A Mother’s Perspective

Yesterday, my mother and I had a candid conversation regarding my mental and physical health. Of late, I am struggling with just how much both my bipolar and my migraines are affecting me. I’m missing work, my finances are suffering and I find that I just don’t care. I take a couple of baby steps forward and then I get knocked back a yard. I’m trying to step up and take control, start really and truly taking care of myself, as I always should have from the start. In discussing several options as far as work and finances go with my mother, she told me what it is like for her to see me suffering:

“It’s like you and I are out hiking and suddenly it starts to rain. It’s raining so hard the ground immediately turns to mud. I make it to cover and dry land, but you slide in the mud and fall down in a ravine.I try to grab you and catch you, but you fall so fast I can’t do it. I can see you from where I am, I’m throwing a rope to you to pull you up. The harder you try to get the rope, you can’t reach it. When you do reach it, I am able to pull you up a short distance but then the mud gets too much and you fall back down. Sometimes you just stop trying and I can’t get you to move. Eventually the sun comes out again and you walk back up the hill on your own power. But while it’s raining, you are miserable and nearly unreachable.”

Needless to say, I was pretty overwhelmed by what she said, and it added to the guilt I already feel for being a less than perfect kid. But she is true in that she never stops trying to reach me, to help me. She never asks me to be perfect, she just asks me to love myself. I wish I could, but I don’t know how. I’ve been battling myself and the things within me for so long I don’t know how to stop, how to accept that I am flawed but still worthy of love. I’m figuratively becoming paralyzed by the struggle, unable to work, to eat, to treat myself well. I’m either going to quit or get fired or wind up in the psych ward. But you can be sure the first person there to help me will be my mother, as always.

Giving and Receiving

Disclaimer: I’m smack dab in the middle of a mixed episode, so this post is probably going to go off the rails here and there. Regardless, I’ll let it go, hoping typing my thoughts out will calm me.

I worked today, which was nothing shy of a miracle. My migraines have been unbearable and I am again looking at my list of possible solutions, figuring out what specialist to call next. So, kudos to me for even making it in to work. The early part of the day was pretty good, I felt halfway decent, was able to complete all my tasks in a timely manner, I even got into the door that hates my ID badge on the first try instead of the 7th try. During lunch, I remembered to fax over documents necessary to receive reimbursement on my therapy visit co-pays. I was feeling really quite OK. Then I went back to work and the day went to hell in a handbasket.

At first I felt hyped up, like I do when I am sliding into hypomania. All I could think about was going home and crocheting. That’s how boring my life is! No, really I am well into a crochet project that is a gift and I wanted to get closer to finishing it. No sooner had I thought about that then I just wanted to hide. The idea of being around people suddenly became too much. I was really chatty and jovial, and then when that feeling hit, I promptly shut up. This lasted maybe a half hour and then I was feeling irritable. The irritable feeling can be traced back to a co-worker, who apparently expected me to help her with something, and when I didn’t, she got very huffy. The help in question was just that, help, not a part of my actual duties and to be honest, I was put off by the fact that me doing her a favor every so often has now become an expected thing. The irritation kept going and later in the day, I saw my co-worker who fixed my mistake last week talking to someone. my face instantly got hot and I was just so, so sure that she was talking about me. I couldn’t hear her, I don’t know what she was talking about, but my mind instantly flashes the message “people don’t like you, She’s talking shit about you and your mistakes”.My heart rate actually picked up and I had to remind myself that not everyone is out to get me.Finally, I slid back into that wanting to hide feeling. I’m still there now. I had to run an errand on my way home from the hospital and all I could think of the whole time was how much I wanted to go home, I did not want to be there, I did not want to speak with people. I just wanted to be home, in my favorite thrift store hoodie, curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee.

Today was a day I really “felt” bipolar. Most days I am just depressed and fighting through physical and emotional difficulty, but today was truly a bipolar day. I hate the way my mind works, I hate going into a panic or bad mood because of something someone said, or something I think someone said. Fortunately, using some of the skills I am learning in cognitive therapy helped. I talked to my mom for a while about my feelings and I’m back to feeling a little less on edge. I still want to cocoon, but at least the nasty message machine in my head has quieted a bit.

I’m also grateful to Kitt O’Malley, who messaged me some kind words of understanding and listened to me whine a little bit. I am at a point where I am realizing just how much my illnesses are impacting my life. My pride in being “high functioning” and appearing to most people as “normal” is taking its toll. I’m stuck in a place of not wanting to admit how sick I am. I don’t want to go from giving care to receiving care, but isn’t taking care of yourself a kind of love? Why am I so reluctant to love myself?

It’s been a tiring day, my crochet project sits untouched, but I’m giving myself a pat on the back for being able to use the cognitive therapy skills successfully today, though I sure do need to work on them.

