Saturday, November 11, 2017

10 minutes in my manic brain

I’m cycling into mania. I live with bipolar disorder. I want to do all the things. I don’t want to sleep. I have a million FABULOUS ideas. Why doesn’t everyone see how fabulous my ideas are and be part of them? Wait, if I recognize it does that mean it’s not really mania? What if I’m just going crazy?  I should make presents for everyone. Right now. At 1:45 am. No, I should clean. No, I should write everyone letters about how much I love them. I should record tutorials. I should write blogs. I should write soldiers. I should write more prisoners. Imagine their lives. Imagine the many who have lost or are losing hope. The many who are wrongfully convicted. The many who made an awful decision but who are truly remorseful. Those who will get out of prison after many years not at all knowing the strange new world they’re coming into. What is wrong with our society? I should get a law degree so I can help people. That’s way too much school and I have a hard time with boundaries. That won’t work. A paralegal degree? Yes, I should enroll RIGHT NOW. Oh, I bet my niece would love this present! I guess I understand why veterans don’t like being told “Thank you for your service”. Some feel like they didn’t join to be of service, if we knew what they were thinking at the time we wouldn’t be thanking them, that we have no idea what it truly means to serve. But for civilians they mean it. They appreciate those who made sacrifices many of us will never know or understand. They’re hoping to make up for a generation that spit on those coming home from war.  Should we say, “I’m glad you came home”? Thank you for your sacrifices? We all understand sacrifices although not at the level as our veterans. I should go visit the veterans’ home tomorrow. I should make it a habit. I should make them a postcard album. But I’d have to tell people not to write “Thank you for your service”.  Maybe there are lonely veterans who don’t really have anyone and I could brighten their days and help them feel loved and hopeful.
What’s that taste in my mouth? Orange juice shouldn’t leave a metallic taste. Yuck. I want coffee. Coffee won’t help me sleep. Not sleeping makes the mania more pronounced and sometimes increases the cycling of depression/mania. I should read something inspirational. I can’t sit still and focus that long right now. I wonder if Aaron is really happy. I don’t think this is the relationship he envisioned when we me, when he proposed, when he married me. But then I was honest, too honest, when we first met and he knew what he was getting into. Do my stepkids hate me? Past and present stepkids. Although they’re all mine. They’ll all always be mine. All 7 of them. I’ll be just a phone call, a text, away. I’ve made so many mistakes. Do they know how much I love them? Do they know I always just wanted the best for them? Do all my children know this? My sister-in-law and brother have done such an amazing job being parents. They’re close with their kids, they play with them, laugh with them, cry with them, discipline and set expectations with them. I’ve made so many bad decisions in my life. Maybe some people are right. I’m a toxic person, I hurt people, I’m too negative, I’m really selfish but I convince people I’m not, I take advantage of people… No, no I’m not. I’ve helped so many people, been there for people, and I always truly want to help and make things better. Every time someone mentions a worry, a problem, to me my mind and heart instantly go into fix it mode. I have to work hard to simmer it down because it drains me and I give too much to stay healthy myself…

This is about 10 minutes in my brain and it's not all of it. And I think you’re right there with me. So I say things or ask questions that seem really random. But they make total sense in my brain and I can’t understand why you’re so slow at catching on.

Thank you for being patient with me, for being my friend after I make grandiose plans and then fall of the face of the earth for a bit. This is why you might get a bazillion texts in a row from me and then nothing for days/weeks/months. And those texts will probably be completely random. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Question: If; Answer: Gratitude

I want to write more often, but if I wait for the perfect topic or the exact words to appear magically in my mind I'll just continue letting each day pass by with no words written.

When my mind is a blank canvas or a whirlwind of ideas that cause anxiety about settling on one, I'll pose and answer a question. Today's question is from If... (Questions For The Game of Life) by Evelyn McFarlane et al.

If you could have been the author of any single book already written, which book would you want to have penned and why?

Two books instantly come to mind. I know, I know. The question very specifically asks for a SINGLE book. My second choice is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Perhaps I'll explain that in a future post. The Kindle version is free, so if you haven't read it (woe is me if that's the case), please read the book and delve into the story of the wonderfully diverse and entertaining March sisters. 

First choice goes to A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life by John Kralik. Making a commitment to say thank you is a decision that changes two lives at once. Imagine putting a smile on 366 faces (must remember to include yourself). And by making those 365 faces smile, you inadvertently make those they come in contact with smile. Feeling bad about yourself, your life, your day? Thinks of someone you can thank. It's an instantly uplifting experience. I'd like to have written this book that is honest about how low we can sink, how giving thanks even in the darkest times can provide foot holds to moving on, and how much a genuine thank you can mean to those around us. 

Challenge yourself to say thank you more often. Be specific and sincere. Which of these expressions of gratitude would you rather receive?

  • "Thanks for all the help you've given me."
  • "Thank you for providing honest feedback on my writing sample. I appreciate the time you took to read and review the short story. After reading through your suggestions, I made several changes and the story has been picked for publishing. Here is a copy of the magazine with the final version. I couldn't have reached this milestone without your help." 
Now it's your turn! What book would you choose?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

And the wall came tumbling down

I was irritated with something my husband had done. As usual. I seem to live in a semi-permanent state of irritation; it's something I'm working on with medication changes and better nutrition. I don't remember why I was irritated. Probably something silly.

Grumbling to myself as he opened the car door, I saw the sun glint off his wedding band. A simple rose gold band. And in that moment, I realized how much I love this man and that I don't want to know what life is like without him.

