I repeat a topic?

This is what is in my head today.

I took a little hiatus from bi-monthly trips to my therapist. I believed I had enough tools to meet my challenges, and I did, until I recognized another underlying trigger for me.

Change.

Yeah, I think I’ve blogged about this before.

My therapist likes to remind me that my feelings have validity when I brush off what I find absurd. Everybody eventually loses a loved one. People relocate. Children leave home. Children return home. Our bodies change. I think I’m trying to bury what I don’t want to deal with.

Yeah, ignore it and it will go away, is not working for me. :D

I know why I fear change. I had too much of it at once. Now, every time something changes, no matter how big or small, I start fearing the feeling of heartache, despair, and loss. I retreat inside of myself. I’m no longer confident. I find it harder to find hope. I’m just one step away from the world of nothing.

I’ve become a shell of my former self. I look at photos of my younger selves, and I can see my personality in those photos. I’m not talking about photos from my teenage or young adult life, but the person I was up until — about 2 years ago?

In the last eight years, I have allowed setbacks, change, and losses to chip away at me. Little piece by little piece. I’ve become one—one of those in the garden of Ursula’s merfolk.

I made a bargain with my self confidence, and I was unable to hold up my end of the bargain, thus becoming a polyp.  — and another :D

Little-mermaid-disneyscreencaps.com-4570Here is a photo for you who have not had the pleasure of watching Disney’s Little Mermaid about a thousand times.

However, I haven’t given up. I realize how far I still have to go, and that makes me a little sad, but not beaten. I have also come a long way.

The best lesson I have learned on my road to managing and recovery, is that I can’t give so much power to the thought(s) which bring me down. I can recognize that they are there, but I need to recall the moments I was stronger and more confident.

It’s important to remember that we survive, and not focus on battle before the victory.

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living in a virtual bubble

You know that huge bowl of ice cream which tests your ability to deny temptation?

I know that I have a choice whether to stick to a healthy eating plan, or to ignore the commitment I’ve made to myself, and eat that stinkin’ ice cream.

That’s the easy part of life.

The difficult, screwy part for me, is the confusion I create when I really want to participate in something, but I really don’t want to either.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

It makes me cry.

It makes no sense.

Oh, I can create many excuses to avoid doing something, but not a one of them are the truth.

The truth is that I stand in my own way.

I move along with one leg out, just to make sure I trip myself up. Is it intentional? No.

Do I have control over it? Possibly.

But right now…this moment…I’m overwhelmed, and I fear the fear.

I’ll get over the fear.

I will still want to participate, but not want to either.

And someday, I will conquer that as well.

 

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When I Started Blogging…..

This blog post is breaking my personal commitment to say what I want, with as few words as possible

Catchy tittle, and I’m positive that I’m luring in a bunch of new followers. (sarcasm is my intent here)

When I started blogging on August 6, 2010 on blogger, I did so through the encouragement of my daughter. I blogged sporadically until May 4, 2011. My follower was my daughter. My content was about grief, the life-changes of my kids graduating from high school and moving on with their college years, and the difficulty of parenting a budding teenager who was a smooth talker, which forced me to think faster than he could.

After the death of my grandpa, brother, grandma, dad, and a 4-legged child in an 8-month time frame, I was receiving a thorough lesson about grief. To make it through, I made a mental note of things that made life worth living. In other words, I found a moment each day to be. To soak in my surroundings. Eventually, I found peace…well, for the most part. Instead of thinking about my loss, I celebrated their lives and how they enriched my life, and continue to do so.

Again, at the suggestion of my daughter, I switched to WordPress. My first post was June 6, 2011. It’s not there anymore because I have been archiving my posts as a snooze-fest-present to my kids for when they get old and can’t sleep. The theme of my new blog was to find something each day that made life worth living.

When I began on WordPress, it was 6 days after learning I had lung cancer, and the surgery to remove it. I was in more pain than I could tolerate, I was agitated by the pain medication, I was sure my lung was going to collapse, and I was in a huge pit of depression.

