Bipolar – Sudden Emotional Reversal — Thrusters at Max

The day was glorious! Everything was better than I’d imagined.

No, I didn’t fall off the emotion “wagon.”

But I was close. I almost thought about it. I could tell I was crashing like someone running out of a huge rush and it scared me.

I’d been on a long drive and played with my dog without a leash on, a fence to restrict her, or other dogs to act weird. Spending time in our favorite places was amazing.

TRIGGER: She leaves for a two week trip to China on Friday.

TRIGGER: I’ve radically changed my diet and am exercising more… as my body will allow.

TRIGGER: The house is messy and my response is to feel like I’m out of control.

Remember – It isn’t necessary for me to control everything. Stop being so hard on yourself. You’re doing great. Honestly, look at all you’ve been able to teach your counselor about having a daughter (youngest) who is becoming a son.

TRIGGER: Oh heck! Not again! A great day that ended with my feeling a bit of depression stun me.

And then – the time arrived. Would I fully and finally trip the TRIGGER at the end of our day? Jessica was at work by this time.

Decide. What will you do? Last time no one believed it happened. Watch this video. It’s from Friday night. 30 years ago I would have completely last my mind.

Finally, despite all the triggers, I stayed calm. I keep breathing. Take my meds. And document the evidence proving all the naysayers wrong. Lookie, I even drew on the pic.

My intention, is to keep on keeping on.

Nah, not stopping there. While I am able, I will always grow nearer to the best version of myself that I can be. And that, has to happen continuously.

I have Bipolar Disorder, a painful and little understood illness that I will have with me until I am in my grave.

Did you watch the video? There was no screaming or things being thrown. My meds, exercise, physical therapy, dreaming big dreams, family and the zoo (especially Bailey) I was able to pull back from th he edge.

It’s hard for me right now. And yeah, I have to be up and out early tomorrow (Sunday), but it is now around 4:30 a.m.

Now that’s, a TRIGGER!

Be safe. Be well. Make good choices.

And please, leave me a comment or reach out via the Contact page.

Now git!! Go kick that fella before he realizes you’re there. 😏

Stress – I Can’t Breathe

Breathe
Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

Life isn’t greener in the neighbors lawn.
They have a gigantic cherry tree that covers both their lawn and my driveway.

Life isn’t simple.
If it were I wouldn’t be taking my Day Timer, Google Calendar, pad of paper and Todoist with me every stupid place I go.

I have taken the ADHD workshop.
I understand my ability to schedule and understand time is next to zero.

My caretaker-companion-daughter-best buddy is leaving for a wonderland trip to China in about two weeks… for two weeks.
I know I have to be careful. I’m trying to breathe

People tend to associate Mondays with the beginning of five days of disasters.
I may be beginning to agree with this line of thought.

Without details, I ask you to trust me on this, Monday was horrible.
Tuesday started at the emergency vet with my companion (I prefer her her name, Bailey. She’s my Empathy Dog) was not showing the Vet how she’d been unable to breathe clearly just an hour ago. I have a witness! She’s still doing it, but an expensive x-ray later, they can find nothing. Could my bonkers emotions be affecting my empathy doggie (Read: Emotional Support)?
Took my mom to see Captain Marvel with Kyle (eldest son). She tried to get the tickets for Avengers at the box office, which she thought we could bypass because she bought them online through AARP. Nope. Had to go outside, pay full price and pick our seats. It was Tuesday. Discount day. OMG! Kyle was in a bad mood. Always in a bad mood after driving around and around “stupid” drivers… which he does for a living.
Then, Kyle yelled a couple times at some drunk guy in the theater to be quiet for a little longer, the movie was almost over. Okay, if I’d said something like that to that very drunk man, I’d have, well, been really, really nice about it. Kyle was in a mood, again… OMG! Such a good thing I took a chill pill. Then I had Kyle (who I call “Sunshine“) drive me – after his day of driving – all day – which he hated – home. Sigh.
Tuesday still, I think I skipped the real fun part of suddenly discovering I might have been asleep in my chair. Why else would my head snap forwards? Did it again. Headed down the hall. I just wanted to visit the little girls room. Entire body did it… twice. Yes, I know. I see the neurologist next week and I’m thrilled. I’m trying not to think about it. It seems nothing is ever simple. It is either in my head, or I need surgery. Everything seems to fall at one pole or another. OMG!

