Happiness, Greatest Moments & Thoughts All In One

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Well we are back from Disney World.  I was hoping to get to write one more post while I was there, but I’m grateful I had the opportunity to really spend some time with my children and my family, it’s a rarity that were all together.  While on the trip so many great things happened.  As did so many thought provoking things.  It was next to impossible to not think about how this trip could have looked like, or remembering that when I was thirteen I was all but banned from family trips due to the fact that I was “out of control” and my parents had no idea how to handle me.  In their defense I was, from a very young age I was diagnosed as bipolar.  However, I always felt I had “excuses” or “reasons” for why I was behaving the way I was, whether it be drugs and drinking or my family members, anything absolutely anything, I would blame my actions on.  I always thought I’d come up with the next great solution to cure me.  And for quite some time I did, or so I thought, meanwhile I was still living crazily and “out of control”.  As I got older and had my children I experienced psychosis after having both of them, but attributed that to many other things despite what the doctor was telling me.  Anyways, while on this trip, I truly remembered quit a bit and got to hear from my family what the past year or so of my behavior has looked like for them, and how they have seen it drastically go down hill and now since being treated continue to get better.  Even very small things such as not interrupting someone while they are speaking.  It is truly is astonishing what Lithium and Zyprexa can do.  This trip was such a reminder of what my life is now and why it is the way it is now.  I’ve been trying really hard to focus on my family lately, to really give them my attention, not running around like crazy, but really focusing on what they want to do.  I am blessed.  But I also know that to continue this path I must continue taking my medications and seeing my doctors who keep me sane.  Thank God for them.  One of the greatest things about this trip was seeing my children SO happy to meet Queen Elsa and Princess Anna.  Seeing the joy they had this entire trip.  This trip was amazing.  I am yet again reminded that my life can be a normal life.  I have Bipolar 1 disorder, however it does not completely define who I am.  It is a piece, a rather large one, that is a part of me.  As are many other.  So the question I keep thinking about is….

Do you let your Bipolar or mental Illness define you?

 

Vacation… Almost Like The First One

It’s hard to imagine that just a short two months ago I wasn’t able to even imagine going on vacation to Disney World.  I knew we had a trip planned, but couldn’t even begin to imagine a trip at that time in my life.  Things were rough.  Bipolar was wreaking havoc in my life, on all fronts.  I was at the very beginning of a new life…. a life of being treated and accepting the help I really needed.  As I sit here in Disney World, enjoying the laughter from my children, the joy in their eyes, the time with my family, I am also thinking about how blessed I am.  I am thinking about how different I feel today, than I did two months ago.  The sole fact that I am here is proof of it.  I got to take the kids to Magic Kingdom and didn’t lose my mind, I was able to be a mom to them.  I am eternally grateful for this, I have thought a lot about how grateful I am for my doctors.  My therapist I have been seeing for 2 and a half years and the psychiatrist she referred me too.  It was only a month ago that my psychiatrist was having to reassure me that everything would be ok, that the negative feelings I was feeling would pass.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that, because it was one of the only reasons I continued to trudge forward on this destiny.  I am so grateful to be sitting here taking this journey, although a very hard one at times.

 

That’s it for now…. Busy in Disney world!!! :).

Clearing My Thoughts

This past weekend my husband and I went away to the smokey mountains.  He surprised me to celebrate our wedding anniversary early, as the kids and I will be in Disney World during that, a trip that by the way was originally all four of us and my family, but my husband must work.  He rented a cabin with a breathtaking view and we stayed until yesterday morning.  When we left for this trip I began to think back to our last trip.  Our last trip was to Amish country, beautiful again, but I was manic, and irritable and very argumentative.  This time… well, I was calm and serene, excited to be getting away, but not bouncing off the walls.  On the way down I also realized that this was the first trip we had taken since I started being treated for my Bipolar Disorder.  I was grateful for the timing… It has been long enough that the medications are working.  It’s funny on the way down, my husband kept telling me how proud of me he is, and how different things have been.  It was exciting.  Once we got to the cabin, I sat outside for a few minutes… I thought about how blessed I am and was able to really think about some serious things my husband and I have been talking about, I was able to “clear my thoughts”!  Which is nothing short of a miracle!  I am proud of myself for this, my husband and I were actually able to enjoy ourselves and he didn’t have to tip toe around my manic episodes.  I am grateful for times like this.  I am reminded that once again, I too can live a normal life so long as I keep taking the next right action and taking care of myself.   Short post today!  More to come later!  

