Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stability is a Precious Thing

It's nice to feel stable. Ok, in my case, the word "Nice" is such an understatement. It's peaceful, calming, and rational.

The anger is gone. My ability to reason, cope, and just enjoy - even though there is a storm of life going on around me - is back.

Some pretty major crap hit the fan on Monday, and it's made life here extra stressful. This is one of those things that we didn't see coming, and BAM!. Hubster and I spent Monday panicking, making phone calls, emailing, and crying in frustration.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I went to work, smiled at people, and was happily distracted by cleaning up my area of the store. Somehow the knowledge that the world wasn't really ending was helpful. Life goes on, even though it feels like my little world is undergoing an earthquake.

Today I can acknowledge that I cannot change what happened. I can only move forward and try prevent things from happening again, and do what I can to help fix the problem.

This is typically how I handle a problem. First: panic/react. Second: distract myself for a bit so I can calm down. Third: deal with it as best I can.

Now, my coping strategy is probably not the best. However, I'm extremely glad that this problem hit when my meds were stabilizing in my system again. Because I *can* feel the calm. I can feel the peace.

I can feel grateful that I have a home that provides shelter. I can be grateful that we have food, clothes, and plenty of wants in addition to our necessities.

Life is what it is. No one ever said it would be easy. Complain as I might, today I am grateful that I do not walk this path alone. I'm grateful for the ability to feel the support and the love.

Being stable meant that I could take my daughter to the local Barnes & Noble to meet her favorite author. We walked all the way there, we stood in line and looked at all the books on the shelves, wishing we had a million dollars and could buy all the books that looked interesting. And all the awesome picture books just because.

Being stable meant that I didn't need to take a xanex to be in line with all those people, with the little boy in front of me who kept making the same high pitched noise over and over and over and over again. When it finally started irritating me enough, the line started moving and he got distracted. end of noise. :)

And being stable meant that I was there to see my daughter meet her favorite author, tell him about how she loved his books so much that she went to his website, saw his tour schedule and put it on the calendar a month ahead of time. She told him about doing extra chores to earn money so she could buy her own copies of the books just to get his signature in them. He in turn asked her questions about her name, about what she liked about the books, and made her feel important.

Tyler Whitesides, folks. Author of The Janitors series. He's fabulous.

The entire walk home, my daughter skipped and exclaimed how happy she was. And me being stable meant I could enjoy it. I didn't resent having to leave the house. I didn't shake and freak out because of the people. I was able to look at the clouds see the images there and enjoy the time spent with my daughter.

It doesn't mean I'm not stressed or worried. But it does mean that I can be calm, not angry, and willing to listen.

I keep my negative posts because it shows the stark differences between my ups and downs. Between the anger that I can't keep under control and the opposing calm and happy that I feel otherwise.

Today I'm grateful for medication that works for me. I know very well that it doesn't work for everyone, but I'm so glad that my meds are working for me. I'm so glad I have the means to buy them. And I'm so grateful that - even though I have pain in my feet afterwards - I have legs that work so I can walk to/from work and other stores within a two-mile area from my house.

I'm just grateful. I'm grateful I can sleep because the worry is under control. I'm grateful for my friends and all my family who tolerate my mood swings. I'm grateful for my church's general conference and the reminders it gives that Christ knows and understands what I'm going through, so he can better help succor me in my time of need. And while sometimes I don't feel it, I think those times are when He's there the most.

I think I'm going to take this lovely calm feeling and go to bed. And sleep for longer than three hours.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Religion, Rebellion and Anger

I am a deeply religious person. I have quite a few friends who feel that it's an outdated superstition, an organized political 'lead the unthinking sheep to follow whatever I say' kind of thing, or just a horrible idea altogether. And that's okay. Whatever works for them and brings them peace is awesome. My faith and my religion work for me. Today, for some strange, stupid reason I feel like talking about it.

This is seriously one of my most tender, vulnerable spots, and I have no idea WHY I am talking about it here. A place the entire world can see it, mock it, ridicule it, or whatever. But here it is nonetheless. Call it a crazy chemical bi-polar compulsion? I don't know how else to understand why I am sitting here typing this up on Blogger.

I don't normally talk about this kind of thing, but today... Today I've been two days without my medication. I forgot to fill it Wednesday before my insurance stopped. And I forgot to fill it Friday, the day I ran out, then Saturday because I was distracted by walking home in the rain, and then Sunday - well, today I didn't forget, it was just Sunday and my pharmacy is closed. I refuse to go to Walgreens; they always screw up, they're rude, and I much prefer my pharmacy where they know me by name, are friendly, go to bat for my kids when there are insurance screw-ups, and they take the time to treat me like a human.

... I digress.

