Bipolar – Anticipating Stress

We finally found a house to buy! I’m so excited! Also, I’m filled with potential trepidation. I mean look, I’m an emotional swing set trying to balance way up at the top of the arch.

I’ve gotten comfortable living out here in rural Washington. No neighbors really bother me, there aren’t many of them anyway. The people down the road drive a bit too fast for Bailey and I while we’re out walking, but that’s about it.

I don’t watch scary movies or TV shows because I feel like they violate my delicate soul, my sometimes suffering soul. So recently I chose to shake myself up a bit and I’ve started watching Penny Dreadful on Showtime. If you’ve seen it, you know it has all the things I’ve tried to stay away from. Things that might leave fear in me that the night might feed upon.

I’m watching an episode from season three right now and they said something interesting that is germane to my whole life. It’s something I write about often and think about more often. One of the characters is in a straight-jacket and a man is feeding her.

Her: God has forgotten me. He can’t find me here

Him: That’s not true

Her: I’m not Vanessa Ives here, I’m no one. I have no name. No purpose.

Him: Do you want a purpose?

Her: Don’t you?

Him: I’m doing it.

She doesn’t know what to say to that. The idea that him caring for her and feeding her in this horrible place is his purpose completely baffled her.

I mentioned this because I was so surprised to hear anything about one’s purpose in Penny Dreadful.

I want a purpose. I have a purpose.

We can find purpose in the strangest places.

Do you have a purpose? What is your purpose?

What a strange place to be reminded of purpose.

In the next month, as I prepare to move, I’m going to make an effort to remember consistently that everyday my purpose is the same and I need to work towards it. I can’t abandon my passion just because I get really busy and have a lot on my mind. So, I’ve got things to do now towards that end. Time to stop obsessing about how to keep the kitty litter from ruining the hardwood floors. Time to keep working on making my dreams reality.

This isn’t going to be easy.

(Thank you Showtime for the brief dialogue quotation.)

Cross posted

Bipolar and Clear Thinking

(I want to hide in the cupboard until this is all over.)

Success! We’ve found a house we like. The big issue is storage. I realize that all houses this small have very limited storage, but I’ll have to get rid of pretty much all that I own to make this happen even if I have a storage shed to help with the overflow. I’m preparing to have a panic attack. I’m going to schedule it.

I am a book hoarder. I’ve been successful in getting rid of probably 50 boxes of books. It was painful. Next weekend we’re having a big garage sale in the neighborhood that my mom lives in. It’s a huge multiple neighborhood gated community. I’ve sent over two car loads of things to sell including my Ryan Seacrest bobble head (I’m not attached to it, I just want to get more than $10 for it.)

I woke up this morning thinking about the lack of storage the little house has. I waited till about 10 a.m. to call my mom to talk about the storage problem and what we can do about it. I want to go look at it again and do some measuring. We’ve only been to view it one time. A commitment that huge we should look at again, don’t you think? The housing market here is so tight that if you find a house you like you need to put an offer on it the day you find it or someone else will. So, if I decide not to go with this house we go back to all the stress of looking for a house all over again.

I’m a worrier. I’m a bipolar worrier with anxiety issues. I keep having to calm myself down. I look around my 1800 sq. ft. house and realize I’m going to have to get rid of most all of my possessions to make this work. The new house is only 837 sq. ft. So yeah, downsizing. All my kids have moved out and I don’t need this large a house. I can’t afford anything bigger than the house we’ve put an offer in on.

My stress meter is reading high. Very high. It turns out that it really was good that I didn’t go to school this quarter because we found the house during what would be the week before finals and I wouldn’t have had the time to go look at it.

So how to deal with the stress and associated problems that come with it? I need to think clearly and NOT emotionally. I don’t know how much of my fear of no storage is being realistic or if I’m just falling in with my all too familiar states of paralyzing worrying and all the things that come with stress, like the possibility that I may not be able to handle it and have an episode.

I think I need to begin with focusing on tidying up my thinking processes and think accurately rather than emotionally. If I can do that it will help me have a positive attitude about this instead of having the attitude that we’re going to make a huge mistake. What does clear thinking tell me? Does it make sense to move into this house?

One of the problems I have to deal with constantly is making decisions based on commonsense and thoughtfulness rather than on emotion. I don’t want to pass this house up if I’m just having an anxiety attack because of all the worrying I’ve been doing. I need to settle down and think with clarity.

A really good way to start is to have people around me who I can consult with who know my situation and can make judgements based on commonsense and logic. If I’m blinded by panic they can help me see clearly. I’ve chosen to make my mom, and my three kids those people. Granted the kids think any house is good, once we start measuring and they’ve been inside the house they’ll be able to make good recommendations.

Another thing I can do is avoid, eliminate, thinking about the whole thing in such negative terms such as: never, only, nothing, every, no way, can’t and impossible. I must remember that these negative ways of thinking are going to impact my accurate thinking and that I need to hold on to the positive attitude I’ve been working on cultivating within myself.

