Monday, September 15, 2014

Realizations

I have spent the last year+ seeing doctors, being treated, hoping that the doctors would just fix me already.

After talking last night with a friend who has struggled with diabetes for close to 20 years, I realized something. She said her energy levels never really went back to normal, even after she got her blood sugars under control. Now with her hormones going nuts, she said her body is better, but still not where it was a year and a half ago, and maybe never would be.

And I went, "huh."

And then a light went on.

There isn't a cure for bi-polar depression. At least nothing that the medical field knows about. Sure, there are miracles, and yes, I know there are all kinds of alternate treatments out there. But the fact of the matter is that this is something I am going to have to live with, be aware of, and self-monitor for the rest of my life.

I can spend a lot of time wishing I had the energy and mental capacity that I used to.--And I have-- Or I can try to retrain my brain for creativity and function in its current state of being. Sure, I will get frustrated because my capacities aren't the same.

But I can do this. I can take my meds. I can make sure I exercise and take time for myself to de-stress. And I can decide to attempt to be creative anyway.

Sure, I may always have to write with my internal editor turned on. Remembering to sign kids' homework and print off things for 'about me' posters and other school stuff is still something I'll have to work at. And sure, drawing and painting inspiration may be difficult to channel, but that doesn't mean I *can't* do it anymore. It just means I have to work harder at it. And maybe that's what I need.

Just because things aren't easy doesn't mean they aren't worth doing.

Just because life is hard doesn't mean it isn't worth living. 

And I will tell myself this over and over and over, especially on bad days. Because of another eternal truth: Depression LIES.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The ABC's of Depression

It may not be the most cheerful of poems, but it is honest.
For those who live with, love, or are married to someone with depression:
I give you a look inside our heads.









    A is for Apathy, I can’t seem to care.
Asphyxiating Anxiety steals all my air.
Angry and Agitated, Annoyed to the brim,
And so Anti-social, I’ll never fit in.

B is BiPolar Bouncing my Brain
Up to the happy, then right down the drain.
A Black hole that sucks the light out of life,
With Brutal Blue Barriers that Bicker with strife.
My thoughts are Broken and filled with the Blahs
In my Brain this Blizzard-like storm never thaws.

C is the Cage that Circles my thoughts,
It’s Corrosive and harsh, a shouting of oughts.
Control is a joke, I Can’t Choose what I think.
Cruel Chemicals are driving my brain to the brink.
Compassionate friends show they Care and are kind
But I’m Callous, Consumed, Crying out of my mind.
Crazy Cures Could bring freedom, I’m grasping at straws.
Trying this thing and that, is my diet the Cause?
My neighbor insists Castor oil is a must;
I’ve Cleansed and I’ve greened and I’ve Choked in disgust.

Depression is D, Damning Darkness so black.
The sun cannot shine through the foggy attack.
A Downward spiral it whirls, sucking joy all the way,
While in the shadows Death beckons, mocking my Day.

E is for Energy: where did it go?
My children, they need me. Didn’t you know?
I’m Empty, Exhausted, I just can’t keep up.
If you need me, I’ll be on my bed all curled up.

F is Forgetting it: life, joy, and light. 
My emotions are Flat, I’m not up for this Fight.
I'm Flustered and Frumpy, my hair's in a Frizz,
And make-up? What's that? I don't have time for this biz.

Grumpy and Growly and I don’t know why,
Guilty and Gutless, but yes, I still try.
I’m a Ghost of the person I once used to be,
And oh, did I mention these all start with G?
“Life’s Good! Count your blessings! Gratitude fixes all!”
But it’s all Gray and fuzzy, I feel very small;
A piece of human Garbage with arms, legs, and feet.
Take me to the Gallows, this Game’s not for me.

Hollowed out Horror is H when I wake,
Without Humor, I'd probably jump in a lake.
Hope is a must; things get better, they will!
Just don't ask me when, there's no answer to spill.
My Hygiene is awful, it's Humiliating, really.
I feel like a Hermit on a Heretic's journey. 
I Hate that I can't care to shower so often.
It makes me feel Hopeless, all stinky and rotten.

