Making Sense of Madness

When the darkness appears and the voices are loud with terror and deceit, your love holds me up and helps to focus me back to reality.  My life was meant to go down this path, and you are my inner strength.  I am thankful to God for making you a part of my path and life.  You are the one I run to…  You are my rest during the storm.

Forever yours,

I’m blessed to know YOU will be MY man

It Was ALL Part of God’s Plan

 

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It was back in 1997.  I was twenty-seven years old.  My children were twelve, ten, and eight.  I graduated from nursing school in Boston two months earlier (at the top of the class).  I passed the Registered Nurse board on the first try, and was now working in a rehabilitation facility.

It was a beautiful day.  I dropped the children off to school, then came back home and took a bath, and got myself ready for the day.  I was feeling pretty good about myself and decided to write in my journal about all of my thoughts.

At the beginning of the journal entry my handwriting was calm, well-written, clear, and concise.  My first thoughts were that I was feeling well and that I wanted to order a new RN pin for my work.  That little thought escalated into a tornado of distracted whirlwind thinking that got out of hand.  Damn, how could so many responsibilities be put upon one person, at such a young age, (without the ability to share the load)?  That one thought turned into I don’t have any money, the mortgage (how are we going to pay the mortgage), my daughter is getting her braces, and my son is having a problem with his teeth, I get paid tomorrow and should be able to do this, I deserve it after all the work that I’ve done, the kids need this and that, my husband needs this or that, the mortgage (how can I manage that), don’t pay Home Depot,  all I want is a damn pin, I have to cancel that appointment for my husband, I have an appointment with my son’s guidance counselor, back to the teeth, but the mortgage, need cat food, got to pay the babysitter, make a list, I work all day tomorrow – how can I get this done, I could pay the electric (should I).

My writing became large and barely able to read.  With each thought spewing off to the other.  I managed by the end of my journal writing to convince myself that I can keep on keeping on, and I just have to do it, and that (though hesitant)  I have to talk to my husband about all of my thoughts.  “He will HAVE to understand”, I told myself.  With that, I convinced myself to just go out and do something for me to enjoy the day.  Telling myself that all of my thought processes were good because now I have a greater awareness of what is going on.

It’s hard to imagine that I kept all of these thoughts to myself the majority of the time because I hated to bring up anything to my husband that would cause discord.  The elevation in the tone of his voice would ring into my inner being and cause me to have panic within.  And of course a level of calmness always had to be maintained so that I could deal with the next moment.  My level of trust in my husband to be able to maintain the children’s upbringing was always extremely low and for a sense of security I had to rely on myself, because even to bring up concerns to “my other half” usually caused an elevated anxiety  and not a support system, as was needed.

I did not have a therapist while raising the children.  My only supports were friends who would listen and SEE the level of anxiety that could be brought about, and my parents who were my true rocks.  Otherwise my ability to parent and raise children who would be able to contribute to society and be happy was within the walls of my own capability.  These children were truly my LIFESAVERS for their entire childhood.  I lived to be the best for THEM.  And if that meant figuring things out for myself and moving forward with unknown certainty, I would do it.

I can see how being a young mother to many people can seem like a wrong decision because a level of maturity is not there to one’s own identity.  However for me, my identity immediately became into being a wife and a mother at an extremely early age.  And with this identity I grew up early and matured much faster than others.  But I believe that with my illness of bipolar always being part of my equation, God knew exactly what He was doing.  I was able to survive and prosper with all of the LOVE that God had granted me at such a young age.  I am NOT a debilitated individual.  I am a high functioning individual who happens to have a mental illness.  I learned early on how to pick myself up and move on, not only for me but (for those that I love with ALL of my being).

 

Fighting for Medical Healthcare Equality

 

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The lack of understanding by many people regarding mental illness is frustrating and astounding.  How can it be that when mental healthcare reform is brought up, the topic of gun control is concurrently brought about as if one is ultimately related to the other?  The thought of this relation is so sad.  Mental illness does not always constitute that someone is a harmful person that will go about shooting up society.  The majority of people with mental illness live in their own hell of an existence and others within the populations aren’t of concern.  Unfortunately, it is the person who is suffering and their immediate family and loved ones that have to suffer many times (in silence), due to the stigma associated with mental illness.  I am perplexed that people in our country (of authority) don’t find it in themselves to realize that this is more than an issue out of their immediate concern, and see it as an issue that is prominent in society (gun relationship aside).  Dear God, help our leaders to wake up and make a difference in the lives of so many people.  Help this problem not be an issue of stigma and discrimination, and to be an issue of medical equality and care.  Now is the time to open their eyes because the urgency for care is everywhere.  We are all entitled to respect and human dignity.

 

© Can Stock Photo / vaeenma

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

 

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The thought of changes in medications for me, due to a weight gain problem, has me ambivalent with my feelings.  I am happy that I will be going back to a medication that worked well for me in the past.  However, with my recent problems and break in reality, it causes concern to make any changes at all.  First of all, I believe that a significant rise in my weight would cause terrible depression, so therefore I’m ready to take the risk.  But the thought of a break or psychosis causes terrible anxiety.

So, as frequently happens with therapy sessions, I find myself asking, “What’s the worst that could happen?”.  With hope and faith, I find myself saying, “Well the worst that could happen is that the med change is not suitable for me.  I know the signs to look for and so does my family, and we will cautiously watch and monitor – before anything becomes a serious issue”.  That being said, truthfully with a break in reality what is the worst that could happen?  I could lose my freedom by being locked into a psychiatric facility (for my well-being).  I could lose the ability to think rationally or logically.  I could lose relationships due to erratic behavior that seems threatening to others.  There can even be an indefinite amount of time that this could occur.  So to ask what is the worst that could happen is not a good way to think of things.  And to further say that I’ll roll with the punches and take it as it comes is NOT reasonable to me.  Because what the worst could happen is NOT a reasonable or logically alright alternative to nothing.  What is alright to happen is to catch a problem before something destructive happens.  Yes, destructive!!

So with faith I will take this change and watch myself and ask for the help of loved ones to help monitor my moods with this change.  There has to be an anticipated response before something destructive happens because the alternative is NOT acceptable!  My health and happiness for the future is what’s at stake.  This is not a take it as it comes kind of attitude.  It is a more of an acceptable tolerance of mood status and maintaining a level of homeostasis (and yes, happiness).

So, what’s the worst that I will allow to happen is a more suitable question.  And the answer to this is slight changes in mood, but no extremes.  Keeping a step ahead of any problem is the goal!

 

© Can Stock Photo / dizanna