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.

Grief Anniversaries Compounding More Grief

I am so glad this weekend is over.  I’m glad DSB’s surgery is over and now everything is on the steady with that.  I’m glad I have the first round of inventory entered into the computer.  I beyond love love love my dishwasher for enabling me to keep a very clean kitchen at all times, although it was constantly being cooked in by a very messy DSB.  I am thankful for Klonopin, even though I get tired of taking it.  But mostly, I am just glad the first five days of 2014 are over, because I don’t think I could take much more.

I have spent more time today crying and boo-hooing and angsting and sobbing and catastrophizing today than I care to spend in about a month.  I mean, the waterworks will just not shut off.  The negative tapes were churning away in my head and I just felt so sad and hopeless.  And I couldn’t figure out why.

And I’m not saying this is the only reason, but it is likely a factor.  My grandmother died two years ago yesterday, and today would have been her birthday.  I wasn’t particularly close to my grandmother, but it was her death two years ago that sent me over the deep end.  I firmly believe that I probably wouldn’t have taken such a nosedive if that terrible timing hadn’t ended up the way it did.

I have a lot of my grandparents’ furniture in my house.  I bought some new silverware yesterday, and I cried when I found some of my grandparents’ old silverware tucked underneath some more current items.  Cheap steak knives is what they are.  Except they don’t look cheap.  And are probably not.  They were Grandpa’s and thinking about him and those steak knives brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Isn’t it awful how grief compounds grief?  I’m over my grandmother being dead, and it’s only been a couple of years.  My grandpa is a whole ‘nother story.  He died in 2004 to be exact.  He died exactly 14 days after my 25th birthday.  I distinctly remember that I was on the Atkins diet at that time, and I heard the call right as I was starting to eat a steak dinner.  I couldn’t ever eat that particular blend of seasonings again.

There was a huge thunderstorm going on and I can remember the Big Dawg picking me up and taking me to the Assisted Living place where my grandparents had been living.  There was a big empty room, and Grandpa was on a stretcher, all wrapped up in white sheets.  And I totally lost it.

And I still do lose it, thinking of him.  I think of all the things I wish he had been able to see, to do.  I wish he had been able to meet DSB, to go fishing again, to make terrible soup, to hold his favorite dog, to see my sister get married and have her little boy.  He has so much to be proud of, and I can’t help but think that he absolutely MUST be up there looking over.  I don’t know how I would or could go on if at least some part of me didn’t believe that.

And maybe that’s strange to not know if there is a God, but to be certain there is a heaven.  I really don’t care.  I pray rarely, but I do talk to Grandpa, and the Bird Lady.  And I really do think sometimes they answer me back.  And I light a little candle and I send a thought, and that’s enough for me.  So that’s what I’m going to go do.  Light a candle.  Take a Klonopin.  Pray for dreamless sleep.

Amen.

Go Home

Sometimes, when I’m out and about, I get this feeling that I just don’t want to go home yet.  It’s almost a sense that there is something bad waiting for me there.  Don’t get me wrong, there really isn’t.  DSB is kind and sweet and the pups are the best.  But still, sometimes, I don’t want to go home.

On occasion, I don’t want to go home because I don’t want to interact.  I would rather think and be still and not have to utter a word, even if it was only one word. There are times that I don’t want to go home because I don’t want to face my poor housekeeping.  Other times, I just don’t wanna.

Today in particular, I didn’t want to go home.  I wanted to go see my mom and talk to her.  DSB and I had stopped by my godparents’ home, now vacant, with the Bird Lady dead and my godfather in a nursing home.  I have some happy memories of that place, and it reminded me and I remembered and now I feel sad.

I also was reminded of the year I spent there with Dr. Love, a year of near-constant bickering and arguing and passive-agressiveness and almost no love.  I feel sick when I think about that relationship.  It should have never happened.  But, it did.  I have to deal with that and those memories, and that made me sad and anxious and mad.

So, we did end up coming almost directly home from there.  I feel almost sick over today, when there is so much to be grateful for, which makes me feel even the more sick that I feel this way.

DSB saw his doctor and the cancer has not spread.  They are going to remove his left kidney, but he’ll be fine.  No chemo, no radiation, just a short hospital visit and about a month’s recovery time.

I saw my orthopedic specialist who informed me that my foot has healed completely and perfectly, and that I am in pain because I need to wean myself off the boot instead of trying to do everything all at once without it.

So, two happy, good, awesome things happened today.  I am not appreciating it and I hate that.

I feel as if I may cry, I feel as if I may throw a chair out the window.  I also feel as if I may just get naked and go huddle into the fetal position in bed and not come out until today has passed.

