Reflections on an Imperfect Time

peace

I am currently in a place I never thought I would be.  I did not believe in the recovery model for mental illness even a few months ago, nevertheless thought I would be in a place in my life where the “recovery” stage would be very real and tangible in my day-to-day existence.

I never thought I would have any extended time of peace, and I never thought I would define peace as the picture to the left does:  “it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

I am there, hallelujah, amen, thank you.  There is chaos all around me, but my heart is calm, it is steady, it is beating strong.  All of those thoughts I had of giving up, have vanished.  Those thoughts of giving up that I had almost constantly through every day of the last several years of my life, the ones I didn’t *know how* to get rid of, the ones that kept me cycling through the hospital and the crisis residence and at the mercy of people (supposedly) saner than I on the other end of a phone line…gone.

I have been through months of adversity without losing my steadiness, and there are even more big changes to come.  I am ready.  I know how to climb the mountain and I am familiar with the path and the twists and turns, and I know it will be hard as Hell and that the Devil himself may stand in my way, but I know within myself that I am ready for this adventure.

selfish

QoB is moving away, and my contact with her is sure to greatly decrease.  I am learning that my mom is not the young person she used to be, and that it is time for her to turn her thoughts and her activities and her energies into herself, her new relationship, and into being a cherished Abuela.

It is hard to let her go, to stop calling her so often, to not count on her for every little thing, to really *grow up* here at age 34.  I have had my mom by my side my whole life, she has gone to bat for me countless times, and now, I need to go to bat for myself and count on LarBear to be my touchstone.  This doesn’t mean the relationship I have with her will be any less special, it just means that it is time for me to learn to count on other people.

I *DO* have other people I can count on in this life, and she deserves all the happiness available to her, and if that happiness is retirement and open prairies and big blue skies, then I wish all that for her and more.  There is such a thing called a telephone, and it isn’t like I will never ever see her.  It will just be less.  It is only within the last month, I think, that I would ever have been able to accept this for what it is.

With QoB moving away, retiring from the life here, comes the need for LarBear and I to move.  Physically move, that is, into a new home.  Of course, this creates stress and upset and all of the above, but we need to start living within our very own means, and know that we can still be okay.  We don’t have a terrible income, and it is enough that we will be able to find a nice-enough place to live.  Of that, I have no doubt.  I only wish the process were speedier, more certain, less of a time-suck.  I am ready to find the place and get the stuff moved and BE THERE.

what everyone is doing

The part of the recovery model I am most focused on now, which is also part of DBT, is that I am building A LIFE WORTH LIVING.  The past several years, I have been eking by, and I’m done with that.  I do not want to define myself by my mental illness, and I don’t want others to identify me that way, either.  I am a strong woman and I have a good man by my side, and I honestly feel I can tackle whatever is around me, that needs tackling.

I have even more support outside of my relationship with LarBear, whether it is the constant support of my mental health center contacts, or my Dad, or the Big Dawg.  I have places to turn to.  More than anything, I want LarBear and I to build a beautiful life together, and we are well in the process of doing that.

I don’t want to be “the crazy one” forever, and I tire of being looked at that way by family, acquaintances, the like.  I believe that I am even *more* sane and well-balanced than the average bear, because I am insightful into my life and I *do* examine my own thoughts and behaviors and I also spend great gobs of time practicing DBT and going to therapy and the like.  Practicing my skills isn’t something that anyone should look down on a person for.  Chances are, some of the skills could work for you, or for you, or for my mom or for LarBear or any number of people.

I have more skills in my toolbox than most people, and I think that is wherein the true advantage lies.  I have those skills and I am in touch with different things that help me to feel better, such as writing and making jewelry, and I do not let a single day pass in which I do not create something, anything.  It is so very important — not the product, but the process.  It doesn’t matter if you try a new recipe or build a Lego village or paint a picture…the creativity that dwells within us, heals us, and there is a multitude of proof or evidence out there that healing can happen, no matter how desperate you feel your situation is.  If I can do this, you sure can, too.

live beautifully

Hand on My Back

It is late, almost 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.  I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with terrific nightmares, the sweats, and a pounding heart.  This happens anywhere between once per week, to three or four times per week.  Lately, the nightmares have been getting better.  Of course, they are still there, but they hadn’t been affecting me as much.

