Category Archives: depression

The Author Chose a Semi Colon #semicolonproject416

semi colon projectProject Semi Colon.

 

I almost didn’t join this project.  I am not depressed, suicidal, self-harming or, in general, hurting right now.  I have been some of those things, but not right now.

I almost didn’t join this project because it is too hard to let the mind go back there.  To sitting in the basement sobbing while my girls played upstairs.  To hiding in the  bathroom at work begging God for a way out.  To imploring someone to help me as I hid in the Jeep where my family couldn’t see me.  To checking myself into the mental health wing at our local hospital, again.

It’s hard to go back there.

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But thankfully, there is a” back” to go to.  If, I had ended the sentence with a period in any of those situations, there would be no going back.

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There is hard in each of those times.  In each of those places in my life that could have been a period, an end, but instead are a pause, a semi colon, before life moved on, with me in it.

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Each of those times, was a semi colon, because I reached out.  To friends, doctors, strangers.  I put the last bit of energy and effort I had into reaching out.

I look back with shame, but maybe the answer is pride.  I didn’t stay where I was.  I invested in me.  I invested in those who love me and know me.

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I reached out.  In all honesty, often not for my own benefit, but in hopes it would help my family.  I didn’t see myself as worthy of the work it would take to be here rather than gone, but I didn’t want to saddle my husband with the cleanup my departure would leave.  He would have to find more daycare.  He would have to do extra work around the house.  He would have to explain to our girls why mama wasn’t here.  I reached out for my girls.  I didn’t want them to ever wonder if mama really loved them.  I didn’t want them to wonder why mama didn’t want to see them growing up.  I didn’t want them to have to explain for the rest of their lives “My mom committed suicide when I was (5,) (4,) (1.)”

I didn’t want them to grow up with that shame.

So I made the calls, I did the work.  I still make the calls, I still do the work.

Those pauses in life, where a period could have been chosen, found a semi colon written instead, so on I work.  On I LIVE!

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I wrote a semi colon.  You can too.

Please, if you need help, reach out.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for example: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a 24-hr/7-day hotline where anyone can call for help and speak to someone trained in suicide prevention  .suicidepreventionlifeline.org PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to be suicidal to call. This number will offer you resources local to your area if you are struggling in any way.

Linking up with Cristi.

 

In the In Between

Last Friday I sent out a clarion call via a Facebook Group.

I could feel the pressure building in my head and chest; not from a cold, but from hypomania.  The thoughts were starting to push harder against the constraints of my mind.  They were moving quickly and relentlessly.  One thought after another.

I sent out that call for helping, needing people to hear me, needing people to know where I was and where I might be headed.

They heard, they responded, they comforted.

I went to sleep thinking maybe the medications could stop the train like it has other times.  It was not to be.

I woke up testing my mind.  Thoughts.  Lots of thoughts.  Feelings.  Lots of feelings.

The energy wasn’t uncontrollable.  I didn’t have to be moving, but I had to be doing…I read a book, I planned, I thought, all quickly.

When I had some space, I cleaned, and exercised, quickly.

Sunday, I talked too much, I was too animated.  That night I was a laminating and cutting fool as I prepared for our homeschooling week.  (Have you ever wondered what a hypomania homeschool week looks like?  It is very hands on.  Lots of stuff to do.  Lots of stuff organized to be done.)

Monday dawned with beautiful spring weather, which only fed the fun.  The nice weather also helped bring some good balance–once school was done I sent the girls out to play and was left to my own devices.

Lots of thinking.  Lots of eating.

Now, life has tempered.  I am in a comfortable place. I am taking from the hypomania what I appreciated, extra reading and hands-on school activities, and leaving behind the over talking and the over thinking.

And it’s good.  It’s pleasant.  It’s comfortable.

I Did Something Today…

My girls and I have been blessed with some wonderful friendships through our homeschooling co-op.  We get friendship, encouragement and some learning.  It is just about perfect.

We are on our third term with group, so we’re starting to get brave and set up play dates with people from co-op.  Today was our first one.  It was at the house of Sue’s very favorite person from co-op.  And one of my faves too.

