This Week in Gratitude

I used to do a link-up that was a 10-things of thankful, and I did quite enjoy doing it every weekend.  The format has changed now, and I can’t find any linkups, so I decided that at the end of every week, I will go out on my own and do a gratitude post.  There are so many things out there to be thankful for, yet it is easy to not bring them to one’s consciousness in a mindful way.  SO, this is part DBT exercise, part because-I-wanna exercise, and mostly because I want to remember the good stuff, for when the time are NOT so good.

Without further adeiu:

  1.  This week, I am thankful for the four-cup coffee pot my mom purchased for me.  I had a huge coffeepot before, and the result was always that I would drink the entire contents every morning, which would leave me sick.  Ok, so yes, no self-control.  To remedy the situation, I gave up caffeine, but have started to miss it oh-so-much, so this is the solution.  The theory — the less coffee that is made, the less I will drink.
  2. LarBear has been a champ this week (well, every week), but especially this week, with helping me get a caffeine fix every morning even when there was no coffee pot.  I’m not sure why a large coffee at McDonald’s must cost $1.95, but it is clear we will be saving money now with brewing it at home.  Oh, and LarBear can avoid going out in 25 degree weather, all for the sake of a cup of coffee.  I think he will appreciate that!
  3. The very small mouse problem that started a couple weeks ago in my basement (this is what happens when you live in the country), is no more, after Mom’s boyfriend hooked us up with some poison.  I placed it carefully where the dogs couldn’t get to it and there has not been one sign of a mouse ever since.
  4. I am thankful that I have found it within myself to continue to work on giving second chances and third chances and fourth chances to people in my life who, well, may not deserve it (from the outside looking in).  It can be really hard to give up on someone who has been around your entire life, although not impossible.
  5. In a related thankfulness/gratitude moment, I am grateful that I can still see the good in most people, even when it is buried very deep below the surface.
  6. I am excited about Thanksgiving plans, getting to see the Big Dawg’s side of the family, and possibly going to see my maternal grandfather’s side of the family a few days after the big Turkey Day.
  7. Somewhat related, I am very grateful that I am *with it* enough to think about doing these things, and being around all of these people (that I am not used to).  Baby steps, Rosa.
  8. I am grateful basketball season is upon us, and I have already made it to two games at the local college.  Go Bods!
  9. I am thankful for interpersonal communication effectiveness skills learned in DBT, as it seems like LarBear and I get clearer with each other every day, and my other relationships continue to improve, as well.
  10. I am grateful/thankful/proud that I have cranked out almost one post every other day for over a week, and don’t feel any signs of slowing down yet.  I am grateful people still read, still comment, still like, and still listen, even after all this time.  Some of my favorite people are my online blog friends, and I am glad I didn’t mess that up too terribly with my extended absence.

What are you grateful for this week?  Making these lists may seem a bit mundane now, but they are very helpful to look back on in the future when things might not be so rosy.  I know they have helped me tremendously!

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Weekend Summary, With a Purpose

Lucky for I-don’t-know-who, I have decided to take my somewhat frequent tendency to be unable to fall asleep, and use it as a tool.  So, instead of every night going to bed, being unable to fall asleep, and waking up and watching whatever randomness is on TV — I’m going to blog, for at least some of the times.

We had a pretty great weekend.  Friday, LarBear and I had dinner with QoB and her boyfriend, and I finished reading another book after we came home.

On Saturday, I went with my dad to help babysit my nephew, Oscar, while my sister and brother-in-law worked on the house they are fixing up.  I had the chance to see the huge guest room that they are converting (along with everything else…this was a total strip-it-gut-it-change-it job) where LarBear and I will be able to stay when we come visit.  It has huge windows, and it’s own bathroom and fireplace.  Oh!  And a balcony.  It is a super-cool and interesting old house, and they have done almost all the work themselves.  Very impressive, I think it would probably be called a mini-mansion.  🙂

Today, LarBear and I have been mostly relaxing and hanging out.  We slept in (which we never, ever do) and took a drive in the country to see the changing colors.  It seems that a lot of the leaves are already on the ground, but it was beautiful anyway and that is one of our favorite things to do together.  We finished up the evening with cheeseburgers for dinner, and LarBear watching football on the TV while I read on the Kindle.  It was really an altogether great day, and weekend.

Tomorrow, we are venturing about two hours east to visit LarBear’s grandpa, Mickey, and then we will swing through and see my sister and Oscar on our way back home.  It should be an interesting trip because we haven’t been to see Mickey in a couple months because he has been in and out of the hospital.  I am hoping that he will be home and we can have a good visit.  For LarBear’s sake, I’m fine with staying as long as he likes.