I'm super distractable today.


Because it's been two days without my anti-depressant, today was a bad day. A sobby, unstable, doggy-paddle like mad to keep my head above water day. A day that I couldn't wake up fully in between very vivid nightmares until I HAD to go to work. And even then I was/am dizzy and distracted and... well... attempting very hard via Xanex and mood stabilizer to appear normal to the world.

Again, ANYWAY...

On the way to work, I had a conversation with God. I don't know if I was feeling guilty? I don't know a lot of things today, but I know this:

I know He loves me. I know he understands and knows what I am going through. I know that He hasn't forgotten me. I know He has a hand in everything going on in my life, putting people in place to support me when I can't deal on my own, cheering me on when I succeed, and loving me anyway when I am rebellious.

And oh am I rebellious some days.

And I am angry.  So angry that on some days - like today -  I want to turn in my temple recommend and scream and rail and say I HATE YOU!!! I HATE THIS! MAKE IT STOP ALREADY!

I do not like being mentally ill. I do not like not being in control of my emotions. I do not like that I have to take a xanex to handle little kids screaming in the store.

I am angry that I have to remind myself to breathe over one simple little mistake - regardless of what it is. Forgetting to sign a permission slip. Forgetting to have my son read. Not seeing a customer at the fitting room in time for me to count their clothes on their way out.  (It's an anti-theft policy and I am far from perfect some days)

I'm especially angry right now that He didn't let me come home in April.

Friday, October 2, 2015

the Semi-Colon

I sent someone a sketch of my current semi-colon tat idea. She mentioned that someone she knew was going to get one 'because they're cool,' which offended her. It kind of offends me, too, to be honest.

Sure it's showing support for mental illness. However, "Because it's cool" doesn't sound like understanding the whole reason behind the semi-colon. It feels like the bandwagon is taking something deeply personal and making it a commonplace cliche.

But I'm old and practicallyyelling "GET OFF MY LAWN" to all the young folk.

Besides, just because it means something to me, doesn't mean that someone else can't love the look and want one. It **really** shouldn't bother me how other people treat symbols. It's a punctuation mark, for crying out loud.

Maybe it's because April is not so far in the past, and that experience is still somewhat fresh? Maybe because I want people to understand. I want them to realize the importance and the very real struggle that depression, et al, present to those of us who struggle with it.

A semi-colon to me, right now, says "You're not done yet. You're not done yet. Keep going, you're still writing your sentence." I look at it, and it changes the "I can't do this anymore. I'm done. I just can't." to "Keep going; one more step; one more day; one more line in your book of life."

It's one of my many life-lines on the inevitable down days.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I'm a teensy tiny little bit worried that I might be going into a manic phase? I have all this crazy energy, and I've had it since noon. I'm not even tired. so... probably a sleeping pill is in order for tonight. (this morning? it's really 2 a.m.??? no way. It feels like 10pm.) But, um, if I start spouting all these ideas for projects I'm going to do and then forget them for another one, that would be a yes, yes in fact I am in a manic phase.
I'm telling you the warning signs now because I don't see them until after the fact. so, you know, I might need someone else to say, "Hey, call your doc."
While my mild manic's are great for interacting with people at work -- ooh, and housecleaning! -- it's probably not a great sign for how my meds are working. It's also a sign that a super bad low is on the way.
So I'm deciding that the happy energy is simply that. Happy energy! FEEL THE LOVE EVERYONE!! I am sending it out to everyone!! I hope my cousins in France and Germany can feel it! smile emoticon

Thursday, September 17, 2015

pros and cons for me of retail work

Cool things about working: Adult conversation, smiling at people, losing a pant size from being on my feet all day and walking back/forth from home. Having a reason to do hair and makeup AND jewelry! Oh, and the paycheck. Did I mention the discount? Because discount = awesome.

Not cool things about work: The kids cheering "Yay mom's home! I LOVE it when you're home!" and becoming velcro when they come home from school on one of my days off. Putting my schedule into my phone and still clocking in late at work (even though I'm IN the store) because the numbers get turned around in my head. Staring at clothes and not remembering what I'm supposed to do with them on my bad days. Jada saying "I'm so glad you're not closing this week. It's nice to have a break." My feet hurting.

 The kids only see Rob during the mornings, because he gets home long after bedtime. Because my schedule changes constantly, they see me at all kinds of different times. /

According to Jada, the pros of this: "Hey, we're learning independence and how to rely on ourselves."

Of course, the cons are: "I don't like having to be the mom." wil won't do his homework for her like he does for me. You know, mom things.

this working thing is hard for me. I mean, I know it's hard for everyone, but once upon a time I was a quick learner, could tell time, could do math, and remember basic things. This is much harder for me now. The forgetful bit is really kind of an issue some days, though.

