I am my own executive.


fact: we are homeschooling now.

fact: most people think of homeschooling and cringe. (I was guilty if this lol)

fact: I am bipolar.

up for interpretation: bipolar people should avoid any unnecessary stress.

misconception: homeschooling is stressful.

So, if you haven’t read between the lines, I feel like homeschooling is something that people with bipolar disorder “shouldn’t” do.

Because, we might lose our shit.

You know, we shouldn’t have more children, take on a high stress job, knowingly put ourselves in stressful situations, or have a fucking life.

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I’ve only had 2 psychs, but where are the progressive ones?! The ones who don’t believe in stigma or who would advocate against it instead of creating self stigma?

My psych didn’t tell me that I shouldn’t be homeschooling, but she sure did give me the look. It really makes me want to go in there and tell her I’m pregnant and I’ve taken some really stressful job, then yell BITCH and kick her on my way out.

You know what? Being ME is a stressful job, and I think I’m a pretty awesome me, getting better at it every day. So you can eat your little prescription pad and be constipated for weeks. I’ve done my time in the “hole”, learning the illness, learning my triggers, leaning myself. I’m officially out of that hole and am capable of deciding what I can and cannot handle. I can make those decisions now.

Forgive Me Father, For I Have Sinned.


Or maybe I haven’t.

Or maybe I have, and I’m just gonna go to hell.

Or maybe I have, and it’s forgivable.¬†

I mean, I broke a commandment. Thou shalt not commit¬†adultery. There has to be some¬†repercussion¬†for that, right? Some penance? I need penance. It’s not a “Oh, she was manic, she has an illness, she loves her husband and didn’t mean to hurt him – it was wrong, but it’s ok, you need to forgive yourself.” That just doesn’t sound right to me. But I kinda feel like that’s what I’m getting from my therapist.

She said I need to “do whatever you need to do to feel better”. Yeah, we’re at that point. 6 months later, and I’m not forgiving myself still. It’s like she’s pulling her hair out and looking confused wondering why I just can’t get over it. I thought it would just happen over time.

I know, for someone who did what I did, that this will sound really wrong, and maybe like a flat out lie. But I have strong morals. Which is probably why it’s so hard for me to let this go. Pillars says he has forgiven me. I have made great strides in attaining a normal mood, adjusting my life so it’s more kind to me. But I’m holding on to this nasty, hurtful feeling, and I’m not sure how to let it go.

My therapist asked Tuesday, “Why did you do it?”

“Because I couldn’t not do it. It was a physical urge. It wasn’t even an option. It was an energy. It didn’t make sense.”

“And that is Bipolar. It doesn’t make sense.”

Pillars asked why I am looking for sense in something that doesn’t make sense. Why can’t I just let it be: something that happened that doesn’t make sense.

I guess because I haven’t tortured myself enough yet.

If I wanna torture myself, fine. But the reason I am trying to figure this out is because I think that it’s coming between me and Pillars, physically. I had been explaining my low sex drive (I’m only wanting it once every 10 days or so) to meds, life, everything else. But things keep becoming clear to me – I’m able to see ways I am¬†sabotaging¬†myself . Ways I am lying to myself, maybe little white lies to others in effort to be what they expect me to be – or what I think they expect me to be. Doing things I don’t want to do, worrying about people judging me for any little thing. I wasn’t being true to myself; I might not even know who myself really is. I didn’t notice I was doing all of this, and now I’m slowly seeing it all.

So it became clear to me last week when we were having sex that I get little flashbacks, images, etc of my affairs. And of course that floods me with negative emotions: disgust, anger, hopelessness, pity, and more. I get really uncomfortable, and Pillars can tell. Therefore, sex = negative emotions for me. Hence why I hardly ever “feel like it”. We figured all that out in marriage therapy.

Now, I want to forgive myself for my husband. So we can have that intimacy back. So I can be his and be present while we are in bed. 0

I think a confession would be a good step forward. It seems to be what my mind always comes back to when I think of forgiving myself.

On the topic of the ten commandments – people commit murder to save themselves, people work on Sundays, people say the Lord’s name in vain, people covet what their neighbor has…

So it’s common place. It happens. A lot. I probably shouldn’t be so uptight about it.

