Bipolar – Hiding in the Mattress

(Murdoch is the yellow one and Thea is the one cuddling his tummy.)

My daughter and I (she’s 24 and recently separated from the military) just finished driving from Tampa, FL to Seattle, WA. It was a very long drive. Just to test our resilience, we brought her two companions who happen to be cats. He is Murdoch and she is Thea. Along the eleven-day journey we stayed all our nights in Best Western hotels so Jessica could get points and a gift card (cash) for staying with them.

The first night things went well. The cats had behaved in their kennel (both in the same one) the whole drive which we kept short the first day to test how they would behave in the car. Thea used to get sick just going to the vets so we had some concerns.

The second night and all nights after that first drama-less night Murdoch freaked out every time we let him out of the kennel. He would immediately head for the nearest bed and dive behind it and up in it. This wasn’t a problem the first night because he couldn’t get into the box spring. After that first night the story was different.

Did you know some Best Westerns don’t even put a mesh on the bottom of their box spring mattresses? I know that won’t matter to the vast majority of people, but when traveling with frightened cats it matters a great deal. Murdoch would find the nearest box spring and climb right up inside.

Boom! Cat stuck inside the bed. At one hotel we had to get duct tape to patch all the holes that were in the mesh. Just about the whole thing had to be taped to keep him out.

Why was Murdoch behaving in such a strange way? He was scared out of his wits. We had to keep him on a leash on his harness to keep him around and get him to eat and drink. Needless to say he lost weight by the end of the trip. I think it’s safe to say that if cats can be depressed Murdoch was very depressed. He hid in the safest place he could find, inside the box spring. Twice we had to have hotel maintenance lift the mattresses for us so we could fish him out.

What does this have to do with Bipolar? It’s simple really, sometimes I feel just like he did and I try to find a place to hide in the way back corner where I can be lost in the dark and be safe and alone. Ever feel that way?

Like Murdoch, I have people in my life who will find me and pull me out of my dark, “safe”, corner. I’m learning that facing my fears is less costly to me emotionally and mentally than if I ran and hid in the mattress from them.

Murdoch never got over his fears and hid on the whole trip. Now that he’s here in his new home he’s still a fraidy-cat. We thought both cats had gotten out of the apartment, but it turned out they were hiding on the top of the kitchen cabinets. Talk about scaring us!

I’m making it a goal as I approach another quarter at university and settling into my new home in town to try to stay out of the dark places where I can hide.

To be healthy and move forward I need to be able to face daily challenges and disruptions regardless of the size they may be. One way I can face them, is to resist retreating to my hidey-hole which is something I find challenging and sometimes seems impossible.

Today I choose to stay in the light and not run. My daughter’s things arrive tomorrow and she’ll be moving out (she’s been staying with me while waiting for her things to be shipped cross country). I’ll be alone again. I’m trying to get used to being alone after living with others since 1989. I want to hide in the mattress, but I’m going to try really hard not to.

Do you ever feel that way?

Bipolar – Fears

Ever since my 21-year-old son moved out several months ago I’ve been alone with my pets. Bailey, my heeler, follows me constantly. She sits across from me when I go to the bathroom and looks at me like she wants me to play ball. Actually, she usually gives me the ball when I’m on the toilet. Or she drops it too far away from me so I say, “I can’t reach it, bring it here.” And she does.

I lived in a rural area for the last 20 years and in the same house for the last 10. I know the families in the duplexes next door and am comfortable with them. One of them I know if something happened she’d be there for me. Like when I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle my kids went and got her and she handled it. I miss her. We didn’t generally spend much time together because she’s one of those people you’d like to know better, but the cost would be hours and hours of listening to her talk about everything that comes to her mind and being aware that she believes she’s an expert on everything she talks about. And she talks really loud and smokes so she has to be able to stand by a door when we’re in one of our houses so she can stick her hand out the door.

Now I’m in town and there are houses all around me. I have a giant apple tree in the back yard that screens me from the houses directly behind me and fencing and laurel trees around most of the small back yard. It’s just big enough for Bailey to really run around and have fun.

There are people living on both sides and across the road from me. There are people behind me. There are people up and down the streets in the neighborhood. In short, there are people everywhere. I’m crowded in a way, but I’m also very much still alone.

I’m in town and closer to my kids. They’ve been great helping me move in. I’m looking forward to seeing them more.

