I’m just going to babble here! For most of you that have read my blog posts you know I’m good at that!
The last 2 years have been a battle for me and in the end, when I look at the big picture of it all I almost lost that battle. I almost gave in and gave myself up to a disease that I didn’t have to let win. I got tired of fighting, tired of the constant struggle to face life’s most effortless tasks. Things that were small, like getting dressed or tying my shoes seemed like such an uphill climb that when it came time for bigger tasks like doing the dishes or laundry or even bigger, caring for my children became impossible to begin let alone complete. I spent a lot of time, wasted time, curled on the couch, feeling terribly sorry for myself. Cursing everyone I could think of for giving me this stupid illness. Believing life would never get better because in the end…..I believed Bipolar ALWAYS won and it would win against me too. I could feel every second of my life slipping away from me. I’d cry a lot, my body would hurt everywhere. I recounted all my failures and mistakes. I recounted all my missed opportunities. The ones that would have given us all a better life and in my Bipolar brain would have kept the Bipolar away.
Then I began blaming everyone and everything that got in my path. It was my parent’s fault for not being there for me enough. For not providing me with enough opportunities in my life to become successful. For not talking to me about the big things, the important things, like, drugs, sex, boys, grades, school, teachers, colleges and most of all their own failures and how they learned or what they wanted me to learn from them. I blamed them for favoring my brother over me and giving more of themselves to him then they gave to me. I blamed him for not giving enough of himself to me. For not filling in the gaps where my parents’ had failed miserably. I blamed my abusive extended family for taking advantage of a child’s emotions that were already fragile. I blamed my teachers’ for not talking to me about the things my parents’ should have, my guidance counselors for not providing the kind of guidance I thought they should have. I blamed my friends, the ones I had before I became trouble for not sitting me down and beating the hell out of me when they noticed I was changing. I blamed my boyfriends for being cruel and not seeing that I was a troubled teen seeking to fill a void that was missing in my life. I blamed my husband for not being more supportive and encouraging throughout our marriage. I am even embarrassed to say I blamed my children, which was the most irrationally and out-of-place blame in the equation. But there had to be someone or at least something to blame as to why my life had ended up the way it had and someone was going to pay for “giving” me this stupid illness!
Through all of this I was on many different medications and was making weekly trips to see my pdoc. He was always baffled when I came into his office feeling worse the next week then I had the week before. When I lied and said the meds were working, he knew, but he gave me some time, because he knew it wouldn’t be too long before I’d tell him the truth. I had been hospitalized 4 times over the course of those 2 years and went to many therapy sessions. Sessions that would have been helpful had I been able to think clearer. Between the constant episodes of depression and mixed mania and all the med changes my brain was about fried!
It was during my last episode that ended up in the hospital for 7 days. It was one that I had never been to before and I had heard so many horror stories about it I was petrified to go to. But it was that hospital stay that provided me with the window of opportunity to have things change a bit. The nurses were awesome and although the doc was more concerned about what purse she should buy her sister than talking to me about my medication, she did know what she was doing and switched my meds around completely. After 7 days I wasn’t feeling 100% but I figured that would take time. When I saw my own pdoc a week later I was feeling a decline again and begged for relief. I really believed in my heart that if I wasn’t better soon and hit another episode like the last that I would follow through with my plan and find my own relief. My pdoc suggested another med change. I was skeptical, all reports I had ever read reported that bipolar patients were to be on at least 900mg lithium unless there was some other factor prohibiting that. I had always read that 900mg. of Lithium was a good therapeutic level, but I agreed. I agreed because I needed relief and I needed my life back! This was a last-ditch effort and I was willing to dance naked, in the waiting room of his office with monkeys if it meant I would get stable!
Without me even realizing it, I was slowly getting better. I was getting out of bed in the morning, getting dressed, showering, putting my shoes on and brushing my teeth without difficulty. Soon I was going to the bus stop to get my children off the bus. I was talking on the phone to teachers, handling doctor’s appointments for the family and spending more time with Hubs and the kids. When we got evicted I didn’t freak completely out. I was scared, but anyone would have been in my situation. When we were forced to put our children in CPS’s custody and live in our car, I didn’t end up hospitalized or suicidal, I didn’t fight with Hubs…..I handled it and quite well. I cried, I missed them, I hung on every conversation we had and I soaked up every minute of visitation we had until we were back together again just 29 days later. Now Hubs has an awesome new job, he’s working 60 hours a week, I’m dealing with the stressors of being alone with the kids pretty well, I’m thinking clearer, making better decisions for my children, staying on top of their school work and talking frequently with their teachers’ and counselors. I’m trying to reach out to old friends’ who became strangers over the last few years. I’m even thinking about driving again.
It took all of that to get to this…….Looking back over the last 2 years, I was grieving. I was not able to move forward into a state of well-being because I needed to grieve over the loss of the old me, the person I had always thought I was, was now gone and just like when someone dies, we grieve. I think it’s hard to recognize the grieving process when we are grieving over ourselves. We don’t realize that a part of us has died or has changed so drastically that we need to say goodbye. Our brains shut down and we can’t think of what the best way is to deal, to cope so we turn all that sadness, hate and blame inward and sometimes violently outwards.
Things are different for me now and I have finally gotten to a point of acceptance. It is my job now to figure out how to stay mentally healthy so I can continue to live a life worth living. A life my children will be happy to be a part of and a story my Hubs will want to be a part of.
Until next time…..