She’s Back!!!

This is a follow up to my post, “I Can’t Believe She Said That To Me!”

The client that told me that “Bipolar disorder is God’s punishment for the sins of Man,” showed up at the shop the other day, just like I knew she would!

To recap, she told me she was worried about her four year old son, who has autism, and the stigma that comes with it.  I sympathized with her fears, and confided that I had bipolar disorder, so I was familiar with stigmas.  Her reaction to my comment was, “OH…bipolar!”  Her eyes got wide, both brows lifted high, her head shook back and forth slightly.  Then she dropped the “sins of Man” bomb.  I was speechless.

When it was time for her next appointment, she called every day for two weeks.  She left message after message on our shop voicemail.  I kept hoping that she would get the hint, or at least get mad because I didn’t call her back, and give up.  I had no desire to talk to her, and I knew it would be difficult to have a conversation over the phone.  I’m not good at that.  I dealt with it by not dealing.

One afternoon, I was shampooing a client’s hair in the back of the salon, and I look up, and there she is, coming through the door.  She heads towards me, and with a cock of her curly head, she fusses, “I have been calling for two weeks, and no one has called me back.”  Then, hands go on hips,” I need to make an appointment to get a cut a highlight.”  Now she smiles sweetly.

I motion for her to follow me into the break room and sit down.  We sit across from each other in the small room.  I told her that we had a conversation at her last visit, and she made a comment that upset me very much.  I said, “I don’t even know if you know what I’m talking about.  Do you know?” 

She was sitting with her back straight up, like the good little Christian that she was.  Her big, protruding eyes widened, she nodded slightly, and she said, “I do!’

I was surprised at her answer, which was followed by silence.  I continued,”Well, what you said about mental illness was extremely offensive to me, and I have decided that I don’t want to work with you anymore.”  I choked up halfway through that sentence.  I got very emotional, but kept it together.

She proceeded to apologize for offending me, saying I took what she said the wrong way.  She tried to defend herself, “I feel sorry for you people….”

I say, “…..” , because what she said afterwards I didn’t hear.  All I heard was “you people”.  My chest got hot, my bruised heart seemed to suddenly turn to stone.  I interrupted her, pointed my finger at her, and said, “Let me plant a little seed for you, Brittany.  Your son has autism…he has a mental illness.  Autism is a mental illness!”

Again, her eyes got big, and she said, “I know!”  Then she rattled on about how she didn’t believe God picked on certain people to punish.  I reminded her that that’s exactly what she said that day!  That God was punishing certain people with the burden of mental illness!

The more I heard her talk, the more I was convinced that she was a confused and ignorant, young woman.  I told her I appreciated her apology, but yes, she would have to find someone else to do her hair.  I rose to escort her out.

I was too busy after she left to think about our conversation.  However, that evening I cried a river.  I was so mad at myself for letting this stupid person upset me to such a degree.  Even the next day I had to struggle to keep my tears in check when I thought about it.

I never talk about having bipolar to anyone but my closest friends and family.  One of the reasons why is because of the stigma.  The one time I chose to do it, to put it out there and be vulnerable, I felt humiliated, hurt, and even betrayed.  I thought we had somewhat of a common struggle, so I revealed a piece of my private self to her, even though I didn’t know her very well.  It had barely left my lips when she brought God and his wrath into the picture.  That was a new one!  I never heard of anyone believing such a thing!  I was horrified!  Not MY God!  What?!  What is she talking about?

Hopefully, the next time someone says something so mean, and utterly stupid to me, I will be more prepared.  I don’t think I should hide my disorder like some dirty secret.  I admire those brave advocates that march for our cause, to stop the stigma, and raise awareness of mental illness.  I wonder how they got to be so brave?  I feel like Chicken Little hiding in the corner with my thumb in my beak!

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Do We Give It ALL to God?

How do you know how much of a situation to handle yourself, and how much to give to God?  Where is the line between the two?

