I Put the Cray in the Cray-Yay

As a window into my mind, I’d like to present two versions of myself, one with some fairly random thoughts that just might be on the edge of the  “normal” range of mental stability.  The other, same thoughts, only this one is a version of me on the verge of yet another manic episode.

Random thoughts of Relatively Stable Me:

- Isn’t it amazing how the entire solar system is designed?
- Did I take the garbage out this week?
- I can’t believe Mary Sue’s getting a divorce.  How sad.
- What’s that noise?
- I used to know what atoms and particles and electrons and photons do.
- Why does my kid have so much useless homework day after day after day?
- Did I get my tax return money back yet?
- Isn’t it ridiculous how some people spend so much money on material things?

Version Number Two:  The Sh*t’s-About-To-Go-Down Me  (i.e. me during a manic episode):

‘Isn’t it amazing how the entire solar system is designed?  Isn’t it beautiful that Earth is the only planet we’ve discovered with such a perfect, temperate, liveable climate for life?  Did I take the garbage out this week?  I can’t believe she’s getting a divorce.  How sad.

What’s that noise?

I used to know what atoms and particles and electrons and photons do and it is so  important I need to research it right now where are my books from college oh here it is this is fascinating I need to write a paper on this and get it published everyoneneedstoknowthisandrealizehowpertinentitistotheirlives  Ohmygosh why does my kid have so much useless homework day after day after day when he should be studying atoms in order to gain an understanding of the Greater Good God PeaceFreedomExistentialism I need to call his teacher and ask her opinion on the common core maybeIshouldhomeschool,  isn’t it amazing how the entire solar system is designed?  Isn’t it beautiful that Earth is the only planet we’ve discovered with such a perfect, temperate, liveable climate for life and here I am throwing all this garbage into it – did I take the garbage out this week – if I didn’t I am going to reduce my carbon footprintbygoingthroughthisweeksgarbageandwritingdowneverythingIthrewaway
andanalyzing theeffectIpersonallyhaveontheenvironment wow, man, I need to write a paper on this too like RIGHT NOW I bet that’s the connection of why she’s getting a divorce if only she knew about the photons thing and how light bends around a moving object YES that is IT if only

theywouldunderstanditwouldn’thavetobethiswayanymore – SHIT whatisthatnoise?

I think I can hear my heart beating.

Okay, so both of these versions of me ARE indeed ME and I do have weird random thoughts that probably aren’t along the same spectrum of “normal” as I stated above, but the difference is that when I’m manic, none of the thoughts seem random; in fact, just the opposite:  they are all spectacularly interconnected.

giphy

I’m expecting this will give you a better understanding of the cray in the cray-cray.

Or maybe I just need to lay off the Vsauce.  Peace.

The Black Dog

Perhaps I took on more than I can handle.

Breadwinner.  That’s me.  Only I’m broken in two by Bipolar I.  So in the things I wish I could do, I only fulfill those dreams about half of the time.  Because I still feel this mental illness holds me back.  Ruins things.  Destroys my sanity, at a time when I need it most.

I read a book once that described depression like a black dog.  It waits in the corner of every space in your mind, just waiting for the right moment to attack and bring you to your knees in agony and despair.

So having survived a few attacks by the black dog, I felt ready to pursue other avenues.  I searched the internet for a new job.  And I found one.  It seemed like a good fit:  it utilized experience I had from the prior jobs, while also seeming to be challenging yet inspiring work.  I thought it would bring a better life to me and my family.  I thought it would amp up my resume  and fill in  the blank spaces since my breakdown.

But it has come with its own difficulties, many I didn’t anticipate.

One thing I can readily admit about myself is that I am a hard worker.  I will stop at nothing to get the job done, and I seek praise more than anything else.  This need for praise most likely comes from some unrealized psychological desire for my father to show me love and attention, but that’s a different story.  Essentially, I am trying to do the work I am passionate about, while also trying to maintain some realistic expectations for myself.

Only with Bipolar Disorder, many times your mind carries you out to the farthest stretches of “realistic expectations.”  Sometimes I believe I can do it all, all by myself.  I constantly bite off more than I can chew.  And it leads to my downfall.  Foolishly, I press on, knowing full well where I am headed.

