Bipolar – Please Believe in Me

I’m at the end of one phase of my life and am about to begin another.

I must seem as worried about a job and such as anyone else…

…but I’m not.

I have a mood disorder. If you understand the implications of that then when I tell you I’m not worried like others and that it’s worse, so crippling it destroys me from the inside out.

I cannot tell you about all the emotions that wait to catch me around the neck when I wake in the morning because then they might seize me because running away is not easily done with hysterical tears choking my vision.

I’m going to graduate. I’m 55 and I’m terrified.

My brain, in the past, has not been kind to me.

I wish I could tell you that all will be well, that the friends who snubbed me won’t matter because I will make many more who are mature, understand that life is most often not what it seems and that I will be financially successful and secure and able to help my kids.

I wish I could tell you those things will happen – and so I shall.

I’ve spontaneously been saying to this people when they ask how I am —

At this moment, at this precise second, at this exact instant in time I’m doing very well. In fact, I’m doing awesome!

Can you imagine it? A lone middle-aged woman with no job and not much chance of one, A graduate. A degree. Bonkers. Can you see me?

I’ve never had a job that lasted more than a year except for when I worked for myself. Imagine with me, that I have amassed all that is my life, both past and what is still to come…and now feel the certainty of the word “failure” burning across my forehead.

It isn’t the truth. It’s a screwed up bipolar lie. The intensity that is me is huge and is ready – no matter what may come, to really see who I am.

I have a really crappy mega mood disorder, but, but…

— at this exact moment in time I’m good, I’m really good.

How are you? Right now? Precisely at this instance?

Be well my friends,

Robin

— at this exact moment in time I’m good, I’m really good

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Bipolar – Never Far Away

I reached a stasis point, a time of going to neither depressed nor manic poles. I thought I was emotionally cramped or stunted. So, as I’ve said, my med provider and I decided to lower my Latuda to 80mg. It’s been about three weeks now and I can say without a doubt that I’m swinging again and in a bad way. I just called one of my daughters (I asked my family to watch me) and she said she’d noticed something had changed too and was wondering if that’s what was up.

Of course, I denied it. I realize now (30 minutes later) that I was protecting myself. I’ve worked for so hard for so long to be stable I didn’t want to admit that I’d have to up my medication again. I wanted to believe I could do this, be normal on my own.

I guess I feel like if I can’t be “normal” I won’t have really lived, I won’t really have given to my world or amounted to anything. I think those thoughts and feelings are always beneath the “calm” exterior of my well medicated self. It’s frustrating.

I’ve gone back to school so I can get a job. I’m 54 and I’m just going to school for a career now. It makes me so sad. See, the depression is coming like a vengeful lover, rough and dark.

If I’m already behaving “mean” towards my daughter and feeling depressed and like I’m about to have a fight I guess I’m not ready to be on a lower dose of my Latuda. So, it’s either go back up or change to something else. I’ll need to call the nurses line tomorrow and see if I can talk to my med provider as soon as I can. This isn’t the kind of thing that I should just wait until my next visit to handle.

Tomorrow I also see my counselor. We definitely have something to talk about.

Today I saw my pain management specialist. She ordered an MRI of my lower back. For some reason no one has ever had one done. I would have thought that having me on pain medications as long as I’ve been on them that someone would have had one done, but I can’t find it if they did.

Well, my new reality and I are going to read for a few minutes and then go to bed.

Be safe my friends.

Bipolar-Fearmongering and Politics Today

I need to say to someone, to anyone who will listen, that the Republican Party and their current platform of hate and lack of content is terrifying me. I tried to watch the Republican National Convention a few times but the rhetoric was so violent and beyond negative that I had to change the channel.

I try to reduce the stress in my life. Any talk of politics today in our country leaves me afraid. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I’m female and I’m disabled. What is in the future for me if the man with no plans is elected? He hates so many of us. He says he will make our nation great again, but what does he mean by that? He sounds like he hates most of us. Well, unless you happen to be, dare I say it, a white supremacist? He doesn’t seem to have a problem with them. They are generally white, male and support the rights of citizens to have any kind of gun they want.

