Important Person

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

20150426_185732

{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

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

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

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?