Monthly Archives: February 2016

All to the Glory of God

Please read all of this.

All to the Glory of God–that is why I blog and share my story so openly.  I want others to know it is possible to live and parent well with mental illness.  This, by necessity, causes my posts to be brutally honest, and that is not always pretty.

I have always endeavored to live by the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I have never been the strongest cookie.  I wasn’t good at physical things growing up.  I wasn’t a strong kid.  And then the Multiple Sclerosis came and I became even weaker.  My needs grew exponentially as my body failed me.  It wasn’t easy, but I had this verse to cling to.  Then I went into remission from the MS.  I thought I was free from weakness.  I guess I thought I would be able to stand on my “own two feet,” but even during this time of apparent strength, that was not the case.

I have always needed Him.  I have always needed to rest on Him, the Solid Rock.  Personally, I believe we all do, that is where true peace comes from.  Now, I am also aware that may sound ridiculous coming from a woman who is on anxiety medications.  If true peace comes from Christ, shouldn’t I be without anxiety?  I can’t completely answer that.  To my satisfaction, or likely to yours, but I know it to be true.  I also know that I have a few illnesses, which happen to be messing with that peace and, at times, my mind, just like diabetics have an illness that mess with their pancreas.  And just like a diabetic, there are medications and tools out there to help me live a strong and healthy life. I utilize those tools.  I take my medications as prescribed, I work with my doctors, I work with my husband, and I take care of myself.  Some days, that taking care of myself looks scary as I end up in the hospital or I blog something really dark, or reach out to others for help.

It may look scary, I’ll give you that, but it is never without hope and it is never without utmost care for my husband and children.  I hate taking my meds, I hate going to the hospital but I love Caitlyn, Sue, and Patrice enough to always be working toward strength and wellness for them.  I love my hubby enough to take the steps I need to every day to be here every day.

Those days sometimes look messy, and just reading a blog may make them scarier, but know my husband and girls are always safe.  Always.

I share my journey here in hopes of showing others they can live and parent well with mental illness. That may open myself up to a lot more questions about my health and well being than I might have if I kept my journey quiet and that’s okay.

Please, if you ever have questions or concerns about my journey, my family’s journey, or what you read here, please feel free to contact me.  I would be more than willing to share with you how we promote and protect the health of our children, our marriage,  and our family.

All to the Glory of God.

Off Came the Band Aid

My girls have been fighting a lot.  They have been getting annoyed with each other a lot.  They have been getting annoyed with people they know a lot.

Thursday I  had enough.

I unwittingly ripped off a band aid that had been protecting me for 22 years.

Growing up, I had very loving family.  And I had a couple neighborhood friends who were sweet.  I also had some friends from camp, who by the very nature of our friendship were not around or available to me on a daily basis.  Friendship wise, that was about it.*

Friends were hard for me to come by.

My early school memories are sketchy.  There was the day the girl in first grade punched me and broke my glasses.  Or the time I let the boys use my lunch box as a soccer ball because I didn’t like my sturdy metal box anymore.  I still remember the punishment for that decision as well.  And then there was going to my 2nd grade teacher’s house.  She had a pink bathroom.  Who wouldn’t remember that?

The next memory is third grade.

Standing in the middle of the playground alone.  Looking for someone to play with.  I stood there, surrounded by playground equipment I was not good at playing on, alone.  No one wanting to play with me.

Or the bullies in third grade who saw I was smaller and easily intimidated.  They followed me out to the classroom (third grade was in a separate building up a hill), got in front of me and stepped on my toes with their cowboy boots.  But that problem I could handle.  I employed my bigger fourth grade cousin to walk me to class.  That worked awesome until my mom found out and told me I had to stop doing that because I couldn’t make my cousin late for his class.  Then they were back to stomping on my toes.

Every year continued to be more and more lonely.  I just wasn’t a fit for any of the groups of friends, at the Christian schools I transferred to or when I transferred back to the small public school I had started elementary school in.

These memories have always hurt, but I had them tucked, for the most part, in a nice little box back in my memory–until Thursday.

