I used to be a dreamer, now I’m just dreaming

I was going to go to medical school. But I didn’t.

My brother is a doctor.

I’m secretly jealous of him. I’m jealous that he got to be a doctor and I didn’t.

When I told him this he got mad. He thought I meant that he didn’t have to work hard to get to where he is. But that’s not what I meant. I just meant that even with equal encouragement from our parents (which we didn’t have…*bitter*) I never really stood a chance at becoming a doctor.

There was no way that with my un-addressed ocd, anxiety, depression, (bipolar), I would ever have been able to keep it together long enough to successfully qualify for, apply to and complete medical school.

I couldn’t even get through a year of university without flaking out. I was the star A student who randomly started handing in D (or worse) papers and totally spacing out in class, talking on the phone during lectures and crocheting during seminars. In retrospect, I can’t think of a professor who didn’t seem absolutely confused by me by the end of the year.

Let’s follow memory lane through my squandered academic and professional career and note that I worked for almost every top charity in the city, got some great jobs and quit every single job in less than a year.

I read this article by Natasha Tracy about bipolar using it’s big fat butt to squish all of our dreams and goals.

I have this image of bipolar as a row of elephants skipping rope in a narrow tunnel. (not sure what’s with all the elephant analogies, must be a fetish thing.)

The tunnel is the dreams and plans that I used to have of where my life would go. I can’t really get there anymore, so instead of trying to get there and getting squished by elephants, I think I’ll just back out and see what dreams I can come up with here and now.

There are so many parts of life that I didn’t really know existed when I made my grand life plan. I was a really closed minded, judgmental person. I didn’t know that people could be truly nice. I didn’t know what it felt like to be cared for. I didn’t know that it was okay to just have fun.

I didn’t know that the real purpose of life isn’t to see how successful you can be, it’s to see how much joy you can generate. I thought I’d be a doctor and be completely self sufficient and perfect and never make a mistake. I never thought I’d be the fat, old, uncoordinated lady sweating in a ballet class.

Life isn’t really turning out the way I thought it would…but maybe it will turn out even better this way. Just a thought.

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Crashing the A to Z party

Nobody tagged me in this thread but I saw that Kim and Leighann were coming and they seem like fun so I decided to invite myself to the party anyway.

I’m also bored at work and writing this in Outlook so that people walking behind my desk will think that I’m writing a very long important email.
I’m sure that this will be very fascinating for you to read.

A. Attached or single? We were looking for a single detached house but I think that we are okay in our condo for now.

B. Best Friend? I’m not the best, I’m not even a very good friend.

C. Cake or pie? Cake, of course. Unless it’s apple pie… (this is an American Pie movie reference- in case that wasn’t clear- I don’t actually like apple pie.)
(I mean, I don’t not like apple pie – I am human- but I’m not like “omg, I need to eat apple pie!”)

D. Day of choice? Green Day

E. Essential item? Bra.

F. Favorite Color: Green today. Orange tomorrow.

G. Gummy Bears or worms? I like to nibble the arms and legs off gummy bears and then throw them in the garbage.

H. Hometown? I don’t know when it’s on tv but think it’s called Homeland, not Hometown.

I. Favourite Indulgence? Curling up with a good book… a good erotic book.

J. January or July? Would anyone pick January? Maybe they don’t live in Canada.

K. Kids? I live with two very sweet kids. They call me mom and they came out of my vagina.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Love and kindness.

M. Marriage date? Same guy as my prom date.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 7 billion – aren’t we all just brothers and sisters? hug.

O. Oranges or apples? You really can’t compare them.

P. Phobias? I have a phobia of randomly dropping dead and nobody noticing. My shrink
calls it fear of annihilation. No big deal.

Q. Quotes? I have the heart of a young child… in a jar on my desk.

R. Reasons to smile? Tickles and giggles and anti-psychotic medications.

S. Season of choice? Fall. Or maybe Spring. No- definitely summer. But I also like snow sometimes. Actually, they are all the same shit, I don’t care. Have I mentioned that I’m bipolar?

T. Tag 5 people: OK. But now everyone in the office is looking at me weird.

U. Unknown fact: You want me to tell you something I don’t know? This makes no sense.

V. Vegetable? = something that I should eat instead of cookies.

W. Worst habit? Um… randomly losing my mind…

X. Xray or Ultrasound? I got a full body xray one time, after I got hit by a car. They let me keep my clothes on. I appreciated that.

Y. Your favourite food? Baby toes.

Z. Zodiac sign? I have enough obsessive worries in my life, I don’t need superstition.

I think that this is the most inspiring post I have ever written.

Honk if you agree.

Eating shit

As some point, that pit in your stomach where you were storing all of that shit that you didn’t want to deal with starts to overflow.

Then you have two choices, you can store the extra shit in your cheeks or you can start pulling the shit out and figure out what to do with it. I recommend option b because it will make you a more open person and also because shit doesn’t taste very good.

My brother finally started tasting the shit and reached out to try to understand how to clean out his mouth.

I went to talk with him last night (with my sister there as protector). I was kinda worried and not quite sure what to expect. You may remember my brother from such posts as “Leave me alone you shallow stranger who calls himself my brother“. But last night, he came with an open heart and a real hug. And that felt really nice.

