Untitled, Jan 4th, 2020

I hate finding titles for blogs… I find I just want to use the same one over and over again, because so often my blogs are about the same topics over and over again… Maybe I should just date them..

I hung out with my sister last night. It went ok. We didn’t talk about anything important, and ran out of things to talk about after about an hour. We didn’t hug… It just made me sad. really sad. I fear the relationship is permanently damaged… I keep telling myself that Holly just isn’t capable of anything more significant. She is just so harsh. I tried to talk to her about my worry over my friend Amy, who is experiencing bipolar symptoms even while medicated. And she was just like Amy needs some therapy, which she does, but I feel so much compassion for my friend. I worry about her, and Holly was just kinda like Amy needs to figure it out. I told my sister that I didn’t know what to say to Amy, because I don’t. There is nothing you can say that makes her experiences better. And Holly was full of advice. Ironically, I talked to Amy about Holly, and one of the first things she said was Holly just doesn’t get it. She said Holly needs to grow up a little. It felt so validating to hear someone else express how I have been feeling. My sister-in-law had said something similar when I talked to her. She said Holly just doesn’t understand clinical depression.

My friend Amy gets it. Even while struggling with her own demons, she said she can’t understand what I have been through. I think Amy is bipolar 2 struggling with hypomania, while I am bipolar 1 having been hospitalized for mania.

I wish I didn’t care so much about my relationship with my sister. I wish I could just accept things the way they are and move on. After our first conversation, I thought I had finally accepted things, but now I am back where I was a couple of weeks ago… My mom thinks me and Holly should try a counselor… My therapist keeps saying Holly just might not be capable of anything more, and that is what I’m beginning to believe. Why can’t I just accept that? Why can’t I be satisfied? My husband thinks I need to just seek a more significant relationship with someone else, and I kind of agree. Why can’t I just find what I am looking for with someone else?

*Time out*

I just googled acceptance, because I know that is the root of my problem. I told my husband that last night. I’m struggling with acceptance. Rather than fight the reality of the state of the relationship, I need to accept that it is what it is. The article and my therapist say that we cause more pain and suffering when we refuse to accept things. I can see this is true, very true. But I don’t know how to force myself to acceptance. Interestingly the article says acceptance doesn’t mean that things might not change in the future, it just means accepting the present as is. I think that is also part of my problem, I am fearful that my relationship with my sister will never get better. And it might not, but it might. Regardless, rather than ruminate over and over again about the future, I need to focus on today, and say, it is ok that today things are not how I want them to be. The article also explains that acceptance doesn’t mean we have to like what we are going through. Regardless, it is painful, but we accept the pain. We acknowledge it’s presence rather than fight for relief from it. *sigh* Lastly, the article said acceptance is a verb; it something we work at, something we practice over and over again. That is probably what I am experiencing. I need to realize there will be times I am more accepting than others. *sigh* Today I will practice acceptance. In this moment, I will accept. And in the future, when I find myself upset or anxious, I will remind myself to accept.

Finding significance.

Update on Colorado. We are putting the house up for sale today. Yay! But I’m also scared. I’m scared of selling the house now, which would mean we have to find temporary housing. I’m scared of not selling the house at all, which means we are going to have to pay rent and a mortgage when we are in Colorado. I’m trying to trust that things are going to work out just exactly the way they should, but that is easier said than done…

Recently I have been plagued with memories of my manic episode. I’m not sure what bothers me more. The crazy that was on display for so many people to see, or the crazy that went on once I was hospitalized… Regardless, I often find myself thinking about it, and being unsettled by the memories. Yesterday, I talked to my therapist about it, and she suggested that I find ways to re-frame the memories. For example, when I think about how terrible the mental hospital was, I should be grateful that it was a safety net for when I desperately needed help. I think I can do the same thing with the people that saw and experience my mania. Rather than be embarrassed, I need to be grateful that they were so kind and empathetic toward me. My therapist also suggested I try to find the significance in my experiences. I’m not sure what that is yet, but I’m thinking about it.

