Tag Archives: Parenting

Bipolar – Remembering Our Past

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I need you to understand that I in no way discount what anyone has gone through. Things may be exactly as you recall them. This post is meant merely to ask the reader to consider things.

One of the great troubles with Bipolar Disorder is that we tend to ruminate what we view as the horrors of our past. We think we remember all the times we have been depressed and felt like we wanted to die. We think we remember the charge the mania gave us and may long for the positive influence we think we remember happening. We may be paralyzed by thoughts of our past in which we hurt others and maybe tried to hurt ourselves. If any of this sounds like you, listen closely to this:

There are three things that are known about memory that I want you to know.

  1. People can recall events that never happened.
  2. All memories are inaccurate to some degree.
  3. Identifying false memories may be next to impossible
    (Psychology Today, June 2016, pg. 21)

It may not be necessary to crucify yourself on the altar of regret. It is possible that you do not remember the past as it actually happened. I have found these things to be true in my own life. I think I remember being mean to my kids and speaking unkindly to them as I wallowed in my anger and depression on a daily basis. Anger was my friend and I was angry every day and I felt I took it out on my kids.

But you know what? My kids and my family don’t remember it that way. My kids, who are now 18, 21 and 24, remember me as working hard to be a good mom and always loving them. They don’t remember me being abusive. It’s three against one. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I was a good mom. They all seem to have turned out to be good people. I need to believe them. That guilt crushes me at times. I’m choosing to believe that I wasn’t as bad as I recall. I was a good person.

Bipolar sufferers feel emotions more intensely than other people. We remember incidents where our world has crashed down around us because that’s what we remember feeling at the time and so that’s what we feel now as we think about the past.

We may think we remember the situation even being worse than it was. Another person may remember the same situation as not being quite as dire as we do. In fact, we may be remembering an incident as more intense and devastating than it was. We may even be remembering something that happened in our head, that we think happened, that never did happen. Can you imagine that? Maybe you are a better person than you think you are. These things are true for all people, but I’m talking about us and our magnificent emotions.

What I want you to understand is that you and I, we should cut ourselves some slack. Our memories are never perfect and unless you have proof that what you remember happened or felt actually did occur, relax a little. Maybe we’re not as horrible as we think we are.

I have “memories” of being a horrible mom. I “remember” saying things and not doing things that amount to neglect or even abuse as a parent. I’ve asked my kids and my family about some of the bad things that I “remember” doing and saying. Generally, they all agree I wasn’t the horrible parent I think I was.

The kids are glad they grew up with me and not their father. That means a lot to me. He’s not a bad man, but they say they would have hated me if I’d let their father have them.

Even though I truly was in a deep depression and on a manic high most of their early lives they love me and want me in their lives. I run in a mixed state so you never know how I’ll act. I recall letting especially my youngest get away with more things because I was afraid I was being too sever with her. My older two say I did let her get away with too much. At least I remember that correctly.

On the other hand, maybe you are remembering certain things correctly and you were horrible. In that case I hope we can learn from those situations and find ways to keep them from happening again.

My message: Try to cut yourself some slack. Consider the three things we know about memory and apply them to yourself. You and I are probably not at horrible as we think we are.

I hope.

Bipolar and Self-Image

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One of the worst things you can do to destroy a person’s self-image and their ability to believe in their future is to tell them that the thing they love to do isn’t something they can successfully do. Let’s say I decide to go to college to learn how to do something and in a conversation about it your mother of all people, says, I don’t think you can make a living doing that.

Ouch. That hurt. Being bipolar and feeling feelings more strongly than your average person means that the hurt she caused cut much deeper than if she’d said it to my brother. I feel like I’m doing pretty good, but that hurt.

When confronted, this particular person said they didn’t say it and started in on how I always misunderstand and this and that. Fortunately my son was sitting there and heard her say it to me. She couldn’t get out of it. She was caught in her lack of belief in her own daughter. It cut me to the quick. It felt really badly. Now I get to choose what to do about it. I’m not going to just react. My feelings are hurt of course. What I’m going to do is dig in and prove her wrong. I can do this.

I have three kids. Let this be a lesson to me to not dash their hopes and dreams on the rocks of my disbelief. May I always encourage them and support them.