My friend who is extremely sick is expressing a little frustration at those of us who have questions for the doctor and are researching her illness.  She said that she has faith that God will heal her, and she doesn’t want to talk about the complicated particulars of her disease.

praying hands

I’ve spent a lot of time and tears in prayer for her.  I believe God is in charge and I pray that she is healed!   Does that mean I don’t really need to worry about the details?  God is in charge, so I can sit down and relax?

I believe that there are times when there are miscommunications between doctors and patients.  I also know that mistakes can be made on every level, and we must all make sure nothing falls through the cracks.  I believe that knowledge is crucial, and the more information you have, the better.  Also, when you understand a situation, you are equipped to make wiser decisions.

I am conflicted about how to go forward.  I am extremely involved with her and the family.  I have been a part of their journey since the beginning, and have had a role in helping with the “behind the scenes” things, like bill and finance management, doctor visits, and figuring out what the hell is going on!  Doctors can be extremely vague and not very forthcoming.  Is that okay because we’ve given it all to God?

doctornotlistening

I will of course, keep praying.  I believe God knows my heart, and He knows I believe in Him, and He hears my prayers.  My friend had a revelation from God the other day when she was in the hospital.  That’s when she said she knew she would be alright.

Maybe I should stop and listen for God to tell me what to do.  He usually does, I just have to be still, and quiet.  Why do I keep forgetting to do this?  Ok, I have to go and be still and quiet.  Bye!

Do You Have Obsessive Thoughts?

A topic I don’t run across very often in the bipolar universe is our tendency to have “obsessive thoughts.”  Maybe it’s because it’s often a minor blip on the hilly, winding road of bipolar symptoms.  It can sometimes serve a person well.  They can focus on important tasks and problems.  But, I know first-hand that it can serve as a false director to mania’s feverish race to self-destruction.  Nepal-curvy-road-Vagabond-Way

I wonder if you have to be in a manic state to have obsessive thoughts?  It seems I can obsess about anything that my brain deems important enough to obsess about.  These obsessions thankfully are for the most part harmless, except for the huge waste of time and irritation to others.

I spent every free moment for two weeks on Ancestry.com trying to find my biological grandfather.  They offer a 14-day free trial, and I was determined to get every shred of information I could find before the end of the 13th day.  I succeeded not only in finding him, but am now friendly with three relatives that I contacted, just so I could ask questions about my secretive family.  I had two days left of my free subscription and I was done with it.  grandfather-597x600

One time I came across a hair product line that was designed only for people with curly hair.  It was a whole concept salon, with not only products, but classes and education.  The majority of the clients were women of color, but not all.  I am not a woman of color, but I do have curly hair.  I spent every waking moment for about a week pouring over their websites and literature, reviews and product samples.  I dissected my calendar and bank account, trying to figure out how I was going to get to New York City to take classes so my salon could be certified.  I researched the ways that I could get the word out to the masses that I specialized in curly hair.  I was going to be an expert, and carry all of the products for people of all races and color, and maybe I could find an African-American stylist who would work with me, and we could have the first multi-cultural salon in our town, which would be awesome, because race relations are terrible, and wouldn’t that be amazing, and we could all make new friends and learn from each other, and…  curly hair

That lasted about a week.  I changed my mind about it in an instant.  Thankfully, I hadn’t committed thousands of dollars to products, travel, and education.

My latest obsessions have mostly been related to my friend with cancer.  I haven’t felt that I’ve been unreasonable in my research pursuits, until the last couple of days, when I have felt the hint of impatience and irritation from my husband.  I have been the giver of information to my friend and her family.  I have spent hours upon hours setting up donation funds online, finding specialists that make house calls, combing through pictures for social media updates, and now researching the cause of her sickness and how to obtain much needed financial aid.

good person

My sick friend sent me a message one day thanking me for all of my help.  She said she didn’t realize how giving and selfless I was, she was extremely grateful.  It occurred to me, sadly, that I’m not selfless and giving!  I have bipolar disorder and I obsess.  It’s true that this is a worthy cause that I care deeply about, and not some hair product or DNA mystery.  But, I’m obsessing.  It’s what I do.   good-theresa_2637100b

But, I do feel that when it’s a good cause, my obsessive nature can serve a good purpose, and I can be beneficial.  I cannot help being this way.  If I am not able to actively work on the object of my obsession, my mind is consumed with the pressure of it, and can only find relief if I complete the task I’ve chosen to be supremely and urgently important.