I’m in a strange house. I’m so overwhelmed by all the boxes that I’m having trouble unpacking and finding places to put things away. I’m unsure of myself. I’ve lived with AC for the last 10 years and now I don’t have it. I don’t feel comfortable having the windows open all night and we’ve been having really hot weather. Yesterday was the second hottest day of the year so far. It was 85 inside when I went to bed. It really frustrates me.

Since I moved I feel more alone. I think part of it is from the loss of my cat and the circumstances surrounding that.

It’s strange because I’ve had two family members whom have never visited my home drop by already. You would think I’d be happy to be around people and where I can see my family more often. But I’m not. Not yet.

The death of a pet and moving are major life stressors. In addition to that last fall I started back to college and before that my father died 6 months after being diagnosed with cancer. I feel like I’ve had enough.

I’m trying to accept the situation and keep busy. I’ll make sure to keep my appointment with my counselor next week. I’ll start walking around the neighborhood in the next few days, though the unknowns of that scare me. I don’t like the unknown. And there seem to be dogs everywhere.

Speaking of which I have another major event coming up. My daughter is leaving the Air Force and I’m flying to Tampa, FL to drive back her to Washington State with her two cats. I’ve never done anything like that. Besides the incredible challenge of the trip, I’ll have to trust my kids to take care of my animals while I’m gone. I’m not certain how that will work out. Both Kyle and Sydney basically work full-time and they work odd hours that are usually different every day. I worry about Bailey. Sydney and her fiancée Toni are planning on bring their young Pitbull over and sleeping here with both dogs since they both sleep with their people. She sleeps with them and Bailey sleeps with me. That would put two good size dogs and two people in my queen size bed. I can’t see it myself. Their dog is much more aggressive playing than Bailey is. She scares Bailey.

Unknowns…

I might change my major at school as well. If I do need to change my class schedule this fall quarter a little because I’m thinking of changing my major.

I feel alone. People do drop by, which I’ve never had happen before. The mail lady is friendly and says “hi” and gives Bailey a bone. I’m less alone than I was, but I don’t feel that way yet. My emotions are stirred up and a bit chaotic. I’m being careful to take care of myself. Although I have to admit I’m scared to go to the new grocery store I’ll be using. I’m a worrier and that fear comes from that.

Maks, my cat, has started protesting that I won’t let him sleep with us. He climbed up some mattresses leaning against the wall in the third bedroom. When he got to the top the bedroom light was turned on. Then, last night, he got on the peninsula in the kitchen and started knocking things over. So just as I was going to sleep there was a loud crash as he knocked things over. This morning I woke up to things I was putting away (unpacking) all over the floor. This has got to stop.

I got a free Comcast security system installed yesterday. I freaked out about setting it right and not setting off the alarm. Man! What an alarm! That sucker would scare Jesus.

So what to do. Today it’s only supposed to be 76F. Tomorrow it should be about 80 again. I should go for a walk in the morning. I should, shouldn’t I?

It would be great if I could tell Rebecca, my counselor, that I’ve gone for a walk, but I’m not sure I can do that yet. Bailey has really been pulling on her leash a lot. I’ll have to use her prong collar.

Facing my fears… fears of the new, fears of the unknown, and fears of not being able to have the courage to do the things I need to do.

I should take a chill pill and in 20 minutes I should go for a walk. I’m not sure that I will. I’m feeling a little relaxed right now. The evil cat is sitting next to me on the sofa. Bailey is napping in the recliner. I’m snuggled in my favorite corner of the sofa.

I wonder what the difference between sofa and couch is?

I’m going to try my hardest today. At the very least I need to unpack and put away a few boxes.

Here’s to all of us who are afraid of anything. May we find the hidden strength to face some of those fears today. We can do it. I know we can. Let’s start today.

 

Bipolar – Dealing with Emotional Pain

Siberia1
There are any number of examples I could talk about concerning dealing with emotional pain. I’ve been going through a lot the last year and a half. This last week was one of the worst weeks that I hope I have for a long time.

I had to put one of my cats to sleep. She had advanced and wide spread cancer and was voiding all over the basement carpet. I was moving to a new home in a week and it just became necessary to quit avoiding it and stop putting off the issue and take responsibility for what I needed to do.

Her name was Siberia and she was our family pet for about 12 years. That’s a long time to bond with anyone, animal or human.

