Swallowed Alive

Its been a busy up and down month for me. At one point I thought my meds were actually working. But now I am back to being numb and wishing I had the motivation to do so many things. Take for instance, today.

Today I’ve been on the verge of tears all day. I feel like shit. Now I’m at the point where I feel guilty for feeling like shit because it seems like everyone is sick of always hearing about my bad days.

I thought I had this whole Bi-polar thing figured out and all under control. But I don’t. It’s so much bigger than me and I’m being swallowed alive by it.

I’m ready to work again. I’m ready to be a part of society again. But every day it feels like a piece of me is falling into the abyss that is my mental illness. I’m so confused and mentally worn out, I can’t tell up from down. I’m so very lost and hopeless.

But as usual I must keep pushing forward. I can’t give up. I won’t give up.

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Just keep swimming through the tears…

So it’s been over two weeks since I’ve shared anything here, and due to the advice of someone very special to me, I’ve decided to try to write here and see if it can help me.

A lot has happened during the time I’ve been away from my blog. I’ve turned a year older, my best friends through me a kickass birthday party, and I went on a week long vacation with my husband and a close friend.

Also during this time my average mood on a scale of 1-10 has been a 2. That’s too low, even for me. At first I thought it was just the stress of my birthday. Then I blamed it on the fact that the anniversary of my “should-have-died-by-overdose” is coming up at the end of November. Then I tried to blame it on a stressful trip.

But then I decided I was just pushing off dealing with feeling low and I needed to face it head on. But surprise, surprise, that’s not working either. Mainly because I’m at a point I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be facing. I genuinely couldn’t tell whether I was feeling “normal” anger, despair, loneliness and exhaustion caused by a legitimate feeling or bi-polar induced anger, despair, loneliness and exhaustion caused by, well, having bi-polar disorder.

But today I think it’s a bit of both. Last night I had a huge fight with my husband leading him to say that my bi-polar was holding him back in school and making his life harder. It was said in rage and he did apologize almost immediately.

But I still can’t get it out of my head. My biggest fear always has been and always will be getting in other peoples way with my mental illness. I’ve been nothing but supportive of my husband, as he told me later several times, but that type of insult was like driving and thrusting a dagger in my heart. Then, just in case the dagger wasn’t causing enough pain, other instances of people saying nasty things about me came up as he was trying to prove that he was supportive and has my back.

A guy that I trusted and respected because of his blunt honesty called me a cunt behind my back to my husband. The guy said I was a cunt because I was using bi-polar as a crutch for just being a bitch. That hurts me a lot more than I care to admit.

So that, added to my husband’s comment, added to already feeling like shit, has me spiraling into a low that has me balled up in my dark room and gasping for air when I have to get up and do anything. Even if its just going to the bathroom.

But I do have people that love me and have been texting and e-mailing me all day to check on me. And I did manage to write on here today so that’s a victory all in itself.

I still feel angry, in despair, lonely and exhausted, but some days you can’t just get rid of it. You just have to keep going and push through no matter how many tears you have to swim through to get to the other side.

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Done

Today I can barely keep my eyes open much less feel anything or do anything. So today’s post is going to be a short little poem that I just came up with, and really mirrors my feelings right now.

DONE

Done pushing
Done trying
Done doing

Done changing
Done disappointing
Done reassuring

Done pretending this is ever going to get any better

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No, I’m not feeling any better than when you asked 5 minutes ago…

Last night didn’t go so great. Shortly after I posted my blog I slumped down to a no energy 2. But I did have enough energy to be extremely irritable and a big old bitch face. My husband, Turtlehubby worked until 8pm yesterday, and I was super excited to see him all day. But when he did come home I felt like such shit and I was a total moody bitch towards him.

Turtlehubby is such a sweetheart, but like most men wants to fix everything right away. The problem is, you can’t fix a shit mood. You have to merely get through a shit mood. I don’t know how it is for other people, but asking me if I feel better every 10 minutes after you do something really sweet for me irritates the hell out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful for everything Turtlehubby does for me, and he does quite a lot. But being sweet and doing things doesn’t make my bi-polar go away. So every time I’m asked if I feel better now and have to say no, I feel like such a bitch. So I sent Turtlehubby downstairs to play video games while I listened to music and wrote in my journal. Both are very calming for me, so Turtlehubby and I were able to reunite a little over an hour later and everything was fine. Moral of the story don’t take offense if your bi-polar loved one is in a bad but stable mood and treats you like shit. I know it’s hard, but it will turn out better for both of you in the end.

So now, on to today! It started out really well. I got up on time for my therapist appointment. I had time to go to Starbucks before hand, and I even had time to smoke a cigarette. I was probably at about a 5. Then I went to my appointment and although we talked about more good coping skills for shit days such as yesterday, I became really overwhelmed. Now I am sitting pretty at a 2.