To think clearly I have to bind it with a positive attitude. I need to remember that I’m in control of my decisions and that I can make good ones not driven by negative emotions.

I need to work hard to take control and direct my thoughts and control my emotions. Of course being bipolar I’m challenged to think clearly and not let my emotions drive my decisions all the time.

My thoughts must control my thinking, not my emotions. This is especially true right now while I’ve got an offer in on a house. I need to be sure and have a convinced positive attitude before signing the papers. I can’t move into a house that I don’t think I can live with the storage challenges forcing me to throw out all the things I’m attached to.

I need facts. I need clear thinking. I need the advice of others that I trust who know me how my emotions impact my thinking. I need to separate “facts” from imagined fictions, and important facts from unimportant ones.

Bipolar Disorder will definitely have a large role in determining whether or not we buy this house. All the small houses we’ve looked at have pretty much been dives and not had any storage. We’ve seen this house and one other that has been fixed up by a flipper (someone who buys a house, fixes it up, and sells it). Both are really great. Neither has storage. Realistically, no houses this size will have storage.

So we’ll see. Will I freak out and convince everyone that the lack of storage is a deal breaker for me? Or will I go do some measuring and creative thinking? The plan is to go next week to view it again and do a lot of measuring.

I’m going to stay on my meds, see my counselor, exercise, get enough sleep, play with my dog and eat better. These things will give me a chance to keep from falling into a bipolar tailspin.

A Bipolar House Hunting & Being Successful

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I got up yesterday close to on time and took the Bailey out and fed the cats. Bailey doesn’t eat early in the day. It distresses me I have to admit it. Yesterday afternoon we went house hunting. It’s been almost a month since the broker last took us out. The market here is really low on inventory. Houses are being bought the day they go on the market. You can imagine I might be feeling some stress about this. I am.

I spent time playing ball with Bailey before we went out. She helps me calm down. We played soccer. I kick it and she catches it and brings it back. We play in the house. When I down size I probably won’t be able to kick the ball around like this. We’re looking for a place with a fenced yard.

I’m stressed. I took a chill pill before I left to meet my mom because I started to feel really anxious. I started tapping my legs violently, which is one of the physical signs I’m having anxiety. After playing ball and taking the pill I started to calm down.

I chose to be positive about looking for houses yesterday. I don’t mean that I believed that because I was thinking positively that we’d find a house. What I do mean is that I chose to go looking with my broker and my mother and be positive towards them and the situation in general. I accepted that we might find the perfect house. I accepted we might not find anything remotely good. We saw some interesting houses. Let’s just leave it at that. We’re still looking.

As of yesterday I hadn’t seen my son in a couple weeks. Since he’s moved out and into town I don’t see him much. Sometimes I feel like seeing me is more like I’m a chore that needs to be done. I know that’s how he feels when grandma asks him to do something – like she’s a chore he doesn’t want to give his time off from work to. I feel that he feels that way towards me too. It makes me sad. He does mow my lawn every other week and I’m thankful for that because with my back pain and arthritis I can’t do it myself.

Today I met with my brother at Shari’s restaurant. I’d gone over his business website and taken notes about changes I’d make and problems I found. It needs a lot of work. I was kind of hoping he’d pay me a little for doing it, but he didn’t. I got a strawberry lemonade out of it and an hour of time with him. I don’t see him very often.

I would say I’ve had a successful week. Success doesn’t always come in making a lot of money or getting a new job. Sometimes success comes in little packages like being able to get the medicine down the cat’s throat and not all over her.

Although my brother didn’t think to pay me I still look at it as a success. I set out to survey the website and take complete notes and I did it. Then I wanted to meet with him and communicate to him what I’d found and make recommendations. I did that too. I wanted to go to the mattress store and exchange my mattress and I did that. Another success. Now I’m blogging. Another success. I have another project that’s important to me that I’ll work on next.

What kind of successes have you had this week? Today? It’s hard when I’m sad/depressed to feel like I’ve been successful, but when I’m fair and I really think about it I can see them. Being bipolar doesn’t mean I can’t be successful. But sometimes, I have to look for successes a little more closely.

I refuse to give up. I’m going to keep pushing and poking things till I reach my main goal. It’s not easy. I’m tired and my arthritis is flaring up in my shoulders, elbows and hands. It would be easy to just watch TV tonight. But I’m not going to do that just yet. I’m going to move forward towards my main goal.

I’m a little depressed. We’re probably going to have to put down one of my cats soon, so as I say, depressed. But I’m not going to give up. Excuse me now please, I have something I need to work on. I’ll see you soon dear Reader.

Habitually Bitchy

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We went house hunting today. We found some interesting places. I thought about the really nice house we passed on because it was just too small and wondered if I could make it work.

I was getting frustrated. Rhett had brought his young son and he was on my nerves… because my nerves were out and ready to be got on. I’d taken a chill pill an hour before, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. I was stressed as well as anxious.

