Archive for the ‘Mental Illness’ Category

h1

Gratitude

November 21, 2012

It’s that time of year… so many of us are verbalizing what we’re thankful for via Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. Except for a brief one-liner comment at my company’s Thanksgiving potluck, I haven’t expressed the things I’m thankful for in my life.

Let’s see if I can get through this…

My mom died January 4, 2012. For the most part, I’ve been at peace with her leaving this earth. There’s a lengthy backstory there, which I won’t go into… I’ll simply say her suffering ended. My mom suffered in many ways on this earth, and because of her circumstances and decisions, I did too. Since her passing, for the most part, when I think of my mom, I feel an overwhelming sense of relief, and I smile at the memory of her, but lately, I’ve been thinking about the person she was down deep inside, and the person she raised me to be. I shall now give my “thanks” to you, Mom.

Thank you for being present in my life when and for as long as you were able.

Thank you for taking care of me when I was sick like only a nurse could.

Thank you for the talks… about boys, sex, life, and death and everything in between.

I’m thankful for your laugh, even as rare as it was to hear. I’m also grateful for your tears, for they were even more rare. They showed me you were a human being, not just my mom.

Thank you for the honest moments, the silly ones, and for being there during the sad ones, too.

Thank you for understanding my mental illness like only a survivor could, and doing everything in your power to guide and help me to be one, too. Because of you, I learned there are resources – help – lots of help.

Mom, because of your example I am caring, compassionate, empathetic, loving, and thoughtful.

I am capable , conscientious, and intelligent because of you.

I am NOT pretentious, careless, hateful, or racist. THANK YOU.

I am on this earth because of you, and it ain’t all bad. Thank you.

Last but not least, thank you for watching over me. I know you are here with me.

h1

Road Trips

February 22, 2010

I used to love going on road trips. When I was growing up, almost all of our family vacations consisted of traveling many hours to visit relatives. We’re talking seven-hour, nine-hour, and twelve-hour road trips. I loved staring out the window at the ever-changing Texas landscape. I loved listening to the radio. I loved letting my mind wonder… imagine… envision… plan. I could dream big – as big as Texas. Anything was possible.

As an adult, I’ve also enjoyed road trips. If I travel alone, I love that I can be one with my thoughts – uninterrupted. I love the wide open spaces. I love the long road in front of me. If I’m traveling with my sisters – I love the conversation and the singing along (quite loudly) with Journey’s Greatest Hits cd (best road-trip cd ever).

Something has changed in the past year or so. Anytime I’ve had to travel out-of-town, I’ve experienced quite a bit of anxiety. It sucks! I’m constantly worried about my car breaking down or about getting in an accident, or I don’t know what.

To be fair, I have had a few issues with my car in past trips, especially in the last year. I know that must be playing a part in all this, although anxiety has never been an issue for me, previously.

Even when I ride the bus (because of the car issues) from my city to my sister’s city, which I’ve done quite a bit this year, I become anxious. I just want to be there already. I don’t want to go through the process. It’s just too much. I don’t get any pleasure out of it. I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts. It’s way too uncomfortable.

In two weeks, I have to take a seven-hour trip with my dad and return home two days later. STRESS. My dad, whom I love dearly, will talk the ENTIRE trip. (Deep breath.) This will only add to my anxiety. The purpose of this trip is to get all my STUFF that my aunt and uncle have graciously been storing on their property – an apartment full of stuff. The thought of dealing with it makes me sick to my stomach.

I hope this trip-associated anxiety will disappear one day. Road travel used to be so therapeutic for me. I envision many trips in my future. I want to be able to enjoy, not dread, them.

If anything is possible, can’t this be?

h1

LumpLife

February 16, 2010

Life is a lump in my throat.

What do I mean by this?

I’m referring to those moments when life stops you dead in your tracks, when you have to take a pause because it’s too overwhelming; when the emotions build up inside of you, and you’re left with this excruciating pain in your throat – the lump. That’s it. The physical manifestation of it all being too much… just. too. much.

My life is filled with lots of those moments.

I haven’t been very good at managing them. I usually let them swallow me up. They take me down… and I stay down.

It’s time that I get up; that I really start fighting back. I have it in me. I just know I do.

h1

Olympians

February 13, 2010

I love, love, love the Olympics! I get so excited when it’s “that time.” I watch from the beginning of the opening ceremonies to the end of the closing ceremonies. I watch as many events as time allows. I never get enough.

When I was a young girl, during the 1984 Summer Olympics, my sisters and I created a make-shift gymnastic apparatus out of our couch. I would give my best Mary Lou Retton imitation by signaling to the imaginary judges, running as fast as I could from the kitchen into the living room, and hurling my body into a hand-stand position on the couch. My sisters were both my competitors and my judges. Ah, those were some good times.

There’s something incredibly attractive and sexy about Olympic athletes. They are very hard-working, dedicated, fearless, determined, and relentless. Those are all admirable traits. Those are all traits that I wish I had. The reality is that I am not hard-working. I’m a quitter. I am not fearless. I am fearful. I am not determined or dedicated. I am ambition-less and undedicated.

Do I get to blame these things on debilitating depression? Are the odds against me because I’m bipolar? I don’t know. If I were being as gentle with myself as a therapist would be, what would I say to myself? I’m not sure. I just know I can’t let myself off the hook.

I can strive for better, for more. I know I’ll never be an Olympian. I’ll be okay with that if I can just make some real progress in the life that I’ve been given. It’s going to take work… a different kind of work than that of an athlete. I am capable of hard work. I have to dedicate myself to this task. My life depends on it.

h1

Friends

February 9, 2010

When I’m in the depths of my depression, when absolutely nothing matters, I do what I do best – I isolate myself. I disappear. No one can find me. There have been many, many times in my adult life when I have sunk into a deep depression and completely shut myself off from my friends. Phone calls are ignored, emails go unanswered… for months and months… sometimes more than a year.

For some reason, my friends wait, and eventually I make contact with them again. They are always excited to hear from me… and we pick up right where we left off.

They should be allowed to expect more from me, though. Friendships are two-way roads. It’s important that I’m available for them when they need me, not just the other way around. I need to continually work on this. It’s equally important for my mental health. I need to be held accountable. I need to be a friend as much as I need friends.

Like I said, maintaining the friendships I have is absolutely critical to my mental health. I feel good when I reach out to my friends… no matter how long it’s been since we’ve last talked.

I am as honest as possible with my friends about being bipolar. They are supportive in all the ways that they know how to be, and for that, I am so thankful.

h1

Suicide

February 5, 2010

As I was reading Living Bipolar, I noticed the tags in my peripheral vision… Suicide caught my attention.

I guess to some that is a scary word. If I think long and hard enough, it’s scary to me too… sometimes.

The idea of suicide is very enticing to me at times. It’s comforting to fantasize about. Well, really, what comforts me is thinking about it being over… the suffering, the sadness, the hopelessness, the fear. Suicide is the only way, I know of, to make it all stop. And then I would be able to rest.

In actuality, I’m terrified of taking action. I thank God for that, truly.

h1

Outed

February 4, 2010

I outed myself today on Facebook… you know the little info blurb that sits under your profile picture… I typed the words, “I am bipolar.”

I am bipolar.

I wonder if I’ve really owned this fact? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t feel as educated as I should be. I don’t feel as proactive as I should be – about taking care of myself. Let me be real: I’m not a proactive person.

I guess – in a very small way – this is me taking a step in the right direction – this blog I mean.  I wanted to start blogging about my life and my mental illness over a year ago.

Today, I start.

%d bloggers like this: