Tag Archives: Bipolar 1

Weird Parenting – I’m Eclectic and Bipolar

I’m eclectic… I get it from my brain. Honest.

Back to being a pissy parent. We all have our pissy moments right? Ask your kids. If you allow them to be honest I’d guess they’ll say you are (sometimes). I am. Remember? But what next?

I can’t tell you how to be a great parent. I don’t think there is a cookie cutter version of the “perfect parent”. What I will do is share some of myself and my life; our family life. I’ll share some of the interesting (read… weird) things I’ve done in my journey and efforts to be a great parent. That was always my goal. I never wanted or want to be a good parent. I only and always want to be an excellent, amazing, great parent. That’s all.

One of the things I’ve found to be most interesting and thankfully very workable starts with me. I’m super massively curiously. My kids sometimes think I’m too curious. I want to know all about so many things. As a Bipolar parent this can come in handy. When I’m functioning pretty well (not screaming over “spilt milk”) and can stand on my own and all by myself I love to do weird things with the kids.

We live about an hour from Mt. Rainier National Park. It is an amazing park. I could pick the kids up at school and be up at Paradise in under two hours. We ate lunch or a snack out of the back of the truck (car, after the Explorer was repossessed). The very easiest food for me to pack, and one that doesn’t cost much, was to get a brick of cheese (not a giant one), a tube of summer sausage, crackers, 2 pops for each of us, bottled water, and some candy. Oh, and my pocket knife, to slice the cheese and sausage.

We have been poor, very poor, since any of my kids can remember. I have always hated that and resented everyone, including myself, for it. I never thought it was fair. But that was just how I “felt”. As I learned and grew I’ve come to understand that at this point in life it just is what it is. There isn’t any sense beating myself over the head about it or raging at family members who have $.

The thing was I wanted to find things for us to do as a family. I wanted them to see we are family and we will always be here for each other. I started with the fun things like taking off on spur of the moment wild trips to the mountain. None of their friends could say they did that.

What am I saying to you? I’m saying this: my mind wanders hither and thither all the time. Like Alice said, “I think about 6 impossible things before breakfast.” That’s always been me. I was stuck in depression much of the kids’ childhoods… growing years… before high school. I really fought myself to do the things that I knew were right. Providing a fun and fast trip to get us all outdoors in some of the most beautiful places in the world. (I mean that every place we stopped for pictures or to explore or just anything, that individual spot was fun at that time. That moment.

I’m curious, remember? Shaking off depression and plunging into a floating maniac free fall. Okay. Maybe calling it a rocket which takes off likety-split. The internet was just reaching survivable speeds for mania driven for me. My brain spun and smoked constantly as I devoured every bit of information on anything that caught my fancy… day or night.

This obsession turned out to make our trips interesting as well as fun. Information, you know, the stuff that can grow our brains to be smarter? Yeah, I had a lot of that.

I had just one problem. Only one of my three kids could give a hoot. The one that did wasn’t anywhere near as interested in information as I am and we diverge all the time. But we do both like to learn about things we’re interested in. She reads. Not so with the other two. They saw their out of control mom buy 100’s of books and devour many of them. Books lived in our small duplex more than we people did. They don’t actually like to read just for the love of reading.

Mom has all these books. Many are about how to help myself be successful in life and finances. They saw neither of those oh so important things happen when I brought a new book home or printed reams of information from cool websites. Obviously, books aren’t great. Words aren’t great. They don’t even work. (I’m not really sure what that means, but I think you get my drift.)

My attention wanders constantly. I have ADHD and am Bipolar type 1. My brain hears this instruction incessantly: go… go… go… go… go… GO!!!!

Keeping kids happy… my books did and do help me do that. They give me a place to take my mind to where I can be quite and stop talking for a time. They revel in the silence. Books give me ideas. A LOT of ideas. Running the kids to the mountain is one of my greatest ideas for my young, single mom, Bipolar, ADHD, poor family. We sang. We laughed. We ate fun food. We played in the snow without snow cloths (never enough money to get warm cloths for playing in snow).