But you guys know me, I stress in social situations.  I am always so worried about talking too much, boring others, sharing too much, and just making people want to run.  I typically get so nervous I pray one of my kids will wake up a little sick so we can cancel.

Not today.

I went.

We visited.

I didn’t freak out.

I am pretty proud of myself.  I don’t think I talked too much.  I don’t think I bored her too much.

I was comfortable.

I drove home with a smile on my face.  And a big sigh of relief.

I did it.

(And, yes, the girls had fun at my, er, their, play date.)

The Pressure Builds

It’s been 6 weeks (give or take) since the last depression.  And somehow I missed the swing to hypomania when that ended.  It was shocking and welcome.

I am, obviously, hoping it continues.

But my therapist correctly pointed out the pressure is building inside.  I hadn’t noticed it, but as I listed off everything going on, she saw it.  She is a student right now, but I think she will do a fine job when she completes her training.

My mind is starting to grasp on to a lot of activities.

I am doing a planks, squats and push ups challenge.  I am doing a cleaning and purging lent challenge and pushing myself to get back on the treadmill.  Then there is the mounting pressure to get meals made and do.all.the.laundry.

Sunday my thoughts were fragmented.  Yesterday I hadn’t slept so was too tired to even try and think. But today, I feel the familiar need to move, do, go…my mind is screaming at me all the things that must be done.

Thankfully, I have a good combo of meds, so maybe they can stop the hypo train, or at least slow it down.  We’ll see.

But, if you are looking for me, I’ll be over here cleaning or cooking something…

My house really benefits from hypomania.

A Few Days

Well, let’s back up a few week first…

A few weeks ago I began to feel the darkness of depression coming.  It was coming down as a mantle across my shoulders.  I just wanted to sit in it, welcome it, wrap myself in it.  But, unfortunately, that option is not conducive with actually living.

Yet, the depression stayed.  It manifest abnormally for me.  It caused tears, but not mania or anxiety.  It made me want to stay in bed, not move frantically to out run its bad self.

It just wasn’t right.  It wasn’t me.

So I screwed up my courage, and I called my doctor.  She wasn’t in.  Wouldn’t be in for three days.  Those were a long three days.

Thankfully, she called back early her first day back in the office.  We added a medication I had previously been on.  I had gone off it because another, unrelated, doctor thought it was causing my stomach issues.  Coming off didn’t help, but that’s where I was.

A few days later…I started to feel a little better.  Was I better or was it a placebo affect, eh, who cares!!!

And today, I realized, I am in a good place.  Not only is the depression at bay, but so is the rage.  Glory Hallelujah!!!

I’ve been experiencing rage for so long and the medications I expected to help were not touching.  I decided it was just me, just that I could not control myself and did not deserve happiness or joy.  As the rage would flare, I feared my children would grow to hate me, that they would run as soon as possible.

Then today, I realized, I am reacting to situations with the frustration or agitation they deserve, not the over-the-top destructive anger.

I am giddy with this realization.  I have so much hope.  So much joy.  And a lot less fear.

I have aspirations of my family loving me, wanting me in their life and wanting to be in mine.

Hope is good.

 

*Yes, I am aware with this switch in my mood thanks to the addition of an antidepressant, that I need to monitor my mood for hypomania, but for today y’all, I’m just going to have hope, sweet hope.

 

On Being Strong and Spiritual

This post may not come out right, but it’s there and here’s my blog.  Maybe magic will happen.

Let me first say, I am doing better.  I think the medication tweak has really helped.  I have a lot let anxiety, a lot less rage and a lot less darkness.  I realized today I had been battling a lot of things the last few months that had become just second nature.  They seem to be draining away.  I still get moments that are hard to breathe, but not like it has been.

Now, on to what my heart wants said today.

I had a friend recently have to go inpatient for care.  That is hard.  Really hard.  But that’s not the hardest part.  The hardest part is the expectations of those around you.  They seem to think the hospital is magical and you come out all better.  No more boo-boos.  If only.