Being a “spiritual” person, you would think I would find comfort in knowing that God does everything for a reason, but my manic experience has really shaken my faith. During my mania, I experienced hyper-religiosity, which made me feel like God was talking to me personally. I saw a spiritual significance in everything, and now, knowing none of it was real, it makes me question how much true Christianity is real… I hate how this has effected my faith, because my faith has been so important to me for the past 10 years, but I can’t fake where I am…

My pastor played an important role during my mania, so my therapist suggested I talked to him as well. I think it is a good idea, but I’m not sure what the purpose of the conversation should be.

There is so much to think about, and I’m just not sure what I should do.

Fixing relationships

Cody and I are about to go to a wedding, so I’m sitting here all dressed up with my hair and makeup done trying to get this written. I have about 15 mins…

I talked to my sister last night. It went ok. We didn’t really talk about any issues; we just said we will try again to be friends. But I’m starting to see what my therapists has been saying, I don’t think my sister can be who I want her to be. I tried to tell her about how hard this summer was when I was struggling with bipolar depression, and her response was “I get it”. And I just wanted to say, no you don’t get it, you are not bipolar. I tried to tell her how hard this year has been with my hospitalization and my diagnosis and her response was “my year has been hard too”. I just felt like there was no empathy, no understanding that this has been the hardest year of my life. I shouldn’t have been surprised. She did this when we traveled to Thanksgiving together last year. I was complaining about not being able to drink because of my medication and her response was “I’m tired of you complaining”. She just isn’t very empathetic and it made me realize that she can’t be the person I need her to be. It makes me sad….

Now I just hope we can sort of repair this relationship. We ended the conversation by saying we would talk to this week and try to see each other over Christmas. I’m nervous still and I hope we can kind of go back to normal. Do you think it is possible there are hurts that we are just unable to come back from? I’m just going to try as hard as I can to be warm and friendly and hopefully over time this will be fixed..

Ok, time to go.

Sleeplessness

Well I’m up in the middle of the night, because I can’t sleep, which really sucks because sleeping is my favorite thing to do… Recently not being able to sleep through the night has become a more and more regular thing. I wonder if it is related to my bipolar disorder. Having been only recently diagnosed, I still don’t recognize what is normal and what is bipolar. I’m scared that my sleeplessness is related to mania. I have also shopped a lot lately, which also makes me fear this is mania. Obviously this is not as severe as my manic episode last October, but I know even with medication I could experience mild manic episodes.

The scariest part of my experience is the realization that even though I was only recently diagnosis, I have always displayed symptoms of bipolar. Now it makes sense, but at the time I had no idea it wasn’t normal. I remember times of struggling with insomnia. I remember maxing out my credit card TWICE. I remember my risky behavior. I wish it hadn’t taken a hospitalization for me to be diagnosed.

Speaking my hospitalization, I have so much shame associated with it. I’m ashamed of having been committed to a mental facility. Even though I know it wasn’t really me at the time, I’m ashamed of the things I did and the way I acted. There are several people that said some really crazy stuff too, and I wish I could back to them and explain it wasn’t me. And the really scary thing is most of my friends and family didn’t see me at my worst when I was in the hospital. It makes me sad to remember how “crazy” I was. I don’t remember everything, which is probably a blessing, but losing control of your mind has to be one of the scariest experiences. My counselor told me to not just focus on my hospitalization but to remember what has happened since then. I’m now medicated and in a really good place. Lord willing, with medication, I will never have to experience that again. But sometimes I can’t help but replay those memories over and over again in my mind and be ashamed. ūüėĒ

Well I think I’m going to try to sleep again. Wish me good luck!

Here we are again…

Well, surprise, surprise, things are not good between me and my sister. again. I’m so tired of this shit. I don’t even care anymore. who am I kidding… I’m devastated. For the third time in about three months I’m up crying and unable to stop. My counselor thinks I need to adjust my expectations for the relationship and just try to have some kind of a relationship rather than no relationship, but right now I don’t want to have a relationship with her. She doesn’t appreciate me and what I’ve done for her. This summer she made a comment to me that she appreciates our friendship, and I just wanted to say, what friendship? We have a relationship where she takes what she wants when it is convenient for her.