So far, I have been able to keep things pretty steady even in the face of the insurmountable nightmares, night terrors, whatever you want to call them.  There are certain things that tend to set me off, however, and there have been no shortage of these *things.”

Many of my dreams are nightmares within which it is the end of the world (quite literally), and I am running to save my life.  Running from being raped, being beaten, frantically searching for a person (usually my sister) or an animal (always Kizzie).  In most cases, my sister or Kizzie are also being beaten, raped, tortured.  I have been through plenty of nasty domestic violence, but these scenes from my sleeping brain are quite vivid.

The dreams share similarities of what I feel in real life, and here lately, with the attacks in Paris and a person in my inner circle who constantly talks about the end of the world (as we know it), I get more and more hyped up into these nightmares.  I have learned to tell the person in my inner circle to not talk about these things around me, but as the world turns, some people have very little filter, or at the very least, not much ability to slap the muzzle on themselves when it comes things they find so very *true.*

So while my body screams out to lay down, my contrary brain shoots messages that all is not well, things are not safe, staying awake (at this point) is necessary.  I have been dealing with this problem for most of my adult life, and even a bit into childhood and adolescence — the bad dreams.  They come and they go, wax and wane, intensify and fade.

At some point, I decide I am safe and release the death grip I have on the computer mouse, ease myself out of my computer chair, and lie down.  At this point in my life, I have LarBear, and I use him as a tool, and snuggle up to him and get extra kisses and fall asleep with his hand in the middle of my back, no doubt with him able to feel the steady thump-thump of my heart.

For every nastiness about Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Anxiety, and the lot, there is a warm hand on my back, held out from the man I love more on this world than anything, and that, my friends, is something to be ever grateful for.  Nightmares come and go, true love doesn’t fade.

A (Hopefully Not) Pissy Day

I’ve been up since 4:00 am.  This is not normal for me.  Usually I sleep until anywhere between 7:30 am and 8:00 am.  And if I took my meds kind late, sometimes until 10:00 am.  Considering that I fell asleep last night around 10:00 pm, it does not bode well for the day that I was up at 4:00 a.m.  More of that mixed bullshit that I seem to have to keep going through.

Now might not have been the best time to quit smoking, but other than hounding my mom for a cigarette yesterday, it has actually been going okay.  Okay, I’m white-knuckling it, to be honest, but at least I haven’t fallen back into the habit.  That’s just over three days, m’dears.  That’s a long time to a quitter and mere seconds to a normal person.

I’ve found that most people generally d0n’t want to give you any props until you have made some “real” progress, like smoke-free for at least one to three months.  Why that is — probably because most people relapse before then.  It doesn’t make sense to me, though.  Wouldn’t you think you would want to praise and encourage from the get-go, so that person feels supported.  The people I am talking about don’t read this blog, so I feel very comfortable sticking my middle finger out at them and screaming, “FUCK YOU!”

Hmmm…thought that would have made me feel a bit better, but it doesn’t.  Maybe it needs to be a face-to-face “fuck you,” although that probably wouldn’t be much good for the relationship.  I’ll just stick to saying it in my head.  Maybe out loud once or twice, shaking my fist at the sky.  Who knows.  This lack of cigarettes makes me crazy.

Speaking of quitting smoking, my mom and sister came over and we cleaned like crazy-women.  There is not a trace left of DSB or his stinkiness or the smell of smoke.  We took out rugs to go be professionally cleaned, washed all the drapes, the works.  My sister, being the young and limber and totally-in-shape person that she is went around my entire house on hands and knees and wiped off all my baseboards.  Mom used her floor scrubber vac on all the floors.  We vacuumed.  We dusted.  We threw a ton of shit away, including some nasty furniture.

It looks awesome, I must say, and I am very pleased.  Unfortunately for everyone involved, I was in a terrible mood and extremely stressed out.  I don’t know what I was stressed out for, other than it was change (but GOOD change) and it was like a “so-long-see-ya” tip of the hit to DSB.  I threw away a lot of his stuff.  I could have donated some of it, had it been cleaned up, bit was just so nasty and dirty.  Gah!