 

My Life… As It Really Is

It’s 5:56 A.M. and I’m awoken by laughter down the hall.  My son, he’s six and has special needs, is up and ready to start his day.  I lay in bed thinking about how today is going to play out, the things that need to get done and the things I feel I must do with them.  I think about the routine of bringing my son to Reston for school and making sure my schedule accommodates also needing to pick him up in the afternoon in Reston.  Boom!  It’s 6:30 and I hear my daughter’s door slam, either she has woken up and decided she wants to play with her brother, or her brother has come in to inform her that he’s ready for her to play.  I get out of bed to get ready to get in the shower, my husband is already awake, either he’s left by this point for work or is getting ready to walk out the door.  This is usually where I have a mental panic for a few minutes.  What if today is the day that I’m really short with my children, yelling at them for the slightest of things?  What if today is the day that I am so depressed all I can do is put on a movie for them and let them play in the back yard?  Or what if today is the day where I’m even kil?  I calm down, take a few deep breathes.  I take a shower meanwhile hearing my happy children playing games and make believe.  Then I hear “Sit down in your seat right now!”  That’s my daughter yelling at her baby doll to sit down right now.  Then I feel a twinge of guilt, guilt for not being treated until now, guilt for now acknowledging the inner battle I have going on.  Then I quickly remind myself, that today I am getting help.  I am a mom, a wonderful, loving mother.  I am also a mom who has Bipolar 1.  I have allowed my Bipolar, when it was untreated, to wreak havoc in my life.

I recently had a manic psychosis episode, several to be quite honest.  This time it was bad enough that I knew I needed help.  I went to my therapist who I’ve been seeing for almost two and a half years, and told her of this and how suicidal I was.  She had been asking me to seek help through a psychiatrist for quite some time, but things had gotten to a new level.  I had about five severe manic psychosis episodes and it was escalating.  My therapist then told I needed to see a psychiatrist that day or the following or she would have to hospitalize me.  I called the psychiatrist and set up an appointment for that day.  This was April 23, 2014.  Now, I had seen a psychiatrist before, in fact I had even been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 before.  Three times before and every time I found a reason for why the doctor was wrong and that no that wasn’t my reality.  I continued to get miserable and more miserable as time went on.  This time when I saw the psychiatrist I knew to the very core of me that I had Bipolar 1.  I met with her the first time and she put me on Zyprexa.  She wanted to wait to start Lithium, as she needed to wait for some blood work to come back.  I saw her the next week, this time my husband was with me.  And with me when I saw my therapist the following day.  She said to us “You have Bipolar 1.  This is a mental illness and it requires medication and hard work to treat it.”  My husband and I have listened to her.  She started me on Lithium that day.  It’s been about a month, and so much has happened in just that short amount of time.  My therapist recommended to me that I start reading Bipolarmomlife.com.  She told me I would be able to relate to her and I needed that.  I had tons of questions such as, how could this happen to me?  How could I feel like killing myself with my children right there? I could I be so manic all the time?  How could I not be sleeping for days, and be ok?  When I went to this blog, I read…. well my story through someone else.  It was as if this wonderful woman was put into my life for that specific reason.  I quickly signed up for her show this is my brave and went to it.  Reading her blog and others, has shown me that one I’m not alone and that two this is treatable.  My life today is not perfect as you can see… My life today is hard, and requires work.  Right now my life is learning to live with Bipolar 1 and focusing all my attention on my little ones.  My life today is a blessing.  I think to myself about how blessed I truly am.  My life today involves my psychiatrist, therapist, husband and family and friends in ways I never knew would be the case.  My life does not necessarily look how I feel it should or how I ever would’ve imagined, however my life today is mine.  My mental illness is part of what defines me.  My mental illness is mine to own, mine to treat, mine to love.  So… no, my life may not look like other’s, but my life is messy and beautiful.

I hope that in sharing this, the dark moments and the good moments that someone can learn that they are not alone, and that no, life is not perfect, life is messy, but can be messy and beautiful.

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My Hope Is…

I went to a wonderful event yesterday, called this is my brave.  And I cried almost the entire time.  I related on every level.  I related on the helplessness prior to treatment, the havoc that mental illness can cause and I got a lot of hope.  I understood on a new level, that I’m not alone in this.  I am not the only person who has mental illness, and that I do not have to let it define me.  I am a strong, beautiful, curious, creative woman.  Bipolar 1 is just a part of who I am.  While there I remembered that I am blessed to have been seeing a therapist, to have such a wonderful supporting family and loved ones.  I am surrounded by love.  I also remembered during the show that the way I found that show was through my therapist suggesting to me to read a blog that she felt I would relate to.  This woman has truly helped me in ways she doesn’t even know.  Her blog is bipolarmomlife.com.  By reading her story, I found hope.  I found that I was not alone in this, and that I don’t have to let this define who I am.  I learned about this is my brave from her, as she is the Founder of the organization.  I learned that I too can be brave.  So my hope in this blog is to do what she has done for me and so many others, to help someone, To end the stigma against mental illness.  It also made me think about my choice to be anonymous, I am thinking starting next week, I will know longer be anonymous via blogging.  I think it’s important to stand up for what is right.  It’s important that people know that we have a mental illness just as others have cancer or diabetes.  I am grateful for this is my brave in a way I didn’t even know was possible.  I hope to share my story of living with Bipolar 1 and help others as someone did for me.  I hope to grow myself by writing it out.  Writing out everything.

Yesterday during that show I felt so vulnerable, because I could relate to everything shared.  I also felt immensely grateful to my therapist.  And everyone I’m surrounded by.  I quickly called my husband afterwards and told him how grateful I was and how I was able to relate.  I could hear my husband breathe a sigh of relief.  He needed me to find someone I could relate to as well.  Later today I plan on sharing a bit more about why I started this blog, and the events that led me to finally getting treatment this past time and make a decision to stick with it.  I plan to share openly my story in hopes of helping someone else and continuing to grow for myself.  This is my brave. 