I forgot what I was saying again. I started what I want to tell you about in my next letter. Nope, that’s gone too. Hold on… think… relax… switch the TV to mute… I want to tell you more about these sudden trips next time. I’ll tell you about Tarzan yells, deer, mountainside museums, rocks, singing country music, lakes, mud slides and fell trees across the road. And I must not forget the movie in the woods after dark. Cheap, fun, fast trips.

You know what our little trips did for me? I got excited thinking about going, about treating the kids to something terrific. That boosted my morale and pleased me. I even smiled. I miss those trips. Remind me to tell you why we don’t go anymore.

Point? getting my hiney up and doing things just so I could surprise the kids always pulled me up from the darkness. I didn’t have a choice.

Thought followed by action… this is a secret weapon I use as often as I remember to… help me be more like me.

And now I must say good night my friends. I think I’ll play some nature sounds with soft music on YouTube from the playlist I made just for that purpose. Lest you think I need to fill the quite void of no talking I must share with you one more little interesting thing.

Someone in the near area is having a party. The sounds of vehicles on the highway (half a mile away) periodically are drowned by crazy laughing.  Sounds like something from haunted woods. Wish I could make out what they say. Wait… it’s the ass. You know, the ass down the road. The one that resembles a pony. He makes his ass sound. Then the creepy laughing. Then back to the highway. Yeah, TV is getting unmuted.

Till next time… Wait, I thought of something else. Thank you to those of you who have taken time to write notes to me. I love hearing from you. Please write me notes, post comments and even share my letters to you as often as you like. If you’re a parent and Bipolar you and I have a lot in common. So share, comment and tell people you know who might find Redux (this blog) amusing or helpful.

Signing off till next time.

Robin

P.S. I didn’t even apologize for jumping around today. I’m not even going to go back and make it more organized. You get the words today the way they prompted me to put them down. Uh… in. In my Chrome. Never mind that. Pass it on my friends. And keep writing.

 

I Am a Bipolar Parent – Pissy

Hi everyone.

I chose the title “I am a Bipolar Parent – Pissy” because while BP is what I am, who I am, what I have, whatever, I am a parent first.

I am a divorced and still single BP woman. I am Type 1 (the messy type) and I exist in the mixed state perpetually. When not being a good and balanced mom, I’m super pissy. When I’m depressed and throwing things or want to get off the world and I’m manic and talk forever and shout a lot.

I’ve raised my children (I’ve counted them… there are three) alone and unemployed. I’ve stay unemployed because I simply couldn’t handle working. I’ve never lasted more than a year in any job. I did have my own company for a while. It was wonderful and I loved it. I was more manic than depressed at that time so I was able to crush all adversity into dust.

People around me kept telling mi I was a great parent. Now, years later, I look back and am broken hearted. I see that I wasn’t an amazing parent. I see what damage I’ve done to my babies who are now 22, 19 and 17. My youngest especially has explained to me through who she believes she is and remembers from her childhood, that I pulled them into my emotional and mental poverty with her especially being damaged.

Damaged. I suppose I wasn’t such a great parent. I was relatively stable (I’m lying) during the first two kids’ early years. When it came to my youngest I see that I was consumed by my business. It made me feel alive for the first time in years. Unfortunately, I left her in the dust of my being consumed. She’s had a hard time.

My baby says she’s been raised in a shit hole and feels like others have “families” while she did not. Their father has been out of the picture for most of her life. That, has been his choice. It gave her a primary target for her anger, her hatred.

Now I am learning so many things about her and what she remembers. She doesn’t remember any good times.

I remember the good times. So do the older too. She feels . . . cheated I think.

