I haven’t been feeling myself for a while. There has been this nagging voice that something is just not right. And no matter how quiet it is or how much I try to completely silence the voice. I can still hear it and it is working itself into a louder and louder sound that is getting harder to ignore.
I am not quite sure what it is exactly that I am feeling. I tend to lean towards the fact that it is probably some sort of depression. But I feel like it is much more than that.
No signs of mania or even hypomania. I just feel emotional, sensitive, down, and I feel taken for granted. I feel hopeless, and tired, emotionally tired, my soul is tired. And I wonder so much if there is even any room for me. There is not enough space for me to peacefully occupy. (I am NOT suicidal)
I am sleeping, might be some weird hours, but there is sleep. I am having some anxiety and some sense of dread.
I feel like there is something coming towards me at full force but I just cannot figure out what it is, or care enough to step out of its way, that I am insignificant enough and don’t matter enough to even step to the side so the collision doesn’t happen.
I know that all these signs point to something. They tell me that something is wrong. This is not my ‘normal’ thought process.
Writing has always helped to untangle the web of chaos inside my head. I write and form thoughts on paper when I feel like I am unable to form coherent thoughts inside my head. Somehow as my pen works its way across the paper my writing takes shape and makes much more sense than any of my thoughts ever could.
I have often said or written about how I write faster or type faster than my conscious mind can think, I sometimes re-read things and wonder when I wrote it, or where the thoughts came from.
When I write or read things I can feel the words. I feel the depth of my thoughts after I write them unto paper. Only after I read what I have churned from my mind and written into sentences do I begin to understand my tangled thoughts.
For me writing is my biggest form of self care. It is what I do when I am down in the dumps or soaring in the heights of mania and anywhere in between.
Self care is not just for people with mental health issues but is very important for everyone. Practicing some form of self care can ensure that you are not running on empty and can help your wellbeing and happiness.
There are different types of self care and there are many different things that you can practice in each category. Self care should be geared individually.
For example: If you love to read, reading would be a good form of physical self care, but if you hate to read it would not make sense for you to try to use reading as one of your self care activities.
Almost anything that you find enjoyment in can become something that you do for self care. Just taking a few minutes to read a book, write something, listen to music, exercise or even taking a bubble bath can be forms of self care. Other things can be taking a minute to laugh, share a joke, talk to a friend on the phone, have a cup of coffee or tea.
I asked my readers and fellow bloggers what they did for self care and here are their answers:
Angela says “I light my favorite incense, desert sage, while I journal about things that are weighing heavy on my heart. I journal until those things lose their power over me. Sometimes I watch my favorite movie, Wonder Woman, to remind myself that I am a powerful woman who has taken my power back.”
Robert says “I’m setting good boundaries with other people and getting enough sleep.”
Becky says “I am writing to confront things that used to hurt me. It’s a mixed bag, but in the end it does help.”
Julian says “I’m reaching out to people. I figured it’s been a while since depression has got me in a very lonely lifestyle. But, chances are, I’m not an introvert by nature. I tried finding purposeful things to do by myself, but nothing came to my mind. Maybe it’s not the things, but the people I do those things with. The engagement. Admitting that I’m not a monk, that I need a social life is actually tough. But I guess that’s the way to go. So, I’m reaching out.”
What do you do for self care? Do you find that taking an active part in self care is beneficial to your wellbeing and over all health?
When all the world goes out like the tide, and you feel like you are standing alone watching and waiting for the water to reach you again, to cleanse you. That is the moment when I feel most alone. Knowing the tide will eventually ebb and flow again, but standing there and waiting.
the depression is so bad you feel like you have failed everyone and everything and as much as you want to go to sleep and not wake up you have to keep on breathing.
Such was me a few weeks ago, me before coming off the Zoloft.
The Zoloft that made life worst. The Zoloft that made me feel crazy. The Zoloft that made me want to harm myself. The Zoloft that made me put the breaks on while driving because I thought someone was crossing the road and when I blinked no one was there (among other stories), The Zoloft that made me dream dreams that I thought were real, absolute. The Zoloft that did not mix well with alcohol. The Zoloft that did not let me sleep but yet made me feel like I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. The Zoloft that made me paranoid. The Zoloft that changed me.