Depression wasn’t exactly new to me, but the depth of this episode, took my breath away. I wanted it to take my breath away.

So…when I started blogging on WordPress, I decided to find something worthy of breathing each day, and blog about it. Something beautiful or funny. It helped me work through the grief, I thought it could help me work through the shock, depression, and anxiety I was facing.

As I was archiving my older posts, I read articles which seemed forced. Not my genuine self. But I kept trying to be positive. All the while, I had anxiety eating away at my confidence.

Then I got rather furious regarding the media reporting the sensational stories of the untreated mentally ill who go on killing sprees. These people were the face of depression/mental illness.

Oh, how incorrect that is. The face of mental illness doesn’t look the same on every face. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all. We look normal, we try to act as normal as possible, and most are successful at hiding their illness. People who carry on with as normal a life as possible.

When my sister died a year and a half ago, I hit an even deeper — actually it was bottomless — pit. I finally decided to fight for my life instead of giving up. I wanted to give up, but something inside me wanted stability more.

So…..please, to anyone who thinks I lounge around all day, every day, feeling hopeless–because that is what I’m writing about–that isn’t the case. I have my weeks where I have to fight a little harder, but I have found things to laugh, to enjoy, to love. I think I need to write more about those things so that y’all know that I’m normal, and I’m not depressed every day of the year. I’m learning to manage my illness, and I’m not doing so bad.

My explanations flow through my written words far better than my spoken words. Mainly because I can edit. When I have to speak, I forget half of what I’m saying, and if someone doesn’t ask me to clarify, they are misled by some form of brain fart on my part.

I eventually found that I have stalkers followers on WordPress. :D

Actually, I was a bit shocked when I received my first true follower not related to me, or a fellow blogger trying to get me to make money off my blog, by following their steps.

I lost my way and focused more on the negative part of my poor-pitiful story. Yes, I have been through a lot. Some people have been through more than I have. We live in spite of our disabilities.

I wanted to show the face of the majority of the mentally ill. I wanted to let others know they aren’t struggling alone, and that there isn’t anything to be ashamed of. I’m still convincing myself that I shouldn’t be ashamed.

But mostly, I have written many posts to one person. Well, two—one of them is myself.

The most beautiful thing that I have gained through this entire experience—the changes, the loss, the set backs—I have learned who I am and what I’m capable of. I’m not that bad. The main issue I have the most difficulty with, is feeling as if I’m letting someone down.

Even though I will have to live my life struggling to manage my illness, I know what to do. I will no longer fight the medications–even though I hate them–or the advice of my doctors. Their course work of How to Torture Your Patients 101 was for a reason. Some haven’t been a good fit for me, so I found another.

I would love to make mental health less stigmatized. I deeply wish that the help needed was affordable, and available to all who require it.

My voice may only be one, but I hope to one, it makes a difference. Either to a person living with another suffering from mental illness, or a sufferer who feels alone.

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Things You Didn’t Know You Needed Thursdays

I had a difficult time finding some sarcastic humor this week. It was a toss up.

scream-absorbing-vase-thumb

Because I feel like screaming, this seemed appropriate. Maybe it could replace screaming into my pillow.

Again, it is available to purchase through Amazon. One of the reviews – the only review – said it works to quell the sounds coming from the other end as well–no claim made for reducing odor.

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I also thought that this may make some of you chuckle.

Little pills filled with flakes of gold to make your poop sparkle.

Seriously, who doesn’t want to poop gold?

This link describes the history behind these pills, priced at a measly $425.00.

However, the item is temporarily unavailable.

Happy Thursday!

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the negative to your positive

Ha! That hiatus lasted a long time didn’t it? Seriously, I’m dilly dallying, but eventually, I will have to get dressed.

I can imagine what it must be like for a person who lives with someone diagnosed with a mental illness—and continue to enjoy their living situation.  I can imagine it, because I can hardly stand living with myself.

All the questions asked…

-what happened this time?

-what’s wrong with you?

-why don’t you want to eat?

-did someone say something to you?

-did something happen?

-a little grumpy today?

All the many questions asked…

…..I ask myself.