This isn’t fair.  I can’t let my emotions get hijacked like that.  I should have been on higher alert, or something.  I should feel positive and happy and relieved.  Instead, I feel anxious, sad, and angry.  I can’t see the good for the bad and that just isn’t fair to DSB.  I need to snap the fuck out of this ASAP before something truly dire does happen, like breaking all the glass windows out in my sunroom.  Because that sounds pretty good about now.

Invalidation and Willingness to Make Change

This post is really giving me fits.  I want to blog about having worked the last six out of eight days, and how that has affected me, but I immediately begin to invalidate my own feelings both in the post in and my head.

“Well, you didn’t work that hard!”

“It’s not like you were always there by yourself!”

“Stop complaining!  You complain too much!”

“Why can’t you just help your folks out for once and not be such a big baby about it?!”

Sigh.  I feel anxious today.  And yesterday and the day before, and maybe a little bit some other days, too.  I hadn’t taken an Klonopin PRN in over a month, and I took one today.  Just couldn’t stand it anymore and DSB was the one who suggested it.  Made me feel ok about it, like I’m not a failure for taking a PRN, that it isn’t some cnegative indicator of my personal character.  I love the way he can make me feel all those things with just a few simple words.

There were some positives to working so much — I got out and about, had some social interaction, was forced into showering and wearing decent clothes.  On the other hand, I let things slide a bit at home, as far as not keeping up with the dishes as well, or the laundry.  I also didn’t practice the DBT skills that help me “make it” every day…self-soothe, distract, PLEASE, effectiveness.  I did, however, use skills that I don’t normally use, like building mastery, opposite-to-emotion, turning the mind, and willingness.

Overall, I think working some is positive for me, but that this was just a bit of a leap.  Maybe next time take it a little slower.  I’d like to work some this summer, but know that I can’t do a huge work-week.  This realization has bounced into my head several times since I started on disability, and it always stings like a sumbitch.  I can’t, and won’t, let it keep getting me down.   I have to find middle ground, somewhere within myself, and I can, and I will.

Everything Changes

Things sure are a lot different than they were one year ago, six months ago, three months ago, one month ago.  Mostly different in good ways, although I suppose there are some drawbacks (which I can’t think of right now, so maybe not).  Timing is funny sometimes.  I received an email from an online friend telling me that “inquiring minds want to know!” and my therapist told me today that I needed to blog again.  I’m sure it’s also something that QoB has also been wanting to say.  So, here I am, all bright and shiny and scrubbed up, ready to put myself back out there.

I seem to have this fear of being happy, having been unhappy for so many long periods in my life.  I am trying this out, this new life that hard work and luck and self-realization and mindfulness has brought to me.  It worries me when I feel good.  I think I might be getting manic, and the bottom will fall out.  I worry about that every day.  Every day, there is a part of me that thinks, “Maybe this is all a fluke and the shit is getting ready to fly.”  It is very difficult to get away from this way of thinking.  I am working on it, and part of that is all of the work I have been doing on self-acceptance lately.

Does self-acceptance come from self-love or does self-love come from self-acceptance?  It’s complicated, all twisted together.  I have been treating myself increasingly better each day since Dr. Love left for greener pastures in February.  At first I was angry, shocked, lost, upset.  I took every phone call or text message as a sign we might get back together.  Over time, I realized that I really didn’t want to get back together, wasn’t sure I even wanted to talk to him anymore, and it was a relief that those two and a half years were over.  Such a relief.

That sense of relief has increased even more in the past month or so.  Moving up North has been the best thing for me.  I love my new house and am working on making it mine.  Are there things I want to still do?  Of course, but that is what I am hoping will keep me going this winter…projects.  I always do better when I have a mission.  Living closer to family and friends has made things easier to access people who love me and care about me, and has made me feel like less of a visitor in my own life, if that makes any sense.  I feel like I am at homeHere in my house, in my heart, deep down inside, I am home.  It is a comforting feeling and, when I look back upon past years of my life, I think that is what I have been looking for all along.  To feel at home within myself.

I have been able to go to therapy less often lately.  I am now down to every three weeks and it is very manageable.  The really great thing is that I have a therapist that would find time for me in a quick second if things started feeling bad, or if I just needed to talk something through.  I feel intensely grateful for this.  Intensely grateful that this person is a part of my life.

I saw QoB today and it really hit me how much she means to me.  Sometimes I can take her for granted, or be dismissive in my own head.  But she is always always always there for me, whatever it is.  She takes care of me when I need it, and lets me do my thing when that is what needs to happen.  She is never anything but loving and she is also my best friend.  I don’t think that is weird, to have your mom be your best friend.  We do it in a healthy way and I think that, more than anything, she is the person who has helped me come to where I am.  I think we count on each other for certain things and I think that’s ok.  It has taken a long time for me to realize that.  I am glad I have finally come around.  People on the outside don’t get it, but we make it work.

