Category Archives: Disorders

Bipolar – Symphony No. 1

My kids don’t understand why I love classical music. I’m sorry darlings, but I do. I started listening to my limited cassette collection when I purloined my mother’s never listened to tapes and started listening while I attempted to do my homework in high school. I found early on in my academic career that music with words completely fascinates… ok. That’s a totally lie. I forget all about my homework and sing along.

Classical music turned out to be a great boon for me. I could close my eyes and center myself as I continued to distract myself. I looked out the windows and was coerced to let my eyes hungrily absorb the beauty I saw all around me. We lived in a house far off the road in Washington State in a small town called Gig Harbor. Our home was a mile off the main road and on ten acres of woodland. We had horses and dogs and cats and pigs and chickens… and a pond. We had all sorts of things. And then, we had classical music.

I was prompted to write to you about classical music tonight because I’m sitting here, finally silent and not bothering either kid while plugged in (as I call it). I’ve been very busy talking and bossing and yelling and laughing and being frustrated all weekend

We finally had our garage sale and made a little money. I’m about halfway to being able to afford to fly to Tampa, Florida to see my Air Force Airman daughter Jessica. I’m so proud of her. And I miss her so much.

Sydney has been playing a video game that was making her crazy for the last several hours. Kyle was helping me submit a patent to the patent office. That was a little nutty. While Kyle went over what we had written and tried to clarify some things we ran into Sydney. Honest. Practically physically. “You guys are saying the same thing!!!” I knew I needed to slow down.

As soon as we finished I thanked my boy and hugged him. Then I got out my Samsung S5 and plugged in (my lingo for putting in/on head or ear phones. Plugging in means there is a chance I’ll stop talking for a while and maybe even focus.

Focus. Yeah, buddy. You betcha.

I closed my eyes and drew myself together. I thought about the lessons I’ve been learning about mindfulness. I focused and opened my eyes. Symphony No. 1, Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra (Brian Crain, Spring Symphonies) was playing. It was amazing. It brought me back to a time when life was simpler, when I might have thought of fewer things in the space of ten minutes. Maybe. It seems like that was the way it was.

Today, I’ve signed up for Pandora without commercials. I need the music without the psychosis inducing commercials. I’m loving it.

So we finished the garage sale. Most of the ten or so boxes of books we have left have been packed into my car and will find a new home at Half Priced Books this week. I’ll take a few boxes in at a time. I’ve discovered I get a better price that way. Feels weird to let my friends, my comfort books, go on to other people. It’s like finally giving a part of myself up that I no longer need.

My meds are to thank for that mostly. I don’t feel like I MUST have them to be able to handle life. I’m finding the strength to carry on inside my own brain, in my spirit if you will. Meds taken as instructed…. are helping me settle down long enough to be sensible about things I was so compulsive about before.

Everyone (including all the pets) have gone off to bed. I think I’ll follow their lead. Probably going to be a busy week ahead of us. The calendar says so.

I’ll talk to you soon my friends. In the meantime… listen to some music you don’t normally listen to. Maybe classical? Maybe country? Whatever it is, close your eyes and try to let it take you away to a place where you can be more peaceful… quiet.

I’m on my way to bed right now. After I post this. Then right now. And I’ll read for a bit. Then my Kindle/phone will fall on my face, I’ll smile, put it down properly and pass out. I love falling asleep like that.

Night friends.

Bipolar on the Lawn

As it happens with so many “normal” events in life, I made certain that I was taking all my meds on time and the correct way during the week before and the days of… the nasty garage sale. I say nasty because we had maybe a dozen people stop by. Most of them bought something. Most spent about $2, which I’m thankful for. I think I have $270 more to save up before I can go see my eldest daughter in the Air Force over in Florida. I’ve not had a vacation in… um… I dunno. Doesn’t matter really. I want one really bad. I miss her and want to go see her. She’s having trouble swinging time to come home right now so it seems like it will be easier if one of us go to her. Me!!