You don’t realize you’re living in a hell-hole until it gets cleaned up.  That’s kind of how I feel about things.  Kizzie was soooo cute on her new rug in the living room.  Wiggling all over it, doing her yoga stretches, rubbing her back.  And just laying there, totally content.  I think she missed having nice, clean, soft carpet to lay on.  That about did it for me right there.

So after getting into a disagreement with mom, upon whence she left and I retreated inside to rest and cry my eyes out, I sat in my living room and stared in awe at everything.  I really didn’t think we could get it this clean.  And then I cried some more and some more.  Then I got up and did a few last-minute chores and went to bed.  I was so tired, it wasn’t funny.  I could have probably not taken my sleeping pill and fallen asleep.  It is therefore strange that I was up at 4:00 a.m.

I work today, because Rock worked for me yesterday, as that was the only day my sister could get off.  I’ve never worked a hump-day in the store before but my guess is that it’s more of the same.  I’m no worried because Blue Cat and the Big Dawg will be there, so things should go pretty smoothly.  I think I’m going to try and lay down now for about an hour and see how that goes.  Hopefully I can get a bit more sleep!

Fed Up

1422626_707024485991817_2012130671_n

I’m done.  All the hacking, the shortness of breath (with any slight movement, even with just sitting), the money gone down the toilet, the h0rrible smell.  I’m just done.

The past several nights, I have woken up coughing, and not been able to stop or to catch my breath.  It’s scary stuff, feeling like you are sucking air from a straw.  Getting lightheaded.  Almost throwing up because you’re coughing so hard.  Each night I swear them off, and then pick one up in the morning, which only leads to more hacking.

This isn’t normal.  My lungs were not MADE for smoking.  Hell, no one’s are, but mine especially are sensitive and, while I had cut way back the last time I started after a quit (in February or March), I’m back up to almost three packs a day.  That’s just not acceptable.  I can’t afford it financially and I can’t afford the things it is doing to my health.

I really did pretty well with quitting this last adventure.  What brought me back to it was cigarettes being plentiful around the  house and a DSB who saw nothing wrong with continuing to blow smoke inside the house while I was trying my damndest to quit.  Well, now he’s not here, so I think I can be successful.

I’m going to use the patch and lozenges.  It seems to really work for me.  I start (or stop, rather) in the morning.  I’m going to wake up, have a smoke or two, and then slap a patch on and call it a done deal.  I know it will be hard, but I have a lot of support.

So, when ya wake up in the morning, send some good juju my way.  I’ll probably need it!

This is MY song right now.  I’ve quit DSB, alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes (as of tomorrow, with the cigarettes).  And I’m still blue, like Michelle, but I’m sure I’ll get over that with some TLC.

 

 

 

I Need A Hero

Just a few days ago, I was fine.  Bordering on good.  Feeling positive.  Not aware that bipolar disorder was going to smack into me like a Mack truck.  Not aware that all of those good feelings and positive thoughts would completely disintegrate.  I don’t know why I’m always so surprised.  This is always how it goes.  This is what bipolar disorder does.  It takes your perfect little sandcastle and dumps a boatload of water on it.  And then you’re drowning.

I am flailing at this point.  I have not been able to gather any willingness about me as of yet.  I am struggling and I am drowning.  I am looking for any outside source to make myself feel better when I know, deep down, that it resides in myself.  It matters not.  It appears that the people who are always in my corner may have become, over time, less sympathetic to my plight.

Well, that’s what it feels like, even if it’s not reality.  It feels like they are sick to death of the crazy Rose and only want the “feeling good” Rose around.  I can see it in their eyes, which they avert when I look directly at them.  I can sense it in the body language, the old, “oh, here we go again” shrug of shoulders.  The lack of a hug, the lack of an “I love you.”  The not being able to meet me in the eyes.  The plain and simple walking away.  I, and this 15 year bout with mental illness, have left them drained.

I don’t know what other people think, when a person with bipolar disorder goes through a long remission of symptoms.  Are they thinking maybe the symptoms won’t come back?  Or that they won’t be as bad?  Or that the person dealing with the disorder has the skills so will surely be able to fix herself?

What I do know is that this is two cycles in a month.  That’s a lot for any family to have to deal with, especially after such a long period of remission.  Are the fears back that this will go on and on?  Maybe.  I can’t ask because I don’t know that I want to hear the answer.  I know my family will stand by me, but I can’t help feeling all alone.

