The Peace Lily

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The Peace Lily. The plant of peace and comfort. The plant you see at every single funeral. The only plant in my house that has survived my neglect.
Someone sent this Peace Lily to my Dad’s service almost two years ago. I had to have it. I just knew it was a piece of him. A piece of that day. I also know my father found it extremely hilarious that I was taking a plant home, only for it to fall victim just like the others.
This plant was beautiful! It had blooms all over it when I brought it home. I know it sounds stupid, but this plant DID bring peace and comfort during such a tough time. It was alive and beautiful and thriving. Call me crazy, but it did.
It didn’t take long and the blooms were gone. I tried to stay diligent taking care of this plant. I have developed an attachment to. Just a weird grief thing.
For almost two years now, this plant hasn’t bloomed…not even once. Everyday I would inspect it and look for any hints of a possible bloom. Everyday I was disappointed. Yesterday I looked and THERE IS A BLOOM! Yes, it’s one bloom but it is the most beautiful bloom that I have ever laid my eyes on. I can thank my husband for taking over the care for this plant. He was probably so sick and tired of hearing me complain that the plant isn’t growing. It isn’t blooming. It doesn’t like me.
Two Easters ago was my father’s last holiday, his last hoorah. He hid eggs for my little ones while in excruciating pain. He told them all about the Easter Bunny. He made their day! He made my day! We made his day! We didn’t know that day that he would only be with us for another month but we acted as if it were our last minute together. Especially my stoic father.
Is it ironic that this plant of peace and comfort is blooming for the first time, right at Easter? Is it ironic that the weeping tree we planted when my dad passed away, was in full bloom when I returned home from staying with my mother in the hospital? Again, call me crazy, ( I don’t mind ) but I think NOT! It is anything but irony. It is him. It is my Dad. It is my Dad bringing me peace and comfort during this especially tough time of year.
Someone once told me that when you lose a person you love or that was special to you and you see, hear, smell or touch anything and it reminds you of them…they are right there with you. Those things that you see, hear, smell, taste and touch are all ways of our loved ones to remind us they are forever with us. It’s up to us to pay attention to the signs.
So yes, this plant, the Peace Lily is my Dad. The weeping cherry tree we planted in memory of him that was in full bloom JUST IN TIME for me to see, is my Dad. When I laugh, it is my Dad. When I cry, he cries too. This plant, the Peace Lily, is blooming and so is my Dad! ❤️

May the MRSA Be With You

Once again, I have neglected my blog. I think I have a pretty valid excuse this time. It wasn’t the crippling depression this time. It has been an eventful last few weeks, to say the least.
I don’t even really know where to begin. It never ends with the bad luck. My mother was put in the hospital for aspiration pneumonia. This is something she will battle for the rest of her life, not to mention her emphysema. She aspirates in her sleep and wakes up literally choking on stomach acid. She was hospitalized for almost a week. Of course I never left her side. Her oxygen levels would dip to 83 at times. Normal oxygen levels run between 94-100. It was scary, I’m not going to lie. She has been back to the doctor since, and has new pneumonia along with the previous infection. She is sick of being sick and was ready to give up in the hospital. My dad visited her one night in a dream. He sat on the hospital bed and told her it wasn’t time. She had no choice but to enjoy the time she has left.
The day she was admitted I was having a major acne attack on my chin, or so I thought. She asked me what the hell that was on my chin. I jokingly told her that I was growing a tumor. It’s a huge pimple, along with 100 more… that’s what it is. She talked me into popping it during her luxurious stay in the hospital. It was painful and had tons of pressure behind it. That may be too much information, but it is an important part of this disgusting tale.
I was back home and back into the grind of being a stay at home mom. I was happy to be home with my darlings. They seem to always know how to cheer me up. My chin progressively got worse. I put it off to menopause at the time. I am only 34 but had a hysterectomy at 31. I honestly thought it was exactly that. I just couldn’t figure out why only my chin looked like pepperonis gone bad.
I woke up on a Saturday morning and my lip looked like someone caught me off guard and knocked the living shit out of me. The pressure behind it was so painful. I went between heat and ice trying to get the infection out and calm the swelling. I did this for 4 hours. It was still just nasty. Again, I put it off to cellutitis, deep acne under the skin. My husband was just getting home from work when I woke up and he couldn’t believe my face. First thing he said was MRSA. I laughed and jokingly agreed.
The swelling and pressure started again that afternoon. I started googling MRSA images. I know when you google symptoms it will make anyone think they are dying. As soon as the images popped up, I knew that’s exactly what it was. I flipped out and went to urgent care. They confirmed it and gave me 2 antibiotics and pain medicine. You can’t make this shit up.
MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to most antibiotics. Only a handful will treat it. Once you get MRSA, you have it forever. I have had it once before after my hysterectomy. You aren’t contagious forever but it never leaves, just goes dormant. It is extremely painful. I would rather have a baby, no shit! I went to see my primary doctor that Monday to follow up. He gave me stronger pain meds and ointment for the entire family to put inside their noses.
It was degrading, humiliating and just plain awful. After all, it is my face!! I was in hiding for an entire week. People would step back when I was around. I don’t blame them. I was a walking infectious disease. From now on, I will know that any open wounds are very susceptible to turn into MRSA.
So where did I possibly pick it up again? Was it the hospital? Was it the gym? MRSA lives everywhere. We can thank the overuse of antibiotics and that lovely staple that most of us use every 15 minutes, hand sanitizer. The MRSA was definitely with me. It is still visible but finally clearing up. I still have a few days left on the antibiotics that make me sick to my stomach. It’s not fun!
Through all if this, I never once let depression consume me. I fought it like hell and proud to say that this time I won. What a huge accomplishment!! Maybe the pain medication helped that. You can’t beat the Percocet, just sayin. 😉
Don’t ever doubt or think that it won’t happen to you. Wash your hands, throw away the hand sanitizer and don’t jump to the doctor with a sniffly nose. Overusing antibiotics is only bound to create yet another super bug. Us MRSA carriers would deeply appreciate it. Not only would we appreciate it, we will love you. 😊