I don’t know why my mind has relocated to the dark side. Is it a weakness, or just a part of me I’m still learning to manage? I question why I’m acting a certain way when I logically know it’s not the way I want to act. Why can’t I just be okay?

Fighting is tiring.

There are days…….

I fight to get out of bed, to do something productive, to care for myself, to like myself, to hide my feelings from others, to avoid isolating myself, and when I do—I beat myself up for doing it.

I fight to care, to hope, to feel, to avoid letting anyone down.

I fight to think, to hold back tears, to keep from screaming, to stuff down the anxiety which cancer brought into our lives, to stay grounded and not run.

Sometimes, those days turn into weeks, or months…and I fight to move through the muck.

I’m fighting, and it exhausts me.

 

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the woman in the moon

Nope. My sense of humor isn’t here, but the moon will always remind me of lying on lawn chairs in the back yard, looking at the moon with my dad. He would point out the stars and try to teach me the names of the constellations. I only remember the big and little dipper. :/ Not for his lack of trying, more of my lack of attention.

But the moon was a wonder to him. He kept many of the Seattle newspapers of front page events happening in our world. The moon landing was one of them—I have the paper—hopefully stashed along with the others he kept, in an acid free box.

I’m learning to cope with change to keep above the stability line. (by the way, that is my description of it–the line which I dip below isn’t really how the professionals refer to sliding down the fragile slope of depression)

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The one thing which doesn’t change–the moon. It may change shapes, but it’s always there.

I spent the better part of yesterday in my bed, reading blogs.

 

I know this is a Super Moon, and thanks for the lack of pesky cloud cover, I was able to take a photo of it.  We stepped into the middle of the street—me, barefoot and in my jammies, my husband playing the part of gear caddie—we had to wait for the camera to adjust to the humidity, and for me to remember which settings were required to shoot the moon—but it was worth getting out of bed for.

Thanks Dad, for reminding me what is truly important.

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While Researching Bipolar Disorder…..

No, this isn’t going to be a boo-hoo post.

I’m trying to recognize what drags me down, and redirect my focus.

Right now, all I want to do is whine, which makes for a poor post.

I shall take a wee hiatus while I’m pulling myself together. I have many wonderful blogs to catch up on because I have been reading, and shoving all kinds of information into my memory storage about mental illness and coping. The hard part, is that I have to read again, what I thought was stored, but find it has oddly vanished.

By the way, I have come across some very informative blogs and articles regarding depression and bipolar disorder. Even though I suffer, I understand more about the monster I’m dealing with.

One thing I know, when I have to deal with the below the line mental status—the line that dips into depression side—my sense of humor takes a hiatus, and I must go in search of it. Now, I must also focus on not letting the depression take over, while searching for my sense of humor.

Exhausting.

 

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What’s Your Favorite Gadget?

I have a new goal.

To say what I want to say, without out writing a poorly developed novella.

We watched a show about the 101 Gadgets That Changed the World. The decisions were made by the magazine, Popular Mechanics. I have to say that some of the items they placed more importance over another, were a bit surprising–but they had their reasons. However, my little Leatherman tool made it to number 47. It beat out the Swiss Army Knife.

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This little gem I shared before, which I don’t leave home without—well, this and my purple rabbit’s foot–which I’m choosing to believe is a fake foot. The rabbit foot didn’t make the list.

 

I found it amusing that the bra was on the list, because I never viewed one as a gadget, but it was number 93, in between the picnic cooler and the blender. I suppose the bra was a bit more comfortable than the dreadful corset. But a gadget? Maybe they should have used the term inventions.

The cassette tape recorder came in at number 56. The smell of a tape recorder was unique. My sisters and I delighted in placing one near my mom when she had company so that we could record their conversations. eye roll Adult conversations were boring.

But the smell of the tape recorder was a smell I will always remember, and to my knowledge, nothing else smells like one.

Fun show to watch, even though we never made it to number one, and I was sad that my other must-have gadget – duct tape – was 101. I Googled the list, and my suspicion that the cell phone would be number one, was correct.

