Monthly Archives: November 2014

I’ve Got Sunshine On a Cloudy Day

Sunshine Coast Sunrise by Jiaren Lau

Alright, alright.  So I’m stretching the truth a bit.  But most of my posts have to do with my nearly debilitating depression, so I figured a little bit of sunshinin’ ain’t never hurt nobody.

Good day at work?  Check.
Showered this morning?  Check.
Laughed with the husband?  Check.

I’d say that is about the best I’m going to get, and it really ain’t that bad.  Sure I’m struggling, sure we are financially DROWNING, sure I barely know how to put my pants on in the morning, let alone hold down a full-time job and take care of two rambunctious boys who are under the age of six and can squeeze the sap out of me in 2 seconds flat.

But at least I can smile today.

Advertisements

Comfortable in Silence

Today I sat in total silence.

I had come upstairs to fix my glasses (you know that little screw that just keeps popping out so that you have to halt everything within a 6 foot radius and get on your hands and knees to find (sometimes with the assistance of a complete stranger if you happen to be in public)) and I fumbled up the job, so I was left with the lenses in one hand and the part that wraps around your ear in the other.

I also realized I’d left my phone downstairs.

I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to my phone – but that’s only because I am in denial.  I look at my phone probably a total of 100 times a day, and I realize that in comparison to others, that is probably not very often.  But the sad thing is, I’m usually looking at it when there has been no activity on it whatsoever.  No new texts, no posts, no chimes going off to let me know a loved one has thought of me.  Nope.  It’s usually me just pretending to check the weather but really hoping I have a missed call.

I don’t like silence anymore.  At one point in my life, I did.  At least, I think I did.  So many times when I cast my line back to my past and start to reel in whatever I caught, it is usually filled with glitter and spice and everything nice.  Life was PERFECT; that’s the only way I remember it because it HAD to be because everything right now is such a disaster (dramatic reading of my thoughts).

So I sat there and quickly came to the realization that I had nothing to distract me from my own thoughts.  I didn’t have a pen in my hand, or a phone to try to numb my mind.  I didn’t have a computer in reach and I couldn’t even see (see above Glasses Situation.)

And so I sat.  And I heard rain.  Dropping on the roof of the attic.  And I thought about a time when I was camping in the deep woods, and I was laying in a tent all alone and it was raining.  And I remember holding my flashlight and writing in a brown journal with brown-tinted papers and a binding made out of thick twine.

And I thought of another time when I was staring up at the stars in the back bed of my sister’s truck, holding hands with my best friend as the soft, warm air of summer rushed over us.  And it truly was PERFECT.

And I thought about the fact that I used to meditate and I used to practice yoga and I used to shower daily and I used to take walks in the woods and I used to get up early just to see the sunrise.  I used to listen to beautiful music and feel deeply and inhale sweet air into the bottom of my lungs and my body and my mind was hard and strong and I was CENTERED.

Was I?  It really does seem like I was.  Or do I just remember it that way?  Or do I just wish it was that way?

And then I shook my head out of my fairy-tale world and brought myself back to reality, 40 lbs overweight, smoking cigarettes through chronic bronchitis and heart problems.  Overeating, oversleeping, thinking of death and wondering how it will feel to lie in the cold, dark earth of my grave.

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.