Monthly Archives: March 2018

Parenting

I just want to start by saying my views on this topic and are very general, as there are so many different people, and kids, and families mixed together. I also want to say that I did not have any specific in mind as I thought about what I wanted to say.

People don’t know how to parent. And no one ever teaches you how to. It’s like you just have to guess and hope and pray that you get it right. Except too many kids are growing up in homes where parents aren’t parenting or are blaming any issues on their children. Our kids start learning the moment they are born. As they learn to walk and talk they are learning, from you, how they will react to the world and the people in it.

Too many people spend about zero time thinking about the way their kids feel and who they are as people. I don’t parent any of my kids the same way. They aren’t the same person why would I parent them all the same. I started teaching them things as early as I could. As soon as they could demonstrate they wanted candy or a toy I made them put it on the register to be paid for. When they were 2 or 3, maybe even younger they “helped” me by taking their clothes to the drawer or taking towels to the bathroom. They have never had hard chores. But they do have chores. While we help them if they have school stuff or are sick, they do their chores when they need done. Trash, unload dishwasher, clean microwave, etc. This year my 12 and 14 year olds will share the job of mowing the lawn. Not because my husband and I can’t but because we want them to know what work is and we want them to be good workers as adults.

I have always talked to my kids. About anything and everything(age appropriate when necessary). They have always asked me questions and shared things with me. As they have gotten older I have it only have but start conversations that were not by any means easy. I have talked to them about sex. I have talked to them about friends and not only being kind but standing up for someone if you see them being mistreated. In our house if we ever find out you DIDN’T stand up for someone you will be in much more trouble than if you DO stand up for them. I have talked about parties and drinking and drugs. Mostly telling them not to do it but also telling them that if they ever need someone I want the first call to be me. I said/say these things a lot. I tell their friends to. I have told Lily that if something happens and she doesn’t call me I will be upset with her. I have told them if they ever find themselves as a party NEVER to get in a car and drive or get in a friends car if there is drinking involved. I would rather you stay where you are than have to get that phone call.

But I talk to them about other things too. Anything and everything. I MAKE the time to go to their rooms where they are comfortable and sit down and chat with them. There’s nothing like having your 19 year old ask for advice. I talk to 5em about their friends. I want them to know that I WANT to know their friends. And I want them to know that even when things happen with their friends that I don’t agree with I still WANT them to be friends with them. I am trying to teach them how to live in the world but not be of the world. They don’t have to do all the things their friends do in order to function in life. My daughter has a couple “friends” that I severely limit her time with. These people were given more than one chance not to treat my daughter badly, and I don’t care if they are 12 my daughter will NOT be subjected to that. But I talked to my daughter through every step in the process. Through the 3 chances to get it right. I told her they got one more chance and then I could be the mean Mom I didn’t care I wasn’t gonna have her suffer because I wouldn’t put my foot down. I tell her not to listen to people on a regular basis and I do my best to explain why. I am teaching her to know people and read people. I saw it in my older son as well. I have seen him make choices his first year of college that next to no other college freshman would make. Because he wasn’t sheltered. He didn’t feel like he was getting out and he could do whatever he wanted, well maybe a little, but he was pretty much allowed to do whatever he wanted at home as long as he talked to us. Because like it or not it IS absolutely to be respectful and considerate of the people you live with. And I’m not talking about chores and food and such. I’m talking about letting people know what is going on. I’m talking about letting the people you live with know if you won’t be home. Our oldest daughter is 28 and has 2 kids and yet every time we leave each other the one driving home always sends a message when they get there. It’s not because we have to. It’s because I worry. My husband probably not so much but I do. And it can keep me from sleeping if I don’t know they are ok.

My kids come when I call them, or they say “just a minute or something”. And I typically don’t call twice. If I yell for you you come to me. That’s just one of the perks of being a parent 😜. But again I started this when they were very little. You come or you yell. One or the other, not no5ing. If I call you and you yell back at me there likely will not be a response because that isn’t the way it works. It’s simply human nature. We learn what we are taught and when our parents don’t even attempt to teach us anything we don’t learn anything.