Apparently my health insurance isn’t active according to my carrier but I pay over $400.00 a month to cobra it and make it active! So now I have to call and figure out why my insurance company is being a moron. I’ve never dealt with stupid people well but especially not when I’m having yet another shit day.

Then we talked about this blog. She thinks it’s a great idea, but to keep it positive. She’s absolutely right, and I do try to put a positive twist on everything I write here. But unfortunately, going through bi-polar isn’t all rainbows and butterflies so sometimes it is going to be a bit dark. This is mainly because I want to be brutally honest, so those of you reading this who either are bi-polar or have loved ones who have bi-polar, can see what it is truly like.

Her comment about keeping it positive got me thinking about the weird hilarious conversations I have with my friends/family about bi-polar or really anything. So to add a little lightness to what may sometime be a dark post, I’m going to attempt to end with little quotes or short conversations of the day. So here is your first one!

Convo of the day:

Turtlehubby: “I wish I could just push a button and make it all go away and have you be all better.”

Me: ‘Where would the button be?”

Turtlehubby: “On the side of your forehead because you have such a hard head that there is probably metal up in there.”

Me: So I’m bionic!!

Turtlehubby: “No Love, you’re bi-polar…”

Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was hilarious and it did help lighten my mood.  So remember my friends, keep focusing on the little things!

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Shit Day

Today is what my therapist would refer to as “push-through” day, but what I simply call a shit day. On shit days it’s very hard to motivate myself to do anything but lay in a ball on my bed in my nice dark comforting room. But if I want to get better, which is the point of all of this writing, medication and therapy, I have to push myself to do something on shit days.

Another thing to do on shit days is focus on the good I’ve got going for me today. Ok, here we go. So, I guess one good thing is even though I can’t seem to get my mood level above a 3, I have more energy than usual so it’s easier to make myself do things. Now that I think of it I have a lot of little positive things going for me today. Such as, I got 8 hours of sleep,I ate both breakfast AND lunch on time, I called and made my next physc. appointment, my dog isn’t being as much of a crackhead as usual, the Dr. Who scarf I’m making for my husband is looking epic so far, and I at least have enough motivation to write today. This may seem like trivial accomplishments. But for me, especially on days like this, these are HUGE accomplishments.

Now back to knitting and pushing myself along…

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I’m not crazy, just bi-polar!

I had an amazing day yesterday with one of my best friends baking and hanging out and having a lovely dinner with her, her friend, and my husband. I even stayed at a steady 6 on a mood scale of 1-10, which is pretty damn amazing when compared to the last few months.

Before dinner we all sat outside smoking cigarettes, well all but my husband, he doesn’t smoke. While we were talking, something came to my mind that I needed to tell my friend topbottombitch about my bi-polar disorder. So I just blurted out in front of this new friend that I had bi-polar. I NEVER do that. He handled it very well, and was a perfect gentleman. However, you could tell he was still shocked and a bit confused.

This experience got me thinking about other people’s reaction to when I told them I have bi-polar disorder. So I thought it might be beneficial to share what it’s been like for me sharing it with different people and give my personal experience about what bi-polar is. Please keep in mind that the below was written in less than an hour during a manic episode several months ago, so it’s a bit abrasive, But, I did not want to change it because it makes so many good points.

The hardest part about having Bi-polar disorder is the stigma that surrounds it. If you mention it, people automatically assume you’re crazy and are incapable of real thought. So to dispel those thoughts I tend to approach it with my normal bluntness and callus sense of humor. After I explain the technical definition of the dis-order and feel the person has an understanding I’ll get a little more personal. I’ll casually mention “the second time I tried to kill myself…” or “when I was in the Mental Hospital, I learned…” I ‘ll feel so good about being open and honest I’ll loose eye contact and just keep talking. Then I’ll look up and see the looks of horror or fear or pity, and it hits me again. To me, this is normal. This is how it’s been almost as long as I can remember. But to them, this is horrific. “Normal People” simply don’t have the ability to understand.

Of course, sometimes you do get the people who think they get it. Normally, the first thing out of these people’s mouth is “Oh, I totally get how you feel! I get depressed too, it’s just part of life. You just have to be positive”  or “I’m on an anti-depressant so I totally get it!” These lines irritate me more than any words can explain. I literally want to shoot people in the foot every time I hear it! I know they are simply trying to empathize, relate, and give advice. But it comes across as rude and condescending. Almost as if they are trying to simply dismiss the hell I go through on a daily basis.