Sometimes, on the inside, there have been no medication changes or help.  My first time on the inside?  They took me off all my meds, gave me nothing and sent me back into the world without even a psych referral or anyone to follow up with.  It was four days before I heard from the hospital.  Thankfully, in the meantime, my midwife had found me someone and I was beginning to get help…but I sure wasn’t okay and I definitely did not come out of the hospital strong and ready to take on the world.  I was broken, angry, lost and confused.  And humiliated.

Nowhere in my mind or body was I strong.

It was a disappointment to me and probably everyone around me.  I mean, I had left my 10 week old for nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

When I came out?  I hid.  I didn’t know what to tell people or how to act.  I mean, how do you act when you were taken forcibly from your midwifes’ office and transported by ambulance to inpatient care, stripped searched, lied to and belittled?

I  have no idea what my friends’ hospital experience was like.  We’re not close enough for me to ask.  But I see a lot of people telling her to be strong and that just rubs me wrong.

She didn’t get a magic pill to fix everything.  She may not have gotten much of anything.  If she did?  It’s probably just a road map of where to head from here, not even to her destination, just where to go from here.

Her job, is not to be strong and make everything look okay.  She doesn’t owe that to anyone.  The only thing she has to do is keep her eye on the road map.  And for right now,  that might not even include moving.  She might be sitting at a rest stop.  That’s her job.

It’s also not her job to be able to draw deep spiritual lessons from where she has been or where she is.  If she can, that’s great.  If she can’t, that is perfectly fine.  Paul tells us we are strongest in our weakness for a reason.  We’re not supposed to have all the right words and actions.  Sometimes, we just be.

And telling someone rest in God, God Bless You, or any other thousands of Christian platitudes, might now be that comforting.  I know my journey with mental health issues has also brought me to a spiritual crisis.  I think I’m slugging my way through it, but the process is slow and arduous.  And sometimes, I have to shelve that to get through the day-to-day of a mind telling me lies.  Sometimes, often, someone saying, “I’m sorry” or, if they do, “I know” means a lot more than God Bless You or rest in God.  I think He’s strong enough to not be threatened when He is left out of a Facebook comment or conversation from time to time.  For me, even the little God Bless You, adds a weight to my struggle, makes it harder to keep my head above water when the dark ocean swirls.

I’m not leaving God out, I just need to battle it out in my own way, in my  own time.  Even when I can’t take a God Bless You, I will always take prayers, but even that can be expressed just with a hug.

All this to say, mental health issues are not easy.  They are murky.  They are mean.  They make it hard to see what we know amongst the shattered pieces of what used to be.  Someone walking the dark road, needs love and support, without strings, without expectations.  If you know someone walking through hell, let them do it carefully and at their pace.  Love them without pressure or demands.

Just love them.

Protected: If I Could Pour it All Out

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Sharing With Hesitation

Sometimes it is easy to put it all out there, the depression, the mania, the rage, the mixed.  Other times, it is more complicated.  The feelings are more mixed up.  The thoughts are vague or just out of reach.

I find myself in the land of vague and out of reach, often.  I also find myself a bit more guarded since beginning the adventure of homeschooling our girls.  I don’t want people to think I can’t handle it, or shouldn’t be allowed to handle it.

Yeah, that right there is the biggest hurdle.  I am afraid people will think I shouldn’t be homeschooling.  When in actuality, having my girls here, gets me up, gives me structure to my days and hope.  They give me so much hope.

I think they know when mama is struggling, to some degree, but that doesn’t stop them from being cute, or funny.  It doesn’t stop them from hugging me, cuddling with me, loving me.  When they are here, they need me to function, they need me to be present.

Yesterday was a dark day.  As previously planned, we did not do school work today.  We had a mini winter break this week, including Friday.  But we got up at the same time, we got dressed around the same time.  We worked together to make heart shaped pancakes, and then Caitlyn and I made heart wreaths.  Sue and Patrice weren’t exactly interested, so I let them play and watch a little extra Disney.

Inside of me?  Dark.  The tears came more than I prefer and I was stuck on a dark train of thought, but Caitlyn, Sue and Patrice weren’t.  They were full of joy and fun.  And I couldn’t help but appreciate their playing and crafting.  I was forced to think of them and others as we made the wreaths and the girls gave some to our neighbors.  I was forced outside of myself.