I really don’t know.  What I do know is that I do an awful lot of my pain and suffering in silence, because I don’t want to bother anyone.  And when I DO reach out, I am guilty and ashamed.  Why am I ashamed of something I have been dealing with for so long?  Because I see what it does to the people around me.  I’m not saying they would, but there is a small possibility in the back of my brain says that they could get tired of loving me if this keeps going on.

And it will keep going on.  My bipolar disorder is CHRONIC, as in, not going away.  I will have to deal with this the rest of my life, and I’m just not sure I can sometimes.  I’m not getting ready to do anything stupid, but those thoughts are there.  It’s never good when the thoughts are there.

I want to affirm and reaffirm that I will never take my own life.  I know that would destroy people that love me.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it.  Over the years, I have always kept myself from doing it in one way or another.  Right now, my nephew and my pup, are the two things keeping me going.  I don’t want Kizz to ever be without her momma and I want to watch my nephew grow up.  Those are two good reasons to keep fighting.  They are what I think of when I think I can’t do this anymore.

So for now, I’ll keep moving on.  I’ll take the extra meds the pdoc prescribed and I’ll try and stay busy and I’ll keep blogging on here.  There is a part of me that desperately wants to reach out to someone, but I know that maybe, for now, I have maxed that person out.  It is sad to me that I have done this, but it’s been a long row to hoe.  And we’ve only made it through the strawberry patch so far.

 

“Hero”

I’m just a step away
I’m just a breath away
Losin’ my faith today
(Fallin’ off the edge today)

I am just a man
Not superhuman
(I’m not superhuman)
Someone save me from the hate

It’s just another war
Just another family torn
(Falling from my faith today)
Just a step from the edge
Just another day in the world we live

[Chorus:]
I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero (save me now)
I need a hero to save my life
A hero’ll save me (just in time)

I’ve gotta fight today
To live another day
Speakin’ my mind today
(My voice will be heard today)

I’ve gotta make a stand
But I am just a man
(I’m not superhuman)
My voice will be heard today

It’s just another war
Just another family torn
(My voice will be heard today)
It’s just another kill
The countdown begins to destroy ourselves

[Chorus]

I need a hero to save my life
I need a hero just in time
Save me just in time
Save me just in time

Who’s gonna fight for what’s right
Who’s gonna help us survive
We’re in the fight of our lives
(And we’re not ready to die)

Who’s gonna fight for the weak
Who’s gonna make ’em believe
I’ve got a hero (I’ve got a hero)
Livin’ in me

I’m gonna fight for what’s right
Today I’m speaking my mind
And if it kills me tonight
(I will be ready to die)

A hero’s not afraid to give his life
A hero’s gonna save me just in time

[Chorus]

I need a hero
Who’s gonna fight for what’s right
Who’s gonna help us survive

I need a hero
Who’s gonna fight for the weak
Who’s gonna make ’em believe
I need a hero
I need a hero

A hero’s gonna save me just in time

 

Ten Things of Thankful, Sixth Edition

You know when you’re feeling bad, it’s kinda hard to identify the positives in your life?  I always enjoy TToT, but I’m having difficulty pinpointing what exactly it is I am thankful for right at the moment.  Sure, there’s things I’m thankful for.  I know there are.  It’s just that this part of my brain is fuzzy at the moment.  I’m gonna give ‘er a go, though.  You should, too.  Just write the damn list already, and then link up over at Considerings.  You’ll be glad  you did, once you get it all out on paper.  I know I always feel better.

1) I am thankful for my new-found brother, Rock.  My family has adopted all 21 years of him and he has truly been a lifesaver during this hard time.  I blogged more about him yesterday, but I think he needs to be numero uno on this week’s TToT, because having him around has made things just a little easier.

brothers-12

 

2)  Of course, the next shout out goes to my parents, QoB and the Big Dawg.  I am thankful for them every week, but they have been especially kind and gentle and loving with me over the past several days.  I have seen a wealth of understanding and compassion, especially in the Big Dawg, that I didn’t know ran so deeply.  I don’t know what I expected, but they are coming through just like they always have.  I don’t know why I expected any less, possibly because I feel like the most foolish, biggest pile of dog poo, and that I would possibly to be blamed for stuff that has happened, but that’s not how it is.