I know Obama is just about done, but I feel safe with him in office. Maybe I’m not, but at the moment I feel that way.

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder so it stands to reason that I may react to strong emotional stimuli more than other people I know. But you know what? Everyone seems to be reacting to Trump the same. We worry what his being President might do to us as a Nation, as a People.

Trump reminds me of a big game hunter whose prey is the United States and we’re right in the crosshairs of his giant, killing rifle.

Would Hillary be any better? I don’t know. I know that she doesn’t call for Trump to be put in a firing line and shot. She doesn’t advocate his being thrown in prison. Just that much shows me she has a modicum of common sense.

Is anyone else finding their stress levels rise when you watch political shows on television in these volatile times? Am I alone in my emotional reaction to such consistent hatemongering and the potential of throwing our nation into chaos?

From yesterday I’m in pain from putting my sick kitty to sleep. Today, I’m still in pain, but I’m also afraid. I’m afraid my future freedoms will be taken away from me and I’ll live in a land unfamiliar to me and like a foreign land.

I’d better fill my pill boxes now.

Bipolar – Self-Motivation

“Personal initiative” are two of the least meaningful words to me as a person with Bipolar Disorder that I can think of. Let’s call it “self-motivation” instead. Depression and sometimes anger take up a lot of my emotional energy and emotional intelligence and derail the best of my intensions.

Daily I face stresses which make it harder to manage my bipolar. Right now immediate issues include putting my cat to sleep today (three hours ago) and three days later beginning moving into town. That’s just this week. After that on August 7th I’ll fly to Tampa, FL so I can drive with my eldest daughter from there to here (near Seattle).

I have to remember that I am striving to break the old patterns of behavior that come from years of my illnesses running unchecked and creating all manner of bad habits. One of those habits is being “self” orientated and completely unmotivated.

Often all I can think about is myself and how to make it through the day. Sometimes it takes all my energy to taking one breath after another, eat regular meals, take my meds, and take care of my animals.

Bipolar Disorder is all about sever mood swings. Swinging sometimes swinging slowly, sometimes quickly from the far left to the far right. I live in a state of movement and flux. Some days, I celebrate stability and forge ahead on the path to my future and my successes: chasing my passions.

I’ve had trouble blogging recently. I’m moving and finding the time and energy to do it has been a challenge. Nevertheless, I still think of my goals and am mindful of how everything I do either moves me towards them or away from them. I’ve been letting the television suck my brain out again. There are endless hours’ reruns of home improvement shows on HGTV and DYI. They’re great channels, but come on, watching a rerun for the fourth time of Flip or Flop? Seriously? I need to get my head out of limbo and start being mentally active.

So look, I’m starting moving Friday unless something goes askew. The movers will be here Monday. I could waste all that time I’m not actively moving because it won’t be convenient to write then, but writing is what I’m trying to do. I feel like chaos has taken up residence in my brain and my thinking processes are all mucked up.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t pay to do anything connected with my definite major purpose, my major goal, my passion, without the deliberate intention of doing it better than I have done it before. I need to always reach further than I have ever done. If I can’t do that I might as well not waste my time because that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be going through empty motions and I don’t have the time or energy for that silliness.

Personal initiative, or self-motivation, is an important part of striving to reach my goals. Using it I learn to act as soon as I can, not later when it is convenient, but now, when it matters. When I use it I will want to get started on my work with eagerness knowing it is bringing me closer to my chief aim in life. It is not just about doing my best working for other people, it’s very valuable in pursuing my own passions.

Dreaming big dreams doesn’t make them happen. Getting off my butt and taking the steps towards completing them does. That’s what “personal initiative” is all about. Getting up and making things happen yourself, on your own, without anyone goading you on and trying to get you to strive to go the extra mile. It’s being self-motivated.

Bipolar and Adaptation

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From today through about August 18th I need to be able to be my best self. That means I will have to be super vigilant and sensitive towards my Bipolar Disorder symptoms. Theoretically, that’s how I’m supposed to be all the time, but right now it’s really evident that I have to pay attention. The stress of looking for a house has rolled over to moving and that will roll over into flying out to Florida to meet my daughter and driving across the country with her two cats to bring her home.

