Bipolar – The Diagnosis

This week a situation came up in which I was able to ask each member of my family if any of them have ever tried to learn anything about Bipolar Disorder. Every one of them said, no. I have always been the source of the storms in my family group: parents, brother, and kids. I was always angry or striking out at them (verbally) while in a devastating tsunami of rage. I was unstoppable, and I was very ill. I was a bad child. I constantly fought with my father who had anger demons of his own.

I don’t actually know if learning about BD will enable them to understand me, and even to help me when I’m helpless.

There’s just one problem – Not a single soul on this blue world completely understands Bipolar Disorder. Not one. Even those doctors who are afflicted with the illness do not know precisely how it works or what it is. And the meds I take, almost all of the fine print says it is used for things like seizures and a variety of other things, but not for BD.

Meds for BD are prescribed because the medical community has discovered that in general, some medications seem to help control the symptoms.

Symptoms. This means that the meds are not fixing Bipolar Disorder itself. The meds are just meant to enable us to coexist with other humans.

The fact is that no one understands Bipolar Disorder, not the doctors, researchers, interested persons, or those of us who live with it. You can take a little quiz online that will tell you whether or not you have it (OMG – burn all these quizzes. What? They’re digital? I guess we’ll have to be creative and figure it out.

The reason I’m so irritated and upset about this is because my much younger cousin has been spending gobs more time with my mother than I am. She keeps telling my mom that she has all these mental illnesses. My mother responds with compassion and encouragement. She tries to help her. She spends time with her. A lot of time.

I pointed this out to my mother and she didn’t say anything. The problem is that it’s true. They really haven’t done ANYTHING to try to understand, to keep track of how I’m doing, to be compassionate to ME. It really hurts.

Have you ever experienced something like this?

There are thousands of websites, books, and experts available to people so that they CAN learn about BD, so that they CAN love me despite my extra quirks and behavior that makes them not want to be around me. (This has gotten better, but let’s face it, the BD brain isn’t exactly reliable or dependable.)

I wish, that they would watch a four-minute video or read a nice and short informational page on a website.

I wish.

My mom knows someone better than she knows me. She’s embraced her and is compassionate and supportive of her. She makes excuses for her. She never has done any of that for me. She says that when I was a kid they didn’t know anything about BD so she didn’t know what to do.

“But what about now? 

“Family, I’m 55. Have you ever tried to learn about my illnesses? Ever?”

“No. Well, they didn’t know anything about it back then.”

“Mom, what about now? Today? I still have it. You know I still suffer from it. Why don’t you just Google it or search for a book on Amazon about it?”

I try to ignore the emotional pain that this lack of real love causes me (that’s how it seems to me). The daughter that lives with me has had to learn a little about it because if she didn’t she would have gone crazy. I admit that I’m not the easiest person to live with.

I can only put myself out there hoping that they will demonstrate to me that they love me with the kind of love that refuses to let me go and will do anything it takes to help me. Am I being selfish? Maybe, but I believe that love, well, love does… I don’t know how to say it.

If you have a grasp on how to describe the kind of love I’m trying to explain, please post it in the comments section. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.

For now, I’m going to go to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day and another day I can work to keep my mental difficulties (read: demons) at bay. I enjoy my work. Once I get going I can work for hours and become completely engrossed in it. But depression has been kicking my legs out from under me this whole week and I have to say that I’d like for it to take a hike now because I’m exhausted and frankly, would rather be manic.

So good night dear Reader. Sleep well.

Bipolar Parent

Greetings friends, how are you doing in these wee hours of Friday morning?

Me? I’ve been both better and worse. Thursday had hours I enjoyed… then it crashed and burned as only the day of a parent can do.

When my three kids were young I had impressed even my ex-mother-in-law (let’s call her Kathy) with how well behaved and just good all around people my children were. Now, we are being stalked by rough and naked emotions that have always existed (that would be me, Bipolar parent) but are now beyond my own mind and have grabbed hold of my youngest.

I thought I was a good person growing up. I felt as though I were a likable person, yet I didn’t have many friends. I was lonely much of the time and kept my own company out on our small ranch with my horse, dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, cows and the occasional ducks.

I was a shit.

Seriously. I was a short, freckled shit. Today my mother and I can look years back and point to much of my careening and completely out of control behavior and emotions and say, “That, that right there!” And recognize it as full on Bipolar Disorder presenting before I even had my drivers license.

In short – I was angry all the time and blamed everyone one else for everything. My depression and anger were crushing me and the only name I could give it was – sin. I was a practicing Christian and all those “evil” emotions were clearly not of God… but that’s a topic for another time.

My youngest and his regular doctor decided that he does not have the highly genetic Bipolar brain that I’m still learning to embrace. Anxiety. Depression. Mania. Mood swings. Irrational behavior. That’s Scott, my “I’m a psych major. I already know how to deal with anger and anxiety.”

Scott is transitioning from my second daughter, Sydney, to my second son, Scott. (Incidentally my father’s name was Scott.) Scott is undergoing hormone treatment. He wasn’t always easy to talk to about things that he felt “attacked” him. Now he’s so much more difficult.