But a little bit of me worries that if I let this go, I’ll do it again. But I’d have to be manic, and I keep too close a guard on my symptoms and my moods, Pillars pays close attention, and I see my therapist(s) too often for this to happen. So I should just let it go and trust myself and all of them.

That’s where I am. Focusing on that. Or trying not to focus on that. Whichever.

Bipolar Support Groups


What’s your experience?¬†I’ll be having my own experience this Friday…

It’s being held at a hospital, and is 2 hours long. When I had previously been told about the meeting, I was still working nights and was sure there was no way I’d ever be able to actually GET to one. But now that that’s changed, looks like I’ll have the pleasure. Or not?

I mentioned the meeting to my therapist at our meeting a couple days ago. A concerned look immediately crossed her face, and the warnings started spewing out:

  • “Watch out for any men attending. Lots of people go to pick up someone.”

I said “Whaaattt?? People do that??

Her response: *shrugs* “They’re bipolar.”

Palm-To-Forehead. Yep. Of course. I was that way only months earlier, why didn’t that occur to me? I have been that. ((insert a butt load of shame here))

  • “They might ask for your number, get that kind of information. Be careful…”

I assured her that I don’t like people anyways, so that’s not a problem.

  • “Being as it’s in a hospital, it’s probably safer and more legit than other support groups I’ve heard of.”

Great. Then I only have to worry about manic, predatory bipolar men asking me for my number and then following me home.

  • “You’re probably going to see people………a lot sicker than you.”

Maybe this should scare me, but my only thought is that it’s going to make me paranoid that I’ll eventually get that sick.

So all in all, she’s just made me paranoid.¬†To top it off, I mention all this to Pillars, and he’s like, “Yeah, that’s what I read…”. Everyone knows more than me about this! Gah!

Someone? Anyone? Give me a glimmer of hope that this will be a good thing? That I’ll see more than straight jackets, alcohol, and someone trying to bite me or some crazy shit like that?

Living Life In A Straight Jacket


I actually came out of therapy today excited. I know, I’m a weirdo ūüėČ

Here’s how our convo went:

Iris: “So you had your first marriage counseling session yesterday…how was it?”

Me: “Good. Awkward. Uncomfortable. We were with a new¬†neutral person, and here he is – the victim. And here I am – the offender…”

Iris: “Victim?? Offender?? He’s NOT a victim. You are NOT an offender. Why are you using those words? You didn’t commit a CRIME!”

Me: *eyebrows raised* “I BROKE A COMMANDMENT”

Iris: *laughing* “Yes, what you did was wrong. It’s good that you know that.”¬†

At this point, I’m wondering why I feel so strongly about the commandments, and why she’s taking it so lightly. It looks like that huge ass tapestry of Jesus on my Granny’s wall and the constant play of¬†Ben-Hur¬†had more effect on me than I know.

Iris: “Who made you feel like you don’t matter?”

Me: “My parents, I guess. My Dad was always busy working, and when he wasn’t, he tried really hard not to be around. Emotionally, or physically. And my Mom was always busy cooking and cleaning and making sure everything was ‘just so’.”

Iris: “So they never really engaged you?”

Me: “No, I guess they just maintained me.”

Iris: “Did you have meals together.”

Me: “Oh yeah. Every night. Those were the worst. So tense and uncomfortable.”

Iris: “What?! That’s horrible. What were they like?”

Me: “I always had a nervous twitch going on…my leg shaking, tapping, stuff like that. And I always got fussed at by Dad for it. Anything that wasn’t -just right- got you fussed at.”

Iris: “Your whole life was like that. When someone came into your room, it was ‘Oh no, what did I do?'”

Me: “Pretty much.”

Iris: “You never got to figure out who YOU are because you were forced to maintain what they expected you to be. Normally, after leaving home, kids rebel and decide they’re not doing anything they were required to do at home. You never did that, you just carried all those expectations and requirements with you into marriage, and into motherhood. You had your little rebellion recently, I hope you enjoyed it because it’s not happening again. Now, I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you feel like eating chicken every night, eat chicken. If you want to go to bed at 9, go to bed at nine.”

So basically, my goal is to not feel like I have to do anything because of someone else. Every day I am to take 15 minutes and write down what I LIKE. Anything. The goal is to learn who I am and what I like – without anyone’s influence.

