Transitioning

Over the last year, blogging and Internet activity in general have slowed to a near standstill for me.  I realized this not too long ago, when I was without a decent computer to use for about two weeks.  I barely checked my email, posted on Facebook maybe twice, didn’t even look at a blog post, and hardly noticed.  What I did notice, however, was that I have started to do quite a bit of sit-and-stare.  You know, the whole three-hours-pass-as-three-minutes sit-and-stare kind of thing.

And I thought…oh, that can’t be good.  So, most of the amped-up anxiety is gone, most of the days.  Instead, there is a very active LACK OF INTEREST in once-pleasurable activities.  I don’t necessarily feel  too depressed, but I am certainly hitting all the DSM markers of it.  I am taking boatloads of Seroquel, and also Topamax now, as a mood stabilizer and to counter the ridiculous hunger pains that Seroquel brings.

I can certainly say that Topomax has almost completely abolished hunger.  This would be a good thing, right?  Well, yes and no.  Its good, because I’m losing weight.  Its bad, because putting ANYTHING in my mouth, whether it be liquid or solid, nutritious or not, just sounds nasty.  That includes water, so I find myself quite dehydrated at the end of the day.  I have been sick on a few occasions since starting it, and I find I really have to be on top of things.

Immense stress and pressure here in the last week, with LarBear having serious physical health issues and a very ill grandfather, and me dealing with everyday randomness garbage and seasonal change to boot.  I feel like I am somewhat on top of things, but mostly because of the great support I am getting from my dad and QoB.  I am used to LarBear picking up a lot of slack, but he has really not been himself lately, and I am eager for us to put this little stretch behind us.

Of course there are always hopes that I will keep up better with blogging, and maybe I might, who knows.  I’m going to try, and am at least better set up for it now that I have a new monitor for my desktop.  Winter will be here soon and I won’t want to get out much (even less than the nonexistent now…ha!), so I am looking for some new routines.

So, yep, that’s my story…looking for new routines, looking to put this stretch behind me, looking, looking, looking…

O.K., Wild One!

Okay, so maybe “wild” isn’t the right word.  Hypomania?  Mania, even?  What started out as just some “really great” feelings has evolved into something more.  I’m not sleeping but three or four hours a night, and those hours aren’t all at one time.  Nightmares have come on with an even greater vengeance.  I find my thoughts to be confused and jumbled and quite speedy, my speech is pressured, and one day seems to capture ten different mood shifts.

No bueno, my friends.  I did go to see the amazing psychiatrist last week and he increased my Lithium and added Seroquel as a PRN show-stopper of sorts, but I have had little relief.  Especially in the sleep department.  My tolerance for other humans has begun to shrink, and even my feelings of empathy for the puppies in my life who struggle with fireworks and thunder and every other loud noise have been diminished.

I miss blogging every day, but most days I find that I just don’t have much to say.  Or much to say that I think bears repeating from my tired old brain.  Sometimes I think I should just throw it out there anyway, but I don’t.  I admire bloggers who do it day-in-and-out, and maybe I’ll get back there some day.  I think I would have a hard time throwing RosieSmrtiePants away altogether, and don’t think that day is coming anytime soon.  Maybe I could embrace a weekly blogging schedule.  You know, a SCHEDULE.  Gah!

So many things in life are better these days, so it is really aggravating to me that I must still be on the bipolar circus ride of up-down-all-around.  I have resigned myself to think that perhaps it will ALWAYS be that way.  I mean, if the past 33 years is any indication anyway.  I comfort myself by reminding Rosa that at least the current state of affairs does not 100% revolve around depression and anxiety.  Yay for mania (except, ick, really) for keeping things interesting and here’s to a goal of no hysterical crying for 24 hours.

We all have goals, am I right?  ;). Sure do love y’all!

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!

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

Crackling Like a Live Wire

You may or may not have noticed, but I dropped out of Reverb.  The prompts were good, the prompts were fine, but there is just so much daily bull shit going on right now that I feel I can barely keep my head above water.

The divorce seems to get more painful and exhausting for my mom as time wears on.  I am doing my best not to get in the middle and they are doing a. good job of not putting me there, but its hard to see her so defeated.  She won’t let me around her, in fact, when she is upset, so I spend a lot of time getting avoided.  I get it, really do.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.

My anxiety has been sky high the last several weeks.  It decreased for awhile, but is now back in full force.  I am still not smoking or using lozenges or the patch, and have decided to try and address my problems with binge eating.  I had thought of doing weight loss surgery, but with the habits I have, it would just be dangerous.  My thought is, work on the problem behavior with the thought that maybe someday I can do the surgery.  What I really want, though, is to lose weight in any way possible so that I can stop being that fat girl and move on with my life.

I have a friend I am trying to get back in touch with.  I have been thinking about it a lot lately and went ahead and tried to make contact today.  It was a bit of an awkward situation on my end when we stopped (inadvertently almost) atlking to each other last, and I am hoping that he can look past that and we can be friends again.

Promises that this blog will move onto bigger and better things in the near future — it only seems like there is a lot of bellyaching going on about petty little stuff.  Yep, I know…. I’m sick of it, too.

#reverb14 Day Eight: Connection

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The hectic pace of our lives can make it difficult to remain connected

to the things and the people that matter the most to us.

We get wrapped up in our work or our busyness and connection falls by the wayside.

How have you created and/or sustained connections in your life this year?