Wednesday, my day started with half a chill pill. Residual bonkers feelings from Tuesday I suppose. Breathe.
Concluded freaking out with the second half of the pill later on. Very slowly, did my physical thearapy. I regularly use this time (supposed to be twice a day, but I’ll take what I can manage) to practice breathing and relaxing my muscles.

With all this breathing I should be chalk full of oxygen. I wonder if that actually helps anything?

Thursday, today – Insert your favorite really bad word before I even begin – ___________________________________________________
11:00 Pain Mgmt guy – Jason / Missed Appt. CAR WON’T START AGAIN!!! This is the FOURTH TIME!
12:15 Waaayyy missed Pain guy appt. Waiting for eldest child (Jessica) to come home and give me a lift to next appt.
1:50 Dr. XXXXs – Orthopedic Surgeon – (I know I’m being angry and judgemental and a little bit bitter) He LEFT ME A MESSAGE after reading my MRI and said three things: torn rotator cuff, bursitis, and frayed something else. Last week when I fell, he called between patients and didn’t even consult my chart. He said he didn’t think it was a big deal and I probably didn’t need surgery. In the first message he said I probably DID need surgery. OMG! I see him today. I’m taking a witness and a recording of his first message. Yes, I’m that mad. Today, we discussed it together and decided to have him put two more shots in my shoulder… where they would actually help.
2:40 Physical thearapy on that stupid shoulder. It isn’t Gab’s fault, but it hurts like ______________ after that. Later – Yep. PT on that shoulder. She maniuplated it around so it would move the fluid around a little. Kinda hurt.
4:30 Arrived back home. Car still does not run. My keys for it were not in mailbox or taped to the door or even a note left saying, “We left your car here because it’s stupid.” I called the garage and the same young guy from the morning didn’t know anything about it. Didn’t realize they left it and took the keys. Couldn’t reach them by phone. I have no idea what’s wrong.
My car is a 2001. I’ve put $1000 into it just this year. I paid $3000 for it three years ago. I can’t afford to buy a new car! These guys have replaced just about everything. OMG! I have no words… I need a nap.

Nap didn’t happen. But, I’m happy to tell you that I only had to get two shots in my shoulder and then run over and do PT on it. Yummy. Man, I hope that the shots work.

It is bedtime. I’m finishing this up on the bench I made out of an old toy chest. Bailey is laying… um… in her box. I’ll show you a picture another time. She’s still breathing like a horse snores. I’m not sure what that sounds like, and I’m pretty sure they don’t snore (I was raised on a ranch), but if they did, this might be what it sounds like. I don’t like it one bit.

Friday – I have nothing on my calendar.
Ideas: Going for a hike before I find myself in a body cast with just a straw to drink through and one eye open to watch TV (quality time). Mouth covered. It will rain. We have raincoats. This is Washinton.

  • Reading / Writing – All day with breaks for playing with Bailey and eating.
  • Watching a movie that both Jessica and I agree upon.
  • Oh yes! She wants to make a quick day drive to Mt. Rainier!

We are going to attempt a drive up to the first popular on the mountain from our corner of the park. We’ll be heading for an area called Longmire.
Breathe. We’d take Bailey with us normally, but she hasn’t been in the car this long yet. I don’t think she’d care, but the National Park Service doesn’t allow dogs in the parks. Well, here is what they say at Rainier.

Saturday – Please, no one touch me or talk to me. I’m done.

Sunday – Sigh, it is almost Monday again. I don’t care. Bailey and I are going to the pet store to support the pet adoption program.

So did I survive this week? Today? Well, it is now 5:00 p.m. When I can manage to slow down a bit, I’ll take a nap in my chair in the living room. Before that, I contacted one of my people and she was able to come to me and help me out. She got me out and off meeting the rest of my appointments. I got those rotten shots. Now, we’re home. She’s reading. That alone helps me calm down. I love my people (Kyle and Jessica in this case). My mom and I talked about it on the phone. That was very supportive too. That’s what I needed today, support. People who love without qualification. Finally, that’s part of my family. It’s been a long time coming.

My Friend, make your plan(s), go over them with the people in your life who are willing to commit to help you out. Make sure they understand it’s serious. It isn’t like you have a paper cut and need a bandaid. No. You need them. You need one of YOUR PEOPLE. Make sure they understand that.