It makes me tired being this way!  I have to remember to try and pick up my head every now and then, to look around to make sure I’m being reasonable.  However, when you are in the middle of an obsession, you are too focused to think of such things.  When finally, I am released from its’ spell, I discover that once again, my obsessions are without merit.  When reflected upon, I find that again, I have expelled energy and emotion on ideas that seem stupid and pointlekidtvss.

My only consolation is that hopefully, my obsessing can be beneficial at times.  Hopefully I can make a difference in a positive way, and that makes me feel better about all the wasted thinking, time, and effort I’ve spent trapped, spinning around in my own head.

I just read this article that relates to this:

https://www.bphope.com/clinicians-corner-positive-thinking/

I Want You to Meet Our Cousin, Gary

Every year in October, my father-in-law’s family has their annual “camp-out”.  It’s really just a family reunion that takes place in the woods, next to a creek that runs through his cousin’s property.  A road made of worn down grass and weeds winds around until it gets to a clearing in the trees.  As always, they build a big bonfire, and all the women bring food, and lay it all out on the back of a wooden trailer.

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Every year it’s usually the same folks that come…everyone is always happy to see cousins from far away.  This year a new baby made an appearance.  A miracle baby, in a way.  A cousin’s oldest son is a little person.  Two years ago, he married another little person.  About a month ago, they give birth to a baby little person.  She is a beautiful baby, and so far, she has no health issues to speak of.  Everyone knows that could change, because little people can have big health problems.

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So, they were there, and that was cool.  Both of my kids were there, and that made me happy.  The usual older aunts and uncles were there, sitting in the fold out chairs around the smoking logs.  They don’t talk as much as they used to.  They just kind of look around and smile, say a few words here and there.

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The people you notice right off the bat, though, are the two-year old twin boys.  They aren’t identical, but pretty close to it.  They remind me of the odd couple.  One is all neat and clean, and the other has scabs and scrapes on his dirty face, his blonde hair sticking up everywhere.  They had a big, red wagon equipped with fold-out back rests in the front, and the back.   They would climb in and sit facing each other in the wagon, after successfully charming a relative to pull them around the campground.

The person you most often see pulling those two around is a large, hulking man wearing overalls.  I noticed this year the buttons on the sides of his overalls were barely keeping his belly reigned in.  He has reddish gray hair with a matching mustache and beard.  His name is Gary and he is the twins’ grandfather.  It is his land that the campout is held every year.

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Gary’s hair used to be red as fire, but it almost looks strawberry blonde now with all the gray that has grown in.  He is my husband’s first cousin, and they’ve been more like brothers than cousins.  Gary used to work at my father’s hardware store, back in the 80’s, when he was a teenager.  We still laugh at the memory of him burning out the clutch in my dad’s work truck.  Which, of course, wasn’t funny at the time!   If it wasn’t for him, though, my husband and I wouldn’t have met!  His family was very active in one of the Methodist churches in our town, and my husband’s family never went to church.  When they were old enough to attend youth activities, Gary would drive fifteen minutes to pick up my husband and take him to church, because he couldn’t drive yet.  A couple of years later, we started going to that church and the rest is history!

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Gary can talk more than any one person I’ve ever met.  He’s always had stories, and man, are they long!  He loves history, and he is deeply devoted to his family, even the ones that are long gone.  See, his family has deep roots in a rural area outside of the town we grew up in.  Great-great grandfathers, great-great uncles, and the farms and land they all grew up in, are still in his family.  That land and those stories are part of what makes Gary who he is.  When he would tell stories about those folks, his eyes would light up.

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He and his wife finally could afford to build a house on some of that land, and I’ve never been happier for anyone.  It’s like he was home.  His brother lives a couple of acres over, and Gary was always figuring where the best building sites were for his son and daughter, should they ever decide to build.