I could see that he cared. I could see that he was struggling- that he realized he had been swallowing shit for a long time and it wasn’t helping anyone. He wanted to understand how he could help his sisters, his parents, his wife who is attacked by his mother, give his daughters back their cousins… he was finally able to see that his family was broken and that time wasn’t going to fix it. He was starting to see that it is all connected.

I think that he needed to hear my perspective on things and I shared with him. He listened, asked questions and didn’t judge.

But as I tried to help him figure out how to help repair this mess, how to bring everyone together for things like a family bbq, or a Chanukah party, I realized that I’m not really sure how to fix this. And I’m not really sure that I even want to fix this anymore.

I drove away from my sister’s house, which has always felt like a relatively safe place for me, and I thought about how I used to drive down those streets every day and I realized that I don’t really miss driving down those streets. I have new, nicer streets. And the world is full of streets for me to explore.

I went home and crawled into my bed where my husband and kids were fast asleep and someone put their foot on my cheek and I felt surrounded by love. I felt relief. I felt peace. I felt my babies breathing. This is my home. This is my family. This is my life.

I don’t want to miss another minute with my beautiful family, full of people who love me so much, just because I am trying to win love from people who, though well intentioned, are still struggling to grasp basic concepts of self-reflection and empathy. My heart is open to anyone who wants to walk gently in my life but I have to focus on giving back to my children and the friends and family who were there for me when I needed it the most.

All the things that I spoke about with my siblings were deep issues that I’ve already analyzed and grappled with in ways that they are only beginning to realize. I’ve paid my dues and dealt with my past.

I will hug them at the finish line when they get there but I can’t wait for them to catch-up.

I’m moving on.

What goes up…

Was I surprised to find myself crying in the bathroom stall at work last week? Not really.

I secretly knew that the eternal joy and optimism I wrote about wasn’t going to last. I’ve been around this crazy block a few times. I think I’m figuring out how this life is going to work for me.

Sometimes I can understand everything, it is all so simple and clear. I am rational. I plan things. I solve problems. I am helpful. Then, suddenly the clouds cover the sun and everything becomes foggy. I can’t even understand what people are saying to me. I squint to try to make out the words but it just doesn’t help. I open the fridge to get some water and I’m paralyzed by the obstacle course in front of me. There is so much food blocking the water jug. Suddenly the smallest tasks become insurmountable.  I just can’t figure out the order of the steps in my foggy head.

A video clip that I posted described living with bipolar as trying to balance on a boat with a kite tied to one hand and an anchor tied to the other. I think of this often.

I am starting to believe that with the help of my meds, I will actually be able to stay afloat. But I will still be hosting a funhouse in my head so with the clarity that the meds do give me, I need to be vigilant about following some guidelines to protect what is really important to me (my family).

Future Lyla, don’t forget these rules to keep bipolar from ruining your life:

#1: When you suspect that you may be falling off the rocker (in either direction), stop, drop and roll.

You are a bull in a china shop, take a deep breath and tiptoe slowly towards the door. Your one (and only) mission is to protect yourself and the people that you love and have worked hard for (even if you can’t remember why they matter). Make sure that someone else is taking care of your kids. Then shut down until the storm passes. (This is a free pass to watch endless hours of Netflix- zoning out on the couch lessens the risk of acting on stupid ideas.)

#2: Don’t get a tattoo. Ever. You will regret it.

#3: Don’t try to give yourself a pixie cut. It’s a bad idea.

#4:  If your brain tells you to obsessively clean the house, exercise, eat healthy food, wash with baking soda, or play with your kids, go for it! If you notice that you are being pulled down the street on a leash by a really fast horse, refer to rule #1.

#5: Don’t quit your job. Ever. It pays the bills and keeps your husband sane. It does not define you. If you don’t like it, find another one, but don’t quit first.

#6: Know that you don’t know. Try not to tell people, “just trust me, it’s a good idea”… it might not be. Let them decide for themselves.

Try to ride the wave instead of swimming against the current and things will turn out okay.

I think.

note: this is not an actual photo of me (duh!)

Sorry

I feel really bad about my last post comparing my mom to Voldemort. It was harsh. It was true… but it was also coming from a place in me full of intense anger and hurt.

I don’t want to be the person bitching all day about her evil mother. I need to move forward, not be dragged backwards by negativity.

I love my mom so much. She just hurts me so deeply. It is easier to hate her than to feel the hurt. I also know that my feelings won’t change her reactions anyways. My mother is invincible to my pain.

I wish that there was hope that she would be able to be in my life. But every time I try to get close to her, the wild tornado of her emotions drops a house on me and I am crushed.

The more I learn about what she has been through, the more I should know that this has nothing to do with me… I am the “collateral damage of a secret war [I] did not start, do not understand, and cannot control.”

But maybe if I was just a bit more lovable… she would have changed for me.

It is not my fault that my mom will never be able to show me the love that I need from her.  There are many other people in my life who love me very much and taught me what it means to actually care for someone.

I have to focus on them now.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.