Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 19th ~ So, What Do You Do?

Ha ha... What do I do?  Ha!  Huh.  What do I do?  I don't do anything!

See, unlike all you normal, chemically balanced brain people, who are working at a job, leading productive lives, raising amazing families, there are some of us - I think the stats are 1 in 6 Americans  (no idea on how many who are in-between treatment due to financial demise) - we struggle.   Sometimes all we have in us is the desire to make it through the day. 

I'm having low and lower moments more than anything.  Today's a tough one.  I discovered  a mom's blog yesterday, about a family who very recently lost their young son; leaving a sister to now be an only child.  It broke my heart.  That woman's story brought back an ache in my heart I had not felt in a very long time.  It was sorrow - a deep, painful sorrow - I felt, and it kinda felt just as good as it did bad.  Still haven't recovered from it yet.

The Bridge: One Terrible Night

Anyway, this confirms something I've often wondered about:  Who or what's going to be there when and if I'm ever off my medication for bipolar disorder?  I'm learning - or more like feeling - what that may be.  And it's sometimes great - like when I discover I have a beaming smile on my face, or having a hearty laugh - but mostly, it's horrible.  I'm sad a lot.  Sad and depressed.  That I don't like.  I don't like feeling crippled by whatever it is that my brain isn't rigged to handle like it would for a normal person.

There was a time when if someone casually asked me what I did, I'd jokingly say "I'm a professional crier."  Now that I think about it, I was more of an expert crier.  But, I hardly ever cry anymore.  Over the last 20 years I have learned that, although not the best medicine, laughter is critical to my well-being, but even "the funny" is not cutting it.  Reading has always been a very effective way to conquer low points... problem now:  my brain function is impaired to the point where reading has become a chore.  Hell... simple conversation with my kids is getting harder and harder each day. Mental illness sucks, right?

Day-to-day experiences of all my favorite things are now marred by my chemically imbalanced brain.  What brings me to the verge of tears most is how unavailable I am to my kids.  It makes me extra sad that I don't know if they've ever known the real me... I have been on some course of treatment for depression, PTSD,  PMDD, Bipolar Disorder, chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, their entire lives.  Heck, I was even treated for borderline Lupus when they were all tiny. (In those days I didn't even have the strength to push them on a swing.)  Last few years they almost lost me to toxic gall-bladder infection, then onset of asthma.  This week is Fall break and my girls are home for the week.  My oldest daughter is working on her college applications and essay, my youngest trying to keep from being bored by asking friends for drawing requests via Facebook.  My boy, hangs out, waits for me to be available to sit and enjoy our favorite shows together or chat about his favorite things.  I'm doing the best I could.

But, I'm not going to lie... I hate that my kids have to deal with mom disappearing into wherever it is untreated illness leads me.  I don't want them to see me like this.  I've only done the very best I could for them all these years.  I had them and they are the best people I've ever met... They are my dream come true.  I love that they are the reason I smile everyday.  I've done the best I could.  So, when I hear about other moms who are going about their business of being the best mommy they can be, under whatever circumstances and situations being judged; getting put down, it crushes me.  What might that judgement be of me?  I don't even want to know (actually, probably very similar to how a "caring" family member might be... hurtful.).  My advice:  Be nice.  Listen to yourselves moms: "Play nice."

So.  What do I do?  I'm a mom.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16th ~ "Peace" and "Tranquility" will have to wait ~ Falling Fading... it's happening... Frightening

I'm really feeling it coming on now.  I hate it.  I fear the unknown.  If I could get as sick as I have been in the past with treatment, I don't want to know how it will be without it.  I'm scared.  I hate my sick, weak brain off medication.  I hate not being able to do anything about it.  There is no "wait it out" with mental illness.  There's only one thing that works... treat; attack.  I'm scared - very scared.  I had to tell Rick, "I'm not feeling well, please lower volume on t.v." he was watching in his room upstairs.  He's not at all emotionally available under normal circumstances - when I'm doing poorly like I am today, his response of "Is there anything else you need?" is just plain awkward.  He has no clue. He's never - in the 20 years we've be going through this - been to my doctor appointments.  All he wants is a wife functional enough to manage the household, if you ask me.

Anyway, it's starting to worry me.  It occurred to me  this afternoon that even if I wanted to reach out to the social worker at the girls school "just to talk," there's no way I could because tomorrow starts Fall Break and the school is closed.  I do need to have a sit down with the kids to prepare them.  I don't think they were aware of how ill I was in Hawaii, although, they must have thought I was doing pretty bad, being as I had to leave the island for medical attention...or else they think I just bailed on them.  No, I'm pretty sure they knew how awful it was leaving them behind and not knowing when we'd be back together again.  Soon, they'll have to know and understand what's happening with mom on a much different level; they are not small children anymore.  Doesn't make it any easier.  I still want to protect them.  I hate my weak, unbalanced brain.

Seems any "Peace" and or "Tranquility" will have to wait.  I'll try to paint as thorough a picture of  my experience suffering with untreated bipolar disorder.  I expect it to be unpleasant as my family makes the transition through the trauma of it all.  I wouldn't be surprised, though, if they all just shrug it off.  It's my deal after all.  It's all me.  I don't think they even get it.  It won't be a surprise if they just ignore the fact that I'll be in "bed" - or more like unable to get out of bed - as everything becomes more and more intrusive; light becomes brighter, noise and movement louder; as my mind and body struggle with the vibration of life going on around me.  I've been at this point before, but never without some sort of prescribed treatment or doctor's care. Reality of "mental illness disability" has hit full force. This is what I wrote after my last ordeal; hoping I'll be able to arrive again someday on the other side of today's reality:


Your embracing arms hold me
Your hand in mine is soothing
You, in mind, comfort me as
Mind’s ills storm body mind and soul

Sudden isolation
Confusion and despair
Anticipating fear
My mind storm is here

You have touched me
You are strong
I reach for you, I trust you
I am frightened by the storm

You are caring
And I care for you
I welcome you free from harm
To my unimaginable storm

Accept my invitation
You have been here all along
Share this time with me
The storm is still so strong

We all belong here
Goodness abounds
This is how it is:
I’m alone inside

As the mind storm passes on

By Lillian Carilo ~ Bipolar Disorder ~ 2005

Pray for us.