For me, my family comes first and it likely always will.  When I was in the two-year relationship with DSB, I didn’t see much of my family.  He wanted me to make him my priority.  To throw away my family and just be with him.  Getting DSB out of my life in April of this year, I learned an extremely valuable lesson.  To please him, I had in many ways forsaken my family.  I stopped going over to Mom’s, I didn’t talk with my sister as much, I barely saw Dad, and wouldn’t let anyone (except Mom) into the house.  Never again.  My family is too important to me to let that happen again.  So when DSB and I disconnected, it was time to reconnect with family, and what a year for that this has been.

I have never been closer to my sister, Ab.  We talk regularly, sometimes three or four or even five times a week.  We text, we email, we  call each other.  She always stops by to see me when she is in town with Kyle and Baby O, even if it’s just for a few minutes.  We make plans for me to come hop and visit more often.  Ab is likely one of the busier people I know, but she always makes time for me, no matter what the situation.

Dad and I have developed a special bond this year, as well.  With Mom’s attentions needed more on the divorce and the business and her own life as she knows it, Dad has stepped up and become a primary support player.  He is always happy to take me to an appointment and has been there through the up and down of bipolar disorder, including a hospitalization and several major depressive episodes, with some mixed and mania thrown in.  We talk at least once a day, usually more, and we get together three to four times a week.  I grew up with Dad being a parent in absentia and now he is fully (and happily) present in my life.

Mom and I have always been close and we remain so even with the chaos and drama going on in our neck of the woods right now.  If I could say one of the things I am most happy for this year, is that I have (mostly) been in a place where I could offer her support instead of always just taking support.  Not to say I don’t need my Madre, because I do, but it’s just nice to be able to help, as well as be helped.

Over the past year, since NaBloPoMo 2013, actually, I have developed many blog friendships and now have a good number of people I consider as a friend.  Additionally, I have made a few extra special friendships and I would have to say that I consider these women to be the closest friends I have ever had, offline or online.  The beauty of becoming friends with a blogger you admire is that you generally have an overwhelming amount in common, and so there is much to talk about.

So connecting, reconnecting, strengthening connections — YES, check!

Text, phone, email, messaging, in person, send a carrier pigeon — YES, these all work… and must be used… the key to connecting IS communication!

#reverb14 Day Four: Take Good Care

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We are all lightning rods, conduits for that which

the Universe wants born into this world.

What energies did you channel this year?

As in many years, perhaps every year since I realized I was not going to “beat” the mental illnesses I live with, or even “ignore them into in in-existence,” I spent 2014 “taking care:”  Taking care means a variety of things.  It means I slip-slide from preventing symptoms to managing symptoms to minimizing symptoms to just white-knuckling it.

Taking care, for me, means staying on a time schedule, making sure days are structured, taking medications, attending doctor’s appointment after appointment, keeping up with my physical and emotional health, setting good boundaries, and many other things.

It often means sacrificing what I really *want* to do for what I *must* in order to stay well.  This was especially true when I was younger, as in I couldn’t (without extreme consequences) go out and party all night or drink excessively (without mood shifts and worse).

I have tasted the freedom and joy and peace, however briefly, that comes with a period of markedly fewer symptoms.  If you have lived a life of hell, and are then introduced to a world where the ground is steady under your feet, you will do whatever possible to keep that state going.  That being said, I am highly motivated to do what it takes to find evenness in life, to find a balance, and to sort out the rest of the world when I get there..

#reverb14 Day Three: How to Love an Imperfect Life

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It’s all too easy to put off loving where we are until everything is perfect.

What can you love about where you are now?

I would like to add that it is all to easy to put off LIVING in the space we were meant to be if things are not ideal.  We may have a hard time fulfilling our desires of ABC because XYZ is not going well.

There is something in life that I personally must accept and reevaluate and remind myself of every day — everything is not ever going to be perfect ALL AT ONE TIME.  This has been so true for me as of late.  When my (non-existent) romantic life was going perfectly (in that it was not existing ever-so-quietly and I was very happy with being single), I was not able to fully appreciate it because there was stress and imperfection and strife in other areas.

Something Goddess of Mindfulness has been saying for years — “this (XYZ) is not just a bipolar thing, it’s a HUMAN thing.”. As in, my reaction to a certain stressors is not because of my history with trauma or because I am bipolar — it is an average human reaction.  It is important to find these and sort through them, because failing perfection means failing to truly love where we are in the moment and guess what, Rosa… not a bipolar thing, when I had always thought that the case.

So what can I love about where I am now?  I have the strongest relationship with my mother, my dad, and my sister than I have ever in my life.  There was a lot of pulling together that came from the stress of the past few months.

I can accept that I am not “perfect” and still love where I am, who I am, because the people I care most about have made it so very clear that I am not broken, something to be fixed.  That I am human and deserve love and attention and empathy and support and assistance.  After building our relationship up very carefully over time, I honestly love that I feel as if I can call my sister up anytime, whether I am doing well or am in crisis, and that she will be there to listen and problem-solve with me.

And its the same with my dad.  We have painstakingly worked on our relationship, and while it isn’t perfect, I still love it, still treasure it, sometimes revel in awe of it.  And Mom — we’ve always been close but I feel like I have been able to be there a bit for her like she has been for me for so many years.  Not in the same way, but I can be supportive…I have that capacity now and it is nice that I, at times, feel like I am able to encourage her as she has encouraged me for my whole life.

So yes, family and family relationships are what I think of for this prompt.  Many areas of my life are imperfect in some way, even flawed and miserable.  What keeps me loving where I am at are those three beautiful people.  Even without this so-called perfection, my family makes my life sparkle and shine even in the spots that are dark and cobwebbed.