She hit the nail on the head, for sure. I have always felt that way. Like I wasn’t able to be myself.

Now, I know my core values. I know I married the right man :):):) I know I love my children. That much, I know without a doubt. I guess it’s every other detail I have to ponder.

She said that once I figure this out, I’ll be less nervous. She said she sees a lot of women that don’t know who they are. They have just been something for someone for so long that they never figured it out.

Well, at least I’ll figure this out before I’m 30. Barely. lol

Self-harming


The next 4 weeks may be the longest I’ve had for a while. My therapist is going on vacation. Now, SHE SAID it’s only for 2 weeks. But when I went to make my next appointment at the front desk, they set me up for 4 weeks. I may call tomorrow and say “WTF?”¬†

She actually said to me about a month ago, when I walked into the office, “I’ve been thinking about you…”.

Really? You don’t just leave all your nut cases at the door when you leave? I didn’t expect her to actually think about me.I mean, we’ve been talking now for 3.5 years, I suppose it’s only natural.

She looked kinda worried to send me on my way today, alone during her vacation. Probably because I spilled the beans on some self-harming thoughts I was having this week. I told her it was like a self-harm cloud hanging over my head. No specific thoughts, like when I was pregnant 2 years ago and thought about stabbing myself in the uterus and then throwing myself out the window.

I mean, geez, I’m not that crazy.

Again.

No, it was just a cloud. Hangin out. Suggesting that life is getting just a little too hard. I’ve been fighting too hard for too long. Time to give up just a little. It’ll feel better. It’ll release the stress and the pain. Maybe not forever, but at least for a little while, and that’s better than nothing. That little cloud offered a hug.

I was present enough to realize that would not be for the best. I muscled through that urge by reminding myself that my husband doesn’t need anything else to deal with right now. He has enough troubles, I have enough troubles, and I don’t need one more thing on my list of crap to tell my children when they’re old enough.

I can’t¬†guarantee I’ll always be present enough to make that decision.

She reminded me that if I ever feel like that, to call the psychiatrist I see there, and/or to go to the hospital. She actually suggested a hospital. I was stunned.

Um, me? What?

Thinking about me, checking myself in. How does one even do that? Or rather, how does one handle the concept that they just had to do that?

 

Depersonification


Depersonalization disorder occurs when you persistently or repeatedly have a sense that things around you aren’t real, or when you have the feeling that you’re observing yourself from outside your body. Feelings of depersonalization can be very disturbing and may feel like you’re losing your grip on reality or living in a dream.

(http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depersonalization/DS01149)

This is my “go-to” method of dealing with stress. It hasn’t always been, but it has been for a while now, and I’ve only recently become stable enough to even notice what I’m doing.

For me, there are varying levels of depersonalization. I’m doing it right now. It’s been a rough day. Luckily, I can form sentences right now, and be fairly comical. About an hour and a half ago, I had glue in my brain. An empty look in my eyes, a quiet, monotone, emotionless voice, and couldn’t finish a thought, much less hold a conversation. I was trying. Pillars and I were out on a date, and I was trying to talk about today’s therapy session, but as soon as I found a thought and spoke 3 words of it, I lost it. After some mental constipation, I found my thought, spoke 2 words of it, and it was gone again. It was¬†embarrassing.

I think that if someone was listening in on our conversation, they may have thought I was mentally handicapped.

After a few minutes of this, what little bit of me was in me could sense my husband sitting there next to me. Wearing his nice business casual clothes, arms propped up on the table, concentrating on listening and piecing together whatever-the-hell I was trying to spit out. While I’m sitting there hunched over in uncertainty, at least one tiny hole in my shirt, another hole in the crotch of my pants, and greasy hair from not having showered in a couple days.

What does he think of me? Does he think I’m faking any of this? Is he tired of my troubles?

He asked if the music was distracting me. I couldn’t figure it out, so he suggested we go sit outside and talk. As soon as we were outside, I could form a complete sentence. I wasn’t fully there yet, but in a much better place.

I should add that on the way to this date, I got lost. Turns out that having a smart phone doesn’t actually make you smart. Damn.

So after talking outside for about 15 minutes we head home. I insisted I follow him…didn’t want to end up lost again. Har. I struggled staying present the whole drive, finding myself slipping in and out, and maybe even coming close to falling asleep a couple times. ¬†I don’t know, that’s what it felt like to me.

