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.