But what can I do?  I can’t stop living.  I can’t stop taking care of my family financially, emotionally, and spiritually.  I try to do it all.  It is a never-ending cycle, that I know will weaken me until the right moment when the black dog digs his teeth into me and pulls me down under.  I will once again have failed.

I know it’s hard to understand for those who don’t experience it.  It is hard to understand, and it affects all of us in a slightly different way.  But in essence, Bipolar Disorder I is disruptive to the live I wish to live.  I don’t want to downsize my dreams due to this illness.  I don’t want to let up on what I know must be done.

The thing is, I know what the consequences are if I don’t take care of myself.  I know I will be back on the couch, eating and sleeping and not doing much else.  I know I will become what I hate.

I need this to stop.  It is growing out of my control, and just as I know it will happen, it will happen.  Ya Allah, please save me from my own destruction.

My Support System

I can’t be something I’m not.  So I will continue to write here, to tear open my heart and liver and lungs and let you see inside of me.  I don’t know how to write any other way.  So here goes…

Life has gotten hard.  In some ways.  In some unimportant, typical ways that Life has always been to me and many generations before me.  I stress over all of it – bills, house, money, kids, bills, house, money, kids – it is an endless cycle that continues to perpetuate.

But even in the midst of the difficulties, there is hope.  I see that I have support from so many people in my life.  My husband is my number one – being there to listen to me, help me take care of myself, help me realize that my life isn’t crumbling before my eyes, that Allah test us with difficulties so that we can be rewarded for our patience.  Yasmin Mogahed explains this so well in this link.  (You can view the video, but below her video is a bulleted list of her key points.)

My family is always there, I am blessed with three amazing sisters who have taken care of me, looked out for me, carried me through this life since the day I was born.  There has not been one instance – not one – when they have not been whole-heartedly there for me when I needed them.

My sisters-in-laws are an amazing part of my support system.  They care for me and my family.  They buy my kids everything they’d ever need and more.  They take us out for fun when we’re feeling stressed, they drag me up from the floor when I can’t get up.  They immediately respond to any emergency we encounter (which happens more often than I’d wish!)  They have taught me that it is okay to ask for help, and they have changed their schedules, their plans, their lives for me and my family.  They are both loving, caring and nurturing and I am so grateful to have them in my life.

Yes, I struggle.  Yes, I take on too much.  Yes, sometimes I cannot breathe and I cling to the branch Allah has given to me and beg him to get me out of this.  But he already has given me all the tools I’d ever need, and he has blessed me with a wide and wonderful support system that I am grateful for every day of my life.

On Writing

I kind of don’t know where to start.

I put off writing because so much time has passed, so many moments missed, so many details I wanted to share but didn’t have time to.  Or maybe I had the time but didn’t trust myself to use the right words.  To keep things positive, to express all the good times.

See, I write for me.  I write to alleviate the stresses and difficulties so that I can keep on keeping on.  So most of my journals are filled with disasterous moments, horrible thoughts, deep down dark secrets that I never want to reveal.

But it’s only because it helps me cope.  And then I can excuse myself from those negative thoughts and get on to take care of things, to keep moving and breathing and living.

So I sometimes feel conflicted about writing on this blog.  I sometimes worry that essentially all I’m doing is COMPLAINING.  But it’s how I process things.  I am not much concerned with the number of hits I get or the number of views or the comments I receive.  What I love, though, is that very thing.  Just the fact that someone took the time to read what I’ve written, and to sometimes have a real person, someone out there who is feeling the same feelings I am, reach out, sometimes from millinos of miles away, just to say, “I understand.”

Now that I’m writing, I want to post and post and post as I do.  I’m sure I’ll again go on hiatus.  But I’ll always come back.  And I’ll always appreciate the friendships I’ve made through blogging.  I know you’ll accept me back.  Because you always do.

Missing Months

Naeem(os):

I’m sorry.  Will you forgive me?

I abandoned you when you were only 2 months old.  I left you for a stay in the hospital.  Mommy didn’t take her meds.  Mommy didn’t visit her doctor.  Mommy got sick.

I had to leave you at home, while I got better.  I meant to be there for you.  I meant to hug you and hold you and feed you and clean you and clothe you and comfort you and snuggle you.  But I couldn’t.  I wasn’t there.

