Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Real Neat Blog Award!

I was nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by Deanne of Deanne’s World! Thank you so much Deanne!

First off, if you are nominated, any part or parcel of the challenge is up to you. Questions, nominations, etc are totally voluntary.

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

I have to say that I don’t know how to put the award logo (s) on my blog, so if anyone would like to assist me I would be so thankful!

Her seven asks are:

1. What is your favorite color? I love pink 😀 and I’m so glad that pink is coming out of the closet as a popular color, used to be I was ashamed to admit it! Ok, I still am some, but I’ll get over it lol

2. What motivates you? Pain is a great motivator, I’m afraid  😦 and I would say secondarily fear. Or maybe primarily. Having fear does hurt so …. (hm. Rabbit trails motivate me too)

3. What is your favorite thing to do? Play on the computer, and anything related. I’d like to think that if it was my job I would apply myself to it. I actually do consider myself a writer, so I suppose the computer IS my job. Forgive the caps, I am too lazy to hit that little “I”

4. What is your birthday number ? huh? Age 56 almost if that is what you mean. lol

5. What makes you smile? Knowing my son is happy, and he has the same illnesses I do so that is not as often as I’d like for him.

6. What makes you sad? Knowing I am probably going to struggle w/ these dx’s for the rest of my life  😦

7. Are you annoyed or thankful that you were nominated you? umm , both, flattered but thinking it takes time to do all the stuff and also thinking I may be nominating the same people more than once and THEY might get annoyed! lol

My questions:

1. What’s your favorite season and why?

2. What is the thing that helps you bear your depression or helps you move out of it (if you do suffer from depression)

3. Who is your favorite person and why (don’t have to use a name)

4. What is your least favorite thing to do?

5. Name 5 things that are on your desk right now?

6. If you could go anywhere in the world and had the money to do it, where would you go?

7. What do you like most about yourself?

Okay!

I nominate the following but again, know you don’t have to do it if you don’t want, or you can just do part of it or whatever…

Blahpolar Diaries cuz she says she likes the questions.

Deanne because I am curious about her answers to my questions

Jami because she has a very positive attitude  🙂

Georgetown Rose because she was so complimentary (would that be the word? She niced me lol…)

lilithkay because she thinks I’m brave

tmcasciano because she too is addicted to caffeine

valery nicolee because she has excellent adventures!

Dawn will break

The photo shows an African proverb as follows: However long the night, The dawn will break.

It reminds me of some verses in Psalm 30 (highlighting mine)

1 I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up , and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. 2 O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. 3 O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive , that I should not go down to the pit. 4 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. 6 And in my prosperity I said , I shall never be moved . 7 LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled . 8 I cried to thee, OLORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication . 9 What profit is there in my blood, when I go downto the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? 10 Hear , O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper . 11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; 12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent . O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Hoping you guys have a wonderful day., or at least a tolerable one! I know some of you are experiencing the “night,” but joy cometh in the morning. Just hold tight, and love one another,

Deuteronomy 4:29 

But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Courage

I just adore this blog. From their “about” page: “We are photographers living with or affected by mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time. Join our community, submit today!”

Broken Light Collective

Photo taken by contributor Jacque who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD. She is a graphic designer, wife, and mother to two boys. She is learning to draw from God’s strength to get her through every day. She has also found art and music to be great healers and outlets for the soul.

About this photo: “Peonies are my favorite flowers. I love the softness of the petals and the strength of the inside when peonies are in full bloom. To me, they represent the same vulnerability and beauty we need to have when share with others about our illness. It takes courage, but once we open up, we begin to “bloom” as we share and help others who struggle with the same feelings we do. The BLC sight is a testament to so many who are “blooming” as they share and let go. BLC has created an outlet to…

View original post 70 more words

More on Edison, less on coffee …

(I’ll explain. and re: the photo, no I do not iron, but I do do that backwards salute quite often.)

This morning I woke up and half-consciously pushed the button to my coffee maker, and,

nothing happened.

Or rather, a lot happened. I pushed the button off, then on again. Plugged and unplugged it. Tried another outlet. Opened the top to make sure there was water in the reservoir. Wiggled the rubber doo dah through which the water is supposed to glug glug push push …

And nearly cried.

And then I remembered that all I have is $3. on my credit card. IF indeed the card would actually go through with only $3. on it. Which, historically, might not.

Whined about it in a joking manner on Facebook.

Then let people know I really WAS NOT kidding.

Got a number of ha ha’s, and two people offered to buy me a new maker.

Either they love me, or they are afraid of me.

Ate breakfast, then decided to try the credit card at Dunkin Donuts, where it did (PRAISE THE LORD!) work!

Came home and posted that I had spend said $3. on Dunkin Donuts.

And as the Bible says, a number of people who had grieved with me then celebrated with me.

Then I finished the coffee, played on facebook some more, then did the Bible reading I was unable to think about doing until I was properly caffeinated. Listened to some spiritual music including:

which made me cry, as always. I spent some time in prayer, still crying. I have issues. Did you know I have issues? lol…

Then started reading some of the emails I had in my inbox, made a few replies, and then posted to one of the reply-ers:

Thomas Edison‘s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

This is a little different from the quote I posted in another of my blogs. Anyway it is still a good way of looking at all our failures and false starts.

I guess.

Well anyway, hope y’all are having a good day. Mine started rather jerkily and un-thankfully, but I am doing ok now.

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Oh Wow! 2 people nominated me for The Versatile Bloggers award! One was  jillypopmusic 

and the other was The Elephant in the Room

Thank you so much you guys!

There are rules to follow to accept this award:

Show the award on your blog.
Thank the person who nominated you.
Share seven facts about yourself.
Nominate 15 blogs.
Link your nominees’ blogs, and let them know.

About me (since I had 2 nominations I’m going to see if I can come up with 14):

  1. I got sober in 1985, I was 25 years old and realized I was an alcoholic (I’m now almost 56).
  2. I love to write and read and play on the computer.
  3. My best friend and I met in 2000, and currently she lives on the floor above mine in our apartment building.
  4. I married my ex twice. No, that’s not something to brag about but I would rather laugh than cry. We have a 27 year old and he was 12 when we got remarried. After his dad and I broke up again, he said, “Now I know why you got divorced the first time.” In a way it gave him some peace (Kids often want their divorced parents to get back together)
  5. I have worked night shift for most of my adult life.
  6. My most prized possession is my computer.
  7. I am a born again Baptist
  8. I love the ocean
  9. I love photography, in fact it is one thing that helps me the most with my depression, to go out and take photos of nature.
  10. I love to travel, but as I’ve gotten older I tend to get lost more often.
  11. My first car was a Saab (older, used one) My 2nd car was a Saab (a bit newer) The previous owner had monogrammed his initials on the driver’s side door, WWW; so I left them, and said they stood for “Wild Wicked Woman.” I have since become less wild and less wicked.
  12. I mostly like crime shows like CSI, NCIS, etc.
  13. My favorite books are Historical Christian novels.
  14. I have participated in National Novel Writing Month several times, and have succeeded at writing 50,000 words of a novel twice (contemporary Christian). This most recent time I only got to 11,000 words, and it is a historical Christian novel, I am picking away at it and hope I will finish.
  15. … but (a bonus fact), depression seems to keep me from doing the things I love

The blogs I am nominating!

Adopting James

2 Helpful Guys

4 year old adult

A Slippery Alligator Dream

Addiction Place

Bemused By Beleaguering

Bipolar Pinkie Pie

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

But I Smile Anyway…

Christina’s Blog

Dainty Little Secrets Blog

DotedOn

GABFRAB

Isaiah 43:1

Kristeen’s Thoughts

MY COLLEGE ODYSSEY

Mypastorswife

BluChickenNinja, and my teen self…

How’s that for a title!

Well, I was reading another blog about the origin of the author’s user name,

BluChickenNinja

She said, “I don’t know what my teenage self would think about all of this, she would probably be horrified.”

Immediately upon her saying that I started wondering, what would my teenage self think of me, and the things I do?

First off, we know she would be horrified, humiliated, period. It wouldn’t matter if I was tall, slender, famous, or what. Teenagers are just horrified, as in not impressed at all, by their adults, period. So I think what she’d do is look at my short, pudgy, not famous, bipolar, Christian self, shake her head, and say, “PSH.”

