Create Your Peace

Rule Your Mind

To have my life in an unorganized state completely wrecks havoc with my mind.  I find that the more that my house gets unorganized, the more my mind responds to the mess.  Everything needs to be in its place.  Chaos and the inability to organize my schedule, house, and life in general may be a precipitating factor into a spiraling whirlwind of an inability to cope.  However, the other way of seeing things may actually be going on.  For instance, the inability to cope may be causing the chaos.  Whatever the cause, ultimately the response is the same – inability to keep my thoughts straight.  Generally, keeping the house organized is a must for me, at least for my peace of mind.

Watching my environment and keeping it clean, organized, and calm displays how my mind is dealing with life.  Understanding this aspect of my mental health is critical to my well-being.  A calm, happy, and safe environment brings about the same sense of peace for me.

Knowing this – today will be a beautiful day.

Do Unto Others

Loyalty and Respect

I have decided to take care of me.  I am happy with the people who are now in my life.  No more am I going to tolerate a spiteful bitterness from others who claim to be a warm presence in my life.  It is time for me to focus on my happiness.

Now is the beginning of a new me.  I have the love of my husband and children and family, and their presence in my life is invaluable.  Time to enjoy those that have mutual respect, and release myself from the grips of hostility.  Loyalty with mutual respect of family and friends is in the future.  The future looks GREAT!

Bonds of Strength and Love

Family Bond

A major theme with my symptoms of Bipolar have been what I call “the mad rush” feeling.  This is where my mind feels like it is spinning from one topic to another and I try to keep up.  I feel like I purposefully try to slow my thoughts down and my thinking pattern so I can analyze and understand each topic.

I recall having this feeling of the “mad rush” frequently when I went out with my mother.  She was a bubbly, carefree, self-directed woman and loved shopping with a passion.  Our shopping styles were much different, though I truly enjoyed spending time with her.  She was a shopper that immediately could find what she wanted, grab it, and move on.  I think this was partially due to the fact that my dad teased her often about how she liked to “touch, look, pick-up, put back”.  He was right to some degree.  Yet my mom was a master of shopping, and style (yes, she had all the latest in styles).  My shopping style on the other side of the scope was extremely laid back.  I was a direct contrast to my mom.  I liked to move slowly, digest everything I saw, feel it and touch it – like mom, but make a thoughtful decision about whether to take it or not.  The only thing about shopping that we did exactly the same way was the put back at times, when we looked at the total cost.  My mom was the quick, item to item, fast decision shopper.  And I was the slow thinking, time to enjoy, thoughtful shopper that made shopping a joyful gratifying process.  This totally different approach to our thinking and actions would frequently take my mind to the “mad rush” spot where I had to slow myself down so I could think clearly.  Mom had a clear understanding of this feature of my thought process and slowed down appropriately.  We had an understanding that meshed quite nicely.

To even understand mom’s quick and precise way about cleaning as well, brought about the racing of my mind.  Yet I so appreciated any type of help from her in this area, probably because she was so efficient.  I’ve come to realize that my daughter has taken on a lot of her grandmother’s personality.  Those are definitely not bad traits to have.  In fact, it is refreshing to see.

I recall when the months were going by and my mother was in and out of Boston Mass General Hospital, then rehabilitation facilities in New Hampshire, and back and forth from when she had the trauma and recovery of two brain surgeries.  I made the effort to be on top of every aspect of her care and decisions.  I began to lose track of my life and my daily care.  My house was in chaos.  My whole existence focused on my mom, which was an absolute must, at that time of her life.  This was the case, needed by me even more so, with the passing of my dad.  However I was lost in the whirlwind.  I recall my counsellor asking me if there was anything anyone could do to help me.  My husband worked incredibly long hours, and my brother lived a distance away.  I knew that just with the help of organizing my environment it would give a sense of relief and organization to my mind.

Though I hated to intrude, I thought of my daughter for her help.  I tearfully asked her to help because I was lost and I couldn’t catch up.  We made a day for her to come over and help clean my house.  Asking for help was extremely hard to do, but essential.  And my daughter came over with her bubbly attitude, dressed in pajamas, and said that we were having a pajama party.  She not only made the time while cleaning efficient, she made it a joy and fun.  This was something that I forgot could be a part of life.  I was so absorbed in the tragedy and loss, I also forgot that life still existed.