I have a main purpose that I have chosen for my life. A main goal. A magnificent obsession. I’m not going to let anyone influence me and fall into the pit that was my past. I’ve fought too hard to get to the point to where I can think clearly enough to plan for the future. A few more months and I’ll be reaching my next goal… if I can just stay focused.

It’s sad when I need to take a chill pill before I spend time with my mother.

Important Person

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Bailey in chair summer 20150611_165245

Yesterday I went to visit my youngest daughter and her dog for a play date. She has a 4 month old pit bull and I have a 2 year old heeler/kelpie. My dog is not aggressive at all. In fact when another dog tries to play with her she runs away very fast. It does not make me happy. My daughter I think let’s her do it because she’s so young. In my opinion, she should be curbing that aggressiveness already.

Today my mom brought over her older Jack Russell Terrier. After two years of her dog rolling on her back and letting my dog smell her belly, they finally played. I mean like leg slapping, hopping around, and acting silly playing! Finally, Bailey actually played with someone!

It’s hard not agreeing with some of the choices my kids make like letting the puppy play roughly. But, I have to let them do their own things now that they’re all grown up. Well, she’s 18, so barely grown up. I guess my choice is to talk to her about it again or not get together for play dates anymore and I don’t want that.

I did learn something about myself yesterday. I can hold my peace when I disagree with my youngest. I said I thought she should start teaching her now and then I left it. I did good.

Today I didn’t do as well. My mom sat down and immediately started picking on me about something that was important to her, but I felt she shouldn’t have made a big deal about. I also didn’t appreciate her getting on me right off like that.

Before she left I got a chance to snap back at her and then apologize for my behavior.

My moods have been all over the place the last 48 hours. Right now I’m feeling a bit bitchy and irritated. I have no reason to feel that way. There is no one here for me to fight with. I called my eldest daughter and just chatted for a while before she had to go to bed (she’s on the east coast and I’m on the west coast). It made me happy to talk to her. It almost always makes me happy to talk to her. She’s like my reset button. She doesn’t tolerate any crap from me. She calls it like she sees it. If I ask her opinion, she’ll tell me what she really thinks.

What’s cool about our relationship is we talk to each other as adults. I do with all my kids, but Jessica is different. She’s the eldest and she’s the one who took care of me after I had my first knee replacement. It didn’t go well. I had a couple blood clots and was in a lot of pain. She had to give me her full attention. She was amazing and I will forever be thankful to her for that.

Huh. I feel a little better now. I guess I need to manage what I think about a little bit more. I need to not expose myself to negative people so much. I’m affected by negative people really easily.

Let me share something I found today with you. I’m going through my stuff and getting ready to move and in my papers I found this:

You Are the Most Important Person Alive.

You are full of miracles and magic.
Now is the time for you to open your eyes and mind and see.

Sight. Sound. Thought. Touch. Emotion. Smell.

Think a thought… become that thought.

With your imagination, your mind, you conceive a thing. Whatever you conceive, that you will achieve. Like magic.

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.

Bipolar Triggered – The Next Day

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How do I feel the day after the girls hit multiple triggers for my bipolar? Well, I over slept so that didn’t help. I was fine till I remembered they have my book and I decided I wanted it back. Then my son, who is looking for an apartment with his girlfriend, told me he was on his way out the door to go to look at a place just 10 minutes after I got up. I realized his girlfriend, Melanie, is at work and I asked him if he was going alone. Yep. Can I go with? There wasn’t enough time. He said he thought about it but there wasn’t enough time for me to get ready. Really? He could have got me up.

He left and I thought things over and I called him. I asked him to call me if he has questions. His little sister should have let me go over the place with them before they moved in because I would have warned them off. Now, a month later, they’re going to move out.

Anyway, my calling him was just my way to hold on a little bit. The kids are going every which way and I’m having a hard time today. I started to cry a little and quickly ended the phone call. I feel useless.

None of them need me, and they selfishly take from me without thanks. I know probably all kids are like that, but if you’re like me (being bipolar) it is especially hard for us. I’d like to think a normal parent would feel the same way at this point. In fact that’s what I’m deciding just now. I’m not in crisis (I don’t think so). I’m sad. I feel lonely. I resent that Syd takes and doesn’t give.

I think when Kyle gets home I’m going to ask him to go to Alder Lake with Bailey and I. We used to go there all the time when they were young. Its 30 minutes from our house straight up the highway towards Mount Rainier (in Washington State). I need a break. I think he does too with the way work has been going and his needing to move. It will be fun to play with the dog at the lake. There shouldn’t be too many people there yet so maybe I can let her off leash and let her run.

