Is my mind sick or is it just me

bipolar-symptoms-400x400

Mixed episode.  Sad, angry, no purpose in life, lonely.  No one cares

I am worthless, I need to stay away from people or they will judge me when I

don’t laugh or jest as I normally do.

Mixed episode manic side:  Natural high, but really high as some think I am doing drugs.

Speed talking and thinking so fast it is hard not to subject jump.

 

 

Dolphins In HawaiiEven keel.  Balanced.  Where I should be.  Everything illogical is not logical the right way. When manic the logical becomes the illogical and backwards.

I once asked my therapist how can I tell whether my actions were me or part of the bipolar.

I am still trying to figure that one out.

If I am extremely irritated and annoyed all the time when there does not seem to be a reason,

When I am mad at everyone but really no one.

When I am not in the mood to talk about my mental illness

When I rant and rave after having a blast on the top part of the roller coaster

When I lash out in anger or annoyance over things that usually only bug me

When I naturally stay up all night for 36 plus hours

When I am very productive and on a natural high

When I have to stay busy because of the adrenaline and can’t sleep or sit still,

I know it is the bipolar.  The manic side.

When I am angry when the other person is simply at annoyance

When, I say hurtful things or mess up relationships, I know it is not me.

 

I need the people in my life but mental illness puts a wedge between me and them. Relationships are destroyed.   I also suffer is what the other person does not understand.  I have destroyed a relationship because I was operating from the sick side of my brain.

I lash out in rage, but the other person is wondering what the hell is going on.  That person is  only at annoyance or reaching anger.

I try to explain that we will never be at the same emotion at the same time for the same situation.

When people see me go off verbally, ranting and raving, they just think I am mean and hurtful.  Not everyone in my life thinks this but most of them do.

Wondering causes me confusion and I contemplate not taking the medicine because in my thought process all this is me and I do not need the medicine. I guess I do not fully subscribe to that bit of logic because I have learned to stay on the medications, just because I know how I am without them and maybe, just maybe the therapist and the psychiatrist know what they are talking about.

Maybe I really do have a mental illness and my emotions are heightened because of it.

Maybe I really am a bitch, but I don’t think so.  Some people would rather believe that I am a bitch rather than that I have a mental illness.

To them I say, “deal with it or leave me alone”

Mania: some people with mental illness and some that do have mental illness but no bipolar,  never take into consideration how it is for me to change throughout the day: up and down like a see saw going from mania to depression (or on the way) .  This pattern repeats itself for hours and sometimes days.  I hate it because I can’t make any of it stop.

These are mixed episodes and like mania and depression I cannot control them.

I am being judged for my actions without an expert witness to testify for me.  To let them know that this is not the real me.

I agree to do things on the spur of the moment without thought for consequences and no one believes that.  It is believed I am the way I am because I simply choose to be so and then conveniently blame mania.

Again, to them, I say “learn of my illness and you will get to know me”

 

Does any of this sound familiar???:?

Who knows how much.. you

I have been diagnosed with conversion disorder also known as non-epileptic spells and a few other names.  They all mean the same thing: medical symptoms with no underlying medical causes.  These incidents are usually brought on by stressful events, traumatic events or having a mental illness: anxiety, panic attacks, depression,ptsd and others.

By no means am I am expert but it is a fascinating illness and it is an illness.  You cannot control what happens to your mind or body and it is not your fault or in this case, it is not my fault.  It is nothing I did except that I cannot face the trauma in my past.  I cannot think about one traumatic event without a flood of them rushing to my mind.  If I do, I feel a click on the right temple of my head and immediately I can feel my body slowing down as if my batteries were winding down.

My brain begins to disconnect where I cannot think of words or sentences.  When words or sentences do formulate in my brain, it is hard to get them from the brain to the mouth and when I do it is with great difficulty.  It is hard for a lot of people to understand me.  Added to this episode is a panic or anxiety attack because I am embarrassed even though it is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Everyone has a pet peeve and mine is when someone says to me “You can do it”.  I know when it is too much going on in my head, no one else does.   Please don’t tell me what I can do unless you are prepared to expand upon that. Just because I have the capability to do something does not mean there is enough space in my head left to handle one more thing.

My other pet peeve is when someone says, ” just forget about it and move on” “You need to learn to let things go”. That is the answer they give when you try to talk about certain things that are still haunting you.  Things that you know you should have gotten over a long time ago but because your brain hid it from you, doesn’t mean it stays away for forever.  For instance,  something very ugly and traumatic happens to you regardless of age.  You feel disgusting, frustrated, unclean or however you choose. At first if you do not deal with it and push it away or attempt to, your brain closes the door on it for a period of time.

