Tag Archives: home

Another Good Day

it’s nice to have more than one day in a row where my feelings are up.

I spent another nice day with hubby watching anime, playing diablo on the PS4 and watching the walking dead.

Watching anime with hubby right now and it makes me feel very warm and happy. I’d forgotten how much I really enjoy it.

I don’t know it is the pristiq or if my mood has just shifted. Only time will really tell.

I’ll post a picture of my ring after I get it sized.

1 week 5 days until we move into our home. eeeeeee so exciting.

Intensive Care

Collage art, greeting card artSince July, I’ve been in a program called Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation.  It’s Medicaid-funded and designed to help those of us with “serious and persistent mental illness to achieve goals that improve success and satisfaction in living, learning, working and socializing.”

It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced in any kind of health care service—thorough, gentle, involved, deep.  For these first six months, I’ve met with my IPR Facilitator (Aly) two to three times a week just gauging my motivation and willingness to go through the process—doing lots of assessments, looking at self-awareness and life satisfaction, and meeting in a small group to hear how others are doing the same.

I believe my participation in IPR is a big reason for my greater stability during the last half of 2014, but maybe not because of the actual work I do in the program.  I get to spend four to six hours a week with a caring professional, talking about my life and my illness, who gives me useful feedback.  Considering that I see my therapist weekly, that gives me up to seven hours a week of therapeutic support.

I can’t begin to explain how lovely that is, to have somewhere to go every several days a week where I feel safe, heard, challenged, and successful all at the same time.  I have felt parts of me relaxing that have been clenched for years.  The notion that I could be kinder and gentler to myself grew naturally from this place of safety and care.  The outrageous idea that everything about my life—the wild and warp-speed mood swings, the practical struggles with money and relationships, my weight, my compulsions, my delusions, my mistakes and mis-steps—could be accepted and given a place at my internal table became my new mantra.  “Yes, that, too.”

This increase in professional support prodded me to start searching in different ways for more natural support.  I found a wonderful, active community at the Des Moines Unitarian Church, signed-up for a class there in SoulCollage®, met some interesting people and sang.  I started reaching out to my old friends in Minnesota.  I joined Facebook, fer cripes sake.

World She InhabitsOver the last few weeks, my work in IPR has taken me on a new journey of discovery.  My focus in the program is on my Living Environment, to assess and eventually set a goal about where I live.  This could also include a “Staying” goal if my current home turns out to be best for me.  We looked at all the places I’ve ever lived, which ones I liked most and least and why.  Aly asked me to imagine my perfect space, perfect neighborhood, perfect part of the country—to dream big and with extravagance.  We’ve spent time tweezing out my values and preferences and laying them over my ideas about home.

One of the many assessment parameters Aly used was to imagine what the significant people in my life would say about my current living environment, about the idea of moving elsewhere, and what their concerns might be.  I try hard not to presume what others think about me, so I wasn’t sure.  But I thought in general they considered me successful  (This is an IPR term.  It means that you generally stay out of jail and the hospital, that you can perform self-care, do basic housekeeping, and partake in enjoyable activities in your home.  Luckily, I rock at being successful).

This exercise made me curious to know what my friends and family really thought, so I started asking them.  It’s always a little scary to ask people what they think of me.  They all carry memories that I’ve lost, things I’ve said in the past, events and experiences fried out of existence by ECT.  Plus, an outsider’s view of my often-times incomprehensible behavior can carry an emotional charge for them.  I’ve done a lot of weird and hurtful things in my bipolarness, and turning over those rocks can be deadly.  But, getting that outside perspective is valuable for someone with mental illness.  We get trapped in our own faulty musings.  Someone else’s reality can be shocking, but life-saving.

As it turned out, they do think I’m successful, but another theme started appearing.  As I’ve reached out to my friends in Minnesota, they all to a person have said, “We don’t know why you moved in the first place.  It never made sense to us.  This is your home.”  And even my sister, who orchestrated my exodus from Minneapolis, said, “You’ve worked hard, made friends and have a routine in Marshalltown, but Minnesota is home…”

My compulsive side would do something with this information.  I’m choosing to just add it to my IPR file along with all the other assessments and data.  It will be a while yet before I actually choose a goal in my Living Environment.  In the meantime, I want to keep practicing this kinder, gentler attitude.  I want to keep attending UU services on Sunday.  I want to schedule my next visit to Minneapolis and spend time with those people who still love me and remember me.  I want to spend time with the people here in Iowa who love and support me, too.  I want to keep an open mind, explore, evaluate.  I want to keep being successful.

Because, you know, I’m on an Adventure.

Shrink and House

Well I have some great news! We got the closing date on the house. So Feb 26th I probably won’t be posting that day or the next, but moving into a house and not having internet is a really good reason to not post. :D I’m absolutely thrilled that there is an end date finally.

I went to my shrink and we talked about trying topomax but because I am sensitive to medications she checked out interactions and apparently it interacts  with two of the medications I am taking. So we talked about depakote, lamictal and lithium. I decided to try the lithium again. Depakote causes weight gain and I had a horrible time withdrawing from lamictal so this is where it stands.

