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.

Less Stress is Best – For Everyone

In my last post, I shared a laundry list of things I felt were related to times of extended and elevated stress. As a person who has Bipolar 1, I’m acutely sensitive to stress in my environment, my social life, my home life… Well, you get the idea… in my head. You might say, “Robin, everyone experiences stress and might have cause junk to happen to them.” Fair enough.

I can only speak to my own experiences and circumstances as I interpret them. And it isn’t just that. I have to notice them too. Sometimes I get so preoccupied with something that I just don’t see what’s right in front of me.

Let me give you a quick example. I have battled IBS-d since I was married way back in 1989. Of course, it wasn’t a “thing” then. In fact, I never mentioned it to my doctor. There wasn’t a commercial on TV alerting me to the notion that I might have this thing, this real thing, called IBS-d.

Bipolar Disorder is supposed to be a “mood disorder.” Taking that at face value, let’s assume that stress is going to make managing my symptoms (the rolly-polly moods) incredibly more difficult. Let’s also assume that the stress and resulting crushing weight of experiencing increasingly intense stress (wow, too many words!).

Listen, in my experience as a person with Bipolar 1, ADHD and PTSD I can tell you with certainty (you know, because I experienced it and that makes it true) that stress caused me to have IBS-d. How do I know that and didn’t I notice myself making fun of myself just one sentence ago? Sure, I noticed. We’re talking about subjective emotions though. Think of it like that pain chart they use in the ER at any hospital in the US. “Rate your pain. Which smiley face??”

Seriously? You’re going to treat me based upon what I think my smiley face ought to be?

How are you feeling today Robin?
“My anxiety feels like it’s crushing me. I can’t sleep or think. I’ve started waking up violently angry. I’ve started yelling again and throwing things. I just can’t get it all to stop!”
Have you been able to focus?

Excuse me?

I graduated in June of last year (2018) and within two months of that time, my “IBS-d” disappeared. Creepy right? I know! Like aliens…

Alien, nigthmare, spirit...
Creepy… I think that guy might have had some comet!

Seriously though, haven’t had a blackout or eaten Comet since then. Well, I think there was one more blackout… but my memory can be sketchy at times so yes? No? Beats me.

We’re talking about emotions.

Emotions are NOT measured by drug tests.
Emotions cannot be quantified by subjective human talk therapy.
I can’t even relate to you my emotions so that you’ll understand what I mean.
In every single college class I’ve been in when the professor asks for opinions or invites discussion, no one ever agrees with everyone (sometimes anyone) across the board. Nope. Nadda.

Does this seem like a jumble? Am I talking about IBS-d or how to describe emotions? Actually, what am I talking about? Have I lost focus?

No, I haven’t. Not this time.

I no longer have any symptoms of IBS-d.

Is everything else better? Oh hell no! But, I’ll take this victory and I’ll hold onto it because I’m not locked in my house 24/7 every day anymore.

At least… not right now.

Bipolar – Verbal Dump

megaphone

I have Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder over twenty years ago. At least, that’s about when my brain says it remembers it happening – I’m super reliable when it comes to the passing of time. Umm, no way! Don’t let me tell you otherwise. I was diagnosed as having ADHD only a few years ago.

The other day my mom told me she’d had a major breakthrough in her thinking about ADHD. Apparently, she’d talked to her realtor and she had told him that I have it. I know she shares stuff about my brain (problems) to people in the town/city we live in and with Rhett (the fellow I just mentioned who sells property) who lives in another one.

That’s two.

Back to the breakdown.

I know my mom loves me. She expresses it in a sort of micro-managing way, but she loves me nonetheless.

I’d hate to have had a child like me. How did she not accidentally roll over me in the family car? I would have had a daycare person come take me away. A nanny. Anyway, Rhett told her that he has ADHD too. {Deep sigh coming from my side of the conversation.}

You know how we can look up literally ANYTHING online? I really don’t think she understands that she can Google Bipolar Disorder and ADHD and not have to rely upon the information she can glean from a single person. There are many fantastic sites to visit that contains a lot of very good information on both BD and ADHD.

But, you know what, the idea that she can talk to someone about me, without asking me first, and telling him my very personal business is just bad.

My mom thinks of Rhett as another son. (I have a brother.) She knows more about him than she does about me. Sometimes I discover I have feelings of resentment and anger toward the nice guy. I don’t like feeling that way.

I guess accepting and understanding something about Bipolar Disorder have to continue to wait.

I believe, that if she understood a little about Bipolar Disorder and how I present, we would get along better. We might even want to spend more time together. Maybe she’d trust me more. Forgive me more. I admit, there is much I want to be forgiven for. I think she’s better at letting things go than I am so maybe she doesn’t need to be able to forgive me once she understands I don’t really control myself sometimes.