My brain is plain Itchy, I want to scratch It right out,
This Invisible Illness fills me with doubt.
Everything is Icy Intense numbing pain.
Interrupt this mental tape before I go Insane.
I’m Isolated, Irate -- self-Involved I assume --
Everything aims Inward, the source of my doom.

It’s Just too much, life’s a Joke and a lie,
The world is my Jury, I can’t Justify
The Jagged emotions, from Jealous to Jerk.
With my brain turned to Jelly, it’s Just too much work.
My soul Jitters and Jumps to escape from this shell,
it Jolts oddly in place and remains here in hell.

My body and thoughts reflect K trying to Kill.
My muscles are Knotted and twisted and ill.
I didn’t ask for this horrible Knife in my side
I’d prefer to stay happy, but it ebbs like the tide.

To Laugh at depression is how I survive.
“You’re Lazy,” says hubster, my kids roll their eyes.
Life-sucking darkness Lurks in my brain;
I’m Lost, Losing Light, and filled with disdain.
Lumpy and Limp, emotions Lopsided,
I need a Lobotomy, a Last resort sighted.

M is the Minefield of the Mentally ill,
It’s Mysterious and tricky and sucks out my will.
It’s Missing Myself for Months upon end;
A Malignant Misery which I cannot Mend.
Meds do help to keep the dark fog at bay,
The habit to take them just part of my day.
Pills in the Morning and pills at night;
Some say they’re evil, but I need to feel right.

N is for Nothing: what I think, what I am;
I’ve Naught left to give, so why give a damn?
I’m Numb and I’ll Never be good enough,
This Non-stop assault makes me wimpy, not tough.

O is the Oppressive weight On my shoulders,
Each failure, each Option, another big boulder.
The basic to-do list is so Overwhelming
Opportunities to repent both salvation and maddening.

P is the Pointless advice that I hear:
“It’s Punishment.” “That Panic’s irrelevant, dear.”
“If you had enough faith, this would all go away.”
So I Pray and I Plead and suffer anyway.
This life’s a Performance, and I’m the main Player
The real me sedated, a Psyche ward surveyor.

Quoting folks with those know-it-all cures is Q
Those Quick fix-it miracles that’ll save me and you.

Ruled by chemistry is R, along with Rage and Regret
Ritalin and Risperdal: a synthetic Roulette.
It’s a jumble of hope and Ridiculous wishes,
If-onlys, desires, and countless what-ifses.

“Snap out of it,” I’m told, “Get up, go do Something.”
“Stop Sleeping So much! No wonder you’re Suffering.”
“Suck it up,” Self-doubt says, “They’re right, just admit.”
Their opinions are worth more than they Should be, dammit.
STOP SHOULD-ING ON ME! You don’t live in my head!
I’m Still here, leave me be: at least I’m not dead.
Side-effects from the meds leave me dizzy and faint;
Shaking and Shuddering, hands caught in restraint.
I don’t want to Shout or Scream all a’tremble
I Struggle to make my thoughts reassemble.
Yes I’m Self-absorbed, but you cannot assist
The war in my head where I fight to exist.

T is Tired and Torn and should Think better Thoughts.
Tell me, oh Tell me, how to just shut them off?
If you know my brain so much better than I,
Fix me, already; I’ve Tried and I’ve Tried.

Unmotivated U, is Unworthy, Uncouth.
What effort I gave was wasted in youth.
Uncontrolled and Unhappy, I attempt to see clear,
To focus on something Unique and so dear.
Those tiny small moments, Uplifting and kind,
Of bright sparkling happy, so sure and defined.
I wish they would linger right here in my mind,
A hug of warm fuzzies to help me Unwind.

I Wonder with W what could possibly be
If Wishes were fishes and I could just see
A life Without haze or fog or bleak darkness.
Would it be Wonderful? Or simply Weird starkness?