Now the brain says, let’s start remembering, but you are still not prepared.  You know something happened and may even know what occurred but still the front part of your brain is not ready to think or talk about it which means it still affects you in some way.  So please don’t tell me to forget what I cannot fully remember because a part of my brain says you are not ready for the whole ugly truth yet.

Who knows how much….. your brain can handle at one time, it doesn’t just have to be stress or trauma, maybe to many details about things that are important and must be done immediate.  Who knows how much trauma comes back  at one time.

A final thought.  If it is so easy to put the pass trauma behind and move on, who would hold onto it.  It affects so much of who we are, what we think of ourselves, how we cope with situations and for me, a lot of memory gaps.

I and only l know how much my brain can handle and no one else.

I have to know when to say enough. I can’t do anymore.

I have to protect what is an already fragile mind because part of it is permanently damaged.

Don’t let anyone push you more than your brain can handle and stay healthy.

Love to all

 

 

 

 

Tears, tears, go away today

I know tears are a way of relieving pain or can be an expression of joy.

For me, many times, it is just the bipolar having it’s way at the moment.

Lately, my moments seem to be very often and I am not feeling any relief.

Sometimes I am sitting in the library and I just want to cry.  Sometimes, the tears start filling my eyes and I have to stop and breathe in and out for a minute or two.  When this doesn’t work, I have to get off the computer and leave the library.  I know the floodgate is about to open.

Some days and nights I am okay with being alone and then I begin to cry because I believe this is the way it will always be.

I tell myself I have accepted being alone, but when storms hit my life, as it does everyone, it would be great to have someone to talk with, to reassure me they are there to listen, to encourage or to just be there without either of us saying a word.  Just hold me close and let me feel your heart beating.

Recently, some things happened in my life that I did not deal with.  I did not even realize it caused me to be under stress.  When I realized how critical the incidents were, I began to cry and cry for the last few days, including today.

Some say, rain, rain, go away, come again another day.

I say tears, tears of sadness, lonesomeness, deep yearning for love: tears, tears, go away today.

Who am I kidding?  Certainly not me.  The tears may leave for a moment.  Sometimes they may be a reaction to something sad or happy.

But I know that they are mainly because of the bipolar.  I can be in a room full of people or alone watching a comedy and I just start crying.  I go into the bathroom and cry when I am out in public.

Damn this f***ing disease.  I have a number of health issues, but I think this one is the b**ch of them all.

I have cried so much this month this far, that I have already gone through a month supply of anxiety pills.  It takes twice as much to bring me back to a functioning state of mind.

What the hell.  Am I not already suffering knowing my brain is sick and will always be.  Sometimes it seems sicker than at other times, but the truth is, the sickness is always there.   And as long as it is sick there will always be tears for no reason or out of no where.

I only wish, more than no tears, is that family and friends would not consider me overly sensitive and realize it is part of the mental illness disease I have to live with everyday.

Tears of bipolar, go away and take the agonizing pain with you.  O if it were that simple.

Someone who truly understands

I completed my training yesterday for the Peer Support Specialist.

It was an emotionally draining week with all the information that was given in 40 hrs.  Needless to say it was intense.

There was a lot of role playing and sharing of personal recovery stories and how we are living day by day with mental illness.  I myself, am dual diagnosed- alcohol and drug recovery and mental illness, (bipolar  and PTSD with anxiety).

One thing I realize is that when someone is in recovery from drug/ alcohol addiction/ living with mental illness, a bond is developed when you are in a meeting, training, conference, at a rally or whatever with others who share recovery.  When we all come together there is strength, support, encouragement and hopefully you walk away with a new friend.  We need to have people in our life that truly understand what we have been through, are going through and the journey we will always be on.

People in our support system such as family members, friends, acquaintances, psychiatrists, therapists and counselors may understand from the clinical side, but for me, the reality is, if you have not been through it or are not living with it, you cannot begin to understand how I feel and therefore I am skeptical that you can help me get through those really though moments.  Maybe those professionals who studied can understand without experience, however, I have always heard, “experience is the best teacher”.  For me, show me or tell me your experience and then I will trust you with mine and then I will be okay with you helping me get back on my feet or move ahead.

My therapist is great, but she can only treat the parts that I am able to explain. With bipolar and other mental illnesses, there are feelings that you cannot put into words and only someone who has been there will be able to understand without you being able to articulate it.  There is a gnawing pain that comes with depression but for me it has proven to be indescribable.  When I begin to explain it to someone who has been depressed, they understand exactly what I am trying to say.