 

With love,

Me

Today Is The Day

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When I woke up this morning I stirred around for a few minutes in my comfortable bed and said good bye to my husband as he was leaving for work.  I enjoyed some peace and quiet for a few moments.  Really hearing the birds chirping out of our bedroom window.  Feeling the sheets against my skin.  Smelling the coffee, the coffee I needed to make still.  As I laid there, I remembered that I had quite a busy day.  Including a visit with my psychiatrist and a visit with my therapist.  As I laid there thinking about those appointments I started to think about the past, the present and the future.  I started remembering how just a few short weeks ago I was unable to sleep for days at a time, maybe getting two hours a sleep max, or so depressed that I was suicidal for days at a time.  I remembered parts of those several nights of manic psychosis and remembered the misery.  I also laid there thinking about how much fun my children have, how many places I take them because when I’m manic I plan and plan and plan and get very creative.  I also remembered that moment my daughter came to me and told me that she wanted to just stay home today, that she didn’t want to go to all the places because she was tired.  I remember the pain of that loaded statement from my four year old.  I had been told several times that I’m always on the go, but it wasn’t until she said something that it hit me.  And still I continue because I have Bipolar, things don’t just stop when you’re not being treated.  In fact, most of the time I think I’m somewhat ok, now I know I’m not most of the time.  When I have manic psychosis I know that I’m not ok.  I then started thinking about the present, that in just a few short weeks so much can change.  I have accepted my diagnosis of Bipolar 1, and have decided to be treated.  Since starting the medications I have noticed a few changes, I’m not as manic, and not as aggravated or easily angered.  I have had a few days of suicidal thinking, which still scares me and makes me feel guilty at times, makes me feel like how could I be thinking about this when I have such wonderful children and a wonderful husband and a wonderful husband.  I have to remind my self to be gentle with myself, be kind to myself.  I laid there thinking about how my husband hugged this morning and told me he was proud of me.  I thought about my children’s sweet and gentle hugs and kisses.  I laid there in that moment finding some peace in all of this.  Finding the beauty in this messy thing we call life.  Finding the beauty in my Bipolar.  Finding the beauty in motherhood.  Finding the beauty in being a wife.  And all the other things I get to be today.  I laid there thinking about how blessed I am.   I thought about how I can’t wait to see what God had in store for me.  Today I am grateful.

With love,

Me

Mother’s Day Weekend

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Happy Mother’s day to all the moms out there… This weekend was surely an eventful one.  It was one of the days Saturday that I was doing everything with the kids.  Unfortunately I was neglecting the things that needed to be done at home.  Sunday was a beautiful day.  I tried very hard to enjoy that one peaceful moment every chance I could, I am so grateful for my children and the joy they bring to me and others.  They are truly exceptional.  It was hard not to think about last mother’s day, on all fronts.  I had a manic break two days before last mother’s day, and was not being treated, so my husband and I were very tense.  Still though I remember how grateful I continue to be for those little smiles from our children.

 

Saturday it was raining most of the day.  That didn’t stop me though.  I had plans, and they were very important to me.  I woke up and worked for a couple of hours while the kids enjoyed a movie.  I then decided that instead of doing housework at my house to prepare since we are selling and the photographer is coming today, that I needed to take the children out.  So, I took them to the park, where we then met my mom afterwards for lunch close by.  Lunch was great with my mom.  I was going to go home after that, but felt this huge sense of no, we have other things to do, so I came home briefly to let the carpet cleaners in who I was supposed to  be cleaning for so they could do there job, and then left and took the kids to a festival, where we had a blast.  We stayed there for a couple of hours and then I proceeded to take them to chuckee cheese, where we met up with a good friend and her children.  In that split second, I knew I should’ve been home cleaning.  My husband was very upset with me.  He knows now that I can’t control it, but it was just one of those days where I knew that somewhere deep down I should have been prioritizing, although I believe I was doing the best I could in that moment.  I knew that this was my mental illness, making me as though I had to bring the kids to the moon and back, rather than preparing our house, which would’ve taken ten minutes to do.  As I sit there thinking about that, a big part of what I remember is, my kids being so happy, and despite my lack of cleaning and prepping, my husband still coming to me and telling me he loves me and telling me that everything will be ok.  That this to shall pass.  I remember him getting up and still coming downstairs to clean it, so that it was done, him helping me the rest of the night… I am grateful for this.

 

Sunday we spent mothers day at home and at my father and step mother’s house.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed it.   My children were able to enjoy time with me this year, my husband too.  My husband reminded me of the small changes, the not so manic times and that I had changed a few “minor things” that are huge wins for me.  I am grateful for this.  I am grateful to be surviving mental illness.   I am grateful to be surrounded by love, even when I don’t want it.  I am grateful to have a God of my understanding that I know is looking out for me.  I am grateful for this weekend and every other.  

 

With love,

 

Me