Our kids are basically just small people. Born with their own personalities and issues of their own. I have no idea how many times I have said, “you don’t have to like it or you can be mad, but your not going to be ugly to me or anyone else”. I always thought that was a pretty simple idea. But I have heard so many kids talk about how their parents never pay attention to their feelings and expect them to just basically be a soldier. What’s the point in that? What will you as a parent ever learn if that’s the way you view it. But we ALL have a right to our feelings and that includes our kids as well. They can also be very different from us. I am a complete extrovert. My 14 year old son is as introverted as they come. It took me literally YEARS to figure out that was ok and I didn’t have to be worried about him all the time. He has friends and he enjoys being with them from time to time, but he very much enjoys being by himself. And for the record, he’s not turning into a school shooter because he’s in his room playing the game all the time. Actually the opposite, for Valentines Day they sold little valentines at school. He took his money(like 40 bucks) and bought one for his whole 8th period class, without saying a word to anyone. Except his sister, that’s how I found out 🤷🏻‍♀️!!

So when I see people treating their kids as if they were just born for them to yell at or tell what to do I often wonder when those kids turn into teenagers “what did you think was going to happen?” I am by no means always right. But I have a good sense of people(especially kids) and I have been told I have the gift of discernment. Which is interesting because I always thought everyone could do what I do. Nope! No! Not at all!! I also can’t usually explain why I say what I say or think what I think, but where people are involved(especially people I know well), I am very rarely wrong. So I wonder why do people have kids if they have no thought of ever actually thinking about their kids. If they can’t take a step back and be a neutral observer long enough to figure out what their kids might think or feel how do they expect them to learn anything and be able to function in society.

Somewhere along the line someone decided our kids should be protected and kept from things that can or will harm them. Please believe that with all my heart I WANT to do that as well. But we can’t always protect them and keep them from harm. So the next best thing is to teach them and help them learn how to deal with life and the people in it. And I truly believe that the more we teach and prepare them for as kids(especially teenagers) the less likely that the world will chew them up and spit them out. My 12 year old daughter talks to me. She tells me things and she asks me questions. Much of which isn’t something that her friends do with their Moms. I see her hearing what I am saying and putting it into practice. I have heard her tell her friends things I have said to her because she wants to help them. All of this because I have always talked to her, asked questions, given explainations.

Our pre-teens have so many questions. They are starting to figure out that theirs friends and their families don’t operate the same way as what they have always known. Their friends are doing things that they may have never ever heard of before. If they can’t go to their parents where are they going to go? Most likely? Their friends, and that is the worst possible place them to get the i formation. We may not want to think about it and our first instinct IS to protect them. But WE are the adults. We are the ones that have our heads together and that they trust to take care of them. So WE have to bite the bullet and have the hard discussion(age appropriate of course) and do the best we can to help them understand. I do my best to explain things to my daughter. She knows why I don’t like to do late pick ups at skating rinks or movie theatres. She knows that I like having her home and that I will never allow her to spend whole weekends gone from our home(unless she’s with family) because I feel it’s very important for them to be here. Where I know what’s going on and what they are doing. So we have a lot of friends that come through our house. All of which to date, love me 😬. But it’s not because I’m fun or buy them things. It’s because I talk to them like the young people that they are. And I try to put myself on their level when we talk about friends and school. They aren’t adults yet, but they know when people are being dishonest or uncomfortable with a discussion. So I try to remember what it was like to be 12 and I try to remember they know NOTHING. All the things we have had years to learn they are just starting to even know exist. So when we say things to them they don’t have the frame of reference we do. They need you to explain it to them and tell them stories about your life so they can understand. And guess what!?!?! Just because you may have done something bad when you were younger doesn’t mean your kids will take your honesty as permission. I had a baby when I was 18 and still in high school. My daughter knows that and I am very clear she does NOT want a baby at 18. She has assured me that isn’t going to happen. I have never demanded greatness from my kids but I truly believe a side effect of good parenting IS greatness. My middle son wants to go to Harvard for goodness sakes!!

Our kids are begging for our attention and input in their lives. And sometimes it’s really HARD work. But if we start from birth it is so much easier. Or I hit the genetic lottery and have 3 kids by 2 different dads that are all really good, kind, get good grades, and care for the people in their lives. Be diligent. Be prepared. Be honest. Ask questions and most importantly try to figure out what something feels like for THEM. Just because they are your kids doesn’t mean that you own all the power. More likely, the more power you try to have the less you will have. So decide today that you will make a change. Imagine for a moment what it might actually be like for your child and then adjust yourself to help them the best way you know how. And despite what some may say get help!! From family, from the school,from friends, or from a counselor if necessary. If someone loves your child and wants to be there for them, let go and allow them to have some impact on your kids.

Be blessed and have an awesome Easter!!

