Thursday, June 30, 2011

wow...couldn't have said it better myself!

I have been feeling really good...thank God...

I daresay I have been the most "normal" than I have felt...ever!!

That said, I came across this article and I thought it very relevant.

It was just a little over six years ago that I hit rock bottom. It was a mixed state of mania and depression, coupled with extreme stress, that nearly killed me. I am grateful that I survived. The article discusses the author's struggle with Bipolar Disorder when experiencing the "mixed state" and it made me feel a little better because I didn't realize others experience it. It is like being tied to the railroad tracks, with the train barreling down on you, during a tornado.

I am just glad I have learned coping strategies to weather the storm!

Life is good!

Happy Independence Day weekend everyone!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Walmart of Restaurants

Old Country Buffet is not only a feast for the body, it is a people watcher's dream.

Cheap entertainment, my friends...

If you ever wondered where the people of Walmart dine, you need not look further.

We sit and giggle through our entire meal.

It occurred to me that perhaps others are looking at us, too. Then I remembered that if they were, it's just 'cus they are jealous because we are so awesome!


Today it was the person who resembled Jabba the Hut. We could not tell if it was male or female. Seriously, but it could sure put it away...

My husband refers to these people as "Professionals".

Yep. We are definitely going to Hell...but the trip there will be a blast!!

Sometimes we see celebrity look-alikes.

Today it was a really skinny woman...I mean skin and bones skinny...we decided she was a dead ringer for Achmed the Terrorist. We loved it when she washed her hands in the water fountain on the beverage bar. Seriously, it was too far to go to the bathroom to do that?

Then we tried to decide who was going to take their shower in the water fountain next, just to get a reaction. Turns out, none of us did...but can you just imagine the looks on peoples faces if one of us did?!

What can I say? We find fun in simple things!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

that's not rain, it's just extra humidity...

Rain, rain, go away!

Amazingly enough, in spite of the rain and gloomy weather--my moods have improved. The clouds lifted in my head. Thank God.

I didn't even go to the psychiatrist.

(Score one for me!)

One whole year of college is in the books, and I am enjoying the time off until August. Not that it really feels like time off with kids needing to be driven to and from school, and here and there--and everywhere! I truly believe I am even busier now than I was, but the pressure is off. Ahhhhhh.....the kids will be out of school pretty soon too...

(insert sigh here!)

Looking ahead, to next semester--I will have a harder class load than I have had yet.
I have to remember to say "no" when people want me to do extra stuff.
I am not even sure if I will be able to work this fall...

Perhaps I shouldn't fret over these things at the moment, because if I think about it too much the anxiety will rear it's ugly head and right now I am feeling pretty mellow overall.

Life is good!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On Chemical Attitude Adjustments...

It has been exactly a month since I posted last.

In that past month, the sun has been out maybe twice. Okay, that's an exaggeration.
(And if I told you once, I've told you a million times never to exaggerate!)

Yeah, I had to say it...


Because it is spring and one one informed Mother Nature of that fact, I have been struggling with the moods.

I tend to struggle with the moods in the spring, anyway, but this spring has been doing a number on me.

Changes affect me as well--starting a new job, crunch time at the end of the semester for school.

I have been considering contacting the shrink's office to see about a chemical attitude adjustment.

The thing about medication: it may work to even out the moods, but it may erase the personality right along with it. It may even me out flat. I have been there before and that is more scary to me than waiting out the blues of the downside of the disorder.

On the bright side, I am not doing anything dangerous or compulsive, my financial situation is good, and my grades are hanging in there at A's and B's in spite of feeling like a big hand is pushing me down.

Most people don't understand it when I am struggling, either. My own husband almost takes it personally, and I know he doesn't mean to. He just doesn't know how it feels. Feeling alone does not help. :(

I ditched my Biology class tonight because I get anxious when the moods shift. There was no way I could have sat still in a classroom tonight. I will get my assignments in--it is a hybrid internet/classroom class. No worries there.

Hey, at least I am recognizing the mood shifts. That has to count for something, and must mean that I am not completely crazy. In fact, I dare say it's sorta healthy that I understand what is going on.

Go figure.

Please excuse me while I go lie on the picnic table and soak up some sun...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nothing too profound...

Well my fortieth birthday came and went a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say it was pretty nice. It didn't hurt as much as I expected, except for falling off of my tall shoes and pulling my quadriceps!

I am now working on diet and exercise. I have two 5k run/walks to do in the next two months. One is the "practice" 5k for the Girls on the Run, and the other is the "real" 5k. I know I can walk them both with a respectable time, but I would like to run and not hold my child/running buddy back.

