I am….

I am courageous and raw
I wonder what real happiness feels like
I hear the chimes of my own freedom. It’s my time.
I see myself growing from a child to a woman and a mother
I want to be the mother that I never had- for myself and my children
I am courageous and raw

I pretend that I know that everything will be ok
I touch my husband with love.
I worry that my children will feel the loneliness of life
I cry over all that I missed and messed.
I am courageous and raw

I understand that life is not meant to be this hard
I say that words are cheap
I dream of soft breaths- of a time when life will not be this hard
I try to learn and use my pain as kindling to strengthen me
I hope that it’s not too late
I am courageous and raw
I am.

This post was inspired by a fellow blogger and was based on the I am poem template that I learned about from her blog, www.farewellstranger.com

Reality isn’t just a word!

I used to listen to a Harry Chapin song that had a line in it, “She smiled and said reality is only just a word.” I liked that. I wrote it on a piece of paper and taped it to my desk: “reality is only just a word”. long live the imagination!

reality

But it’s not true. Reality is real. Real life is messy and unpredictable and wonderful. It is touching your children’s cheeks while they sleep and it is smelling a flower on your way to work and it is surviving each and every day. Those are the moments that make up a life. Imagination is entertaining and great to help you decide what to do. But real life must be lived. We must live and breathe and eat with others, on their level. We cannot possibly live in isolation. Everything that we do is building upon the work of another person and will influence the future of someone else. That is life. Life is community. Life is Love.

Maybe I sound like an 80 year old woman, (I know that sometimes I feel as tired as one), but I feel like my depression and all that I have been through has opened me up seeing people in a new way. As real, and vulnerable and really having the same wants and desires. Everybody wants to feel needed. Everybody wants to feel loved.

I’m following Oprah and Alanis Morisette and Tom Hanks on twitter and they are just normal people. I think that what makes them so successful is that they are so open and honest and allow themselves to be flawed and make mistakes and just keep going.

This may be obvious to everybody but me, I may just be playing catch up but I feel that I have a new perspective on humanity and myself. Everybody is just equal hanging out in this life and I wanna play too. Success is only determined by you as a measure of your joy. The rules are simple: consideration of others; respect; nourish. I think that I can do it.

Everybody everybody wants to love. everybody everybody wants to be loved. (Ingrid Michaelson)

Dr. Google and Me (potential trigger)

Hi Blog, me again.

So far, today has been a good day. Life is good. I’m not sure why I used to pretend to be depressed. But my husband said something about me not being able to remember my past moods very accurately. He thinks that I need a way to remind myself that I tend to believe that however I feel right now in this moment is how I have always felt and always will feel. So, I’m going to try to use writing on you, Blog, to convince future me that things change.
flux capacitor - what makes time travel possibleDear future me,

Apparently, the past, present and future are not all one in the same. xoxo.

I have actually learned that this is a hallmark of depression and anxiety. Sort of like when Janis Joplin said “Tomorrow never happens man, It’s all the same fucking day.” (side note: last year, I thought it would be a good idea to stencil this quote over my bed as inspiration. thankfully, i was too depressed to get out of the bed and buy paint.)

This is also a problem whenever I go to my therapist or psychiatrist, I’m only able to easily talk about how I feel that day. So, Blog, I hope you don’t mind me using you today to also try to gather some thoughts that I’d like to share with my psychiatrist when I see her. It’s kinda important so if I can get all of my thoughts down, I’ll be able to hand this to her when I see her.

Here goes…So, um, this is awkward, where do I start… maybe with a cartoon:

bipolar mood ring

I’ve been considering that I probably have Bipolar II. My understanding is that this is just like regular Bipolar, only half as exciting.

