My Only Silence is Sleeping

The only true silence for me is when I am asleep. What is silence when you can’t sleep? I can’t imagine a solemn silence. My brain has so many damn tabs open at once that I can’t keep up right now. My house is disgusting and I have so much energy but I am so drained. I’m being pulled from every direction, here and far, I can’t find the strength to clean my house today. It’s bad, for the way I like to keep my house. It represents all the ugly, screaming, exhausting, exhilarating, fucking loud thoughts that just so happen to scream at the same time. I can’t get my thoughts together, how the hell am I supposed get my house together? The beginning of the down may be here. I need sleep, I really hope it’s just that I haven’t slept in over 26 hours. I really hope my sleep schedule isn’t throwing me into a spiral downward. I really hope a nap will help. I really hope that I can find it within myself to show patience and lots of love to my children when they get home from school today, and not take out my anxieties on them. I really hope!! It’s all we really have is hope, not silence. There is no silence for me, there is always at least a whisper, unless I am sleeping.

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Blog For Mental Health 2014

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.” 

Click Here to Take The Pledge

 

I have been on a mission to spread the word and stop the stigma against mental illness for years. I deal with it every single day, I live with a lifetime, incurable disease that challenges not only myself, but everyone else in my life. I share my story in the hopes that others will realize that they are not alone, matter of fact they are anything but alone. Together we CAN make a difference and the passion that burns within myself will never go away. I am a diagnosed bipolar mom of 3 that struggles to keep things together daily. I constantly let myself down but I always pick myself up somehow. We have a long fight ahead, as long as we stick together, anything is possible. Take your pledge now!

http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/

 

MANIAAAA With A Side of Manic

It’s official, the manic fairy has arrived and she has me all over the place. I knew yesterday that it was coming when I decided to start cutting bushes and doing yard work. She is here, carrying me from here to there. I was taking deep breaths all day, and sweating in 40 degree weather. It was a beautiful day yesterday and I was thrilled to have my sunroof open. I got so many responsible things done yesterday that it was definitely out of the norm. My best friend even called it as she drove by and saw me whacking the bushes faster than any landscaper on the planet.

I am a professional according to my manic fairy. I’ve been up since 2:30 this morning. I tried my hardest to get some sleep around 6am, but no such luck. With mania, comes insomnia but the positive is that I have no desire to sleep. I’m not tired at all this morning. If I could have, I would have started cleaning at 2:30am. My manic fairy has equal love for all but when I’m on a roll, my equal love can be sparse, especially when I’m cleaning like a meth head.

People ask me how I deal with the highs and lows, and no in between all of the time. My simple answer would be that it’s my life and has been for almost 20 years, diagnosed. Bipolar disorder doesn’t define me, it isn’t who I am and it never will be. It is a lifetime disease that has no cure. It is a very misunderstood lifetime disease, just like all mental illness. It’s easier to look away than to look someone in the eyes and ask them if everything is ok. When you see that lady in the grocery store with bed head, mismatched socks and her obvious favorite pajamas, don’t judge! When you see the teenager in the mall that is all alone, has a weird demeanor and won’t make any eye contact with anyone, don’t judge! When you see that beautiful woman that always has a smile and seems to have it all together, even with 5 children, don’t judge! When you meet the perfect friend and go to spend time with them and see 15 bottles of pills on the kitchen counter, don’t judge! Mental illness is invisible. Mental illness isn’t picky. Mental illness is REAL! Would you judge the man at the post office with no hair, no eyebrows, no muscle mass left and a can of oxygen? Most would assume he is dealing with, and fighting the evil beast, cancer. Most would go home and pray for that man, or would hold the door for him as he was going or coming. But me, I’m just crazy with a side of crazy. I look normal on the outside but what most don’t know is that I am constantly battling the demons in my head. One demon falls asleep and the other wakes up and seems to be even worse than the one that just fell asleep. I’m constantly doubting myself as a person, as a mother, as a friend and as a wife and that of course creates that lovely snowball effect.

After 16 years of being a diagnosed whack job aka bipolar freak, I am finally on the right combination of medications. I have been through almost all of the older psych drugs. I was a walking experiment during my first stint in the mental hospital at the young age of 15. I was a drugged, emotionless and empty soul when they sent me home. I was taking 8-9 pills, three times a day. My speech was slurred and everyone thought I was self medicating but I wasn’t. I was only doing what these doctors told me to do. No one expected that I would try and take my life 7 years later and that those same drugs that were supposed to help keep me alive would make me want to die. I dropped all of the mental health professionals after my second trip to the ward. All they did was throw the prescription tablet at me and say, “Try this and come back in 2 weeks.” Only to say the same two weeks later.

My primary doctor has saved my life. I’m on less medication than I have been on in these last 16 years of my inner hell. Yes, I am currently manic and yes I am dreading the depression that comes next. Yes, there is no in between for me, I have accepted that. This combination keeps the highs from being so high that I spend thousands of dollars and crave sex from hot guys at the club. Matter of fact, I really don’t even like the clubs and bars that I used to have a love affair with. This combination keeps the lows from being so low that I want to die. I am not saying that I don’t want to completely give up on everything, including my family during these lows but they seem more controlled than ever before. This magical combination for me, could be deadly for another person suffering from the same illness.