I Got A Damn Job

I say “damn” job because a) It’s a Desktop Support job, and b) It’s a Contract job, and c) It’s wayyyyy far away in Downtown Denver so it will be about an hour and a half commute each way.  So it’s a mixed blessing.  I’ll be getting a paycheck (Yay!) but it’s going to be a rough, rough road until I can move closer in a couple of months when my lease is up here.

I still have another interview with another company for another Desktop Support job this week, this one is a fulltime permanent job, and it’s not as far away, so there’s still some hope that I won’t have to do the Downtown Denver job.  But I accepted that job, because a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, as they say….

I’m not terribly excited about the job because it’s a Desktop Support job and because the commute is probably going to kill me.  But I had to take it.  I am too broke to refuse the offer of a job.  Something positive about the job is that the people I interviewed with were very nice.

The only other saving grace is that it’s Spring, and that is helping my mood.  And I have Summer to look forward to.  So that’s something.  I hope I can keep losing weight even when I start my job.  I will have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to exercise, but that’s ok.  Losing weight has been very life-enhancing for me and I want to keep it up.  I didn’t lose any weight this week, but my body seems to lose pounds every other week.  I just need to keep tracking what I eat with LoseIt! and exercising.

Oh, something else super-positive that happened this week:  My brother in North Carolina sent me a check for five hundred bucks!!!!!  My siblings rock.  It feels so good to be supported and loved and it REALLY feels good to have less than zero in my checking account.  I am grateful.

Whelp, that’s about all the news from around here . . . what’s new with you?  Peach out, BPOF!

The Last Penny Positive

From An Optimist’s Calendar

♦

That’s All Folks!  I’m working on playing card-sized versions of the Penny Positives (something to keep me busy as I wait to move).  I’ll let you know when I get them to my Etsy shop.  Thanks for playing.

World Bipolar Day


Once again, it is World Bipolar Day. We don’t celebrate the fact that we have bipolar disorder, we celebrate the fact that we are strong enough to live with it. So to all my fellow people who live with this illness, I celebrate you, your strength, your tenacity and determination to survive and even thrive with this illness. I have hope that with all the research that is going on, there will be better and better treatments available for us, until hopefully one day, the treatments will work so well that we won’t even be aware that we have this illness!

Until that day, we will band together, support each other, and write, write, write our blogposts to learn, blow off steam, inform, educate, offer support.

Congratulations fellow people with bipolar d/o, congratulations on your strength and determination!

Day Off

So today I have been home from my program since my daughter was off school.  It took me a long time to get going today–I slept and slept and slept on and off until about 11:30 a.m.  I finally got up and did laundry then went and shopped with my daughter for a birthday present for my sister and for groceries for the weekend.  Everyone was shopping for groceries today–the parking lot was mobbed with only one lone parking spot available in the back. So we walked the long way to get in the store and to get back out with our groceries.  But we have meals for the weekend which is a good thing.

I finally broke down and got a Coke at the store because I am still sleepy and needed something to pep me up for the  afternoon. I just wish I didn’t feel so bad.  I still have work to do–I have to do a critique of a bit of writing for class and then read the reading for class over the weekend.  But I am having a hard time motivating myself to do any of it.  Suddenly it seems pointless to continue on with my degree.  I’m not sure why, but it does.

 

 

5th Annual World Bipolar Day

Today is the fifth-annual World Bipolar Day, an annual global campaign to raise awareness about bipolar disorder and eliminate social stigma.

Events will be held in communities of all sizes, and online. Look to the bp Magazine for Bipolar Facebook community for promotions all day. Also check out the World Bipolar Day’s Facebook page, where people are encouraged to post photos and videos with the hashtags #WorldBipolarDay and #BipolarStrong.

Increasing sensitivity toward all mental health challenges is critical. World Bipolar Day is a collaboration between the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD), the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD).

It is celebrated every year on March 30, the birthday of artist Vincent van Gogh (born in 1853). The post-Impressionist painter is one of the most famous figures in the art world. His work is known for its beauty and emotion and while he influenced 20th-century art, he remained virtually unknown and poor during his life. Van Gogh died by suicide at the age of 37 after struggling with psychotic episodes during the last two years of his extraordinary life. He was posthumously diagnosed as probably having bipolar disorder. He is still considered one of the greatest Dutch painters of all time.

Van Gogh’s story is a strong reminder of the importance of raising awareness and breaking the stigma that holds people back from seeking a diagnosis and receiving effective treatment. World Bipolar Day goals include dispelling myths; raising awareness about signs, symptoms better drug treatments; sharing resources and healthy living techniques; and encouraging more investigations about possible biological causes.