I am busy making all sorts of goals.

I officially and regretfully weigh 266 lbs. I would love LOVE love to be under 200lbs for my cousin Melissa's wedding on September 2nd, but even if I am not--any and all fitness and weight loss is a success. I will not beat myself up for being human.

I want to find my inner hottie and let her out.
I want to look okay in a bathing suit. I don't have to look sexy, just not like the blob.
I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I used to be.
I want to live to see my children graduate high school and college, marry, and have children.
I want to be the grandma who is the life of the party.
I want to fit into jeans that are not a plus size.
I want to stop snoring.

I think I have a lot of work to do!

Off to the treadmill! :D

Friday, March 11, 2011

On Information Overload: A Piece of Therapeutic Writing...

Having Bipolar Disorder means that I often have to check myself.

I have to take how I feel (I often over-feel stuff, if that makes sense) and I have to do a mental weighing process as to why I feel that way, and I have to consciously decide if it is appropriate to feel the way I do about something, or if I feel the way I do about something because of the disorder.

This extra mental processing makes me question the legitimacy of how I feel about things. I acknowledge that I do feel things sometimes that are not legitimate. I also feel many things that are very legitimate, but I may overreact. Sometimes the legitimacy and reaction are completely appropriate. The gut check is vital, though. I want to keep getting better and doing better in my life.

In my past, I have reacted without this internal check, and I have burned bridges that I should not have based on a skewed perception of whatever the issue was.

The mere fact that I understand this process and that I actively participate in it is a BIG DEAL. The shrinks call it insight into my disorder. I call it a survival technique. Bipolar Disorder can kill you, and I am not even joking when I say that.

Anyway, let me continue...

This skewed perception, the weird world view from my perspective, is sometimes the hardest part of the disorder.

It is the skewed view that lead me to deciding to start taking the Xanax when I overdosed in June 2005. Now, it was the lowered inhibition of the medication that was the foot on the gas pedal that kept me taking the pills--two at a time--'til I ran out of pairs of pills, but the skewed view was driving the bus.

My skewed view at that time was that I was powerless to change myself (I was struggling hard with the swings of the moods) and I felt powerless to handle my mother's illness at that time as well (she was well on her way beyond hypermania to psychosis, and her shrink wouldn't listen that she needed to be in the hospital).

I had a huge meltdown, thanks to the skewed view. Not the first meltdown, but definitely the worst. I nearly ended it all!!

Thank God it wasn't my time, and I truly believe I had a Guardian Angel looking out for me that day. That's another story entirely that I may share sometime...

(I really like to go off on tangents. Pulling it back to get to my point.)

Issue #1

I am having very strong feelings at the way people are discussing Charlie Sheen and his very public meltdown.

I am angry, appalled, saddened, frustrated, sick, astonished, and about a hundred other verbs. If you have never experienced a breakdown, or if you have never watched a family member slip into the blackness of a psychosis, you cannot possibly know what it is like for Charlie Sheen and his family.

You cannot know what it is like for the ordinary person to experience these things.

And to poke fun, and joke? How absolutely fucked up are people? Never mind, I don't need an answer to that because I all ready know.

Mental illness is not funny.

Sometimes the things people DO when they are sick may seem funny, and sometimes it IS funny when your loved one is doing weird things when they are sick and laughing is better than crying or screaming (I have TONS of stories!)

...but the disorder itself is NO LAUGHING MATTER!!

I am sick and tired of people using the psychiatric diagnostic terms when discussing ordinary things. It is ignorant, and no better than calling someone a racial slur, or calling someone out for their sexual orientation.

No, your cat is not schizophrenic because it does weird things.

Now, if your cat has auditory or visual hallucinations, perhaps you need an animal psychiatrist.

My point is that it is highly stigmatizing for those who truly struggle with the diagnoses when people just toss the terms about without truly knowing what they are talking about.

For the record, most psychiatric disorders are first organic brain disorders or are triggered by chemical alterations in the brain due to medications, self-medication, or injury. Many are hereditary. Some onset due to trauma. All are medical diagnoses first, with mental manifestations.

Should you taunt or joke about someone who has seizures? Should you laugh at the person undergoing chemotherapy for cancer? OF COURSE NOT!!

Nor should you joke about or judge a person with mental illness.

Everyone hits bottom in different ways. My bottom was nearly ending my life.

I love life, and this rocked everyone in my world. It was SO out of character and the last thing anyone expected. I didn't even expect it. I found my bottom. I am one of the fortunate ones.

Who knows what Charlie Sheen's bottom will be, before he has the ability to accept help? I hope for his sake, as well as for his children and family, that they somehow get him the help he needs and he finally gets to a place where he has the mental capacity to understand and accept the help.