I despair.

He turns 21 this Saturday. He’s angry and bitter and is working so hard to make people not like him that I just want to sit down and breathe like I’m having a baby all the time. He and his wife are both psychology majors who it seems aren’t studying behavior.

Odd.

Scott sounds just like I did. If transitioning changes him into the sex his mind believes him to be, then I will continue to try to learn and gain deeper understanding. However, he’s a grown man (he says) and I expect him to at least respect me.

§ On Father’s Day Scott thanked me for being both his mom and his dad growing up. §

What I will not do is accept from him the same behavior at 21 that I had at 14. He has tools around him to teach him about what’s running loose in his little grey cells. Me – religion, animals, and hypnosis.

The weight of his relentless ill-will and violent anger crushed me at dinner. It was like fighting with my dad, but I was the reasoning one (yeah, no. My dad wasn’t good at being rational when angry either.)

Top the whole bloody mess off with a leaking red cherry on it and you have a self-entitled disrespecting second son.

I’m not having it anymore.

Being a parent with Bipolar is terrifying literally every second of that child’s life for me. With Scott acting like the individual (did I mention pressured speech?) that he clearly isn’t I have no clue how to even begin to help him to stop yelling into my face that I should shut up because I’m not listening.

Huh?

Parenting the twenty-something kid today is a massive challenge for this Bipolar mom. I have been charged with the crime of trying to build good family memories. I have felt despair and anger towards Scott. These are not the memories I want to build. We’re going to work this out, but I realize that I will very possibly react like I have Bipolar Disorder while we do it.

I can do this. I can figure out my part in healing our relationship. Be loving and kind… and forgiving.

However, Scott is a grown man and if he does not have Bipolar Disorder or some other explanation for his behavior, then he’d better watch out. I corralled the three of them through their teens by myself and while not properly medicated for my illness.

Respect me as your mom.

Respect my illness.

Respect yourself and get help if we just can’t talk it out.

I really wanted to go old school, like back to when I was a kid, and wash his mouth out with some nasty bar of soap like Dial or Lava and spank him with a wooden spoon. Two if the first one breaks.

Sigh….. parenting never ends, not really. My mom is still my mom. Who else would she be?

Scott, baby? YOU! It’s time for YOU to shut up and listen.

Bipolar – Stoned Siblings

I just got off the phone with my youngest child and I’m heartbroken.

He says he tells people all the time what a badass I am. He’s a psych major and he now understands a tiny bit of what it must have taken for me to raise three kids with my illness. He tells people how I raised them sick and even had a knee replacement, twice. It’s a good story to tell people to get them to buck-up. He tells them to get over themselves. Look what my mom did.

He was telling how great it has been lately for him when he spends time with his brother. They’ve been bonding, getting stoned, hanging out. (We’re in WA and it’s legal here.)

I was crushed.

I’m a mom. A parent. I’m weird… but I’m a parent. I’ve always pushed myself to be the best parent I could be. Suddenly, again, I feel like I failed. It doesn’t make any sense I suppose. It doesn’t really have to because I know how I feel and I FEEL like I failed them.

I know I’m being emotional. I am emotion. Always emotion.

I feel like I failed my babies. Why? Things have been going pretty well. They’ve been bonding when they’re high. Okay. Okay. I feel, like I failed them because they have to be high to bond. To relax around each other they’ve got to be stoned. So what. So what?

I was just having a great conversation with him on the phone. The longer we talked the more I realized that he was being the most relaxed talking with me that he’s been in a long time. Awesome! Right? Right.

I’m a good parent. I know I am. But –

Why do my kids have to be stoned to be loving?

It isn’t a big deal. It’s legal.

But why do they have to be stoned? Why stoned? Why?

I’m going to bed. I’m too tired to handle this. I can’t do effective damage control in my brain trying not to blame myself when I’m tired. I am blaming myself. I don’t feel like I did a good job raising them if they have to be stoned to be good people to each other, to me.

Again, I feel like I failed.

Should I get stoned too?

No…. not more drugs. Not stoned. Not me. I just can’t do that.

Bipolar: It Is Very Difficult to Know

A lot of the time I hesitate to post because I don’t know what you, my reader, expects to read. I struggle with this every day. I could tell you about my day, but that’s so boring – dull! I could stick to only write about myself and what I’ve learned about Bipolar, but I really feel strongly that this kind of important thing deserves a website of its own so that people in pain or who are looking for answers can go to that site and find answers and acceptance right away. So, I’m developing a website to do just that.

I have Bipolar Disorder Type 1 with mixed states. I also entertain much of the rest of the alphabet. I could drone on and on and try to… well, I think you know where that was going.

Basically I’m a normal 55 year single mom of three who is interesting and has a good sense of humor. I have some compelling stuff following me around that makes me complicated, but who doesn’t? Surely everyone has experienced the strange things accompanying Bipolar, anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, FM, OA, etc.

