Deep Contemplation

I am over half the age my father was when he passed away at just 61 years old.   61, felt old to me at the time….I was 13, but in retrospect it wasn’t old at all. He was just sick, he fought long and hard and tried to hang on to see me grown up. He would always say “If I can just live to see her grown up”. I was the youngest by 11 years. My youngest brother is actually 11 years OLDER than me, next I have a sister, and then another two brothers. My oldest brother actually got two children who are older than me.

So yes, I was a surprise. Not a mistake, they would never call me that. But I was a gift, something that came along at a time in their lives that was just unexpected. They shocked a few family members after my arrival.

I was very young when my father first got sick. I remember an oxygen tank always adorning our house as well as regular mask treatments for breathing. I liked to help out. But when he got sick-sick, like ready to be in hospital kind of sick, it was always scary.

No one likes to watch their parent struggle. In the end, he struggled to breathe on a daily basis. Walking steps was a chore. If he went outside and came back in he would have to stop half way up the steps to the door just to let his body catch up to his breathing or his breathing to regulate and catch up to his body, whichever way you want to look at it. Everything was so labored. Then when he made it to the door and into the porch he would have to rest again before he was even able to take off his coat or bend to take off his shoes.

He spent some time in hospital before Christmas that year. Was released and spent Christmas with us, only to be re-admitted in January and he passed away on February 1st.

At 13, I was not ready. Nor did I have the mental and emotional capacity to understand and process what had happened. Every other time he had been that sick, he spent a few weeks in hospital and then came home with us again. This time was different and I would have given anything for it to have all been some cruel joke or mistake.

But, it was no joke, no mistake.

A rush of air left my lungs, as if someone punched me in the gut….and then my heart began aching. I crumpled into my brothers arms.

That is how I remember it. That moment so long ago that changed and molded me into something different than what I might have been.

Today, I realize that I am over half the age my father was when he passed away. Over half way through. It was sad to realize this. But it was also clarifying.

Where am I in my life? If you knew that half of your life has already been lived what would you do? Where would you want to be? What goals would you want to have accomplished? What would you change?

I am scared because I do not know if I am where I should be at this point in life. I know there are some things which I have accomplished that I am proud of. Being married, and our three children being the most prominent.

But where exactly do I want my life to go? I do not want to have any more regrets. I realize that I need to take control of my life or nothing is ever going to change.

I know I want to be loved deeply and to love deeply. This is big for me.

I know I want to be the best mother that I can be. I know I want to continue to blog about mental health, and advocate for those same issues.

But then what? What is next in this life for me? Do I continue to let life pass me by, and have regrets that I did nothing to mend and fix the problems that we currently have. I know my life is not headed in the direction that I wanted it to be, so my sails need to pick up some wind, change my direction.

But the difficulty lies in making decisions for me, and learning to deal with the changes, and following through.

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Intense

Today is my birthday.

Normally birthdays pass me by and I couldn’t care less.

Normally It is just another day, one little blip in the 365 day year that just happens to be the day I was born some 30 odd years ago.Normally it means nothing to me, other than being one year older.

Normally I feel nothing towards this day.

Well for some reason today is far from the normal nothing birthdays that I am used to. Today I awoke with a sense of severe anxiety that is only getting worst as the day is progressing.  An intense fear, dread……despair would even be a good word to describe how I am feeling.

I am blinded by how bad this is.

I have been having some issues with anxiety and paranoia over the past little bit, but nothing compares to how bad I am feeling today.

I do not think there is a reason or catalyst for why I feel this badly.  Just maybe every little thing pulling at me at the same time that my emotional self is not able to handle it.  And the tension is causing me to break.

Broken. Crumpled. Trampled.

Sleep Disturbances

Sleep disturbances are a big HUGE part of my bipolar disorder.  The start (in retrospect) of almost all of my manic episodes was a diminished need for sleep.  From going to bed really late to waking a ton each night, getting up really early, to just laying in bed so wide awake with a flight of multiple ideas running non stop through my brain like some messed up film reel.

On the other hand depression can begin with the need for so much sleep.  Sleeping 10-12 hours a night only to get up for a few hours and go back to sleep for 3-5 hours more.  The sleeping too much always brings with it a deeper depression which in turn causes me to sleep even more.

One particularly bad manic phase a few years ago, I slept only 11 hours in 14 days.  Things were turning ugly – and fast.

I was making mistakes at work, talking so fast even my close friends and family were unable to understand the words that were coming out of my mouth.  Sentences were jumbled messes – and I wouldn’t even be able to begin to describe the broken sentences – conversations I was having.  But I will try.

I would begin a sentence, mix up the word order or put totally wrong words in place of other words or even forget simple words.  I would stop mid sentence turn to the right, try to correct my error, start another sentence, go back to the left, finish my first sentence, then turn back to the right to finish the second sentence.

I don’t know if that paragraph even makes sense, but that was what it was like.  I did not make sense.

With so little sleep paranoia would set in pretty quickly.  This particular time I thought everyone who was texting or typing on cell phones was either up to no good, plotting or were even texting about me.  Even strangers.

You can just imagine how bad this got considering the amount of use smartphones get right now.  People are always on them, texting etc.

I was convinced that my husband was hiding something from me.

I was told (after the episode) that at work I was like “someone on crack”.

All of this started with the diminished need for sleep.  I was not tired at all.  I was able to survive on minutes to no sleep every night and was extremely productive at least for the most part.

Then the irritation began…..And that, my friends, is a whole other story.