I was stuck in a hospital bed.  The night I was carried away, you were asleep.  You didn’t hear Mommy’s screams.  You didn’t see Mommy being put into the ambulance.  You didn’t hear the ambulance pull out of the yard and take Mommy far from you.

You cried for Mommy’s milk.  It was all you had known in your two little months of newborn-ness.  Daddy warmed up bottles, carried you around, coaxed you to eat, comforted you to fall asleep.  I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help.  I was in a psychiatric bed, pumping your milk with a manual pump, crying and sobbing because I couldn’t give it to you.

I am hurt by the time I have lost with you.  Nothing will bring that time back to me, and now it is lost forever.  Sometimes I fear that you have not forgiven me.   Afraid you won’t ever forgive me for abandoning you at such a vulnerable time.

If I could go back and fix it, I would do it in a heartbeat.  If I could rewind time, return to my pregnancy, fix my meds, visit my doctor, prevent everything that had happened that led me into a psychotic episode, I would.  I would, but I can’t.

Ya Allah, please help me to accept it.  Please help me to forgive.

You Are A Good Mother

As a mother, you do so much for your kids, but they won’t ever realize just how much.  Yes, I received some acknowledgement on Mother’s Day (my son presented me with a poster he made at school – the teacher had written:  “I love my mom because…” and he wrote: “she makes my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches”), and I am appreciative of all the hugs, kisses, and love I get from my boys, but at the same time, I just need a break.

I struggle daily with guilty thoughts – how I should be reading to them more, I should be taking them outside more, I should not yell so much, complain so much, argue.  Even if I were the so-called “Perfect Mother,” there would still be something I’d feel bad about.  I remember when my first son was born, I would visit my parents’ house and before I left after each trip there, my dad would follow me out to the care, hug me, and tell me that I’m doing a good job.  I thrived on those moments through those first few years; it was all I had.

So today, I am going to make myself a list of the reasons I am proud of myself, in an effort to stop this cycle of guilt I twirl myself into so often.

1.  If you fall asleep on the couch, I will carry you to bed so as not to wake you.
2.  I will kiss every boo-boo and make the hurt go away.
3.  I will stop doing dishes to get on my hands and knees and play monster with you.
4.  I will remember that you will only be small for a short while and it will go by too fast so I better enjoy every minute of it.
5.  I will make you brush your teeth every night.  I will make you wash your hands before you eat.  I will teach you how to pray before you put a bite of food into your mouth.  I will tuck you in each and every night and make sure you feel safe.
6.  I will take you to the store, to the park, to the gas station, to the library, to Grama’s house.
7.  I will search the entire house up and down to find Leopard Kitty before you get in bed.
8.  I will hug you tight no matter how old you are.  
9.  I will trust you.
10.  I will listen to you.
11.  I will thank God every day for bringing you to me.
12.  I will let you go when it’s time.

I am proud of myself for committing myself to my children.  It has not been easy, and I have struggled as every parent has.  But all I hope for is that my sons turn out to be caring, helpful, positive young men, with the strength to stand up for others and to have confidence in themselves.  That is what I pray for.

I Hate Summer (and Here Are the Reasons Why)

summer

Reason #1.  Sweating.
Reason #2.  Bathing suits.
Reason #3.  Shorts.
Reason #4.  Pale, white skin that doesn’t tan.  That only burns red and then doesn’t even turn into a tan, just goes right back to being white once it heals.
Reason #5 (and this is a big one).  Hornets.  I am deathly afraid of hornets.  I don’t even really remember if I’ve ever been bitten by one in real life.  I just remember from as far back as I can remember that I have been terrified of them.  I used to have nightmares about gigantic human-sized hornets at the screen door, trying to get in at me.

These are other reasons why I hate summer.

Completely superficial desires.

But hey, I’m not a complete sourpuss.  There are moments – like taking my boys to the beach and staying in a cabin nearby and playing in the sand and water.

But really, aside from that ONE experience, I’m not thrilled about the sun and the heat and the sweating.  In fact, I hate it.  And I think I’m the only one in the whole world who feels this way.  Join me in my stinky, sweaty rage against hot weather.