It’s sometimes hard to have them here when my soul is pulling me inward, but I am glad they are.  I’m glad they are here to do their part in the tug of war in my soul.  I am glad they are here to pull against the dark, against the hard.

#Dayoflight Blogging to Bring Awareness

I am joining with a group of bloggers today to share my story in hopes to help bring light and life to mental health concerns.

I’ve been pretty open the last three years about the twists and turns my mental health has taken thanks to postpartum depression/postpartum anxiety that became bipolar disorder.

In the beginning, my journey skewed heavily toward depression and anxiety.  Turns out anxiety is also a way mania presents, but in the early days it was just absolutely immobilizing.

It’s kind of that way today, but that strays from my original thought.

Over the last few months I have been experiencing more hypomania (not as high of a high as mania).  And around Christmas there was stretch that lasted days, weeks.  I didn’t recognize it at first.  I was sleeping, which is not normal for me during mania.  Turns out that was only thanks to a medication that can make a horse sleep.  Again, I digress a bit.

It was a good time for mania.  There was lots to do for the  holiday.  Crafts to make, cookies to bake, field trips to take.  And I could do it all.

There started to be little hints that it was hypomania.  But I kept thinking, no, I’m sleeping at night.  I can’t be hypo.

Until Caitlyn.

We were downstairs and I was talking about our next project.  I was getting really excited.  She, wasn’t.

I kept talking, until she calmly and quietly said, “mommy, can we not do so much stuff?”

I had to hide my disappointment, I mean, heck, I had so many ideas.  And so much to do.  And this was the time to have fun.

But it was too much.  Too much for the kids.  And it is my personal opinion, when a 7 year old asks to not do so much fun, maybe you are doing too much fun.

I tried to reign it in.  Over the next week I tried to slow down.  I started to look around and realize I had craft projects EVERYWHERE.  There was one in every room.

And bit, by bit, the turn came.  The hypomania ended (that’s why your hat isn’t done my friend). I held my breath for the black hole.  And it came.  I spent a couple days in the deep darkness of depression.  The same medication that kept me sleeping during hypo, also seemed to curtail my descent into the depression.  I am very thankful for both.

Honestly, when I look around, I kind of miss the hypomania.  It is so productive and makes me feel like I can handle everything coming at me, but at the same time, it can turn very ugly, the anger, rage and anxiety can be devastating, so I keep seeing my doctors and taking my meds.

I do it all, looking for normal, looking for an even keel.

Please, if you struggle with depression, get help.  There are so many resources.  The days can be brighter.

Check www.nami.org for information and resources.

Standing on New Feet

Things are a little rough.  I won’t go into details, but they are.

Normally, I would be losing it right now.  And, I’m not going to lie, panic is on the cusp, but we are so loved.  And as rough as today is, it is not three years ago.

Three years ago, I had no strength.  I had no hope.  Depression and anxiety were trying desperately to claim me.  I loved my girls.  So much.  But I didn’t know how to survive.

I remember being at church for a missionary luncheon.  My older girls were in a play room and Patrice was just tiny in my arms.  A wonderful lady, one of the missionaries to the Philippines our church supports, offered to hold Patrice so I could eat my lunch.  As she held her, I thought, my girls are safe and loved here.  I should run away so they can have a better life without me.

More than once I sat in the bathroom and cried.  I cried so often in the basement, it became a conditioned response.

But the days kept coming.  I kept fighting.  The battle was ugly, including three hospital stays, but hell had a name, bipolar depression.  Things with names can be fought.  And fought it was.

Here we are, three years later.  And I am ok.  I am not med free, and know the chances of that ever happening are slim to none, but I am healthy.

I am not just surviving during this rough time.  I am standing beside my husband.  I am able to think, pray, feel and love.  He isn’t having to carry me.  We can be, for the first time in a long time, partners.

I am standing on new feet.  They feel kind of wobbly, like they are on stilts, but I’m here.  Standing.