There—less words, and better than the words I wanted to start with, because I was overwhelmed by my morning routine—again.

Now…I get to go mess with a tape measure….number 66 on the list.

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For Shame, for shame

The story I’m about to tell, contains stereotypes. Just a warning.

Last night, around 10:30 pm, Sensible Girlfriend said she was going to drive herself to the emergency room because she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to wait until Monday. At least that was what I assumed. I wouldn’t have any of that nonsense of her driving herself, and decided to take her. I waited with her until her parents could make it there, or for The Wee One to get off work.

We actually live in a melting pot type of area. Because Atlanta has several mega corporations with their headquarters in the city, there are residents from many different states. Mostly, Yankees. It’s rare to actually meet a native of the area….until visiting the next county over.

The next county over is Redneck area. Hillbilly-Redneck. The people who believe that pajamas are appropriate attire everywhere they go, the type of men who always have one strap to their bib-overalls unbuttoned and hanging, they have few teeth, drive beat up pick-ups, and drag along a passel of kids. You know, the Git ‘er Done type.

Not to be confused with Good Ol’ Boys–the kind you love to take home to the parents because – well – they’re Good Ol’ Boys. Hillbilly-Rednecks are troublemakers.

Just as one would expect in most hospital emergency rooms, the place was mostly crowded—this one just happened to be filled with hillbilly-rednecks.

One man sitting a few chairs over from me had a bandaged hand and was talking to himself and singing. My first thought was that he must have broken his drinking hand because he was not all there. There was another group way across the room, consisting of an older lady, another woman, and a man who also appeared to be not all there.

As any self-respecting hillbilly-redneck would do, they challenged one another to see which one was the bigger man. The group, and the bandaged man, weren’t even having any sort of conversation with each other, until the foul language started to fly. Apparently, I missed something because it came out of nowhere.

The man across the room said something about taking it outside. The scrawny one with the bandaged hand stood up with his chest puffed out, all scary like. The next thing we knew, they were heading for the door. The kind of door that one has to stand in front of, push a button, and wait for the doors to slowly open.

The tension was building.

At this point, the bandaged-hand man was swinging his hand above his head, and the other man from across the room had pulled his shirt off — as if that made him a meaner hillbilly-redneck. They were in position to duke it out, but had to wait for the doors to open.

Security came and broke it up. The party across the room decided to take their business to the other county because the service was better. I had a little chuckle over that one because I’ve been to the other county’s ER, and it is b-u-s-y…..and s-l-o-w.

The hillbilly-redneck with the bandaged hand came back in with his woman. He continued to sling foul words, until a pleasant woman pointed out that we all shouldn’t have to listen to his type of language. Finally, the hospital staff carted him off to a room in order to give the rest of us the pleasurable experience that only a hospital ER can provide.

During this entire time, we were sitting across from a lady who was obviously not all there. She appeared as old as I am, if not older. Who knows…she could have been 10-years younger. She was the female version blessed with no teeth.

She had a cervical collar around her neck, and her man was her necessary strap to keep her from slipping out of her chair. She was happily carrying on with her Hello Kitty cell phone, until she decided to cry.  At first I wrote her off as a drunk, or strung out on drugs. Then I heard her man ask if she had taken her medications earlier.

oh

The crazy woman with bipolar disease – that would be me – was passing judgement on another, who may have had a mental illness as well.

I take my diagnosis seriously. I take my medications as directed. I follow through with all homework assigned by my therapist–well most of it. I work hard for stable mental health. But I also never take myself seriously. I’m sarcastic, and I find humor, sometimes at inappropriate moments. I’m not rude about it, but I find humor where I shouldn’t be finding it.

I don’t know which is more sad. My thinking that the woman was a crack-head, or my thinking she was schizo or bipolar, of all things <insert sarcasm here>

Yes, next time I’m somewhere sitting near a person who is acting bizarre, I won’t assume they are on some form of mind altering substance. Maybe they need mental assistance, and their behavior isn’t within their control at the moment.

However—I still believe that hillbilly-rednecks are troublemakers. They prove it over and over.

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