The reason I am blogging about things as mundane as what the weekend events were, is that I want to be able to look back and remember good times, calm times when my brain wasn’t fighting me, for the times when I do slip off the deep end.  Because at least I know, it’s not if, its a matter of when.  Sometimes once you have radically accepted that you are always going to live with your illness, it makes it easier to handle.  Or, it has for me, at least.

 

Bright and Shiny

That’s me, in the moment.  I just came home from a two-plus hour workout (arms and cardio) and am feeling on top of the world.  My relationship with LarBear is going great, I finally have some non-itch-producing laundry detergent and one load down, I am blogging for the first time in five million eons, and Kizzie is possibly done unearthing moles out of the backyard for today.  Sometimes, its the little things.

Yesterday, the day before, the day before, so on and so on, lots of anxiety.  Actually, lots of anxiety since my last ECT one week before this past Wednesday.  ‘Tis a serious death anniversary week for me, one of my hardest, and it has been just as brutal this year as in years past.  I did get to see QoB last night though and do a little crying on my Momma’s shoulder, which helped immensely, even if she doesn’t realize it.

A lot of the anxiety I am having is also because I am having a really hard time remembering things and am also, at times, extremely confused and almost disoriented.  The beauty of ECT, though, is that I have forgotten a lot of the bad stuff, or, at least the details are not so crisp.  Very few nasty and scary memories still play in my mind as if on a movie screen.  Things are either blurry and hazy or not present at all.  I am hoping some of that stuff never comes back!

I think LarBear and I are going to try going to church this weekend.  Maybe.  No commitments but possibly.  We found one that seems promising, just have to give it a shot.  I have been trying to find things to do to build structure, and that would be one of those things.  I am also going to add DBT groups back in, as well as the good possibility of a water-walking class to go along with the water aerobics I am going to start doing at the YMCA.

Lots of good stuff here.  I hope to be back soon, friends!

Instead of Dying

I choose today to not go back and read blog entries, although some sort of cues as to where I have been for the past several months likely would have been helpful.

I am waking up from my first four ECT treatments, and a ten-day inpatient hospital stay.  I am unsure when I went in, or how long I have been out, but I know it wasn’t long ago, and that I haven’t been out of the hospital much longer than a week.

The one thing that does stick in my head with certainty is that I did two of the ECT treatments inpatient, and two outpatient.  I don’t know why this might matter, but it must.

So here I am, I’m out and about and well, not really depressed — more anxious, bordering on terrified and lost.  Definitely not suicidal.  Grossly different than months past, I do know that, although I am unclear on specifics.  The past months are cloudy at best, completely scrambled at worst, and really, might be totally forgettable.

I will have at least one more go — next Wednesday, we have a date.  Beyond that, I don’t know.  My psychiatrist does not seem to think it would be prudent beyond this point, cuing memory loss and the turn-around that the depression has taken.  What no one wants to mention is that I am barely on a mood stabilizer, and mania is breathing down my neck.

This is what it feels like to me, of course, only, and, you know, I am only the patient in this case.  I am being the good dog and going to talk therapy and art therapy and coloring at my dining room table and trying to remember my life.  Remember the details.  Remember the conversations and the books and the how-it-happened’s.

LarBear has been great help with all of this, and, although I did doubt and push away from him at a point, I also had a breakthrough and I do remember and feel our love.  And that breakthrough didn’t happen in a vacuum and it didn’t happen in a happy moment, but it did happen and I am grateful to remember and to have had someone so close to me lately that I CAN be filled in a little bit.

What hits me hard is how different life seems to be now than what I th9ought it was.  The people around me are all different, different, different.  There is nothing familiar about, especially family life compared to say, a year ago.

And the memories, well the floodgates have opened and I am being bombarded with scenes from all over my lifetime.  Some good, some bad, scary, indifferent, neutral, random, just-there-like-a-movie.  I can’t say its easy.

It really is like someone unscrewed the top of my head and whipped egg beater around in my brain.  My memories, my mind, scrambled for lack of a better term.  I won’t even go into how beat up my body feels.

So friends, if you’re reading, I’ll come around and see you soon.  Normalcy must reign and I am sure I will be blogging and reading again regularly.  This is a lot harder than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be really hard.

No Overloading the Rosa

It is only within the past couple of days that I have been able to see any kind  of real improvement without major backsliding.  I have been **gasp** calm today, even in the face of really dumb arguments and an empty jar of peanut butter.  I have only cried twice and I slept almost three hours uninterrupted.

A tiny bit of clarity is in my thoughts today, and for that I am grateful.  I attribute it to the countless years of DBT with Goddess of Mindfulness and the very small piece of me that has been able to resurrect some of that in my life the last few days.  A small kindness or simple yet firm decision can go a long way.

