Fear has become my constant companion these past months, sowing seeds of doubt, confusion, and discouragement that have taken root deep down inside of me where my essence and passions are conceived. It has choked my creativity, inhibiting my freedom … Continue reading
“I could be daydreaming but for a moment
And somehow they’re creeping back in
I could be sleeping awakened the torrent
Somehow I get caught in their grips again
And here I am in my shame spiral
I’m sucked in to it again
And I reach out for your benevolent opinion
You bring the light back in
Don’t leave me here with all these critical voices
Cause they do their best to bring me down
When I’m alone with all these negative voices
I will need your help to turn them down…” Spiral/Havoc and Bright Lights/Alanis Morrisette
no one loves you.
you’re so weak.
first name incapable, last name burden-that’s you.
the Voice. it mercilessly plays it’s record of shame endlessly on my inner loudspeaker, stirring up my irrational insecurities into a paranoid frenzy.
no one loves you.
you’re so weak.
first name incapable, last name burden, that’s you.
tiny arms reach up & around my neck, pulling me in close as if to say “You’re mine, I won’t let It take you.”
boyish grins light up their faces as giggles escape from their little bodies as if to say “you make us so happy.”
little legs struggle to climb into my lap, seeking solace & comfort as if to say “I need you…we’re safe here, together.”
his voice travels confidently through the phone, reminding me once again that I haven’t been abandoned to wander Illness’ deadly streets on my own. “you’re not alone, you have me, I’m here, I came back, I’m not going anywhere. I love you, we’ll get through this together,” he says.
I am loved, they love me.
I’m strongest when I’m weak because I don’t give up.
first name Addy, last name capable, that’s me.
I am loved. I am needed. I am strong. I am capable….no matter how mixed & chaotic this illness makes me.
*I’ve been in a hypomanic/mixed mood since we left. It’s been hard, but thanks to my meds & my family I’ve been managing ok….until this past week. I’ve upped my meds again & am trying to wait patiently for the Austin VA to place me in their system and assign me a psychiatrist….I was told today it’s going to take 3-4 weeks. I’ll be fighting like hell to keep the heaviness & chaos from weighing me down…and praying my mind doesn’t get any worse. In my next post I swear I’ll finally tell you about the awesomeness that has become our lives in Austin…and those fears I mentioned last post-have to share those too. In the meantime, enjoy your Labor Day weekend lovelies.*
I want to say this in a way that’s eloquent & inspirational. I want to use all the right words, and craft this into a beautiful piece of writing, that carries the weight of my thoughts & emotions, and helps you fully grasp how much this moment means to me….and even though they don’t know it yet, to my boys.
But I can’t. Words are failing me. There are only tears….sobs, actually, as I lay here in the boy’s empty room, eyes closed, heart bursting with gratitude…
…and love. For the first time in my 29 years of living I feel loved and whole instead of unworthy & broken. I feel peace where there used to be agony, and joy seeping through the cracks of my deepest sorrows.
12 months ago I was obsessed with death. I spent my waking moments torn between not wanting to leave my boys without their mother & wanting to rid them of the one who felt like she had failed them.
I’m glad to say, a year later, I’m not in that place, and I’m not looking to find relief in death. I’ve found it instead in 200mg of Lamictal, .25mg of Xanax, and 2mg of Pimozide, taken at 10am, every single day…and in a diagnosis that’s forced me to make myself and my well being a priority-a first for me.
It’s been a year full of growth & healing thanks to therapy.
If you would’ve told me last year I’d be right here, laying on the floor, free from nearly all the shit I’ve been carrying since childhood, I would’ve just smiled politely, said thanks, and walked away not believing a word of it.
But here I am. Loved and whole. Healed and stronger than before. Embracing life instead of plotting to escape it…focused on LIVING it instead of just existing & surviving it.
My boys have their mother, their parents back together, and they have each other…a far cry from what they had just a year ago.
So I’m just laying here, in my almost empty apartment, marveling at how far we’ve come…excited for the new beginning that lies ahead…Tears streaming down my face as I whisper “thank you” over & over again, my heart exploding in joy each time.
I’ve come full circle.
“You’re going to die.”
Hands began to close around my neck.
My heart was racing.
Panic welled up at the back of my throat, my breaths coming faster and shorter as fear consumed me.
I could feel them. On my neck. The hands. Closing off my air supply.
“You’re going to die.”
Black. Everything was black.
Just as I opened my mouth to scream, I heard his voice next to me.
“So you want me to heat this up in the pot, here on the stove?”