 

Yesterday, I was standing next to a tree talking to one of the cousins, when I looked over and saw Gary in his old overalls, walking towards the makeshift road.  In front of him ran one of the twins, and the other quickly caught up from behind, his arm raised as he ran, so that it could find Gary’s hand.  I stood there in silence and watched as Gary slowly walked across his beloved land, with his two precious grandsons, and my heart broke in two.

The person who wasn’t at the camp-out was Gary’s son.  His name was Jack, and he died six months ago.  He took his own life.  He was 25 years old, the same age as my oldest son.  They used to actually camp-out at the camp-out.  My husband and boys, Jack, Gary, our nephew Dylan, and some of the other young cousins would sleep in tents and go for night-time strolls through the woods. They have so many stories of camping out there next to that creek, scaring each other, talking all night long.  Jack never missed a camp-out.

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Gary is one of the kindest people I know.  He was his son’s biggest supporter when he was battling addiction and demons, and never gave up on him.

The image is burned into my memory, Gary in his overalls, holding his grandson’s hand, walking away from us through the grass.  He moves slower, and he doesn’t seem quite as tall as he used to.  The little boy awkwardly maneuvers through the tall weeds with his grandfather’s help.  I recall his face as we talked earlier, how he wasn’t quick to smile, and he hasn’t told any stories today.

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Gary doesn’t get to share his family land with Jack anymore, but he will share it with Jack’s children.  He shares it with my children.  Someday soon, I pray that his eyes turn bright again, and he tells us stories that never end.

Are We a Burden?

Do you ever feel like a burden to your spouse and/or family because of your mental issues?  I have always felt guilty about the stress and problems I have caused my husband, especially, even though I know it’s not my fault that I have bipolar disorder and PTSD.  He’s never once done anything to make me feel guilty, it’s just how I feel.  Especially when I’m depressed.  I think that’s common.

man

 

So, I think, “Man, it must suck so bad to have to put up with a wife with all these depressive periods, and mood swings.  I’ve been in the freakin hospital with this crap, squalling on the bed for days at a time, manic episodes where I’m trying to quit my job or cuss out my friends.  Always going to the doctor, tweaking my meds.  He’s had to call in sick to his job so I wouldn’t be home by myself.  God, I feel so bad that he has to put up with this shit from me.  I’m a lucky woman to have this man in my life.”

 

The other day I was diagnosed with neuropathy.  Neuropathy!  What the hell?!?  We don’t know why yet, I just started bloodwork yesterday, and I have to do nerve testing on my feet.  I’ve had pain in my feet and legs for a while, but the last year or so, weird symptoms, different pains, and numbness have showed up, so I went to the doctor about it.  For the longest, I just figured that leg and foot pain was just part of being a hairdresser…you know, an occupational hazard!

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The pain has gotten to a point where, I can work about five to six hours and then my feet hurt so bad it kills me to continue standing.  If I sit for more than a few minutes, I look like a ninety-year old woman walking on hot coals for about 15 or 20 feet before it works itself out.  I just spent $250 on another pair of shoes and inserts that seem to just be a waste of money.

cactusfeet

There’s not a whole lot you can do about this condition, they say, except try to keep it from getting worse.  That is already proving to be a difficult task.  I’m trying to adjust my work schedule to not work too many hours, and get a stool to sit on for time consuming services.  My doctor says I should swim for exercise, instead of more walking to get the twenty pounds of weight off that Latuda and then Lithium were kind enough to help me pack on.  Swimming?  When in the hell am I going to go swimming?

So, who knows why I have neuropathy.  We might never know, or we might find out I have diabetes or some other condition.  And, you know what keeps running through my mind?  That I am possibly adding another burden onto my family!  I don’t want to complain, or bitch about the pain if I can help it, because I don’t want my husband to have to listen to it all of the time.  I don’t want him to have to worry about me or my health.  I don’t want to have to work less hours and make us strapped financially.  I don’t want to walk like an old lady and have to wear big ugly shoes (Ok, that’s about me lol)!

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The guilt I already am beginning to feel is something I know I’m going to have to fight.  Logic tells me he knows I can’t help it, he loves me, blah blah blah.  But, dang!  Sometimes I can’t help wondering…if he knew twenty-seven years ago what he was signing up for…would he would sign up again?