Just to recap: yesterday a bunch of my triggers got flipped. Today, how am I going to deal with it? A few minutes ago I started to cry. I’ve had a chill pill and calmed down.

I’m going to fight my way through this. I’ve been preparing for weeks. Now it’s time to see if I can do what I tell others to do.

The first thing is to acknowledge it, face it, and decide how I’m going to protect myself and move forward… keep growing stronger. I refuse to turn into a puddle of stressed out mommy. Holding onto my frustration with Sydney and Toni isn’t going to help.

Stay tuned…

Bipolar – Mom of Almost All Post-Teens

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I’ve been, acted, had Bipolar Disorder as long as I can remember. I always knew something terrible was just… off with myself. You remember the classic symptoms everyone takes on the on-line tests to see if they’re bipolar? Let me share a few:
http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/bipolarquiz.htm

http://www2.organizedwisdom.com/quiz/take/3/Am_I_Bipolar

There are dozens and dozens more but I’d rather share this with you…(I’ll get back to the kids in a minute)

What does a doctor need to know to diagnose bipolar disorder?

A bipolar disorder diagnosis is made only by taking careful note of symptoms, including their severity, length, and frequency. “Mood swings” from day to day or moment to moment do not necessarily indicate a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  Rather, the diagnosis hinges on having periods of unusual elevation or irritability in mood that are coupled with increases in energy, sleeplessness, and fast thinking or speech. The patient’s symptoms are fully assessed using specific criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-IV.

In making the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, the psychiatrist or other mental health expert will ask you questions about your personal and family history of mental illness and bipolar disorder. Because bipolar disorder sometimes has a genetic component, family history can be helpful in making a diagnosis. Most people with bipolar disorder, though, do not have a family history of bipolar disorder.

Also, the doctor will ask detailed questions about your bipolar symptoms. Other questions may focus on reasoning, memory, ability to express yourself, and ability to maintain relationships.
(http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-disorder-diagnosis)
 
Jessica, who is 22 and is in the Air Force, Kyle who is 19 and attends UW at T (or UWT), and Sydney who is 17 and is a senior in an advanced high school, runs much of the internship program for the high schools in her district and works part-time all grew up with me. All of me.
 
All of me GREW to be very over weight for my height, very lonely and very much in the grip of my disorder. Even so I chose the email address “supermomforever….” That’s what I think, what I thought when they were young, about myself. I would protect and grow up my babies the best that I could and they would grow up to be amazing and individual people regardless of what happened to me. I knew If I was hospitalized once my chances for going back increased and it didn’t seem to me that people really got better after hospital stays, they stabilized. Our disorder is a disorder. It doesn’t ever “go away”. 
 
In my “semi-controlled full on manic” state that lasted for what seemed like years (I think it was) I founded a company, learned from the ground up how to run all the complicated software that was necessary, blah, blah…. I was an ultra over achiever. Let’s leave it at that okay? Then I blew the whole thing up and had my Explorer repossessed. Then we were evicted. (This is where I’m supposed to say “things couldn’t get worse” right? Forget about it.)
 
The last 7 years or so have been very depressing. I’ve had my right knee replaced twice… yes the same knee… because the first one didn’t work. Figure that out. Now that will help you lose weight. I have chronic pain to the extent that I now go to a pain management clinic. 
 
Yesterday I submitted an application to UWT. I’m very excited to go back to school. I hope I’m accepted. It will be good for my brain and get me out of this bloody house. I’ll meet real people! 
 
Today I took major steps to reinvent parts of my old company (the one I imploded) with the help of my son’s desk top computer (from a school grant), some art work I was missing (a lot) and tonight – the software I needed!!!! 
 
Not to put a damper on things, but I haven’t eaten all week accept for today. I’m depressed. My father is dying and that could happen soon. And yet…
 
…. I’m still being that supermomforever…. I’m making sure the kids spend time with him as we can and that Jessica stays in the loop so she can fly home when the time comes. We’re a pretty tight-nit family. We stay in contact throughout each of our own days and the hours we keep are definitely not the same. 
 
I talked about the bipolar tests. I just wanted to remind you of some of our symptoms and introduce you to WebMD. They’ve gotten it righter recently than wrong. 
 