I have a Japanese Fighting fish like all your neighbors do and speaking of neighbors, also just like you, I politely file noise complaints regarding one nice household whenever my TV starts to loudly rattle. Seriously.

I’m so normal I could bore you silly. Although… did I mention my eldest daughter will be moving in with me in a few months? (Honestly, it’s for the best. I need the support and we can both use help with housing expenses.)

In fact things are sooo boring that I’m going to need to graduate from college with another bachelors degree and I’m going to have two sons and a daughter instead of what has been the standard at my house with two daughters and a son.

See? Boring.

I am first and foremost a woman who deals with an incurable illness and will continue to do so until I die. Well, and perhaps afterward too. I mean, who really knows?

If you don’t mind too much, I’m going to write about all of these things. I might even add in the bits where one of my family members believes that God has them on this earth for only one reason and that is to save his children and to draw them back to Him because they are lost.

Maybe I’ll recount some of my experiences growing upon a ranch as a teen who presented with Bipolar at a very young age and how well that went over with my undiagnosed Bipolar father. Maybe I’ll include fun times at the church I was attending that was into casting out demons. Yeah. Fun times.

Have I mentioned I went to Bible College searching for God? I wanted so desperately for Him to take away the pain I felt that was crushing me from within every day. No? Bipolar, prayer, and demonic possession… seems like there’s a story in there, somewhere.

What’s on your mind? Should I throw caution to the wind and open up a bit more? It all, and I do mean all, ties directly back into this sickness, this life long illness I struggle with. It is all infused with, you know it, Bipolar.

I don’t believe it is a disorder. I believe it’s a disease, an illness and should be treated with the respect it deserves… that we deserve.

Talk to me my Readers. Tell me what you think. Do you have questions? I can’t guarantee I’ll answer, but I’ll read all of them. 🤔

Be well.

Robin

Bipolar – My Best Friend

90e0b3c0b78324323204c14bdfffde84  I have three kids ages 25, 22 and 19. My eldest, Jessica and I drove across the country back in last August from Tampa, where she was stationed in the Air Force, to Washington State. She and her two cats and I took 11 days to make the trip. I have to admit that I was worried about how I and my Bipolar were going to behave on the trip. I can tell you in all honesty, it went far better than I expected it possibly could go.

Jessica and I have great relationship. We’re very close. We’re both going to college, different ones though. We don’t live together, but we often cook and eat meals together and we study for school together. One of my favorite things to do with her is to go for walks. We take my Kelpie/Australian cattle dog Bailey (she’s 3) for a walk around the neighborhoods around my house. We talk the whole time. We talk about everything from family and school to politics and science. We like a lot of the same TV shows too. Sometimes we watch them together, other times we watch from our respective homes and we might be messaging each other about them. Needless to say, she’s my best friend.

Jessica also suffers from depression and anxiety. While she was in the Air Force she was receiving counseling for it but couldn’t take any medications for it because she was an air traffic controller and they can’t take most drugs. Now that she’s out, she’s seeing a counselor and a med provider. She’s taking something for anxiety and is finally feeling some relief.

It was hard watching her suffer while she was still in the military. Talking about it wasn’t enough to help her. I was worried that she’d be against going to be seen for her anxiety and depression because she watched me do it her whole growing up life. I didn’t need to worry. She knew she needed help and knew how to get it.

When we talk about it we understand how each other feels. Although my moods are much more violent and farther reaching than hers are (thankfully she doesn’t have Bipolar), she still understands me.

More than just being someone to talk to she challenges me to try to be better, to push myself to go further.

I am so thankful for Jessica. Before she came home I was so lonely. I know that we’ll only have time like this until she transfers to school in Seattle in a couple of years, but until then, I will enjoy her companionship and try to learn as much as I can from her. She teaches me how to be better, to be stronger, to believe in myself more. She has no patience for my well-practiced pity parties.

Ours is a very unusual and unique relationship. I never thought I’d have someone I love like this as a part of my daily life who wasn’t my partner.

My two other kids know how close Jessica and I are. I try to spend as much time with them as I can. I also try to get them to spend time here when Jessica is here. They’ve grown apart during the years she was gone. Now that they’re all adults they’re getting to know each other really for the first time. I try to encourage that.

My other daughter and my son also understand about my Bipolar. They are also part of my support system. I depend on all three of them to help me when I’m in a bad place or when I’m struggling with being stable. Each one has a unique role to play. I’m so thankful for the three of them. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Bipolar – Danger Signs

solar-flare-1Now that I’m taking 120mg of Latuda again I can consider the signs I was having that I was going into a crisis. I believe it’s important for me, for everyone, to know what happens before we reach a full-blown disaster so we can take precautions and get help early. That said, I recognize that it is often difficult if not impossible to tell when we’re slipping. It’s like standing on a beach when the tide is out. You’re talking to a friend or looking at the beautiful water or a sunset. You’re not paying any attention to your feet, which is unfortunate, because your feet have been slowly sinking into the sand. Now, when you try to move, your feet stick and you fall on your face because you didn’t realize what had been happening while you weren’t paying attention.