I’ll tell you more about this soon. Instead of lamenting all my woes of being a crappy mom, I’m going to tell you how I became a good mom. Maybe even a great mom. I became a “weird parent”. Check back soon to see what I mean.

Licked by Lamictal

Licked by Lamictal. Yep. I had requested that we lower the dosage and find another drug to use for my Bipolar 1 mixed state because I’m fair skinned (millions of freckles) and as soon as the sun made it’s annual appearance I started burning… in the shade, with sun screen on and with a long sleeve shirt. I mean what the heck is that all about? I didn’t want to go through it all again so I begged my med provider to change it. Not my shirt, the drug.

We backed off from 200 mg twice a day to just 200 in the evening. Within 2 weeks my youngest daughter (17) was actively searching for large boards to bonk me up side the head with. Yeah, I really sucked eggs. The really sickening things about it this time were that “I” chose to lower the medication and “I” slid head first in the inferno that is my brain roaming freely like a blind cat on a boat in high seas.

I called Jane, my med provider, and asked to come in to see her much earlier than my scheduled appointment. I was in her office in two days. We changed the dosage, raising it again over 3 weeks. I had met my new counselor when I was rapidly sliding into the pit and was a manic momma for the first two visits. Then, this week I had my third meeting with her.

I sat calmly and we talked. We talked back and forth. We worked together. It was nice. She mentioned that the change in me from the first two meetings to this one were remarkable. Indeed they were, they are. I asked her, “If you met me today and I behaved as I am doing now and I told you I’m a raging Bipolar 1 mixed state would you believe me?” Her answer was exactly what everyone says… “No.”

The Lamictal gives me the ability to fence in a lot of my insanity and I can pretend I’m “normal” and that I don’t really want to jump up and tell you how stupid you are. I’m smart. I know how to fake “normalicy”. It has come in handy (in fact I felt it was necessary to keep my ex-husband from getting his moronic, I live in another plane of reality, over the top and burning in hell as a terrible father, rotten Christian and ex-husband). I didn’t want them to take my babies away from me. No way. I fought myself like hell. I learned how to fake it really well.

At the end of our meeting I asked Julia (counselor) if she had just met me for the first time today would she believe I was as overwhelmingly Bipolar 1 as I say I am. Absolutely not. I let my secret out with more than a little pride I must confess. I told her that when I met new medical people (new to me) I always “let the crazy out” enough for them to believe that I’m more than a tiny bit messed up. She was amazed. Then I reminded her of my situation with the kids and that that desperate motivation and my above average intelligence giving me the messed up strength to stumble on each day. Mostly… Kind of. Sometimes. Blah…

Now before you jump up and down and up again shouting that I’m suffering from our common trait lovingly referred to as “megalomania” or “delusions of grandeur” understand this: I have lived most of my life believing that we each need to have an accurate estimation of our abilities. If you’re amazing, it’s perfectly fine to think it and sometimes, when the time is appropriate, to say it. “I am a high functioning Bipolar 1 mixed state. Very high functioning.” Never let that fool you into lethargy and believing wrongly that I’m perfectly fine and don’t need to be watched with due care. If you do, you are a moron.

Got good meds that are working for you? With your med provider’s help? Then keep taking the bloody things. Don’t ever risk sliding down that dark shoot to the garbage bin of your soul. Will you do that for me? Trust your people. If you can’t, find someone you can trust.

Just never, ever, stop your meds without a safety net.

I mean it. Watch it.

Mind the gap.

I Am . . . Afraid

I’m still depressed. My Lamictal dosage is rising steadily and is currently at 350 mg daily. Maybe it’s starting to work because I already was taking 200 mg daily. Maybe I realized how afraid I really am. Oh sure, I go to see my med provider every two weeks again (back up from once monthly) and my counselor weekly, but somehow I “feel” worse off. It’s almost as if having my mental/emotional needs addressed again with such intensity tripped me up really hard. I’m at a place in life where I am so afraid… it’s the kind of fear that sucks your brain out and leaves you stunned and unable to think straight. The depression, anxiety and anger seem like they are swarming about me. They suck at my soul. They lap at the fallen corner stone of my very being…

I’ve lost my purpose and I’m so afraid.