Not sure if I'm whining, thinking this over, or putting all the thoughts out there so I can do some problem solving to make this better.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why I got a job?

I am working 7pm to close tonight. Can I just say that A- I still don't feel all that great, but I'm not sick. and B - I just don't have the energy to walk there today. I have to get there, so I will, but I am probably going to have to leave an hour early.
Once I get there, I'm usually fine. It's the getting myself there that's the hard part. Today is one of those days I just want to sit in a dark room, curl up and hide.
Which, of course, means that the social interaction is something I NEED to do today.
THAT's the work part.
You know, I have so many friends and family going through stuff so much worse than this. We remember so many folks in our prayers that need blessings and help, and I just feel stupid for my down days. And while I know what I struggle with is real, it seems so mild next to everything else.
Ok, yeah, if there's a repeat of April, then yeah, it's very real and very scary, but... well... hopefully there won't ever be a repeat of that.
I have a lot to be grateful for. I have healthy children capable of being self-reliant. They may not always get along, but as they've grown they look out for each other and remind each other of the rules.
I have a husband willing to work to provide for his family. Who takes his turns doing dishes and cleaning the bathrooms.
I have a home that is current on the rent. I have food. I have medical coverage for my children and husband. I have books to read, I have the internet, a computer, electricity and gas. We have the basics we need, and we have quite a few of the niceties. We aren't rich, but we are not living in squalor.
So blessings. Lots of them. Many, many things to be grateful for. Yet I feel like getting up and facing the day is nearly impossible.
I'll be walking in the sunshine, that will help. I'll be walking. That in and of itself will be good. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. And object at rest tends to stay at rest. Unless acted upon by an outside force, right? Well, I guess today that outside force is gonna have to be me telling myself to get up off my butt.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Semi-Colon fad? It's not just a fad for me.

I have talked about tattoos before, and I know some think it's a great idea, some don't -- or don't even understand why I'd consider it. Some just don't care what I do, because my body, right?

I'd like to explain how I'm feeling. I love butterflies because they represent freedom, which is a very big deal when I feel caged inside my own head. After my long walk in April, a tattoo became something that I felt I needed to do, because even though I can no longer control my mind all the time, I can control my dreams.

 I don't know how many of you have heard or seen the semi-colon movement, a blog post that went viral about a semi-colon tattoo to represent surviving a suicide attempt. I want to let you know that I am not jumping on a band wagon just because other people are doing it. I have never been one to follow a crowd. In fact, I usually will do the opposite just to prove that I can think on my own. 

However, I personally identify with the semi-colon because of my choice in April. And I want to share some of the ideas I'm toying with for when a tattoo won't be a financial luxury I can't afford, but something that I am doing for myself. When it won't be a choice between catching up on some bills or putting ink on my skin. I mean, really, that's just a duh choice, right?

Something simple yet beautiful, something that expresses me. Something small and in a place easily covered for work, yet something I can see when I need to. Because there are times I *need* to see it.

It's ok if you don't understand. It's ok if you disagree. I just wanted to explain where I am emotionally and mentally on this, and why, even though I do not like pain at all, I am willing to do it.

The original quote from the original blog post. When I can find the link I will share it.  

I've always love ink splotches. I love this semi-colon. Not sure how I'd work in a butterfly, but it would be kind of awesome, don't you think? Well, I think so.
Love this butterfly and the simplicity and grace

Ok, how can I NOT love this butterfly??  It's amazing

Oh, I love the splotches and inky here. 

This needs to be a tattoo for me as well. NEEDS to be. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I write my story. Ok, I don't want the words. Just the book turning to wings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Childhood issues

You know, with this assault of childhood memories, I now completely understand why I dislike my birthday and holidays. I had no answer for people who asked, and now that I know, I can smile and say it's just not my thing. I may even get to a point where I don't wince when people say "Happy Birthday." Not today, but someday.

To be honest, I think I'm doing exceptionally great for the insanely fun things I started at Christmas in order to make it fun for my family who I love so much. YAY for that!! It's a very cool moment for me when I can say, "Hey! Look what I did! I turned a negative into a positive! I'm kinda proud of myself!"

-- Besides, the kids LOVE it, and playing silly games is completely worth the effort that all of us big kids do to pull it off. It's FUN! - And Rob, who thinks it's crazy to do such elaborate things, gets into it and plays right along even though I think he'd rather do the sit around the tree and open everything all at once that most people do.

I'm just gonna give myself a pat on the back right now for the Christmas thing. I couldn't do it alone, but it was my idea to start with and that's a big deal. It won't matter later, but right now it does.