Mental Illness and the Sins of Man

I’m deciding how to deal with the person who offended me a couple of months ago.  She’s the one who told me that mental illness is God’s punishment for the sins of Man.  I wrote about it in my post, “I Can’t Believe She Just Said That To Me!”  https://idontwanttotalkaboutyourhair.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/i-cant-believe-she-just-said-that-to-me/   Well, she’s back!

I got through that horrible appointment, but now she wants to come back for me to do her hair again. I don’t want to do it, but I can’t decide how to handle it!  Do I just avoid her and never return her phone calls?

 

Or, do I grow a pair and tell her that she offended me so bad at her last visit, that I never want to see her face again, much less spend a two hour hair appointment with her!

 

Maybe I should suggest that she do a little more research on autism, (which she had shared that her young son had), because there is quite a debate going on because many professionals believe that autism falls into the category of mental illness in addition to a developmental disorder.  And you know why some just don’t want it to be labeled “mental illness?”  Because of the stigma!!!  Give me a break, people!  Why does this has to be so hard?  We can’t help it!  They are both disorders of the brain that we all have through no fault of our own!  Why does one have to be demonized?   I found this article that talks about autism and the brain:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/abcs-child-psychiatry/201510/is-autism-mental-illness

Autism_Spectrum_Disorder

Whatever!  These people can categorize and draw little lines between titles and symptoms til the cows come home..BUT, DO NOT tell me that mental illness is God’s punishment for us for the sins of man!   That’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard!  I guess I should probably ignore her, cause I get pretty riled up just thinking about it!  My scary mental illness might cause me to get the chainsaw out of the trunk of my car and chase her around the parking lot, while screaming “The sins of man! The sins of man!

chainsaw

Is it possible to educate and enlighten, while giving the finger at the same time?

I’ll probably just avoid her phone calls.

Is Your Gut a Liar?

How do you make decisions?  Not when your moods are normal, but when you are in a period of mood cycles?  What do you do?

Since I’ve been on Lithium, I still experience rapid cycling.  Thankfully, they’re just not as severe.  They typically last about a week or so, and run the usual roller coaster of emotions.  Then I might get a break of a couple of days, and then the bar closes on my lap, and slowly the coaster climbs the hill again.

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But, what do you do when situations arise, where you are faced with life’s punches in the gut?  When important decisions need to be made that will affect you and your family, your friends and co-workers?

Monday’s girl is sad and depressed.  She can’t take the anxiety and pressure of her job and the people in it.  It’s time to make a change.  My body just can’t do this anymore…the physical demands of my occupation are too much!  My body is hurting, something is wrong.  I’ve been doing this for over 25 years!  That’s a long time to stand up all day every day!  I just can’t do it!  I have to quit my job and shut down my business.  It’s so sad, but I really don’t have a choice!  We’ll be okay.  We have to be, cause, I can’t take it anymore…sob.  I tell my husband, “Honey, we have got to talk about my retiring.”

Wednesday’s girl is pissed.  Fuck these people.  All they want is what they can get from me.  They don’t give a damn about me!  I cannot deal with these people anymore.  They keep pushing!  They’re so selfish and pushy, and cheap!  I haven’t gone up on my prices in forever!  You can go anywhere and pay more than I charge, and I have way more experience!

ten minutes and work girl

I’m so close to cussing my friends.  They’re not my real friends.  They don’t appreciate me, or give a damn about me.  They don’t listen when I’m talking, they’re always “busy”, and can’t hang out.  I don’t know why I do this.  Fuck this place…I’m done.  I don’t care if we have to live on beans and rice, I’m not working anymore, and I don’t care if I never see these people again!  “Honey, I’m not kidding!  I’m not doing this shit anymore!  We’re going to have to sell some shit, cause I’m done!”