Long Time, No Blog

It’s been a while since I last blogged. Depression punched me in the face and other than running my page on Facebook, I have been on the couch. This time of year is very trying for me. It will be two years that my Daddy passed away in May. I had a dream about him and it set me up for failure. He’s come to my dreams three times since he passed away. Out of those three dreams, he has only acknowledged me once. I beg him to come and let me know that he is ok. The last two dreams I was chasing him and he wouldn’t stop for me. I hope he’s not trapped between here and there.

I woke up this morning with a whole new attitude and presence. Mania is here and I couldn’t be more thankful. I showered this morning, got laundry done and it feels good! Maybe if I wouldn’t go on strike with my meds, I could be this motivated every single day. I admit, I enjoy my downers because I’m not so keyed up but they make me lazy. Yes, I am a certified pot head. I would rather smoke a bowl than take a handful of pills at a time. My doctor knows I smoke and toke, but of course he says with the medications I am on that I can’t be doing that. Surprisingly I’m not listening ( sarcasm ) and I’m not giving up my pot.

Being bipolar, I have random pain that makes no since. My doctor thinks, well knows that I always underestimate the power of my medicines. He has compromised and gives me Tylenol # 3 just to keep my mouth shut. He’s very reluctant with the Xanax because I was totally addicted to it for two and a half years. I’ve done good with it, but the temptation will always be there and I have days where I take more than I’m supposed to. My excuse is that I deserve it. Some days, life is a complete hell and I NEED it. I don’t wait for a huge panic attack. I know to take it right before the kids get home from school because it is complete madness with homework and they are kids…. they are hyper! I pop one when I think about my brother and how the rest of his life will be spent in prison, possibly federal prison. I pop one when I think about my Daddy. It’s not an emergency type drug for me. It is planned and calculated. If there is one medication that I never go on strike with, it’s my Xanax. I’m not proud of the fact that I will always love pain pills and downers. Once a junkie, always a junkie because the temptation always lies within us. Especially when the going gets tough. I do not recommend that any others get on this path. It’s a daily battle that I often lose. I know for a fact that it doesn’t help my mental illness but it helps me get through the day. Again, I am not proud of it and my Daddy would kick my ass but none of us are perfect.

My goal is to one day not self medicate. I only drink every now and then these days. It’s just not worth the hangover for me. Alcohol is a weakness on both sides of my family. Most are completely functional alcoholics and others are slowly dying. I hoped that when my father was diagnosed with liver cancer because of drinking that they would see the light. Unfortunately it has made some worse since losing him. My weakness is Crown Royal but the AIDS ( Alcohol Induced Diarrhea Shits ) sucks!!

I know that deep down I am strong enough to overcome my bad habits, it’s just so deep that I can’t muster up the courage to even try, not today anyway. Blogging is honestly my only outlet. I don’t talk to my husband about my ups and downs. No doubt about it, he recognizes them and has adjusted. My goal when I started this blog was to write once a week. Maybe I need a sticky note on the bathroom mirror that says blog, think, reflect and understand yourself today.

Up!