Bipolar – When We Fall

Falling Alone is Terrifying.

I never thought I’d have the great backyard that my yard is becoming. Two of my kids are making it into an amazing place to hang out. They’re constructing raised gardens and putting up a trellis for the climbing roses too! I’ve never had climbing roses. And there are lots of vegetables and colorful flowers. I was gone for a week, and they blew up the garden that was here when we moved in. Someone built a pergola by the garden, but here in WA when it rains, that’s not a load of help. We had a guy put fiberglass over the top of it so we can go out and use the previously ineffective and silly pergola in the rain. AAAnnnddd… of course, it leaks. A lot! A seriously, a stupid, moronic and gigantic leaking, leaked, and just damn leaky wet.

Last night the lawn was mowed and the weed eating all done. I was banned from doing any of the work because I’d tripped (as usual) fallen hard on my left knee and arm (my left shoulder has a rotator cuff tear). I couldn’t move my leg for a while. It sucked. I had images of the “Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up.” commercial in my head. Later on, my eldest son said he had been thinking the same thing. We had a good laugh over it.

The next day Kyle, the same son, skipped work so he could come and walk with me. I was afraid I’d fall again. I’ve been knocking over things every day. Every single day. Coffee travel mug? Got it covered – all over the floor. Water bottle with lemonade? Yep, the hardwood floor is really clean except where I missed it. Now it’s just sticky in places and gathering dust. I guess I’ll be able to find those spots easily enough.

Today I made two messes. The second one was pretty spectacular. As I started crying, I noticed that my night pillbox had opened and three nights of pills spilled on the carpet. We have four cats and a dog, and I nearly freaked out. I had to leave. What if I missed some of them?

Why is this happening to me? Don’t I have enough to deal with without this silliness?

I see a neurologist like next month sometime. Originally it wasn’t for this dropping, knocking and generally blundering along with business, but I think that’s what we’ll have to talk about. Right now I have something else on my mind. Okay, I’m having all these weird issues. The question is what am I going to do now that I feel like I’m losing it?

Bipolar Disorder very often comes dancing along with another illness as you may already know. I do line dancing with ADHD and a few other dirtbags that are better left in a Looni Balloon (not to be confused with Looney Tunes) flick destined to be beaten with a gigantic red rubber hammer where no one will cry over the violence of the act. Sometimes the fear and panic provoke anger and even rage. It seems best to leave such emotions in

I have no spiffy answers for you, but I can tell you what I did to survive my day and end up where I promised I would be.

First, I called my daughter at work. It went to voice mail as I expected. Then I texted her “911” and dictated a message to my texting app. Next, I let her know that whatever my phone put in the message was not my fault because I wasn’t going to read it over for mistakes and that I was taking half a “chill pill.”

Second, I called my son that lives three minutes down the hill from us. He didn’t pick up either. I texted him as well.

The whole while I searched for help I kept trying to breathe. I’ve been practicing a breathing method? Is that what you’d call it? Anyway, I couldn’t get it right so I gave up and let myself just breathe.

It was going to be okay. Right?

OMG! I’m home alone. I need to go babysit my mother’s elderly dog. I’m trying not to freak out, how am I going to get there? It’s important. I have to go. My mom needs a social life. I HAVE to go.

I had my Bluetooth stuck in my ear by this time and was talking to Kyle. He was gently helping me back down. I knew today was his only day off, and I felt bad about bothering him, but he talked with me anyway.

Weird that I’d be thinking of how I was bothering my kids right?

Yes, I do have another son. This one is very hard to reach. He lives with his wife fifteen minutes from our house. Scott, well he’s not the topic of this post, so maybe another time he’ll come up.

I eventually arrived at my mom’s after listening to an audiobook all the way over here. It was a thriller. Maybe not the best choice for this drive, but there it was.

I explained to her what my week was like. At first, it was amusing because I’m always clumsy. Then I got to the point where I fell two days in a row and then escalated to dropping and knocking over more things more often and larger in size.

This is plain silly.

Peel away the story. Remove the falling and the dropping. Strike out everything, but the panic, the difficulty breathing, the 911 messages to my kids, the chill pill and you have my mind reaching out into my world and mixing stuff up. The important things to take away are that I had a system set up already that let me reach out for help. I also could have called my second son and my mother. Everyone knows the drill. Mom (Robin), 911 text – something is very wrong.