The biggest sign that I’m crashing is that I lose my temper violently and in an instant. Most of my life I have been consumed with anger and ill temper. It has kept me from getting to know my family. My father, who is gone now, was as bad tempered and mean with me as I was with him. We reacted to each other like lighter fluid on a bonfire. I believe that he also suffered from Bipolar Disorder.

In addition to a catastrophically hellish temper I was angry all the time. I don’t mean mad. I mean angry like I wanted to hurt someone. My adrenaline was (and is) on all the time. To this day my muscles are hard as rock, cocked as if to lunge into flight or fight. Even after a massage my musculature remains as solid as steel. I never relax.

Over the years I’ve taken medications that cause my face, my jaw in particular, to violently jerk and I can’t talk. I look like I’ve got a massive tick in my face and I sound like I’m hiccupping. Now, when I’m stressed, the tick comes back. As a matter of fact, I’ve been having it happen daily now even during Christmas vacation when I don’t have the pressures of school work. It really frustrates me. It’s so remarkable that people stop talking and stare at my face. It stops conversation dead.

So this time, when my temper soared uncontrollably and I saw my family react to my words as though they’d been slapped, I realized I was in trouble. I thought I was just feeling my temper returning. I felt like I was keeping it under control. I didn’t realize others noticed it until we were celebrating Christmas Day at my brother’s house and I was talking to my daughter and her fiancée when suddenly Sydney stopped short and looked at me as though I’d just stabbed her. I shut my mouth fast. I knew I was in trouble. I had to stop myself from talking the rest of the day unless I was paying attention to what I was saying and how I was saying it.

My med provider and I had a backup plan in place incase reducing my Latuda to 80mg didn’t work. I was to return to the 120mg dosage immediately. So that’s what I did. I couldn’t wait until I was able to get back in to see her in three more weeks. I’m feeling much less volatile now.

I know it is rarely as easy a fix as returning to a medication that I already know works for me. It’s never that easy. This time was an exception for which I am grateful.

We, you and I, impact those around us. Our behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We have a responsibility to control our behavior for our own health and for our family and friends. It’s funny that I say we need to control ourselves because that’s exactly what I’ve never been able to do. Not till I got well medicated.

The take away – be vigilant for signs of crashing. Then take action swiftly.

Bipolar – Being There for My Kids and Real Anxiety

We did something amazing today, something we haven’t done in a very long time, my three kids and I all made dinner and ate it together around our family dining room table. We did it alone, without their girlfriends and significant others. It was nice. It was unfiltered. It was honest.

My son and our cars were some of the topics of conversation. My car is doing really well, solid, for being over 200,000 miles. My son, wants out of his relationship with his live in girlfriend. She (girlfriend), is not doing as well as my car.

She’s a bit on the mad side and I do mean both mad-angry and mad-bonkers. He’s concerned she might do something to him if he breaks up with her. I hate to see him going through that fear, that pain. I was in a similar situation myself many years ago and things did not go well. Today the digital actions of the other person would be illegal. I don’t think this girl has the resources or the wherewithal to try to make his life hell like I experienced.

I must tell you one thing I think is particularly amusing that she does every week. I thought I was being nice when I was moving and going through my cookbooks, when I let her pick some out to take for her own. I shouldn’t have let her have the one on Herbs. It goes through all the major cooking herbs and talks about how they are used. So, being the incredibly wise girl that she is, she is going through the book and making a dish around one herb at a time.

Unfortunately, she isn’t a cook. She sees her herb of the day and then Googles it and picks the top recipe and decides to make it for dinner. For example, they had mint the other day. The recipe called for dry mint in a certain amount. She sent my son to the store for fresh mint. Then she added the fresh mint to the recipe in the same amount that it called for as DRY. Yeah. He’s been getting sick a lot. She also has no concept of cleanliness in the kitchen and uses knives and forks for raw meat and other foods at the same time without washing them. It’s no wonder he’s losing weight. It’s a wonder he’s alive. Her lack of common sense with cleanliness in the kitchen really troubles me.

Without going into the grimy details let me say that he’s smart enough to know that he’s made a mistake and that he needs to disengage himself from her asap. I’m gratified that he knows I meant it when I said any of my three kids could home if they ever need to. I don’t have any fear that he’s scared to live with me. There was a time when that might have been true.

My anxiety is going up and down but is mostly manageable especially now that I’ve seen my med provider Sara and she’s standing with me. She sees the stress the pain management doctor is putting me through and is concerned about the affect it is having on me.

I’m feeling supported tonight. I reached out to a friend tonight that I haven’t talked to in a while and she was there and open to chatting even though she’s feeling lousy. It feels good to be able to do stuff with people. I still have homework to do tomorrow, but I’ll do that tomorrow. That, and watch the Seahawks!

My well of anxiety is still open and active, but I’ve taken steps to try to control it. For the short term it seems to be working. It isn’t a forever fix, but at least I made it through the first week of classes and am almost ready for the second week. (I attend school at one of the University of Washington campuses.)