Johnny-Paycheck-Take-This-Job-And-494837

 

Friday’s girl turned on a dime.  What the hell was I thinking?  I can’t quit my job, Silly!  I’m saving up for that vacation next summer, and if I’m not working, I won’t be able to make that monthly payment!  Oh, I forgot, if I’m not working, I can’t keep paying to have our house cleaned every other week.  Screw that!  I’m not cleaning toilets!  And, I have to have my own spending money!  Well, I’ll figure something out.  I’ll change my hours around and hopefully my legs won’t hurt so much.  It’ll be fine.  Oh!  I have got to clean that refrigerator out today!  My bathroom vanity looks like hell, I’m going to get that done today, and I should have two hours that I can spend on Ancestry.com obsessively researching and combing the internet for minute clues about my dead kin people.

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I’ll end up being on it until midnight, but I can’t stop!  It’s so much fun!  I wonder how my friend is doing?  I need to call her this afternoon.  She’s so damn funny!  Oh lord, I don’t know what I’d do without her friendship!  You know what I need to do?  I’m going to go through all of my pictures, and make a collage of all of our amazing memories we’ve shared over the years!  I’ll go to Hobby Lobby first, then….

Today is Sunday.  I’m Sunday’s girl, and I recall the last week’s ups and downs.  I feel tired and defeated.  I realize what has happened.  Every day this past week, my feelings were real and authentic!  I wanted to quit for all of those reasons!  I had severe animosity towards my friends, clients, and loved ones! My moods dictated this story, and I lived it out loud!  That was my GUT talking!  One of the things about being bipolar that is the hardest for me, is that I can’t trust my gut.  Ever.  My gut is a liar!

pinocchio

When the cycles are subtle, other people can’t really recognize what’s happening to you.  Sometimes, you don’t even recognize it until it’s over!  I’ve tried explaining it a couple of times to friends, and they kind of brush it off, attributing it to hormones, or just being in a plain ole bad mood.  They say, “Oh, girl, everybody gets like that sometimes!”  Yeah, yeah.

I know I’m supposed to not make any big decisions if I’m going through a cycle.  But, I wonder, how in the hell do you know what’s real and what’s a cycle?

trust-your-gut

 

I made it through another weekly cycle.  Hopefully, these cycles will stop pretty soon. wonder though, am I the only one who can’t trust their gut?

 

 

 

Faith, I Guess.

Things are difficult right now as I know they are for a lot of people.  I’m not going to list everything that is weighing on my mind, God knows I went over it all plenty this weekend.  But one thing that is especially hard right now leads me to revisit my faith, and the people I loves’ faith.

It was over twenty years ago when I met a guy who, when he was growing up, lost his mother to cancer. His name was Greg.  His mom was sick for a long time, and from her bedside, he had to watch her suffer.  Greg was in his mid-twenties when he talked to me about it.  He knew that I lost both of my parents suddenly in an accident, and he was puzzled at how I made it through that ordeal seemingly “intact”, I guess.  Greg was openly bitter and angry at God for letting his mother die in front of him.  She was a young woman and didn’t deserve to lose her life in such a way!  He didn’t deserve to lose his mom at such a young age!  He genuinely wanted to know, wasn’t I angry?  Didn’t I hate God, or even lose my faith in Him?

First of all, of course his mother didn’t deserve to die!  No, Greg didn’t deserve to lose his mother at such a young age!   And for that matter, my parents didn’t deserve to die in their forties by a freak accident.  However, I do remember being surprised at his question, although I suppose it was a perfectly understandable question. It had never really occurred to me that God didn’t exist, though I’m sure I felt maybe abandoned by Him more than once.

I really didn’t know what to say to Greg, except that my faith is what got me through.  I just knew that my parents were with Him, and one day I would be too.  He seemed surprised, even skeptical.  I added, “If that isn’t true, what’s the point of any of this?  What was the point of us even existing?” I asked.  “I don’t know”, I said. “I just feel that, somehow, and that’s what makes me want to keep going.”  I wasn’t trying to convince him, I was just saying what I felt.

Two people have said to me that they question their faith in the past month.  They both know my friend who has cancer.  “It’s so unfair, so cruel!” they say.  “Why her? When horrible people walk the earth and live well into their nineties?  How can He be good?”

I didn’t say anything.  Maybe I should have, but they were both so upset that I felt that anything I offered up would sound hollow and inadequate.  And they’re right to be angry at the world!   I’m angry and devastated too!  I’m scared to death to lose her!  I’m scared for her family!  It shouldn’t be happening to her!   We all agree on that!