We come home, I step out of the car, and I’m back. Immediately. Not 100%, but at least 80%. How did that happen, when I was gone just a mile ago?

My therapist told me to keep an eye on this, that it may be a coping mechanism, may be something else, but that we need to track it. She told me not to let myself do that. But I couldn’t help it. Id been dying to do it for weeks, since earlier in the month when my Mom was here and I had done it when I was visiting with her. Who wouldn’t, when you hold conversations like this?

She visited, I checked out of my mind for the visit, then climbed up into a hypomanic episode, and managed to bring it down with an increase in Lithium. Since she came into town, I could feel the nagging sense in my mind, wanting to go away, disappear, check-out, leave my body…whatever. I guess the feeling just got too strong for me to be able to ignore it. It wasn’t a conscience choice, or thought, like, “Hey, I’m tired of this shit, let’s bounce.” It was that I was stressed out, trying desperately to cope, and then all of a sudden I’m not there. I’ve turned from frantic on the inside to calm. My face is emotionless. I can smile, but it’s not my smile.

It serves a purpose – the stress is gone. But it leaves me as a bumbling idiot. I’m not good for anything that way, and I can’t function. At it’s worst, I actually need someone to hold my arm to guide me while I walk. So…what’s the sense?

Either way, I’ll write it down and discuss it with my therapist for sure next time. It was definitely disturbing.

Working While Bipolar, Dealing with Stigma


I work at a seafood restaurant that has a nice big lobster tank in the lobby. When I’m done for the night but can’t leave (we have to leave in groups of 3), I sit next to the tank and fiddle on WordPress my phone. That’s right, I read all your lovely blogs while I’m chillin after work.

I’ve never had anyone – much less a stranger to me – sit down pressed against me and lean over and peer onto my phone before…but a guy from the kitchen did a couple months ago. He’s nice enough. For some reason, he sticks up for me when people start to pick on me in the kitchen. I much just look like a little lost kitten. ¬†But then again, when I’m “normal” and not in any form of mania, a little lost kitten is exactly what I come across as. So, whatever. It’s a side of me.

“Whatcha twittering?”

“Oh, I don’t twitter. I’m reading blogs.”

“Oh, you blog?!”

…shit. I know where this is going…

“Yeah, I do.”

“Oh! What do you blog about?”

—pause—

—pause—

—pause—

“I’m bipolar. So I blog about that.”

“Oh really? I never would’ve guessed. That has to be really difficult. How does it affect you at work?”

“I’m still kinda new at it, and I’m not quite sure yet. But I don’t think it causes me many problems.”

 

 

It ended there. And he’s still very sweet to me. We’ll hold the occasional 1 minute conversation you’re allowed in a restaurant.

But ever since then, he’s had me considering just how this affects me at work. I’ve become more mindful of how productive I am, how confused I get, how well my memory is, etc.

I’ve come to the conclusion – and this is still a study in progress – that I am at my worst times (normal mood – luckily, I haven’t had a depression while working outside of the house), just an average worker. Forgetting stuff here and there, a memory that is about as hard to catch as a feral cat, not too social with the guests, not very fast, not very vocal.

At my best times (which would be hypomanic/manic episodes), I am amazing. Super productive, very fluid movements, very vocal, conversing with the guests, memory like a steel trap, etc. I love working like that. I make more money like that. I don’t get in trouble with my bosses for forgetting stuff, etc. Its much less stress free.

I’m on the down side of my last hypomanic episode, and worked last night. I’m losing all of those lovely qualities I just mentioned :(:(

I kept forgetting stuff. Losing stuff. Having a hard time concentrating. Damnit.

 

My therapist was insistent that I not tell anyone at work about my illness. But, I don’t think I can do that. It would feel too much like hiding, like I have something to be ashamed of, like there is something wrong with me. ¬†And that’s just not the truth. She thinks (heck, maybe she knows…she’s been doing this for over 20 years) that people will use it against me. Maybe they will. But the¬†naive side of me (which I didn’t even know existed any more) thinks that I’d like to prove to them just how awesome I am so that when they find out, it will help them understand that we can be productive.