Supermomforever…. my kids will always remember losing the truck and being evicted. It changed us all. They will always remember my physical difficulties and my disorders many that they may be. 
 
The one single thing I want them to remember is this: family will always be there for you. At the end of the day when the dust settles you call home and talk. When I have a bad few hours I call a kid or text one of them. We are family. 
 
My ex-mother-in-law always said I’m good at creating and making good memories. We couldn’t afford to go places or buy things so instead I got creative and made memories and I hope drew us together for all of our lives. 
 
This was way longer than I intended. “Shh…” I tell myself, “It’s ok”. 
 
My kids are all nearly post-teens. Somedays I worry I’ve wrecked them for life. Left marks on their souls that will never fade. But no, they have grown to be this age and do these things because I somehow did it right. Through all my pain and insanity I got enough of parenting right to have great adult children. 
 
Now, I’m afraid to be alone. But that’s for another day. 
 
Good night friends.

Bipolar Parent – Clash of the Titans

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I am Bipolar Type 1.
I have ADHD.
I am a parent of seemingly “normal” kids.
I am the daughter of a Titan, an undiagnosed Bipolar Type 1.

I say “Type 1” because to me this is the most dangerous. We act out in more dangerous ways. We are harder to control and stay within societies boundaries.

One of my most constant and worst places to be is in the land of RAGE.

My Rage has been under control for a good amount of time. I’m taking my meds. I just took my meds. I’m feeling what seems to be the old familiar rage.

This Bipolar daughter was part of her bipolar father (73 and has brain cancer) being belligerent and violent towards my mother tonight. All it took was for him to finally act on his growing agitation by refusing his meds and then pushing my mom over and making her phone fly out of her hand. Later he pushed me into the walker. I don’t care about me, but no one lays a hand on my mom.

I’m so glad my son came with me tonight. Somehow I just knew I wouldn’t be able to deal with him tonight. The situation escalated so quickly that I had to get the neighbors to come over to help us.

I’ll tell you this, no matter how much medication you take, when your brain is swelling and it is changing someone there is not much to do but try to prepare for… for what?

He pushed my mom over. As the evening has progressed tonight and Kyle and I are finally home. My son has finally gone to bed I paused to take my many pills I was feeling a familiar beast that had returned without my being aware of it earlier and now is making itself know… I’m enraged. Is that different than feeling the rage of Bipolar? I wouldn’t know. They happen in the same brain. I think, I suspect they start the same.

My father with Dementia was physical tonight. Somewhere I love him. We’ve fought terribly and with rage with one another most of my life (at least that was my response to him).

When does anger become rage for me? When it becomes the beast behind my eyes blinding my good judgement. When it raises from deep within my mind and kicks all those years of horror right back. When I want to hurt this demented man who has hurt my mother and may hurt her physically again. I want to him stop.

My will are like steal. I raised three kids on my own. I know what it is like to have to be on alert all the time. But this is a full grown man who can hurt someone. And, he is my father. That changes the game completely.

I’m angry no one listened to me when I voiced my opinion on “dad” proofing the house. Granted it was a cell phone that flew, but he has a lot of stuff he could use to hurt my mom with.

Hell no.

I really need my brother to be on the same page with me. I seem to be there when dad is acting the worst. Of course I also am with him when he is doing well. But this week for my time with him has mostly be challenging to say the least.

My ears heart. I want to hurt him back.

It’s time to stop and regroup. Time to check in with my support people and make sure these are normal emotions and not my “illness”. If my meds need to be adjusted so I behave then so be it. I’ll do what it takes.

But I have to control the growing rage and morph it into compassion if I can. I have to be loving when I go back.

Me (the younger Titan) and my father (the elder Titan) locked wills tonight through no fault of our own and neither backed down. He didn’t get passed me to my mom. Eventually he took his meds from my son while the neighbors sat nearby. I hope he sleeps well.

The other day my mom woke up to find his rifle on the bed next to them.

Seeds for anger… seeds for rage… now it’s my job to use what I’ve learned over the 51 years I’ve been around to see if I can pull back to normal anger levels… to cope.

I believe I can.

Good night my friend

Please recommend my blog to others and consider following it yourself. I’d love to hear from you too. Have you experienced backwards Bipolar parenting too?