Now I am off the Zoloft, and in just a couple of weeks I already feel a ton better, not ‘normal me’ better, but not Zoloft crazy.
Back one one of my old faithful medications, Tegertol.
I cannot believe it has been 2 years since I first started the Bipolar Whispers blog. I started this in a Manic high to let out frustrations to write to my hearts content and to express things I could not even begin to express in my ‘real’ life.
This past year was a lot slower than the first 6 months or so of the blog, but lately I have been trying to get some content out. Thanks to everyone who has been reading for the past two years and thanks to all my new readers.
Be sure to read through my older content, you will find a lot of good information and a lot of soulful and heart felt writings there.
Lets hope that I can get back to the basic reasons for starting this blog and make year 3 fantastic.
Sometimes the despair and destruction and chaos inside is more real than the conversation or situation that I am in. To the point where I forget things because of the devastation that I am going through at that particular time. Such is the story of Friday/Saturday.
I know it was bad, horrible, I know I bared my soul, but I cannot remember most of it.
Finally built up the nerve to take the first of the Zoloft last night. (Feb 6th) Every since my bad reaction to Lithium I am nervous taking new medications. Even stuff I have taken before makes me a little nervous.
I have only slept for an hour.
I am getting my kids off to school and going to “try” to sleep.
I feel quite a bit of nausea and my body tingles. But nothing major.
I have been blogging here for a year. A whole year.
I started Bipolar Whispers in a manic phase. A time when I was full of possibility. Another grand idea was formed because of mania.
A time when my ability to write came back. Back after years of dealing with horrific writers block.
There were days when I wrote several articles, days when I published more than once. Days when I did not publish at all.
Days when what I was writing made total sense, and days when I wrote in gibberish.
There were days when I was stuck inside my head, days when the words were screaming to be written but I couldn’t form more than a few coherent sentences.
I wrote with passion. I wrote deep truths. I wrote about pasts. I wrote about futures. And I wrote about right now as the words were forming.
I wrote with questions, and I wrote looking for answers.
Sometimes I found the answers, and oftentimes I found many many more questions.
I wrote when I was manic. I wrote when I was hypomanic. I wrote when I was depressed. I wrote when I was flat and I wrote when my mood was ‘normal’.
Sometimes I didn’t write at all. Because whatever I may have been dealing with at that time was bigger. Bigger that I was able to deal with, bigger than I was able to write about, bigger than I was okay with.
But Bipolar Whispers became so much to me. It became a haven. A place to go and not worry about anything to bare it all and let it all out.
I met great friends through blogging. I have read other peoples stories, their life stories and understood. I related to them. I understood them and they understood me.
Even when I disappeared for a bit because the medical issues in our family was more than I was able to deal with, you were all here when I got back. You continued to embrace me and hold me up. You held my hand, and you gripped my heart.
Some of the most understanding people, some of the easiest people to write to, some of the easiest people to relate to have been the blogging friends I have made because of Bipolar Whispers.
And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here, for reading, for listening, and for hanging on.
So far in these posts I have talked about how I hated the thought of being a mother with mental illness, how it made me feel, how I thought I was hurting my family by having a mental illness.
But now it is time to talk about how it has changed my life, how it has strengthened our family, and how I am surviving.
I did not get to this point quickly, nor easily. It has been a long, hard and bumpy road. But I have arrived at a better place. I am not saying I am always stable, always balanced, because that is untrue. There are times when I need to get medication adjustments, times when I have to make the trip to see my doctor because I need help.
But there are some things I have learned over the past few years.
The first and foremost is that it is okay to ask for help.
For a long time, a lot of years I choose and actually preferred to “go it alone”. There are even times now that I find myself keeping things bottled inside and trying to hide from everyone. But I know that when I become unstable I need to be able to talk to my doctor, and we need to be able to figure out what is happening and work on making me balanced again.