I do wish the sale had actually SOLD more STUFF. Well, books mostly actually. Yes, like many other folks who dance the Bipolar dance I have my manic bits about me and inevitably one tenant of my mania tends to extend to …….. BOOKS. It has always been so hard to part with my books.

The weather today and yesterday was pretty perfect. So far this summer each time we tried to have the infamous sale either the weather thought it was in Washington (which it is, the state) or my other two kids were off doing things. There was no way in Liverpool that I was going to do this all myself.

So we get it all out there after I tolerate their not being able to wake up “hitting the ground running” and they’re enduring my lack of silence and immense energy. Yes. We are polar opposites. We annoy the heck out of each other. Since I talk the most I am the most likely to announce that I’m irritated that they seem dead for the first 3 hours they’re “up” on any given morning. Their faces silently curse me out. I know they’re thinking something like that. I know I would if I were they.

We got on each other’s nerves all morning. Till sometime around the 11 o’clock hour I think. I had a free mocha coming from one of the dozens of coffee shops, so I left them to their silence for 15 minutes while I went and got one. The pain meds I was going to have to take so I could work the garage sale would kick my butt soon after I took them. Best to have caffeine now and be prepared.  I picked up a blueberry muffin and had it warmed for Sydney, hoping it would cheer her sleeping psyche up. Nah. It’s her “time of the month”. Nothing is going to help a sleepy teenager when that second blow of the double whammy hits. Said it was good. Made her feel sick. Yeah.

To add to the excitement my service doggie in training, Bailey, who isn’t used to people coming and going so fast nor her humans being outside and her being inside all day. We closed the curtains and put the TV on a country music station and turned it up a bit. This way she couldn’t see us and hopefully, not hear us too much either. She calmed down pretty quickly. But indeed, she did need to come out to do her business. And then she took the opportunity to bark and whine and do somersaults and tie her leash around me and Kyle letting her trip me after hog tieing me.

Bailey has finally devoured every toy we’ve bought for her and even all the ones we’ve invented, like empty “Simply Lemonade” containers. They’re nice and sturdy and …. she eats them now. I used to put treats in them after she’d smashed them up good and stand them up in a group in the living room. She’d sit quietly by (after I told her to). Then I say, “Go!” and she’d leap into action. Oh all kinds of inventive ways to empty those treats out would then come forth. Let me tell you… she’s one smart cookie. I swear she’s ADHD just like me.

The kids’ grandmother on their father’s side came today and brought Bailey a new toy. Everything we’d tried the last few weeks has seen the inside of her stomach far too much for our liking so when she arrived with a potentially workable toy we were overjoyed.

At the time of this writing, Bailey and I are on the back deck. She’s going from one lawn chair to the other. Back and forth. Her toy tags along. It’s a rope with … I mean a ball with a rope toy going through the center. The ball is just hard enough for her to only pierce it a bit. The rope makes it easy to handle, sort of. That’s the fun of sitting in the camping folding chairs on the deck. She keeps bringing it up with her – and losing it as soon as her feet let go of their death grip on it. Yes, feet. How they use them like hands I’ll never know.

It’s all very funny.

We’re out here alone… nope. She’s gone in to eat. Anyway, reflecting over the day. Okay, maybe I’m just wanting to be outside a little longer and listen to all the strange birds and frogs. And airplanes. And cars. And rabbits.

Kyle torqued Sydney and I off by bugging out at 2 o’clock to go babysit my parents dog. Not puppy. Dog. This i find always annoys me. It’s usually when I need whatever child they steal from me when they snag them. Like today. A huge table full of books is still outside waiting for Kyle to come home (maybe around 9 o’clock) and cart them all in. Sydney’s knee and girl parts ran out of gas and into the pain danger zone and my back (degenerative disk disease from the top to the bottom) shot past said zone and into the “I’m going to throw up soon” level of pain. Yeah. Does wonders for my state of mind.

