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    The other shoe dropped

    Saturday, July 12, 2008, 6:32 PM [General]

     I was in remission for about 3 months staying around a 7.5 and feeling pretty "normal". I had a one day dip to a 3 and have been up to a 5/6 for the last two weeks or so. Not sure if my dip is due to chemistry and so I'm r to life, or if life is making my emotions overreact. While I was feeling good, I kept saying I was waiting for the other shoe to drop - well it did. I realize I have this feeling of ending my life all the time, even when I feel good, I feel like I'm ready for mylife to end at any time and it would be okay with me. Intellectually, I know that's not a good thing. That brings the possibility that much closer.

    Then I consider some of the Buddhist teaching of attachment and non-attachment to life and I wonder if that is what is meant. If I devalue the future, then it seems to me that I should value or at least appreciate the present moment more. If I feel the pain of living all the time, then it means also that I am not using any addictions to numb out or escape from the present moment. The more I'm able to live with the negative feelings, without trying to escape, the more fearless I will become. Nothing can push my buttons IF I'm able to do two things: live in the present moment only, and not try to escape in some way if things become difficult or painful. This also means I need to trust God to take care of whatever happens. That's a big deal.

    I realize that my biggest fear in life is that I will make a mistake. I have very little compassion for myself. I consider that I am a very compassionate person - where others are concerned, but not for myself. That is the root of my fear. I will cause something terrible to happen. I will make a mistake. As a person with manic-depression, it's unrealistic for me to think I won't ever make a mistake. My last manic episode was a disaster. The Buddhist teaching of "Maitri" or self-compassion, is something I need to practice. If God, who is perfect, can forgive me, then why can't I forgive myself?

    Perhaps the mere fact that I can reflect should tell myself that I'm OK. That it's time to be kind and gentle with myself because life is painful enough without causing myself pain and fear. As I write this I am listening to Pema Chodron, my unofficial spiritual teacher. It's taken her over 30 years to get to where she is. How can I expect so much of myself that I should do it faster then she? So, I begin. To be kind and gentle - not just to others but to myself as well and that I would learn to be especially gentle when I am down here, feeling flat and care-less. I want to be a kind, gentle and fearless person. To be calm and content. Content with good feelings and content with negative feelings.

    Boy, the other shoe dropped and I sure got deep down. Maybe, being depressed, is where I get the most "work" done - that I pay more attention at those times. I don't know. How about you?

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    In Remission

    Sunday, May 25, 2008, 3:04 PM [General]

    Okay so I'm in remission now for about 6 weeks or so. No mania, no depression. Just the usual occasional irksome feeling and the occasional over excitement. wow. what a novel feeling not to be ruled by my emotions. I almost don't know what to do with myself! The only downside is, I'm sorta waiting for the other shoe to drop. I mean, this is manic-depression...a cyclical illness. What goes around comes around kind of thing. Instead of enjoying the day....I'm  waiting. Waiting with that cringed-look on my face. What I want to know, is how do YOU live in the middle of the cycle. Do you just go full-out and thoroughly enjoy yourself or do you sit and wait like me?

    I am so thankful, however, that the meds are working. At least, I hope it's the meds that have me in the middle and not just the luck of the draw, hand-of-fate sort of thing. What do you think?

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    Venting

    Sunday, April 27, 2008, 8:22 PM [General]

    I have to vent. if anyone is interested, email me.

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    Bring it on

    Sunday, April 13, 2008, 11:24 PM [General]


    It all comes down to this
    You take your best shot, might miss
    You take it anyway
    You're gonna make your move today
    Got the will, you'll find the way
    To change the world someday
    Grab this moment before it's gone
    Today's your day

    It's on (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on
    (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on

    And the view will never change
    Unless you decide to change it
    Don't feel like it today
    Just show up anyways
    And though life will take you down
    It only matters if you let it
    Get up, go through, press on
    Today's your day

    It's on (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on
    (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on) today's your day so come on, bring it on

    And though you wanna quit
    Don't think you can get through it
    You've come too far to walk away
    It's not gonna be today
    And no matter how you feel
    It's what you do that matters
    This is your moment to be strong
    Today's your day

    It's on (and on) it's on (and on) it's on (and on)

    Lyrics "It's On" by Superchick........You're on....

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    Who am I really?