It probably sounds odd. I married the man, though, so I must love him, right? Well, yes.  But I'm not good at intimacy or commitment or sticking things out when things are tough. So every time something goes wrong or we argue (especially about kids), I'm ready to leave. I'd often think, "If he told me he was leaving me, it would be such a relief." Because then it wouldn't be ME leaving. It wouldn't be ME giving up. Again.

That day, the sunlight hitting his ring shattered a wall within me. This man loves me. He's proud to have me as his wife. He is so incredibly happy to wear that wedding band. He doesn't wear it for me. He wears it because of what it means to him and because he wants everyone to know he's a married man. He never threatens to leave. He never uses my constant sense of guilt to get me to do things he wants. He doesn't use my depression as a sword to cut me down. He reminds me of the good things about myself, tells me that I've made his and the kids' lives better, and is forever patient with me. He's the first person I want to share news with: good or bad. 

He drives me crazy. If he replies to my texts or posts with "Hodor" or "Hold the Door" one more time, he may very well end up on the couch for the night. He's a pun lover. We rarely agree on expectations or consequences for the kids. He's constantly trying to convince me to sing karaoke, despite my awful voice. 

But he's my husband. I'm proud of him. I love him. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Over committed? Maybe a bit...

I sometimes over commit myself. Not often, really, because I hate being a person who flakes or bails out on things. Struggling with depression and anxiety more than usual lately, I try not to commit because I just don't know what's going to hit me the day I'm supposed to do something. Unfortunately, that mostly applies to social events. If something doesn't involve personal interaction, sign me up.

I have a wedding in 12 days. (Yah, a LOT has happened since I last wrote on this here blog).  I don't have any time to take off work, so you'd think that I'd use my logical mind and say to myself, "You have a wedding to pull off and you work full-time, so you really shouldn't start any new projects." Right? Mmmhmm. That's what you'd think. 
May 11 is Eat What You Want Day AND National Hostess Cupcake Day, so my deployed soldier got this package.
Instead I managed to commit to the following: two Mother's Day care packages for caregivers of wounded soldiers, a birthday package for the caregiver of a wounded soldier (whose birthday is the day of my wedding), a postcard album for my dad for Father's Day that has to be done by the time of the wedding so I don't have to mail it and can actually give it to him in person, a trip out of town (5 hour round trip) to get my hair done so my roots don't look horrendous in the wedding pictures, a belated birthday present for a good friend, and a wedding gift for my darling husband.
One of the two caregiver packages going out this week for Mother's Day. Hoping my caregivers
will pamper themselves with some bath products and a great Lush gift pack!
The wedding is supposed to be simple and easy. Hahahaha! I kept waiting for it to plan itself. That didn't happen, so I got a belated start. Fortunately my friends are pulling together to help save the little sanity I have left. Since we're actually already married and just doing a ceremony because my husband wants the wedding dress, walk down the aisle, cake and pictures along with a reception so we can party with friends and family, we decided to just have fun with it. Except that getting people on to a military base for the ceremony takes some pre-planning. And no matter how many times I say "I don't care" to the friends who have volunteered to help with things, they keep asking me about DETAILS. I'm like the opposite of bridezilla. Bridezillas want everything exactly the way they pictured it. Me? I have no pictures in my head. I want to walk down the aisle in my orange dress and then party it up at my house afterward.
My attempts at a birthday gift for a friend - hand painted wine glass. This is obviously not my calling!
After an emotional meltdown over the past week, they've realized that I really don't care and they have free rein to do whatever they want to decorate (or not decorate) my home. The cake? As long as it tastes good, is blue and orange, and incorporates a football I’m good. A friend said he'd be glad to officiate our wedding:  ‘I'll happily don on the apparel of the priest from The Princess Bride and say a few things: "mawwage. Mawwage is wat bwings us togethah".’ My husband and I? We're all for that. We're already married, who cares?! 

So life is a little overwhelming at the moment. Wedding pictures to come. Probably some mortifying video to go with it. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I fell asleep too early - overwhelmed by my day and lying naked in my bed. The price is being awake at midnight. The small moment of peace I felt in those moments gone, replaced by worn nerves and overloaded senses. The feel of the hair on my neck, the itch from sunburn and bug bites, the dog's coughing, the cat going in and out the cat door, the heaviness of the quilt, the ache in my jaw and pain in my ear all poking away at me.

I wonder if this is how the jack-in-the-box feels. There's Jack, all content hiding in his quiet, dark space. He  thinks he's under control now and when someone comes along and starts winding him up, he'll handle it differently this time.

But then the handle turns. The music starts. At first it's bearable and almost nice. Jack tells himself, "See you can handle this!" The music picks up speed and the click, click, click of the handle gets louder. "Just breathe, Jack. It's really not that bad. You're over reacting. If it's really bothering you, just gently open the lid and ask them to stop." He can't. He's not sure why, but he's frozen inside his once peaceful box hoping the person will get tired and move on.

It doesn't stop. The music keeps going and acts as a grater on his nerves. The clicking handle spins faster. "It's okay, it's okay, it's okay, it's...AAAGGGHHH!" It's too much and Jack explodes from the box letting all the pent up energy and emotion out in one blast.
Well, hello Jack
As the bouncing stops and the nerves calm, does Jack feel embarrassed at his over reaction? Is he abashed by his dramatic exit from the box with arms flailing? Ashamed as the look of surprise crosses someone's face?  Does he think he'll just go back into his box for a little bit. Just long enough to regroup and then he'll come out slowly and peacefully the next time, only to find himself moving through the vicious cycle again? Does he wonder how he got himself stuck in this box in the first place and if he'll ever be free of it and able to cope without hiding?

Maybe that's not how it is for Jack. Maybe it's really all fun and games to him.But I'm tired of being Jacque-in-a-box and I'm going to keep exploring how to be free.