I started my day off making sure that I ate breakfast and took a chill pill before anyone else got up. And I took another one mid day. And another one when we came back in afterwards.

Sydney fell asleep on her bed wrapped in a pile of blankets hours ago. I’m finally able to rise from my ice chair with minimal pain levels (ice and pain meds make a nice kick) and I don’t want to puke now.

Bailey hasn’t stayed still in either of the two camping chairs nor the deck nor her very own large cardboard box for more than perhaps two minutes at a time thus far. I think two minutes might be generous. She’s finally left her new toy on the deck. She’s trying to keep her eyes open and listen to all the sounds around us. She’s fading. Me too. Been a long weekend.

I met my goal of not losing my mind and hollering at the kids. Yeeeaaahhhh!!! Ah, but now I’m slapping bugs. Time to go in. Oh man. Bailey just settled down in a chair next to me and is asle… nope. She’s just pretending to be asleep. Oh little bark. Sydney just popped her head out and startled Bailey. Time to go in. I think a bug went down my shirt. Little bugger. Now that, will piss me off.

Thanks for the meds doc. I’m feeling better.

Drop me a line! I answer all msgs. Let’s kick things around a bit.

And… Tell your friends!

Robin

Weird Parenting – I’m Eclectic and Bipolar

I’m eclectic… I get it from my brain. Honest.

Back to being a pissy parent. We all have our pissy moments right? Ask your kids. If you allow them to be honest I’d guess they’ll say you are (sometimes). I am. Remember? But what next?

I can’t tell you how to be a great parent. I don’t think there is a cookie cutter version of the “perfect parent”. What I will do is share some of myself and my life; our family life. I’ll share some of the interesting (read… weird) things I’ve done in my journey and efforts to be a great parent. That was always my goal. I never wanted or want to be a good parent. I only and always want to be an excellent, amazing, great parent. That’s all.

One of the things I’ve found to be most interesting and thankfully very workable starts with me. I’m super massively curiously. My kids sometimes think I’m too curious. I want to know all about so many things. As a Bipolar parent this can come in handy. When I’m functioning pretty well (not screaming over “spilt milk”) and can stand on my own and all by myself I love to do weird things with the kids.

We live about an hour from Mt. Rainier National Park. It is an amazing park. I could pick the kids up at school and be up at Paradise in under two hours. We ate lunch or a snack out of the back of the truck (car, after the Explorer was repossessed). The very easiest food for me to pack, and one that doesn’t cost much, was to get a brick of cheese (not a giant one), a tube of summer sausage, crackers, 2 pops for each of us, bottled water, and some candy. Oh, and my pocket knife, to slice the cheese and sausage.

We have been poor, very poor, since any of my kids can remember. I have always hated that and resented everyone, including myself, for it. I never thought it was fair. But that was just how I “felt”. As I learned and grew I’ve come to understand that at this point in life it just is what it is. There isn’t any sense beating myself over the head about it or raging at family members who have $.

The thing was I wanted to find things for us to do as a family. I wanted them to see we are family and we will always be here for each other. I started with the fun things like taking off on spur of the moment wild trips to the mountain. None of their friends could say they did that.

What am I saying to you? I’m saying this: my mind wanders hither and thither all the time. Like Alice said, “I think about 6 impossible things before breakfast.” That’s always been me. I was stuck in depression much of the kids’ childhoods… growing years… before high school. I really fought myself to do the things that I knew were right. Providing a fun and fast trip to get us all outdoors in some of the most beautiful places in the world. (I mean that every place we stopped for pictures or to explore or just anything, that individual spot was fun at that time. That moment.

I’m curious, remember? Shaking off depression and plunging into a floating maniac free fall. Okay. Maybe calling it a rocket which takes off likety-split. The internet was just reaching survivable speeds for mania driven for me. My brain spun and smoked constantly as I devoured every bit of information on anything that caught my fancy… day or night.