Oh, Oh! Another funny story from work concerning mental illness…I was dropping dishes off with another server, and he said something about schizophrenia, and then “Can someone even work with a condition like that?”. My reply:

“Yeah, actually. We can. I’m bipolar.”

—silence—

“Well, I’m tri-polar.”

“I’m quadrupa-polar.”

Then we both laughed and walked off to finish working.

Since then, I’ve noticed he’s a little softer to me. He usually is very sarcastic and picks on me a lot. Maybe related, maybe not.

I guess something really bad is going to have to happen before I stop fighting the stigma. I am awesome. I am bipolar. Therefore, bipolar is awesome. Sometimes. 

 

Control through sex?


Today sucked. I woke up to see my cell laying on the bed next to me, and I know I didn’t leave it there, which means one thing. My husband looked through it. No biggie. But it signified to me that he is suspicious and uncomfortable. Just knowing that alone makes me nervous.

It makes me nervous because I know¬†I’m not in a normal zone right now, and he knows I’m not in a normal zone, which makes him a nervous wreck – which in turn makes me a big ball of guilt.

I step into a non-depressed or non-normal state and he freaks. Understandable, for sure. I’m not complaining about that. But it still sucks. I don’t want him to feel so insecure.

Well, I guess maybe you shouldn’t have slept with 2 men who weren’t you’re husband, huh.

Sigh.

Face Palm.

Banging head against the desk.

You get the picture.

I know I’m not totally in control of myself. He does too. And he knows what “I’m” capable of, so it’s like he’s just waiting for me to “do it”. I don’t want to do it, but I am scared. That’s what I have to tell the psychiatrist tomorrow. I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I don’t want to sit around and wait for this to happen…we can’t live like this.

Yesterday during therapy, the therapist and I briefly discussed my 2 “affairs”. She asked, that if I had no personal attachment, what was it all about? Why did I do it? If I had a husband who was ready and willing to have sex whenever I wanted,¬†why¬†go to anyone else?

I told her that above all, I wanted to be desired.

She said that’s nothing out of the ordinary, everyone wants to be desired, that’s normal. Then why the sex?

I said it was the ultimate desire. A natural progression from the flirting, and knowing that I’m desired. Not really my first thought…just something that came after I got what I wanted.

Very similar to having a big tasty meal and then having a big nasty poop.

I had a bout of childhood abuse that I’m not really ready to get into here yet, but she know that it can contribute (or cause¬†completely) hypersexuality problems. She asked if¬†maybe¬†this is about¬†vengeance?

Certainly not my first thought when I do what I do.

Maybe it’s about¬†control? Being able to control a man/men?

I do like that idea.It feels like a comfortable thought. There’s a chance that might be right.

Honestly, I think¬†my husband¬†is¬†the only man¬†who has ever treated me right in my entire life (THANK YOU BABY). I was ignored and forgotten by my Dad, abused by my Grandma’s husband (not my bio Grandpa), and the usual crap that goes with dating “bad boys” – a little bit of emotional abuse, cheating, being used, etc.

So, yeah, maybe I want to be in control.

But¬†I am¬†in control of my husband. I’m not being a bitch. I know he desires me. I know I can have him whenever I want. He tells me so. He tells me that I am worth all of this trouble, and that I am beautiful and smart. I truly have a one in a million. And when I’m “normal”, I know this. I know it deep inside, and I am at peace.

You know what’s so frustrating about all this? Is still being lucid. Having just enough control over everything to know that something¬†isn’t right. IT MAKES YOU FEEL CRAZY.

I’m still here. I’m still inside. But I can feel myself slipping. Like sliding down a slide on your belly, trying to grab the top again to pull yourself up, but just not being strong enough yet. I can see it, I can feel it, but I can’t do anything about it. I think my¬†mindfulness¬†and the lithium is helping me to not fly off that slide and land face down in the mulch.

God that doctor has to help me tomorrow.

Living without fear.


I had my latest appointment with my therapist yesterday (I’ve been going weekly for 3 months now…). She made me come close to crying. In the 3 years I’ve been seeing her I haven’t cried yet. I think it’s a good sign really.

Either way. She had me list my symptoms of my hypomanic episode that lasted from the end of December 2011 through April 2012. As I was listing them out loud and on paper, it was another one of those moments when I realized how sick I was. I try not too think too often or too long about how I felt then. It disturbs me.