That day made me realize what an impact my parents had imprinted on my children’s lives.  They helped to bring the joy out of the heartache, and they taught that to my children so effortlessly.  What a beautiful thing it is to have a loving family that truly cares about every aspect of the other parts of their family.  What a joy it is to have compassion, love, and a bond that is strong and willing to fight during the trying times.

Moments of Joy

The times I spend with my beautiful granddaughter fill me with joy.

I’m remembering this time fondly.

Rainbow

The beauty of seeing a rainbow for the first time.  Seeing her joy and wonderment will forever be a part of me.

August 1, 2014

Lovely time with my granddaughter last night at dinner. A beautiful rainbow appeared and she enjoyed it thoroughly, though she waited (impatiently) for the rainbow to come back. “Come back NOW rainbow, please!!” I finally got her away from the sliding glass door window and we were able to have a fun night. Whew!!

Cherishing these times of joy!

The Winding Path

I have decided to repost this article ‘The Winding Path’ because when I was rereading it and trying to organize my blog pages and menus, I realized that the last paragraph is so much more significant today for me.  As you will see, it tells me that God has put people into my life who are now with me on my journey (or possibly have always been there).  It is with the trust that I have obtained throughout the years in MYSELF, and in also ALLOWING OTHERS to help me, that has been brought into awareness.  The ability to TRUST people during difficult times to love and guide me back to wellness when I desperately need their help is a hard skill to learn.  Also asking others for assistance can be so overwhelming sometimes.  And just withdrawing and letting GOD and those I LOVE to take over is a hard thing, but ultimately a BEAUTIFUL capability.  And FOR ME – this was my recent test.

Growth

Stress is my precursor to ultimate chaos and inability to handle situations.  Triggers (with my PTSD) cause a hyper-vigilant response.  I either use the ‘Fight or Flight’ response or I refuse to accept a situation, turn inward, and isolate.  Either way I respond, is a maddening way to live.

I recall so many times with my children growing up, the stress of trying to make the best decisions to guide them into balanced personal growth.  This was a challenge with one of my children.  He had been traumatized as a child and I knew this.  I tried to maintain his happiness and growth, yet my denial of the circumstances causing the problems were evident.  It was my fear that controlled my choices (at times).  This fear of possible loss – at all times.  But above all I knew that I had to fight through this fear.

My ex-husband tried to be a loving dad, though his patience and temper were obstacles.  He was comfortable and helped with the fun times, such as sports and having play time.  This was an important part of the children’s growth.  I was the serious player with the agenda of protection, love, and harmony.  This balance was important to me.  I do recall always telling my ex-husband that if there was ever a choice to be made and I needed to choose between him or the children,  my answer would absolutely, without hesitation, always be the children.  I suppose this statement played a part in our marriage staying together for as long as it did.  My ex-husband was the supporter and he knew where my priorities were.  So, I suppose, that this was a tactic I used to try to control his actions.

At these times of stress, when I was faced with the questioning of my parental skills or with the need for extra attention requested for my son, I recoiled into my denial and my mind (most times) began spinning.  The fear was the ultimate stress, and I blamed my ex-husband for this, due to the abusive circumstances that had played a part in the situation.  I will always thank God that I had the support that I needed from my parents.  This was so crucial.  They never knew the extent of my fear or the actions that had been taken, but the guidance was always there.  And when my mind began to scatter without focus or reason, they were able to bring needed stability and grounding.

Sometimes it is just a rational ear or a validating statement that makes a difference.  A supportive ally is an important part to be in someone’s life.  And with the passing of my parents, my life has turned around so that I have learned to trust more in myself and understand that there are now other people who are blessings that God has put in my path.  Seeing around this corner has been difficult for me, but the growth that is obtained with this lesson is invaluable.

Time and Persistence Causing Peace

I'll Be OK

I have been reading back to the year of 1994 in my journal.  It’s amazing how my thought processes have changed – though not unexpected.  I was twenty-four years old and though married to my ex-husband for eight years with three children, I was independently making my decisions.  I was unaware of the friend that I had in my mother all along.  This was a time where I managed a household, worked, was going to college, and was able to maintain the chaos.

