Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ceasing to Land...

Still feeling pretty intensely energetic.  I feel quite easily agitated, too.  That usually comes with the territory on my fight or flight days.  I find myself being extremely sensitive to loud noises.  

My whole body feels like shaking... still having a caffeine-like effect.  

I have a ton of things running through my mind that need to get done and I can't seem to focus, long enough, to get any of them, accomplished.  

Anyway.  Just wanted to put that out there.


High-flyin'

I think I'm going into manic mode...

My hands are shaky, as if high on caffeine... they want to fly faster on the keyboard than would be rational.  My brain feels the same way.  I'm feeling spontaneous and very energized.  I'm supposed to be working but I can't focus.  I thought about writing in my blog, and BAM - here I am.

I'm hoping to use this to my benefit, today... I could sort of feel it coming on, yesterday.  I was flitting around my house, accomplishing many things here, and there.  It didn't occur to me, till last night, that I hadn't sat down, in a while.  I got a lot done, though!

I'm hoping for the same thing, today.  I have a lot to get done that's been on my list, for a while.  It seems my list sits stagnant for a bit, then I hit manic mode and fly through it.  I'm ok with that.

I'm doing something, today, that I've most likely been subconsciously avoiding, for many years.  I'm anxiously hoping I'm successful.  The fact that I'm taking this step is huge, enough.

Ok... I do have to work.  I want to keep typing and typing because it's the only way to satisfy my fingers.... they have to keep moving and moving and moving.........

I'll have to do a post-post (ha ha!) to do an after effect of days, like this.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Divine Mind-bending

God gets me through.

Last night, I noticed I had run out of my meds... the day, before.  The pharmacy was closed, so I just had to tough it out.  I've done this, before, and it sucked.

It'd most likely bore you to hear about what happens in a manic-depressive brain, with or without meds, so I won't go into that.

What happens when I don't take them is just... well, not good.

Mentally, I usually experience irritability the following day (I take them after dinner).  I get uber-emotional.  Stupid things make me all teary and sad and oh-woe-is-me.  It just makes my feelings all sensitive and wimpy.

Physically, I usually get a headache.  I also experience what I call brain buzzes or zaps.  I liken it to a guitar string being plucked.  Very weird stuff.  Here's a link I found and some wordage from it:

"Brain zaps are commonly reported electrical shock sensations that are often experienced during discontinuation of antidepressant medications. Other common names for brain zaps include: brain shivers, electrical shocks, and brain shocks. People often describe them as feeling electrical current uncontrollably zapping their brains, which can be extremely frightening and uncomfortable. A person experiencing these zaps may get dizzy, feel minor pain, and high levels of discomfort."

Last night was no exception.  

It was 2am and I had been having a hard time sleeping, as it was.  I started dreaming, seemingly very suddenly.  I remember hearing Josh Groban singing one of my favorite songs by him.  He was to my right, and someone was with him.  A female? I couldn't see him; only hear him, actually.  I was trying to think of the person who was there, or his name... can't remember**.  I just remember there was a first and last name that was escaping my mind.  Whenever I would try to think of it, something very dark, to my left, would exude a horrible sensation of evil and it terrified me.  It came in waves, it seemed.  Or, bursts, maybe? I would wake up, a little, and the same feeling would come from the darkness to the left, of me.  The same waves of terror kept filling the room.  Each time, I would hear the fan at the foot of our bed rev its engine, so to speak.  The sound of it would grow in intensity.  

I drifted in and out of sleep, like this, for a few minutes, or so it seemed.  I was finally able to leave the dream world and stay in mine... but the fear was so strong, still.  There was still something to the left of me, in my room, that was terrifying me.  I wrapped my covers, around me, moved my pillow to as close to my husband, as possible, and prayed and prayed.  I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to please, please, please, make whatever evil thing that was in my house, LEAVE.  I begged Him to keep me and my family safe and to help me stop being scared.  Over and over, again, I prayed like this.  I couldn't feel a release from the grasp of whatever horrible thing was taking over me.  I thought to wake up my husband - I needed his comfort; his protection.  I knew he could help me feel safe.  I seemed too tired and paralyzed with fear to get myself to move, and couldn't do it.  I, then, woke more fully to find the fan wasn't making any noises other than what it normally does.