X doesn’t start anything but X-ray
I’ve had plenty of those, but they’ve nothing to say.
My problems aren’t visible: no bones are broken.
It’s emotional, a chemical monster that’s woken.

Y is the Yo-yo Bi-Polar 2 brings
Yawning up then back down like it’s burning my wings.
This Year’s been a horror, let’s not do it again.
Next Year will be better, I swear on this pen.

Z is for Zombies that shiver and shake
Craving a brain that won’t make them ache.
My brain cannot give them a nourishing punch.
At last! One thing’s good: I’d make bad Zombie lunch.

I know who I am; I know why I am here.
I know that my husband and family are dear.
I can’t choose the battle, though the fight I must win.
I can choose to survive or choose to give in.
I don’t expect understanding, it’s impossible at best.
I hope for relief and good times with good friends.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Descent Into Madness

Sep 1, 2014

It's 9:30 a.m. I don't feel right. I can't be specific, but I don't feel right. I am looking for movies to send to my daughter in college. It's important to her, and I need to have them ready for her friend who is driving down to see her. But I can't find the other bags full of things she needed as well. I had them in my hands, but I can't find them.

I am going crazy. I am going crazy. I am going crazy.

"No mom, you're not crazy. You're fine. The bags might be upstairs, have you checked?" Her voice is soothing and calm over the phone. I take a deep breath and head upstairs. My hands start to shake.

The bags are on my bed. I don't remember putting them there, but there is relief to find them. I set everything in the front room and remember to grab the cookie sheet she needed. She loves to make cookies for others when they are sad, so the cookie sheet is important. I can't forget it.

My hands start to shake more. I feel wrong. I feel crazy. I feel like my soul is trying to jitter out of my body. I text my friend because I think I need help.

He steps out of the movie he is attending and calls me back. Tells me to do something comforting. I can't remember all of his instructions, but I head into my room and cuddle onto my husband, holding onto him in an attempt to hold onto myself. Maybe he can anchor me into my body.

My brain hurts. My thoughts and words stutter.

My husband calls my psychiatrists office. He puts it on speaker phone and I start speaking to the on-call psychiatrist. It's a holiday, so there is no way to reach MY doctor. She thinks I'm having anxiety. It could be, but I don't feel the oppressive weight on my chest. I feel... wrong. It could be a reaction to the change in dosage of my anti-depressant. It could be a reaction of an antibiotic I'm taking mixing with my normal meds. I pace madly back and forth, trying to hold the phone steady in my hand while she spouts theories without solving anything.

I was fine yesterday. Why am I not fine today? Why can't I be fine today and tomorrow and for all the tomorrows after that?

She thinks I need a benzodiazepine, but won't call it in because she doesn't have all of my vitals in case there is something else wrong. I should go to the E.R. to get one.

I hang up the phone and immediately hand it to my daughter, knowing if I hold it a moment longer I will throw it at the wall in frustration.

I refuse to pay a $250 E.R. co-pay for a tiny pill.

I am frustrated. They'll put me back in they psyche ward again. I probably need to be locked up. I want to hear the sound of breaking glass. I want to feel the bright shards of pain as my fist goes through and shatters. I can see myself picking up a shard and carving beautiful bloody images in my hand. My right hand. The hand that refuses to draw, to paint, to be creative. I long for the pain and the bright warmth of the blood that flows through these useless fingers. Fingers that fail.

No. That's wrong. That's wrong. I sit and grasp the loose part of my jeans near the knees, a small part of my mind using that as a lifeline. I mustn't let go. My hands will hurt things if I let go. But I look around, anyway, my traitorous eyes searching. What is near that is sharp? Something has to be.

I want to stab, stab, stab at the skin skin skin. Nothing. I grasp the jeans harder, feeling the pain of my fingernails digging into and pushing back into my fingertips. Safer, a small part of my mind says. Concentrate on that pain, it is safer. Hold on, just hold on. Fight it. Fight it. Fight it.