This obsession turned out to make our trips interesting as well as fun. Information, you know, the stuff that can grow our brains to be smarter? Yeah, I had a lot of that.

I had just one problem. Only one of my three kids could give a hoot. The one that did wasn’t anywhere near as interested in information as I am and we diverge all the time. But we do both like to learn about things we’re interested in. She reads. Not so with the other two. They saw their out of control mom buy 100’s of books and devour many of them. Books lived in our small duplex more than we people did. They don’t actually like to read just for the love of reading.

Mom has all these books. Many are about how to help myself be successful in life and finances. They saw neither of those oh so important things happen when I brought a new book home or printed reams of information from cool websites. Obviously, books aren’t great. Words aren’t great. They don’t even work. (I’m not really sure what that means, but I think you get my drift.)

My attention wanders constantly. I have ADHD and am Bipolar type 1. My brain hears this instruction incessantly: go… go… go… go… go… GO!!!!

Keeping kids happy… my books did and do help me do that. They give me a place to take my mind to where I can be quite and stop talking for a time. They revel in the silence. Books give me ideas. A LOT of ideas. Running the kids to the mountain is one of my greatest ideas for my young, single mom, Bipolar, ADHD, poor family. We sang. We laughed. We ate fun food. We played in the snow without snow cloths (never enough money to get warm cloths for playing in snow).

I forgot what I was saying again. I started what I want to tell you about in my next letter. Nope, that’s gone too. Hold on… think… relax… switch the TV to mute… I want to tell you more about these sudden trips next time. I’ll tell you about Tarzan yells, deer, mountainside museums, rocks, singing country music, lakes, mud slides and fell trees across the road. And I must not forget the movie in the woods after dark. Cheap, fun, fast trips.

You know what our little trips did for me? I got excited thinking about going, about treating the kids to something terrific. That boosted my morale and pleased me. I even smiled. I miss those trips. Remind me to tell you why we don’t go anymore.

Point? getting my hiney up and doing things just so I could surprise the kids always pulled me up from the darkness. I didn’t have a choice.

Thought followed by action… this is a secret weapon I use as often as I remember to… help me be more like me.

And now I must say good night my friends. I think I’ll play some nature sounds with soft music on YouTube from the playlist I made just for that purpose. Lest you think I need to fill the quite void of no talking I must share with you one more little interesting thing.

Someone in the near area is having a party. The sounds of vehicles on the highway (half a mile away) periodically are drowned by crazy laughing.  Sounds like something from haunted woods. Wish I could make out what they say. Wait… it’s the ass. You know, the ass down the road. The one that resembles a pony. He makes his ass sound. Then the creepy laughing. Then back to the highway. Yeah, TV is getting unmuted.

Till next time… Wait, I thought of something else. Thank you to those of you who have taken time to write notes to me. I love hearing from you. Please write me notes, post comments and even share my letters to you as often as you like. If you’re a parent and Bipolar you and I have a lot in common. So share, comment and tell people you know who might find Redux (this blog) amusing or helpful.

Signing off till next time.

Robin

P.S. I didn’t even apologize for jumping around today. I’m not even going to go back and make it more organized. You get the words today the way they prompted me to put them down. Uh… in. In my Chrome. Never mind that. Pass it on my friends. And keep writing.

 

I Am a Bipolar Parent – Pissy

Hi everyone.

I chose the title “I am a Bipolar Parent – Pissy” because while BP is what I am, who I am, what I have, whatever, I am a parent first.

I am a divorced and still single BP woman. I am Type 1 (the messy type) and I exist in the mixed state perpetually. When not being a good and balanced mom, I’m super pissy. When I’m depressed and throwing things or want to get off the world and I’m manic and talk forever and shout a lot.

I’ve raised my children (I’ve counted them… there are three) alone and unemployed. I’ve stay unemployed because I simply couldn’t handle working. I’ve never lasted more than a year in any job. I did have my own company for a while. It was wonderful and I loved it. I was more manic than depressed at that time so I was able to crush all adversity into dust.