I was trying to think of an image that would demonstrate how I feel. It’s pretty hard to Google “afraid, depressed, anxious, without purpose” and expect anything helpful to pop up. I thought of Leonardo de Vinci  and some of they dramatic faces he drew. I looked at a few and this one seems to come kind of near to what I want you to see… my fear. The man is shouting. The setting is the Battle of Anghiari.

 

da_vinci_shouting_man
da Vinci’s “Shouting Man”

Let me try to explain to you my friend, what I mean. During some of my very dark periods I was able to hold on to one thing, one certainty, that kept me going and gave me purpose… a reason to live. That purpose was to be the best mom that I could be and raise my kids to be the best people they could be. Growth them strong.

Now, they are old enough to not need me to keep my hand locked firmly on the tiller of their lives. They steer themselves. They are moving on and I am lost. From the time my eldest was born in 1992 my passion, my calling, my purpose, was to be “Mom”. I’ve thought that I have had other purposes along the trail of my life, but somehow being “Mom” over shadowed them all and now I am fighting myself just to remember what I believed I needed and wanted passionately to do… to be.

I am afraid that I’m a failure. No one needs me any longer. I keep to myself mostly. My family and I are not particularly close. I don’t work or volunteer. Putting it short: I don’t feel that I have anything to contribute to the world.

My fear has driven me off my path. I allowed bushes and hedges to crowd my chosen path and completely obscure it from my vision. I know, well, I think I knew what my “vocation”, that is what my passion was. I feel empty and bruised. I don’t want life to touch me. I seem to think it will injure me by exposing my worthlessness to me.

I’m trying to pull together my wits and engage in the monumental fight with myself to reclaim who I am and what I’m about, my purpose.

And, my pain meds for chronic back pain (degenerating disks all up/down my spine have kicked my butt and I just nodded off. Tomorrow I’ll attempt to pull myself together enough to begin discussing with myself how to deal with myself this time. I’ve already worked it out in advanced, but this lack of purpose, this is new and frighting.

I’m letting the drug induced sleep take me away from the fear for a time. Starting physical therapy this last week had kicked up my pain, as I knew it would. It makes the whole of me even more difficult to deal with. At this particular moment I feel like in the morning I can begin to pull my will back together. That is, unless I conveniently forget what I intend on doing with myself, again.

Time to sleep.

You Can’t Have My Leg!

It would seem that I’m not done with me yet. I’ve paralyzed myself for a long time, not willing to write, telling myself that I don’t know where to start. So many odd and terrible things have happened to me… are happening each day… that I rationed that I was waiting for a lull in the storms that are me so I could present you with a neat package all polished and not like I am now. If I were a color book I would never have drawing inside my lines.

Here I am. This is what I’m thinking tonight:

My right leg is going to fall off.

Seriously. That’s it. Oh sure, with my alphabet soup (Bipolar 1, ADHD, PTSD, FM, OA… for now) crowding me for more undeserved attention. They annoy me. Like a flock, a gaggle of Canadian Geese launching themselves at me unreserved and underrated. They scare me. They are impossible to reason with. No matter where you are if they decide you need to be chased, you’ll be chased as long as they can chase you. No lie. Your heart will pound excitedly when the medium sized birds take after you on the ground like a Disney movie gone terribly wrong.

My leg. I had my right knee totally replaced in January two years ago. By the following year it was clear that the surgery had failed. The prosthetic that was implanted in my leg bone failed to graft with the bone it was supposed to graft to which would, had it worked, have given me a working and reliable new knee.

Wrong.