Screw Up

I made an error today at work in transcribing information. My coworker who discovered it got pissed, my mind has been less than sharp and she’s tired of cleaning up after me.

The negative voices are screaming in my head: “screw up” “you’re so stupid” “you’re going to get fired” “you never do anything right”.

I am powerless against them. There’s just no energy to fight them tonight. So I’ll take my meds, say a prayer and try to sleep. Here’s to hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Our Lady of Perpetual Misery

2015 is here, and so far, it hasn’t been great. I’m not going to lie, I am hurting. Between my finances, my migraines and my depression, I’m ready to just sleep for 6 months. A major contributing factor is comparison. This is something I have always struggled with and I probably always will. A few hiccups with my therapy appointments and work mean I haven’t been to therapy since last month, and I am floundering. I don’t know if my medications need changed as well, but I need to do something.

The other part of the problem is my lifelong habit of making myself out to be the villain. I do this all the time, even in situations where I clearly am the victim. I assume people hurt me because of some fault within me, rather than the other way around. There is no clearer example of this than with my former fiancee. Without being completely libelly/defamation of character-y, I have to say, he fucked things up royally. Let me just be clear in that, because I tend to romanticize and spew flowery crap about what I learned from it. But that’s it in a nutshell, he screwed up, he didn’t put in much effort and I suffered as a result. And as far as my “awful behavior” following the breakup, we need to clarify that, too. It consisted of angry text messages, several passive aggressive statuses and a pointed email. That’s it. No dead animals in pots on stove tops, no criminal activity. Yet I am painted out to be the “crazy ex girlfriend” because it’s so much easier to do that than face his own poor behavior.  I was lied to for years, emotionally manipulated, financially controlled and finally, abandoned.

I’m tired of it. Fuck that shit, seriously.

I’m tired of feeling like I did something wrong. I’m tired of assuming I have some character default that makes people mistreat me. I’m tired of always being on the defensive. I’m tired of being afraid and hurt. I am so sick of crying and feeling sick and all the random aches and pains. I’m tired of being judged and mistreated and labelled by people whose behavior is a thousand times worse than mine, people who don’t have mental illness, who don’t know the whole story, only what they have been told. I’m tired of taking 5 pills a day just to feel “normal”, which all come with a set of aggravating side effects. I’m tired of the bad dreams and panic attacks. Tired of hiding and being anonymous and fearing the mysterious What Might Happen If They Knew.

I’m just so damned tired.

Dear Readers, please don’t be alarmed. I plan on hanging around for as long as God sees fit, but this has been building for some time. I can only deal with so much for so long. I welcome your prayers and good vibes, as my skies are inky black right now.

My New Year’s Resolutions

This year, I’m setting realistic goals for myself. I’m really focusing on self care and just being kinder to myself. I’m not going to beat myself up for the 5 extra pounds my bipolar medications have helped me put on, instead I am going to focus on what I like, rather than what I don’t. So, here are a few goals/resolutions I have:

  • Go to therapy more regularly. This is an absolute must and if this is the only thing I accomplish, I am completely ok with that,
  • Start exercising again. Depression makes me not want to do anything, as does my very physical job, but I feel that slowly easing back into either pilates or yoga will help my stress levels. So I am setting a goal of exercising two days a week.
  • expand my crafting skills. I already do a lot, between jewelry making, furniture refinishing, wreath making, sewing, painting and crocheting, but I love to learn new things. This year, I am determined to finally nail knitting as well as complete one new project every 3 months.
  • learn to say no. This is something we all have trouble with I think. I let myself get guilted into doing things I really have no desire to do. This year, I resolve to say no more.

Do you make resolutions? If you suffer from a mental illness, do you modify your resolutions as a result? Please share in the comments!

Holiday Tradition

Seems like the last few years, I get very depressed at Christmas. Probably because my wonderful ex fiancee decided to break it off right before Christmas years ago. We had one, magical, perfect Christmas together and I’ll remember it forever. I have been thinking about writing about it for some time, but decided it’s too personal a memory, it’s something I need to keep just for myself.

As I often do, I seek solace in music. Of late, I am so completely obsessed with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. To say I have a massive girl crush on Grace is putting it lightly. Their songs “Things I Never Needed” and “Stars” are especially evocative for me. Every year I get really excited to listen to Christmas music and sing along, but there is no joy in it for me this year. I find the bluesy rock of GPN to be far better suited to my mood.

I am still getting back to normal after the horrible bout of the flu I had but work scheduling issues have me off my regular routine, and I know that’s taking a toll on me, too. I really wish I could explain how damn hard life with bipolar is. There’s really no way to effectively explain it to someone who doesn’t have it. No way to explain that just living an every day life takes so much out of you, let alone adding the stress of the holidays on top of it. I wish I had a happy take-away message, but I really don’t. I guess my Christmas wish is just to get through this pain and sadness.