Like diabetes, cancer, and car accidents--mental illnesses kill people.

What is so funny about that??

I do not think I am out of line in my feelings on this issue. I have been treated differently by those who are ignorant because I was not afraid to talk about my family and our experience with mental illness.

I have also been embraced by those who were too afraid to speak, until they saw how open I am about it all. I have helped others going through the same experiences. Isn't that what life is about?? Helping others through??

No I will not shut up about it.
(Yes, I have had people ask me if I would.)

I am going to jump up and down, shouting it from the roof tops, continuing to be a vocal advocate for those like me, those who are like my family. I am also going to continue to do well in my life so I can be a positive example--a survival story.

Issue #2

The budget issue in Wisconsin--

Yes, we are all passionate about it. We all believe we are right and the other side is wrong.

But, we are all involved and will all be affected.

To degrade the debate into baseless name calling is unproductive and ignorant.

I have had some great discussions with those who do not believe as I do, and I have learned some things. I will not judge or hate just because you believe that the other "side" is right or the best way to proceed. My friends are still my friends and things will end up however they end up. It is much bigger than we are anyway.

I am directly impacted by the health care issues in this budget. I am directly impacted by the educational cuts in this budget. I have decided not to worry about it yet. Things have not played themselves out.

If you are my friend on Facebook--and we have had a discussion on this issue--note that you are still on my friends' list.

Issue #3

I am saddened by the disaster playing out in Japan and the Pacific rim. God bless all of those who are affected by this tragedy. The pictures are very hard to take. :(

Issue #4

My mortality is bothering me today. To learn we have lost two classmates in a years' time, and eight that we know of...well, it is really grinding on me.

I am fortunate to be here today.
I almost wasn't.
That bothers me, what I almost put my family through. What I DID put my family through. Fortunately, I am loved and they have all forgiven me.

All of my issues do tie in together. On the surface, maybe not. But if you peel away the layers, it is obvious.

Today, my feelings are valid and my responses are appropriate.

My conclusions today:

Life is precious.
We all do not know when our time on Earth is up.
Love and respect each other.
Ask questions.
Therapy is good.
Live well.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Somehow, the big things always work themselves out.
Ask for help if you need it.
Be yourself.
Be forgiving.
Be interested.
Just be.
Live like there's no tomorrow.
Worry should never consume you.
Really keep in touch.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Ongoing debates inside my head...

I suppose the title could be interpreted to mean that I hear voices in my head.

I assure you, gentle reader, that I do not.

That said...

I do have several things going on in my head at the same time, nearly all of the time. I always thought everyone had several different "channels" going at once, but most people look at me like I have lost my mind if I talk about it. I guess this phenomenon probably falls into the category of 'racing thoughts'--one lovely 'symptoms' of the Bipolar Disorder that I prefer to think of as a gift instead of a curse.

I enjoy the high energy from the disorder as well, as long as I can keep it in check.
But, I digress...

This ultra distracted thought process could almost be a symptom of undiagnosed ADD, except I don't feel like I have any sort of deficit, and I certainly do not have a problem focusing on one thing. I just focus on several things at once. I wonder what the DSM-IV would say about that? That may be a good question for the shrink next time I see her...

The ongoing debates in my head today are:

Do I want to minor in Journalism instead of Psychology with my chosen major?
Maybe I want to consider a dual majors: Communication Sciences and Disorders/Journalism?
Should I try to find a part time job so I have something to do in the summer, because I am not going to take classes over the summer?
Do I want to work while I am in school, knowing that when I spread myself too thin that I cannot always keep the BP symptoms in check?
Can I balance less than 20 hours a week along with my coursework, and still excel at both?
Will I be able to make my little dabblings on eBay into a moneymaker in this economy?
Is the world going to end in 2012, voiding all debates?
Do I want to have some rice and mixed vegetables for lunch, or do I want to chance it on the cold pizza?
Have I bored everyone else with this drivel?? (LOL)

My worst fear, with the whole budget flap in Wisconsin, is that my educational goals will be derailed because I won't be able to continue to afford classes once I get to UWEC.

For the first time in my life, I have set a goal and have made excellent strides toward that goal. Usually, I start out really well, but let myself be discouraged by my own negative thinking, or by hurdles that seem to large for me to overcome.

For the first time in my life, I am more stable than I have ever been mentally, and I have been working very hard in school. The hurdles do not feel as high as I had imagined them to be.

For one of the first times in my life, I have a positive outlook on my future.
The view right now, is fantastic.

I just hope it continues to be...