Bipolar – You Seem “Normal”

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It really is difficult to know what to say. Should I begin at the beginning? When I knew something went “wonky” with me? Should I share some of the ways I’ve tried to improvise to survive myself? Perhaps just today?

I saw another new counselor this week. I like her I think. Today.

I mentioned to her that yes, I am on disability… as in collect disability, and that I was approved within minutes it seemed of walking into the interviewer’s office. My new counselor said what so many others have said, “You are one of the lucky ones.” Most people don’t get on disability and they should be. (See note below on defining “crazy” and similar words)

I imagine that to her, on that day this week, that I seemed like I’m pretty well together. Life is giving me a crap load of stuff to deal with at the present time, but I seem to be dealing with it. How, she asked, could she help me?

Teach me to know when I’m having normal feelings. Please… please help me to know when I leave the area of normal grief and loss when my child goes to basic training and when I’m crashing. I have to know. I have to be able to get help. I need to know when to stop. I want to know if it will ever stop.

My eldest daughter is coming home for a few weeks from where she’s stationed at MacDill AFB in Tampa, FL. She’s recently received her certification and is a real, honest to goodness… wait for it… air traffic controller. I’m certified disabled, a single mom, food stamps and am supported financially (Only to pay my bills, not to do anything like buy my cats a toy, but I am very thankful for what they do do. do do? due duo… lol) by my parents who are in their 70’s. My kids are Sydney 17, Kyle 19 and Jessica 22 and they are all amazing. And I’m amazing too. AND, so are you.

When they were young and I was already bonkers. I didn’t know it then, but I was. Sometimes religious experience can mask what is really mental illness.

I admit to being very intelligent. Not always smart or having the commonsense of a turnip, but I’m intelligent. I realized when I divorced my kids’ father that being Bipolar and being labeled “crazy” could possibly allow my ex-husband to have custodial rights over my kids. There was no way in whatever hell that that was ever going to happen. I wouldn’t allow it. Not on my watch and my watch is every moment of every day.

Let me cut to the chase. Because I’m “intelligent” (ehem… little pride check) I realized that there was a possibility that he could “take” the kids from me, that they would live with him and visit with me. I knew absolutely that if that came to pass I would crack and I might not come back from that broken place. I …. I raised them. All by myself. Without a job. Without money to speak of. Without so many of the normal “stuff” kids get and have today.

I was the only parent I know (still know) who couldn’t take my kids to fun and often expensive places (I’m talking about the local zoo here, not Disneyland). We live near Mt. Rainier. I had a reliable Ford Explorer (till it was repossessed…. you Bipolars out there might identify with that) and we used to pop up to the mountain and have a snowball fight, have a meal of summer sausage, cheese and crackers; then head home again. We counted deer too. Got something like 17 or so in one trip. We did these trips in under 3.5 hours. Then they’d do homework, eat and pass out.

It was pointed out to me was that I was building memories with my kids and that is the most important kind of “gift” I can give them. I’d never thought of it like that.

I coached sports teams and did all the “normal” things a “normal” super mom would do. And you know… no one in my family ever told me that hauling the sports equipment to the baseball field was NOT supposed to leave me collapsing in a chair trying not to cry before I was full of joy and energy and the person those kids needed me to be. I tried to be that person very hard. Now I  realize that my perception of doing a great job might not be the same as the two women over yonder not cheering for their kids but doing a lot of talking. Normal. Who the hell knows or cares anymore?

No I don’t.

Then I went far far beyond that. My days and nights have been full of the pursuit raising my children, of making them into the adults they are now. Yes, yes… all the other factors. Sure. But I have always been there. I am still here. I will always be… BE.. for them and be here for them. They know I would fight the legendary devil, Satan himself, to protect my babies. Heaven help you if you get in my way.

My pursuit of seemingly being normal today is a direct product of the hysteria that accompanied the thought of loosing my babies.

You all, my friends, you probably know what may lay beyond the surface of my “normalcy”. If you do… it should terrify you and, or because, you know it too.

Back to the counselor – “How can I help you?” she asked me gently. “Help me to know when I’m feeling normal feelings. Help me stop when I cross into the uncontrolled feelings that can destroy me.”

I look normal.

How about you?