But, I think God put us on this Earth a long time ago, and we did what we did.  I don’t think he picks and chooses who dies when, or what happens to those people over there, and not those other people over here.  I think Man has fought and killed.  Nations of people die of starvation, while wealthy nations eat themselves to death.  We have created things that can cure us, and other things that destroy us.  Our cigarettes and old asbestos sickens our lungs, we have deadly car accidents on our interstates, and we make chemical substitutions for the sugar in our coffee.  Abused children have grown into adult abusers and even murderers.  You get the point.   I don’t believe God should be blamed for the consequences of man’s choices.

But, what He did do, is give us love.  Love is what makes life matter.  I believe that God is that love, and that’s why we’re here.  The best illustration of that point that I always think of, is a dying person.  Let’s say a man.  His last few hours or minutes of his life, what is he thinking about?  His job?  His stuff?  The old grudges he holds against some family member?  No!  He’s thinking about the people he loves!  It could even be a loved one who has died!  He loved them!  He wants to see them!  When you strip away all the crap and junk of your life, what’s left at its’ core is love of another person.  I love Victor Hugo’s line in Les Miserables, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

For love to be right there at the last few moments of life, where only the most important of important things would be…you could say it’s the meaning of life!  Makes sense to me!   So, when I die, I know with all of my heart that I’m going to be with God and the people I love.

motherandchild love

This is what I believe, somehow.  I believe it with everything I have.  It’s what gets me through devastation and loss, and what makes me grateful for the people in my life.  It gives me peace and it gives me hope.  If it’s not like this, I just don’t see the point.

My meds made me gain weight!

Have you ever bitched about your birthday that’s coming up?   You casually mention that getting old sucks, or how your birthday cake is going to melt because of all the candles.  There’s always that one person who says it,

“It’s better than the alternative!”

When someone is expecting a baby, and they tell you that they are going to find out the gender in a couple of weeks.  You ask, “Do you want a boy or a girl?”

“We don’t care about the sex of the baby, as long as it’s healthy!”

Have you ever been on medication for your mental illness, and then later you find out that weight gain is a side effect of your new medication?   Which explains the fifteen pounds you’ve packed on between December and June!

“A little weight gain is nothing compared to being emotionally stable!”

 

Don’t all of these responses fit into the category, “It goes without saying,”  or “No shit, Sherlock!” or “Thanks, Captain Obvious!”   When people say that stuff, it kind of leaves you standing there looking like an asshole!

It sounds like they are quietly insinuating that you are just complaining about your life instead of being thankful for the precious gift of life!  You only care what the sex of the baby is, when all that really matters to everyone else is that it is healthy!  Last, but not least, you shouldn’t be so vain and be worried about a little weight gain, when your mental health is at stake!

Is this really necessary?  What they’re saying is that you need to quit being so greedy, and be happy with what God gave ya!  That’s how the pregnant people feel!  They don’t care about the sex, because that’s not what’s important, unlike you!  Ms. Happy Pants doesn’t care how old she gets, cause she’s got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in her heart because of the gift of life!  Aging doesn’t bother herShe’s a better person than you!  Of course Skinny Minnie, who’s never had to take a valium, much less an antidepressant, really wants you to know that you shouldn’t be upset about gaining weight through no fault of your own!  You should just be grateful that there’s a pill that made you not be crazy anymore!

I’m a little worried about the weight I’ve gained since I’ve been on these new meds.  However, let me clarify, OF COURSE I’d rather be bigger than face down in the river !  But, do we really need to feel guilty for not being happy about being two sizes bigger?  Is it that selfish to wish for sanity and to be able to fit into our clothes at the same time?  NO, it is not!   I should be able to talk about my weight gain without somebody making me feel guilty about it mattering to me!

When I talk about my weight gain, it goes without saying that I’m so thankful that I feel better and I’m mentally stable!  Of course I am!  To suggest that someone cares more about their weight instead of their mental stability is insulting!