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Here we are again cycling moods like you change underwear. I welcome today’s “up” with open arms but I know it won’t stay. Not long enough anyway. When I consistently take my medication, I do much better. When I get up extra early and have ME time, I do so much better.
It’s supposed to be a beautiful afternoon and I plan on taking advantage of it. Yard work and music are my therapy. I don’t see a therapist, it’s just not for me. I never thought that I would enjoy gardening but I love it. It takes me away to a calm and solemn place. I can’t wait for Spring and Summer, I do so much better.

A Rapid Cycling Rollercoaster

I want off of this crazy rollercoaster ride or do I?  The nausea and anxiety is enough to drive the “normal” crazy. Most would welcome the butterflies in their stomach but I fear them. I’m cycling again and it is not only mentally exhausting but it has a huge affect on me physically. Just 3 days ago I was so happy to be out of my funk. I was functioning, taking care of myself, the house, socializing outside of my home and even venturing out in public. Yesterday, the fall began and I was in bed most of the day other than to get my kids to school. At least I am getting them to school, I can’t say I was doing that at all last year and the year before.

After my Dad passed away almost three years ago, I felt like I had no purpose. I had poured my entire life into taking care of him and my friends and family were worried. They knew I was going too far and knew that once he was gone, I would just be a waste of space in my mind. I couldn’t function at home but would go 36 hours without sleep just to make sure my father was comfortable. I was manic for 3 months straight. I loved it and I hated it but at least I wasn’t cycling every few days or hours or minutes. I was on one side of the spectrum, not being pulled in every direction possible by my mind.

I know that my meds keep me so called “stable” but they also contribute to the drastic ups and downs. Stables are for horses and I know nothing of it.  I take Adderall every morning for my ADD and it gets me up and functional. I take Lamictal to stabilize my mood. I cannot complain much about the Lamictal other than it makes me forget everything. It sure beats the Seroquel that kept me in a constant fog. I take Zoloft for the depression and Abilify to aid the Zoloft. Then there is the Xanax for the panic attacks that literally bring me to my knees. Finally the Resperdal to help me sleep. Not only is my mind on a constant rollercoaster but the meds themselves are uppers and downers. I feel like I’m speed balling some days. The crazy part about this combination of meds is that I am honestly doing the best I have done in over 10 years. I’m still all over the place and still have my days of complete hysteria and days of complete desperation but I’m not spending thousands of dollars that I don’t have. I’m not sleeping around or making irrational decisions with no thought of the consequences that my choices will bring.

Some days it is very hard to accept that I will always be a rapid cycling hot mess. That alone can throw me into the spiral staircase that is never ending and on a disaster course. I have researched and researched to keep myself educated about my life time, invisible illness. I am capable of knowing when to tweak my meds and when to get extra rest, I just don’t. Then the guilt kicks in because I definitely know what I’m doing to myself. I am my worst enemy and my number one advocate at the same time. Everything around me is spinning and some days I spin with it and other days I am at a stand still trying to understand the chaos around me. My mind is constantly at war and I know it’s up to me to fight the good fight. Medication alone will not fight this ugly beast. I have to be willing to stand up to it and fight like hell. I live one day at a time, some days one hour at a time. I tell myself all of the time that one day I will LIVE, not just survive.

Less Than Perfect

I’m coming down those dreaded steps that lead to my depths of hell. I have been getting things done the last few days. I’ve been getting a load of laundry done every morning, cleaning the kitchen, vacuumed, made my bed, showering, brushing my teeth, along with keeping up with three children and a husband. Most of what I just listed are what the medical field considers Activities of Daily Life (ADL’s). Some days just getting those basic needs accomplished are entirely too much for me to even consider.

My husband loves me more than I deserve. When we met I was partying like a college student with endless money. I was self medicating big time. I had a horrible doctor that prescribed Xanax bars like it was candy. I was drinking and popping pills every night. I lost a couple years of my life.  He was the responsible one in our circle and the youngest. Luckily my best friend got me off of the Xanax and I can never thank her enough. Travis turned 21 a few months after we started dating. We had fun. He worked out of town all of the time and would be gone for weeks. I would just take off and go stay with him for weeks. I quit my job and fabulously traveled around like there was no tomorrow. It was great. We were perfect.

Six months into our relationship I got pregnant. We were hysterical for a few days but ultimately excited that we were bringing a baby into our perfect relationship. We got married and had a honeymoon. We came home and had a house built and had a baby. We were just perfect. My husband was blind sided by the post partum depression throughout each pregnancy. He didn’t understand why I didn’t even like my baby. It was horrible, but we are perfect right?