There had always been the need to move forward and keep an orderly household and keep the children safe and happy.  It’s amazing that love can help someone maintain the ability to have courage and strength.  Guidance was there always, yes, with my parents.  Yet my marriage did not have that capacity of conversation, lifting one another, rationale decision.  Therefore I felt that I was the one to keep the bond and to preserve the family unit.  I was the one to try to keep level-headed.  Though breaking points with the stress of Biploar did interfere at times.  Readily after getting help, I began again after being knocked down and was forced quickly back into the routine.  This needed to be done.  I had no bitterness or self-pity.  This was my life and I was going to keep the kids with us and be their guide.

I relied on God for strength always, but the way I prayed was with expectation of immediate answers to all of life’s questions.  I was scared to be back in the spiritual world especially since my psychotic break brought me to an unrealistic deluded place with my belief and answers that my mind had believed it had gotten from God.  My delusions were very real beliefs that guided my actions, though those beliefs were a part of my psychotic break down.  So the ability to trust my own belief and God was extremely difficult for me.  My ex-husband was also angry, so even going toward God was given opposition.  This battle ensued for many years.

Over twenty years later now with a new husband and with many life experiences in between, my life is now changed to the extreme.  I am unable to work.  Emotional abuse, staying strong for too long, PTSD, Bipolar, and Anxiety Disorder prevents this ability.  I am coming to accept this, though the situation I am in, causes depression at times.  I have come to realize that I need to worry about my happiness at this stage of my life.  I have to keep busy and look for opportunities to meet healthy adults.  Keep my mind focused.  I need to do this for me.  My husband is a great support with my questioning mind.  For this I am so appreciative.  We do struggle at times, but that is part of marriage.  The point is to keep going.  I am becoming use to his rational mind.  But my emotional mind sometimes compliments him quite nicely.

I continue learning everyday.  I see a therapist frequently.  I’m not afraid to get help when I need it.  I have a support system, and crisis plan in place.  I will keep trying to do my best everyday.  My test for bringing up the children into adulthood has been completed.  It’s now their turn to live their lives, and now I can be a support (as my mother and father were).  And the honor of being a grandparent has begun.

So my feet continue to move forward with faith and hope in my heart.

Part One: The Making of an Unbreakable Bond

River cuts through it

I recently went to a Mother’s Day Grief Group.  Thank God that there are caring and compassionate people who are there to help the bereaved.  For some, the process of grief is longer than others.  My process with the loss of my mother has been reoccurring, interrupted, then abounding.  I will never be the same person again without her, and moving on is the only option.

I am so glad that I had the time that I was allowed with her during the last two years of her life.  We became friends and I got to know the strength of a woman with the kindest heart imaginable.  During those years, she was the image of grace and fire under the pressure of a such unimaginable physical adversity.  She was the elegance of laughter when inflicted with pain.  How she could smile through her misery is absolutely astonishing and I will forever be amazed with the love that was displayed by her beautiful and gracious spirit.

I recall that morning so clearly.  “Kelsy, I can’t move my head.  I can’t get up.  I have pain in my neck.”  I knew she had fallen the night before, but she was moving and climbing stairs afterward.  She appeared to be okay.  But then at 5am this call jolted me out of bed.  Her neighbor was beside her and I asked her to press her Life Alert button, and all was in motion.  Before I knew it, mom was being med-flighted by helicopter from Manchester NH to Boston Mass General Hospital.  Then all would never be the same again.

Mom, who had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, was now in need of a brain surgery and we were told she had a 50% chance of living.  Her cerebellum was bleeding significantly and we were told that she may stop breathing before they get her into surgery.  Her clotting factor for surgery had been interrupted due to Coumadin that she was on for Atrial Fibrillation (a heart condition), and the doctors were trying to reverse the process.  That wasn’t going so well, and we were told she had four hours to live.  How could the unimaginable happen so quickly?  The sense of loss of control was frightening.  I was her protector from the moment my father died a few years earlier.  I had failed!  Though as if in a movie, we were all saying our goodbyes as she was falling unconscious and then being ran on a stretcher up to surgery.

