Daily Archives: July 4, 2016

I’ve Been “Grounded”

There were only a couple of times growing up where my parents “grounded” me from going out with friends as a punishment. I can’t even remember what for! However, now in my mid-life, I am finding I am being grounded … Continue reading

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Indepence Day to my friends in the USA. And to the rest of my friends around the world, I wish you a happy day.  

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Happy Fourth!

4th of july

Happy Fourth to all who celebrate!

Tues:

So far a really good day on our anniversary staycation. The bed was pretty comfortable and I slept in till about six. We got up and went to the fitness center and did 30 minutes on the treadmill. I’m definitely getting into the habit of at least some exercise.

So after the fitness center, it was spa time. We rented a cabana by the spa pool. It was ideal….a nice breeze and peace and quiet by the pool. I got a massage. I think it was one of the best massages I have ever had. It started with a long scalp massage. How wrong can you go on that?

Wed:

Finished up a great day yesterday- had a facial. It got pretty hot in the cabana, so we decided to go back to the room and rest. We were surprised from some different friends: a HUGE bouquet of delicious cookies, a bottle of champagne, and a little dessert cake. People were really nice. We had some coffee on our patio and decided to pack up and go home. I drove home from the resort! Didn’t even have many nervous moments. Came home, unpacked, and worked on my phone apps. Did not eat too well (healthy) on our little vacation. I need to hit it hard if I plan to lose 6 pounds in July.

schedule for tomorrow:

laundry, shower, sew for 15 minutes, devotionals, see therapist and drive there alone.

Thurs:

Well, things didn’t exactly turn out as planned. I didn’t do laundry or take a shower. I DID do my devotions and have a phone session with my therapist. My hands were a lot less shaky. I just felt tired today. I did do a lot of resting. I think I was a little worn out from the anniversary celebration. It sounds like an easy day (and it is!) to spend the day at a spa and pool but it is out of my comfort zone.

Did I tell you I actually volunteered for something? Next spring our women’s retreat repeats and I volunteered to help with it. That gives me ten months to get my act together.

Tomorrow I hope to do better.

Fri:

Just a sucky day all around. I woke up at three with a headache. It was bad enough I took some Imitrex. This knocked me out to where I missed my support call with my friend. I didn’t even wake up till nine. My head still hurt. Then the whole family was going to the movies but of course I was afraid the noise would hurt my head. I finally gave up and also cancelled my CBT appointment. I have never done that before and was pretty disappointed in myself.

I don’t feel depressed, just frustrated and angry with myself. I need to get in the shower and get myself together. But I know I won’t. I know I will spend the entire day on the couch drinking coffee, diet coke, and ice water. I’ll also probably listen to my audiobook.

I talked to my regular therapist on the phone yesterday. She wants me to TRY to come in to see her in person next week. I know I can drive it by myself, so I am proud of that. She and I talked about a lot of good things yesterday. Like what I’d like my “ideal” day would look like.

One thing we both discussed was my energy level. I am taking quite a few meds and I know they are slowing me down. A handful in the morning and a handful at night is a problem. But I am following my doctor’s orders and I want to be med compliant. I do NOT want to wind up in the hospital.

Sat:

A tough day in the morning but there is a glimmer of hope. I just did not want to walk this morning and so I didn’t. But I am going to have lunch and go see a movie with my friend, Pat. I didn’t want to go. I know I can drive it myself, but I think I will need Klonopin to do it. So my husband is taking me and Pat is bringing me home. So I can basically take as much Klonopin as I want…not that I plan on taking a lot.

I am getting pretty attached to my couch. I just don’t want to go anywhere. But I already have my shower and Pat is an easy friend. (She does most of the talking).

Tomorrow my big goal is to get to church.

Oh, how I wish I could be “normal”. Just get up and go and not think a thing about it. Just drive and stop here or there as needed to pick up some things. I am working on everything, but it is two steps forward and one step back. Just take a shower without a thought. Sigh.

Sun:

Okay, decent news so far. I made it to the movie with my friend Pat and was not scared of riding at all. I also did fine…did not have any sort of panic. Today went to church and was very unemotional. This is good because I used to cry all the time during the hymns. I think I am feeling more stable. My husband and his friend are going to a baseball game this afternoon. My daughter and I have a movie to watch at home.

We bought a package of fireworks for tomorrow night. We are grilling and then my youngest will do his traditional fireworks show. He also has a soundtrack with it. Patriotic stuff. We sit and wave little flags (no kidding.) It’s just too hot to go to a big fireworks event here.

Mon:

More good news! Woke up in a slightly elevated mood! Have a little cold, but no big deal. Looking forward to fireworks and family time tonight.