Back to my annoyed little girls.

Girls, you need to get over that.  Mama can tell you what happens to that little girl who gets annoyed easily with other kids.  They end up growing up a very, very, very  lonely little girl.

And with that, I ripped off the band aid that has been protecting me all these years.  Sure, kids are mean, kids are obnoxious to each other, but I played a role in my loneliness as a kid.  I didn’t understand or get along with kids my age for many reasons and I had tucked that away for a long time, but now the sadness and frustration are back out in the open.  And for the life of me I can’t figure out how to put them all away again.  How do I tuck them away?  I really don’t know, so here I stand, crying again, as I have been for the last two days.

My husband is thrilled I shared that with the girls, we are both hoping they learn sooner, rather than later, what mama is trying to explain to them, what mama is trying to share.  I am not so thrilled.  He agrees I may need to share that again.  I don’t know if I can.  It hurt 22 years ago, it hurt Thursday, it still hurts today.

I didn’t know how to carry that pain all those years ago.  And I still don’t know as an adult.

I want my band aid back.

*Thank you to my amazing cousins for sticking up for me in school–for risking their popularity to speak up for the girl no one stuck up for.

Did I Hear You Right?

I am currently in a partial hospital program to learn more about how to manage my bipolar symptoms.  I have an extra day home today because the weather decided to turn, well, wintery.

So far, the program has been great, though exhausting.  I came home last night and slept 11 hours.  I don’t know what is wiping me out so much.  The hours of sitting in a warm room.  The listening carefully to others comments.  The thinking about all the things that brought me to this program.  The Bipolar itself. I don’t know what, but something is wearing me out.

But I would say, after the first two days, going to the program has been a good choice and will reap good rewards.  Except for a hiccup yesterday morning.

Each morning we meet with a nurse to review our previous evenings and our goals for the training day.  Yesterday, the particular nurse had taken my medical history, so knew about the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in my history just previous to our meeting together as a group.

As I talked about my husband, she did the math and figured out I had been dealing with active illness at the time my husband and I married.  And she said, are  you ready?

Wow, you are really lucky your husband married you with you having MS.

Yup, she said that.  To me.  In a group.  And reduced me, excuse the pun, to a Charity case.  Wasn’t that so wonderful and altruistic of my husband to marry me?

Thanks lady.  I might have spent the last 13 years telling myself he married me for me and with one comment you sideswiped away a lot of progress.  So here I sit, typing this out to you in tears.

Hubby and I might have joked about it last night, but at the core of my being,  it is anything but a joke.

I am Charity.

I am not MS.

I am not Bipolar Disorder.

I am not Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Maybe I am all those things.

Oh My God.  Thank you dear nurse, for gutting my belief I am worthy of love just for who I am.

EDIT:  I approached the staff at the program and the nurse sincerely apologized for her comment.  She was very sweet and sincere.

Another Big Step

This morning, the girls and I woke up at our own pace.  This morning they are eating their cereal while watching tv before getting dressed and starting their schoolwork.  This morning, we will head off on a field trip to learn about the systems of the body.

Not tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow morning we will wake up to an alarm clock, before dark.  Tomorrow morning there will be no leisure.  Tomorrow morning, and for the next two weeks, our mornings will be go, go, go as mama takes another step in trying to get healthier on this journey with bipolar disorder.

For the next two work weeks I will be heading to a partial hospitalization program to learn dialectical behavior therapy, also known as DBT.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan to help better treat borderline personality disorder. Since its development, it has also been used for the treatment of other kinds of mental health disorders.*

I wish I could tell you more, but I don’t know a whole lot more.  I know there will be worksheets to fill out, therapy groups to participate in, and daily psychiatrist appointments all with the goals of helping me better navigate my life with bipolar disorder.

I am scared.  I am nervous about leaving my house that often, I am worried about getting the girls and I around, them dropped off to the amazing group of women willing to take on my kids for these two weeks, and me to the hospital program.  I am worried it won’t work.  I am worried that I will not come out any better than I am.  I’m worried the grip of the depression will continue as it has for the last several months, I am worried I will let down my doctors, friends, and family that are so hopeful.

