Category Archives: Kids

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.

Bipolar Struggling

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I’m struggling. I want to be successful, but I have this illness that makes it harder to succeed for me to do so than if I didn’t have it. I just get going, and then I get depressed and circle downwards further away from my goals. I feel sad and unfulfilled. Tired. And then I blame my lack of success on the fact that I have Bipolar Disorder. The blame game. But there is truth to it.

I know intellectually what I need to do to be successful, but I feel like haven’t the strength right now.

Have you ever felt like this? Sounds like a broken record to me I’ve said it so many times. I know the feelings so well it’s like embracing a lover comfortable, warm, and familiar.

I tried to walk Bailey (the dog) around 5 this evening. My right knee felt like a vice grip was clamped on to it so I did one lap up and down the road and had to stop. I’ve had this knee replaced twice. (I had it done at a much younger age than most. Thought I’d do it a second time just to see if we could get my foot to point the right direction.)

It is 9:41 p.m. and I just realized why I feel like I should have gone to bed an hour ago. I forgot my afternoon meds. My son was over mowing my lawn around lunch time and I guess I got off schedule.

You know what? I have goals that I’m passionate about and I want to succeed in achieving them. However, I’m somewhat depressed right now and I’m not believing in myself the way I need to if I’m going to be successful. And I’m being scattered. Forgot the Ritalin. I’m blaming the illness. Now that I’ve figured out why I got more depressed today I can fix it tomorrow by taking all my meds.

It would have helped if I’d taken my meds. I’ve taken my p.m. meds already. I talk about how important it is to take your meds. This is why. My just missing one afternoon’s meds cost me my afternoon and evening and I feel more depressed.

Tomorrow is a new day. I’ll stick to my morning routine. I’ve got a morning routine. If I deviate from my routine, the rituals, I usually forget something. The rituals make me feel comfortable and steady.

I forgot to feed the cats this morning so Maks, the younger of the two, went into the kitchen and opened the cabinet doors and let them slam shut. I’m sure he knows I hate it when he does that. My dog Bailey chased him downstairs. That’s what happens when you have a cattle dog without cattle. She reverts to herding the cats.

I’ll take all my meds tomorrow. I’ll have to take my afternoon ones just before I leave to go to our family BBQ for Mother’s Day at my brother’s mid-century (I watch HGTV) home overlooking Puget Sound. It has a beautiful view. We’ll eat and play cards. I’m sick of playing cards but at least we have something to do. It can be fun. Depends on my attitude.

Time to take Bailey out. Then I think I’m going to journal for a little while.

My youngest daughter got hired Thursday to work at a car wash that her brother works at ($15 an hour plus tips!) and she worked today. That was fast. I’m so proud of her. I’m so proud of all my kids.

Yep, time to put this to bed.

Thanks and Being Graciousness

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Did you know that if you are in a vehicle during a tornado you should leave the vehicle running so that if you’re hit, the airbags will deploy and give you a better chance to survive. True story. Thank you Weather Channel.

That has not a thing to do with anything, but I thought it was interesting

My son moved out a few weeks ago you may know, leaving me home childless after raising three kids on my own. Suddenly I have no one to take care of or to take care of me. It is at times unnerving. There are some things around the house that I can’t do. Kyle has to come home and do some things for me like mowing my lawn. I am physically unable to do it. I’m thankful that he’s still willing to do that for me. I have arthritis and chronic pain and am unable to do a lot of things. One of the funniest is opening a bottle of water. I have to use one of those bottle opener handle things.

After arguing with my mother yesterday, and talking to Kyle this morning, I realized something I had not been doing and should be doing. I realized it because Kyle isn’t doing it and he should be doing it. It’s being graceful. Gracefulness is what I should be exhibiting after my mother does something for me that is surprising and completely unnecessary. If I don’t practice gracefulness, I can hurt her feelings and she may not be so nice next time.

Gracefulness, according to Dictionary.com means:

  1. pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous.
  2. characterized by good taste, comfort, ease, or luxury: gracious suburban living; a gracious home.
  3. indulgent or beneficent in a pleasantly condescending way, especiallyto inferiors.
  4. merciful or compassionate: our gracious king.
  5. Obsolete. fortunate or happy.

The idea is that when Kyle does a dump run for me (takes all the stuff to the dump in my brother’s van that I’ve gathered together to toss before I move) I should thank him, which I always do, and he should in turn be gracious and be kind (say you’re welcome). If he’s not, I’ll probably have my feelings hurt, because, you know, I’m sensitive like that.

