Talking About Bipolar

Sharing Bi-polar moments


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Healing

I have had cancer twice, almost died twice from high blood pressure at age 15, was addicted to drugs and was an alcoholic.

For 23 years I was abused by my ex-husband in ways that I could not say out loud in divorce court so I walked away with only my life and a few pennies he was forced to give me so that I would sign the house deed over to him.

Once I was diagnosed with bipolar, I did not divulge that I was still doing drugs.  I kept doing drugs while taking the medication for bipolar.

After feeling like I was having a heart attack for the third time, I decided that I was not leaving this world due to drug use.  My alcohol use had already stopped.   I prayed at that moment for God to deliver me from drugs and I have not touched them since that night. The funny thing is that I was living with someone who was lighting up at that very moment.  Even though I kept living with that person  for  a while after I stopped, it never bothered me.  I never craved drugs again.

Now my biggest challenge is living with bipolar, anxiety and an array of other health problems.

Life is good and I am healing more and more from my past everyday.  Healing is a process and my goal is to help others who are victims of domestic violence, drug users, alcoholics and those who live and struggle with mental illness everyday.  Helping others is part of my healing journey and that is what makes it a process.

Today,  driving to my place of refuge, the rain was coming down and I asked God to keep the sun shining inside of me even though it was raining on the outside and that He would use me to bring a smile or a laugh to someone today: this is my medicine.

Have you started your healing process?

love to all,

pb aka peanut butter

 

 


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The Bipolar Roller Coaster Ride

With I’m cycling with bipolar episodes, life seems to be like riding on different rides at the amusement park.   The only difference is that sometimes the rides with bipolar are not amusing at all.  Sometimes the ride is scary; like when I am depressed and feeling hopeless that I will not come out of it.  Other times, mania can be scary, especially if I am very irritable and feeling rage.  When that is the case, I try not to drive if I do not have to and I try to stay to myself to protect people from my outbursts which can be scary for them at times.

I would compare cycling like a roller coaster ride.  I can be manic for a period of time (at the top of the ride) and then drop to being depressed (the ride quickly drops from the top to the bottom dip).

When mania first starts, I feel energetic and on top of the world.  I know that there is no challenge too hard for me and there are no heights I cannot reach in life.  I function off of less sleep than normal (Normal for me is about 5 to 5 1/2 hours).  This is when I am climbing toward the top of the ride.

I do not want to sleep.  There is so much to do.  This is the top of the ride for me and I have no idea how long it will last.  With episodes, whether manic or depression, there is no time limit.  

My insides are screaming, “Someone please make the ride stop”.  Many try, but do not know how to help me calm down or come back to my reality when I am manic or how to pull me out of depression.   Some people walk away, and some just stay there with me until the ride stops.  It is nice to be able to see a smiling, loving face when the ride is out of control.  It helps to know that someone is still there waiting for me to get off the ride safely.  Usually it is a support person who stays with me (keep checking on me and talking to me, reassuring me that the ride will be over soon) and sometimes it is a stranger who comments about one of my posts.  

When I come out of depression or down from mania and back to the calmness within, I know the ride is over.   I have survived another roller coaster called Bipolar Episode Ride.

The difference between the actual park and the Bipolar Ride is that when you go to the amusement park, you can pick and choose which ride you want to go on and how often.  All the rides are timed.  With bipolar, you have no choice.  It is like someone pushes you onto a ride and it goes out of control.  There may be people standing there looking and some will try to help but walk away when they see there is nothing they can do.  Other people will just look and walk away because they do not believe there is anything they can do so they don’t try.  Finally there will be one, two maybe even 3, that will stay just to be there with you so you are not alone.  They cannot stop the ride but they do not want you to feel alone.

I love these people.  Sometimes they are not all there for support at the same time.  One person may be with me when I am manic and another person is there for me when I am depressed.  It really doesn’t matter how many people are there for me at a time as long as someone is always there.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter

 


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The Bipolar Roller Coaster Ride

With I’m cycling with bipolar episodes, life seems to be like riding on different rides at the amusement park.   The only difference is that sometimes the rides with bipolar are not amusing at all.  Sometimes the ride is scary; like when I am depressed and feeling hopeless that I will not come out of it.  Other times, mania can be scary, especially if I am very irritable and feeling rage.  When that is the case, I try not to drive if I do not have to and I try to stay to myself to protect people from my outbursts which can be scary for them at times.

I would compare cycling like a roller coaster ride.  I can be manic for a period of time (at the top of the ride) and then drop to being depressed (the ride quickly drops from the top to the bottom dip).