Obviously, I was being dramatic about the birthdays and the pregnant ladies.  The birthday one really does annoy the hell out of me though.  “It’s better than the alternative!”  Thanks Asshole Captain Obvious!

Moods and Real Life

Do you ever wonder if the way you are feeling a particular day is real or not?  Are you really feeling good and motivated, or is it the beginning of mania?  Often times, it’s hard to tell the difference.  Sometimes I feel like I don’t really know who I am, because I don’t ever truly trust that my feelings or actions are genuinely mine.  When I become aware of my positive feelings, it is always followed by fear that the ride of mania is beginning, which takes away from simply enjoying my day.  Of course, I try to dismiss it.  But, it’s there in the back of my mind.  You know what I’m talking about.  No one truly knows except others who deal with this disorder.

One of my last posts was about mood tracking.  I talked to my psychiatrist about it, and showed her my new tracking app.  She agreed that it was good to keep up with mood swings and possible triggers, and I’ve been faithful every day.

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Jo and I at a friend’s birthday party

I don’t see how I can track my moods anymore, however.  One of my best friends was diagnosed with lung cancer.  One of her lungs has collapsed, she was borderline septic when she got to the hospital, it has spread to her lymph nodes, and her liver.  Her abdomen has swelled with fluid, which I am told is a bad sign.  Then, the hospital unexpectedly released her. They gave her pain meds and said there was nothing they could do for her and they needed the bed ( thank you Vanderbilt for sucking at your job).  They didn’t give her a prognosis, any direction to her family as to what to do next.  She’s in a great deal of pain, breathing is difficult, and she has got to be dehydrated.

Her mother is completely devastated and understandably, can’t even spell her name right, much less take care of her dying 46 year-old daughter.  So  there her daughter lays, on the living room couch, dying, and no one knows what’s coming or what to do.

So, our other friend and I are talking to every person we know in the medical field, Hospice, and Centennial Hospital to get an official diagnosis and get her the care she needs.  It has been an absolute nightmare.  We are trying to get her admitted to another hospital through the ER for intolerable pain and difficulty breathing, and hopefully she can get in and get comfortable with an IV for fluids, oxygen so she can breathe, and the best pain meds they’ve got.  They can then go over any options that she might have, even the ones that have slim possibilities of buying her time.  But, she should be able to hear an official diagnosis, possible treatment options, or if there are no treatment options.  After that, her only option shouldn’t be for her to go home to her mom’s house in the boonies and suffer for God knows how long on the couch, in front of her three children, one being 13.

Hopefully, today we’ll have some real answers.  The doctors at Vanderbilt told her all these horrible, scary things that were wrong with her, and then sent her home with a bottle of antibiotics (which never worked), and pain pills.  WTF?  We know her future is very grim, but she has refused to tell her girls (or anyone else), anything because she wants to be able to answer their questions.  It’s like everyone is in complete denial, even while she withers away and suffers in front of them.  We don’t have any definite answers, but we have to respect her wishes.  Her mother makes sure of that, and she aggressively reminds us on a daily basis that “our loyalties are with her.  We have to do as she asks”.

I do know that my friend of twenty years is dying.  It was only about two weeks ago that she was at work at my salon and going to the doctor because her pneumonia wasn’t getting better.  They transferred her to Vanderbilt and a day later they said lung cancer.  Then lymph nodes, then liver (from the PET scan).  But, they didn’t even give it a stage!  Google and common sense says no doubt it’s stage four.  I just don’t understand the doctors being so vague.  I’ll tell you what they did feel obliged to do…three of her doctors prayed with her.  I guaran-damn-tee you she didn’t know why the hell they were praying for her!  When you’re very sick in the hospital, they need to break that shit down so you understand what the hell is going on.  Or at least your family does, so they can make decisions if you can’t.

I am devastated.  When I think of her girls, especially the youngest one, my chest aches and my heart hurts.  If anyone reads this post, please say a prayer for my friend Jo.

I might as well delete my mood tracker app for now!  There’s not a mood level named “devastated and sad because cancer is taking one of my best friends.”  It’s not a temporary mood, anyway.  I believe it’s going to be permanent.