I shake, struggling with myself. Shivers run up and down my arms. My brain is a battle of alarms, steel will, and the urge to punch, fight, kick, and scream at the world.

I know this feeling. They'll lock me back up in the gray rooms of the psyche ward and the social worker will treat me like an addict again. It won't help, because I'm not on drugs. Something is wrong with my brain, I am crazy.

I am angry. Furious. Why don't they fix me???

I begin sobbing as I rock back and forth on the chair. I thought I was fine. Why can't I stay fine? Why can't the doctors fix me? Why do I want to lash out and hurt the ones I love the most? Why can't I control my thoughts? I've been following all the instruction, why am I losing the battle?

My oldest daughter begins to do the dishes. I hear her keeping herself busy, her fake happy voice keeping the younger children corralled safely away from mom. I know this hurts her. I wish I could stop, laugh, be normal, talk about wedding plans. I can't. I can't stop rocking and crying.

My husband begins to yell at me. He tells me to fight it. Don't let it win.

I don't want to hear him. I don't want to hear anything. I tune everything out and concentrate on the rocking. Squeak, squeak, squeak; back and forth, back and forth. The rhythm is something I can feel in every muscle, something safe.

I pray to God to just take me away. Just let me come home and sleep on the grass near Him, just let me rest. I am tired of this battle, it's exhausting. Can't He just please, please, please make this stop?

I rock, back and forth. The squeaking of the chair a hypnotic rhythm. My nose runs, but if I let go, if I unclench my fists, something bad will happen. I am afraid I won't be able to control my hands if I unclench them.

A voice commands, "Go to bed and sleep it off."

It could be my mother. It says it again, invading my bubble of silence, demanding, coercing. I rock, ignoring it. Back and forth, back and forth. The shaking in my arms finally begins to stop.

"CHRISTINE VAN SOOLEN, GET UP. GO TO BED AND SLEEP IT OFF!"

I get up and stagger, blindly obeying, shuffling my way dizzily to bed, keeping my hands clenched my sides.

My husband follows me, his footsteps light and careful, watching. I curl up, pulling my knees to my chest, burying my head under the pillows. The darkness is a comforting softness, my own cave of solitude. My fingers begin to relax, stretching out the pain, and I breathe out into sleep, feeling safe under the pillows.

When I wake, my husband is curled around me, holding me tightly. I feel warm and secure, but vulnerable and fragile. I cannot handle the wild crazy sounds of the children being children in the house. I hide from it, and he settles them down and makes arrangements for us to leave and go see a movie. Anything to get me out of the house, something that will help me feel normal again.

I don't feel normal, but I feel in control.

At 9:00 p.m., twelve hours after this all has started, the alarm sounds on my phone and my husband gently asks, "Have you taken your meds yet?" A soft reminder that I survived today, and taking my meds tonight means there's a good chance I'll be ok tomorrow.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Opinion


In the wake of Robin Williams' suicide, I have heard so many people say, "That's so selfish, didn't he know the hurt he was leaving his children and fans?"

Before I had post-partum depression, I honestly had no clue what depression was like. Then I had two years of hell. Then I turned 40 and now, yay me, get to deal with bi-polar depression for the rest of my life. I haven't struggled my entire life like lots of people I know. The med changes I deal with are a teensy drop in the bucket compared to several folks.

It makes me angry, so very, very angry when those who have never had depression so badly that it hurts to breathe -- who have never faced the choice between living with the pain or finding release-- decide to judge and belittle that struggle, to call it selfish and cowardly when someone simply cannot face the darkness and pain one more minute and chooses release.

When the meds work, that place seems distant and far away, nothing I would ever consider. But when the meds don't work, you can't see beyond the darkness. Faith, loved ones, they help, but you can't feel the feels. I simply cannot explain it; there are no words.