I doubt I will ever be a party planner, and that's ok. That's why the Lord blessed me with great friends and family. That stuff makes them happy, and I am super happy watching them play as they organize and set things up.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Job Experiment

Did my first 5 hours of work today. And I learned a few things:

A - keep a xanex in my pocket instead of hiding in my purse so I don't have to wait for break to take it.

B - My interpretation of front to back is NOT the same as normal people.

C - My anxiety was not triggered at all by the people in the store, but by doing an entire go-back rack backwards. And then a screaming baby. I sang to myself as I tried to convince my brain that the Ross way is the Ross way, not my way.

D - I really enjoy interacting with the customers. I like smiling at people and eliciting a smile in response. The high traffic due to back-to-school wasn't nearly as overwhelming as I thought it might be.

E - I tire really easily. After 5 hours on my feet, I am covered in sweat and am exhausted.

So work? So far I feel like I can do it. Can I do it without my anti-anxiety pill? No. Definitely need that. Glad I have it when I need it.

 My way of sorting things is weird. I know that now. Who knew? Not me.

I grew up playing Pinochle. So I sort: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Nine. Descending order, just like that. And because the lowest number is at the right, the right is then the front, and I move from right to left as I put things in order.

The poor lady training me was convinced she wasn't explaining things right. She did fabulous. I have to retrain my brain that the left side of the rack is the front, even though it's at the back of the fitting area. And when they refer to things being "behind" the sign on the rack, they mean to the right of it, not the left. Soooo strange to me, but ok. I have to put my back against the wall and look down the rack so my brain processes Front here. Back there. Behind the sign from this angle is truly behind it.

This is probably good thinking exercise for me. Currently frustrating and hard, but good for me, nonetheless. At least all of my coworkers are awesome and friendly and happy to answer all of my questions.

I think it's because it was my first day on the floor that I am wired, nervous and feel like crying. But I managed to keep all of that under control at work. I was able to let that out after I was in my van and driving home.

My kids are awesome. The rain was awesome. Being able to stand out in the rain and enjoy the puddles in my bare feet was a FABULOUS way of helping disperse the nervous energy.

When I got home, the kids could see I was trying not to have a complete breakdown. Mina, bless her sweet heart, made me fried eggs on toast. And oh my goodness, the few housework chores I'd asked them to do, DONE, by the time I got home. How awesome is that??? I couldn't even find the right words to tell the kids how proud I was of them, and how absolutely pleasing it was to find the three things on the check-off list done. I wish I had something super cool to reward them with, but hugs and kisses will have to suffice today. Awesome children.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Oh, the joys of processing old memories

There are some things that just shouldn't be shared publicly.

Stuff I'm dealing with now is stuff *I'm* holding onto and am learning how to let go of. Sometimes things that happen during childhood come back full force, and there's nothing I can do but feel it, acknowledge it, and attempt to process it as I am able. Paralyzing as it may feel.

Publicly shaming someone else does nothing but cause more harm. And if nothing else, I can at least show that much respect. Besides, trust me, if it were something jail-worthy, ooooooh that would have been taken care of, because I won't protect that.

I'm angry, yes, but I don't need to be spiteful. The anger is just a stage and I'll get through it. It's yucky and I don't want to hang onto it, but it's currently in the front of my brain, so ... it is what it is. If you find me curled up feeling all sobby and broken, it's part of this phase. But please don't think I'm a victim or consider myself one. I'm not.

I not only survived, but I came out of my trials of youth stubborn, quick to learn, and determined not to give up. And extremely grateful for the people who were there.

 Stuff that is this old is possible to let go of. I can; I will; but I am not the quickest of learners when it comes to emotional crap. However, like the job and trying to learn how to deal with my anxiety by facing it, I'm pretty sure I can do this, too.

Cuz seriously... who wants to define themselves by old yuck? Not me. I'm ME now. And while I'm far from perfect, definitely had my years where I was not the greatest of parents, and struggle with mental illness that is hard to handle some days, I'm still here. I have raised some bright, beautiful children, I have had very successful careers, and very successful school experiences.

So I can do this. -- Some days the depression tries to convince me that I can't. Somedays old emotions pop up and say, "but you're not loveable because of blah blah blah." Yeah, it's a struggle. But today, today I can see a lot of the good, how I overcame and became stronger because of the blah blah blah.

I still have a long way to go. But that's ok. I'm not close to the cliff edge currently. This may be paralyzing and hard to deal with some days, but hard is hard is hard. Life never promised to be easy.

I have a lot to be grateful for. And I believe that as I write through these memories and process them, that I will be able to find something that I learned from each of the experiences.

 TMI? Perhaps. But it's life according to Chris, and this much I felt like I needed to share.