My experience with Bipolar Disorder is that about 80% of the time I’m manic. All the time I’ve been alive, I’ve been either straight up manic, or in a mixed state featuring the bits that tend to “intensify” my emotions. I’m confused, being depressed while manic.

My most blatantly obvious symptom… I never, ever stop talking. When the rare moment does happen, my friends ask me if I’m okay. I think that even Bailey notices. (Bailey is my support dog. She’s wonderful.)

Bailey is my emergency brake. When I’m frustrated, angry or yelling, she finds me and sits directly facing me, very close, toes to paws, and with her beautiful sad brown eyes and waits for the noise to stop. Honestly, she won’t budge even if I tell her I need to pee. No mercy from my faithful pup.

My chart at the mental health place I go to says that I say I think I’m smarter than they are. My current counselor asked me if I really believe that. Without a pause, I said, “YES.” I reminded him of how they let my stress / anger / mania / and anxiety cause all the suffering I experienced while I was going to school. over the last year, my symptoms intensified, and I broke.

Have you heard the axiom do no harm or through inaction to cause harm?

So, the reality is that they watched and did not intervene. They listened and didn’t reach out to catch me while I fell and fell farther and farther down. If you think about it like that, like what role they played in my unwilling self-destruction, then YES, I think they’re morons and I really am so much smarter than they are. My counselor asked me if I thought I was smarter than he was. I grinned and told him, “that remains to be seen.”

Delusional? Grandiose thoughts? Delusions of grandeur? Or brilliant or very smart? And who’s to judge which is which?

ADHD, Bipolar… Let’s figure it out. I promise I’ll own it.

You have just been exposed to an often irritating and yet integral bit of my brain in all its glory. It’s what I call, “a verbal dump.” My kids prefer saying I barf words. Wait, maybe it was that I vomit words. Well, in any case, it’s not great.

Please write to me or leave a comment. I love hearing from you.

Be well,

Robin / Un-niche-able Me

The Great Un-niche-able Me!

Teaching one of our cats to go hiking.

I think I’ve found myself. Sort of.

I have been stuck, stunted, and riven clear off the tracks to the point where I’ve actually spent the spent the night having one of my best inner panic attacks. I haven’t gone through one like that for a while.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot, not about the panic attack per se, but about how I’ve gotten here, to this place where I’m stuck in my head. I have some ideas that I’d like to put into some form of business, but I… well, I feel broken. Still. I have another bachelors degree, and I still feel broken. I might answer that sentence by saying… yes, but you still have no job.

Nope, I don’t. And I don’t plan on having one. I’m going to start another business. Yes, I’ve done this having my own business thing before. And don’t give me grief, I’m in the proud third generation of business owners! I’m just going about it my own ADHD way… my Un-Niche-Able way.

“Fine. Like what? You’ve messed everything else up, what’s it going to be this time? You never settle on just one thing and focus on just that one thing. You’re always going to be a failure. You never finish anything.” Says some of the retarded and self-defeating self-talk I’ve been doing for forever.

Nope. I don’t. And now I know why. I’m a person who has a brain that’s crammed full of plastic neurons doing highly technical biological sorts of things in a really unique sort of way. (I’ll be learning more about this as I go along. I promise!)

I don’t focus well on one thing at a time, because I have ADHD.

I have occasional panic attacks and freaky mood swings. I have depression sometimes. Other times, well, I’m manic.

Add “mood swings” or specifically the mania part and ADHD, and you will see me, the really active me. And these two things are a part of the larger group of things that make me myself.

So I need to carve out that special niche to have a successful blog huh… HA!!

I am the Great Un-niche-ableMe. You will never catch me, nor will you see me coming. I’m that little ufo disc zooming around those folks and their power pole just there, in their backyard. Wait, it’s the pie tins again!!

I can’t focus on a single thing, establish a niche because I’m not a single niche. My brain doesn’t know that song or the dance. To have a successful blog, a book or even to write a news article or someone else’s copy or content, I’d have to be able to focus on a single topic, at a time! Honestly, this is such a bizarre idea to me.

Oh god. Noway. Not this woman. No wonder I’ve been feeling like you feel when you play that game where you put your forehead on the baseball bat and spin around and around until some random person tells you all to stop and run to the finish line. (I secretly despised everyone who made it before I did, which was exactly the way it was. Just kidding. You’re so serious, aren’t you?)

Ok, so the more I’ve been thinking about it and trying to come up with a niche, which I was sure was Bipolar Disorder, until I couldn’t write my posts because I was trying to niche-it-up so I could build a blogging business the successful way, with a niche… the problem is, was, and always will be… That I’m just not niche-able. Me and ADHD and FM and OA and this and that and Bipolar disorder. Ok, I’m good with that. I have no pre-defined niche! And you know what? I’m finally totally fine with that.

This is who I am. This is the Un-niche-able Me. And this is finally the beginning of my story and of finding my way and living my best life. I’m going to work on figuring things out as I poke holes in what is expected of me, and making my own squares, rectangles, triangles and so on for myself. Want to tag along?