August 2013 a surgeon specializing in replacing messed up knee replacements replaced my replaced and prosthetic knee. Both times I suffered terribly (differently each time). I suspect that no surgeon would appreciate me talking with any of their patients and telling them how the whole sordid mess went. (To clarify – Sordid meaning: involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt, sleazy, dirty, seedy, seamy, unsavory, tawdry,cheap, debased, degenerate, dishonorable, disreputable, discreditable, contemptible, ignominious, shameful, and abhorrent. The exact opposite of: respectable.)

The up-to-the-minute report is this: Friday I showed my MD that my entire surgical leg (right) was bigger than the left. No sense in studying it to see if I was imagining it. It obviously belongs on some other person’s body. This is a problem. I don’t even know what the problem is and already I realize it’s a problem. I think my name must translate in some language to “problem”. I’m certain of it.

I exposed the bare and big leg to my doc on Friday last. He sent me back to my surgeon, but not till after we get another and new authorization to see the fella. Seriously. Same leg. Obvious connection. Gotta have that new authorization. I called his office and explained the situation. The woman at his office agreed to request one for me from my MD. (Yes, I’m saying “MD” and not PP, PC or any other ridiculous set of the alphabet… again with the alphabet. He’s my doctor, my medical doctor. That’s Medical Doctor. MD.

What I didn’t realize was that my MD had that very day put in an order for me to have a vascular study done on the affected leg. They would take me as soon as today (Tuesday). Getting an appointment that fast freaked me out. (Just a little FYI.) Since my doc referred me to my surgeon I assumed he was done with me regarding this particular medical happenstance (coincidence).

That last sentence looks strange to me, but my brain refuses to use any other word.

Anyway, the surgeon didn’t order the imaging before he even saw me. I wondered if maybe he had so he would know ahead of time what might be going on. But.. no. My MD ordered it. When he starts a process that really should probably be ordered to the specialist I was being sent to I hit the “worry” button and all hell breaks loose. Again.

Today the resounding thought that pestered me like the rain does every time it soaks me when I take the puppy potty was: “They are going to take my leg off.”

Seriously. “They are going to take my leg off.” That’s what my brain has been saying all damn day.

Just to show you how badly I freak myself out living inside my head with my alphabet soup, my MD has ordered me to have a service/companion dog. This, is our puppy, my service/companion dog in training. She’s so awesome. But more about her at another time.

I’m going to jump now through the rest of the day to now. I’m having considerable back pain which has kept me from sleeping. I began to write this. I got half way through it. Suddenly I see my bedroom door open, but I see no one opening it. Ahh. It’s Maks. Maks is one of our awesome cats. Throughout all my ailments Maks has been my healing kitty. Cat. He’s too old to be a kitty. Just don’t mention that to him and we’ll all get along just fine.

Whenever (most of the time) I’ve been doing particularly terrible, like today and taking my leg off, he comes to me and loves me up. Right now he’s purring and clawing, I mean needing, my right hip. This isn’t where he normally lays. He usually takes up station keeping on my left side somewhere but since we got the puppy (Bailey) he hasn’t been up to see me very often. I’ve been having my son bring him up to me when I retire for the night so he can get used to puppy smells and sounds. It’s working. He’s beside me doing his magical cat thing. How the hell do they know when we need them? Of course I’ve heard about the cats and dogs that can smell/sense impending death or various illnesses. He thinks he’s one of these special and extraordinary furry companions. I agree with him.

He’s been urging me to pet him and love him up stabbing me gently and now snoring at me. The look of love on his face is wonderful. (I know what you’re going to say. Cats don’t make that kind of face and they don’t feel like that you bozo. And then I would tell you to shut your trap. It works for me.) I’ve been alternately petting him and waving his loose fir away and writing this. I like it. I feel better. He knows my alphabet is haunting me. I do… feel better now.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m having the vascular imaging done of my entire right leg. It’s weird and cool to watch. Stay tuned in to this same bat time, this same bat channel.

Wow, can this cat snore.