I must prepare myself physically, mentally for what’s next. I tend to react to situations and my moods swing without my even being aware of what’s happening, that is, until I’m done reacting.

This is going to be a good experience for me to practice adapting myself quickly to changing situations and emergencies without losing my temper like I’ve done in the past. My usual reactions are an abrupt swinging of mood, or panic and then the mood swing.

This skill, the skill of flexibility and adaptability, is an important skill to have while coping with our mental illness. Each new skill I learn builds upon the base of my positive mental attitude, my chief definite aim, or my passion in life. (I tend to think of the three things as different ways of saying the same thing.)

Having a flexible disposition means I must be able to quickly adapt to my environment. When I say “environment” I mean not only the physical situation, but also dealing with the people involved in the situation. It means that I can harmonize with my environment in a flexible way.

I’m not suggesting that I ignore my principles or altering my goals. I’m simply suggesting that I recognize my mental attitude towards the situation and determine if the situation is a disaster or a windfall. If it is a disaster I have the opportunity to change things and make them better. Because I use positive mental attitude, I have an even better opportunity to change the disaster into a boon.

I think that part of being adaptable means that in every situation with every person I try to understand their needs and demands. An example would be my Mother calling me a couple times a day and telling me something else I need to do to prepare to move. Yesterday it was that I should go to the Loews and Home Depot on Meridian to purchase boxes, start packing, have the kids (my son, 21 and youngest daughter, 19) come over and help me go through things, and to get rid of the piano. Being sensitive to her and to protective of myself I suggested that she make a list. We’ll see if she can do it. I eventually did go to those stores and bought boxes, but not the ones on Meridian. I hate driving on that street. It’s too busy and too long and too slow.

My plan includes to getting up at the same time every day, feed the animals and take my meds, eat healthy foods, exercise (I walk down the highway with Bailey), give my brain a break by reading or watching TV or listening to an audio book while walking, planning and making lists, keeping appointments or doing errands, spending time learning about how to be successful, spend time doing reactional activities, and so on. I need to keep things fairly structured. When I just watch TV all day it usually takes me another day or more to get back on track.

I’m going choosing to daily be flexible, adaptable, and let me just add: I’m going to be kind to others. (Ellen DeGeneres)

Bipolar – Indecision and Moving Forward

house

My new home.

To be successful in dealing with Bipolar Disorder or acquiring wealth I have to be able to make decisions and then right away put them into action. Despite my lack of inspiration recently, my goals and dreams, my passions are still the same. Now that I’ve realized that I was sitting still and not moving towards or away from my goals I know that I have to decide to do something to move me towards my goals and then do it right away.

Oh look, my Mother and I just went out with our broker looking for my first house to buy.

This is one way I can help get my enthusiasm back. Action.

We found THE house!

Having my definite main purpose is the first step on my road to success. In the past success was a stranger to me. While my illness was running wild even if I could decide on my purpose I couldn’t take action on it. Or at least it felt that way and this disorder is all about feelings isn’t it.

My Mother decided to make an offer on it. She’s buying it for me because I have no credit because I am on disability and don’t work. I’ll be making the payments (essentially buying it from her).

Then life pops in and loudly declares that things are not cut and dried. Things are messy and take time and are full of surprises. Such as…

My Mother added a letter with the offer explaining that the house is for her adult daughter who is disabled and asked them to take that into consideration. There were higher offers, but we won the house!

My anxiety tinged mind is making popcorn now.

On Aug. 7th, just after I move, I’m flying to Tampa, FL to drive cross country to bring my daughter home from the Air Force. I’ll have just been in my new house a few days. My kids will take turns living in my new house for me with my dog and two cats. How ironic. I feel jealous. I’ll have to work fast to unpack everything. The house is so much bigger than anything else we looked at. It’s beautiful. I wanted a yellow house. It’s yellow. It’s on a quiet street and has a fenced in back yard to keep Bailey safe.

What was I going to decide? Right, I need to decide where to buy moving boxes from. I’ll do that Monday. There, I’ve made a decision.