Seen from the outside, it is incomprehensible. The loss and confusion are unbearable to the survivors because it's painful to lose someone you love. It's hard and it hurts and it can never be fixed.

But unless you've lived that struggle, walked in those shoes, do the rest of us a favor and keep your judgements to yourself. The energy spent condemning and judging others would be better spent mourning with those that mourn, loving those who hurt, and supporting those who survive and those who continue to find the strength to fight that battle against the oppressive weight of depression.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Life

I have been working on several art projects to get through this summer.

A few of them are top secret and I can't say anything about them other than I'm working on it.

A couple of them are things I work on when I can't keep my sanity any other way. These I wish to share when I get them cleaned up in the computer.

But to put it bluntly, it's been a long summer. It's been a long year. I have a great psychiatrist, but he's been adjusting my meds, and that messes with my brain, which makes coping with life very difficult for me, as I'm very sensitive to medication.

Things going on in my life:

Girl Scout trips and Silver Award Projects to stress over, plan, postpone, etc. I love my girl scouts, but most of my troop and my co-leader are having to carry most of the weight because I haven't been functioning well.

Two daughters going off to college this month. One is going back after a year hiatus, one is going for the first time. One heading to the north of the state, one heading to the south.

Planning a daughter's wedding. To which I can only say: you want to get married two months after he proposes, you're not gonna get all the details and all the elaborate things you're wishing for.

I just realized I forgot to register my 14 yo for Junior High. Need to do that tomorrow.

And I need to get my three little ones, my BABY, ready for school to start next week. My son starts kindergarten. I cannot believe it.

However, while I have felt overburdened, unable to cope, and out of my mind, this summer we've accomplished two family camping trips, helped bring our cat's kittens safely into the world, taught art lessons every Weds, and done a face-paining/henna tattoo booth to help raise money for our troop.

I am dizzy, disconnected, and slowly getting my house ready for the onset of school, homework, and routine. I am trying to be active in my church callings as much as I can. I find I have energy when teaching my class, but otherwise I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks over large groups of people.

I have hope. I believe life will get better. I believe my brain will find an equilibrium and that somehow I will be the fun, excited, and silly mom that my kids remember.

I am planning on continuing to help run my girl scout troop next year, but it won't be easy. I'm not sure I can help out with my little girls' troop this year, though. I am already falling apart at the seams, it feels like. More things pulling on me will unravel all that is left of my sanity, I am afraid.

I wish very much to surround myself with crystals, beads, spirit rocks, and esoteric spiritual things that make me feel good. Like long flowy skirts and peasant shirts and lovely books full of flight and fantasy. That being said, I love my scriptures, my faith, my belief that I am not alone, no matter how hard things get. I love the colors of life. I love the spice of my friends. I love those who are there for me when I can't be there for anyone. I love that my husband is willing to cuddle and hold me when I can't think straight.

I have much to be grateful for, no matter how much I might complain about the things that are hard. I am very grateful for the little things and the big things.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Artsy Fartsy

As I've been sitting in bed a lot recovering from surgery, I have been feeling arty!

I have filled up a sketchbook since my first stay in the hospital, and have recently been giving myself photoshop projects as if I were in school.

Here's the cool thing: I didn't care if I failed at these projects. Failure is how I learn.  So some of the following projects may make your eyes bleed, but I was working and stretching my art and design muscles that have sat dormant for toooooooo long.

I need practice with layer masking, so I played:

Raven and Bear in front of moon


I wanted to practice merging different pictures onto one background. So I played:


I need practice working on layouts. So I played:

 



I need practice with type. So I played:


just because you CAN use a filter, doesn't mean you SHOULD




Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wait, weight?

You are telling me that I have to worry about weight gain now? Seriously??

I am not grossly overweight. Yet.

I am one of those people who landed in a 'larger than I used to be' soft spot after my son was born, and had to buy a few clothes to adjust, and have stayed there in a lumpy comfy plateau for the past five years.