I have all of this peace and love inside me, and I feel like I am a dramatically more friendly person than I was even one year ago.  I get along better with people at work, always have a smile for people, and do my best to always be positive with the staff and offenders I work with at the facility.  I think overall I feel like I am a “good person,” whatever that means.  I genuinely care about other people and I think that can be a unique thing after working for over ten years in a helping field.  There is negativity all around, and I try to just let it fall down around me.  Sure, it bothers me, but I can’t let all of the BS drag me down into the mire.  Sometimes I find that I need to take what most everyone says with a grain of salt and just use the parts that apply to me that are healthy and sane.  Sometimes not much is left, once you take out the unhealthy and the crazy, but some sweet pearls of wisdom are still out there to be had and I sift through sand to find them.

Bruce Springsteen, Secret Garden

 

 

Searching for Renewal

January was a real bitch.  I quit smoking on the 10th and am now smoking 1-2 cigs per day, down from three packs per day.  I still beat myself up that it’s not a “perfect quit” but I am just going to consider it a small miracle that I’m doing that well.  I think here within the next week or so I will be able to kick it altogether.  That’s the hope anyway.

I also quit caffeine right around the time I stopped smoking.  I also quit any sort of morning routine.  I quit blogging, quit sitting in front of my sunlamp, quit drinking coffee, and, more recently, quit thinking that my life is so great.  Funny how that happens when you inadvertently go off your antidepressant and stop doing all of the things that were making you feel good.

I think when I first quit smoking, that I thought I had to stop doing all of the things that I associated with smoking.  I stopped taking breaks at work, started sleeping in and not doing a morning routine, and stopped spending time at home.

Over the weekend, I decided that I was probably going to lose my job.  Everyone was starting to talk about people being fired.  I had taken several sick days, and my supervisor told me:  “watch your time.”  I became convinced that I would be fired at any minute.

On Monday, I had a huge panic attack on my way to work.  I thought about taking the day off.  After talking to Dr. Love and my dad (and my supervisor), I cooled off for about 15 minutes and went into work.  I felt bad about being late, but I figure that it was better than the alternative — not going in at all.

Work has been really stressful lately and I have not felt like being there.  A lot of that is all of the negativity going on.  Morale is in the crapper and it’s not getting any better.  The co-workers in my specific office are on edge, as is everybody else, about budget cuts and what the new government members will do.  Instead of working harder, more fingers are being pointed, blame is being laid, and people are stabbing each other in the back.

I don’t like it.  It is to the point, especially within my office, that is almost a hostile work environment.  I can’t stand all the talking behind each other’s backs.  Sometimes I think about getting a different job.  I just don’t know what else I would rather do.

Goddess of Mindfulness has suggested practicing the Loving-Kindness meditation more routinely.  I have attempted to a few times, but sometimes I have a hard time shaking myself out of it and being mindful at work.  I wish my office had walls and a ceiling.  maybe I could do some primal scream therapy or get some dolls and stick pins in them.  Honestly, I do need to do the meditation more often because I know it would help me feel better.

We have had two snow-days back to back and it has been nice to spend time with Dr. Love and just kind of hang out.  We have done a few productive things, but the majority has been spent reading, watching movies, and playing on the computer.  I spent a lot of time yesterday laying in my warm bed and reading.  The main level of the house was only 63 degrees and it wasn’t until later in the day that QoB told Dr. Love to check the vents in the lowest level and turn them on.  It quickly warmed up to 68 degrees, but when I woke up in the morning, it was 61 on the main level and 68 upstairs.

I really felt like just going back to bed, but I couldn’t stand the thought of spending another day in bed, even if I was reading and just relaxing.  We ended up shoveling out the driveway and putting down ice melt.  It was nice to be outside, the sun was shining.   But it was bitterly cold.  I still haven’t totally warmed up.

We ended up going to Walgreens top pick up a few prescriptions, then decided to go to Dillons because we were sooooo tired of being in the house.  I had made some crab salad earlier in the day and Dr. Love decided I hadn’t made enough so we bought the stuff to make another batch and some cheese for the lasagna because I didn’t have enough.

Since we’ve been home, I’ve been trying to relax and not think about work and all of the time that I’ve sat around the last two days.  I made up another batch of crab salad and have been working on making lasagna.  The kitchen is nice and clean, and Dr. Love did several loads of laundry and cleaned the house the other day so there isn’t much more to do.  Just need to get this lasagna in the oven.

I’ve decided it is time to pull out of the January funk, now that we’re into February.  I bought some coffee creamer and will start drinking coffee in the mornings again, pulling back together my morning routine of sitting in front of my sun lamp, blogging, and getting up early enough that I can have a few moments peace before I make that mad dash to work.  I am always calmest in the morning, and I think I really need to be able to enjoy that time as much as I can.

Chris Young, Voices