It’s important to stay hopeful and determined, and World Bipolar Day is the perfect opportunity to help improve sensitivity towards it—and spread hope—letting people know it is a common, treatable condition.

If you have Bipolar Disorder today is the day to talk about it. With your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family. It’s not easy to do this but it’s so necessary. Only by being out and upfront about our lives can we ever hope to erase the stigma still associated with this horrid disorder.

They say that 15% of people diagnosed with Biplolar type I (that’s me) will end up killing themselves at some point in their lives. I tried to end my life when I was 29 and I’m so glad I failed at that. Life has been hard since then but it’s still worth working to get better and make a difference.

I wish you the best in your journey with Bipolar and hope that you can come out to at least one person today. It’ll make a difference and you’ll feel good about yourself! Your life matters!

Ending Stigma, one life at a time,

Steve

This article is excerpted from BpHope Magazine and all rights are theirs.

World Bipolar Day, March 30, 2018

Since tomorrow is also Good Friday and I’ll be going “off the grid” for the day, I thought I’d mention the fact that the fifth annual World Bipolar Day will be taking place. In past years I’ve discussed the background and general purposes of the celebration, so if you’re a new reader you can always check the archives for an explanation. But for those of you who know about this event, I invite you to take a few moments out of your day to think about how much we’ve gained by bringing attention to our illness, and how far we have yet to go.

I personally am pleased with the progress we’re making. Five years after the inaugural World Bipolar Day, people are a little less afraid to talk about it, and about mental illness in general. Even bipolar 1 has gone mainstream. There’s a commercial for a new antipsychotic medication named Vraylar, featuring a busy woman who manages manic episodes on top of her office job and family. Now, as you know I have my misgivings about drug advertising on TV, but this is groundbreaking in that it’s the first one where mania is discussed, instead of being tucked away in the dark like a dirty secret. All the other ads for bipolar meds only talk about depression. Vraylar is recommended “because you’re more than just your bipolar 1”. Nice catchphrase. And I see it as a good sign that the illness—my illness—is being normalized. It’s about time!

Of course, the increased openness is a double-edged sword, as the recent focus on mental health matters shows. Far too many members of the public are willing to believe that psychiatric conditions are the cause of so much of the violence we’re seeing these days. Too many politicians are buying into the idea that long-term institutional care is the answer, but they have also proven themselves unwilling to put funding into the mental health system for more psychiatrists, nurses, and services. In fact, the word is that Congress is going to consider cuts to Social Security Disability and Medicare, which would be disastrous for folks like me who depend on these programs to stay well (and alive).

Even so, the fact that society is finally talking about mental health is a GOOD thing. For too long it was like the crazy aunt in the attic: we knew it was there, but it was much easier to ignore it than bring it into the living room and deal with it.

So on this World Bipolar Day, let us celebrate the people of the bipolar community and continue to raise awareness and acceptance of the disorder. Let us lift each other up and be proud of our accomplishments in the world. And let us lead the way in teaching others how we need and want to be treated. WINNING!

 

 

 

 

Again

Went back into treatment today and had a good day.  Nothing too intense–had an interesting yoga session with a fellow in the class that had never done anything like tht in his life before, so that was interesting to observe.  I can’t say much about what goes on in groups because of confidentiality rules, so you’re not going to hear much about that other than what I uncover if anything on a particular day.

I don’t go tomorrow because school is out for my youngest, so I will be taking care of her tomorrow. Hopefully she will let me sleep in some and then we can go shop for my sister a birthday present for this weekend. I looked at a gift shop yesterday and couldn’t find anything I really liked that I thought she would like.  So the youngest and I will shop tomorrow,

Got part of my schoolwork done last night and plan to finish the rest of it tonight at some point.  I’m not sending thing sout anymore because it takes a lot of time to look up new stuff to send to and I just don’t have that time right now.  So the streak is over and I will just have to see what comes of what I’ve been able to send out so far. My piece on the Texas disability site had finally gone live yesterday so that was nice to be able to announce.

I need to wake up–we did relaxation today and I am very sleepy.

 

 

Darkness Therapy is a Way to Treat Mania

deldarkI was just reading about some alternative ways to treat bipolar disorder, specifically mania and came across an article that talked about darkness therapy.  I decided to do some research and write a blog about it.