When mania first starts, I feel energetic and on top of the world.  I know that there is no challenge too hard for me and there are no heights I cannot reach in life.  I function off of less sleep than normal (Normal for me is about 5 to 5 1/2 hours).  This is when I am climbing toward the top of the ride.

I do not want to sleep.  There is so much to do.  This is the top of the ride for me and I have no idea how long it will last.  With episodes, whether manic or depression, there is no time limit.  

My insides are screaming, “Someone please make the ride stop”.  Many try, but do not know how to help me calm down or come back to my reality when I am manic or how to pull me out of depression.   Some people walk away, and some just stay there with me until the ride stops.  It is nice to be able to see a smiling, loving face when the ride is out of control.  It helps to know that someone is still there waiting for me to get off the ride safely.  Usually it is a support person who stays with me (keep checking on me and talking to me, reassuring me that the ride will be over soon) and sometimes it is a stranger who comments about one of my posts.  

When I come out of depression or down from mania and back to the calmness within, I know the ride is over.   I have survived another roller coaster called Bipolar Episode Ride.

The difference between the actual park and the Bipolar Ride is that when you go to the amusement park, you can pick and choose which ride you want to go on and how often.  All the rides are timed.  With bipolar, you have no choice.  It is like someone pushes you onto a ride and it goes out of control.  There may be people standing there looking and some will try to help but walk away when they see there is nothing they can do.  Other people will just look and walk away because they do not believe there is anything they can do so they don’t try.  Finally there will be one, two maybe even 3, that will stay just to be there with you so you are not alone.  They cannot stop the ride but they do not want you to feel alone.

I love these people.  Sometimes they are not all there for support at the same time.  One person may be with me when I am manic and another person is there for me when I am depressed.  It really doesn’t matter how many people are there for me at a time as long as someone is always there.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter

 


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Alone vs. lonliness

Lately I have been feeling more alone than lonely.

I feel like I cannot turn to people in my support system. They have their own issues in life and I feel it is selfish to talk to them about what I am feeling. 

With some I have tried to talk to but feel blown off. Others, I feel l like I should not tell the truth when I am fighting against the pull of depression or trying to keep full mania from taking over.

Are these people really part of a support system for my mental wellness or have I been fooling myself because I have felt comfortable being honest on occasion? 

Is this my reality that they are not really go to people or is this stinking thinking?

Feedback please. How do you know when someone is part of a support system for your mental battle?  


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The black hole cannot have me

I have been fully awake since 2:30 am, tossing and turning. I finally got up about 3am.

Something is bothering me, stirring my mind, my soul, my being. I am sure it is more than one thing. It is stressing me, pulling me, haunting me.

These things on my mind, whatever they are, are keeping me awake.   This is not the first time.  These things are and have been strategically trying to pull me into the black hole of depression.  I continue to fight hard to keep the sunshine alive in me.  Sometimes though, the sun is not as bright as at other times.

Despite the pulling of the hole of depression, it cannot have me. I am fighting daily like crazy to stay free of it. Some days I fight harder than others and sometimes I even get to rest, but only for a moment. Rest is luxury that does not last for long. I feel that if I rest to long, the hole will have me.

Today, this moment, is not a time for rest. It is a time to reach out and grab hold of a rope to tie around my mind and my emotions for the force of the black hole seems to be a little stronger.  I am digging into solace with my mind and fighting not to be pulled to the bottom of the bipolar pole; that is where the hole of depression lies waiting.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  These posts allow me to remember that I am not alone in this fight for mental heath and wellness. 

love to all

pb aka peanut butter


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Depression: Is it the bipolar or life?

Sometimes I really hate being alone in my house.  I have a beautiful home and sometimes I can’t wait to get out of there.  It seems to shrink, my head starts to spin, I can’t think and I start to feel sick.  

Sometimes loneliness speaks to me and becomes so overwhelming that I grab my keys and run out of the house regardless of what I have on.

 When loneliness sets in, it is followed by sadness and then depression.  The depression turns into major depression and now I’m in a storm.

Was it better being manic?  When in mania, I rush to do everything.  Once the adrenaline gets going, I have to keep moving.  Sometimes I go on auto pilot and just keep going until 2 in the morning. I lay down and toss and turn, many times not even realilizing that I fell asleep until I wake up at 5am and remember a weird dream I had.

Even when I drop from mania to depression my sleep may still be off.  I might keep the same sleep schedule or it may change where sleep overtakes me at 4 in the afternoon and get up at 3 am.

So how did I get into the whole of depression?  Was the depression brought on by life itself or is it the bipolar depression that comes when I drop from mania?