Then my brain zapped.

The fan made the noise.

I then recognized that my brain was zapping, almost continuously, and it was effecting my hearing.  It was causing this feeling of terror.

I knew, then, I had to wake up my husband.  I needed a priesthood blessing... I needed Heavenly Father's physical intervention.  My lack of meds was truly screwing with my mind.

I woke him and he laid his hands on my head and spoke the words.  I was instantly relieved.  I cried tears of relief and gratitude as I was finally able to sleep.

I cannot express, enough, how much the Lord means to me.  I know He is there when I need Him.  I know the power of the priesthood is real and am so thankful my husband is worthy of holding those keys.  I know, without the Lord, I would not be able to survive what I have.  I know I wouldn't have found the comfort I have so needed in times of seeming despair.

I know this.  I know it.

Today has been a rather weepy and emotional day.  I, of course, am tired from the rough night.  We talked about the priesthood, a lot, in church, today, which sparked a lot of emotion, followed by treacherous tears.  I learned of a family member who is going through a rough time, which made the tears even more plentiful.  Then, my husband has to go and leave town for business.  That's not helping, either.

I'm looking forward to an evening of hopeful peace.  I'm not looking forward to being alone.  Well, without my husband next to me, in the night.  I know I'm not alone, though.  Nor will I ever be.

The Lord is always with me, of this I know.  And I'm thankful for that.


** As I write this, out, it occurs to me the name I was trying to remember started with an "M".  Then, I realize, Matt was sleeping next to me, on my right.  Was it him I was trying to think of? Why was this thing in the darkness trying to prevent me from thinking about him? Then, when I was awake, why did I feel unable to reach out to him? Was there something really there, trying to keep me from getting to my husband for that precious access to the Priesthood? Was something really trying to keep me from  Heavenly Father's hands being placed by proxy on my head, for healing?  Is that how Joseph Smith felt in the sacred grove?

I looked up the translation to the lyrics of that song, just to see if it had any meaning in my dream.  I haven't heard it in so very many months, I thought it was odd to appear out of the depths of my mind.  I am feeling quite disturbed by its meaning.  It talks of loss of love, of betrayal of sorts, of losing faith in love and promising never to fall for that, again.  I couldn't even finish the song.  Was whatever it was, in the darkness, trying to get me to think these things about my husband? I know this may be delving a bit too deep into the mysterious dream realm, but other events in my life lead me to believe this isn't just coincidence.


Friday, June 24, 2016

A Smidge of Normalcy

So, lately, I've been feeling pretty ok.  Not overly ambitious or even down; just... normal.

I've been getting things, done, that need to get done, instead of avoiding them.

I've been angry, when necessary, but still able to recognize my love for the person I'm angry with; therefore allowing myself to be angry in a healthy way, being able to get over it in a timely manner.

I've been happy, but not to the point of extreme high.  I had a brief moment of triggered depression, due to something I've been struggling with since my late teens, but it passed, quickly.

I'm thinking this is what normal is supposed to feel like.

I like it when I have these moments; they're the ones that have me thinking that maybe the meds are working as they should... maybe things are going to be truly ok, from here, on out.  Maybe I can cope better than I thought or have, in the past.

Maybe it will always be like this.

I write this down because, if experience has taught me anything, it's that the faultiness of my brain chemistry is the only sure thing when it comes to my every day moods.

So, I enjoy it, while it lasts.  I'd like to think I can make it stay for the rest of my earthly existence.  I wonder if brain power really is that powerful?  I think it is.  Maybe someday I'll get to that point of awesomeness and be able to "make it so".

For now, it's a good day.

It's been several good days.

Life is good, no matter the status of my brain at the moment.

I write this, down, because sometimes I forget.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Triggers

In one of the books I found on loving someone with bipolar, I learned about triggers.  I've been trying to somewhat pay attention to what mine might be...