And the dialogue would go like this. She’d confront me with anger: “You’re still not married? You still haven’t written any books? Not even one? And look how fat you got! How come you never got a handle on that? What a loser!” and she’d make that “L” sign on her forehead, even though it had not been invented yet …

And then she would despair: “You know, I’m depressed enough as it is. It doesn’t get any better? Are you serious? It gets worse?? Why should I even try? I should just get it over with now!” And she’d curl up in a ball.

And then she’d reconsider, she’d get that look on her face she’d learned from all the snooty girls at school. The look that says, “You’re dead to me.”

I have known for a long long time that I often fall victim to the voices in my head. I’ve identified then as my mother, my sister, my dad, that teacher, that girl, you know, just about everybody I ever came across.

I’ve heard it said that all of us have at least one person who is the reason we are still alive. I’ve had a few that, were it not for them, I’d be dead. These were the teachers who said I was a good writer, or, by the way they listened, that I was a person of value.

I never realized, though, how much of that destructive voice in my head was me. Which also makes me remember all the therapy sessions where I loved on my “little girl,” told her how much I loved her and how she wasn’t a failure, and she did the best she could, and she was pretty and smart and important …

And now I meet The Teenager.

Ew, lol…

Can I love her? tell her she’s pretty and smart and important?

She’s kinda mean.

But I guess probably by that age she had already learned to be defensive and closed, with that false bravado I have come to cherish. You know, the person who walks into a room and with what appears to be great confidence shakes hands with everyone, and then seeks out the broken one who needs a friend to talk with and make her feel less lonely. All because she is the one who is lonely and needs a friend. But God forbid she would ever say so.

Anyway … teen self meet present self, I am sorry you are disappointed and closed and defended … I’m sorry you didn’t get to be one of the cool girls. I’m sorry you are still waiting for the day when all your dreams will come true.

But let me tell you what is real about your life and what is good about your life. Did you know you have a son? And that you have made a difference in a lot of people’s lives? How even though your body is bigger you don’t hate it so much? You even have a best best friend who buys chocolate cake and rolls her eyes with you. May I make one suggestion? Maybe take that cigarette out of your mouth now before you have to try to quit after thirty years.

And I do love you. You are amazingly pretty, and smart. It is too worth it, most of the time. Oh, and come meet God. And not the one you grew up with. Come see.

C’mon baby, do the locomotion… ♪♫

I don’t know about you, but Mondays are not deserving of my attention. I mean, are you kidding me? Locomote???

(You just might notice that the word locomote starts with the prefix “loco-“) 

Psh! Fughetaboutit! 

So I’ve found a way to cope.

Think about it. Sunday is a day of rest, right? so why does it take all of Monday and part of Tuesday to recover?

Well, I have 3 church services to go to, plus 2 choir practices, plus now 3 people to pick up early for said practices.

We’re talking 8:30 in the morning, man!

Not that I’m complaining …

Now to some who work 9-5, 8:30 is not a big deal. But if you are like me, you wake up already feeling and looking like burnt toast.

This is a struggle. Because I have what is known as Early Bird syndrome.   I mean, not everyone gets the worm. Right? Some of us have to settle for coffee.

At the mo, I am not able to work. Now I have been told by various authorities that, for good mental health, it’s best to find, and adhere to, a routine.

Well, I have one! (did I say it was a good one?)  I get OOB when I have had qs of sleep,; an amount equal to and equivalent to 6-8 hours. I try to get to bed by midnight, which I do pretty well, but lately i have been waking up at 4:30! Whyyyyy(nnnne!!) By the way, today is one of those 4:30 mornings…

See, I get up early enough, that’s true, but God forbid I should have to be somewhere! Therein lies the problem!

After I, “”quote,” wake up, I then spend 2 hours on the computer drinking coffee and moaning. I must! This is based upon the same principle that applies to starting your car and not running off before it warms up a little. At least until I hear the idle come down. Putt putt.

Wellll, unfortunately, my idle is already on “down,” enough so that it stalls sometimes. And it’s still pretty low when I finally concede to eating breakfast.

Hey, I only want to give those “before breakfast” pills time to absorb! What can I say … wink wink

After breakfast, why, it’s time for my nap!

(Unless it’s Sunday. Then it’s called a “Baptist nap.” Which comes wayyyy too late, in my opinion.)

So how do I cope with my Monday?

I call it my “Saturday.”.

(Do what now?)

And Saturdays are sacred!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………….

.

I don’t wanna … talk about it

One Ringy Dingy

Two Ringy Dingy

Is this the party to whom I am speaking?

Snort…

But seriously. Phones are not funny! I ree-hee-hee-lee cringe when I get a phone call. Do you? I heard someone say recently that that is a form of social anxiety. I wonder. When I get on the phone I feel trapped. If I have my druthers (and guess what, I do! lol) I won’t answer it. But being the good and polite girl that I am, eventually I will call them back.

But I hate it!

I do have a brother from down South who calls me daily and I (sigh) answer. But not if he calls more than once! Nonono! I have my limits haha.

I used to talk for hours to my girlfriends when I was growing up. And a boy?? Oh boy! Hours and hours!

But now I see that caller ID and I just talk to that thing, turn it upside down so I can’t see it, but I won’t answer it! Oh no! Not until I’m good and ready!

What is your “favorite” “phobia” (I don’t know what to call it)

I guess I might just ought to do them: 31 Days of Bipolar

There is a trend going around the blog circuits of those with bipolar called “31 Days of Bipolar.” This is a good test of my mettle lol… Since I am struggling with being 100% honest about my illness, but concerned about who might be reading my posts.

Anyway I am going to start with Day 5 because I can, lol… and because I already answered it on a friend’s page lol…

however I have not really read the questions … So I am shooting in the dark a little bit here.

***

I was not diagnosed Bipolar *I (see definition at bottom of page) til 2003. I began therapy for codependency and alcoholism in 1985. I still don’t have my bipolar self-care down…. 🙂 I could, but I am lazy/stubborn/too hedonistic … and don’t have a dog lol…

I do have a therapist because my …

… shrink is only 15 min for med management. My therapist is great for helping me focus on my treatment plan, dealing with struggles (most commonly boundaries), shame, acceptance of my diagnosis (I like to reach “over my head” and then get into crisis because of denial that I have a mental illness) (can I hear an “amen”?)

Medication: seems stable, am on lamictal, trileptal, and abilify.

Love: Oh! I didn’t even notice this category when I first read! I definitely isolate, but that is due to my tendency to be an introvert. So I really have to work at this one. It is just too stressful to have too many relationships with people. I typically keep people at a distance. I have a BFF who lives right upstairs from me – have known her for almost 25 years. Church (not many that I trust with my “stuff”). Family wise, I alienated myself from most of them while I was in early recovery and there is still some angst about that, although it’s better than it was. Love from my therapist haha although yes he is good with boundaries. We both are. No hugs, Although occasionally he will get me a present. For example, this Christmas he got me a book of poetry, in which he highlighted 2 poems as specific to what we’re working on. I can’t remember what they were and I can’t find the book right away! But when I do I’ll publish them here. Lots of love from internet friends I’ve made since probably 2001 (Met on a site for people who were affected by 911). I tend to be a helper-bee. As a nurse it is a natural tendency for me (graduated in 1981; not working right now). I don’t really ask other people for help and support, which is often common of people with mental illness. My greatest love is Jesus – it has passed the point of a fad. And I’m sure you have read some that I have written about Him.

Dogs: as I said I don’t have one. I do love cats and have had them but I am not a great mommy so I don’t right now.

Calm: I do boring stuff, keeps the anxiety low. Pretty moderate social phobia/anxiety, history of anxiety disorder. I don’t deal with it very well, I have had a number of jobs and when they don’t work I don’t work.I also avoid drama and I avoid romance.

Routine: as I said I do boring stuff. I am recovering from my son living w/ me in a very small apt. (efficiency) so I am indulging in sleeping late when my body will let me. But my best sleep routine is getting up around 6 am and bed at 10 or 11 am. haha. Maybe sometimes. But what I meant was pm.

Sleep: as regular as possible, see above. I have taken to going to bed around 10 with a book until my meds including benadryl knock me out.

