Finding A Better Way

 

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I have gained more acceptance of my fate in life with the understanding that I need to be diligent in my medical/psychological care.  I have to make a conscious effort and be proactive in being mindfully healthy.  Yet, I still rely on the help of others.  Even to be outwardly open about my struggle with mental health and my Bipolar is a positive step for others to see and understand that there is no need to have UNWARRANTED shame, related to a difficult illness that is hard to control.

To have delusions, delirium, and to be locked up against your will, and be forced to take medications.  Or worse yet, to be held down (against your will) and be shot up with these mind altering meds is a loss of total control over one’s own body, mind, and will.  You are once again a child that is being pushed around (an abused child) and being assaulted.  I do know in my heart that the goal is good, but the way it is completed is NOT!  Your spirit and will are taken away.  There must be a better way.

So therefore I’m going to think about the alternative.  If perhaps I was not held down and given these meds to control my delusions, word salad, hallucinations, and other (I believe) stress related induction of symptoms, I would be lost in my own world, or worse yet, I would be dead from where my mind could have taken me.  So yes, the treatment is unfair, though it is not unkind.  In my state of chaos, my mind and eyes are seeing evil, but in the reality of the situation control is trying to be established so that a solution or treatment can be instilled.

Therefore I have to remind myself that although the methods of care have not yet been perfected to make the one with mental illness feel soothed or under careful attention and comfort, the goal is to be healed.  An empathy to understand one going through this treatment is a must.  It is a painful experience to endure.  Please remember that these individuals feel a loss of control and dignity.  A therapist and advocate needs to be put into the situation immediately.

Be Who You Are – BEAUTIFUL!

 

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How can one parenting skill be compared to another parenting skill, when the children’s best interests are at heart?  To live the majority of my young children’s existence (years ago) being judged and compared to a friends obvious need for validation of her PERFECT care and compassion of her children was a dysfunctional friendship that should have been dissolved years ago.  Thankfully with God’s guidance I feel that I have a sense of freedom from the grips of someone else’s sense of warped perception and reasoning.  A beautiful sense of freedom.  When I felt the need to live up to her sense of perfection, that should have told me to move on.  Yes, hindsight is twenty-twenty!

Physical and Psychological Pain

 

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Delirium at its worst is believing that something is going to take over your spirit of good.  Evil will win.  How can that battle even be fought?  Well that was my experience during my last psychotic episode.  The difference that caused so much of the physical symptoms, I believe, was that I did not have the resources at that time to convey all of my thoughts to, so those thoughts got bigger, heavier, and lost in my mind.  They went through extreme turbulence and medication was the only thing to help get them back into a reality perspective.  My physical body was taking control and trying to release the burden that my mind could not figure out.  The extreme anxiety, causing chest pains, then loss of speech or word salad came into focus.  My blood pressure responded.  Loss of physical functioning of my limbs at times.  It is truly amazing the intermingling of physical symptoms to psychological pain, and the black and white medical response for such a cohesive existence with the mind/body has to be brought into focus.  It truly is one entity and should be treated as such.

God Knows My Needs and Provides

 

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Each day during the times of turmoil keeping a positive attitude is trying, though essential.  Yesterday was a beautiful evening with my daughter and granddaughter.  It was nice to stray from the homestead and see another perspective.  It was nice to take some time helping to care for my granddaughter and with helping my daughter.  I felt useful.  That’s a beautiful thing.  Thank you God for knowing what I need and providing the way.

 

The Hell of Mania

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I recently went to a depression group in which someone said to me that she wishes that she had the mania part in Bipolar because depression alone is so difficult.  This was in fact a medical professional.  Well further education is desperately needed.  I speak as a person who has Bipolar and am saying to the world that mania is not a fun symptom that makes me have a good time.  Mania is chaotic.  And for me the elevation and depression are both terrible and disturbing symptoms to a psychiatric illness.

Mania for me causes discord among family and friends.  There is irritability.  There are moments (if psychosis beams its ugly head) where questioning my own mind is disturbing and I need to reality check with loved ones.  Praying to God for help and assistance when needed helps me to say, “God I can’t handle this anymore, please carry me through this”.  The thoughts of suspicion and questioning if it is my mind or is in fact reality is terrifying.  What is it that I should do to have trust and faith?

So NO mania is NOT fun!  The havoc that can devour a family is not something that I wish for.  Though THANKFULLY I have friends and family who can see the turmoil that my mind is questioning and going through.  Living with needing someone to assist in both my depressive or manic times is essential.

Depression is encountered and makes me feel so isolated and alone.  Yet in contrast, mania involves others and can be seen as a disturbing whirlwind.  And for me the anxiety and frantic need for help and having more peace is all-consuming.  Examples of this is the chaos seen with some high-profile actors.  The ability to outwardly have my illness seen by others can be devastating and so misunderstood because of the stigma.  Again I say, IT IS NOT FUN.

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

The Love of a Father

Last night I was at a depression group and we were talking about how we can imagine God talking to us as a child of His.  This would be the same as us talking and trying to comfort a child.  Even though we are adults, we are still children of God and He wants to comfort us in our sorrow and time of need.

I immediately recalled a time with my Dad when he was fighting cancer and the thought of the loss of him was bearing on my soul.  I felt like I was unable to talk to him about this because it was his mortality that was the question and fear.  My dad was someone who I was able to tell all of my problems to and he would always patiently listen and guide.  This was so different because how could I talk to him about my fear of losing him.  My dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer and I was going with him for all of his treatments.  Me, being a nurse, knew the seriousness of such a diagnosis.

This dilemma led me into my own depression and inability to cope.  I finally talked to my (then) boyfriend about this problem, and he simply told me that it might be best just to talk to my dad about this.  I decided to take his advise and I walked onto my dad’s three season porch where he was lounging and watching television.  I simply told him that I was worried about him and I haven’t been able to talk to him about it.  I then hugged him and began sobbing on his chest.  He (as he always did) allowed me to get out all of my feelings.  He allowed me to cry, even though I spoke no words.  I was just getting out all of my pent-up feelings.  After I released all of that emotion, I told him that my boyfriend suggested that I talk to him about my feelings.  His only comment was, “How did he get to be so smart”.  I had left mascara stains on his nice cotton button down shirt that he had worn to work that day.  And even though I spoke minimal words, my father and myself had a moment where my fear of the loss of him was exposed.  My dad, with the broad shoulders he ALWAYS had, let his daughter cry about her fears.  He was so gracious and took in all of those emotions without asking for further clarification, or exposing his own fear.  I will forever be grateful for his strength of character and his love for me.

And now is the time to give my fears and anxious thoughts to God (my father in heaven).  He is faithful and will not abandon me in my time of need.  And even though sometimes I don’t even have the words to say to Him, He knows my heart.  All I need to do is be still and know that He is God.

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I resort back to my favorite verse from the bible which says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all you do acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths’.

 

© Can Stock Photo / EpicStockMedia