I've noticed music triggers the manic side of my being - upbeat music, that is.  It gets my adrenaline pumping, it feels like, and I feel I could party all night and get anything accomplished and that I'm basically invincible.  I want to keep going and going, long after others are done.  I remember for church dances, when I was younger, I would never want them to end.  I could seriously go all night.  I would get so excited for them, I would be shaky and almost make myself sick.  I would feel so attractive, like all the boys would and should want me.  Then I would go for the guys that didn't exactly want me for me... not the inside, anyway.  (But, that's another story for another post..... maybe.  That's a pretty intense and personal side of me that I will never be proud of.)

I like the manic side, usually.  I get a lot done and feel pretty accomplished.  It's gotten us into trouble, financially, though.  I like to shop and spend money, in those moments, sometimes.  There have been many times I knew we didn't have the money and would go out, spending, anyway.  There have times I've suggested going on a weekend getaway; no plans, no premeditation - just up and go.  All of this has been fun, but always comes with a price.  Yes, financially, but the guilt.  It inevitably triggers my anxiety and guilt mode.  Not so much fun.  In my manic times, I've also bought into businesses such as Avon, Thrive, etc.  I've come very close to being a Beachbody person, Plexus ambassador, Mary Kay rep, Paparazzi peddler, It works prover.... I do feel these would all be very good ventures, but knowing I had a side that wouldn't be able to follow through, I would usually give up and abandon the once awesome idea of success.  I now know why I did these things (and still have the notion to do, on occasion); I also know why I always failed to make them successful.  I used to think it was a flaw in my character.  Now I know it wasn't something I could necessarily control.

Obviously, being tired can trigger the depression side of my being.  Not usually, but sometimes.  Other peoples' bad moods and negativity trigger both sides - and my thoughts and emotions go to extremes.  I have to consciously remind myself that they're just having a bad day - it's not a cause for divorce.  I don't have to run away from my family.  I don't have to curl up and let the world come crashing down on me.  When my little boys accidentally hit me, for some reason, that triggers a depression, too.  Maybe harsh physical contact? Sometimes, it just comes out of nowhere.  I have to remind myself not to place blame on any one thing, that it's most likely not caused by some horrible occurrence in my life.  I usually have to remind others of that, too.  That usually makes it worse.  Silly, stupid things have caused it... like not getting gifts for Christmas.  I'm an adult and am totally content and excited to see my kids get gifts and to give gifts to my husband... but this last Christmas, I was so depressed because I didn't get anything.  I'm totally ok with it, now... it was just one of those unexpected stupid things that just hit the wrong nerve or whatever and ruined my whole day.  It sucked.

Manic doesn't always mean crazy-fanatically-uncontrollable urges.  Before I knew what it was, I called it my passionate side.  It affects how I react to things, how I love, things I'm interested in.... I really do feel quite passionate.  And maybe that's just who I am.  Either way, I love loving things passionately and being very

Sex.  That's been a toughie.  It's either been one extreme or the other.  For reasons I don't wish to divulge, it's been one of the hardest parts of dealing with bipolar issues.  I'm glad to have some clarity, though.  For years, I've struggled with past choices, present issues, etc.  Now I know why.

I'm still learning.  I love learning about this... I have always been drawn to mental illnesses as a fascinating topic of study; I wonder if this is why.  It was a window to my very soul and I didn't even know it.

Now, I do.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Some sort of semblance...

I read a book about a woman who has faced being Bipolar since she was a child.  She always knew something was "wrong" with herself, or that she was different than other kids.  She put into words things I have felt for a very long time.  Though, I don't recall feeling like I was different from other kids.  I didn't really start noticing things about myself, that were "different", until my sophomore year in high school.

I remember doing a project for my English class... we were studying mental illnesses of varying sorts, for some reason.  We were reading things like, The Bell Jar and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Sybil.  All very disturbing, I might add.  I was working with a partner on the topic of "depression".  As I was finding the signs and symptoms, I noticed that I was reading a list that described myself.... part of the time.  I didn't always feel that way; it was intermittent.  After I had made the poster, I showed it to my mom from across the room to see if she could read it.  Part of my reasoning for doing this was to see if she recognized these same traits in me.  I didn't tell her this, though, nor have I, ever.  She could read it, but when she was done, she asked, "Are you depressed?".
 