Diet: very bad. I do take vitamins but that is probably as good as it gets right now.

Exercise: not much

Writing: off and on although lately much more frequent, this blog, comments on other blogs, and also working on my novel (although not as much as I would theoretically like to).

Reading: Have 4 books going but try to keep to one at a time, read a lot online of a great variety of things/articles.

Light (ie “blue light,”) Never really thought about it although I recently read that computer/ phone light is not a good idea at bedtime (can trigger insomnia) I haven’t had mania since ’10 so I’m not too worried, meds seem to cover me pretty well.

****

Definitions: There are no good and concise definitions but here is a fair explanation. I was not aware of Bipolar III and IV but here ’tis. I also was not aware that these were also defined my length of episodes but whatever lol…

1. Bipolar I Disorder—defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks.

  • 2. Bipolar II Disorder—defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
  • 3. Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS)—diagnosed when symptoms of the illness exist but do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.
  • 4. Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia—a mild form of bipolar disorder. People with cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania as well as mild depression for at least 2 years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.

So anyway, that’s #5 and I may or may not do the other 30 questions lol…

Help!

Whoever would have thought Johnny Cash would have a song like this? But actually the guy I consider “The King Of Country” is a really deep guy. This song shows that really we need help with pretty much everything.

Here are the things that I need help with

1. Not ending a sentence with a preposition (haha)

Ok let’s start over. These are things with which I need help:

1. Saying no

2. Deciding whom I should help, and to what degree!(Those two things cause me no end of frustration!!!)

3. How to deal with anger, anxiety, and depression.

4. Pressing on even when it feels like I am getting nowhere.

5. Even taking my meds! Although with resignation I take them.

6. Asking people for help

7. Not spending all my money (besides on bills) at the beginning of the month

8. Keeping a positive attitude

9. Investing in the future – my health, my education, my daily tasks

10. Asking God for help with all these things and more.

It’s funny because when I was listening to the song I thought of several things so maybe I will try again while listening:

1. To walk another mile

2. Smiling

3. “Taking it” (life) for one more day

4. Asking God to be with me

5. Releasing the chains that bind me

6. Following God’s plan

7. Being humble

8. Praying

9. Doing all of the above with God’s wisdom, not my own

Maybe, dear Reader, it seems like I do most of these things, but really, some of the things I write are actually me being a cheerleader for myself. For example if I say it is necessary to read the Bible, I’m reminding myself, read your Bible. I may say, ask for help, but I am the worst at it lol… Maybe I suggest you pray about things, but honestly I need to make myself do those things.

Annnnnyway, I really like this song. It made me tearful, because I forget that God will help me with the simplest things, if I ask. And sometimes He will when I don’t, lol…

THANK YOU to http://addictionplace.net/ — I like his blogs. He is just an ordinary guy trying to stay sober and help other people to do the same. He’s not a religious nut like me (lol) just straightforward about his recovery. Here is what it says about his “About” page:

Addiction Place is a place to research and learn about mental health and addiction.

I’m a father, husband, brother and a son who lives a successful life with Bipolar and Addiction Disorder. I’ve been a special education teacher for 13 years and a high school baseball coach for 6 of those years.

Twelve years ago, I went to Hazelden Treatment Center for the first time to face my alcohol addition.

After a year and a half, I relapsed and 6 years later, I was back in rehab at La Hacienda Treatment Center.

I have now been in active recovery for almost 4 years and I aspire to be an addiction counselor and a writer.

Addiction Place has a website called Self Help Survival Store.

Procrastinations are a must …

Well, I thought I should veer off talking about bipolar and religion and just talk about something that most people enjoy discussing:

Now what would that be?

One thing I have noticed is that blogging has become just one more thing to distract me from working on my novel!

Meh – let’s just look at a pretty picture and call it good. I have other more pressing procrastinations to do today – I am even going to do some housework! (She says). Now that is desperation!

Mental Health: Promoting Good Stuart-Ship

Feel like giving up? Nothing’s working? Believe it or not, we’re still accomplishing something, even if the results are not what we want. Thomas A. Edison said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

He also said that “many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

How about Babe Ruth? “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

Even the Bible says, “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). And in Galatians 6:9, “… let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

I don’t know about you, but bipolar makes me weary. Trying to take good care of myself, and trying to do what God says. Meanwhile, ignoring the self-destructive part of myself. Those messages I collected growing up, and the ones I’ve created myself.

There’s this song that we sing at church:

Every work for Jesus will be blest,
But He asks from everyone his best.
Our talents may be few, these may be small,
But unto Him is due our best, our all.

My best? Oh Lord. I’d look around that church, with all those perfect people, and think, I don’t know that my best is worth all that much. But later, I realized, that’s not what the song is saying! The song says our talents may be small. Our best may not be what we think it “should” be. But God knows when we’re doing our best, regardless of what those stupid voices tell me! Besides – were those people really perfect? Most likely not.

Part of doing our best is taking care of what God has given us, what He calls “being a good steward.” Hm, even in regard to my health. Remember the slogan? “I eat right, I exercise and I take Geritol every day.” Ok, I’m dating myself. Well, I do go on a health kick now and then, but it only lasts so long. Exercise? Even the Chariots of Fire song drives me crazy. And Rocky, you can run up those steps all by yourself. I ain’t goin’.

Ok, how about hygiene? You know, shower, brush teeth, etc.

Not so easy sometimes, is it?

Contrary to popular belief, that’s not laziness. Where would somebody get that idea? If anything, that’s self-loathing at its worst. But at that point, we don’t even have the energy to hate ourselves.

How about taking care of our immediate environment? Making sure my place is not condemned? Generally, I do dishes before they get moldy, and I take out the trash before Stuart Little makes it his home. Ahh, you say. That’s where the Stuart Little reference comes in. Well, forgive the groaner, but even emptying the trash is good Stuart-ship.

Ok, I hear crickets chirping. I’ll just pretend you didn’t get the joke, and carry on.

Let’s move on to money. The Bible says that “… the love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). Not that money itself is evil. In either case, I’m not a very good Stuart of it. Right now I have about $20. until the end of the month. True, those of us on disability are not living in the lap of luxury, but I get enough. I just don’t handle it well. So that $20. pretty much removes all possibility of overeating, overspending, and even over-helping. Besides, I’ve pretty much ruined my credit, so there goes that.

So what else? The Bible says that “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But I can’t seem to to hold a job for very long. Well what is up with that! Doesn’t the Bible also say “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”? (Philippians 4:13) I must be a total failure! I mean, I won’t brush my teeth, I won’t go to work, what good am I?

Well, that’s what the voice in my head says. And that’s what you might say, if you don’t have experience with this thing.

Ok, you can’t brush your teeth? You can’t work? You can’t clean your toilet? What about breathing, then? Let’s start with the breathing. I know, I’ve already talked about breathing in another blogBut let’s say, theoretically, that you still have to breathe after all this time. So breathe already. Ok, now did you eat today? And, can you call someone today? Maybe it’s to be encouraged. But what about to encourage them? Maybe you can volunteer at church while you’re not able to work. Or you can take someone shopping. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. That, and don’t kill yourself today. That is sometimes necessary to add!

Speaking of “today,” I learned early on in my mental health recovery that alcohol and “recreational” drugs are not my friend. Especially where mood stabilization is concerned. So, one day at a time, I stay sober. So far, I have stayed sober for 10,623 days, but who’s counting? That, my friends, has to be the grace of God. On my own I wouldn’t put two days together!

Now, let’s flip it. How is my Stuart-ship when I’m in manic mode? No, not mood. Mode. Everyone pretty much has an idea of what depression is, but what of mania? Psych Central, a website with information about mental illness, defines it thusly: “A Manic Episode is defined by a distinct period during which there is an abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood…” (See: http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-manic-episode/000629.)

Some of us even experience a side of psychosis with our heaping helping of mania: “Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, typically including delusions (false ideas about what is taking place or who one is) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things which aren’t there).”(See: http://psychcentral.com/lib/bipolar-disorder-with-psychotic-features/0001292.)

So what happens to my Stuart-ship when I’m revved up like I’ve mainlined caffeine, or even cocaine? What about when I’m seeing things? How can I possibly take care of what is mine?