    Sunday, March 30, 2008, 6:16 PM [General]

    This past month has been most interesting for me. My three daughters are doing fine, going about their business. My Step son, who is older, is out of work and I think, depressed. My step daughter who is older still, has moved inn with her 9 month old son. When I say moved in....i mean into my living room as we are out of bedrooms. Although I am enjoying being grandma...I am having to be mother all over again. While my daughters have been mostly trained up in the way they should go, My step daughter is not. I am having to model being a mother - scheduling meals, bathtimes, getting her to shower and give my grandson regular baths. She was living in rough circumstances before moving in so I know it is not her fault that she sleeps in her clothes or doesn't know how to clean a house. But I thought I was mostly done with all that. My youngest is 12 and is a CLEAN FREAK like her mother ! my second is very knowledgeable about cooking and housework and my oldest is graduating HS this year. My three girls are college bound and although their mother is bipolar, are mostly stable, healthy girls.

    How do I tread lightly without leaving my heavy footprints behind? I mean, I want to leave an imprint but not be heavy-handed. Do ya know what I mean? Life is funny when it throws you a curve ball like this. I was looking forward to finishing a phase of life and find that I am reinstating that phase while starting the next all at the same time! Mom and Grandma. And all the while not speaking to my own mother cause she's just.....manipulative and well....silly is a nice word. Let's not even speak of my father. He's not a nice word either.

    I keep reminding myself there is no normal life, Lisa, just life, to quote Doc Holliday. And while I write this I sink further into the pit of despair. My bipolar shifting me up and down like a seesaw. Tomorrow I will be anxious, tomorrow night, great, the next morning angry..the next who knows. Does anyone out there know how I feel? Is there anyone out there? Help me I've fallen and I can't get up...

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    The Passion

    Monday, March 24, 2008, 2:35 AM [General]

    As a reminder to myself and my family what Easter is all about, we watched "The Passion of the Christ". I feel moved by this film and torn not only as a mother, but as a daugter of Christ. As an Anabaptist, I remember my epiphany in church one day that led to my acceptance of the gift of Liberty in Christ and why I chose to be baptisted as an adult - as a public pronouncement to all that I follow the One and Only. That I have died to my old life and am renewed by the strength of Jesus in a new life. The visuals in this movie have saved my life many times.

    Because my illness is so pervasive, during times of thoughts of suicide, pictures from the movie would play through my mind, reminding me of what Jesus did for me and how could I repay him by taking my own life, as if his sacrifice meant nothing. It's about trust. Trust that He will see me through those times, and He has. Trust that He loves me enough to bring good from bad and trust that I believeHe could and would heal me  were it not for some reason that I figure I don't really need to know. It's like my life is a puzzle and he gives me only one piece at a time and doesn't let me see the box cover, so I will trust in Him to know what the picture is and how the puzzle that is my life will turn out. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" Prov 3: 5-6.

    So Thank God for Easter and all that it means as I could not do this thing called life without Him.

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    What you resist, persists

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 7:23 PM [General]

    My Therapist has always told me to embrace the depression as part of myself and to learn to check in with myself to see how I am feeling. If you're like me, you're tired of checking in and tired of your day starting off with "let's see....how am I feeling today". Can't I just wake up and feel good? I challenged her this week however, to see if I can't take the perspective that the depression or mania, this bipolar is not me, but a parasite or other entity living within me. Can I live with it, be indifferent to it...not resist or be angry about it, not care for it and check in with it, but to ignore it as I would a cut after it's been cleaned and bandaged?

    If I've taken my meds, seen my doc, seen the therapist and done all those things which my team has decided is healthy for me to do, can't I just live now? Must I be pulled this way and that by the ebb and flow of this bipolar illness? Can't I achnowledge that it's there and has to be treated, but that the feelings it evokes are not real and therefor not me? Truly living in the here and now that's something like "what would I be really feeling if it weren't for the bipolar?"

    I'm always trying to find new perspectives to living with this illness. Because we are living with it. I choose not to die because of it. I'm tired of fighting as well. Shall I make this illness the center of my existance and fight it for the rest of my life? I don't want to give in to it, I'm tired of fighting it, that leaves indifference. If I choose to take care of my daily routine and needs, take my meds and such, can I leave it at that? I'm really tired of talking about it. Aren't you? How do you live with it and not let it rule your life? signed, Looking for Answers in Fresno....... 