I stared at him, my panic subsiding as I realized where I was.
“Um, well I burned some of the rice yesterday, so some of it is stuck to the bottom. You might just want to scoop some out-”
“And nuke it? Ok.”
I quickly turned my back to him hoping he wouldn’t be able to see the terror in my eyes.
There were no hands choking me. I was standing at the stove sautéing a pan of penne pasta, vegetables & sausage.
I was in my house. With my kids. With Bertski. Safe. The evening sun eased its way through the kitchen windows, reassuring me that nightfall was still a few hours away. It was light where I was…not dark.
As I gripped the countertop my mind swirled with too many thoughts and questions about what had just happened.
Did I black out? Was I hallucinating? Delusional? Am I insane?
I turned off the stove, mumbled something about needing to sit down and sank into the sofa, my face buried hands as tears stung my eyes and flowed down my cheeks.
“I’m not going to die,” I heard a tiny thought whisper.
Instead of hands closing themselves around my neck, I felt arms, strong and comforting pull me in close as he sat next to me, holding me, rubbing my back slowly.
No words. Just silence punctuated by stifled sobs.
I’ve been hypomanic for 8 days. It’s the longest episode of mania I’ve ever experienced. I usually cycle through it pretty quickly with it only lasting 2-3 days tops.
The first two days are full of euphoria, restless energy, impulsive compulsions, and racing thoughts. The third day tends to be where the racing thoughts become frantic, and I’m on edge; agitated and irritable. I lack patience and the slightest thing can send my anxiety through the roof.
But this time, it’s lasted longer. I’ve been turned all the way up and moving faster than normal the past 7 days. Searching for a place to live and preparing to move cross country has had my mind and body on fast forward, propelling me each day toward the edge. I’ve had fun. I’ve enjoyed my family. Was spoiled rotten for our anniversary and I soaked up every drop of love being poured over me.
But today. Today it was too much. Too fast. Too loud. I was on sensory overload. I couldn’t keep up. My mind moved at such a dizzying pace concentration and focus were foreign to me…so much so that trying to focus on things like changing diapers and being peppered with questions about the Bubble Guppies overwhelmed me.
My thoughts were erratic. Chaotic. Running together, and bleeding into one another. All over the place.
I felt like I was spinning. Out of control. Twinges of panic gripped me all day and I felt nauseated.
I reached out for support. I text Bertski. Called my psych. Took my meds. Got the boys down for a nap.
I even painted.
But it wasn’t enough. By the time he got home, I could feel fear grabbing ahold of me but I had no idea why. There was nothing to be afraid of. I was safe. In my house. With my kids.
But as I stood at the stove finishing dinner, my mind slipped off the edge, time stopped, and I felt the flames of madness hot on my face.
On the outside I appeared to be functioning normally but on the inside I was being deconstructed, my
mind completely unhinged for a few brief terrifying seconds.
I’m so glad his voice, his touch, his strength, his presence brought me back before I fell too deep.
He took care of the boys and dinner while I laid on the couch, crying and desperately trying to grasp reality, trying to comprehend what had just taken place.
“I just want to be better,” I told him.
“You’re getting there baby. You’ve been doing really well the past month. It’s okay. I think the move triggered you. It’s okay. You have support. We’re right here.”
I’m safe. In my house. With my kids. With my future husband and best friend.
It was just a moment of madness. Terrifyingly real and something I hope to never experience ever again.
But I’m scared it will. What if it does? What will happen to me?
I was invited to write this post by a group of bloggers who are participating in a series of posts called “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You”. The TIATTY movement was inspired by a post from Jess Constable of Make … Continue reading
This is the 5th (6th?) night in a row we’ve hung out.
You dropped by completely unannounced expecting me to party these nights away with you…
Maybe you were really looking for Snooki and got lost on a detour that ended at my crib, I don’t know.
What I do know is that I like to swathe myself in my cozy comforter, a cumulus nimbus cloud of pillows and snore my way through dreams that star Will Ferrel and the cast of The Big Bang Theory.
And be jarred awake as my cheek starts to swim in the cold drool that’s formed the Great Lakes on my pillow.
I like to sleep. Soundly. Undisturbed.
In fact the only people allowed to disturb my slumber are my children…and that’s only because well…they’re my children. Someone has to feed them and change pee soaked diapers at o dark thirty in the morning…if I’m not awake to do that, they might wind up eating bath salts and start eating people while they throw feces all over my walls. We just cant have that.
I need to sleep so I can have energy when they come barreling full force into my room, so full of combustible energy they’re practically nuclear.