She made it through the surgery, and to see her hooked up in the SICU in Mass General was a heartbreaking experience.  She had a halo of sorts around her head and a neck brace.  She was on a ventilator that was breathing for her.  Tubes and IV’s were coming out of all places.  Mom was truly fighting for her life.  She was kept in an unconscious state for weeks, then the doctors would wake her up for brief periods of time to see how she was responding.  I remember always wanting to be there because I could gather her attention enough to have her look at me during those brief moments.  The doctors would do quick neurological checks to see how she was healing, then quickly back to sleep.  This cycle repeated itself for weeks.  She got infections, had elevated fevers, was put on ice mats, but she fought.

I travelled back and forth to Boston once or twice a day for however long this took place.  The days, weeks, months molding into one another.  Then as quickly as she was transported there, I was being asked where rehabilitation would occur.  I was told in the first rehabilitation facility that she had no chance of recovery.  I was told she would never feed herself again, walk, go to the bathroom, or get herself dressed.  She was transported back from there to Mass General due to an infection, then a new rehabilitation facility took over.

I think the hardest part for me was not talking to her once, twice, or more times a day.  She no longer could answer the phone, and learning words, meanings of words, and motor functions was challenging for her.  This new facility did an amazing job with mom.  They never gave up hope.  She was now closer to home and seeing her everyday was much easier.  I tried to never miss a day, or at least have that day covered by somebody. We, as her family, were her advocates and her voice.  I was my mom’s Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, and I took that responsibility very seriously, and with me being a nurse that made that responsibility all the more powerful.  I was a knowledgable person who was engrossed in all aspects of her care.  I was professionally, emotionally, and spiritually attached in all aspects.  My mom was my every moments thought and we became bonded as if one.  She relied on me for every decision, and I relied on her loving acceptance.  We became an unbreakable bond.

And I so miss her…

A Promise to Mom and Dad

Purpose

Today’s affirmation:

I am a capable woman worthy of love and respect.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of this fact!  I have raised three respectful, independent, caring children.  I was able to obtain my nursing license under extremely stressful conditions.  I have fought opposing opinions of my worth and value by others.  I have been through what others may have crumbled to – such as psychosis, delusions, emotional abuse, threatening to my body and spirit.  But by the grace of God, I have survived!  Never underestimate a capable woman.

I have decided that no longer am I the victim!  I can do and will do all that I need to live with joy.  I’m an honest and kind individual that deserves the same.  No longer am I living in my illness.  I am maintaining my illness and living in health!

I am woman, hear me roar!  Haha.  My mom and dad would see the humor in that statement from when I was a fifteen year old pregnant teenager and I declared that.

Mom and dad – this is for you!  I can and will make the most of my life.  This is a promise!

A Mindful Choice – Insightful Reframing

Mind is Everything

My last post was very distressing and for that I apologize!  Please understand that my mind was in a much different place.  I am deliberately deciding to change my thought pattern.  I am learning to reframe my mindset and think of myself as living in health, not living with illness and seeking a glimpse of recovery.  I am making a conscious behavioral change and deciding to live in joy and health.

Why is it that I’m always working through my illness?  Instead of that thought process, I’ve decided to live in HEALTH and maintain my illness.  I will live with my competent capabilities that I have proven that I have and seek other healthy adults.  I am not a constant undone person that needs to be recovering.  Thank you to those that have given me this insight!

Thank you to God for the beauty of a new beginning.  Thank you for the wonderful power of cognitive reframing.  Life truly is to live fully with as much joy that can be contained.

 

A Year After Insightful Reframing of the Mind

April 12, 2016

I recall writing this post after I had gotten out of a hospital stay.  Cognitive reframing was a technique that was used to help me see how I am a healthy person that needs to maintain my health and joy, and manage my illness.  I am NOT living in my illness.

I have learned a lot in the past year.  My level of joy with my writing and exploring who I am has given me a wonderful sense of peace.  I have learned to like to be by myself, and enjoy my own company.  I have learned to be thankful for the blessings in my life that are there on a daily basis.  My mind has shifted to a place of gratitude.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have my days that I don’t struggle, for instance with the recent changing of my meds.  But I am more patient with myself and I look for ways to lift up my spirit.  I search for the happiness in life.  I am capable.  I am moving on the right path.  I am so blessed by the love of God.

It is a dreary place to be to live in reaction to misery.  It is much better to turn that frame of mind around and say that I am so blessed.  I am happy.  I am proactive, and I can make the choices in my life.  God is my guide, but my feet are doing the walking, and my mind is filled with the peace of abounding joy.