Another thing that I learned was to try to take other peoples advice when they say I am manic/hypomanic. I have been in situations where I was very very manic before any of my immediate family had the, I want to say “balls”….but I will be nice and say “nerve” to tell me just how sick I was.
Because as you know in the beginning, the hypomanic stages feel good, the increased activity, the projects, it then begins a slow decent into something more sinister, and then the snowballing effect begins and it happens a lot faster, and I very quickly lose control.
So, learn to ask for help, and learn to take advice (maybe with a grain of salt, but take it none the less).
These are two very important things in my life right now, two things that are part of my “stay healthy” tool box.
So Bipolar disorder changed my life, but not when I got diagnosed. It changed my life 20 years ago when it started showing up. Little things, that at 13 I did not understand, I was scared, and I was afraid that I was “crazy”.
It caused a lot of hurt, heartache, frustrations, and hate, within myself. Mostly because I did not understand what was going on, I had no one to educate me, to explain things to me, or to tell me that everything was going to be alright.
Instead I suffered within myself, and continued to suffer and get worst for years. I let my insecurities get the better of me.
But over the past few years, Bipolar disorder has strengthened our family. I know most of you are probably sitting here and wondering how it is possible that my diagnosis actually strengthened us. How is that even possible?
But it did, the diagnosis came after a lot of very difficult years, and some extremely difficult months. And although it took a long time for me to forgive myself enough to see that we were becoming stronger, we indeed were.
I had a better relationship with my children, because I was taking my medications, I was doing what I needed to do to be a balanced bipolar person. I was trying very hard with therapy and walking that line, trying very hard to stay very balanced.
Having a diagnosis made it easier to explain what was happening some of the time, it made it easier for my children to understand that mom was not well, it made it easier for my husband to understand that I was not trying to be difficult, or understand the extreme moods that had often inhabited our lives.
Because I have come to accept my diagnosis of Bipolar disorder, I have started making changes within myself, healthy changes.
I have finally given in and realized that writing while I am manic, for me, is amazing. I have done this a lot over the years, but mostly in a journal. Books on top of books I have written thoughts and sentiments in, only to read them months or years later and destroy them. But now I am writing and keeping my writings, because for the first time in my life I have realized that my writing is part of me, a good part, a part that I do want to remember, ill regardless of what topics I write on, I finally like my writing and have finally given myself the leeway to write whatever it is that I feel like writing and letting my mind and hands just take control as I type.
Having this diagnosis of bipolar disorder has made me more of a survivor, because now I know what I am dealing with, I know more how to help myself, my family knows what signs to look for, and it is just finally easier to ask my doctor for help, I am finally on a path that makes sense. For the first time since I started getting sick at age 13, I have embraced this as part of who I am. After getting my diagnosis it was easier to look back and shake my head and say, yes, now I understand. This has made some of the situations from my past make sense, finally. After years of being confused, years of not understanding, years of being misunderstood, my illness had a name, and once it had a name it was easier for me to deal with it.
It was easier for me to fight, easier for me to get help, easier for me to understand, once the name, Bipolar disorder was given to my illness.
So I am a mother with mental illness, in fact, more than one. But this does not make me a bad mother, maybe this makes me a different mother but not a bad one. I know it makes me a strong mother, a fighter. It makes me more open to things my children are dealing with, it makes me more understanding. It makes me fight harder for what is right in my children’s lives, it makes me more vigilant.
I know one thing for sure it is making me a bigger and bolder advocate when it comes to my daughter’s mental health issues, because I am not walking in blind. I am able to see what is going on, I am able to help, and knowing that I have dealt with these things, that makes it easier for her to talk to me.
So yes, bipolar disorder might have made some devastating changes to my life, perhaps it even ruined some things that were meant to be. But in saying that, it has done so much for me that no one would expect of a disorder, and for that I am thankful.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to sensationalize or romanticize Bipolar disorder, because there is nothing romantic or sensational about it. It is a hard diagnosis to live with. I am just trying to find the good in what once was hard for me to understand, find good in what I am dealing with, find good in me as a person.
For in finding some good, some light, I know that I am not my entire disorder, I am in fact a survivor, a fighter, and advocate and very vigilant.