I feel like this is how it always is. She rejects me and I don’t know how to handle it. Why do I care so much? Why can’t I just not care? But I’m also so scared that this will be the end of the relationship forever. I fear that if it was up to my sister, this would never be resolved and we would never speak again. And before you say I’m being dramatic that would just be run of the mill in my family. My mom doesn’t talk to her sister and probably hasn’t for close to 20 years.

I texted my sister today to ask her if she wanted to talk about it, and she said she did, but now I don’t know what I want to tell her…

All I know is right now I wish I could forget all this and sleep. I’m tired, but I can’t stop crying…. I just want to stop crying… Maybe I’ll try a sleeping pill… wish me good luck!

My path to acceptance

Well I didn’t blog twice this week, but that is ok. Once a week is good too.

Update on Colorado! We talked to a recruiter for schools in the Glenwood Springs area. They don’t pay as well as schools in the Denver area, BUT they offer subsidized housing for teachers! We were actually already planning on going to Glenwood Springs to ski in February, so it is a perfect opportunity to scope it out. We are also planning on meeting with the recruiter at that time. I’m so excited! Supposedly the area is GORGEOUS! A ton to do outdoor with lots of biking trails. The recruiter said we could bike to work! The best thing about it is we could have jobs and a place to live by April! That would take so much of the stress out of this!

Now to update some of what has happened in the last year. Unfortunately, this past year has been one of the hardest of my life…. Last time I was blogging I had just left a mental health facility for a severe manic episode. Actually I’m pretty sure I was still manic when I was blogging, which makes them really hard to read. It just brings back some of the most awful memories. At the time, I was angry and in denial over my diagnosis of bipolar. But looking back, I’m not surprised that I couldn’t accept my diagnosis, because I was manic. My ability to reason was compromised. I couldn’t understand what was going on and what I was experiencing. It has taken me most of this past year to accept my diagnosis. I just didn’t want to accept that I had a chronic illness that would require medication for the rest of my life. I felt that being bipolar meant I was weak and broken. It took depression and a new doctor for me to finally accept that I’m bipolar.

This past spring and summer I suffered from clinical depression, which was awful. This summer I could barely get out of bed. The depression was awful. One day I remember just crying all day long and not being able to stop. My friends kept telling me that medication could help, but I was on anti-depressants. I thought there was no hope for the way I was feeling. I told my doctor at the time and all he did was double my dosage, which sucked because the medicine had side effects of trembles. That doctor was terrible though. After he doubled my dosage and I went for a check up, he didn’t even ask if I was feeling better! That was when I decided I needed a new doctor. One of my friends suggested the psychologists he sees, and I’m so glad I took his advice. Before I even scheduled an appointment, the doctor called me personally to find out about me and why I was switching doctors. I told him that I had been diagnosed bipolar but I wasn’t sure I was bipolar. He got me an appointment within a week, which was amazing that I didn’t have to wait. During that first appointment, he spent an hour with me and my husband. We talked about my hospitalization and the doctor actually explained mania to me. He explained the symptoms of mania and how my experiences fit that definition. He then explained how my mania followed by depression was bipolar. It was so helpful for someone to explain everything and answer my questions rather just throw psychological jargon at me. Then he changed all my medication (he said my previous doctor had me on all the wrong stuff), and then explained all the medication. He explained all the medication he could put me on, and why he was choosing the ones he choose. He explained their possible risks and side effects. He was phenomenal. I’m so grateful to that doctor and what he did for me. Within two weeks of my new medication, my depression got better and now I feel great. At the time, I never thought the darkness could lift. I thought there was no hope. I can’t believe the difference a good doctor and the correct medication could make.

Anyway that summarizes most of the past year. Most of it sucked, but thankfully everything is better now. I’m looking forward to blogging more, so I can put all of this behind me. I don’t want my manic writing to be the most recent thing on my blog. I want to start filling my blog with better memories and happier times.

Trying again

Well it has been over a year since I blogged… more on that later… But I really do want to get back into blogging so here I go again. Maybe this time it will stick. My goal is to blog twice a week. That seems reasonable.

