Carefully Watching Eyes

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Way back in 1995 (I was twenty-five at the time), I questioned myself with the goal of going back to school.  I thought that perhaps I was being selfish because I was taking time away from the family.  The children have always been my main priority in life, and knowing now that going back to college and becoming an RN was in fact one of the best things that I could have done for me, (and yes) for the children.

The children saw first hand what hard work can do for someone.  I became a nurse, and enjoyed working in my field.  I was meant to be a helper.  I found out that I am capable and responsible, and truly filled with compassion.  The role model that I was able to be encouraged the children in later years to know that they could do it too.  My children were the first ones in our family to maintain excellent grades in college, work hard, and all of them to receive their baccalaureate degrees (I received my Registered Nurse Diploma).  And for that I’m immensely proud and know that these goals are going to prosper throughout the generations.  Anything they set their minds on can be within reach.

Taking care of oneself shows others how to also work hard to care for oneself and pursue personal goals.  It is not being selfish to be a good role-model.  It is good to spend the quality time when able though.  I recall two years in a row studying for exams while my ex-husband and the children went apple picking.  I missed those experiences, but thankfully my ex-husband jumped in to make memories.  We were both thinking about the future, just in different roles and ways.

My Strength

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Understanding that perfection is not a possibility is step one to happiness.  Yes doing one’s best is great, but perfection and striving for perfection leads to needless self-criticism.  I have learned that settling for great can be accomplished.  Even if it’s not great, that’s OK.  But to say that’s “good enough” doesn’t work for me.  With God’s guidance I can do better than good enough.  My strive is to accomplish my personal best with each endeavor.  Thank you God for opening my mind and letting me know that through your Holy Spirit, I am capable.  You are my guide!

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

 

Sunshine

 

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

 

maturity

 

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