In 1996 there was a  study that was started that eventually proved that  it is helpful to ward off mania if a patient is in darkness from 8pm until 6am.  When they can’t be in complete darkness, amber lenses or control clear lenses were used.  It was proved that darkness is a mood stabilizer. (This study was completed in 2016)

In February of 2005 there was a study done that proved darkness “can be a useful add-on for the treatment of acute mania”.

In researching darkness therapy, a term that you are probably already familiar with kept coming up-biological clock. “The biological clock controls the timing of our body’s daily cycles including our sleep cycles and research has consistently shown is an imbalance in the biological clock in bipolar brains. This is why sleep cycle disturbances are so common in bipolar syndrome.”

The SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus ) is a part of the that hypothalamus gets signals about how much light there is. It is the main location of the biological clock.   In 2001, a retinal photoreceptor was discovered that is sensitive to blue light.  These receptors connect to the SCN of the hypothalamus, where the biological clock is.

Amber lenses can block blue wavelengths (the most potent portion) creating a form of physiologic darkness. “Because the timing and quantity of light and darkness both affect sleep, evening use of amber lenses to block blue light might affect sleep quality. Mood is also affected by light and sleep; therefore, mood might be affected by blue light blockade.”

Avoiding blue light is simple and has no side effects and  is a free anti-manic treatment. It is something we can incorporate into our daily lives in order to live with bipolar disorder and control mania.

I tried to make this topic as easy as I could. For more in depth information, please read from the following sources.  They include the studies that I mentioned.

Source1

Source2

Source3

Source4 and Source5

Source6

Kill The Drama Llama Already

To clarify for regular readers of this blog…Yes,I often call my kid the drama llama but NO I am not talking about her in this post so no killing of the spawn is indicated nor wanted.

This time I am talking about widespread long living Drama Llama Syndrome involving my toxic family.

Since the necessitated move to Armpit,USA,where Dad and stepmonster are local ‘heroes’ with the redneck elite…there has been effort from both paternal and maternal factions to create and perpetuate drama. In fact,with all the seeming knives in my back,I feel like my voodoo man knife rack’s chest.

Dad and his crew trash mom and her faction, buy us stuff then rub it in my sister’s face, and apparently trash me behind my back. Dad does it to my face so the big offender seems to be stepmonster being nice to my face and putting me down behind my back. Recently dad misquoted my sister,making it seem she was calling me their ass kisser and such.

The flaw with that plan,though,is, my sister and I have always been cool even if I am 6 years older than her. Their attempt to turn us against each other might have worked if I weren’t so aware of the family drama and backstabbing history.

Today mom and my sis (had to take sis a snarky card for her 39th bday) felt the need to tell me all about how dad’s faction trashes me to them.

It’d be so easy to go ballistic and be overcome with anger (especially with the pmdd and monthly curse kicking my ass) but…

I am not my family. I got a job and moved out at 17 to escape the drama and doublecrosses. For over 20 years I have tried to maintain my own home and involve myself with family as rarely as possible. Which lead to a lot of accusations of being anti social,rude,hateful,thinking I am too good for or better than them…After a counselor met my dysfunctional core family she told me they were toxic emotionally so avoidance seemed a good option.

I pointed this out to mom and sis today. Since mom and dad split up 20 years ago it’s been nothing but ‘pick a side or suffer drama and grudges’. Count me out.

Just hearing how stepmonster (supposedly,but likely) trashes me to mom and sis while being nice to my face made my stomach acids start churning painfully,on top of cramps.

NOPE.

I made it clear this drama and infighting between the factions is why I have always kept to myself. Now that my kid is witnessing all the treacherous dysfunction of my core family,I want to shield,d her from the negativity. We are all her family and her feelings should be her own. Not based on old grudges or criticisms.

I hope they took it to heart. Trying to talk to dad’s faction is pointless but the sentiment is the same. I will NOT have my kid dragged into it and let it taint her feelings for any of us.

I am in my final hours before I get 5 days of a bored hyper kid for spring break. With the hormonal havoc and cramps from hell,I don’t think Easter is gonna be bunnies and candy for me.

No sooner than I escape gabapentin haze,I get monthly curse hell to top off anxiety and depression. Yay.

I am gonna make the most of it and try to forget I saw a ‘friend’ in town who commented on my weight loss and how good I look then touched my belly and told me how to get rid of it.

Maybe I am so down on people because this is the sort of thing I have to deal with daily. ‘You look great,but this is still wrong and here’s how to fix it.’

Road to hell,pavement,good intentions. If only those types had a filter or s mute button. Rude!