Love to all

pb aka peanut butter

 


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Sometimes feeling drained is good

This morning I tried to walk with my head up but had a difficult time doing so.  I told myself I walked with my head down so I could see where I was going.  With my head down, the only place I usually go is down.  I need to try to keep my head up when I walk, when I sit, when I stand.  The only time it should be down is during prayer or moments of silence.

As I backed out of the driveway, I held back the tears.  They tried to fight their way out while I was driving. A few tears escaped my eyes but went no further than the top of my cheek.  I quickly stopped them in their track.  I told myself, you are okay.  Get it together.  You are strong.  This behavior is showing weakness.  I hate to be seen as weak by myself or anyone else, especially those I have respect for: I need them to respect for me.

Although I was barely controlling the tears, I kept talking to myself in hopes the urge to breakout in tears would go away.  At one point, I briefly thought it would be so much easier to live by not being alive.  A brief thought, but a warning sign for me. It was a sign that I needed to find someone to listen to me, for I now realized how jumbled my thoughts were in my head.  These thoughts were screaming at me and my head felt like it was going to explode.

I have support people but they are usually there when I am in crisis.  The realization finally hit me, I need support people to be there and listen to me before I get to crisis.  I was not in crisis at this point but I was on my way and I did not want to go there.  The thought came to me to enter a partial hospitalization program, this is where I felt I was at: that was crisis mode talking.

I finally was able to succumb the tears and get myself together by the time I reached my destination.  I went inside and found someone to listen to me and relate to some of the things that had been bombarding my mind.  She listened very patiently and interjected at the right moments with the right words :that was what I needed.  It was something so simple yet something hard to find: someone to listen and really hear not only what you are saying but also what you are not saying.

By the time we finished, I was feeling drained.  She said it was good.  Being drained meant that I had been able to clear my mind and that took away the anxiety.  When the anxiety left, I felt able to move on with my day in a positive manner.

Thank you young lady for listening to me and helping turn my morning around.  

We need more people to not just listen, but to hear what we say and more importantly, what we do not say.

When you feel overwhelmed or just like your head is going to burst because you have so much to say and no one to listen to you, it is important to get to someone so that you can have that good kind of drained feeling and have an awesome day by heading off a possible crisis.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter


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Feeling Alive Again

I am so happy to be at a place called COVA.  It is a place that help people with mental, emotional and other illnesses to get prepared to go back to work or to stay at work.

I used to think going back to work just meant doing a resume the way I used to, looking online for a job, sending out my resume to whatever seemed like a job I could do and wait for a call for an interview (like the old days when I used to work.).  This worked years ago and I never had trouble getting a job, keeping it was the problem due to my illness (that I did not know I had at the time).

Attending groups at COVA has helped me understand that there is more to going back to work after a long absence due to mental illness than the above process I used to follow.

I need to do things differently now.  There is a right way to do a resume that will get you a call for an interview and a wrong way that gets your resume in the trash can file immediately.

With a mental illness I also need to learn my triggers to mania, depression and PTSD and how to handle them before they happen.   I need to develop a plan that will help me get over the hump of these things and allow me to keep working.  I have to know when and how to set boundaries when working so that I continue to take care of myself.  This plan will also include ways to keep me from responding to things that happen around me that may trigger a PTSD episode.

The groups at COVA teach me how to make a plan to maintain wellness not just for working but for every aspect of my life.  This allows me to have control of my illness instead of it having control of me.

Learning my personality will allow me to select a job that I will be successful at keeping.

Leaning to do a resume the right way, gives me confidence that I have the ability to work and be even more productive than I was before my illness became full blown and took center stage. 

Everyday I talk to someone here who encourages me without even realizing that that is what they are doing.  I feel good about myself again.  I am doing something productive by working toward my goal of finding work and keeping work.  I am going to have a career that I like, not a job that I hate.  Eventually I will even go back to school and get my degree in Social Work.  Baby steps, but at least I’m moving forward.  

I am going to use all the tools available to me and be successful at whatever I do.

Yes, there will be times that symptoms come to surface but I will handle them with support from everyone who has been an encouragement to me.

I feel alive.  I am alive.  I am living and it is wonderful.  Whatever comes, I now that I will have the tools and the strength to make it through.  So do you.  Go after your goals.  Don’t just dream a dream, live your dream.

Love to all

pb aka peanut butter


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Know when you need to reach out for support

For the past two weeks I have been staying at my mom’s house.

Two weeks ago, I had a really hard night sleeping.  I could not stay in one spot to sleep.  I would start out on the couch then go upstairs to bed.  I would lay there and sleep (maybe) for an hour or two and then be back down on the couch.  This continued all night until I finally got up for the day at 5 am.