I was expecting to be sad, to cry, and to be upset. I was all of that. Now it’s been more than a week and I was up late last night crying hysterically and saying to my other cat how sorry I was and that I’d killed his friend. It was horrible. I eventually had to take a chill pill because I couldn’t stop myself.

Anyone who has not had a pet won’t understand the loss of a loved companion, but if you have you know what I’m talking about.

Feelings of guilt, denial, anger and depression have plagued me and I’ve wondered if I’m going over the top and am heading for an episode. The truth is, for me right now, I think I’m experiencing normal emotions. It’s hard to tell the difference though isn’t it?

When are my uncontrollable feelings of depression and anger caused by my Bipolar Disorder and when is it just from normal feelings that come after great loss?

I think that it’s hard to tell. It’s new right now so I’m inclined to think I’m feeling normal feelings, but a little deeper than maybe my children are.

I have just moved a few days ago and the stress from that is immense. I’m making sure to take my meds and using my chill pills when I need them. I haven’t been out walking because I’m kind of scared in my new neighborhood and it’s so very hot. Next week I see my counselor. It will be good to talk to her about what I’ve been feeling.

In the meantime, it’s time to try to go to bed. It’s only 81F in here now. At least I’ve stopped sweating for a little while.

Good night Siberia. I love you. I will honor your memory and play with Maks (the other cat) more than I had been doing. I miss you.

Bipolar – Preparing to End a Life

Siberia1

Siberia

I’ve been preparing for a while to put my eldest cat to sleep. She has cancer in some huge areas of her body. She’s probably been sick for a long time and I didn’t realize it. She’s very terminal.

I think I’ve been keeping her more comfortable because she’s stopped vomiting every day. I’ve been giving her a shot of steroids every other day to reduce the swelling in her intestines. I had diabetes for a while so I’ve got some experience with giving shots, but not generally to moving targets. I have to pull up that skin between her front legs on her back and make a spot there to give it to her. Sometimes she decides I’ve taken too long and walks off. Frustrating.

Good news – I’ve managed not to stab myself.

I’ve had everyone who cares about her come over and have time with her, Siberia, before her day comes (tomorrow). I wanted everyone to be able to say good-bye and have closure. Honestly, I think it’s giving me more closure than it is anyone else.

My eldest won’t be home from the Air Force till late August and I don’t think I should wait that long just so she can hold her for a few minutes. She understands my decision.

Last week I finally made the decision to do it this week and I scheduled the appointment. They wanted to know if I’ll be sitting with her when they do it.

Let’s talk about stress. Losing a pet due to an unexpected accident is sudden and you have no choice of when or how it happens. This is not like that. Not only is it slow, it’s happening on my schedule and I control the whole situation. It freaks me out. After fighting with Blank the other day and stirring up intense emotional energy there, I’m going to say good-bye to my cat. Then I start moving Friday. Three major stressors in one week… that’s enough thank you.

I don’t think there’s any good way to prepare for death, even if it is of an animal. I’ve tried. We went through it last year with my dad. I’ve tried to give everyone a chance to say good-bye. She looks sick.

As for me, I have to go home afterwards with an empty cat carrier.

I told the girl on the phone that I hadn’t yet decided if I was going to be with her at the time or not. I feel like the right thing to do would be to hold her, but I don’t know if I’m strong enough on my own. If I let them take her away and do it away from me, well, I’m already feeling guilty just thinking about that.

My Mom knows about my indecision. She’s pulled through again and surprised me. She’s offered to meet me here at my house and then go to the vet with us. Then, we can sit with Siberia together. That’s a really nice thing for her to do. She understands because she’s had to put to sleep several of her own family pets. This will be my first time with me taking the animal in myself and being totally responsible for it.

That’s tomorrow. I’ve been preparing by letting her sit with me on the sofa (Siberia, not my Mom), which normally annoys me. She gets all close and licks me and always has to stick out a foot and hook me with one single claw. She’s making it harder because she’s wanting to sit closer and closer every day. And she purrs no matter how she’s feeling. I can give her the shot and she never stops purring.

So to protect myself emotionally as much as I can I have prolonged the issue by letting everyone say their good-byes. I’ve spent extra time sitting with her and talking to her. I’ve taken lots of pictures of her. I’ve waited as long as I could. Tomorrow has to be the day. I’m starting moving all my stuff to the new house this Friday.

Stress.