Parents-Quotes-Thoughts-Love-Care-Mother-Father-Great-Best-Nice

 

3) I am thankful I have four people by my side who are helping  me take care of the practical details that have come up in this whole mess.  The Big Dawg especially is taking charge, getting my lawnmower fixed and when that failed, bringing his own mower over to mow.  Getting rid of the boat.  Dad helping me take all of DSB’s medical supplies to the hospital to be donated so I’m not swimming in cardboard boxes.  Mom feeding me and raking and burning leaves.  Rock helping out with yardwork.  Mom’s promise to help me get my house in order and revamp a couple of rooms.  Without them, it is all so overwhelming.  With help though, it can be done and I believe that.

 

stock-illustration-1656831-yardwork

4) I am exceptionally grateful to all the wonderful blogs I read for keeping me entertained over the past couple of days.  I love them all, but find two especially inspiring, positive, and full of light.  Cynthia Reyes fills her blog with beautiful  homes, renovation projects she is following, lovely pictures of her garden, and just a little bit of magic.  I thank her for inspiring me to keep going when the world is getting to me, and I know I can always take refuge in one of her posts.  The other blog, written by my friend Marilyn Armstrong, can always be counted on to have several posts a day, containing anything from historical anecdotes to amazing photos to funny insights to rants about important things, like the lack of plug-ins in her home to the trend of not including user manuals in electronics purchases.  I hold Marilyn’s blog in high esteem, not only because her written word and photos are lovely, but because she remains so positive in the face of so many difficult challenges.  Marilyn and Cynthia are both beautiful people, wonderful bloggers, and if you haven’t already, you should go check them out.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

5173Zej-pHL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Cynthia’s memoir. It has received amazing reviews and I just downloaded it to my Kindle. I have no doubt that it will be fabulous.

 

marilyns book

Marilyn’s memoir that I HAVE read and loved, loved, loved. It changed the way I was currently looking at spirituality dramatically. Definitely worth a read.

 

5)  I am grateful for rededicating myself to taking better care of the Kizz.  I have always shown her a a lot of attention, but Rascal (Mr. Neurotic) always wound up taking center stage.  Mom bought her a honking armadillo toy and hooked her up with some new treats (that DSB would not allow…didn’t believe in bones or rawhide) and also a new leash and collar.  She is looking snazzy and seems to be very content to be the only dog again.  I am getting her groomed next Friday (which DSB always discouraged for some reason) and have her up to date on shots as of yesterday.  Kizz has been with me through thick and thin and deserves to be first, instead of playing second fiddle to another pup.  She doesn’t even really seem to miss DSB or Rascal, but seems rather happy to be ruling the roost again.  Oh, and without Rascal here, there is none of the constant barking from her.  She peeks through the fence at the neighbor with interest, but no barking.  Hmmph!  What a good dog, and DSB always said how she wasn’t very well behaved or smart.  Wrong!

kizz

 

6) I am grateful that I am going to be able to change my eating habits dramatically.  When you live with someone who likes fatty, rich food and mostly refuses to eat vegetables, you become limited in what you cook.  When you live with someone who eats everything in sight as soon as it is purchased, you stop buying certain things because it’s like throwing money down the toilet.  I am looking forward to more fish, more soup, occasional ice cream, 2% milk, soy and almond milk, cereal, fresh fruit and veggies, and being able to keep my pantry and fridge stocked.  If I ever have to eat biscuits and gravy again in the near future, I may puke.  Actually, no more gravy period for quite some time.

healthy food

 

7) I am thankful there will be no more whining or complaining about how much time I spend blogging or looking at other blogs or emailing.  Talk about jealousy.  I can do as I please, in my own home again.  I can have soup for dinner and ramen noodles for breakfast, if I feel like it.  I can keep my house cleaner.  I don’t have to ask for permission to do things.  I could go on and on with the things I am grateful for that I will be able to do now, and just can’t  help but kicking myself that I didn’t figure all this out sooner.

keep-calm-im-single-so-i-do-what-i-want-1

 

8) I am thankful that the anxiety monster seems to have passed with the leaving of DSB.  So much stress and anxiety tied up into that relationship — totally unreal.  It has been two days since I have taken a Klonopin, and in those two days, I didn’t even really think about needing one.  There is so much less tension, so much more laughter, and almost nothing to worry about.  I attribute that to my awesome Team ‘o Four (Big Dawg, QoB, Rock, and Dad) for helping me to simplify, solve problems, and make life easier.  I know I already listed being thankful for them above, but they are all a post in and of themselves.  Love you guys!