I made a major accomplishment this first week of classes: I went to two movies and had the kids over to dinner which are all time consuming activities. Last year I couldn’t have done that. It isn’t that I’m not afraid I won’t have things done on time or good enough, it’s just that I have to listen to my family when they remind me of what my GPA is and that people work full-time and go to school full-time and spend less time studying than I do. Okay, it’s that and meditative music all night. Well, that and my doctor sanctioned chill pills. I can take them when I need one and not feel guilty.

It makes a whole huge difference to have the support and two-way trust with my doctor. I tell her the truth about how I’m doing and what I’m taking and she doesn’t abandon me and tell me to just talk it out with my counselor. Sometimes counseling and medications have to go hand in hand. At least, that’s what I’ve found is true. All areas of my life have to work in concert to make me function.

I picked one thing at a time and as fast as I could I got the pieces working for me. I failed a lot and still have a lot of setbacks, but right now, I feel 60% pretty good. I’ll take that all day.

I started trying to deal with the extreme anxiety by talking with my counselor who immediately went to find my med provider knowing it would take more than thinking to help me. Then I listened to meditative music and “talk downs” I found on YouTube. I searched for something like “meditation sleep music”. Try it. I recommend it. Now I listen to “Soundscapes” on my local cable provider all night. And I’m exercising every few days, playing with my dog and training her and keeping up with my house cleaning chores.

Monday I have classes and then seen the pain management doctor… that worries me. Ok, now I’m needing to chill again. I’m so silly.

Bipolar – Preparing for Potential Fears

I’m leaving early tomorrow morning to fly from Seattle, WA to Tampa, FL where I will meet up with my eldest daughter who is leaving the military and coming home to us. She, her two cats, and I will begin our journey on Monday or Tuesday to cross this great nation of ours. While I’m gone my other kids will take care of my new house, and my dog and cat.

I have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) in addition to my Bipolar Type 1 and am currently cruising along in a hypomanic state according to one of my doctors. Being the mixed bipolar that I am I’m dancing with a little bit of depression too. I’m taking my chill pills as allowed.

I’m afraid I suppose. If you cornered me and asked me how I feel I’d say I’m afraid of all the unknowns ahead of me and of what will happen at my home while I’m gone and it’s all out of my control.

These are normal fears for the most part. Some of their intensity isn’t. If you have Bipolar Disorder you understand that.

I’ve tried to be as prepared as I can be so I can sit and relax this afternoon and not rush around looking for things that should already be packed. I finally got enough Lamactical to last me the whole trip. That was a panic for a few days waiting for the pharmacy to do its thing and have them ready for me.

Probably my greatest fear is of losing my medications.

My family will come together and take care of things here. My daughter and I travel well together so I’m not worried about that. Well, I’m not sure about the cats. They don’t travel well. It may very well be noisy and smelly. But if I lose my meds or the pill boxes get opened I’ll be stuck. I take some controlled substances that just can’t be replaced.

I’ve talked about fear in the past. I’m experiencing fear right now. I’m not afraid of the flight this time so much as I am about the drive from the freeway into the parking garage. I’ve never seen such dangerous driving conditions. Last time it took us an hour or more to go half a mile. Forget about getting to the airport two hours early for the security check in… it might take us an hour to get from the freeway to the parking garage. I’m afraid of the drive and being late because of it.

After that I’ll have the potential of being afraid of the flight, after I consider being afraid of not finding my flight on time.

Lots of potential fears are in my near future. This will be a good opportunity to test myself and see if what I say to do actually works.

I choose today to believe in myself. I choose to believe that we’ll get to the airport safely and all the way to Tampa without a hitch. I choose to believe that all will be well at home and our journey will be a grand adventure. (I’m glad some hotels allow animals.)

I choose to believe in myself and that I’m sane and a terrific person. I believe I can cope with the situations ahead of me and I will do the things that I have learned to do to make that happen.

The truth will out.

Bipolar – Overload and Fury Road

{Warning: drama ahead.}

It’s said by people who know these kind of things that we really can only handle so many major life events at one time, or say, in one years’ time. I’ve passed the recommended daily disaster/stress quota already for this twelve-month period and I’m scheduling more for the near future. I’m maxed out. Friday night, I lost control.

Last year my father passed away after a horrible 6-month sudden fight with cancer including it spreading to his brain. It changed him at the end. It was horrifying. Add a few more major stressors and we come to Friday night when I lost my shit having been provoked by my son’s first girlfriend who is 21 years old. It could have happened at any time, but she pushed my last button and my “lose my shit” gun was locked and loaded. Then the little female of the species told me in a text that I would “NOT” be seeing my son Saturday. She had the nerve to shout at me! (Never shout in a text – use all caps.)

I’ll come clean and just say that I don’t like this girl. Like all good mom’s, I think she doesn’t measure up to what I believe my son deserves. I could give you a rundown of all the things that in my mind disqualify her as suitable for him, but that’s not what I’m blogging about at the moment.