Lithium worries me, but honestly I’m at a point where if I can stop the mood swings I am going to give it  a try again. I was so depressed on it before I wouldn’t have been able to tell if it was working or not.

I’ll do the research I need to so I don’t mess it up and try not to stress about it.

Does anyone remember what some of the lithium interactions with regular meds are? thanks!

Impatience She Wrote

Today we went out to the house and the cabinets were up! It’s really starting to look like a house. However it seems like they are sitting on their asses when they should be working. We should have had a move in date of Feb 10th. Really there was no reason is couldn’t happen except the exceptional amount of time that the house sat there with no one doing anything. I hate fucking waiting.

As you can see I am a little annoyed. Checking my email every hour like a crazy person waiting to hear from the company that it is 45 days until our closing date and hearing nothing is just pissing me off at this point. I want to be in my house dammit. It’s been almost half a fucking year I have been living with my mother in law and it is going to be over that when we finally do move into the house.

I swear I am gonna turn into a hermit for the first few months and just relish the moments I am having in my house.

Til now I guess I will just go insane waiting. Can you go crazy from being impatient? Guess we’ll find out.

Reversal of Fortune

It’s a Christmas miracle: We have a place to go!

Sweet are the uses of Craigslist. I’d put Will and me on there as a desperate measure, advertising us as a “clean, quiet older couple” (well, we are). By the grace of God, a nice lady needing to rent one of the rooms in her house saw the ad and responded within a couple of days. We met at a McDonald’s, liked each other right off the bat, and made an appointment to see the room on Saturday.

The room is big enough for us to fit some of our furniture in. The landlady also told us we can move our living room furniture in if we want; she has a storage unit and is willing to put some of her things in it. She wants us to feel at home, which is a big plus, and we have full run of the house including the kitchen and a nice big fenced yard where I can plant flowers come spring. She didn’t even require a deposit; thanks to contributions from people on GoFundMe, we had enough to pay whatever we needed to in order to secure our place. So I confidently wrote a check for January’s rent and we are good to go.

To say that this is an ENORMOUS relief would be the understatement of the year. I think my blood pressure has dropped by 20 points. We won’t be homeless. We won’t have to live in shelters or the car in the dead of winter. We won’t even be cramped into a tiny room in an apartment. Yes, we’ll feel cramped for awhile—anything other than this expansive house and acreage would seem closed-in—but we’ll deal with it, and happily too.

I have not told “Lisa” about Will’s or my health problems. I wouldn’t have given our current landlord a med list or a computer printout of all of our diagnoses, so I don’t see the need to disclose them to this one. I’m sure that at some point I’ll have noticeable symptoms and may have to explain myself, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

In the meantime, we’re moving on New Year’s weekend. It’s a good time to make a fresh start. Maybe it’s also time to re-read that forgiveness letter I wrote myself back in November, to remind me to stop blaming myself for everything that’s gone wrong. I wasn’t thinking of that the other night when I was feeling so terrible about it all and wrote that post in which I excoriated myself—again—for being ill. I’ve got to stop doing that; it solves nothing and makes me feel like crap in the bargain.

All that matters now is that we have a home. A warm place where we can hang our hats and do what we do best, which is being a husband and wife…..and maybe building a few models and writing blog posts. :-)


I’ll Be Home For Christmas

We’ve gotten a bit of a reprieve from being evicted, even though the paperwork paints a very dire picture: we received our 72-hour pay-rent-or-quit notice Friday night. That doesn’t mean we have to be out in three days; in fact, it gives us more time because a court date has to be set, and even after that we should still have at least a couple of weeks to move out.

Which means we’ll still be here for the holidays, if not for very long afterwards. I don’t want to be a stinker about all of this, but we still don’t have a place to live and we’re not going onto the streets a minute sooner than we absolutely must. That gives us one more Christmas in this big old house full of memories, even if there’s not a single decoration in sight and we’re going to our son’s for the holiday itself.

So much of our lives has happened here. This is the home where the kids finished growing up, the home that once welcomed our first grandchild, the home where holidays and birthday parties and anniversaries were celebrated. It’s the yard which sheltered our big above-ground swimming pool, the garden where tomatoes, pumpkins, and flowers grew. It’s also the place where Will and I fell in love all over again. I wonder sometimes how either of us will be able to bear leaving here.

But it had to happen sooner or later. We are two older people who don’t need three thousand square feet of house, and although I wish we didn’t have to go under these circumstances, we’ve known for a long time that we needed to downsize. We have been rolling around like two small peas in a very large pod, and it’s the right time to start living a little more simply. No, make that a lot more simply—we don’t feel the need to entertain big groups of people anymore, and we certainly don’t need the amount of furniture and other possessions we’ve collected over the years.

This is what I meant when I said I wanted out of the rat race. The pace of the life I had to live in order to maintain all of this was soul-crushing, and I don’t ever want to return to that. I can’t return to it. That last full-time job was my undoing, and there’s no going back to pick up the pieces that were lost when life as I’d known it for so many years ended. I didn’t know that at the time, but it’s been made very clear to me over the past six months that the “productive” part of my life is over…..and that’s not necessarily all bad.