Here’s why i think this: as far as I can remember (and maybe that’s only today…), the following have always been characteristic for me:

  1. major depressive periods
  2. I tend to need more sleep than most people or else I get very hyper or very spaced out and unfocused.
  3. I have always had alternating periods of mental dullness and extreme creativity (I thought that this was normal until reading that it was a symptom)
  4. In the last three months, I have had two hypomanic periods. One which I think was induced by antibiotics but could have been induced by the lack of sleep,illness and stress of losing my job. The second was just induced by having a great week and slowly getting less sleep than usual and waking up in the middle of the night lots with my kids because I thought I could take on more but I took on too much. During these periods, my mood and urges and thoughts felt very very familiar to my feelings during adolecence. Intrusive thoughts and paranoia were rampant. I did not trust myself to be alone with my children or drive my car. I would hug the wall on the subway platform because I was working hard to resist tempation.
  5. In these periods of extreme creativity, (this year and what I can remember of adolescence) I usually need far less sleep (and stay up all night being creative),don’t eat much and my speech is often louder and more rapid than usual, and is often full of puns, plays on words, and irrelevancies.
  6. Impulsive activities are usually organized, are not bizarre, and do not resultin the level of impairment that is characteristic of a Manic Episode.
  7. For example, recently purchasing prescription glasses online in ten minutes without verifying my prescription or face size; extreme home organizing andpurging; as a teenager, I was often planning and starting (but never finishing) some exciting fundraising endeavor, screenplay or social initiative intended to inspire everyone I know and generally save the world.

ok. that’s why I think what I think. now what? Maybe I should see how this theory fits in with some real research outside of my head…

From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:
Diagnostic criteria for Bipolar II Disorder

A. Presence or history of one or more Major Depressive Episodes (✓).
B. Presence or history of at least one Hypomanic Episode (✓).
C. There has never been a Manic Episode or a Mixed Episode (✓(true, as far as I can remember).
D. The mood symptoms in Criteria A and B are not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder or another Psychotic Disorder.(✓)
E. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social,occupation, or other important areas of functioning. (✓✓)

yikes… this is getting scary… let’s continue, shall we?

From Wikipedia:
Bipolar II:

One or more hypomanic episodes and one or more major depressive episode. However, a bipolar II diagnosis is not a guarantee that they will not eventually suffer from such an episode in the future. Hypomanic episodes do not go to the full extremes of mania (and are without psychosis), and this can make bipolar II more difficult to diagnose, since the hypomanic episodes may simply appear as a period of successful high productivity and is reported less frequently than a distressing, crippling depression.

So, in conclusion, when I list it all out, it seems pretty likely that my diagnosis is accurate. I’m actually not surprised or scared by this. And I don’t think that changing my medication right now would be a good idea. I just like to know what I’m dealing with so that I know how normal or not normal my feelings really are.

Because how else will I know what is normal, unless my psychiatrist tells me. 😉

« do i really need to say here that I’m not a doctor or a therapist and this is just my self diagnosis, not meant to diagnose you, your dog or your mother. no? I didn’t think so either. »

Reinventing myself

Hello blog.

It’s been a while. How are you? I’m actually doing okay these days. So much has changed since we last spoke. I don’t really know where to start.

I’m actually not really sure that I even want to fill you in. That would involve a lot of re-hashing of shit storms that have already passed, baggage that has been unpacked and repacked and put into storage, and mountains that I have already climbed over, tumbled down and climbed again.

So, maybe I’ll tell you where I’m at now, even though I’m honestly not entirely sure…

I can tell you that I have put down the shovel that I was digging my grave with and picked up a magnifying glass to examine my anxiety and fears with the hope that by seeing them for what they really are, I will be able to take away their power and control over my life.

I am working on healing myself through “permission based healing” and self kindness applied as a salve to my wounds. (thank you Yael Saar at http://www.ppdtojoy.com) .

I read the other day that just as a nursing mother cannot give her baby any nutrient that she does not receive, so a mother cannot give her child any emotional nutrients that she does not have. As I am learning how to listen to, love and care for myself, I am finding that I am also able to give those things to my children (and my husband).

Things have been really hard over the past year (or three) but I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel and the grass is much greener than where I am coming from. I have been doing a lot of focused reading and thinking lately so maybe I am ready to start writing a bit too. This is feeling kind of therapeutic.

So, in summary, blog, thanks for waiting around for me and welcoming me back and for emailing me my password every time that I forget it. And thanks for not minding my lazy grammar and my many run on sentences and my poor use of commas, and also my run on sentences.

love,

Lyla.