I told him when we were dating that I was bipolar and he brushed it off with the “that shit isn’t real, they just want you to buy medicine”. Almost ten years later and he is still here. I have threatened him with divorce more times than I can count. Any time I stop taking my medicine I always just want him out of my life, BUT we are perfect right? 

One of the hardest things I have ever done in my life was to ask him for help. I turned over all of the financial responsibilities of the home to him. I guess it is a pride thing and I am a stay at home mom but I feel like a failure. I should have no problems running a household but it is obvious that without my supportive husband that I love to hate, I could not. I had to do it for our bank account and for my health. I was always late paying the bills and late fees would add up or I wouldn’t even pay them. I knew the money was there and I knew the bill needed to be paid but the anxiety of doing it was excruciating. He gladly accepted the proposition and we have more money in our checking account than we ever have. I cannot manage money, how can I manage being a stay at home mom? I’m supposed to hop through town with 10 kids and a mini van bopping our heads around singing Paramore, and take my children to activities outside the home. It is rare for me to “play” outside with my kids. I am not a good stay at home, but we are perfect. He also took over cooking. He soon realized that if he didn’t cook, we would be eating everything in a box or straight from the freezer and there is always a drive thru. He comes home from work and immediately starts cooking dinner. How does he put up with that? How does he put up with my ups and downs and twirls around? Maybe because we are perfect?

The fact that my husband was willing to take on such a complicated situation shows me how much he loves me. I’m stingy when it comes to affection. He hugs me and won’t let go. When he sees that I am getting overwhelmed, he just does it. He doesn’t enable it, he lets the trash build up, the dishes and clutter until he sees that I’m not going to do it. He knows I NEED a nap daily and he watches the kids and makes dinner while I sleep. Without his help, I don’t know where I would be. Our relationship is more complicated, mentally, than anything I’ve heard of. We don’t communicate about our feelings and I’m surprised we are still married. Communication is crucial in a marriage and inside of the mind of a bipolar spouse. It’s hurting us but we are perfect. We will always be perfect in our fantasy land. I cannot imagine being the spouse of a mentally ill person. I would love feedback from spouses of bipolar sufferers. I need some perspective because we are way less than perfect.

Highly Functional , whaat??

For anyone that has been diagnosed and living with the unpredictable monster, bipolar disorder. You know how the exhaustion, the guilt from the exhaustion and the exhaustion feels. After journaling my moods and activities for a couple of years now, I’ve realized that I can have some sort of healthy hold, and maybe even control over this lifetime illness that affects every aspect of my life. I am at terms with and have accepted that I will fight this battle to the end. I am not my diagnosis, I am me.

After looking over my mood charts, I was flabbergasted at the ups and downs in one day. It looks like one wild ride that no one could survive, but I am here and I made it through some dark days. I know there will be plenty more dark days and I’m ready one day at a time, or in my case one hour at a time.

1. We all have hours of the day that we are more or less functional. I happen to be more functional early morning until lunch time and I crash. I wake up early every morning at 4:30 and begin laundry, dishes, straightening up, with LOTS OF COFFEE and Adderall. I’m focused until it’s time to get my kids up for school. The ADD kicks in, the anxiety of the rushing around to get ready and some days it’s almost a fear. Since I am highly functional early morning so I handle the situation much better during that time. So if you are highly functional in the mornings, that is the time to get up and get what you can done. Don’t let the functioning get ahead of you.

2. Making plans and committing to them is very hard for me. I always make my doctors appointments and even errands at my most functional time of day. It eases the anxiety, although it is still there it is not as bad as non-functional hours, which obviously for me are at night.

3. I can’t tell you how many people have recommended making lists FOR EVERYTHING! I’m barely organized enough to get the kids off to school and now I need to make lists, only to lose them. I take Lamictal as a mood stabilizer and it must be eating my brain, I can’t remember anything, but I’m still here. I can’t remember anything. I’m going to try lists, lists, lists and more lists. I just have to put them all in the same place and actually read through them. I see stacks of paper and immediately panic.

4. My non functional hours are early evening and through the morning. It really doesn’t make sense that I suffer from insomnia and that I’m very non functional. Be easy on yourself and rest. I have always been a girl that likes a daily nap but with 3 kids it’s not always possible. So at least lay down, relax, watch TV, or even better, take a nap. It’s ok to take a rest and get up again later to finish things up. I can’t promise that I actually get up after I have rested but I try to function the best way I know how.

I am not promising anyone that any of this information will help with your case of bipolar. I find it to be valuable information that everyone should know. I blog to journal, but also to get the word out. It is invisible, this illness but it is real. I wish I could say this information will cure us, but it won’t do that. Any stability we can have in our lives can help to regulate our reactions and emotions and I’m all about that!