Maybe one day when this uncomfortable phase is over and we’re back on terra firma, I’ll want to give back to the community that has nurtured us all these years. Maybe I’ll volunteer at church when I feel well, where they understand that I’ll hide myself away when I don’t. And who knows, maybe I’ll find my voice someday and be able to write for a modest living.

In the meantime, there’ll be one last Christmas under this dear old roof, and money is coming in to help us find a new one…..even if it’s only a room in the inn.

Still Up But Down

Sick sucks. My mood is good. I am in the mental arena of being able to do anything pretty much. This cold has me laid out like well I can’t think of anything creative. Just sick as hell and unable to do anything. Can’t even think. My nose is so plugged I can barely breathe and my throat is so sore swallowing totally sucks.

A good thing that happened is that we now have part of the garage and a basement framing done. It’s awesome! Finally seeing some work done to the house has risen my spirits. I’m excited again. That is nice.

Anyhow gonna go back to bed and rest some more. I want to feel well enough to go the lot on Friday!

Better Mood, Worse Cold

This morning I woke up and something was different. I was in a better mood. I wanted to go and look at our lot. Last night I was pissy and didn’t want to go and when I got there and there was no change I was furious. Tonight they had done a little work and I didn’t immediately have a panic attack about not getting into our house in Feb.

I know that it is chemical. I know that it is also stress that is forcing me to be so moody. I have a lot to be stressed out about. I am stressed about the mom in law moving in with us after we get our home. I know I am going to be very protective of my home. I am also looking forward time alone with my husband.

I can’t wait until the 16th, it’s our 13th wedding anniversary. We are going out to dinner and then going to a hotel for the night. Alone time in a clean place. It will be awesome.

I’m tired of being where I am. I wrote down 1-20 on a white board so I can erase the weeks as we go along to count the time to get into our home. The day we close, we are going to be sleeping on the floor. I want out that badly.

As you can see it is bothering me a lot lately and there is nothing I can do about it at all. ugh.

Chug Chug Splutter

I’ve had a somewhat productive couple of days. We’ve made some progress on organizing house things, I’ve done some cleaning and baking, and that’s been satisfying. But then, today feels like I’ve gotten nothing done due to clingy baby, I’m exhausted, and I’ve had a fair amount of irritability lately. I’m hella irritated right now because I direly wanted to try to get caught up on actual work today, and that didn’t happen. Maybe I’ve gone too long without enough alone time and just haven’t noticed. I had both kids at home yesterday since it’s midterm. Lilbit went to holiday club today, but still. People in space, and right now I am feeling so filled to the top that I am half considering going upstairs and slamming the door behind. Maybe I should try taking a bath…

Ah yes, that seems to have helped. You guys know how it is — you suddenly go from okay to not okay like a switch with no real gradient. I’m grateful that we have a bit of space here so that I CAN go off and sort of be alone. It’s not great, ’cause British houses are super-tiny. I fairly recently had a friend in the States tell me I wasn’t permitted to complain about how small my house was because his condo is only 2,000 square feet… which is um… about two and a half times the size of our house, where he lived alone, and we live as four. He shut up after I pointed out the size disparity, but still. This house is about 20% bigger than our previous one, and is divided in ways that one can get a bit of space to themselves. So it was nice to be able to engage in such self-care for a bit… when I remember it’s an option!

One thing that I have noticed lately is that I’m recovering a lot faster from moments of stress. The worst of them still annoying piggyback onto when my husband is feeling wretched, but at least I’m not a total wreck all the time now. I think that gives him hope. Certainly, I feel that our communication is getting better about how we are feeling, and that we’re slowly getting better at helping each other out (which is to say, I’m getting better at helping him out; he’s always been fabulous and then some).

Past that, the chronic fatigue continues to reign supreme. I thought about going for a walk today because the weather looked nice, but the thought alone was too exhausting. Even if I’m used to it because it’s chronic, it still is stressful and upsetting. I mean, I’m still in a good mood on the whole, but as the start of this post shows, it doesn’t take a lot to upset the balance when there’s not a lot holding it to center. But at least for today, we’re on the downhill slope of the day, so all should be well.

And speaking of well, hope all of you guys out there are doing okay.



Ce-ment Pond

I was thrilled when we went out to visit the foundation today. They had our porch, garage and basement were all poured and the men were making it all smooth and cool.

Mom seems insecure about buying her home now. It makes me wonder if she is going to go through with her. I honestly worry that maybe our wanting her there has pushed her into doing something she isnt ready for.

Hubby is going to talk to her to make sure she doesnt lose too much money if she feels she would rather stay here in the house on the lake.

I just want her to be happy and we live close enough that holidays and visits arent a big deal.

I am happy right now. I cheated a little on my diet today but I got a candy bar that is only available in Canada and I am going to enjoy it! Plus I’ve lost 2.6 pounds. Go me!