It’s a constant battle going on within me but honestly I can’t imagine it being any other way. It has taken me a long time to accept this PART of my life. It has taken me a long time to forgive and forget. It has taken me a long time to show love to others in the right ways. Writing helps me to process, reflect and accept my daily actions, good and bad. I LOVE writing when I’m manic but I’m better at it once my transition begins to the dirty underworld. I choose my lovely and perfect manic fairy any day over the grim character that takes me to places that most will never experience.

There is hope! For those of you that think there isn’t, I love to break it to you, but I am an example that hope is possible. Dreaming of a better life for myself wasn’t as dumb as I thought it was. Mania is so colorful and crisp, depression is so grey and vague. It is what it is and you, nor myself are alone. Someone else is always fighting a harder battle than we are but that doesn’t make our battle any less because it is in fact OUR battle.

The Dreaded Valentine’s Day

Some would say that Valentine’s Day is the day of love. I have never really thought much of the holiday, whether I was single or not. The flowers just die, the chocolate is eaten in a couple of hours and the stuffed animals are just lame. Of course I decorate the house and always do something small for my children. For the last two years, I have dreaded pulling the decorations out and putting them up. I hate helping the kids with their Valentine’s boxes for school and all the crap that gets sent home. I hate the “love” being shown.

Two years ago on February 14, the day of “love”, I was sitting in an oncologists office with my father waiting on an answer that no one wants to hear. This was the real deal appointment to tell us what exactly my father’s fate was. We sat and sat and sat. My father was a nervous wreck and in a lot of pain. We knew they found tumors along his spine, but we had no clue what this asshole of a doctor was getting ready to tell us. This was the day of the results of his PET scan, a scan of the entire body other than the brain. My mother showed up just in time for us to be called back to the conference room. It was too much for her to handle. I’m always the rock, the foundation that holds everyone together. It’s not such an easy role considering I need a rock and a foundation.

As we are called back, my father looked at me and said, “Everything is going to be fine hun.” I have some medical knowledge and I’m no fool but I let him believe that I agreed. It was in his bones, so it came from somewhere and that means metastatic cancer. My mother was already crying before the doctor even opened the door. I was kicking her under the table thinking to myself, get it together for your husband of 35 years and your bipolar daughter. Emotions were flowing and not in a good way.

The asshole doctor whom was also the Oncology Director walks in and throws a paper on the table with results. He wears his glasses at the bottom of his nose, he can’t be trusted, and wants money was my first thought. Asshole was my final thought. He says, “Read this and I will be back, I have another patient to see.” Are you serious right now? After about twenty minutes, he re-entered with his falling glasses with his empty eyes looking at us above the lenses. He just busts out with some heartbreaking news with no emotion. I understand that they diagnose cancer patients every hour, but a little sympathy goes a long way. Maybe his wife said screw you and left his Valentine’ card at the store or she forgot to pull the stick out of his ass for the day of “love”.

I did however talk the doctor into palliative radiation just to try and shrink some of the tumors for pain reasons. We were really worried about him going paralyzed. Every morning I was up at 3:30-4:00am so I could get him to his radiation appointments. Again, too much for my mother. I am blessed to have the time in the car with him on the way to get his treatment. I learned things about him, that without cancer, I never would have known. His doctor was right on track with the time he had left. Full diagnosis was made February 14 and he passed May 21, with some help from the angels at Hospice.

My life will never be the same. He was my light when I couldn’t find one. He won’t get to see his grandbabies grow and flourish. I was with him for his last breath and held on tight while we listened to Free Bird and Stairway to Heaven, his favorite jams. I even found a way to play his music at his Celebration of Life.

 

 

He came back in and asked if we understood what we were reading. Well… we aren’t the oncologist… you tell us. He seemed perturbed by my questions and concerns. He sits down and explains that the cancer started in the liver and is metastatic to the lungs, pancreas, bones and possibly brain. He wanted an MRI to check the brain. More money! It’s all over his body and you want another test? My father was very vulnerable at the time, as I’m sure you can imagine. He gave my father 3-4 months to live unless he wanted chemo and he would maybe survive another month or two and actually recommended it. Again, more money!

My father initially agreed until I demanded the oncologist bring in a paper on all of the symptoms of chemotherapy with Stage IV cancer. That really pissed him off, but I was my dad’s advocate. Chemo would have made him sick, compromised his immune system and it would probably kill him faster than the cancer did. I am very assertive, sometimes too assertive. Once I explained everything to my dad, he told the doctor, “If it was a poker hand, I’d fold.” I’ve never seen such sadness in his eyes

Losing the only man that loved me unconditionally was the hardest things I’ve had to deal with EVER. He always believed in me, we had an unspoken bond and connection. He always had advice for me, he thought I was his world.

My father was the most optimistic man you would ever meet, always had a smile and believed in the good of people .So yes Valentine’s day is my most dreaded holiday of the year. Screw you cupid!!!