I don't weigh myself every morning, I don't think about what I eat except with regard to getting enough fiber and greens so my body is regular. On occasion I look in the mirror and wish I wasn't so lumpy, then change my clothes and don't think about it again for a while.

When fighting depression there are so many other things to worry, stress, cry, fret, and agonize over, that weight was something I didn't add to the list. Trust me, that list was exhaustive, why worry about something that's not *really* an issue.

Except now it is.

I've been in and out of the hospital twice in the last month, I've been to doctor's offices more often than I can count. Every single time they make you stand on a scale. And when they don't, they ask you your weight and you have to say it OUT LOUD. I always want to whisper it, looking away like I should be ashamed.

In this environment, I can't NOT notice that I've gained seven pounds since I started the mood stabilizer.

seven pounds in two weeks? Three?

And oh, yeah, food. I want to eat ALL THE TIME.

I found this site here about weight gain and bi-polar meds that explains how/why it happens. And the author is right when they talk about Bi Polar 2 struggling with motivation and apathy when they cycle low, which makes constant exercise a challenge.

I love exercise, I really do. I like the way it makes me feel. But I just had surgery, so I'm doing good to get up and walk for five minutes around my kitchen three times a day.

My challenge, should I choose to take it, is to figure out how to make this weight thing about managing the medicine instead of about how I look and feel. Because if any of this weight stuff creeps into my brain and becomes yet another tool that depression can use to lie to me with, I will just cry. I cannot handle that.

I am loveable and acceptable no matter how I look. Right? RIGHT????  Right!!

So. That being said, here's to figuring out how to make exercise a habit, and an "i must do this for my health and to manage the bi-polar" and not about what clothes I can and want to fit into.

ugh. Challenge half-heartedly accepted for now. I'll drum up some enthusiasm when I can not be bitter about 'one more thing on the to-do pile.'

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Depression Lies

Depression says, "You suck, why bother trying?"
Life experience says, "What did you learn from that experience? Cool, now try again."

Depression says, "That feedback they just gave you? It means you failed."
Life experience says, "Hey, that was full of some great ideas to improve this."

Depressions says, "Look at this list of all the things you should be doing. And you aren't doing any of them."
Life experience says, "Do your best and do what you can. If your best is getting out of bed today, let's celebrate that. The list can wait."

Depression says, "You say you love me, but I can't feel it, so it must not be true."
Life experience says, "My feels are out of order and proportion. I know my family loves me. I cannot feel it, but I know it on some level. That will have to be good enough for now."

Depression says, "You can't feel anything because you're not worth anything"
Life experience says, "This is a lie that feels like truth. I can feel the bad, but not the good, so the bad must be true. What makes me worth it? The fact that I love color, I love laughter, I love. I can't feel the love right now, but I do love."

Depression says, "Why bother?"
Life experience says, "If I love my family so much that I would be willing to die for them, do I love them enough that I'm willing to live for them?"

Depression says, "They only love you because they have to."
Life experience says, "People are lazy, they don't love anything they don't want to.  Love certainly never happens when its forced. If someone says they love you, and their actions support that statement, then they do. If they say they love you, then make fun of you or ignore you or abuse you, the yep, it's a lie."

All the logic in the world doesn't stop the feels and lies of depression on a down day. But knowing that it is all lies helps cope with it and survive.

Being an artist, some days its easier to take critiques and feedback than others. No, people should not pull their punches or be less honest with their feedback. The onus is on me to shelf it until I'm in a place mentally where I can pull all the wonderful ideas out of what has been said and move forward with a project and continue working on it until I feel it's done. If working on something doesn't feel good, I need to change what I'm doing.

I may not be able to control how I feel, but I can control what I do about how I'm feeling.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sketches Off Crazy




trees and birds I wished were happy
Last week was hard.

Normal people read that as: Oh, something bad happened. What can I do? Want a hug?