Get together with others who have a mental illness and are living well.  Be involved with a group of great people in recovery from drug/ alcohol addiction.   You just might find a person who really understands and can relate.  It is just that vital.

love to all,

pb aka peanut butter

Getting it together

Wow.  It has been some year.  I don’t mean a calendar from January 2014 but a year from last September until today.

I have been feeling really good without a visit from depression and with only a couple of small episodes of mania.

When things happened this year that normally would have set me way back in the past,  happened, I bounced back quicker than I have in the past. Using the tools from my bipolar toolkit with additional skills learned from IOP last Oct and Nov and from COVA groups, I have been getting it together.

Understanding my illness better and knowing the difference between what is my personality and what is the illness has helped me grow as a person and has caused me to appreciate myself.  I really care about and love me, all of me: the good, the bad and the not so pretty parts that are a result of the bipolar.

I am learning to control my anxiety better by recognizing when something does not feel right and addressing it sooner rather than later.  To address an episode of anxiety, I try breathing exercises: if that does not work, I take my medication before it gets worse and continue to breathe and talk my way through it.  I have to set boundaries with people that cause anxiety in me whether we are face to face or speaking over the phone.  Communication with these people have to be kept to a minimal for my health.

I know that if I am in a situation (say a job) and start feeling anxious and breathing exercises are not working and I cannot calm down by talking with one of my support people, then I know it is time to remove myself from that situation.  If I stay in it and have to take anxiety medication on a regular basis, it is time to remove myself.

Case in point:  Over the summer I had a part-time job.  From the first day, I got an anxious knot in my stomach but I thought it would go away.  At the time I started the job, I had stopped taking anxiety medication.  Soon after starting the job, I had to start back taking it on a regular basis.  I started feeling heaviness on my chest the night before work and on the morning of. When taking 1 to 2  pills a day as prescribed did not help, I knew it was time to leave.  I got it together quit and have never looked back,

Getting out of the house everyday (one of my goals for mental maintenance)  and having a place to go that feels like home has help make a difference in my life.  I am surrounded by peers who understand me without explanation and it feels great.

I have and continue to learn who I am, what is me and what is my illness.  Learning helps me make better choices and when I can’t quite figure something out, I have people I can run things by and their suggestions give me food for thought.  Making decisions are not based on circumstances alone or what may seem logical in general,  but also on how they will affect my mental health.

I am getting it together.  I am finally on a journey to living my dreams instead of just dreaming.

Depression and Mania, you are no longer in control.  Though you might rear your ugly head, you will not win.  I have weapons (tools and people) to fight you and fight I will.

You do the same.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter

A new dawn

I have been doing really good since I came out of depression in mid Dec of 2013.  There have been no major episodes of depression and only a few manic episodes.  

Now it is time for me to move into the next phase.  It is time to go back to the work force.  I know part-time is the ideal way to re-enter the workforce however, my insides are screaming for me to go full force with a full-time job.

Since I have not worked in about 8 years, I know the wise thing to do is to look for part-time work.  The last few years that I was employed I was in the insurance industry.  It is hard to find part-time work in that field.

I feel as though my life has shifted and that all I have come through is turning me toward another direction for a career.  I would like to take all my life experience as a past victim of domestic violence, drug user, alcoholic and now as a mentally healthy person living with bipolar and use it to encourage others.  At times, we all need someone to share their experiences with us so that we will realize that we too can over the challenges in our life.  For me, there is no greater example a person can give except what they have experienced in their own life.  When I hear about your challenges and triumphs, it shows me I can do the same, that is the message I would like to take to others.  A message that says, you can do it.  I am here for you.  I will go with you if you need or want me to.  You are not alone.  I understand.  

People need to know that no matter how dire a circumstance is, there is always a light somewhere, we just need to find our way to it.  Sometimes we are able to find that light on our own after stumbling in the dark and sometimes we run into someone who has already been on that path and are willing to help us get to that opening.  It’s good when we can find that light or way out on our own, but it’s great when someone is there with us.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter

 

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

 

 

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

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

Check-in time

I am still away but trying to make it back home.  The weather has not been favorable for travel back home.

I know it is time to get back to my routine and psychotherapy.  I have to take an anxiety pill every morning, which I had stopped.

Despite this, I am managing to have a good time and holding strong.

I am trying to get back while the sum is still shining on the inside.  It seems to be shining strong and I am expecting it to last.

love to all

pb aka peanut butter