So. Here we are yet again- or here I am yet again. Finding myself coming back to my blog almost a fully year later. I cannot believe that it’s been that long. In fact, I had to double check to make sure there weren’t any draft posts I accidentally missed, NOPE! It’s actually been almost a year. And here I am… trying to find my space here, trying to write out how I’m honestly feeling, while simultaneously creating a space where others can also relate to the ins and outs of the chaos that is sometimes my mind.
Today I want to tell you something- life isn’t perfect, but it is beautiful and can be wonderful. I have four amazing children – ages 14, 11, 6 & 4- my eldest has serious special needs. I have an amazing husband ( not to mistaken for a perfect husband or perfect relationship ). I have a thriving business that I own. I live in my dream home (mostly). I also have a traumatic past (very much so). And I also have Bipolar 1 Disorder. You may be asking why am I saying all of this? Well, because mental illness doesn’t exclude anyone, and I mean ANYONE. I’ve known about my Bipolar since I was a teenage, however, I until recently (I mean the last couple of years) refused to stay medicated for any period of time. I also didn’t have a full understanding of what Bipolar 1 was or how it effected me truly. All I can say without fully diving into this right now, because that’s an entire other post, is that gosh it’s so worth it to know your diagnosis…. Research it, study it, talk about it. But what I can tell you is that no matter who you are mental illness does not leave anyone out.
I’m currently teetering a very fine line… you guys know (or maybe you don’t) that fine line of possibly becoming manic. You aren’t quite there yet, but you know it could be on the horizon. It’s a line that I HATE walking, I line I dread and pray endlessly to not walk or to simply put be able to walk backwards… or somehow make it to the other side without flying high first. I recently had several triggers that happened that just BAM! Hit me. That dreaded feeling of Oh shit. I may be in trouble. The racing thoughts, the lack of sleep, the missing a dose of medication, the -for me at least- creativity, and there’s a few other things I won’t divulge. But you’re likely starting to understand. I’m not there, but could get there. I’m still taking my meds, I’m still using my coping strategies, but a few things have just been oh, this isn’t right. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband, group of close friends and group of doctors who are all aware of what’s going on. And hopefully we will be able to keep this at bay. This is partially why I’m coming here- as a release. A way to find a space, any space, my space. A way to release the thoughts and a way to relate to others, a way to cope. So I leave this space tonight feeling just the tiniest bit better, the tiniest bit closer to normalcy, to sanity.
‘Owning your story is the bravest thing you’ll ever do.’ – Brene Brown
This. This is so true. Owning your story is healing in so many ways. But also terrifying. As I sit here typing this out (I haven’t blogged here in years) I am thinking about how much has changed. Within my family, my business (surprise I own a business now) and with my health and awareness. Let me start by also saying that I am only one and a half weeks out of a severe manic/manic psychosis episode. Things are incredibly raw right now, though I am healing. And I’m so grateful for that. I want to start with some basics…
First, Bipolar type 1 (the type I have) does NOT discriminate, in fact no mental illness does. I am a mama to four beautiful children, I live in my dream home in Northern VA, I’m blessed with a supportive and loving husband and family and I generally have a life that I love and have worked hard for. And yet, I still have Bipolar. I was first diagnosed as a teenager and have been hospitalized more than once for mania (four times). This is something I struggle with…. Recently I swung into a manic episode that lasted abut 2.5 weeks, thank God my mother came into town and helped and that my husband was aware of what was going on. I am currently on correct dosages of medications and plan to stay on them, though I also know that that doesn’t mean another manic episode or depressive episode will happen again. I guess I’m saying all of this to say, no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Which is maybe something I really need to hear right now.
So. Where does that leave me and my family now? Well, we are navigating these waters the best we can. We are picking up the broken pieces and gluing them back together. I am seeing my doctors regularly, including therapy, and I am practicing self care. This means early bedtimes, take my medications and NOT missing a dose. This means being loving and kind and trying to heal wounds caused by my words and actions while I was manic. It means that things just seem really, raw and scary right now. This means being gentle with myself and showing up the best I can. It means loving on my littles and feeling grateful. It means practicing self care. It means taking a step back from things and it means talking to friends I trust and being open about what’s going. And I’m ok with that.
I will be back soon with more thoughts and what this life is like. Today, I am grateful!