So now the question is where do I start?!?!?! So much to talk about! I guess I’ll start with what I’m most excited about…

We’re moving to Colorado! We decided about 4-6 weeks ago, and we plan to move this summer, hopefully around June 1st. I’m so excited! I’ve always been adventurous, so this is my next great adventure! We don’t know where in Colorado; it will probably depend on where we get jobs. The goal is to get jobs in April or May, find a place to move and then move as soon as we can. We need to sell our house in Louisiana, which might take awhile, but we are prepared to move without selling it. I’m so excited! (I know I already said that, but that is how excited I am.) I love where we live now, but I don’t want to live here forever, and now seems like the best time to move. For one, we don’t have kids. For two, we have to restart on retirement, so we better do that as soon as possible! I’m excited to live in a beautiful place, where we can enjoy the outdoors year-a-round. I’m excited to leave the Louisiana heat and humidity. I’m excited to possibly make more money as a teacher. I’m excited to be further away from my mother-in-law.

My mother-in-law is really upset about it and I’m afraid we haven’t seen the worst of it. I think she will really lose it when it is actually happening like when we accept jobs. But I don’t really care how she feels about it; she’ll just have to get over it. Everyone else is really happy for us.

I’m anxious to get the ball rolling though. There isn’t much we can do right now other than just worry about it. I worry we will struggle to find jobs. I worry about packing up my house and moving it all 1,200 miles. I worry about moving my cats. I worry that something will come up and we won’t be able to move. ARGH! I wish I didn’t have to wait so long! I’m ready to see how it will all turn out.

Well I think that is all for now. It will take me awhile to write all the updates on the last year, but one bite at a time!

Post Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving went well enough. There were no fights and my sister was only mildly annoying. I would say I enjoyed 80% of my time. I did feel like people didn’t know what to talk to me about it. Both my sister-in-laws brought up my illness, but it didn’t bother me because they didn’t talk about my diagnosis. I don’t mind talking about what I’ve been through as long as someone doesn’t use it as an opportunity to convince me that I am bipolar. My baby sister did not handle Thanksgiving as well though. She smoked pot in the house the night before we left, which I thought was rather bold. I’m very worried about her. She doesn’t seem to be handling life very well right now.

I think the best part of Thanksgiving was that I left most of my struggles in Louisiana. Other than having to remember my medication, I didn’t feel “sick”. I was a normal person, who does normal things. It was a great escape. The only problem is that now I am home, my depression has come back with a vengeance. I feel overwhelmed by life, and all I want to do is wallow in self-pity. I don’t feel up to doing anything. I’ve struggled with minor depression before, but nothing that got in the way of my life. Where is this coming from? In the past, praying or reading my Bible has been enough to get me over it as well, but now, prayer and the Bible doesn’t seem to help. I just feel an overwhelming sadness and a feeling that nothing is right in the world.

I think I need to see and feel the Lord’s hand on me. Not that I am challenging God or saying I don’t believe. I do believe, but sometimes you need a reminder. When I was in the hospital, I saw God’s hand at work a lot. Every time I opened my Bible, it was like God was speaking directly to me. I need a to feel God’s presence and love today. I need a reminder that he is enough. If I have nothing else, my faith is sufficient. That God would be my only hope…

Deuteronomy 31:8  (CSB)

8¬†The¬†Lord¬†is the one who will go before you.¬†He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.¬†Do not be afraid or discouraged.‚ÄĚ

Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O‚Äôer us sin no more hath dominion‚ÄĒ
For more than conqu’rors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

His Word shall not fail you‚ÄĒHe promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Twas the night before…

Cody and I are leaving in the am for my family gathering in Lake Tahoe. I’m surprised I can’t sleep, but I think it is just excitement. I’m still disappointed that my parents won’t be joining us, but I do feel better about it. I talked to my parents two days ago, and they explained that they felt like their presence would cause too much stress on everyone. It made me realize that they were sacrificing themselves for all of us. It made me see that I needed to have a good time for my parent’s sake, so that their sacrifice wasn’t for nothing.