I strongly urge you to create your own emergency plan. Get some of your people in on it. You will quite possibly need to educate them about Bipolar Disorder and how it is with you. Tell them what kind of help you may need. If you feel that you just don’t have anyone to trust, and yes, you should be able to trust them. You may be putting your life in their hands so make sure this is the real deal and not just an acquaintance that you want to get to know better. That’s not the person I want you to enlist in your wellness plan.

We’ll talk later about what I like to think of as a wellness emergency plan.

  • Reached out to my people
  • Half a “chill pill”
  • Audiobook
  • Two ice cream bars
  • Talking with you

I feel much better now. Time to do some work.

All my best,

Robin

Mood Disorders, Sunshine and Me

Have I been fighting all these years against SAD? Depressed? Missunderstood? Reeling in the darkness? Or have I just been an ass?
Well…. Take your pick. Everyday is a new day.

I’ve heard for years about how some people suffer from fall and winter depression and I’ve accepted it as a matter of fact. I had never paid any attention to my moods as the seasons of the year toddled on by. Every year someone seems to ask me if I became “worse” in the “dark” seasons. I’ve never had an answer. Why would I? I thought I always felt the same – enraged, depressed, angry, bitter, anxious, sinful, doomed, damned, unliked, manic…. out of control Bipolar. Then I went to a Bible college, got married, had kids, showed postpartum depression which lead years later to my diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder Type 1.

This year I seem to be at a place in my life where I’m able to…. scratch that. I’ve been noticing that I’m not as “normal”* as usual. I’m happier. I think I’m funnier. That alone is awesome. And I don’t even care if my friends laugh when I think I’m being funny and my kids don’t. HA! HA!

*When I say “normal” what I mean is that I’ve been in a couple of months long consistently better place. I know, that doesn’t mean anything either but who cares. I’m happy right now and I’m happy that I’m happy.

Dark seasons. Do I? Beats the heck out of me. I’m just glad that my years of feeling rage and horror 99.5% of the time are over. I hope they’re over. One can never tell with things like this (Bipolar).

At my home today the weather is beautiful. It’s going to be about 71F which is warmer than normal here. The rest of the week it should be in the ’80s! Of course, much higher than normal here in the Greater Puget Sound area. It’s nice to accidentally plan a family BBQ (Thursday) when the weather will be so wonderful.

Am I happier in spring and summer? Well, it rains less and I can go outside and get sunburned in 10 minutes, my dog can play ball and only get wet when I spray her with the hose. Hell yeah! Give me spring! Give me summer!

Go ahead! Burn this Irish skin. Do your best sun. I’ve got all the rest of the year to fade back to my spotted white.

Let’s burn, this time with the sun. Not with rage and hate.

Bipolar and Back in the Saddle

My dad, the best cowboy I ever met.

In no uncertain terms my dad used to tell me to get my butt back up and do it again! It didn’t matter if it was a horse I’d fallen off of, which happened more than I’d have prefered, or if it was a friend I felt treated me wrongly. Do it again. Don’t stop.

I’m so exhausted. I’ve done so much thinking and writing notes and making Google docs from my iPad in the middle of night… I think you get the idea. The engine starts to turn over but it just never does.

Pressured speech – Bipolar, yeah, I do that.

Know what scares me more though? What keeps me tied so very tight under that horse I’m not going to fall off with chains, in the mountains, in the cold. What scares me more?

Racing thoughts paralize me.

I’ve been trying to slow my mind. Meditation. Exhaustion. Yelling. Denial. I don’t know. My attempts to do this have been weird.

My dad, the cowboy, is gone from this world. I can’t hold his hand or ask him if he thinks something is dumb. I miss the smell of … whatever the newest hobby he was into smelled like. Woodturning for example. Loads of smelling to be had. Fishing, drag racing, raising and training horses, woodturning (did I say that already?), stained glass. Smells. A dad smell.

I wonder sometimes if he looked at life in a way that I need to emulate. Look, he got mad, sure. He threw things, yelled, swore, threw more things, swore some more, made really horribly scary angry faces at us… But he developed time alone and away from everyone when he did these hobbies. I think going out in the RV and making stained glass were the only things he shared with my mom. Oh sure, we all rode horses and shoveled… you know. But I wonder if he could reset during those times.