I could change my mind again, but as of now I’ve decided to hold Siberia tomorrow. My Mom will be there with me helping me be strong. She’s done few things that mean as much as this does to me.

So it will be the vet, Siberia, Mom, me and a chill pill.

Making Good Moods

Mya on barrel_002

I know that Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder. I understand that. In my experience, my interpretation of it is that our moods swing from one extreme to the other and are super intense. They mess with our thinking and we make can bad choices. According to the National Institute of Mental Health “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” Sounds pretty negative over all. It doesn’t have to stay that way.

I’ve talked about triggers in previous posts and how you should avoid triggers that cause you to have bipolar episodes and go into a tailspin. I have found that as we finally found the right medications and the right dosages of those medications coupled with counseling and learning about myself and my illness on my own, that I can actually experience moods that aren’t scary. I can be happy and know that it doesn’t have to mean I’m manic. I can make good memories from doing things that put me in good moods that I’m finally able to experience. (If you’re not where I am, don’t give up. Never stop fighting to be better.)

The more in control of my illness I am, the more I am free to feel healthy emotions without fear of losing control. It’s important to realize that being well doesn’t mean not having emotions at all. Getting rid of all manic type feelings would leave me unhappy and unfulfilled. I want to experience the highs I get when I’m doing something I love. Those are good, healthy moods.

When I am not being a slave to my emotions when they are out of control I can make choices that impact how I feel. That’s exciting to me. I can make my own choices and control my responses. (If you’re depressed, and I know some of you are, hang in there. You can feel better. Never give up fighting to be happy. You have the ability to learn and grow and follow your treatment plan and reach stability too.)

I admit that I am a little depressed right now. I’ve got too many major stressors happening in my life and they are having an impact on me. (My father passed just a year ago, my daughter moved out 11 months ago and my son 2-3 weeks ago, I’m taking the quarter off school, and I’m looking for a house to move into in town.) So far I’ve been able to keep from spinning out of control. I’m staying on my meds and meeting with my counselor. I’m trying to have healthy habits at home including playing with and training my dog and walking with her and eating better. I’m trying to sleep less. Getting up has always been a struggle but when I’m depressed it is so much worse.  I’ve resorted to having people I know who get up before me call me and get me up for a few days to help break the cycle of over sleeping. 10 hours a night is just too much.

My point of all this is that it is possible to get to a point where we can feel healthy emotions, emotions that are good for us. I journal and I make sure to write about the good times… as well as the difficult ones so I can go back and prove to myself that it isn’t all horrible.

If I keep working hard to stay stable I can keep experiencing health/good emotions, and so can you.

“I had many battles to win over myself-and that was work too….” WC Stone, success and motivational teacher

I’m Learning to ACT Rather Than REACT

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{Please be patient. This is a little long. I hope you’ll stick with the whole thing.}

One of my favorite things to do is to respond to things from habit, rather than thoughtfulness, especially when talking with my mother. I REACT rather than ACT with thoughtfulness. The difference between the two is that:

REACTING is when she says something that I think is stupid (I start by judging her) I respond to her habitually with my emotions and treat her like she actually is stupid and I’m disrespectful as well. There is no consideration of her feelings or how what I say might impact her.

ACTING is when I have taking a moment to consider the situation and respond from thoughtfulness rather than just emotion. It is a response in a reasonable manner.

Ideally I should respond to her with my intellect managing my emotions. If I disagree with her I can say that I disagree with her instead of talking to her like she’s a moron.

For example we’re house hunting right now. We’re working together to choose a house for her to buy as an investment and me to live in. This would be a bad time for us to start fighting. Meaning, it would be a bad time for me to start acting primarily from my emotions and be a bitch.

One of the first houses we saw was well below her top price and so it was attractive to her for that reason. I walked into the kitchen and immediately announced it had to be completely gutted. It was an older obviously had never been updated and had no counter space. In her mind she probably saw that it was a kitchen that I could cook in. I saw that it needed good counter tops, new flooring and cabinets. She thought a coat of paint would work to fix it up. I struggled. If I became argumentative now it was going to be difficult to continue looking at houses without stress overtaking me.

Fortunately, our broker spoke up then and agreed with me about completely gutting the kitchen. I heard my mom take a small breath. I think reality was starting to catch up to her.

By the third house she seemed to start to understand that the less we spent, the more renovation would be needed. There was no way we were going to get a house in this area for the price she wanted to pay. I knew that. So far I’d managed to keep my mouth shut about it. I hadn’t informed her from my vastly superior intellect that there was no way we could find a habitable house in the area for her target price.