It’s one thing to be bipolar bitchy, it’s another to ignore situations where you can control your emotions and your mouth and say something that is helpful and kind. This is where habits come in. But that’s for another day.

I want and need people to help me. I don’t want to piss them off so that they won’t help me anymore or only do so with a really bitchy attitude. When I’m able to choose to behave in a gracious way, I need to make the choice to do so when I can. Today, I can.

I Pissed Myself Off Again!

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My Mom and her dog.

I asked my mom to come over to my house with her dog so they could hang out with my dog and I and we could have some positive bonding time together. Things didn’t go so well. Let’s put it this way, when I’m upset Bailey, my dog, sits basically on my feet till I calm down. After I was done yelling at my mom for secretly triggering all my triggers, I realized Bailey was leaning against my leg.

I knew I should have taken a chill pill before she came over.

I shouldn’t have to take a chill pill before I see my mother.

It wasn’t her fault. She triggered all her triggers and I responded in the time honored tradition of a bitchy and disrespectful daughter. Maybe over all I was right and she had no business being a blockhead. Maybe she’s 73 and I should have kept my mouth shut when she first crossed the initial line and complained about my wanting to rent a movie on TV for $16. How can I spend so much money?!

I’m sad.

I made my mom cry. I asked her why she was crying and she said she just still does sometimes. My dad passed just over a year ago. She didn’t blame me or the old family photos I was sharing with her.

Personally, I think it was because her adult daughter is sick and will never be normal. I think she feels like she’s always going to have to take care of me. Maybe it breaks her heart. I know it would break mine.

So yeah, I pissed myself off again by missing every single point when I could have chosen to stop and back pedal. All that was left afterwards was to apologize and try to figure out how to not rise to the occasion next time because there will be a next time.

I’ll see her in the morning. I hope I can be respectful and keep my damn mouth shut.

I shall try.

Meeting the Triggers with Awe

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do after I encounter a trigger and my bipolar or one of my other difficulties (like anxiety) are “activated” so to speak. I can’t just ignore it.

First I guess I should explain what I mean by a “trigger.” When I say I’ve been “triggered” I mean that something has happened that causes my bipolar to come out of balance or remission and become active, and there is a good possibility that I might become depressed or manic. Just like the other day when my daughter pushed my buttons.

This is the moment I’ve got to be ready for. I can’t just ignore it and hope it doesn’t become a full blown episode. It is so easy to be overcome by bipolar disorder. I must always be vigilant. I have Bipolar Type 1. I experience mixed states and cycle rapidly. I don’t enjoy it when it is running rampant. Sometimes in the past I haven’t wanted to live because it has been so devastating. I will do whatever I have to to avoid that from happening again. I want to live.

I was reading in Psychology Today yesterday in their March/April 2016 issue and I found an article on “awe” called “It’s Not All About You!” by Carlin Flora. The article talks about “rumination—or mulling over worries—is the biggest predictor of depression and anxiety” (52).

Wow is that ever true for me. I waited till my son got home and told him about it, then I blogged about it, then I talked to Kyle about it some more. And of course I thought about it in the in between times. What about you? Have you found that when you ruminate you are in more danger of having an episode? So what to do.

Awe. The article goes on to quote a study that says, “Awe is the opposite of rumination, it clears away inner turmoil with a wave of outer immensity.”

So I decided to do a little experiment. We live near Mount Rainier in Washington State. It’s only an hour to the park entrance from our house. I used to take the kids to the park when they were young all the time for a break from school and so we could have time away and together. Family time.

My experiment consisted of looking for “awe.” It included my son Kyle and my dog Bailey. We drove for 30 minutes to get to beautiful Alder Lake which is on the way to Mount Rainier. We enjoyed the drive and taught the dog to fetch in the lake and swim. She’s never been swimming before. She never hesitated. Then we played fetch with an old black and yellow football we found in the garage the other day. We spent time alone together, away from the normal stresses of daily life. We were gone for 2.5 hours.

I found AWE. It wasn’t hard. It was like it was waiting for me to notice it. I found it in the beauty of nature, laughter and the love of those I was with.

How do I feel now? Honestly, I feel good. I don’t know how long it will last, but for right now, I feel like I’m back in control.

Look for awe in your daily life. Whether it is in the eyes of someone you love or in the colors of an amazing sunset, look for awe. Maybe you’ll find it stopping you from ruminating too.