My simple yet firm decision (that I have come to with surprisingly little angst) is that I must get back on a schedule, and do things that make me feel better, more grounded.  One would think that, having lived with bipolar disorder nearly my entire life, this would have come to  me sooner.  Well, it didn’t, or maybe I wasn’t ready to do it.  But now I say “no.”

In the next week, I will eat dinner before 8:00P and take meds by 8:30P.  I will read and blog and work on new art projects (charcoal drawings, thanks to stepmom Karen).

I will stay out of stressful situations.  I will not interact when I don’t want to, and I will not force things  because I “should” and other people want me to.

I will not talk about why I don’t believe in God, or my theories on ISIS, or watch the local news.

There will be no overloading of the Rosa, just soft and easy with myself and my time.  It will work this way because it has worked before, and because I say so.  Not a lot of willingness in there, but sometimes getting through the first steps means being the opposite.

Late Night Musings with Rosa 12.20

Perhaps my favorite video of Tom Petty singing my favorite acoustic version of “Walls.”  This has been a weekend so far, of thinking.  Good things have happened, bad things have happened, and I need time to reflect.

Right now I am taking things in, because I notice that I have not been noticing life around me as I should.  I have not been being mindful and I have not been introspective.  I have been selfish with my needs and wants, yet overly helpful to those around me — often reaching out further than I really should, and perhaps what they needed me to.

This little thing called life that is going on right now, this piece of the puzzle, this particular scratch in the record — it will pass.  It must.  It must.  It must.  What lies over the horizon I can’t even begin to predict, and I know that is part of what is killing me bit by bit.  I am a planner and an organizer and I want to know what is going to happen when and with who and (sometimes) the why or how of it.

All of this uncertainty, from things as small (ha!) as what do for Christmas as to if I will still miss DSB and not want to get my heart broken again in the new year to what my nephew will be like as he grows from a baby into a toddler to if I will ever be able to lose the weight I want to lose.

And when?  And how?  And why?

It occurs to me now, as I sit typing this, how I have once again slipped into willfulness and am not letting mindfulness and patience and simple observation take me down the path I was meant to be on.  I am trying to control things that I have no control over, I am trying to change things that cannot or will not change, I am beating my head against a brick wall and wondering why I have a headache.

When I feel really bad, as I have for the last while (but not so much anymore), I tend to stop doing all of the things that make me feel better and that make me the Rosa that people like to be around.  I don’t particularly think that I am that Rosa right now to all people, but I know I am really enjoying my dad and my sister.

I fully admit that I can be hard to be around, that I can be too intense or too sad or anxious or too demanding.  Not everyone sees it that way, however; I can think of two people right off the top of my head that I intrinsically know don’t feel that way, that want my company.

But does that ever happen to you?  That important people in your life seem to want to take a break from you?  Does this mean that the love or friendship or whatever it is, is not there unconditionally?  Or does it mean that this is just people being human?  Or does it mean that you have overstepped your bounds somewhere, and this is all your fault?

I think the answers to all of this are:  “who knows” and “all you can do is improve yourself and change for the better.”  Goddess of Mindfulness has a funny idea about all of this, that she has been sharing with me since I was a teenager.  It is often the people that are messed up AND seeking help who are the most balanced, the most introspective, the most thoughtful, the most likely to change ill habits.

So here I am, “the crazy one” in a sea of “normal people” and I am by far acting the most sane.  That’s just how it is here in Topeka, Kansas.  App;arently I haven’t been drinking the water, because I don’t currently have the crazy.  But that doesn’t mean I am not actively every day seeking to improve and feel better and be more stable and independent.

The hardest thing for me to see is a person I care about suffering, who will not utilize the help that is available to them.  People have to really REALLY want to change in order to change almost every behavior or circumstance, and I am baffled when peop;le who are adamant with me that I seek help, won’t seek it themselves.  Because “that’s different.”  Well, no, it’s really not.

In closing, you do not need to be mentally ill to seek assistance and ask your friends/relations/neighbors/;pastor/anyone for help; in getting through what you need to get through.

I would like to remind that while this post is written as a general musing, it can easily be directed at many in my life.  I am purposely not calling anyone out on the rug, but I want people to think.

If you need help, ask for it.  It will almost always be given, in some form or another.  You do not have to suffer alone and in silence.

 

 

 

Evil Squirrel’s Blaze (she’s a’ caroling!)

Do please come in and meet Blaze, my Christmas prize from Evil Squirrel’s Holiday Cards in which several around the blogosphere received hand-drawn pictures of his characters.  Totally appropriate that I get Blaze, considering the pink and red of her outfit, and the fact that she is caroling whereas I sing in the shower, the car, and anywhere else I think I can get away with it.  Go check out Evil. Squirrel’s page RIGHT NOW and you will not be disappointed.  There is always something every day to make you laugh!

Blaze