When I got up I was soaked with sweat and I was weak.  My mind was not feeling well either.  I was not having pleasant thoughts. I did not even know I actually slept at some point.  I realized I had slept when I remembered the crazy dream I had.  If you don’t sleep, you don’t dream was my logic.  All I could think about was getting out of the house.  I felt like I could hardly breathe.

I dressed for the day and made me a snack.  I knew I was going to mom’s but it was still early and I wanted to give her a little more sleep time so I procrastinated by making me snacks.  It was in me to get out in a hurry, so I eventually left.

For the first few days I would wake up in a panic, thinking I had to go home.  For whatever reason, I was not ready or willing to go home.   I finally had to talk to mom about it and she assured me I could stay as long as I needed to.

I knew I had to find out what drove me out of the house and kept me from wanting to go back.  In visualizing my home, I finally knew the answer.

I am a person who needs people.  I need to be around people, hear people, talk to people, study people.  When I go home and pull into the garage, once the door is closed, I am totally alone.  I feel isolated.  I do not hear or see people unless I go out again.  I feel cut off from the world. Sometimes it makes me feel like I cant’t breathe.  My thoughts spend around and around in my head and sometimes it feels like I cannot escape them.  They are all sad thoughts.  Thoughts of being alone for the rest of my life.  These are dangerous thoughts for me because if I allow them dominate, I will get depressed.  I have found that loneliness can overwhelm you.   I have been to the brink of suicide because of the overwhelming presence of loneliness.

Because I have a mental illness, I do not have many people to call friends.  In fact there are only one or two.  These are the ones that can deal with the mood changes.  They don’ like when I cycle, but they do love me and they hang in there to be my friend because they love me.  My support system and my friends know that the mania part of my illness causes me to sometimes do things I would not ordinarily not do.   The clue to me cycling is when I start talking fast and jumping from subject to subject.  I also tend to do funny things that they do not care for because it is out of my character when I am not manic.  I become a comedian whose antics some of them do not care for. I will start dancing in the store to the music whether it is in my head or the store is playing it.   Sometimes the dance can be provocative.  My true friends find them funny and realize that I will not be this way forever.  Of course, if I do something dangerous, they are there to pull me away from the danger or talk me out of it.  When I am alone and the thought of doing something dangerous comes to mind, I have to call someone and stay on the phone until that urge leaves me.

A lot of people cannot handle this and so they stop talking to and being around me.  It used to cause me deep pain every time someone walked out of my life because I would forget it was the behavior of the illness that sent them away.  I would cry because I thought there was something wrong with me as an individual and that people naturally were turned off from me.  I now know, it is the mania behavior and the depression they see me in, that they cannot handle.  This always reminds me how mental illness can be a lonely disease.

As a result, my mission is to get out of the house everyday and go where there are people.  I try to keep my days busy so I don’t feel the isolation.  My goal is to be tired so that when I do go home to isolation I am tired and my brain does not dwell on it but tries to see the beauty of the things I can do by living alone.  Staying out as late as I want or not coming home for the night is something could not do if had a family waiting for me to come home.  Then again, if I had someone waiting for me at home, I would gladly forfeit staying out all day or staying away for a few days.  That type of loneliness would not be able to attack me.

The bottom line is that everything felt like it was closing in on me and those nasty negative thoughts were heavy on my mind.  Knowing what it would lead to, prompted me to get to a support person.   I have to stay for a couple of weeks until my mind was strong enough to say, OK, lets go home and deal with the issue.   Now I am home but I have a plan.

Love to all

pb aka peanut butter

 


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The cycle continues

Just when I thought I had it all together.  No signs of depression, no signs of mania.  Living in the sun even on cloudy days was becoming more and more the norm.

Now, the cycle continues.   Lately, I have been emotionally up and down and feeling like crying various times throughout the day.  I have increased the number of times I see my therapist on a weekly basis.  Sometimes I intentionally shut the lights and the television off and sit quietly in the dark. It calms my mind and stills me. When I feel emotionally overwhelmed and the tears get to my throat I get a pad, any pad and journal.

I have learned more about myself and my emotions as well as fears that have kept me stuck from moving forward in some areas through free flow journaling. It is difficult but amazing. I share these insights with my therapist and it helps me move forward.

The cycle of up and down continues but I don’t stay in the down as long as I used to. I shut everything down, deal with the issue and keep it moving.    Even if I feel like crying when I am out, I might have yo sit in my car, take an anxiety pill, and breathe slowly.  I get out of my car and keep it moving to where I was on my way to despite the emotional knot in my stomach.

I say, it is what it is and keep it moving. I talk to people and try to encourage them or make them laugh or smile and that changes things for me.

The cycle of up and down, happy and sad continues but does not last for long.

Push through and keep it moving. You will see a difference.

 

Love to all

On aka peanut butter

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