Mentally ill folks read that and think: Oh, that fight. That's a craptastic fight. You're still here! **knuckle-bump/high five**

NOTE: I feel inclined to share my experience, but would like to offer a warning. The following account is told through my filter, and I was irritated, grumpy, and trying very hard to control the angry urges screaming through my head. You may find this offensive.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On Being Broken

This is probably a TMI post, but I'm the kind of person who will tell you exactly how I'm feeling if you ask.

For almost a year now, I have not been feeling right. It started with being tired all the time. Then my monthly cycles started being extremely painful. Then the depression kicked in with a huge whammy.

About six months ago, my O.B. put me on antibiotics for a uterine infection. And that cleared up a lot of the abdominal pain and the tired. Didn't fix the depression. In fact, it kind of got worse after that got better.

I started seeing a General Practitioner about four months ago who sees mostly patients with depression. I wouldn't call him a specialist, but I love him. Mostly because he listens to me. He takes my opinions and thoughts into account when I have issues, and he doesn't go for the easy answer, nor does he just throw pills at me to fix things. We talk things through about anxiety and any other symptoms I have.

In January, I started seeing a therapist. I also had my first Manic day. I have experienced Mania consistently on the first day of my period every month since then. Except March, which was a full-blown panic attack (which was kind of the same physical reaction as the mania, but instead of feeling high or drunk, I was panicked.) I also have little moments of mania spattered throughout, that I recognize by the overly silly tendencies that happen. As yet, I haven't done anything stupid, but it's worrisome that it's happening more often.


In February, my therapist began insisting that I see a psychiatrist, because I am getting worse, not better. But not just any psychiatrist, because she knows a lot of them and is picky. Not to mention the fact that just getting in to see someone takes MONTHS. But she has a working relationship with a couple, and once I'm in their system, I she can get them to move my appointment up. The doctor closest to me doesn't take my insurance. This is kind of a big issue for me. However, he has agreed he only needs to see me three times to get a feel for things, and then he will work directly with my GP to manage my meds and care.

Here's a description of my mental health:  Things that come out of the blue are harder for me to cope with without emotionally crashing. And things that normally wouldn't bother me now send me into panic attacks or anxiety. Good days I feel normal and can do things. Bad days, I don't even feel like I'm on meds. They are bad, bad, bad days. My GP and Therapist have diagnosed this as BiPolar 2.

One of my favorite things to do to relieve stress and feel good is to dance to happy music. Happy music to me is any song on the radio that makes me feel like moving. There's this rush that I feel from the inside out when there's good music on. Except now. I tried doing a Just Dance workout the end of Feb and instead of the emotional high, I crashed. And none of my normal coping skills to stop an emotional dive worked. 

March brought on more issues. Ended up in the E.R. because I thought I was hemorrhaging. I had never seen so much blood nor clots the size of my fist before. The e.r. docs said I looked fine except for a cervical polyp. Lots and lots of pain and blood, but I was assured this was normal for being 40 and that I was fine. I didn't believe them, but I went home anyway, convinced they just didn't care to listen to me.

The following Monday morning I was in my O.B.'s office again, and she removed the polyp and said she wanted to do a hysterectomy. I would have cheered if my body would have let me.

That afternoon I was in my GP's office and I asked if he would please check my hormone levels. We did a blood draw to measure adrenal, pancreatic, testosterone, estroven, estrogen, progesterone, and a bunch of other hormones that affect hormones. Because something is off in my body, and I am determined to figure it out, using everything possible. I want to be well, and I want to be a reliable mother, wife, and person.

Surgery is scheduled for the middle of April. My body is still bleeding, and the cramping after the polyp removal feels like I am in labor *almost* all the time. It's intermittent, but if I do anything like vacuum or sweep or lift a load of laundry, then I end up in a world of pain. I know that the removal of my uterus isn't going to fix ALL of my problems, but it will fix an immediate source of pain and stress. Seeing a psychiatrist will help fix the other problems.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not a train. I have hope that I'm going to stop crashing soon. Or, that even when I have bad days that they'll be more manageable.