No, that’s wrong, I was going to make a decision to move me towards my main life goals.

Well now my goals include moving and all that entails.

I’ve just taken half a chill pill. My right leg is bouncing like crazy. Bouncing/tapping legs is a symptom of my anxiety.

Focus. Okay, I’ve written this blog. Time to work on another project before things get moving too fast. I have a lot of work to do to meet the goal of my life’s passion. My newest goal is to keep working on my chief aim (main goal), my passion, even as I prepare to move. I start back to school in the fall and I won’t have as much time as I do now. I can’t waste time being paralyzed by excitement and fear of the unknown.

Control. I need to control myself. Yesterday I walked up and down the highway with my heeler Bailey for an hour. After I got the news we went for another walk. I had to put the energy someplace productive. Today my knee is stiff, which is funny because it’s my new knee. I’ve had it replaced twice.

I’m going to put the joy I feel now into my Enthusiasm book. I’m going to make it more an encouragement notebook. I’m using one of those school test books.

If I crash later today, I’m going to look in my book and remember how I feel now.

Oh lord, I’m going to have to deal with my Mother. She’s wonderful but she micro-manages everything. I mean everything, like she’ll call and ask me if I’ve been packing every day. Patience isn’t my strong suit. But, it’s one of the parts of having a pleasing personality, which I want to have, so I need to work on it. I don’t want to scare people away with my moodiness. But a pleasing personality, that’s a post for another day.

Find something wonderful to think about today even if it’s a frog hopping across the yard or your dog finally sitting down when you tell them to. Anything will work. But do try to find something positive to think about.

It’s the trying that counts.

Bipolar – Does It Make Me Stupid?

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Stupid chicken

Am I stupid? Or am I just depressed?

Over the years I’ve said that I feel like I’m dumber than I was when I was younger. The older I was getting, the stupider I felt. I was honestly concerned that this was a part of the natural aging process and was happening to me early or a part of Bipolar Disorder. Maybe over time Bipolar Disorder destroyed the brain and I was naturally losing my ability to think because that was something that came with the illness.

Felt.

Years later I learned that the way I felt had nothing to do with my intelligence. I have a mood disorder, not an IQ killer.

I wasn’t becoming mentally challenged. It was all about moods. Not intelligence.

Intelligence.

Mood disorder.

Not the same.

The way I thought about it was with violence. I was so angry and frustrated that I couldn’t think things through. I made bad decision after bad decision. I “felt” stupider. That’s key with our Bipolar Disorder. We can feel stupid. (If you don’t ever feel dumber, you can skip this post.) If you have, keep reading because it is important that you understand what’s going on in your brain.

We have what is known as a mood disorder. That is, we have moods that are extreme and can fluctuate wildly compared to a regular person. Instead of being sad, we become extremely depressed. Instead of being angry, we become enraged. Instead of being excited, we become manic.

These mood fluctuations and extremes impact the way we think. They don’t make us stupid, but we can feel that way. The moods interfere with the way we think.

People tell us to think positively, things will be okay. Unfortunately, the weight of depression can prevent us from feeling like we can think at all, much less think positively.

When I first heard of Tony Robbins, success coach and public speaker, I tried out one of his 30-day programs designed to teach me to be successful. All I had to do was follow the directions spelled out on the card that went with each day and listen to the 30-minute tape that went with it.

The program challenged me to change my thinking. That was the basis of the program, change your thinking to be successful. I was depressed. I didn’t feel like I could do it. So, I quit. I felt like I was too stupid to understand the lessons. That had to be what was wrong. It never occurred to me that my illness could be impacting my ability to think clearly and keeping me from focusing on the lessons and understanding what Mr. Robbins was teaching. I’ve gone back to Mr. Robbins teachings recently and discovered that I understand him just fine. I wasn’t depressed this time. I was able to understand what he taught and use some of the principles he presented.

I’m not stupid.

I have a mood disorder.

If you have a mood disorder, please understand that it does not mean you are dumb.

I don’t know how intelligent you are or are not. I do know that Bipolar Disorder does not make you less intelligent.

Bipolar Disorder does not make you dumb.

It is a mood disorder, not a brain eater.