Some of the stressors recently have included looking for a house for me in a market that is pretty much closed. We’re 45 min south of Seattle. Nuff said. There is no housing available and if you find it, it isn’t cheap. We’ve had a rough time finding a place, but we finally did.

Four days ago I scheduled to have my eldest cat put to everlasting sleep on this coming Tuesday. She too has cancer. She’s terminal and after seeing the cancer in an amazing ultrasound that her vet allowed me to sit in on, I agree that it is obvious that she’s got no hope. It’s very possible she’s in pain.

They wanted to know if I want to hold her. I feel like how can I not? But, how can I? My Mom offered to go sit with me. I said yes. So I’ll hold her when she takes her last breath. I’ll be responsible for that, for putting down a cat that seems as friendly and loving as ever. Okay, maybe she’s more friendly than before. She sits as close to my butt on the sofa that she can and as long as she can. I feel bad, but it annoys me after a while. I don’t like to be crowded. So, I feel guilt. My kids have known her, Siberia, most of their lives. She’s 12 and my youngest is 18. That’s happening Tuesday.

Friday, if all goes as planned, we get the keys to the new house and begin moving my things in. We need the keys for Friday but apparently that might not happen. Stress. The kids have taken the day off specifically because I was told we’d have the keys that day. OMG. We’ll be taking the really breakable things and things like the big TV that doesn’t have a box anymore. I’d like to get a lot moved that first day. I’m going to be depending on my kids heavily.

Sydney, my youngest daughter, is going to paint my bedroom for me. I’m thrilled! I’ve chosen purples! I’m going bold.

If, things go as I’ve planned them (and in the real world they rarely do), Kyle will have my brother’s work van and we’ll start moving small stuff and what not and Syd will start painting. Kyle was here doing a run to the dump with a bunch of furniture I wanted to get rid of for a few hours. He was 4 hours late and couldn’t come back to help with the things I can’t reach… which was the plan… after he went to the dump because he had to go get his girlfriend from work.

Sydney had called me at 9:00 a.m. (Friday) and bowed out because her doggie has a hurt paw and she needs to keep her from licking it. Terrific. Friday wasn’t so smooth. I asked Kyle if he was still coming over to help Saturday, yesterday. He said he and Blank, his live-in girlfriend of 3 months wanted to do some things so he couldn’t be here. I thought we had already agreed he’d be here on all his days off at least part of the time to pack. (I am going through the stuff that has followed me through ten years of a failed marriage and 30 years of living with junk I haven’t even seen some of. In my case, my bipolar has made it hard for me to let go…. That’s for another day.)

Okay, Blank (the girlfriend), I taught my kids that family always comes first. I have deadlines that I can’t put off. My emotional wellbeing and a lot of money are tied up in what happens in the next week or so. She demanded that he be with her Saturday to do a few things. He takes her to work, picks her up after work, spends all evening with her, spends all his off work hours with her and yet she feels neglected. True he’s been helping me packing the last three weeks maybe one day a week and spending time with Siberia before she’s gone for good. He has Fridays off. He takes her to work, then comes to help me, then goes to pick her up from work and goes home. How is that taking him away from her?

Where does a 21-year-old girl, who doesn’t know me or anything about me, get off talking to me the way she did? You’ll just have to take my word for it. She was disrespectful and spoke to me like I was a child. She shouted at me in a text that “he would NOT be helping me.” Who the hell does she think she is?

Why isn’t my son standing up for me? Why isn’t he explaining things to her? It’s his first girlfriend, I know that. But she shoved her control of him in my face and that was the end of it. Oh, she’s offered to come over with him AFTER he gets off work today. Terrific. I’ve never liked her. I think she dresses like a slob and is a ditz. She gets herself so worked up over doing homework that she doesn’t do it. Then she insists on Kyle stay with her when she finally does it, when it’s late. She gets depressed all the time and leans on my son to hold her up. The longer I know her the more I see her using him.

I pride myself on the fact that I don’t gossip about and with family members. This is the first time I’ve had reason to. Last night I texted with Blank’s cousin and Kyle’s best friend about her. I was really looking for muscle to help move my TV, but we got off topic and talked about them. He’s worried about Kyle too.

I haven’t been invited to Kyle and Blank’s house once since he moved in with her. I haven’t been invited to meet them at the park to walk the dogs and get to know each other. I’ve done the inviting. I know, she’s just a child, 21. She’s a female sharing a bed with my son. She’s no child.

I had called and asked if she would like to come over yesterday with Kyle to help me. She was walking her dog and said she’d call me back. She didn’t. Later I got a text from her explaining that she has control over Kyle, not me. Oh hell no. I called her and I went off. Fury unleashed.

I haven’t been this angry since Sydney lied to me about dating her now fiancée last year. I don’t even know this girl but the fury I felt was real. I wanted to immerse her in all the pain and stress I’m feeling right now and drown her in it… let her see how it feels.

Oh and that’s not all. I start, hopefully, moving Friday, right? The movers are coming to get the majority of the stuff on Monday. I’m hoping to be fully moved out by the end of Monday. Then August 7th I fly to Tampa to drive my eldest daughter Jessica (leaving the Air Force) and her two cats across the country to here, home.