Did he have racing thoughts too?

He once told me “You’re smart and you think faster than other people do. You’ll be done thinking about things before they start. You’re just going to have to deal with it.” (This is totally true, he said this. Okay, something like it.)

I mention this because I wonder if he saw this particular difficulty in me at that young age? I did show signs of Bipolar at a young age and, I admit, I was a shit to live with, but did he know? I don’t know how my mom didn’t send my dad leave me in the mountains somewhere.

I just never can slow my mind down. Unless… unless it doesn’t work at all. Chained, under the damn horse, in the mountains.

I took a video workshop on ADHD earlier this year. 10 weeks: 3 days in group for an hour and some time with an accountability group the other days. I learned a lot about – I learned that I don’t understand time. If I’ve mentioned this before, please hang in there. I’m just about done.

I am trying to build an editorial calendar where I can put ideas and things I feel strongly about. I can set them in boxes, and then I can move on. And when I’m stuck, silent and chained, I can see the boxes and what I’ve placed in some of them, and I feel hope. I force myself to put something, anything in at least one, little, short, 15 minute box – no – five minute box. Let’s settle with one minute. Then I can be done. I can do that. One minute at a time.

Tonight I’m in a brain fog. It feels like today has just slid on and on. Well, now I’m going to put on my cowboy hat and sit down. I’m gonna push back my cowboy daddy’s recliner (which I insisted on having I have despite the fact that, well, you’ll hear that in a second) I’m going to have to give it an extra shove and scoot my butt all the way back – and then I’m gonna swear. I’m gonna swear because the remote or my iPad or my book or my coffee or the kitten or whatever is way too far for me to reach.

I’m 5′ 3″ on a stool. When my butt scoots back in the seat my feet fly up off the ground and it seems I always wiggle them around like a very young kid. It never fails to amuse me that this was my dad’s chair. When I’m leaning back and can’t reach anything, and no one is around for me to ask nicely or hollar at or beg to get whatever I’m reaching at for me, I claw my way to the right side of the chair and start swing my arm around. I can’t feel anything so I keep at it. I can see myself in my mind’s eye and I know why the kids don’t help me – it is too damn funny to make me suffer! Little legs wagging up and down, swearing and muttering. Yeah, that’s funny, when it’s me.

My dad was a cowboy. What have I learned from him? Well, I have my eyes closed right now and I’m listening to the wind roll over all the plants and trees and bushes and in my front door and the open windows
(it is always windy here)…. and now I hear the bass of the moron driving up the hill in front of the house… and now I hear the wind.

Breathe. In 5 hold – count to 6 – exhale for 8. Do it again Robin. Do it again. Hear the wind. The wind here is the same as it is in the mountains or on the ranch? Daddy, he was the same wherever he was too. Oh we believe he had Bipolar 1 like I do, but I think he found better ways to manage it than I do.

When I feel I’m stuck under the horse I also feel broken. I feel like I can never be mended or fixed… or useful. Never mind that. First thing is first. Racing thoughts or frozen ones. Ouch. I think… I think that I’ve decided I’m not broken.

I believe that belief is everything. Yes, I acknowledge that I have an illness. Or do I? That’s a whole other train of thought so lets run quickly away from that. I have decided. Here and now. Maybe not tomorrow or tomorrow night. But today, now, I don’t believe I’m broken and can’t be fixed. I’m just stunned.

Stunned.

Fall off. Stunned. Get back on and go again.

I don’t want to be trapped in my own head. Time. Use the calendar Robin. It’s a better idea than you think. Stop being subborn. You’re not a jackass. Do it. It will make the chains loose.

When the sun sets it all ends with me. Counselors are left in their offices. Partners are in their own heads. Hopefully. Kids are in bed? I’m left with me. I take the drugs. I go to therapy. I try to act normal. But I am stunned.

I’m going to fill in one box before I go to my room to hopefully sleep for the night.

I’m closing my eyes and listening for the wind. If you’re indoors and can’t actually hear it, then make believe that you do. Remember, believe is everything. Hear the wind. Let it take you away.

“Daddy? It feels like I’ve been stunned for a very long while. I feel… and I think… that it’s time to be a cowboy.

Saddle up

Please, as always, leave a comment if you are so inclined.