Tag Archives: Pets

Bipolar – Hiding in the Mattress

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(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 – Dealing with Emotional Pain

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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

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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.

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.