I’ve run out of room for this week, so will take over and let you know how the Fourth went next week.

love,

lily

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equanimity

 

Equanimity  :noun equa·nim·i·ty \ˌē-kwə-ˈni-mə-tē, ˌe-kwə-\
:calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure


Equanimity has been something that I have been seeking my entire life. Between untreated mental health issues and my not-than-healthy growing up home life, I tended to be a violent, angry lashy person. I’m sure that would surprise a lot of people who have only known me the last couple of years, as I’ve been able to make massive personal improvements with my improved circumstances. I’m still not perfect — I still have a tendency to blow up over little things, but! The blow up of today is miniscule compared to the nuclear blasts of the Beforetimes (go go oblique book reference!).

So yes, bit of background proffered, and on to yesterday. Yesterday, I woke up with a message from a friend that my Instagram account had been hacked. As I’d linked it with Facebook it wasn’t too hard to get it back and change the password, but the damage was already done — the spambutt (as I’m calling the person who took my account for that bit of time) had followed thousands of accounts. Thousands. Considering the number before that was something like, 114… yeah, naw. And oh, Instagram locks you out if you try to delete ‘too many’ accounts, so I only managed to pare a thousand and a bit off before it wouldn’t let me unfollow anyone. Add in it being a holiday weekend in the States, and I can’t get anyone working for Instagram to freaking respond to my requests for help (or at the very least, to not get locked out for trying to tidy up shop).

I think that most people would be annoyed and stressed if that happened to them. After all, both are reasonable and healthy responses to an upsetting situation. But somehow, I took it mainly on the chin. Yes, I’m frustrated, and yes, I’m annoyed… but I’m not screaming or sobbing or throwing things outside of a few minutes of original ‘please children adults are talking ktnx’ terseness yesterday morning while we tried to sort out what was going on. And since I can’t do anything with it right now, as much as it annoys me, I’m doing my best to do other things to distract from fixating on it. Could I do better? Sure. One can always do better. But compared to what used to be ‘normal’, I’m freakin’ Buddha on a cloud here.

So yeah, doing alright. Better than alright in that aspect. I felt that I deserved to pat myself on the back for that sort of thing, because maybe it’s a minor step to others, it’s a huge one for me. 🙂

Hope all of y’all out there are doing okay.

<3

Tonight I

Tonight I watched fire works.

I ate with family.

I socialized and acted fairly normal. honestly hating most minutes of it.

 


Taking some time off social media

I deactivated my Facebook again; it’s just too much noise. Sick of seeing all the bullshit. I am trying to cultivate some peace and quiet.

The last month or so has been pretty bad and I just can’t deal with communicating with people right now.

Taking some time off social media

I deactivated my Facebook again; it’s just too much noise. Sick of seeing all the bullshit. I am trying to cultivate some peace and quiet.

The last month or so has been pretty bad and I just can’t deal with communicating with people right now.

Ogallala Afternoon

You might be wondering where, or what, Ogallala is. 

Ogallala is a smallish city in Nebraska, USA.  It’s named for the Ogallala band of Lakota (Sioux) Indians, who once roamed freely in the Plains, but like all Native Americans were rounded up and planted on reservations during the Westward expansion of white Americans.  Ogallala, Nebraska, is now a corn town.

I’ve been on the road or off the grid now for weeks.  Lots of thoughts, some jotted down, some evaporated, and some that maddeningly recirculate, playing themselves over and over until they are drowned out by the urge to drag my malfunctioning brain out of its bone box and fry it on the sizzling pavement of I-80.

In particular: the thoughts that forced me to bivouac early in bucolic Ogallala, as I was pelting down the blazing Interstate, trying to get to Michigan to meet a deadline.

I am haunted by the spectre of losing my son.  I believe I have lost him.  I believe I never had him.

This adult child of mine has never been happy with much, for long, particularly if it had anything to do with me.

He was miserable as a baby, except when eating or preparing food.  He learned to cook by watching over my shoulder from his vantage point in the backpack.  Since he screamed for whatever chunk of time he was put down, hours at a time, and I mean hours and hours, of necessity for my health and his life, I put him in the backpack and wore him.  If he screamed in the backpack, I put him to bed (clean, dry, and fed, of course) and turned on the vacuum cleaner and put in ear plugs and turned up the stereo and went outside and walked around in the yard and wished I still smoked, until his father came home. 

“Clap hands, clap hands
Till Daddy comes home
Daddy has money and Mommy has none…”

But his father objected to being handed a screaming baby even before he was properly through the door.  In retrospect I don’t blame him. 

As a pediatrician, having a “difficult child” proved helpful.  It increased my Compassion Quotient.

I’m sure you’ve heard of awful cases where someone shook the baby, or threw it, or did some other act of violence because the baby wouldn’t stop crying.  Most of us recoil in horror from these news items, and frequently judge the mother harshly.  How could she?  How could she?