Well, early on, during a phase of hypomania, my motives are good. When I start feeling that surge of happiness and energy, I think, “Yay! Time to make up for all I haven’t done for the past eight months!” Suddenly I’m cleaning, writing, doing, helping, coming up with brilliant ideas, why, it feels just marvelous! And it’s pretty well organized, in my head, anyway, and in most of my actions. It’s not particularly bizarre, except …

… then things start becoming confusing. My friends, and even some of the people outside of my circle, begin to see some disorganization in my activity. I begin to get reckless and impulsive, fresh, and maybe a bit aggressive. And no, I don’t have any clever jokes about that one. Because at this stage it is no longer funny – or fun. I don’t have time to shower. I don’t have a need for sleep, or eating. Yeah! You know I’m off when I don’t eat! I don’t have time to clean up after myself.

And then there’s that elevated sense of myself. Thinking I can do things that really, I have no business doing. After a certain point those things include driving, or taking care of patients. I’m telling people off. Walking into traffic expecting cars to understand that I’m on my way to something important. I begin acting out in ways that will make me cringe later on. Yeah. Those little things. Those things God has given me? Including modesty and humility? Self-control? Pretty much gone. As to stewardship? We are at a very basic level at this point. We are at survival mode and not much more. Since God has gotten hold of my life, or since I’ve gotten better hold of Him, I don’t get as bad as I used to. I might have to say, “yet.”

Where was I again?

Oh yes. Failure. Weariness. Lack of Stuart-ship. And the cycle repeats itself.

So how do I maintain that stability, that “meet me in the middle”-ness?

Well, let’s just throw our hat in the ring and say it: What about medication?

Oo (flinch), don’t say medication and Christian in the same sentence. Yipe!

I have to say it, though. It’s the rare bird who has bipolar and can manage without medications. If you can, God bless you, and that’s wonderful! I mean that.

Personally? I did the two year experiment without meds. I did pretty well for about a year and a half. But toward the end of that period, I was manic, and I didn’t even know how bad off I was. How dangerous.

So, medication. Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t using it to get high. We are using it just to function. It’s not fun, by any means. But it is hard to find the right mix. It’s especially frustrating if you have found what works for you, and then it stops working. Again, and again. But that is part of the illness, I think.

And so, regardless of medication, we still struggle. Don’t we?

So how do we not grow weary? This thing called bipolar is not just a sometime thing. It takes continuous daily vigilance, and sometimes, despite that, we still experience the highs and lows.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure cannot manage it under my own power! Now here is something profound. I need Jesus! And I dare say you need Him, too! Isn’t it worth considering, when nothing else is working? I’m not saying life is a bowl of cupcakes. But it is better. I have strength, and I have faith, that I didn’t have before. It could be coincidence, but I have not been in the psych hospital since I started taking Him seriously, back in ’06. So what is the deal? Check out the link above, which will take you to another blog page.

God’s intention? That I become more like Jesus. No no no, not like that (manic). More like Jesus as He was when He walked here on Earth, and then to continue to grow: in my spirit, and in my life. Jesus did not want to be “all that” when He was here on Earth,”Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.” (Philippians 2:5-6). 

Jesus was humble. During His time on Earth, Jesus served. He was not “up there,” like the God He really was. He was not “down there,” sitting on the floor feeling sorry for Himself. And please, don’t think I am judging anyone here because trust me, I have spent my time on the floor. And the ceiling. And I imagine I will again.

So can I just aim for that? Not too high, not too low?

Humble, by the way, does not mean groveling. Humble means, not thinking too much of myself. And, not thinking of myself too much. There is a difference.

So how do I aim there?

One way is by reading God’s word. It’s there that I learn how to be like Jesus, which includes being in prayer, and thinking on God’s word. That’s right, Jesus did that! Even He! In fact, He fought temptation by quoting scripture to combat the devil. Even He! Shouldn’t we?

And serving. Didn’t Jesus serve when He was here on Earth? “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

It is of note that Jesus did allow others to minister to Him, as well. There’s the woman with the alabaster box who anointed Jesus with precious oils. There’s John, who baptized Jesus in the Jordan river. Even in death, people served Him, like the rich man who donated his own tomb, and then those who prepared His body for burial. Why do you suppose He allowed that?

I think it was because He knew it was a blessing to be the giver. Doesn’t it bless you when you can give yourself to others, or when you serve the Lord? So let people help you and show that they care. This will bless them, as well as you. I mean, really, can we do all this by ourselves? God will not leave us nor forsake us. Isn’t part of His provision the people He’s given to us? People who help us to see ourselves? (YIPE!) What about our doctors and pastors and other providers? Yet, as people with bipolar, our number one problem is an inability to ask for help! We wait until our pants are on fire, and even then, we wait.

And what about Jesus Himself? Why do I wait to ask Him for help and direction? The one who answers me when I call, from wherever I happen to be? I think a big part of my problem is that little word, “I.” All by myself, I’m a mess! I freely admit it! But I am proud, very proud. I’m like the two year old who says, “Me do it. Me do myself.” And what can you do as a parent but let them do it.

And then they have the meltdown, and finally, you can help them! But why do we wait til then!

Jesus said that “… with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27). Now what “things” is He talking about? Sometimes, it is doing those stupid dishes. But I know that He has better things in mind. Given my history with Him, much better things!

So. ♫ ♪ Take, good, care of your-self ♪♫ … (I care about you).

And don’t forget the breathing part.

Bipolar Disorder, My Biggest Competitor

For those of you out there who have mental illness, like I do, this article will interest you. My greatest lament since I have been disabled is, “I used to be an ICU nurse, and I was good at it!” As if that means that now I am nothing. I know I am not “nothing,” and if I would quit lingering in the past I might get somewhere! Former Olympian Amy Gamble (photo, above) talks about a similar issue.

♪♫ There goes my baby …

Good morning friends and fiends, I’m off to church, a little weirdly colored: Purple and black, w/ bright green accessories lol. Got to have some color to wake me up.

A GREAT quote one of you wonderful bloggers posted recently, wish I could credit you (feel free to out yourself in the comments below)

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Have a wonniful day…

♪♫ If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life …

Well hullo. Sorry for not being in touch. But I am sharing my almost-everything with my son again, including the computer (sigh). He is trying yet again to find a job and a place to live and maybe a sugar mama (besides me) and and…

But that’s not what this story is about ..

“Juust sit right back and you’ll hear a tale..”

Sorry, this is gonna be one of those “I’ve imbibed one inch of coffee so far” posts.

The point of this story: Rating where you are on the bipolar scale.

My shrink once asked me where I was on the mood scale, between one and ten.

Well, I esplained (Lucy) that a person with bipolar cannot really rate themselves that way.

“How so, Dr. Bailey?” A pet name that he had for me, because I was always correcting him, or telling him how to treat me.

“Well, ya see, Dr. M, we are either really up there, or really down there. Ya can’t say one to ten, as if we are ever normal. Well, maybe for a nano second here and there. But still…”

He nods. Which means, tell me more. His pencil is poised.

It’s like the ocean, I explained. Maybe you’re at a two, where the living is easy. Treading water, but not as if in survival mode. You’re floating like you’re in the Dead Sea, no effort at all; relaxed, even. You’re just beyond competent. Juuust a little. Maybe happy, God forbid! Then maybe a four. You’re sort of walking on water, like Peter in the Bible. Soft, warm waves lapping at your toes, and then euphoria sets in; joy! So this is what normal people feel like! you think to yourself. You chance to dance. You still don’t sink. Definitely a five, six, but who’s counting? What can I do that I’ve been neglecting? You clean the whole house in like an hour. You start hanging out with people you haven’t seen for a while. “We need to have a party or something! Everything is greaaaat!” Your better friends quirk an eyebrow. “Everything okay?

But wait, there’s more! “It’s bigger than that! You’ve got special powers, maybe; uh… ” I look off to the side. Should I tell him this part? His pencil is moving furiously. He’s thinking he wants to lock me up; but he is patient.

Oh, we’re not egotistical enough to think that we’re God. But that euphoria, it gives you this wonderful energy! Prolific energy! The more you do, the more you have to do! And the more you do, the more it gives you fantastic abilities! If you can walk on water then by gor you can read minds. Leap tall buildings. See beyond reality, write a Pulitzerprizewinningnovelinfourminutesflat. And you don’t need mundane things like food, or sleep. Or concern for anyone but your own fine fascinating self or commas get outta my way you inferior human! Wewhoaremanic won’t settle for walking on water. Oh noes. We must fly! Hence, plus 10. Wheee!This is called ex-calating. Be quiet. I can spell it how I want.