That’s why I need my sleep, Insomnia. Because I have nuclear missiles to raise. You can’t do that ish half-asleep-someone could get an eye poked out or start Armageddon….
And while I love Jesus, I gotta be honest and say I’m not ready to meet Him yet, not at 29. 79? Maybe. 109? Definitely.
But I digress….
Sleep. I need it because without it, I go skyrocketing off to another galaxy…one full of euphoric gas, rainbows, talking unicorns, million dollar gift cards to Target, and other glorious things one feels as they begin to tango with hypomania.
Without sleep, this over wired brain begins to short circuit….synapses, axons, dendrites, and other things I should’ve paid more attention to when my processor lectured on them in my Human Development class start to….misfire…yea I think that’s the term she used.
Anyway the point is without sleep my brain’s homeostasis is thrown outta wack and my bipolar comes out to play. Which is what you wanted in the first place and absolutely love because you two like to party together. Problem is after a few days of getting high, the twins Anxiety and Agitation show up to crash the party, bringing Depression and her dark, brooding thoughts with her.
As fun as the initial moments of hypomania are, I really prefer to be on the level side of things, so I’d really like you to leave. You’re dangerous…like playing with firecrackers dangerous, and I’d like to keep my body parts intact and spare my family a spin on the bipolar merry go round.
I’m sorry but staring off into the darkness while everyone else is knee deep in REM cycles isn’t my idea of fun. And again, neither is the crash that comes after the high.
You’re just too much of a trigger. I can’t have you around. You’ve gotta go.
So please free the Sandman from wherever you’re holding him hostage and hit the road. Bother someone who can actually make you work for them and not against ‘em.
Consider this a warning. If you fail to heed this warning, expect Ambien & Trazadone to pay you a visit. They’re like the Chuck Norris’ of sleep meds.
I’m not afraid to use them.
A couple of summers ago, Bertski & I took the boys to the Grounds for Sculpture garden up in Hamilton, New Jersey. It’s an expansive garden full of lush vegetation, intriguing contemporary art, and some amazingly creative sculptures. Camera in hand, I was inspired to snap away while Bertski & Brennan ran around exploring and Alex slept in the stroller.
I took close to a thousand pictures that day, so many different aspects of the garden captured my attention. My favorite part of the whole trip is evidenced by the large number of pictures I took of a pond in the corner of the garden….it was full of some of the prettiest flowers I had ever seen, I couldn’t take my eyes (or my camera) off of them. They were tall, with long, strong-looking and thick stems that seemed to push them straight up out of the water and above the surface…boldly standing out from the lily pads and thrushes that surrounded them. Their petals seemed to unfurl as they bent themselves back and curved their way up toward the sun, leaving their innermost part, their circular seed pods, exposed to the sun, wind, and eyes of the world around them.
I’m quite illiterate when it comes to plants & flowers, so I had no idea what they were until I did a google search later that night. I had no idea that what I learned about lotus flowers that night would wake me up two years later, shouting at me to pay attention to an important life lesson.
You see lotus flowers are gorgeous. As they stretch themselves up and over the water, your eyes gaze upon the beauty and unique design of each one-whether they’re in full blossom or just starting to open up. What you don’t see, are the conditions they grow in. Lotus flowers are admired and loved because they can grow in the darkest and harshest of conditions and survive. Despite having to grow in a less than ideal environment, these flowers thrive and bloom where they are planted.
Bloom where you are planted….
I woke up with that thought and this information about lotus flowers shouting in my head this morning. As I laid there trying to understand why today of all days this was on my mind, it occurred to me that it’s June 1st.
A new month. New season. 6 months until a new year arrives (can you believe it?! ) and 5 months until I turn the dreaded 30.
Or do I have to dread turning 30? Let’s go over this again: new month, new season, half of the year left, and 5 months away from having lived 30 years on this Earth.
30 years. Of pain. Of abuse. Of brokenness. Of not knowing or understanding who I am, of living my life under the rule and control of others and their expectations, their standards. Of living my life based on the opinions of others, trying like hell to please them because I thought I needed their approval. Of having my life dictated by circumstance instead of choice.
30 years. Of heartache. Of shame. Of disappointment. Of misplaced guilt. Of misguided decisions. Of regret. Of loss. Of hating myself. Of wishing I could be like the women I secretly envy. Of compromise. Of insecurity. Of lacking confidence and believing the words of those who said I’d die or they’d kill me before I made it to becoming anything of worth and value. Of illness. Of excuses.
30 years. As I laid in my bed this morning I made a choice.