So far we haven’t done so well finding houses that might be suitable for me, my two cats, and my dog even though she raised the amount she was willing to pay. The housing market in this area is very tight. I have basically till September to find a house. After that I’m going back to school or getting a job and I won’t have time to just run off to look at houses. It will be more difficult to have time to view houses and move.

It’s hard for me to be patient with the whole process. My tendency is to ask mom everyday if she’s heard from Rhett (the broker). I know that’s not going to be helpful and might make her stress about it. I’m shooting for asking her every other day. I talk to her every day since my father passed last year so I’ll have to remember which days I bug her about it.

We just told Rhett that we wanted to narrow the search area to areas where crime wasn’t so high which meant areas that weren’t crammed together and really low income. She and I actually agree on the areas where we want him to look. If I hadn’t controlled my mouth, which can really be hard, I probably wouldn’t have been able to agree on looking in the more expensive areas. I don’t want to live in the Eastside and most of the places he was showing us were in the Eastside.

Since I started this adventure out on a good foot by controlling my tongue and my tone of voice I’ve given us a chance to actually enjoy each other’s company. I’m even tolerating her dog coming along with us better as we go on. I don’t care for her dog. Her dog is mean to my dog. I don’t like that at all. Oh well. It’s good for me to learn to be more tolerant. Isn’t it?

Every time I’m going to spend time with mom looking for houses or even just talking about them I try to prepare myself and get my emotions under control beforehand. I’m having a lot of anxiety. It would be so easy to take my negative feelings out on her, but they have nothing to do with her. It’s all about controlling my negative emotions and shutting my mouth unless I have something helpful to say. (How many of us have said that exact line?)

My therapist (the one that’s leaving) taught me that I can be the one to “drive the bus” as she put it. I could control my behavior or I could sit in the back of the bus and go where my emotions take me. And believe me, they take me a lot of bad places by habit even when I’m not totally depressed. It just feels natural.

Between working with my therapist and spending my own time reading and thinking about myself and my behavior, my emotions, and my thoughts I’ve gotten to the point that while I’m having trouble with anxiety (My son moved out a little over a week ago so I live alone now.) and even anger over not finding a house right away I’ve been able to treat my mom with some measure of respect and patience. So far. I give myself credit for that. It’s important to remember to give myself credit when I do well. It’s so easy to only recall the times when I explode in violent anger or crushing depressing.

Even though I’ve been doing well so far there is no telling when I might swing and become really depressed or manic. I’ve got to be careful to control my anxiety with my chill pills and take my handful of regular pills every morning and night. And, I have to watch out for my triggers. I take time for myself and think about the person I want to be. I really try to focus on that for longer than just a second or too. I really try to almost meditate on the specific person I want to be. It helps. And I take time to play with my dog. We walk and play. She’s my emotional support.

I can’t control when we find a house, but I can try to control my responses to that the search. That’s my goal. I’m going to control my behavior towards my mom, whom I love a lot, no matter what my feelings are about house hunting. I’ve committed myself to that. My mom deserves that. I deserve that too.

My First Day as a Grown-Up

maks balloon

Apparently I set my alarm wrong or didn’t set it at all because at 9:32 my youngest daughter Sydney called and scared the snot out of me. I was so confused and I dropped the phone and missed the call. Oops. I got the phone off the light stand and onto the bed with me so I could call her back but she beat me.

You should know that while I’m only 53 I have rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and I’ve had cataracts removed and I wear full dentures. I ain’t got no choppers. This is interesting to know because of what happened next. Getting the phone in the first place was painful and I almost dropped it behind the bed because of the arthritis in my hands. Morning is especially bad for my hands.

Sydney called before I could call her. She was very excited and upset. I was still effectively asleep. She launched into her problem which has nothing to do with my morning in general so we’ll skip that.

I was trying hard to sound like she hadn’t woke me up, but it was no use. In morning especially trying to talk without my teeth in is like talking to me drunk with mashed potatoes in my mouth. Fortunately Sydney can translate most of what I say so that’s good. Thankfully I don’t have to make up a story of why I sound like I’m drunk.

Next I try to get out of bed. This is not as simple as you would think. I’ve had my right knee replaced twice so I’m careful getting out of bed because I don’t want to skip forward in time and have to have the other one done especially since I live alone now. I tried to get my feet to the floor but I couldn’t slide off the bed.