Let’s get back to Peter. He didn’t just walk on water. Maybe for a very little while. But he is also known for looking down and realizing, there’s a storm, and by gor, I’m not supposed to be walking on water. He looked down and realized that by rights he should be drowning. Don’t forget, the boat was buffeted by wind so it was nowhere near calm. Have you been there? Things are going along fine, maybe even grand, but then things start to fall apart. We start being overwhelmed by stupid little things. Not even big things! We are not walking on water. On the contrary. Maybe we have even gotten to the stage where we are cowering in the bottom of the boat, eating chocolate covered bonbons while watching Oprah; and not in a fun way. More like in a have-to way. Go out? Exercise? Talk to people?

Fahgettaboudit.

And so, we have the opposite end of the scale. We may even end up on the bottom of the ocean, with all those scary looking fish, right next to Davy’s locker. We want to climb into Davy’s locker.That’s a minus 10, my friends.

For most of us, though, it’s more subtle than looking down while you’re walking on water. Or even while treading water. Think frog in the water, taking a bath, as the water is gradually turned up to boiling. We don’t see it coming.

With any luck, you will see plus 3 (and not want to chase it), or minus 3 (and not want to drown), and you’ll ask for help. A med adjustment here, an extra counseling appointment there, anything to ward off the insidious monster that is bipolar. Staying stable is a daily struggle, and if you ever lose vigilance, you’re dead (or its equivalent).

So, Dr. M. and I developed a new scale, just for moi. (After all, I am vewwy special). Normal is zero. That doesn’t sound right I know but remember, no coffee. And, no concept of normal. My normal? Minus two. And he’d write that in my chart, for real and for true.

Now that I think of it, though, I should have told him there is yet another category. I forgot. That one is wayyy beyond Peter. Way beyond plus five. It’s probably more like plus 100.

That stage is the one where you are in your space suit, and your life line has been cut. Never mind your fascination with looking at the Earth below. Although it is a little fascinating. But your space suit is running out of oxygen and your brain is doing flip-outs. 😦 FLIIIIPPP OUTS!

Yeah.

I have experienced all of those stages. (Not Stooges. Stages. Pay attention).

My normal stage is doing the dog paddle with my nose at the exact surface of the water, with the water entering my nose now and then. Tiring! This is most comfortable, because manic is scary! And drowning puts me right next to those disappearing planes, saying how-de-do to the pilot.

So – where are you today?

And how did I do without my full ration of coffee?

♪♫ My God is a Mountain Mover *

I’m waiting outside for a friend to get done grocery shopping, and doing some “homework” (a Bible study) that I can’t seem to make myself to do at home. Yes, I’m referring to the “D” word, discipline! The book is called Too Busy Not To Pray, by Bill Hybels, and it was chosen by a friend of mine for three of us to study together.. We weren’t able to finish the study, but I determined that I wanted to finish the book. As I said, I am not good at disciplining myself to do a number of things, including Bible study and prayer. So this book is perfect for me!

So, I was reading along in the chapter called “Mountain Moving Prayer,” and I had a number of “EUREKA!” moments. Now a EUREKA! is “a cry of joy or satisfaction when one finds or discovers something.” (For its origin, see Wikipedia, Eureka. LOVE that word!)

One of my “Eureka!” moments was when I was reading a story Mr. Hybels related about speaking to a ginormous group of people in India. We’re talking twenty or thirty thousand. Hybels had been a secondary speaker on previous nights. But this time, he was the main speaker, responsible for leading the group to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The enormity of the task hit him right where he lived, and a tremendous fear overtook him. I sure could relate to some of his feelings. With my anxiety, I’m overwhelmed with having to talk to one person at a time, never mind 30,000!

Hybels was praying, but in his terror, he could not focus his thoughts beyond his panic.

In the midst of his trying to get hold of himself, a song was sung, just before he was to go on stage. It was (“coincidentally”) my favorite song. And God used it to change his heart:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNZS5H9aNlY

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.

Refrain:
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me …(Words: Thomas O. Chisholm; Music: William M. Runyan)                                                                                                               

God used the song to change Hybels’ heart, and he was moved to pray in a very different way. This time, recognizing his own insufficiency, he remembered the sufficiency of the One of Whom he was asked to preach!

His prayer:

I’m praying to the Creator of the world, the King of the universe, the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-faithful God. I’m praying to the God who made the mountains and who can move them if necessary. I’m praying to the God who has always been faithful to me, who has never let me down no matter how frightened I was or how difficult the situation looked. I’m praying to a God who wants to bear fruit through me, and I am going to trust that he is going to use me tonight. Not because of who I am, but because of who he is. He is faithful. (p. 81)

How powerful a prayer! How mightily God answered his prayer! After he spoke, thousands came forward to receive Christ! And Hybels knew it was not because of anything he’d done. It was the Lord working through him, to Whom, and of Whom, he had prayed!

This chapter was tremendous. Hybels also pointed out the story in Joshua Chapter 3, where the priests’ obedience led to their stepping out in faith, to cross the Jordan when it was high and raging. The priests stepped out first. The fruit of their faith was manifested by that first step – and everyone walked across dry ground to the other side.

That phrase, “dry ground,” kind of grabbed my attention. Here the priests and the Israelites crossed the Jordan over dry ground. In the same way, the Red Sea was parted for Moses and the children of Israel. Just think of the 40 years in the desert! Talk about dry ground! You think God wasn’t working on their hearts? Even Jonah was spit out of a big fish, and onto dry ground!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRxLhwUsvVk

Are you in the big fish
Are you sitting in the belly of a world gone mad
Have you turned your back on His wish,
His will for your life, have you made Him sad
Do you want to get out of the big fish
Listen to God and follow His plan
And you won’t be part of the main dish
He’ll spit you out on to dry land(FFH, “Big Fish”)

There are so many more examples of faith in the Bible! There’s the story of David and Goliath, where David’s faith in God is bigger than that of all the great warriors! There’s the faith and courage of Caleb and Joshua, when God sends them to investigate the promised land. “WHAT giants?” they said. “WHAT cities? Let’s go!” And they knew that God was the one Who would have the victory!

I don’t know about you, but my faith is nowhere near that strong. Talk about dry land! Some of us think if we’re Christian, we must be doing something wrong if we suffer from certain conditions. We aren’t praying right, we’ve made God mad, we’re more sinful than the next guy. But we can suffer any number of human conditions: pain, mental illness, diseases of the body that are seen and unseen. And these can be aggravated by the devil’s desire to to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. We’re tapped out, and vulnerable. Our pain is so great. We have exhausted our strength. What if we’re in need of material things? What of next week, when there’s no paycheck? These are the days we want to give up. And sometimes, we do need to root out sin. It can seem overwhelming. These are the days we can see God’s desires for us, and we cower, saying, “I just can’t do this anymore!” 

But that’s the problem, I guess. My faith is in my own self. My strength. My resources. But as the song says, all I have needed thy hand hath provided. Strength. Resources for another day. Hope. A friend who shows up at just the right moment. As Hybels prayed, my faith needs to be in the mountain mover.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy0XJoxoYmE

Chorus:
My God is a mountain mover
My God’s gonna make a way
Can’t count all the time He’s proven
We can trust him just have faith
Take a hopeless situation
Watch Him turn it all around
Nothing is impossible
I can’t hold back I’ve gotta shout
My God, My God, My God
Is a mountain mover …

Does this mean instant victory? Does this mean my troubles just vanish like a puff of smoke? How I wish! But victory can take a number of forms. Can I say no to the things that will hurt me? Do I have the courage to ask for help? Can I venture out where God wants me today? Can I just plain be obedient and read my Bible? It may not seem like much, but even getting dressed and showing up is a huge victory on some days.

So I can’t use my illness as an excuse. But I also can’t compare myself and the tasks before me to those of other people. God made me the way that I am, gave me what I have. He knows the reason for all of it. So “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:14)

The Liebster Award!

Thank you so much Depressionless for nominating me for the award! (Please click on the link to read Depressionless’ blog!)