Stop-Stress1

 

9) I am thankful for having a good, great, awesome therapist.  I sent her a list, a four-page list at that, last night about all the things that were better  now that DSB and I aren’t together.  Not only did she read it on her day off, she responded.  And told me she’d always want to read anything I sent.  She reads my blog.  I feel like she is very invested in my mental health and, most importantly, like she genuinely cares about how I am doing and feeling.  I don’t think it’s often that you find a therapist that gets you like that, but we’ve had a lot of practice together.  I’ve seen her for the past nine years pretty much solid (other than a year spent fiddling with mental health center therapists) and then she was also my therapist for a couple of years when I was 16.  She is amazing, totally deserving of her Goddess of Mindfulness status, and I hope she  knows how much she helps me.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without her support and guidance.

Therapy-194x250

 

10) I am thankful for the outpouring of support over the last week.  It is amazing to me how many people commented, wishing me well, offering advice, sharing their story, saying a prayer for me.  A lot of people came out of the woodwork, because I was having a rough time, and I can’t say thank you enough for that.  It has meant the world to me to know I have so much support out here on the Interwebs.  I appreciate the reading, the liking, the commenting, the emails.  Everything.  You have all touched me deeply and I am immensely grateful.

thank-you-note-1024x684

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Okay-ness of it All

I do tend to neglect this blog when things are going either very bad or very well.  It’s been a week and I have missed the release, the ebb and flow of words, the putting-it-out-there that seems to be so cleansing for me.  I have still been online, keeping caught up with most of the blogs that I read, liking and commenting.  I just haven’t felt a big press to post anything, no pull to my keyboard.  I honestly have just had nothing to say.

And then it hit me.  Maybe, because I keep this blog to track my progress, it might behoove me to write a post about how okay everything is.  There is no angst, no strife, no drama.  For me right now, life just “is,” and it truly is a strange feeling.  The up and the down and the down-down-down that have plagued me for almost every January and February of life since I can remember it, are gone.  I feel even, steady.  At times, I experience true contentment and at times, real joy.

It’s hard to say what has brought this all about, or to even say that it is necessary that I delve into that.  Let’s go with it being necessary to delve into it, because only then really, I think, is progress made.

I think it has to do with many different factors.  I have a new nephew and three weeks later I am still over the moon about that.  My sister is sending me a daily picture message, usually with a funny little comment.  He gained a half-pound last week and is just a healthy little guy.  I start to tear up when I think about him and how much of an impact he has already had on me.  I quit smoking in December, for a variety of reasons, but one of them being that I wanted to be around for a long time for my nephew.  And I didn’t want him to grow up seeing me smoking, and maybe think it was okay or cool.  I wanted to give my nephew a good example to follow, and I guess so far I am doing that, although I know he is too young to comprehend that at this point.  I just want to be there for him, simple as that.

Another factor that has really kept me on the level is a more steady up-keep of my medication needs.  For months and months, I failed to take my Ritalin three times per day, as prescribed.  I would usually take the morning dose, but the other two were often forgotten.  Here within the last month I have made a concerted effort to become religious about it. And I have, and it has made a big difference.  Now, I can really tell if I am late with a dose or if I haven’t taken it.  And DSB notices, too.  He has caught me slipping up with it more than once, and I am grateful that he is on top of it, as well.  It’s always nice to have that support.

And I think the third main thing is that somehow, I have learned not to take everything so seriously.  I don’t know how I’ve learned it or if I will unlearn it in a matter of time.  I’ve been spending more time breathing and listening and less time anxious and criticizing.  Am I annoyed with the way certain things are going?  Yes, but I am trying to approach these things with a compassionate eye rather than a critical one.  Instead of asking, why must it always be that way, I’m trying to accept that it is that way, first.  I’m not saying I’m giving up the fight on certain things, but I find that a lot of the stuff I get hyped up about is minor in the grand scheme of things.  So very minor, that it is almost embarrassing to admit my prior behavior.