I've always been an impulsive person and considered myself very passionate and determined.  I still like these things, about me, even if they're due to an imbalance in my brain.  I'm only guessing they are because of the book, I read.  She described feeling some of the same things and being the same way.  I can see how they would be related.  She mentioned feeling emotions for longer or more extreme than other people and having a harder time getting over disappointment, than most.  She found herself working too fiercely for things and how it wore on her but that didn't stop her.  She's easily overwhelmed by stress and some situations or how certain things would send her spiraling, down. At other times, she was the life of the party, so to speak.  I can relate to all of these things, and more.  She always had a rather unhealthy drive to be perfect.  She thought she would lose her father's love if she brought home anything less than A+'s on her school work.  I have always felt a need for perfection, mostly in outward ways.  I'm a very anal clean-freak.  I can't stand crumbs or sticky spots or laundry folded the wrong way or dishes loaded incorrectly in the dishwasher.  If one thing gets cleaned, then everything needs to be cleaned, to match.  It's either that, or I totally let things go.  The house gets messy, the laundry doesn't even get folded or put away... I just stop caring.  I feel like a failure for not...well, being perfect, and find myself spiraling, down.

One extreme or the other.  That's the gist of being me.  I do have to say, the medication I've been taking for a while, now, has helped balance things, a little.  I still experience the extremes, but I'm more aware of what's causing them.  I'm able to be more relaxed while striving to stay responsible.  It's not always easy.  In fact, I sometimes wonder if the medicine is working, at all.  Or maybe I have habits that have been formed, in the past, and I have to reshape new ones.

I never know what normal is.  I know the medication won't make it all go, away.  I know it won't cure me of what's been ailing me.  But how effective is it supposed to be? How do I know the difference between a normal bad day or a bipolar bad day?

I think these are only things that can be answered by a professional.  Someday, I'll get to that point.  I'm still learning.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anxiety-ness

I'm having anxiety about opening up, like this.  My mom once told me that I handed the enemy my weapon when I told her about sharing my mental issues (not quite sure what they were, then) with a roommate I did not get along with.

I have learned to not talk.  I used to be (and still can be) an open book, but that just caused pain.  There's the saying, "Casting your pearls before swine"... I've come to accept myself in ways I know no one else can, or so I feel.  I've learned to be patient with myself and recognize things I can and can't control (for the most part - I'm a work, in progress).  I love my husband but he has struggled with this "madness" since the beginning of our marriage.  He has said he doesn't believe there's something wrong - that I'm making this up.  I should just stop worrying about things, so much, and just snap out of it.*  The person I considered my best friend made it sound like the things I face are nothing; that she faces things just like it and that I was just making a big deal out of it.  She didn't take me seriously.

I've often been treated like I have no right to be genuinely angry because I have mental issues.  That, surely, must be the cause; not the fact that someone actually did something to piss me, off.  I've been treated like, since I'm on medication, I shouldn't be angry or in a bad mood or whatever.... I've also been treated like the opposite:  If I'm in a bad mood, or having a "down day", that is not taken into consideration.  I must be mad about something.  I must be mad at someone.

It's so exhausting and frustrating.  So, I've learned to just keep it inside.  I hesitate to talk about pretty much anything, because I never know what reaction I'll get.  I've come to the conclusion (mostly on my "down days") that life would just be easier if no one had to live with me and I didn't have to live with anyone, else.

I feel like, if I expose this part of my self to the world, I won't have anything left.  I hold myself very sacred, if you will.  I know that sounds funny, but I don't feel comfortable putting myself out there for others to judge or feel sorry for or whatever.  I share what I want until I feel I can trust you, completely.  Even then, I keep a lot to myself.

I originally wanted to share this part of myself so people could better understand me.  I also felt if I did this, maybe someone else could read it and recognize these things in their own life and have the courage to seek help or talk about it.

Now, I don't know.  There are things that might be hurtful to others; things that are too personal to share, that, frankly, are nobody's business.  There are things that are specific to other people that they might not want me sharing or that will hurt their feelings.