I’ve had a hard time packing for this trip as I’m not sure how the weather will be. Well, that’s not true. The weather will be between 30 and 50 degrees, but I don’t know how I would like to dress for it. I’m terrible at estimating what a certain temperature will feel like… so instead I have just packed a couple different things, but that makes my luggage heavy! So hopefully I am not over 50 pounds…

Thankfully I am doing a lot better. I started praying this week that I could see all of this through God’s eyes. I just felt their had to be a purpose to the suffering. And today I read 2 Corinthians 12, when Paul says “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Anyway, it made me realize that part of the purpose of my suffering is to make me more dependent on God. God is trying to grow my faith, and that makes me excited. I truly want a faith that makes a difference in the world around me. I don’t want to be a baby Christian my whole life. I also believe that I will only find satisfaction and contentment in God alone. Which speaking of, God also showed me this week that part of this trial is to teach me that my identity is not in my job. As usual, this year I’ve made my job my identity and I’ve made my job an idol in my life. I’ve been struggling with this for years, and that is why God had to make this trial so tough, because I’ve been stubborn. I need to finally learn how to see my job differently.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (CSB)

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh¬†was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself.¬†8¬†Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me.¬†9¬†But he said to me,¬†‚ÄúMy grace is sufficient for you, for my power¬†is perfected in weakness.‚ÄĚ

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Different by Micah Tyler

I don’t wanna hear anymore, teach me to listen
I don’t wanna see anymore, give me a vision
That you could move this heart, to be set apart
I don’t need to recognize, the man in the mirror
And I don’t wanna trade Your plan, for something familiar
I can’t waste a day, I can’t stay the same
I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
‘Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there’s something different
So come and be different
In me
And I dont wanna spend my life, stuck in a pattern
And I don’t wanna gain this world but lose what matters
And so I’m giving up, everything because
I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
‘Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there’s something different
So come and be different; oh-oh
I know, that I am far, from perfect
But through You, the cross still says, I’m worth it
So take this beating in my heart and
Come and finish what You started
When they see me, let them see You
‘Cause I just wanna be different, ye-ey
I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
‘Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Oh is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there’s something different
So come and be different
I just wanna be different
So could You be different
In me

Illness Update

Two updates about my health…

First, I started sleeping when the doctor upped my trazadone to 150 as opposed to 100. But this past weekend, the trazadone was making me sleepy all day long, so I dropped back down to 100. Initially I still slept around 7 hours a night without feeling drowsy the next day. Well today is day 3 on trazadone, and I’m back to not sleeping. I’m super sad about this, because it makes me realize that I can’t get off the medicine yet, because I need it. I hate the thought of me needing medication. This is exactly why I don’t want to accept my diagnosis, because it comes with taking meds for the rest of my life…

Second, my doctor told me that I can’t go back to work after Thanksgiving. I’m really, really, really upset about this. I’m so tired of just hanging around my house. I love my work! I miss the kids so much, and I miss teaching math. I’m also upset, because last time I talked to him, he said I could return to work when I felt like it, so I don’t know why he changed his mind… Again, it gives me the sad realization that I’m sicker than I realize, which is so upsetting…

Everyone keeps telling me to use this time to get to know myself, but how? I have definitely accepted that bipolar or not, I’m not the same person I was before, but that still doesn’t tell me how to get to know the new me…

I do have one praise report from today. Today I received a text from a kid at my church. She needed help with Pre-Calculus, and it was SOOO rewarding to spend an hour focused on her and math. It was a much needed escape from my reality, and I was grateful to God for it.

I still feel a little mad at God, and I definitely still feel a hint of depression. I just want my old life back! And I know everything happens for a reason, and God will redeem this situation for my good and his glory, but walking this road is hard! And I feel like it is never ending! I guess I shouldn’t find it so surprising that my trial is so challenging, and I need to be more grateful, because this is a sign that God is maturing me, but sometimes I just want to be immature and petty and complain all the time… Now that I have talked about it, I can see that I need to find my joy in all of this. It is here, so it is just a matter of me choosing to pick it up and wear it…

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (CSB)

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there is no fruit on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though the flocks disappear from the pen
and there are no herds in the stalls,
18 yet I will celebrate in the Lord;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!

Job 13:15 (ESV)

15 Though he slay me, I will hope in him;

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[a] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1 Peter 5:6-11 (CSB)

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. 8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

10 The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,[a]will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while.[b] 11 To him be dominion[c] forever.[d] Amen.

Though You Slay Me

by Shane and Shane

I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering
Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all
Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
Though tonight…