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    Staying Present

    Sunday, March 16, 2008, 4:41 PM [General]

    I've been listening recently to Pema Chodron's "Getting Unstuck" on CD for the milliionth time. She talks about staying inthe present moment. As depressives it seems to me we spend mostof our time either wishing we were somewhere else or sometime else where we are a 8 9 or 10 instead of a 2,3 or 4 on a scale. How do we learn to live inthe present moment of depression or high, if we are bipolar, and not give in to it? How can we step back and accept the feelings of morose depression and not live them?

    She goes on to talk about the ways we try to zone out of that moment either by numbing out, being aggressive to ourselves or others, or craving some kind of comfort. Which translates into addictions, anger/violence, and we've talked in the threads about the mental tool box, which may just be another way to not be present. After all, who wants to be present for intense pain. But as depressives, can we ever really expect that it will go away forever, or do we know, deep down that it will come and go like the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide.

    One of the ways we can begin to come to some kind of acceptance of our illness is to not be attached to it. To look at it from the outside and not from the ego's point of view which is "I do not like this, I want it to go away".

    I've been working not through meditation but maybe prayer, on staying on the outside of my feelings, which may not always be real at all. That's a trip. Maybe meditation is the way to stay present and yet not be attached to it. To look at the pain as if it's not part of who I am but just a parasite that I look at like moss on a tree. I wonder how other people look at their pain. Do they full experience it with deep and intense feeling; do they run away by using some addictionlike alcohol, sex or overworking, or are they able to live with it in mutual space but not attached. What's that word for a parasite and a host that is mutually beneficial. Can we find a way that our feelings which may not be our real feelings at all, can be lived with in a mutually beneficial way? To just experience them and learn from them but not be warped by them. 

    What do you think? 

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    God Works in Mysterious Ways

    Thursday, February 28, 2008, 12:59 AM [General]

    Just after I was first diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, I was offered a job teaching a class at my local high school for students with emotional disturbance. Through my experiences working with these kids and with my own illness, I decided to pursue a degree in counseling psychology, thinking I might be a therapist some day. I even did my practicuum at our local mental hospital for the summer.

    I took back to my classroom a great deal of knowledge and I can say that I have been able to help children with what I've learned. But I was also getting burned out being in a room with 10-15 mentally ill teenagers for 6 hours a day with little break. So when the opoportunity came up to be a case manager for learning disabled students, I took the position. However, students with mental illness keep coming onto my caseload-either they come from another school, are newly diagnosed, are sent by referral or other ways. I now have about 25 % of my students have some type of mental disorder . I feel like a magnet. We even share psychiatrists at times.

    The Bible says that God works for the good of all who love him. Maybe he's taken my illness and turned it for good, allowing me to work with a variety of children, allowing me to experience my illness so that I might be more compassionate to others. Some would say that illness doesn't come from God. That's probably so, but it's here and so He's using it for the best of everyone.

    And so, I don't resent my illness anymore. I resent the hell outta those pills every morning, but I don't resent being ill and I surely don't resent God. He will heal me when he's good and ready.

    Tell me your thoughts on healing and illness and purpose. What's been your experience?

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    Plastic Hair

    Saturday, February 23, 2008, 12:03 AM [General]

    I love the term that Janette gave my problem....plastic hair. It's when you don't shower or wash your hair for like a week and you put it up and keep it in place with hair spray and it has this plastic look about it. Why would I let it get this bad? Wait - it gets worse.....waking up in the morning and not washing off yesterday's makeup but just touching it up with some fresh makeup. Now you guys probably won't get this but between plastic hair and plastic makeup I was a mess yesterday and yes I left the house that way and even went to work. I've been teetering on the edge of depression for about two months now. Read my post about "doing the verbs". Don't you ever let your depression get the best or the worse of you and you just can't complete your ADL's? (activities for daily living) . I swear it takes an act of God to get me into the shower for some reason. If I could go to work in sweats, I would. But I can't shower......it takes too much energy or something. Anyone else have this particular problem? Why the personal hygiene fairy fails to visit me during those times I can't say. Thank God for mouth wash, cuz brushing is too much work.

    So how do you do it when you're depressed and don't feel like making yourself look human and you MUST go to work? Write and let me know.

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