Now I am not sure I am doing all this right but here goes, these are the questions I was asked to answer:

1.I you could be something today,something to make you proud,what would you be?

— I would “be” – without censoring myself or shaming myself or allowing anyone else to do it to me (mind you, most of the shaming I do or think is coming from others is probably all in my head!!)

2.why you started blogging?

— I started blogging because I wanted to be able to do what I stated in question one! So far I think it is helping!

3.what would make you happy?

— oh my gosh! The answer to question one would make me happy! lol

4.what is one thing you can’t live without at the moment?

— Um, number one … Ok, I am being redundant so I will try to give you another answer. I can’t live without having my space, and that’s why I had to tell my son he couldn’t move back in with me if his current situation didn’t work out. SO HARD but I was really going down the tubes. So that’s what I did.

5.the book or the movie?

— The book, because the kinds of books (Christian historical fiction) that I read don’t get made into movies lol

6.do you have pets? if no,pick one would you would like to have

— I don’t have any now, but if I could, and I had the room, I’d love to have a dog. We had a Newfoundland dog when I was growing up and I truly loved her.

7.share your favorite blog and describe in 3 words why?

— I have two, if you don’t mind. One is by a really good friend and she writes about her experiences as a nurse with bipolar, she is at bpnurse.

The other one is written by a woman who also has bp and I just love her honesty, she’s funny, and she has done a ton of research on bipolar and shares it with her readers. She’s not afraid to really lay it out there with her feelings or whatever she is experiencing; I’d love to be a little more like that! She writes at Blahpolar Diaries.

Ok I guess I used more than 3 words lol…

8.describe yourself in 3 words

— k for myself I will use three words. I’m tempted to do what “Depressionless” did and say, “Strong, Rich, and Gorgeous.” But I won’t. I’ll say “strong, growing, loving.” How’s that?

9.mountain or sea/ocean?

— Oh definitely ocean. Take me from the ocean and I’m severely depressed! Um, more than usual I mean.

10.what you do to relax?

— haha, I’m on the computer almost every waking hour. But, I also read for an hour before I go to sleep, and I like to eat sweets (the results of which are not very relaxing)

11.favorite scent/perfume

— I don’t have any right now, it’s a powder called “Cashmere Bouquet” that my grandmother used to have. Yes, old lady powder. Want to make something of it?

Ok, the Rules”

Thank the person who has nominated you and link their blog in in your post.
Answer the questions above.
Nominate 5-11 blogger, who have less than 200 followers.
Make a new list with 11 questions.

Ok I am going to link to:

bpnurse

Blahpolar Diaries.

Young and Twenty

Bipolar Scorpio

Penny Pinching Peach

Here are the Q&A I would like you to answer?

1.I you could be something today,something to make you proud,what would you be?

2.why you started blogging?

3.what would make you happy?

4.what is one thing you can’t live without at the moment?

5.the book or the movie?

6.do you have pets? if no,pick one would you would like to have

7.share your favorite blog and describe in 3 words why?

8.describe yourself in 3 words

9.mountain or sea/ocean?

10.what you do to relax?

11.favorite scent/perfume
Put these rules in your post.
Inform the blogger you have nominated.

Wake up, Little Suzie … ♪♫

Ordinarily, I make sure I am awake enough to make sense: to write stellar prose, to present myself the way that I most want to … In other words, to be something I’m not? Wait wait wait, don’t say that out loud.

It is interesting being part of this blog world. I read things written by people I would never have met otherwise. I am alternately impressed, blessed, depressed, or stressed … (oh I don’t want to say “alternately.” What’s a better word? Help me out, guys…)

Now as part of recovery from being a person with bipolar, I am supposed to surround myself with positive people and energy. Stay in the Bible, instead of the World, be a helper bee… in other words, create a reality in which I do not necessarily exist?

Oh dear, I am not making a whole lot of sense, which is why I usually wait until I am awake … but no, this is me being real…

I read a lot of people who are very very depressed! And I find myself nodding my head a lot!

I want to sit next to them and cry.

Or, make them feel better.

And then someone wrote about faith, or a lack thereof.

And it made me think.

I am (quote) “a person of faith.” I “do” the things one is supposed to do if one is a person of faith. Either it demonstrates that I am, or it helps me to be one.

One of my favorite pictures I’ve posted is the one that says my track record for getting through days is 100% so far.

And really, I have to think that’s got to be God. Because if it was up to me, I probably wouldn’t be here. I would either have acted on those way-too-many urges to off myself, or I’d be drinking, or some such thing.

But God has protected me from that. And perhaps also from getting into the kinds of situations that might aggravate those feelings. (Cough: Relationships! Cough cough)..

(Pause)

One thing I do, here and on Facebook, is share the things that are helping me to get by. I don’t know that what I share is necessarily what I am feeling at the time. ie, victorious, or able to do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. But one thing that helps me, for example, is a scripture page for depression. Or maybe I am having a lot of anxiety. The great thing about looking at these pages is that there may be only one verse that helps me get through the day, or that I remember being helpful for something else. The point sometimes is just getting through the day!

(Edited to add:  My friends are instrumental! And I have one in particular who has been with me for for almost 25 years! She is not even one of “us,” but she gets it [and loves me anyway]).

Now as I explained, I haven’t been awake long enough, really, to know how I feel today, other than, clearly, I am confused, haha (there’s an “app” for that one, too, lol). Sigh….

Some might say that I can choose how I feel. Or, that I shouldn’t allow my feelings to determine how I, um, feel. (ha ha, I had no idea that page existed). 

The worst, as someone else pointed out today, is when someone tells me I “should” be happy (I am NOT going to link to that one, probably to your great and utter joy). Or, worse, there are people who, inevitably, will tell me of the various and sundry reasons why I “should” be happy. Well I know that I “should” be happy!!! Isn’t that what depression is?? Why do you think I’m so upset??? Yes I know there are people who have it worse, I know there are people who don’t have Christ, for example, or a home, or food, or or or… ERRR that ERRRRKS me (get it? irks/erks … aren’t I clever….)

Honestly? This is not what I planned for this page to say.

But, I figured I had to write something – after all, you might start to worry about me, as I sometimes do you.

And, this is what my brain came up with.

I’m still sleeping, but I am a bit less confused. There is progress.

*********

I tagged “morning pages” and Julia Cameron, partly because what I wrote here could be considered “morning pages.” (But no; I edited this post too much to call it that!) She has written several books, one of which is called The Artists’ Way. The Artists’ Way is a book for those of us who are creative (painters, writers, street sweepers, whatever you are), But we can’t seem to allow ourselves to express that creativity. I strongly recommend the book. One of her suggestions is to write 3 pages, or “morning pages,” as soon as you wake up, not worrying about flow or grammar, or whether it makes sense or not. It’s kind of like “bleeding the pipe” and getting rid of the sediment that’s been sitting there. Flush it out, and the true creativity begins to flow. Writing these pages is really helpful. I may or may not start doing them again.

Good for what ails ya …

My biggest struggle is with depression. I read a blog entry this morning from someone who has it pretty bad right now. Now normally I try not to give advice, but I broke my own rule this morning. Here is what I told her (and of course the editor in me had to put her two cents worth in since …):

Try making a list of 10 things that give you joy (besides TV) and then do them. And also think about what you would study if you went to school to change what you do for a living. My list of 10 things would be:
1. Go to the beach
2. Read
3. eat (lol)
4. Go out to eat (hmm)
5. Work on my novel
(boy this is hard to do! wow…)
6. Write a blog
7. Play a game (I’m cheating – that’s just what I do when there is nothing to do)
8. Take photos and then post the good ones
9. YIPES!

I guess I need to think on this a little better before I start doling out advice lol

As to what to study, I would finish my degree, preferably in creative writing (I don’t have too many credits left for my Bachelors degree)

Well anyway! Try to figure out something positive out of all that you wrote above. It seems like you are in a horribly negative “space” in your head and it’s easy to see why you are stuck.  😦

But some days it IS just as well to pretend you’re sick (one of the things she said she was thinking of doing). So I guess I have come up with some more:
9, SLEEP! and
10. Um, I do like to bake (and eat, if you hadn’t figured that out from above)

(edited to add: I should have also added, go to church, read the Bible, but I guess when I am depressed, I forget that these things give me joy. In fact sometimes they take a lot of effort when I’m depressed. But they do help)

I also have tried to get out of the all-I-can-see-is-myself mode of depression by thinking what I can do to help someone. If you are like me, though, you probably do too MUCH helping others! So sometimes for treating my depression I have to back OFF from helping!