We found a great place that would work that even had a great four car garage. It was outside of my target area, but it would have worked. You know what my mother had to say about it and why it wouldn’t work? It was too big.

The last place I liked was too small. This one is too big. Talk about annoying. Too big?!

She’s not making it easy for me to stop being habitually bitchy to her when she does stuff like that. I’m trying to change my behavior. It’s not easy, trying to change a lifelong habit. But I’m going to do it.

Rhett (our broker and family friend) now knows exactly what to look for regarding housing and me. He’s considering finding a house with good bones, gutting it, designing what I need, building it and flipping it to us. That would be so cool and the most likely way to get what I want. The housing market here is so tight. If a house that’s nice lasts 5 days on the market that’s a long time.

Let’s hope whatever happens, happens fast because my nerves are nervy.

I took this quarter off school partly to look for a house. If I don’t find one and I end up having wasted this quarter I shall feel annoyed about the whole thing.  I know I can’t control the market, but I can hope and dream. And, I can try to be a better me while I’m conquering the habitually bitchy me.

Am I ready to Resist the Depression Monster?

I have bipolar disorder type 1 and I experience mixed states and rapid cycling. When I’m having a full blown episode it’s a nightmare. I’m feeling on the edge right now. I also have PTSD, ADHD, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatology Arthritis, Anxiety and a bad temper. I take a lot of medications to remain stable.

I am afraid. I’m 53 years old and besides when I was away at college I’ve only lived on my own for less than a year. Less than one year. I have three kids ages daughter 24, son 21 and daughter 18. My eldest daughter is in the Air Force and has two more years to serve. She’s across the country. The youngest lives with her fiancée. Now my son is moving in with his girlfriend this weekend.

When Jessica, the eldest, went to basic I was not doing well overall and I had your basic breakdown. I was hysterical for days. She enlisted for six years. She’s my best friend.

My youngest daughter, Sydney, suddenly decided to move out and two weeks before her 18th birthday and suddenly she was just gone. I couldn’t get her to wait the two short weeks till after her birthday.

She had been lying to me for years. We had two rules in our house that I expected her to follow. First, no dating till you are 18 (the other two had no problems with this rule) and second, never lie to mom. Ever. I kept asking her, are you and Toni dating.  “No.” Always, the answer was no. I chose to believe her because my part of the not lying deal to mom meant I had to trust them. So I chose to believe her. They had been dating for month and months when she suddenly decided to move out into a single room in the back of a house a stranger’s house. Had I been asked I would not approved of the situation and in fact the move turned out to be less than successful.

Today, less than a year after Sydney moved out, Kyle, my boy, is moving out too. At least I had a month notice with him. He’s moving in with his girlfriend Melanie in town today.

So now both of the younger kids live in town, about 30 minutes away.

I now live with my emotional support/training dog in service Bailey and my cats Maks and Siberia. I have no clue how I’m going to keep Bailey out of the cat food and litter box when I move. Did I mention we put an offer down on a house in town? It is 5 minutes from where Sydney will be living.

I have found a tiny house in town very near where Sydney is moving (her third move in one year) into her new apartment next week. We have put an offer in on it and now we wait. The bank owns it and we have to wait till they choose which offer to accept in ten days. I’m hoping that with the large down payment we’re making we’ll be the make our offer the most attractive offer and we’ll get the house.

It is 10:32 Saturday morning and I’ve already teared up after Kyle left to go get my brother’s work van to use for moving. I’m planning on working hard today on work stuff and not doing moving prep stuff. I need to have a break from moving stuff.

I have a huge box of Magic the Gathering cards that I’m trying to sell to a friend of the family. I’m pissed because he didn’t shown up last night to get them like we arranged. The stack of boxes is taller than I am (5’3”). They’re just in the middle of the living room and frustrating me every time I look at them (every time I look up) and every time I have to walk around them (every time I go into the kitchen). When they’re gone I think I’ll feel like I’ve done some work throwing things out at least.

To help me move Kyle has agreed to come out on one of his days off (Fridays) to help me do dump runs and other things I can’t do.

Besides using the technique of using a positive mental attitude (which I’m making a huge effort to follow from now on) I’m hoping not to fall completely apart and go through the hysterics again. It’s exhausting. And wouldn’t  you know it but my counselor has just retired so I have no counselor.

Besides being exhausting when I’m having a breakdown, it also wastes a lot of time. I don’t want to lose time anymore. I’ve lost too many years to my bipolar already. So, I’ve set my goals and I’m on my way to fulfilling them. I refuse to give in to the depression that thinks I’m going to let move in and take Kyle’s place. I’m staying on my meds and sticking with my daily routine and not isolating myself.

If I get the house one of the first goals I’ll have is teaching Bailey not to eat the cat food and poop. I’m a worrier. What can I say?

My son is moving out and I’m distracting myself by thinking about poop.