I have no small amount of stress in my head. I don’t need a clueless child getting the cogs in my rickety machine tangled up and destroying the sensitive state that I’m perched in. And I go back to school in the fall. That’s super stressful for me. This time Kyle won’t be around to ground me. It will all be on me.

So after I unleashed my ineffective fury on Blank, I called Sydney so I could try to calm down. As usual she didn’t react the way I expected her to. She told me basically that she couldn’t believe that her powerful mom, who despite all the odds being against her, kept her kids and raised them and did it really well. She said that despite my Bipolar and other issues I kept them and their dad didn’t get to raise them. She was angry with me for letting someone who should have no power over me, have power over me like that. Where was the powerful woman she knew her mom was at? I got my ass handed to me.

It took me hours to go to sleep and then I over slept.

Hopefully the fury is now in remission. I fear the overload is not. I’ll have to be more careful. Stay on top of taking my meds and going to my appointments. I should tell my new counselor about the fury I suppose. I stopped walking Bailey when it started raining again a few weeks ago. Today was one of the few days we’ve been out. It was muggy.

I don’t know how Bailey did it, but she spotted something gross on the side of the highway and rolled in it without breaking stride. So gross.

So yeah, overload and fury road. I am so mindful of the overload. I feel the fury sticking inside me like my dog eating peanut butter. I’ve got to control myself.

I have no intention of apologizing to Blank today. I have nothing to apologize for. I suppose I could apologize for yelling, but she was yelling too. Little bitch. You don’t get to mess with my family. (Obviously there is a lot more to things than I’m saying here. This is just to give you an idea of how I’m doing.)

I think it’s time for me to have a private talk with Kyle about the differences between family and a girlfriend. The major difference to me is that when everyone walks away from you in the most desperate moments of your life, your family still has your back, still believes in you, still loves you. Family is always what you have left when all the others have gone. That’s how I raised him. The four of us, we are family. Jessica, Kyle, Sydney and I. Unbreakable.

Overload and fury road. Don’t mess with me Blank. I’ve got stuff going on and you don’t want to be the one the fury road dead ends at, especially now that I’ve had time to think things over and not just react emotionally, which is what I did.

I still feel the residue of Friday night’s fury. I feel it settling into my intellectual side, ready to spring into action in a more reasonable way. I’m not going to have a shouting match with a child. She’ll be respectful to me if she comes over with him today, or she’ll be invited to leave.

I’m so angry with her that I called my Mom, whom I sometimes fight with, and explained the situation to her. Kyle has also started caring less about his appearance since he moved in with her. He needs to care because he works with the public every day at work. He’s also started using credit now that he lives with her. He never even had a credit card until he moved in with Blank. Now he’s just bought the $800 Samsung S7 active. He was using a free texting phone and was proud of it before her. Now he owes on the phone, furniture and other things. He doesn’t even have a full-time job. When he lived here he never used credit. I know he has to live his own life and make his own mistakes. I’m not fine with that, but I accept it.

My family didn’t approve of my ex-husband. No one said anything to me about it. Taking the kids out of the equation, marrying him ruined my life. Would I have listened if my family had tried to talk to me about how they felt and what they saw before I married my ex? I don’t know for sure, but there’s a chance it might have. I’m going to give Kyle that chance. He’s too new at relationships to just let him be pulled about by a user. Blank is a user of other people. Also, she too has mental health issues. That alone makes me afraid for him. He deserves to live with a healthy partner. Not that a mental illness means it wouldn’t work, but look, I’m who he’s been living with. I don’t want him to have to keep dealing with issues like I have. He deserves freedom and joy.

She may come over with Kyle today when he comes over after work to help pack. I can’t reach the areas I need him to pack. All us females are under 5’5” and we need his long arms and legs. If she does I will not apologize for our phone call. I have nothing to apologize for. I will be polite. Beyond that, we’ll have to see.

Honey, the name the kids all call my Mom, is thinking she’ll “happen” to swing by while he’s here to check out how he’s doing. I think she’s going to scope out his hygiene. Since he’s moved in with her he isn’t showering everyday like he was. He gets greasy fast so that’s bad. Sydney, who works for the same company as Kyle does, says he looks bad at work. She says his cloths are sloppy and look old and like they fit someone else. She says he’s failed his last three secret shoppers. That’s grounds to be fired. When he still lived here he got several bonuses from the secret shoppers, not fails.

Maybe I’m focusing on Blank because I’m putting Siberia down on Tuesday. Maybe it’s the move or the idea of driving across the country that is making me sensitive to her. Maybe.

I’ll tell you this for certain. No one messes with my kids whether they’re adults or not.

I’ve always been honest with my kids. I see no reason to stop being honest with them now. The truth is, Blank provokes me to anger with the way she interacts with me and keeps my son from seeing me. I’ve heard the way she talks about the aunt she was living with for two years before the aunt kicked her out. She’s vicious. She interprets things to her advantage and then gets Kyle to agree with her….