When I woke up this morning I stirred around for a few minutes in my comfortable bed and said good bye to my husband as he was leaving for work. I enjoyed some peace and quiet for a few moments. Really hearing the birds chirping out of our bedroom window. Feeling the sheets against my skin. Smelling the coffee, the coffee I needed to make still. As I laid there, I remembered that I had quite a busy day. Including a visit with my psychiatrist and a visit with my therapist. As I laid there thinking about those appointments I started to think about the past, the present and the future. I started remembering how just a few short weeks ago I was unable to sleep for days at a time, maybe getting two hours a sleep max, or so depressed that I was suicidal for days at a time. I remembered parts of those several nights of manic psychosis and remembered the misery. I also laid there thinking about how much fun my children have, how many places I take them because when I’m manic I plan and plan and plan and get very creative. I also remembered that moment my daughter came to me and told me that she wanted to just stay home today, that she didn’t want to go to all the places because she was tired. I remember the pain of that loaded statement from my four year old. I had been told several times that I’m always on the go, but it wasn’t until she said something that it hit me. And still I continue because I have Bipolar, things don’t just stop when you’re not being treated. In fact, most of the time I think I’m somewhat ok, now I know I’m not most of the time. When I have manic psychosis I know that I’m not ok. I then started thinking about the present, that in just a few short weeks so much can change. I have accepted my diagnosis of Bipolar 1, and have decided to be treated. Since starting the medications I have noticed a few changes, I’m not as manic, and not as aggravated or easily angered. I have had a few days of suicidal thinking, which still scares me and makes me feel guilty at times, makes me feel like how could I be thinking about this when I have such wonderful children and a wonderful husband and a wonderful husband. I have to remind my self to be gentle with myself, be kind to myself. I laid there thinking about how my husband hugged this morning and told me he was proud of me. I thought about my children’s sweet and gentle hugs and kisses. I laid there in that moment finding some peace in all of this. Finding the beauty in this messy thing we call life. Finding the beauty in my Bipolar. Finding the beauty in motherhood. Finding the beauty in being a wife. And all the other things I get to be today. I laid there thinking about how blessed I am. I thought about how I can’t wait to see what God had in store for me. Today I am grateful.
As I laid awake last night in my bed, with my husband lying next to me asleep, in the dark with thoughts racing through my head unable to fall asleep I had to remind myself that I had felt suicidal the last three days, despite the beautiful blessings I have in my life. I couldn’t come out of it. Then… yesterday, I woke up energized, ready to conquer the world, ready to take my children to school and get packing as we are in the process of moving, then head out to a girl friends house, then to dinner and had seriously contemplated going out after diner to enjoy the weather. Instead I went out and came home convinced that I should try to sleep as I know that today I had planned a very busy day for us. Heading to what my children call the “airplane park”, then lunch with my mom, then a festival close to my house, then home to do some more packing. My husband and a close friend of mine mentioned to me that I was talking a mile a minute and seemed very happy and was planning a lot. Still, I thought no, this will be great. So, last night I came home instead of going out to enjoy the weather, I walked into the house at 9:07 p.m. Once inside I realized I was too excited to sleep, so I made a small snack, came downstairs and did some work from home. At about 10:15 I went upstairs to take my medicines and to try to lay down. As I lay next to my husband all I could do was lay awake thinking and counting my blessings. Yes, I know I was experiencing mania, but I do have quite a bit to be grateful for. My children are pretty healthy, my son has special needs, but he is happy and doing well in school. My daughter is also doing very well, she is four and wonderful. My marriage is surviving mental illness, which is incredible. My family is supportive, as are my friends. If you had asked me a year ago if I would be dealing with all of this right now, I wouldn’t of believed you. But here I am today dealing with Bipolar 1, willingly getting help. As I laid in bed awake it was hard not to think about that day about 3 weeks ago. I had been manic for about four days and then I broke. I snapped and couldn’t control it. It was an out of body experience. Which I have had before, but this time I could see it a little bit better. I knew I needed help. I am reminded today that I have many many wonderful blessings in my life. Including the willingness to get help for my Bipolar 1. I have to remind myself daily, that this is ok, and accept it piecemeal. It’s hard, some days are harder than others, but it’s doable. I am grateful for the people who continue to remind me that it’s ok. Someone reminded me last night to enjoy this one peaceful moment, even if that means it’s only for 2 seconds or 5 minutes. I struggle to do that. I hope one day I can learn to pause in those moments. Right now I am grateful for my beautiful blessings.