Bipolar and Chronic Pain Just Plain Suck

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Monday my Bipolar brain took a chance an had a lumbar steroid shot to attempt to relieve massive pain I’ve been experiencing for years. I respond quickly to medications and other treatments and it’s been this way with the lumbar shot. By the next morning I was experiencing muscle cramps and painful spasms. Although I wanted, in my strange way, to think something had gone wrong I decided that these things were happening because my body was moving more freely because there was less pain. Even a slightly longer reach or stretching a muscle beyond what it has been doing for the last 25 years.

The second night my back lit up. All the nerves in my lower back were on fire again. I got an ice pack and sat in my recliner (which my mother thoughtfully gifted to me) and tried to ride out the storm. No such luck. Kyle was staying up late playing a game on the X-box and for the first time he saw a little of the hell my body puts me through. I thought I could get it to calm down with the ice. No such luck. I was reclining in the chair to better freeze the painful area. I couldn’t stand it any longer and I started kicking my legs and groan with the pain.

My anxiety level was reaching critical mass and I felt I was losing control. My mind was unable to restrain or reign in my response to the pain. It was excruciating. I asked Kyle to rinse out the tub for me (Bailey, the puppy, loves to play in the tub when she’s not having a bath.). Not knowing what else to do he did so quickly. I climbed in before the water got more than a few inches deep. I sat with my back to the spigot and the water turned hot. I was so tired I kept falling asleep.

I don’t know why I didn’t use the heating pad. That’s what it’s for really. That and the big ice packs. I think when the pain becomes so great that we can no longer think clearly. Also being Bipolar I’m not always prepared for nor able to deal with such pain. I was so drowsy. I walked close to the wall so I wouldn’t fall down the stairs. Finally I realized I’d not taken anything for my back all evening because I was feeling better. I jumped the gun.

I keep a record of when and what and how much of each drug I take during the say so I don’t over or underdose. I was way under.

Today I asked Kyle if he’d ever seen me like that, in that much pain. He hadn’t. I told him how this was only some of the pain I have been in. If it had been any worse I wouldn’t have reclined my chair because I knew I would break it. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to. I know he is starting to understand.

This, this is Kyle in the first grade. Today he is a sophomore at UWT (University of Washington at Tacoma)
kyle1st-grade

I’ve tried to hide my infirmities from my kids as they’ve grown up. The fits of anger and depression, the aggression and the manias… I couldn’t hide them all the time. Maybe never. I’m not sure. Today all three are remarkable individuals.

Raising them I was in constant physical and mental pain. I nearly lost myself. Today, for the first time in…. forever I put away the groceries anfter shopping and wasn’t in any pain. No pain in my physical body at all.

I had no idea how much pain I’d been in… until after some of it was gone.

It is my hope, that now that some of the chronic pain is alleviated my work to balance my mind will be more successful.

My friend, I have learned many lessons from this experience with ongoing pain. I didn’t know I was blinded by the pain. I didn’t know the pain made my mind, my Bipolar mind, more messy. If you experience other pain in your body that can be addressed, pain so great it alters your daily activities including you need to be doing with your kids. Myself… I couldn’t even stand long enough to cook. When coaching softball my pain was like a monster. I’m sure I wasn’t very effective. I cared a lot about those kids though. I just thought the pain was part of carting around sports equipment. I was wrong.

Consider your body… has it got a hold on your mind? On your Bipolar behavior?

Be well my friend.

Bipolar – Humiliation and Money

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Money.

If you’re like me you’ve messed up your finances more that 4 or 5 times. Maybe you live on a small income from the State and help from your mother who is 72. I find being poor humiliating. Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t. I do. I will. I suppose. How about you?

One of my kids suggested to me that I go to GoFundMe and try to raise money so I could go see my eldest in the military clear across the country. She’s my best friend. I miss her so. The other two kids and I have totally unique relationships with me. I love them all so much. But back to money and humiliation.

I’ve started a fund raising drive on GoFundMe. I let it post it to Facebook so all my friends know now. Today I added an update telling them everything accept that I’m Bipolar. I’ll do that tomorrow. Hopefully someone will have read it by then so they won’t be to blindsided when they learn it. I even put both the last names I use. I’ve tried to keep my Bipolar writings separate from my other work and world. Have you done that too?  With Google and Facebook hooking everything together it’s hard to do. So now all my “friends” know me by my maiden name and my married name. They can find this blog if they look for me. I’m out there now.

So my friends let me show you what I’ve done and put forth the same inquiry to you that I have to everyone else. Will you help me?