During the day, I can sit on the side of the bed and my feet dangle a good ten inches above the floor. On a normal morning I can’t find the floor. I couldn’t find the floor today. I swear this bloody memory foam mattress conforms to where I’m sitting and won’t let my butt go. So there I sat, trying without success to scooch over to the edge of the bed where I could work at getting off the bed. No luck.

So I try switching it up and go for trying to get just one bun closer to the edge. Finally, a little movement. Slowly I start the long and slow effort to the edge, all of four inches to the edge. I made it! I was finally sitting with my legs dangling over the edge of the bed. I leaned back and started the fearful journey of trying to fall towards the floor. It always seems like it is farther away from my feet every morning.

Yeah!!! I make it to the floor.

Next, the pain and stiffness of the arthritis in my legs and ankles speaks up and rudely tries to make me stand there like an old woman frozen in place. I wonder how my hair looks.

Eventually I make it to the living room and sit on the stool and slowly put my shoes on. It’s painful to bend over and pull my feet up on my knee to get my shoes on.

Eventually, success!

Why am I putting my shoes on without socks on and teeth in? Gotta take the doggie out to do her business. Then she wouldn’t poop. I’m out there getting my feet wet in the lumpy thickish dewy grass and fast getting annoyed. I give up and we go back in the house.

Ah ha! I remembered to feed the cats when I came back in the house. They’re food is downstairs so it’s not like I normally think about feeding them, which, is now my job.

The cats were Kyle’s job. Of course, now that job falls to me. None of the kids took a cat with them. I want them to take the cats with them! I tend to forget to feed them and when that happens Maks, the older of the two, goes in the kitchen and opens and closes the cabinet doors and lets them bang shut and do it over and over until you get up and feed them. Little asses.

My dog is a heeler/kelpie, meaning, she’s a herding dog. She loves to herd the cats. Somehow she knows when they cats are doing something wrong and chases them downstairs at full speed. It’s pretty funny. So if I’ve gone to bed all I have to do is open my bedroom door and poof! The cats are downstairs. Then I go feed them. If I have to be woken up it’s good to know the culprit that woke me up is getting theirs for doing it.

Sometimes Maks (cat) plays with helium balloons. I got one for Valentine’s Day from the kids. The cat takes hold of the string and takes it around the house. When I had my first knee replaced he started bringing all the balloons to me at night. The record of overnight balloon commando maneuvers was 15. He grabs them by the bottom of the string and carries them into a bedroom. The balloon in the picture ended up in Kyle’s room all the way downstairs this time. I don’t know why he does it, but it is so funny.

Now that my Oxycodone, Ritalin and my other pain pill have kicked in I feel like a human. Now would be the time to take Bailey out, but she can’t wait this long.

My first night alone was good. My two youngest kids both called to make sure I was okay. I love them. Kyle reminded me to feed the cats, which I had already done. Yeah me! We’ll see how I do tonight.

What am I going to do today? I’m going to work on my writing projects. I’ve been neglecting them. Fortunately, using the computer isn’t impacted by my prematurely aging body. I wonder how my brain is doing. I do have some mental health issues, a whole bowl of alphabet soup full of them, but I don’t have any old people brain issues. I’m awesome!

And thus began day one of my new life living on my own.

Ew, now it’s my job to do the litter box. I hate that.

Whose Crazy Now?

I want to tell you a true story that is taking place in my life and the lives of those I love right now. I’m changing everyone’s name but my son’s and my own to be polite. If you think you see yourself, congratulations.

As you turn onto our road and begin to slowly pass the mailboxes on the left you may notice two duplexes on the right. We live in the first one on the right. Once upon a time, Misty and her son DJ lived in the first house of the second duplex. That’s how we knew them. We were just neighbors. Over time our sons got to be friends and over the years have remained so. I’ve never cared for Misty, DJ’s mom. She treats her kids poorly and is just mean. When she and her son would wrestle when he was young she would grab onto his balls and hang on. Okay she’s like half his size, but that’s not an okay thing to do to your own son.

Let me paint you a picture of the woman. She had some friend of hers staying with her for a while. They got drunk, as they often did, and Misty threw the other woman out of the house. The other woman came to my house. It was the middle of the night. Why my house? I don’t know. I didn’t know her. She was drunk and begged me to let her send the rest of the night. What was I supposed to do? We live in the middle of nowhere. There was literally no place for her to do. So I let her in to sleep on the sofa.