People around me kept telling mi I was a great parent. Now, years later, I look back and am broken hearted. I see that I wasn’t an amazing parent. I see what damage I’ve done to my babies who are now 22, 19 and 17. My youngest especially has explained to me through who she believes she is and remembers from her childhood, that I pulled them into my emotional and mental poverty with her especially being damaged.

Damaged. I suppose I wasn’t such a great parent. I was relatively stable (I’m lying) during the first two kids’ early years. When it came to my youngest I see that I was consumed by my business. It made me feel alive for the first time in years. Unfortunately, I left her in the dust of my being consumed. She’s had a hard time.

My baby says she’s been raised in a shit hole and feels like others have “families” while she did not. Their father has been out of the picture for most of her life. That, has been his choice. It gave her a primary target for her anger, her hatred.

Now I am learning so many things about her and what she remembers. She doesn’t remember any good times.

I remember the good times. So do the older too. She feels . . . cheated I think.

I’ll tell you more about this soon. Instead of lamenting all my woes of being a crappy mom, I’m going to tell you how I became a good mom. Maybe even a great mom. I became a “weird parent”. Check back soon to see what I mean.

Bipolar 1, ADHD, FM, PTSD, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, OA – Now What??

If I’d started my blog off listing all my bits of my alphabet you might have clicked off and dismissed me as a hypochondriac. Personally, I might have too. However, the fun facts pile continuously up and I wonder if I might be much older than my drivers license says I am.

I’m 51 degrees old. Wait. 51 years old. Yes, that’s it. I think it’s time I leveled with you and give you my “medical” life. I am much more than my medical stuff. I’ve had my right knee replaced twice – in just two years. I know, that’s very young to even have it done once, but twice on the same knee… Skip that. Here’s a “brief” list. Each item is a medically real thing for me.

Bipolar 1
ADHD
FM
PTSD
Anxiety
Chronic Pain
Degenerative Disk Disorder
OA
2 Total Knee Replacements
Cataracts
Allergies – environmental, biological and food
Depression
Manic
Stress – Excessive
Obsess
Asthma
Dentures – Full

I’ve also had a ruptured appendix, broken ankle, blood clots, carpal tunnel syndrome, rage… I think you get the idea.

Over the last couple of months I’ve thought I’ve been falling asleep while driving. It freaks the freak out of me. No matter what I do I don’t seem able to prevent it. I even pull over and try to nap just so I can complete a 40 minute drive home. I’m not able to nap when I pull off the road. I try. No go. I can sleep in a parking lot when I’m too tired to drive, but it’s not working now. I sing, I scream, I pound my feet on the floor, I hit my steering wheel… Nothing helps.

It’s very scary. No, it terrifies me. Suddenly I’m about to rear end another car or find myself drifting to one side or the other. I’ve been asking my health care people what it could be. I eventually got around to my pain management specialist. I described it to her and asked if she thought it might be any of my many medications. Like my med provider, she didn’t think so. She wanted to know if I was born prematurely. Nope. Seizures? Nada.

Michelle, the pain specialist, asked if I could describe what happens as a “loss of time”. Maybe I’m not really falling asleep. Maybe I’m just losing time and tune back in just seconds later. Do I remember actually falling asleep or feeling sleepy. No. I’ve even tried coming home and trying to sleep. Not sleepy. No naps.

She sent me home charging me with looking into Absence Seizures. She knows I love to research stuff. I appreciate that she lets me learn and talk with her about my health care. I have read a bit about Absence Seizures. I think she might be right. Before I left she agreed she would get me in to see a neurologist she likes to use in a city about an hour from here. I’m going to have an EEG to see what’s going on.

New bipolar med on Wednesday… Friday a possible new diagnosis to add to my alphabet soup. Know what I keep thinking?

… Well shit.