Thankfully, I never did violence to my perpetually screaming baby.  I took him to the doctor every week, sometimes more.  My pediatrician patiently explained that he had “colic” (rubbish! colic is what they say when they don’t know why the baby cries) and that it would go away when he grew up (it hasn’t).

I remember even at the time, walking around the back yard in the middle of the night, thinking how grateful I was that I had the emotional resources not to simply throw him into somebody else’s trash bin.  Later on, when I turned into the Director of several Pediatric Emergency Departments, I would draw upon that experience when the babies of other, less resourceful parents came in with grievous injuries or worse.  As much as I hurt for those babies, I hurt for the parent who loved their child, yet in an instant of just-too-much-over-the-top screaming, snapped, and hurt their own flesh and blood.

Apart from myself, I think no one pities a parent who has hurt, or even killed, their child, in a moment of unpremeditated rage.  In fact, I don’t even think it’s rage.  I think it’s more simply end of the rope, no more self control, just shut up!  Type of thing.

Maybe they didn’t have a back yard, vacuum cleaner, stereo, teeth to grind, nerves of steel.  Maybe they didn’t have those resources.

I was grateful for mine.

Looking back, I’m also grateful that it wasn’t just me.  Who couldn’t pacify this child, I mean.  I feel vindicated.

When I went back to work and school after five months at home, I left the backpack with the babysitter, who muttered something about knowing how to take care of spoiled babies.

When I picked him up at the end of the day, she had that backpack on!  She muttered something about weaning him off it by the end of the week.

She wore it, and him, for about two more years.  Then we moved.

As far as I can tell, that’s when our troubles first began.

This person to whom I gave birth and did not kill, resents me with a passion.  I resent my own mother, for far different reasons, yet I have compassion for her because I am a hated mother.  I will not tell her I love her, because I don’t.  I don’t confide in her, because whatever I say can and will be used against me.

I have tried to be a good listener to my son.  I know I have been, because he has always come to me with his troubles, and I have felt a bit of guilty pleasure in listening: guilty for being pleased that he came to me in his time of trouble, wishing he didn’t have the troubles that brought him to me, yet pleased that he felt comfortable in coming to me for help.

I did my best to help him to become self-sufficient, since that, in my experience, is the best gift one can give a child, second only to unconditional love.

When he got into trouble, I let him flounder a good long while before I bailed him out.  And I didn’t just let him off the hook.  I got him out of mortal danger, and after that, he had a lot of meaningful work to do. 

I feel now as though I’m explaining, justifying, trying to talk myself into believing that I wasn’t a horrible harpy mother like mine was.  I’m picking through my brain, finding reasons to believe I did OK.

But more often, I’m picking through my brain, finding every little particle of doubt, possibility of abusive behavior, coldness, emotional distance, unavailability, what?

What happened?  Or, more probably, what didn’t happen?

Through the decade of his twenties, it seemed we got along fine.  Then came last Thanksgiving.  I got gobsmacked, blindsided. 

He invited me for dinner.  No one else, just me.  I thought that was strange, suggested we invite somebody else, or go to someone else’s dinner.  No, he didn’t want to.

And he didn’t want help cooking, because he gets impatient with someone else in the kitchen.  So I sat on the couch and smoked his weed. 

He presented the meal.  It looked lovely.  He asked me to take a picture of him with his beautiful dishes all arranged on the table.  I did.

After dinner I went out and slept in my camper in his parking lot.  The next morning I came in and showered while he went to work for a while.  When he returned, he made it clear he expected me to leave: immediately.

There was the old threatening feeling I knew so well, the feeling of dark clouds, anger, intimidation, that he had used to get his way as a young adolescent.  I hadn’t seen that in twenty years. 

I didn’t want to leave just then.  I was nursing a migraine, was exhausted from the many hour drive to his place, and I didn’t want to be bullied.  I wanted to curl up on the couch and drink coffee and smoke weed and watch cartoons in my pajamas.  But it was, after all, his place.  Not mine.

He showed me the door. 

“I really need my space back, Mom,” was how he put it, and opened the door for me, so I could go through it.

We’ve spoken four times since then.  They haven’t been pleasant times.  When I ask what happened, what changed, I get a tirade about how I dragged him around when he was a kid, how I wasn’t available emotionally or physically, and I apologize.  And he is angry, and doesn’t want to hear how I feel. 

And I get all confused.  Here is my son, angry at me.  I didn’t kill him when he was an angry, inconsolable baby.  Why isn’t he grateful?  Isn’t he happy that he’s now a successful adult, with a promising career, lots of nice friends, no lack of women friends, enough money for his needs?

My own mother used to tell me I was “shit,” burn me with match heads, just to see me cry.  Then she’d laugh and tell me I should grow a thicker skin.  And she wonders why I avoid her.

I tried my best to be another kind of mother, the mother I would have chosen if I could have had my choice.

I guess it doesn’t work that way.