I’m learning things don’t have to be a certain way or it’s a failed situation.  I’m learning that I can love others more if I try and love myself just a little bit.  I’m learning that faking confidence is a surefire way to get the real thing.  I’m learning to be less black and white, less rigid, less about perfectionism and to care more about things that are real instead of imaginations that reside solely in my own head.

And I blame all of that on DBT and the single therapy appointment I had with Goddess of Mindfulness almost a month ago.  DBT is hands down the very best therapy I know of, and I know of several.  The key to happiness, for me, is that I must first be willing, and then everything will follow from there.  It’s too cold and snowy to get out and hug a tree, but I carry a visual in my head of the first time I found willingness, and I just keep running that video tape in my head when things get tough.

When I post a comment on someone else’s blog that it will get better, that’s because I know it firsthand.  It will get better and it will get worse and it will get even and steady and, eventually, there might be days and even a string of days where you really won’t ponder too much on the status of your mental health, because it really, really, really does get better.  Take it from someone who has walked that path, more than once.

Blinding Happiness Followed By Crash With Tears

Today has been a great day.  Today, I met my very first ever nephew.  That’s right; I’m Auntie Rose.  My sister had the baby last night and I went to the hospital in the big city to see her and the newest addition.  The text message pictures she sent me this morning before I got there didn’t do the boy justice.  Of course they didn’t.  He is perfect.  I mean it.  Perfect.

I thought I would cry when I held him, because for weeks I have been tearing up, just thinking about him and what a beautiful life he will have.  When my mom placed him in my arms, I was nervous (that I would drop him or sneeze on him or something else terrible), but calmed easily and just got lost looking at him.  I never did see him open his eyes, and he didn’t make much noise, but I felt such a deep connection.

I hadn’t felt that degree of pure joy in a long, long time.  I’m tearing up just thinking about it now.  I wish the misery around me would go away and I could just sneak back in those hospital doors and see him.  I know that would make me feel better, for awhile.

But every time my mood goes up, it must come CRASHING THE FUCK DOWN!  I’m so sick of it.  I held it together until I got home.  I am an idiot because I asked DSB if he was happy to see me and he flatly replied, “ecstatic.”  To me, that is sarcasm, and it is not appreciated.  To him, he is joking.  But really, that’s just how he communicates.  He doesn’t get excited about anything, and even if he did, he would never admit it.

So, I burst into tears and told him I needed a break.  I sit, here at my desk, in my favorite room in the house, and I am crying.  Just flat-out, sniffling, can’t-stop crying.  Not sure I WANT to stop.  The day has been an intense emotional roller-coaster and I really just need him to be there for me and understand.  I don’t seem to be able to ask him to do that.

And I need to stop crying.  All this crying I am doing, every day for at least two hours for the past month…it has to go.  The last time I cried like this, it lasted for months, and I ended up in a day-hospital program, and then went voluntarily inpatient.  I am not doing that again.  Ever.

I also need to get my feelings and mood swings in check before I ruin the best thing I’ve got going — me and DSB.  I’m at a loss.  I really am.  Blogging has helped somewhat, but I’ve got to ask my biggest supporter for more support and I don’t know how.

Less Pressure, But Still Obsessed

Wellpers, as  you all know, NaBloPoMo is over.  When I first started, I kinda thought, after the dust had cleared, that I’d take a long blogging break.  What I didn’t realize is how ADDICTIVE writing and reading other posts and making new bloggie friends would be.  Putting my thoughts on paper every day gives me a great way to track how I’m doing and to see where I need to modify my behavior, for better or worse, to come out smellin’ like roses.

Thanksgiving week was pure hell (and it’s not over, because I don’t count Sunday as the first day of the week), and I think most of that had to do with DSB’s refusal (up to the bitter end) of Thanksgiving festivities, and the fact that I had just quit smoking.  And I have learned a lot about both of those things here within the past week.