I am walking in this program with a lot of baggage.  But walking in I am.  I plan to give this program all I have over the next two weeks.  I plan to invest in not only myself, but all those who believe in me.  I have no idea what Tuesday morning holds for me, but here I come…



I Ignored the Household Chores

I have to admit my girls watch too much tv.  The dumb bipolar and associated meds make me so tired it is often hard to get up the gumption to do anything after schoolwork is done.

But something has to change, so Tuesday Caitlyn, Patrice, and I played a couple hands of Uno.

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Tonight our game of choice was Tripoley.

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Patrice kicked our butts.

Sue was the entertainment of the evening when her “Jam”  Tootie Frootie came on

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Thank you girls for a couple of nights mama will definitely remember.

And now I am cleaning the kitchen…sigh.

Random Ramblings

I am enjoying my Valentine’s Day Diet Coke tonight

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Caitlyn was uber creative with her Valentine message to all of us.  Each post-it note says one thing she loves about us.

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Daddy had fun with tying Sues’ dress sash

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Sue found a great icicle

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And Patrice looks crazy cute practicing her first French lesson–what is it about kids in headsets??

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Yup, I am a broken record.  I keep coming back here to talk about depression.  It has so many facets and is impossible to really explain, but I keep trying.  Today, depression is a Ball canning jar and a bottle of salad dressing.

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A couple weeks ago I was invited to a salad in a jar Pampered Chef party by a friend.  I jumped at the chance to say yes.

And then this week came.  I realized I would have to talk to people.  Like people I didn’t know and who didn’t know me.  The day before my next disability hearing and homeschool co-op.  The day after the depression kept me from taking my girls to the library.  We need to go to the library; there are books I really need to pick up…but I couldn’t manage to leave my house, not even to get the mail.

No library today.

I am hoping for tomorrow.  I am going to try and do it first thing when I tend to be at my best.  I have to speak to maybe two people at the library.  About a very narrow topic–books.

How am I going to go to a gathering of women later in the day where I am going to be around more than one person?  People who don’t know I am suffering a debilitating round of depression.  What if they expect me to talk?  What if they expect me to smile?  What if they expect me function?

Just writing that has me all tied up in knots.  I want to go, I do.  I am going to try and go.  I want to, but I don’t know if my Ball jar and salad dressing will be leaving the house…

And that is depression today.

It’s Complicated 2

As I wrote in this post, embracing and understanding my Christian faith gets complicated when the Bipolar plays mean and the depression makes a home for itself in my life.  But it goes beyond there.

I take multiple medications daily to try to keep my Bipolar under control.  I work with a doctor and therapist on a very regular basis in hopes of being well.

And I wrestle with how all of this affects my Christian witness to those around me who are not followers of Christ.  They see me moaning about the depression, many times flat out wanting to die.  They do not see any joy in my Christian walk and they do not see a God big enough to make me all better.

What does that do to my witness?

It feels like it damages my witness.  It feels like it damages what people think of the God I say I love and who loves me.  I sure don’t exhibit joy in the Lord as I plan ways to die.

I have no idea what to do about it.

Is God disappointed in the witness I am showing of Him?  Is He disappointed in my lack of faith?  Is He disappointed in how much I rely on my medications and doctors?  Is He saddened or angered by my desire to die?  Has He turned away from me as I express my need to escape this life at all costs–with little thought of whether or not I will go to heaven if I die by my own hand?*

I don’t know and it worries me.  I have no idea what He thinks of me, but I am sad at the damage I see me doing to my Christian witness.

But I don’t know what to do about it.

*I have improved some and am not struggling to the same extent I was a week ago, but there are moments in every day that are exceptionally hard and the depression is still there controlling me in many ways.

Protected: The Turmoil

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All That Glitters

Back before Christmas, Caitlyn got her ears pierced.  It was a big day.  And began the countdown to this day–taking out the starter earrings and putting in her first pair of “real” earrings–music notes–quarter notes to be exact.

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She has always been beautiful, but now she sparkles 🙂