“I will not spend the next 30 years of my life like I have the first. I won’t spend the next 5 months like I have. No I won’t.
I’ve been through a lot of things in my first 29 years of living. I’ve had to see and endure things no one should, and yet I’m still here, I didn’t have it as bad as others. People have looked at my history and expected me to be a drug addict, an alcoholic, or dead. My psychiatrist says the fact that I only have a mental illness as a result of my genetics and trauma is something to be grateful for….and as illogical as it sounds, she’s right and I am. It’s not ideal, and I don’t like it, but in the grand scheme of things, I could be far worse off than I actually am and that’s nothing but a testament to how graceful God truly is.
30 years. I can’t change how the first 29 1/2 years of my life have gone. I can’t do anything about the darkness I’ve had to live in, or change the fact that I have to live with a darkness from an illness that threatens my well being daily.
But I can make a choice to grow above and beyond the environment I was forced to grow in up until this point. I can choose to live above and beyond the dark, murky waters of the last 29 1/2 years. I can choose to let go and push past. I can decide to stand tall like a lotus flower and bloom for others to see. I can choose to use the environment I’ve grown in to reveal what lies within my innermost parts-a woman with an authentic, compassionate, and whole heart to connect with others who are hurting and struggling to make it out of their own dark waters.
Yes. I can choose to let it all go and break forth and embark upon the next 30 years with fresh determination to live my life and not just survive it.
Today I’m choosing to bloom right where I’ve been planted. My beauty may have been broken by what happened beneath the surface, but my hope is that it brings something out of me that encourages and inspires others to reach toward the sun, like I am.
My laptop crapped out on me today. I was planning on spending 45-50 minutes journaling and writing some posts, but when the screen on my craptop went black for the fifth time, I gave up on that idea and wondered what to do with all the restless creative energy I was feeling.
The last couple of days I’ve been feeling restless, wanting to get lost in being creative. Colors are dancing before my eyes-I envision their placement on giant stretches of canvas when I sleep at night. My mind is busy writing my life experiences into chapters for my memoir (more on that later), and it seems even the simple and smallest details of my daily life are the perfect fodder for blog posts. ( Don’t worry, I’ll spare you from having to read 95% of them. That’s what the draft folder is for.) When I hear music, my body wants to get lost in movement, and my desire to take a dance class reminds me to put it on the “Things I must do once we’re settled in Austin,” list. (Again-more on this later)
Paint. Write. Dance. I’m craving creativity & expression in these areas. While I’m putting concentrating on dance until after we move, I plan on directing my creative energy into writing and painting this summer…. I want to spend at least 30-60 minutes a day exercising my creative muscle….I’m intrigued and excited to see what I come up with, especially as I continue to explore the world of paint, which is a new one for me. (And yet again, more on this later. I owe you at least 3 posts-remind me)
That’s why when my laptop gave up, I figured the next best thing to do was grab a piece of canvas, my brushes & paints, settle into a corner of the living room and just…paint. I did this last night as well.
The pieces I did last night and this afternoon kind of caught me off guard. I did some experimenting with thinning out my buttery acrylics with water, and here’s what emerged…
This one describes how my thoughts and thought processes are when I’m hypomanic. Everything is colorful, vibrant, I feel alive, full of energy…some of it is anxious, agitated, restless energy, some of it is productive and punctuated with lots of laughter & creative projects that range from painting to cooking. Things are fantastical, special…My thoughts run & bleed into each other blending reality with the fantasies my mind conjures up. This of course makes my concentration and focus blurry at times. I haven’t settled on a name for this one yet, but it will probably be “Manic Thoughts” or something along those lines.
This one is called “Distortion” or “A Distorted Perception of Self,” I haven’t decided yet which sounds better. It started off colorful and very bold, but halfway through turned into a mishmash of colors than blended together to create a muted look in terms of color. I spent about 10 minutes just throwing water at it, watching the paint leave trails on the canvas. It’s ugly, it’s messy, distorted, and a little chaotic…but to me, it’s how I see myself sometimes through the dirty lens of mental illness.
So, I didn’t get to write today like I wanted but I guess it’s just as well. I did something I enjoyed, and that has me feeling pretty grounded….even though hypomania is trying to lift my feet off the ground. I’m trying to stay level. We’ll see how it goes.
*WARNING: There will be expletives…and a heavy dose of sarcasm* I’m sitting here staring at this little white pill. My hands are shaking….heart is pounding. Not the “oh I’m SO excited! I can’t contain it!” kind of pounding but the … Continue reading