So after listing them, I had to put in order as to what came first.  My list looks like this (although is constantly being rearranged and added to):

1 – lack of sleep (or lack of need)
2 – over active (excess energy)
3 – mean and irritable
4 – inflated self esteem
5 – pressured speech
6 – hilarious and witty

She told me to make a little check list and every day check off what I recognized that day. If I have a few days where I’m seeing a pattern, I’ll know something is wrong.

The main goal behind this is so that I can live without fear. Because right now I’m fearful. I didn’t tell her this, so it must have been obvious. I don’t like getting excited. I don’t listen to certain songs. I try not to talk to much. I get nervous when people find me funny. Ultimately, I’m constantly scared that I’m in an episode and just don’t know, or worse, don’t realize it.

I know I can’t live forever like this. But Im still *new* at this,¬† and Im hoping that over time Ill become more comfortable and I wont need to do any serious mind bending in order to get there. I’m tired if that shit.

She specifically wants me to push my boundaries. She said exactly that. To which I replied, “Oh I can’t do that. That makes me really uncomfortable.” She wants me to do all those things I don’t like doing… laugh a lot, make other people laugh, get excited, listen to my music loud, etc.

She wants me to educate myself about my illness. I told her, Dear Woman, I have been doing nothing but educating myself since my diagnosis. Ask Mr. bRaving. He’s complained about all my bipolar research. Then I promptly displayed my fact finding skills and told her that my fear is not for lack of knowledge.

I told her that I think I don’t want to accept my illness. Its not a conscious thought. Rather, its more of a feeling I get when I think about it. I can SAY¬† I’m bipolar all day long, but my thinking process is hitting a brick wall and negating that statement. Then, naturally, my mind goes to my affairs and reasons that if I’m not bipolar then, that I did that stuff in my own accord – which I know not to be true. Then I say, I’m certainly bipolar. Then something inside disagrees, and around and around we go.

Shit. I’ve got more mind bending to do.

Throw me yo dolla billz!


I get to see my therapist tomorrow, after a 2 week hiatus. That’s a long stretch for me. Unintentional though; I came down with strep throat (for the 2nd time in 3 weeks) and didn’t want to infect her office. Plus, I couldn’t talk, so…

I keep a journal for therapy purposes, keeping track of my moods/how I feel/anything notable I wish to discuss next time/etc. I don’t think I’ve written in it in 2 weeks or longer. No bueno. I keep telling myself I need to get on track but I’m not sure why I’m avoiding it. Probably because I’m hating therapy. Its old. I’m tired of it. No way will I stop therapy, but every time I walk out, I realize that my childhood and/or family is even more fucked up than I thought an hour ago. And we can’t forget the other patients…sitting with them in a tiny, old, dirty waiting room makes me feel even more mental.

I’m feeling less down than I was in my previous post (black moods). Still down, but I think the fact that my job is working me 7 days straight this week has had a big influence on that. I’m there late. Usually not home till after midnight, and then my youngest is up at approximately 6am. I’ve discussed the importance of sleep…and I’m not getting enough. I emailed the boss and politely said “WTF YOU CRAZY BITCH? I HAVE A LIFE! I can’t maintain a 6-7 day work week and would like to change my availability to 3-4 days a week.” A big change, yes, but one of the big things I have learned is to not push myself. I’ve always pushed myself until I broke. I thought it was ok, it made me a hard worker, a better person. One more task. One more project. One more thing on my list. Until all of that responsibility and stress caused me to become the exact opposite: a bad person. Lazy. Neglectful. Mean.

Oh, oh, oh! While we’re on the topic of what I was a few months ago, I need to disclose something I find¬† HILARIOUS now:

I was this close to becoming a stripper. Hey. It was an a.w.e.s.o.m.e. idea at the time. I even applied for a new club downtown. It made perfect sense, and hot damn I was gonna be good at it.

Its weird, I have a friend who is bipolar and she stripped during a manic¬† episode. Makes you wonder how many strippers are bipolar. Hmm…

I’ve got lots more to talk about, particularly about how I ended up screaming at the top of my lungs on my drive home last night, m8 alas…the baby wakes in 5.5 hrs, so that’ll have to wait.

Thanks for reading, and happy stripping.