This is my blog. My place to learn and share what I learn. I hope you’ll come back. I’lljust bet, that there are a lot of you out there who are a lot like me. Yeah?

Maybe I can’t write on Bipolar disorder and only on it… so what? Life isn’t ever that tidy. I’m gonna mix it up a little. Do this my way. On my terms. The way life is really lived and the way I really am, and I’m going to do it as…

The Great Un-niche-able Me!

Have a grand T-Day everyone! Please be safe. I’ll be waiting for you on the flip side of the holiday!

Don’t forget to subscribe so you can see where my brain stops next. There are a few things I want to visit (I can organize things a little bit… but I make lots and lots of notes, which I lose, and then find them and tape to the walls, and make piles of them and then, can’t remember what I wrote them down in. These exciting ideas are in a Word document and are in a special secret place where they will be very safe. Wait – where did it go?

Subscribe. And please, share this un-niche-able-ness with others and LEAVE COMMENTS! What do you think about this line of thinking? Can you identify with me? Tell me about it. Tell me about you. Or, drop me a note from the “contact” page.

Again, welcome to The Great Un-niche-able Me!

5-Minutes

5minutes Are you listening? Can you hear me?

I need you to hear me.

I need you to know what I mean when I say, “I just can’t!”

You really need to understand this illness before we talk about, “I just can’t” It will make so much more sense then.

I’ve written about my troubles for years in my paper journals. I’ve always imagined that when I die, one of my family, my kids perhaps, would read them and finally understand me. They would finally understand that I’m not a bad person, a lazy person, or a freeloader.

I’m sick. I’ve always been a sick person.

With technology what it is today, it’s easy to find an informative book that explains what it is to have what I have. I’ve searched YouTube for videos that explain me and have found a few that try to do it and seem to do it well. We’re all different of course so what describes one person may not completely fit me. But if the person watching will just listen, listen and hear the pain and the wrongness of it all.

Wrongness. That’s what it is.

You’d think, maybe this is the child whose rage never seemed to end, a brat that pushed and pushed…. Wouldn’t you like an explanation?

I’d think someone who claims to love me would take a few minutes to watch a 5-minute video, just a five-minute video, to learn about me. Surely, someone, anyone of you must care enough to sit for five-minutes for me? Did you hang out in line for coffee or in line at the grocery store? Is that silly? Have you “liked” any funny pictures or memes today? Did you watch ANY TV? What were you doing on commercials? Why is this so hard for you?

Did you watch the news today or read your Facebook feed? Have you texted anyone or talked on the phone?

Would you think I didn’t love you if I didn’t return your calls or texts for two or three weeks? Would you call and check on me?

How much energy does it take to watch a video?

What are you afraid of?

I’d have thought I’ve shown you enough of what this illness is that you have nothing left to fear.

And yet, you don’t hesitate. You completely stop.

“I don’t have time.”

Will you have time to visit me in the hospital?

I’m not going to try to kill myself just to get your attention. But I can’t promise to do what’s best for me all the time.

Maybe I’ll have to mourn the death of you so that I can learn to live without you. Because you see, I already live like this. You are emotionally unavailable to me. Without “my people” surrounding me in a protective layer of love to cushion me when I fall….

Adults are just like children. We all have a fair expectation of being loved. When that expectation is not met we wither and begin to slip away.

Do you have five-minutes?

I need you to listen to me today.

Just follow the link.

Then maybe we could talk.

I’ve had a thought. I’ve unwillingly learned more about inappropriate relations whether they be physical, racial, or political just watching prime time TV than you’ve learned about me on purpose.

It isn’t rocket science. But it is science. I am sick. Unlike some illnesses like some cancers where the patient may go into remission or finally be overcome by it, my sickness has not given me a moment’s rest.

Sometimes I wish I had an illness you could see so that you would mourn me when I die. But for today, I live as though I’m normal. That’s how you see me. Normal. That’s how I look. This illness is rude beyond anything I’ve ever seen. It grabs hold and never lets you go. It bombards me from within, from where you cannot see. This illness, it stays in the “ON” position from before I was diagnosed until I die.

That’s right. I have it now. You cannot see it. I will die with it.

Would you watch the video?

Or would you rather I had cancer? Then you’d have something you could see.

I’m tired of being unseen for who I am.

Please, are you listening? Can you hear me?

I’m wondering if you’ve ever felt anything like this. This is all true in my life. What about you? If you have known that, I hear you. I will listen to you. I have way more than 5-minutes to give you.

* I had my counselor read this yesterday so that he could see what’s in my brain. I told him I was going to edit it, polish it up before I posted it so it would be clearer in some places. He suggested that I not do that. He felt that letting you see where my brain was at was a place of raw emotion. He urged me to keep the “rawness” in it. So, here it is. Right from my brain and served up to you on a virtual platter.