So since shooting people is illegal and I can’t ever own a gun anyway because I’m legally mentally handicapped, I determine whether or not the person in front of me really wants to know the truth of what I go through. Some people just don’t want to know. It makes them feel uncomfortable and powerless. But I have had the opportunity to truly explain what happens to the best of my ability. I try to be as pointed and clear as my racing thoughts will allow.

I explain how the changes in moods are so drastic it’s like going from summer to winter with no chance for spring. I explain how my mind can convince me that the people who love me, hate me or that I hate the people I actually love or that my loved ones are just pretending to care so they can control and trap me. I explain how I can become paranoid, even when medicated, and think everyone hates me and I can trust no one. Then there come those moments when my brain convinces me that all I want, more than anything, is to die. Or maybe not even die, just cease to exist. Because existing is just to painful, and there’s no real point anyway.

The desiring death part is always the hardest to explain. A rational, normal person thinks of suicide as a stupid, drastic solution to a fixable problem, as well they should. But I’ve always found the suicidal urges to be the simplest. Wake up, make my coffee, smoke a cigarette, pick out an outfit, think maybe today I’ll kill myself, maybe not, chipotle would be nice for dinner. Just the endless loop of “just maybe”. This is the part that always scares people shitless, and inevitably ends the conversation. Personally, the only people who know about this part for me are my husband and my doctors.

Then there’s the part that everyone is fascinated to hear about. The mania. People think it’s cool. That is until I tell them about how you don’t sleep for days, sometimes weeks, and nothing feels real. It’s like you’re on a trip. Things are happening quickly, you accomplish so much, you have more energy than you ever dreamed possible, you’re the life of the party.  But you can never fulfill yourself. You constantly yearn for more excitement, more risk, you want to spend more money then you have, you want to walk in the most dangerous part of town in the middle of the night drunk as hell just so you can feel, you want to start fights in clubs just to see if the bouncer truly can throw you out. Because when you’re manic you truly feel that nothing and no one can hold you down. Then there are the blind rages that accompany mania. If anyone so much as looks at me funny I’ve been known to physically attack or verbally beat them up to the point were they retreat in tears. And the whole time I don’t feel a thing. When I come off of mania, everything comes back to me, all at once. It’s overwhelming and sends my entire being plummeting into a hole so deep it’s unexplainable.

But at the end of explaining it all, I try to point out that I’m otherwise normal. That when properly medicated, I’m mostly like others. Yes, I still need to work harder at many things than others. I’ll never be able to focus clearly on anything. But I still laugh at my dogs silly antics. I still banter with my husband and friends. I’m still human.

And really all that matters is explaining that even though I’m sick, my humanity hasn’t been stripped away. I’m not any less of a wife, daughter, or friend. Sure, my illness effects almost every moment of my day. But it’s all how you deal with it. I have chosen to work with the cards I’ve been dealt and live my life to the fullest. Yes, this illness often knocks me on my ass. But in the end it has given me the opportunity to grow into a stronger woman than I could ever have imagined. Every day is a battle, but it’s a battle worth fighting.

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Too much, Too soon…

Now that you know me a little better let’s get to everyday life. My grandmother’s birthday is next week, but since not all the family will be around it was decided to do the big birthday lunch yesterday. I usually find my way out of these types of things because frankly they sometimes are predictable and overwhelming for me. By sometimes, I mean every time. But this was Gram’s birthday, so I couldn’t say no. Plus my Dad graciously agreed to let me go with him, and there is always strength in numbers.

However, it’s been months since I’ve been crammed in a tight space or house with more than 3 people. I had to resign from my job mid-June because I had 6 panic attacks in 7 days. Plus, I was having severe mixed episodes, which I still am.

That said, I thought I’d be fine because my meds are getting more stable and it’s just family, right?

Wrong! We had been there about half an hour, wore all the little surface level conversations into the ground, and were about to start lunch. My aunt asked my cousin and me to get Gram situated with food, drink, etc.. In order to do that I was moving around quickly in places that were full of people talking, laughing, and in general just being loud. By the time I sat Gram’s fajita in front of her I could feel my heart racing, my checks becoming flush, and my mind flying into full on racing mode. My mind is pretty much always racing but this was different. I knew what this was. This was a panic attack.

I didn’t want to cause a scene so I nonchalantly went outside by myself, sat by my Dad’s car, and smoked a cigarette while counting in French. The cigs help me take deep breaths and the counting in a different language helps me focus my mind on something. It helped a little but not enough.

I headed back to the house and was met at the door by my dad. He took one look at me and asked , ” Was that a cigarette break or something more?” I told him it was a panic attack and he immediately asked what he should do.

We then went back outside and took turns stating positives about me to calm me down and build my confidence. Then my Dad and I did synced breathing which always works great for me . After that we stayed for a bit longer than my Dad took the lead and got me out of there. Thank God for take charge dads and great coping techniques!!

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