This is a big thing.  I don't know if I should continue.

p.s.  I'm not posting this so people can be, like, "Oh, you need to share this!" or "Please, I think what you're doing is very brave!".  I just don't want it to sound like I'm digging for support or whatever... just what's on my mind.  Welcome to being me.



*I have to add, that he has made it a goal to pray about this to have Heavenly Father's point of view.  He's made it a goal to learn more about my "situation" - ha ha.  I'll take it.  I pray he'll understand.  I have to give him credit for staying with someone who hasn't even known what was going on in her own mind for 16 years.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Warped Perception

We went on vacation, this last weekend.  The first and the last day were fun.  The middle day was not.

We went to the Grand Canyon, on the middle day, which should have been, well, grand.  But it wasn't.  We all left feeling very emotionally drained and bummed and cranky and tired.

I felt the day was a total wash.  I was angry and feeling quite bitter.  I contemplated divorce for most of the day.  I was so distraught that our family was so dysfunctional.  I felt so hopeless for us.  It was so very miserable.

The next day, we all felt great.  We got along, swimmingly, and were acting as though we loved each other.  Our vacation ended on a good and very satisfying note.

So, why, then, did the day before just plain suck?

We were tired.  Simple as that.

And I'm messed in the head.  Not so simple.

I keep forgetting that I can't think, straight.  I keep forgetting that divorce is not the answer; that my family is quite normal; that my kids DO respect me and love me and love each other.  I keep forgetting that this is life:  no one has a good day, every single day.

To me, when days like this, happen, it's the end of the world,  It's the end of my marriage.  It's the end of my family.  It's the end of happiness.

Then I wake up and all is better, again.

Not always, though.  Sometimes I wake up and still feel all crumbly.  I still feel like despair is the last thing I'll ever feel.  I still feel like maybe my existence is the source of all of my family's problems.

Thoughts of suicide are never humored, in my brain.  I know too much about what would happen, should I ever do such a thing.  But they do try to creep in, from time to time.

I saw the movie, "28 Days", with Sandra Bullock.  She's an alcoholic who gets admitted for rehab.  She meets a heroine addict who cuts herself.  She says it somehow feels better.  I get that.  I don't cut myself, but I know what she means.  I can see how the pain would somehow be a relief; a release of the inner pain plaguing ones very soul.

I love knowing about God.  I love knowing God.  I love that He knows and loves me.  There was one time I was alone in my bedroom, trying to sleep.  My husband was out of town, on business.  I was feeling pretty ok, at that time.  I remember feeling a presence and opened my eyes, briefly, to see someone in my room.  I had to take a second glance.  I really saw someone.  I felt them, there.  I felt it was one of my grandfathers.  I thought that was so neat that they would visit me.  The next day (or a few days, later, I can't remember), I had a "down day".  I was feeling so hopeless and alone... I remember sinking to my knees in my bathroom, in the dark.  I don't know if I was praying; I most likely was, as that's the only thing I feel I have when I'm in those moments.  It's what I cling to.  Anyway, the memory of my visitor came to me.  I knew, then, that's why they came.  I knew they wanted me to know I was never alone.  Yes, I have the Lord, but I also have family on the other side, standing by me in those moments of great need.  It was such a blessing to know this.

I have, what I call, "up days" and "down days".  I'm learning about triggers.  I've been reading some books about loving someone with Bipolar and some books by people who have it.  I'm learning and things are starting to make sense.  I really do feel like knowing really is half the battle.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Starting Somewhere

I feel hesitant in writing about this.

I'm a writer.  I write things.  I love words and artfully blending them, together, to portray my inner-most workings.

I've learned to be a successful writer, you have to write what you know.

I don't always know what's going through my mind, but I do know if I put it down on paper, it makes more sense.

I found out, over a year, ago, that I have Manic-Depressive Disorder; otherwise known as Bipolar.

You'd think this would come as a shock, but it didn't, for me.  Things started to make sense.  I was able to go over many events in my life that just didn't seem like me and they just made sense.  I felt the pain, all over, again, but then I immediately felt the healing begin.  I was finally able to understand a little more about myself.  It was a very emotional but very cleansing moment.

So, here's me.  In blog form.