We’ll try just 5 of those:
1. Make a call to someone who’s lonely, maybe an older person.
2. Write a note
3. Make something for somebody
4. (this one is easy) Say yes if someone asks for something ie a ride, or help with something
5. Volunteer at something (short or long term)

OK! I guess I just wrote my next blog entry!

Seeing Shadows

This is one of my Blogging 101 assignments. I cheated and used a photo I took this winter that I really loved. I especially liked how the shadows and light accentuated the little chunks of snow, making some of them blue in appearance.

Technically I don’t care for snow but when it’s this pretty I’ll allow it …

♪♫ Good night sweet heart wellll it’s time to go … ♪♫

SANITY!

One of the first verses I studied in the Bible was this:

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
It gave me so much hope because I had nothing but fear! And I wanted nothing more than to have a sound mind.
It took a while to figure out that it was God I needed to put my trust in, when all the while I’d put my trust in men and institutions who claimed to know Him. I came to know Him, personally. And that gave me peace.
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Have a sweet sleep!

Blogging 101: Way Behind (but where I should be?)

Well, I am still doing the Blogging 101 class but now I am feeling wayyy behind. One assignment, to make nice with the neighbors – look up in my reader about topics that interest me and interact with bloggers who are writing about them. I thought, welllll I’m already doing that so check! Done.

The next assignment, to write to my ideal reader. Well, my friends, I have so many! lol… (by the way I had asked you guys to help me increase my followers and they went from 45 to 79 in a week! Don’t know if you had anything to do w/ that but thank you!)

Anyway – I will write to my ideal reader but then …

There came another assignment, but wait … do I have more than one blogging course going on? This is what I do. I start small and suddenly, POOF, I am overwhelmed.

I do this IRL (in real life) as well. I start small and manageable, as in jobs, as in volunteering/ helping others, and POOF, all of a sudden life is way too big and overwhelming.

As I have said ad nauseam, GUILT GUILT GUILT!!! is my greatest derailer.

Now why would I feel so guilty all the time!

Number one, I grew up Catholic.

Ok, I hear crickets, especially from the Catholic corner lol… I know it’s a cliche … But I want you to know, I’ve heard a lot of Baptist preachers, and they do their own share of guilting people, for not doing enough, or for not doing the right things, or for feeling the wrong way … you get my drift, sigh. This is the faith I have chosen – or God has chosen. AA says, take what you like, and leave the rest. Well, as a Christian, it has to be more like, Take what GOD says, and leave the rest! And some of the legalism I hear is not from God! And here I am, a sitting duck. Vulnerable, seeking truth and support and “the right way,” and there I am feeling guilty again!

Yes, we all know what we are supposed to do with guilt. Throw it out the window.

Some guilt, of course, is warranted! When you do something wrong, you SHOULD feel bad. You SHOULD rectify it.

Shame is another thing. I learned in recovery group circles that guilt is for what you’ve done, shame is for what you are.

And I had my share of THAT growing up. I don’t want to tell you – ok I will tell you. Parents and older siblings who said “You’re stupid, you should know better, you’re not enough, you never do anything right,” does that all sound beneficial to the soul of a child? But guess what, I bet there are few children who didn’t suffer that to some degree. So why did my psyche take it in more than those of you who don’t carry that stuff around?

That makes me tear up…  😥  But I try not to “go there.” It’s in the past and I have learned a LOT since then.

But I am still struggling. Is it my diagnosis of bipolar, my anxiety, that are making me less and less able to function?

Ok, rewind… the Church inflicted a lot of guilt, family … what about friends and lovers?

Now I admit that in my younger years I was not exactly chaste. And my choices of partners were not the best… Again with the “You’re stupid, you should know better, you’re not enough, you never do anything right,” how about we add some more … you’re not pretty enough, you aren’t enough to earn my loyalty, my fidelity, you aren’t worth my efforts to treat you better…

Ok I’m getting maudlin here.

Now there is the fourth villain: My own head. Yes, I have taken all those messages, stirred them up, added some sugar, some alcohol, some bad behaviors, some misunderstood theology, baked them for an hour at 350* … um, ok, more like 55 years, at 800* …

(Ok Kat quit whining about guilt, could you please write about something else???)

And there I come to the ideal reader. The one who is reading this. Someone who can listen, maybe nod and say “I hear you,” or even, “BTDT (been there done that).” The one maybe who is having a good day when I’m not. And vice versa! Because my favorite thing to do is help you have a good day! Or, especially, make you laugh!

So, I guess I completed another assignment. Unless … you would rather not listen to my whining. In which case you have two choices:

1. Read another of my blogs that is not so negative.

2. Hang up the phone. After all, no one is forcing you to stay here, lol…

(even though it will break my heart if you leave, pout, grin …)

Contentment=Peace

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
– Phil 4:11
Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon. A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease [a common European wild flower, growing as an annual or short-lived perennial], he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”
“Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God’s heritage
Can do it so well as you.”
They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundredfold.

from “Streams in the Desert with Mrs. Charles Cowman” Devotionals

I make all things new …

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  — Revelation 21:5

“New Post, New Post!” My Gmail inbox is full of new posts, many of them from others who are taking the “Blogging 101” course offered by WordPress. Through no small miracle of technology, we are finding each other and it’s exciting!

And if I don’t allow the guilt feelings to reign, I am happy. I am always happy when I obey the voice that says, “Write.”

What is the alternative?

Giving in to the guilt and fear and, I admit, laziness, that says, don’t write. You’re not good enough anyway. You won’t finish anyway …

But are we still talking about blogging here?

No, I’m talking about my dream, to write novels and get published and live happily ever after.

Yeah well, I’m just being honest here, lol.

Anyway, it’s my hope that by writing this blog it will help me toward that dream.

For one thing, I think that by writing this blog it will clear out the cobwebs and make room for me to write, without all those other voices in my head. For another, I hope that by writing here frequently it will keep the wheels greased, so to speak. And last but certainly not least, I will be sharing Christ with people – my walk with Him, and what He’s teaching me.

And, no small matter, I will be walking along with other dreamers, many of them bipolar like me. We will support one another through our highs and lows, and even the drudgery of “ok.”

And we will be made new, in a way, by fulfilling the dream that God put in us: “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” — Psalm 37:4. Not just granting my “wishes,” but putting them there in the first place.

I love it!  😀

 

(Now quit talking about it, and do it!)

 

 

Who am I? Blogging 101

I’m taking an online “course” on blogging and the first assignment is:  “write and publish a ‘who I am and why I’m here’ post.” If you’re going to read this, you will want to pour a cup of coffee and maybe get something to eat, because it is long.

All my life I have written this post (book) in my head and found it fascinating. I always thought I’d write an autobiography and sell it for millions. Who wouldn’t want to read it?

But now, I don’t even want to write it. What I once found fascinating about myself is either untrue or unremarkable. But, I’ll start it the way I always started it:  “I was born in New York …”

First fascinating fact. But really, it wasn’t “New York, New York,” it was upstate New York, and I only lived there til I was 6. 7. 8. I don’t know. First grade?

Then there is the what. For a time I was in therapy and had come to the conclusion that I’d been severely sexually abused, and in a Satanic cult.

Now I am not so convinced of that. I know some inappropriate touching went on, but pretty sure the rest of what I thought was the result of an overeager therapist who had her own agenda.

So where does that leave me?

Decidedly ordinary, is what.

But.

Well, let’s go back. I was very ordinary in grade school/ high school. Pretty much invisible. I almost wonder, if I’d been bullied, if it would have hurt less.

I did have some friends, fairly ordinary like me, and I know I would not have survived without them. My parents’ divorce. My inability to fit in. I did find a way to fit in. Alcohol fit the bill nicely.

So then! Post high school, I needed a job. Mom told me about a nurses’ aide training course. I really didn’t want to do it; I’d already done some candy striping (volunteering in the hospital), and wound up in the cafeteria and the laundry room. GLAMM-orous. I did not like the smells in the hospital, for sure. That smell of starch is still embedded in my brain. I suppose that is a better smell than the ones I smelled later.