I had been saving some of those mini bottles of booze for several years. They were sort of decorations. She found them and drank them all. She cried hysterically and carried on about things you carry on about when you’re drunk and talking to someone you don’t know. In the morning she left.

That day I got a phone call from my landlord, who was also Misty’s landlord, asking if I had a new roommate living with me. I’m like excuse me? No I don’t. (The woman had been staying at Misty’s for several weeks.) Misty had called our landlord to get me in trouble for letting her friend in my house.

This is who Misty is.

DJ and his girlfriend Sienna live with his cousin and two other people in a house about 20 minutes from here. After knowing DJ’s cousin, Maryanne, for more than two years Kyle and she noticed each other and started dating.

-skip ahead three months-

DJ and his girlfriend Sienna and Maryanne and Kyle have decided to move out and get a place to rent together. Kyle agreed to stay with me until I move into town. I’m looking for a house now too.

While Kyle and Maryanne are there watching TV the other night Misty pops her head in the room and tells Maryanne that she has 30 days to get out. Then she popped back out. That’s all she said. She still hasn’t explained or spoken about it to anyone.

DJ, having had his mother already beaten him into submission, hasn’t even asked his mother why she’s kicked Maryanne out. What did she do? I’d like to know since my son is moving in with her. What’s up?

Yesterday Maryanne is talking to DJ about moving and planning because they’ve all decided to move out with her instead of waiting another couple of months and he tells her he’s decided he can’t move out because he needs to get his truck fixed so that it will pass emissions, which it apparently will not do now. This is the first Maryanne has heard that she’s on her own. She fell apart.

The next morning before work my son informed me of the situation. Last night he let me now he was going to be moving in with her so she wouldn’t be alone.

Pshit

The plan was for the three of them to move into a house in a few months with Kyle joining them as soon as I move into town. I live in a very large duplex in the woods. Often at night the coyotes scream and freak me out. I’m pretty sure the homeless squatters have moved on from the house behind us. At least, I think they have.

I have to admit that I’ve not lived alone since 1986. I don’t know how I feel about being alone. I have my wonderful dog Bailey (she’s a cattle dog) and our two aging cats to keep me company.

My bipolar is basically in pretty stable right now. In other words I’m doing pretty well. My last child is moving out and I’m looking for a house to move into. Add to that some other family drama and the fact that I’m not going to school this quarter and you have a mix for remission to be reactivated. I have no intention of letting that happen. I’ve fought too hard to get to the point where I am now.

I wrote about something that saved me back at the end of autumn quarter, I think it will continue to be my friend now.

Thank you doctor, for my little chill pill.

Whose crazy now?

Changes and Triggers

By now I know that major changes in my life can trigger an episode. This is true for everyone who suffers from Bipolar Disorder. Last September I went to Florida to see my daughter for ten days. We spent nearly every day at one of the amusement parks. That plus the flights there and back were major stressors for me. Then just a few days after I got back, I started back to school at the University of Washington at Tacoma. That was another even bigger stressor. I admit, I didn’t do great dealing with the overload and eventually had to start on a chill pill so I could get back to where I could function.

Now I’m taking spring quarter off from school (another stressor) and am looking for a small house to buy closer to town (yet another stressor). I’m hoping that my son will move out when I move (stressor) so that I can just get it all over with at one time.

I’ve been reading one the books on my “Books” page called “The Bipolar Survival Guide” and it reminded me that these types of stressors can lead to episodes. I’ve not only got one stressor, but since my dad passed last year in January it’s been nonstop stress.

How am I doing? I’m listening to my dog and playing more and taking her to the park to walk her with my son, his girlfriend and her dog. I’m sleeping enough. I’m eating okay. I’m trying to eat better. I’m taking my meds on schedule. I’m not doing my usual occasional night of skipping my meds for a night just because I can, because that’s a stupid and risky thing to do. I have some wine in the refrigerator that I will be getting rid of. No more alcohol. I have enough stressors and triggers tapping on my “overload’ button without me purposefully adding more.

How am I doing right now? I want some of that Hersey chocolate frozen pie stuff, that’s how I’m doing.

I really wish I had some!

So now begins the time when I have enough time to realize how stressed I am and actually act stressed. I’m not looking forward to having free time. How’s that for weird?