Okay, I’ve vented in extreme here. I don’t recall doing this like this before. Well, it is a blog about my life and stress is a huge part of my life right now and she’s causing some of it. It’s time for me to recognize that I don’t have to let her get me upset and I don’t have to worry that I have to protect my son from her. I have to have faith that the good job I did raising him and his own personality and intelligence are enough to take care of himself.

Why did he have to sign a year-long lease? Sigh….

Bipolar – Pleasing Personality

As I look back over the last week I see several days where I had less than a pleasing personality. I wasn’t fun to be around. I guess getting ready to move and all the packing and coordinating is weighing heavily on me and I’m letting it change how I interact with people. I’m allowing it to change me in negative ways. I wasn’t keeping an eye on myself. I should have known that I needed to be careful.

I’ve worked so hard over the years to become someone I like. I like myself a whole lot more now than I did even a year ago, but it’s easy to slide back into the familiar crappy personality I the whole time my bipolar symptoms had free reign with me I wasn’t someone people wanted to know.

I should get a tattoo that says, “Daily, proceed with caution.” That way I’ll remember not to take myself for granted and let a mood swing, even a small one, affect my personality and turn me into a person no one wants to be around.

Twice I took the bipolar bait and let potential negative situations explode into fights with family members. I was surprised with how easily I started becoming the person I was for most of my life. I don’t want to lose the better “me”.

Let me give you an example. I didn’t just argue with my Mom, I fought with her. Neither of us was listening to the other and both were convinced the other was wrong.

My Mom and I fought over money. She supports me financially because I can’t work. I get some money from SSI because I’m officially disabled, but it doesn’t even cover my rent so I really shouldn’t fight with her. Morally, I should show her respect. Etiquette dictates that I be respectful to my mother.

I need to work especially hard to have my mood swings well away from my Mom. We lost my Dad just over a year ago and she’s still grieving. She doesn’t need me coming in and making her feel the way she does when we fight. I know it hurts her. She doesn’t explain things well so when she says something and I react to it as though that’s what she really meant to communicate to me we almost always fight.

I should really be asking her what she means. As I told my kids growing up, “ask good questions.” I will start asking her good questions to make sure I really understand what she means. I’ve been saving money since last September because I figured I’d be moving sometime in the near future. Now it’s July the next year and I’m moving. I’ve got enough money saved to buy a piece of furniture, new towels, flatware, a book case and things like that. Oh and I got a new toaster. She freaked out because although I reassure her I have enough money to buy these things she worries and expects that she’ll end up paying for them because that’s the way things have always been in the past.

I’ve always relied on her to bail me out financially. I didn’t go out and buy things I didn’t need, but she couldn’t see that. She just saw $$$ and doesn’t really trust me yet. I don’t blame her.

I’ve kept how much money I have saved private because I didn’t want her trying to make me spend it on paying for the movers or house cleaners. Maybe I should pay for them, but I’m not going to and I’ve explained why to her. I want my own things when I move into my own house. Everything I have is from her. She uses things, gets tired of them, and gives them to me. I don’t even have bath towels that I bought for myself. I’m 53 and I’m still getting hand-me-downs.

Yes, I’m thankful she’s taking care of my needs, but just this once I want to buy somethings for myself. She says she understands that, but I think she still thinks I’ll spend recklessly because that’s what I’ve always done in the past. I’m not going to do that. I’m paying for things as I go so I won’t overspend. I hope I’ll earn her trust as we go through this situation.

I’ve probably told you more than you want to know about the situation, but I have a good reason for that. As painful as it is to admit to anyone but myself that I let myself out of control and let my swinging moods overrun me, I’m admitting it now. I wasn’t careful and I let my mood change who I was.

I was acting like I used to act when we fought all the time. I really don’t want to blow all the hard work I’ve done or our relationship just because of some stress over moving. It was stupid really. I was just being stubborn and didn’t want to tell her how much money I have. To me it’s the only thing that’s really mine, I felt that she didn’t need to know how much money I’ve saved. I believed it wasn’t her business.

I finally reassured her things would be fine, but I did have to tell her how much money I’ve saved up. I told her I have enough to buy the things I’d showed her I was buying.

You know I did try to not fight about it. I sent her links to what I wanted to buy and asked her what she thought. I don’t know that she saw anything but the price. I think we’ve come to an understanding. I feel like my personality is intact again. There are so many things that affect our personalities. I think we all want people to like us. The way I was behaving wasn’t doing that.

Today I have been reflecting on losing my temper during the week. I think I’ve spotted what the triggers were. Now I’m more prepared for the next time my moods poke me and try to make me behave badly. I’m committed to having a pleasing personality. After all, I figure I’m more likely to be successful if people like me, and don’t try to avoid my bitchy ass.

My quest for reaching my goals and following my passions are back on track. Everything impacts these things. I’m not going to give up my dreams because my moods are swinging. I respect my moods and their swings, but I’m determined to live my life with positive passion.

Having a pleasing personality will move me towards my objectives. I’m committed to developing it.