What I have learned about DSB’s refusal of Thanksgiving is that he genuinely doesn’t like attending.  He doesn’t like all the people and he doesn’t like the family dynamic.  Even my fairly “normal” family (as in, we generally get along) bothered him, although it is altogether possible that some people were being bigger assholes than usual.  It’s the hormones, the lack of nicotine, the protectiveness…it’s all of that and it’s ugly when you throw it in the mixing bowl and stir.

I’m not sure if DSB will “do” Christmas yet or not.  I hope he does, because it means a lot to me, and selfishly so, I hope he would just sacrifice and go anyway.  Good gawd that sounds terrible, but it’s what I wish for and no one said what I wish for had to be nice.  What I truly wish is that DSB could get caught up in the beauty of the season and forget all that little petty BS.

Now let’s take the quitting smoking.  It has been rough and bumpy, but is overall going quite well.  Yes, I have slipped a few times and had a cigarette, so my quit hasn’t been perfect, but I still think that’s pretty good.  I’ve gone from smoking three packs a day down to maybe 1.25 cigarettes a day, and some days none.  I think I have to give myself props for that even though there are a lot of naysayers out there.

And to them, I really just want to say, “Eff you.”  Because seriously, you have no idea how  hard this is.  You have no idea what I am going through right now and I hope you never have to wean yourself off what is perhaps the most powerfully addictive substance on the planet.  Studies indicate nicotine is more powerful than heroin, crack, and meth.  And how many people succeed in getting off those things?  Not tons, folks.

So, what I ask of those people, is to cut me a little slack.  Be extra kind to me.  Go out of your way to avoid me if you can’t say something nice and encouraging.  Even the most well-meaning people can be complete dicks when it comes to something like this.  Don’t tell me I’m not doing this right when you can’t even manage to quit your Oreo cookie habit.  Don’t tell me I’m not doing this right when you can’t even manage to go a day without drinking.  And don’t tell me I’m not doing this right if you haven’t done it before.

Well, now that I’m all wound up, I think I’ll go throw some dishes around and hope they shatter on the floor.  Now THAT would be good stress relief (if only DSB would clean up the mess).  😀

Deconstructing the Structure

I have been going to a mental health group titled “Intermediate Treatment Group” (which means nothing, other than it’s a step below “Intensive Treatment Group,” which I have also attended when the times were rougher).  I  have been going Mon-Wed-Fri for an hour, and it’s an hour’s drive round trip.

I have learned a lot from this group, like how to better manage my time and how to be more productive.  How to set goals.  How to create activities that help to achieve said goals.  I’m at the point where I get it.  I’ve been through the entire manual almost twice, and the teachings have sunk into my otherwise-addled brain.

As of October 28th (I know that by looking back in my blog, which is the main reason I write), I was wanting to continue with group and had decided such.  Now, just eight days later, I think the time has come to finish things up.  I wonder to myself how it is that I’ve come to this conclusion.  I really do feel the group is helpful, but I also feel that I have “reached max benefits,” as they call it.

And that’s what I would call it, as well.  I can gain nothing further by continuing to go to group.  I’ve been through the material more than once and I genuinely have that, “I get it!” feeling.  I have been much more productive, I have been better about structuring my time, and I am reaching out socially (although on an Internet-based level, I still feel it counts).

And that is what they want you to take away from completing group.  I’m there.  I’ve reached the finish line.  I think my therapist will be okay with it.  I recently went from seeing her weekly to seeing her every other week, and that has been a huge relief, because I really don’t care for her, which is another blog in and of itself.

I have a lot to keep me busy.  I have a house to maintain, relationships to keep up, a small but important workweek, and goals I hope to achieve.  And as I learned in group, having goals means you need to have activities to achieve these goals.

My life has been broken into little, easy-to-swallow pieces and there would have been a time in my life where I resented that.  I am more accepting of my limitations now.  I know I will never have a high-powered or high-stress job.  I know that I might always need more support than the average bear.  I consigned myself to a lifetime of medication and pdoc appointments a long time ago, and I realize that I might need a bit of talk therapy here and there throughout the course of my life.

I’m okay with all of that, on most days.  Sure, there are the days where I rage against it all, but those are coming fewer and farther between.  I attribute that to having loving, caring, and, most of all, accepting people around me.  I really feel like I can move on from where I’ve been stuck the last while and do something great.

I don’t know what that “great” thing will be, but you’ll be the first to know when I figure it out.  😀