Letters from my Brother

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I received a letter from my brother today. He is in jail and probably will be for a long time. He was arrested at the end of December, right before Christmas and the day after my deceased father’s birthday. He has some pretty serious charges before him and I am trying to accept these charges, to accept the fact that I may never see him again. Trying to wrap my brain around all of it and accept what lies ahead has been tough.

I just received his first letter today. It’s a real reality check when you see the county jail stamp on the envelope. Who is this person? Who has my brother become other than a felon that may never see dirt again.

I always have tried to help him and have always wanted him to succeed. He is my brother. I know that addicts always choose their addiction over loved ones because that is how addiction works. It still hurts and you can physically feel your heart break.  My father passed away at the age of 60 from liver cancer that spread to his bones and was dead within three months of his diagnosis. My brother told us he quit drinking but it’s obvious he never did. One would think he would have taken a second look at his lifestyle. Could I have done more? Could we have done more as a family, as if family therapy wasn’t enough?  Maybe I should have started sharing my story with him first, rather than the whole entire world but I don’t think he would have listened and in his mind, I was just crazy and didn’t need medication in my life. As I clear my throat, maybe he is taking a second look at his illness.

Now that he is in jail and has nothing other to do but think, read, sleep and begin the process of begging for forgiveness. He has turned to God for the first time in his life and has the need to get things right with everyone. His letter is very well written and I realize what a waste of a person and their life. It hurts. He says he has always looked up to me and honestly jealous of me and it clouded his judgment. I’m batshit crazy and he’s jealous?? HUH?!!

I by far, do not lead a perfect life and honestly I wouldn’t want to. I always had hope for him, and the hope has most definitely diminished. I can only imagine what goes through my mother’s mind other than she blames herself. She was his number one enabler and possibly always be as long as she lives. After all of this has happened, I can still hear the halo over his head singing from 200 miles away. I will never have that halo and honestly, I don’t fucking want if it is that kind of dysfunctional halo. It has to shaped like a triangle and that shit is just plain ugly!

He has no idea that his latest shenanigans threw me into a horrible depressive phase that had me in bed for a month, a month that felt like a week. The world around me kept spinning as I stayed still. Showering was a chore, texting and talking on the phone was near impossible. I looked like the crazy bag lady at WalMart and I slept, my goodness, I slept.j.

Grief is a long, painful, excrutiating and unpredictable thing. It rears it’s ugly head when you least expect it and as soon as you’ve gotten up, it  knocks you down again. I am grieving the loss of my brother because he is gone to federal prison at some point and he is not the man he was. He never will be. It’s like he’s died already without much needed closure.

They say everything is in your life to teach you something. I must be a genius because I have to have learned more shit and I mean shit than your Average Joe. I want a break from being a badass, the rock, the foundation. I need a wall to rest on for once but there are none is sight. I’m done learning and ready to be the teacher.

 

The Beginning of My Nightmare

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I will tell you a little about myself. I have been blogging my experiences with living with bipolar disorder on Facebook for about one year and a half. I have finally decided that blogging should be on a blogging spot. I truly hope all of my followers on Moms House of Insanities and Profanities will have it in their hearts to read my blogs on a completely different website.

I am 34 years old, married with three beautiful, rambunctious, loving and troublemaking children. I am a stay at home mom and feel fortunate most of the time to be able to stay home. My children are 9,7 and 3.

I am a busy mom with no organization and chaos is my middle name. Just ask the kids. If my head wasn’t attached, I would have lost it long ago. I am extremely passionate about sharing my story because so many people think they are alone in their battle with any mental illness. The stigma associated with it only holds us back from receiving the care we really need, people are afraid of us, although 1 in 4 of us battles a mental illness.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 15 after a 2 week visit to the mental hospital. The doctors claimed it was “drug induced bipolar”. Boy were they wrong. I will blog about this in detail at the right time.  Diagnosing this disease, yes disease, can be extremely difficult, and finding the right combination of medicine seems almost impossible. I had to trust my doctors and yes they let me down, but my life has changed in so many ways since finding the right combination. It only took 18 years, but I’m here. That seems like forever, but there is hope. I still have my manic and depressive episodes but they are no where as severe. My family may not agree but they didn’t see me at the age of 22, where I would spend 2 more weeks in the ward.

My children saved my life because I was constantly self medicating with lots of alcohol, and I mean lots. For a bipolar patient, alcohol can depress you even more and obviously become suicidal. They are my life, and I try for them everyday. Some days they don’t understand but they always make me feel loved, even though I’m different.

I have finally accepted that I have a lifetime disease and will be on medication for the rest of my life. My passion to spread the word and help others through their struggles has never been so flaming hot. This blog is my life, my truths and my story. My stories are raw and can be triggering to some. I cuss like a sailor and it’s something I will not change. It’s who I am and  it gets me through the day, along with my smokes and my medications.

Welcome to my journal, I will post current and past situations. I’m hoping to spread the word, to  make people aware that this is real, it’s an epidemic on the rise and we as a country and people need to address it.

We are not alone in our battles. Life is a beautiful struggle. Mine just happens to be a beautiful disaster.