But anyway, back to the training course. I’d already had two jobs in food service: one at McDonald’s, one at Howard Johnson’s as a counter girl. Both thankless – how could people be so rude? It was like they took everything out on you, and it wasn’t like you were getting paid enough to have to put up with that …

So I decided to take the course. It was very thorough and came with a guaranteed job at the end. They promised me I’d be on nights for only a little while, to cover someone else who was on leave. But I’d definitely go on day shift soon!

Well “soon” happened and I didn’t get changed to the day shift, so I took another job at a nursing home down the street.

I was never very efficient. I struggled as an aide to do the job. The time frame we had to work under was just about impossible. Some of the aides had time to set their patients’ hair and put jewelry on them. Not me! I was lucky just to keep them clean.

But at the same time, I took note of the nurses passing pills, in their starched (there’s that word again) white uniforms. I thought, I want to know why they do what they do? What are all those pills for? I decided to apply for nursing school, and got in to my second choice. In the end I was glad I didn’t get the first choice, which was a university program which did not offer much in the way of actual clinical patient care. My diploma program was more hands-on, and I was thankful for that.

But scared to death at the same time. I found out while in school that I had a familial tremor (think Katharine Hepburn) and hypoglycemia (think insulin shock, minus the insulin). You should have seen me trying to pull up medications into a syringe – let’s just say I didn’t have to shake the vial. I was terrified of the instructors, terrified of making a mistake. Somehow I made it through and did really well. Hardly even had to study, which I think was part of my confidence problem later on. I could cram for an exam and forget what I’d studied immediately after it.

I’d already had lots of practice with alcohol toward the end of my high school years, but perfected those skills while in nursing school. The skill of chasing boys, as well, since alcohol loosened my inhibitions. It was nice not to be invisible. That liquid courage …

But after nursing school, it became problematic. I was date-raped twice while under the influence. I was having blackouts. My “familial” tremors worsened after a night of drinking (hmm). Meanwhile I was really succeeding as a nurse, training to work in intensive care. What happened to the girl who was so afraid of failure? Still terrified, but alcohol helped me bury my fears.

After the second rape, I became more aware of my depression. I remember one night sitting on the porch steps thinking about how to take my life. Got up, drank some beers, and stifled that urge.

Soon after that I started going to Al-anon meetings, some of them especially for children of alcoholics. I don’t need to go into my family history, just, that’s what I needed to do. Out of principle I quit drinking. I had righteous indignation (“I’m not like them!”) to power my sobriety.

I also had gone on the Atkins diet and it was then I experienced my first hypomanic episode. I had no idea what was going on but I liked that feeling of power! More confidence, better recall of nursing knowledge, a superiority complex. And a feeling of being so sexy and irresistible! Did I tell you I liked it?

And then the depression came back, and worsened, and because I had stopped drinking I no longer had the liquid courage to get me through. I had started counseling, but when she’d asked me about suicidal thoughts, I’d said no. I made a plan to kill myself with razor blades and carried it out. At the last moment, when I know would have crossed over into death, I told God, “I want to die, but I don’t want to go to Hell!” Somehow I woke up in the bathtub 6 hours later, covered in blood and feces. I knew my attempt had failed, and I knew it was because of that prayer. I crawled to the phone and asked for help.

I wound up in a psychiatric unit where they started me on antidepressants. Very soon after that I began to experience the euphoria I’d had before, only bigger! I felt like I could leap tall buildings in a single bound, like I could read minds (I was sure!) and like I could personally talk to God in the sky. The sun was His all-powerful eye. I was Mary the mother of Jesus who had been raped by God and thus conceived her Son. The smoke alarms went off one day and I was sure that was because I had started a fire somewhere with my rage.

I remember my mother coming in to help me pay bills, and I had to have my Walkman playing in my ears in order to shut my brain off to concentrate. The doctors started quizzing me about my visitors, whether they had brought drugs in. When I told them about the ex-boyfriend and how we had smoked pot, they nodded their heads. It had to have been the pot, then, that made me go kablooey. It never occurred to them that their drugs and my dysfunctional brain had caused the mania and the delusions.

Eventually the mania simmered down, the antidepressant having been replaced with some other medication. I was still having brief episodes but had a prn (“as often as necessary”) medication which helped a lot.

I remember my father coming in to visit and that I started crying on purpose, just to make him feel bad. I was all about “it’s everyone’s fault,” and nowhere near to looking at myself. I was discharged with a diagnosis of depression.

I continued going to Al-anon, but I was also going to AA now because I had figured out the role alcohol had played in my life. I met my son’s father and we won’t go into that. Suffice it to say that between my inability to say no, and my lack of self-esteem, it did not take much for him to bowl me over.

After I gave birth to our son by C-section, the doctor ordered Tylenol #3 (regular Tylenol, plus codeine). I felt that euphoria beginning, and I got scared, and took myself off it. I was scared that I could hurt my son if I was under that kind of influence.

I was not a great mother. For one thing, I was with a man who seemed to thrive on rage (and later I found out was drinking). I stayed with him a lot longer than I should have. For another thing, I struggled a lot with depression, and my son’s days with me should have been filled with a lot more joy than I could muster. My work history was sketchy. At one point we lived in a transitional housing program which helped tremendously, but it was no match for my depressions and my continuing to choose, shall we say, men with problems.

I kept trying to get back to church, having been raised Catholic, but it just did not fit, nor did it fix anything, and that’s what I was looking for: a fix. I was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital several times, both inpatient and outpatient.

I did eventually find a Christian church (non-denominational) and “got saved,” and by that I mean I raised my hand when the preacher asked who wanted to get saved. My understanding was that I was a sinner, and of that I had no doubt. I knew that Jesus died for sinners, to take our sin upon Himself, He who knew no sin!

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die : yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. — Romans 5:6-9

And so I knew I was a sinner, I knew I needed a Saviour from the wrath of God. I asked Jesus to “come into my heart” and save me.

I had another major manic episode, can’t remember any specific triggers, but again I was hospitalized. It became clear to me almost immediately that though I had accepted Christ as my Saviour, I’d never “deigned” to have Him as my Lord. And that meant following the Bible. I surrendered at that time, telling God that if He wanted to use me in that psychiatric hospital for the rest of my life, that was fine with me. But I wanted him to use me, wherever He might want me to be. I was rather surprised to find that I was discharged and I have never been hospitalized since. I started going to a church in ’06 that teaches from the Bible. It’s a lot more fundamentalist than the other church, and I believe it’s where God wants me to be right now.

That doesn’t mean I’ve been well this whole time. I have still struggled with depression and hypomania, still struggled to maintain my ability to work. In fact, presently I am “retired” from even doing a cashier job. It was too overwhelming to me. It’s very sad that as time has gone on I have become less and less able to function as a “normal” human being. I have been on disability for several years, but I have a hard time accepting that. I am very involved with my church, and it seems that doing volunteer work for God does not stress me in the same way. I do have to be careful not to overdo. Sometimes it is my guilt that makes me take on too much. Guilt for being mentally ill, guilt for not earning my keep. My counselor has said more than once that if I didn’t feel so guilty,  if I wasn’t so much in denial of having a mental illness, I could probably have a happy life and function better. I think he is right, but it is hard to just erase that voice in my head that says I am bad, and wrong, and lazy, etc.

My dream? If I had no shame for who I am, if I truly celebrated those gifts that God has given me, and used them only as much as He desired, I’d be a working novelist. I wouldn’t just dabble and play at it. I’m good at it, really. I also do have Spiritual gifts of mercy and hospitality, gifts He has given me to use for Him, but not for my ego, and not to be used under my own power. I used to dream of having a big foster home, with horses, and a long haired husband (lol). Now I just dream of being able to function, without feeling like I’m not enough.

 

And so I come to the real answer to the question:”Who Am I?” I leave you with this song by Casting Crowns:

________New Year

Suppose I could just ask you, since the stupid poll will not attach to this blog … What kind of New Year’s Day are you having?

Happy

Tolerable

Don’t ask …

Ask me tomorrow

 

I was having a pretty good day til I tried attaching that stupid poll! Argh!!! lol…