Hardships and Jealousy

Oh, it is such a nasty word. It is such a nasty feeling. But we all experience it at one point or another – quite often. Whether we want to admit it or not. I hate to say that I have been struggling with it a lot recently. For a multitude of reasons.

We have had to make many sacrifices in order for me to be a stay at home mom. Recently, I had to make even more sacrifices in order to have the funds to pursue therapy and psychiatrist appointments. I am extremely thankful that I am finally on medication again and receiving talk therapy. But I had to make some choices that really sucked. It feels like it was the end of an era for us in a lot of ways. I sold off all my chickens, our cat had to find a new home, my daughter finished dance class, I had to use my tattoo fund to repair my car – a lot of good was suddenly gone. I think it hit me a lot harder than I expected because the other night… I just cried. A lot. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t even explain to my husband why I was crying. I just did. For hours. Until I fell asleep.

In a way, crying like that helps tremendously. I had all this pent up sorrow that I was really trying to ignore. But I got it out in the open. I don’t feel better. It didn’t make the sorrow go away, but it did get a conversation going with my husband and it got me to really look at the things that were hurting me.

My family is going through a very hard season. We are not financially steady, I have all of my mental health issues, my husband is over loaded and over stressed and we are seeing no end in sight. Money can’t buy happiness, but damn it can really help. Both of our cars need repairs, we need a new kitchen floor, we need a new fence, we need a new back door. My kids are bored to death but I can’t afford anywhere fun. We haven’t been on a trip since September. My husband and I haven’t gotten away together since before our 19 month old was born.

And I was okay with that for a while. But now it’s summer. I have watched 3 groups of friends/family head over to the UK, I have watched people travel to the other side of the country, to the beach, to some islands. And it’s this weird feeling of “oh, I’m so excited for them!” and “oh, I’m so sad for me.” I have a wandering desire. I don’t like feeling so stuck. I knew I would be somewhat stuck when I became a parent, but then everything else happened and my exploring days were suddenly over.

People are just DOING all of these fun, exciting things while I sit here wishing I could have a car that doesn’t shake when I drive. I vent to my husband and my closest friend, but for the most part I feel I do a good job hiding it. Because I love my family and I love the fun things that we are able to do. I love that my kids are happy most of the time. If I fill up the kiddie pool in the back yard, it’s the best day ever for them! I am so, so thankful that I can continue to keep them happy in our times of struggle.

My husband and I are working really hard to be even more frugal than we have been. There are some areas we haven’t made sacrifice. My huge one recently was selling my chickens. I still get teary eyed knowing I won’t ever see my feathered babies again. But we talked about how much money we spend on COFFEE. the elixir of the Gods! We are both cutting down to one store bought coffee a week. I am aiming for every other week. But I won’t be mad at myself if I get it every weekend. It’s a treat. A $3 treat. But how much we’ve been “treating ourselves” added up to $30 a month. Not huge, but still, $30 to put to something else.

I am praying my husband and I get some time away soon. Our anniversary is at the end of next month and I am just praying as hard as I can that we can get away. Even if it’s donw the street. Out of the house, away from everyone, and just doing us. It is crazy how you can fall asleep beside someone every single night and yet miss them so much. We need some time to just focus on our relationship. It’s not broken, we aren’t falling apart. But it is definitely getting a little rusty and it’s time to polish it up a bit with some real TLC. Cross your fingers for me.

I deactivated my facebook and am really stepping away from social media while I try to reign in my jealousy problems. I don’t blame anyone but myself for feeling this way and I think taking a step back and really allowing myself to focus on my life and no one elses is going to help but everything back into perspective for me.

I hope so at least.

Mental Health update: my psychiatrist up my dosage on one med, things the other one is good, and will probably introduce a third next month when I see her again. I haven’t seen much progress in my emotional/mental state, but I am finally sleeping at night. I wasn’t at all before the meds. So I’m thankful for that! I see my therapist next Thursday. No idea what to expect, but that’s okay. The first time went well and I am looking forward to seeing her again! Until then, just going to focus on the positives and do me! Woo!

I’ll see you soon.
Steph.

I have known for a very long time that there is a severe lack of understanding when it comes to mental illness. Not only a lack of understanding, but a lack of willingness to understand. With things like depression, anxiety, bipolar, and the like people have the tendency to say the same thing: just get over it.

Do you know how insanely frustrating that can be? When someone tells me to just get over it, I want to die inside. How wonderful would it be for it to be that simple? I don’t like how I feel, I don’t like not having any control. If I could just CHOOSE to no longer feel the way that I do, I would absolutely make that choice.

The analogy I use all the time is one I read somewhere else. I wish I could remember where. But it is actually from a Christian’s perspective. Apparently the church is huge on ignoring mental illness. I have personally witnessed this, and it is why I have struggled a lot with my faith. “If you believed in God, you wouldn’t feel this way.” “Just pray about it.” So, on to the analogy: if someone came to you with a broken arm and said they were in pain would you tell them to “just get over it.” “Did you try NOT being in pain?” “Did you pray about it?” “If you believed in God, your arm wouldn’t be broken.”

Sounds pretty silly, right? So why do we – from a secular and a religious perspective – tell people with broken minds to just get over it? Why do we not encourage them to seek help as we would for a physical ailment? Why is it so hard to understand that our insides can work just as poorly as our outsides?

I had started to be a lot more open about my mental health in recent days because I thought there was a surge of understanding happening. I thought “people get this, FINALLY!” and though I do not bombard them with it on a regular basis, I do make mention occasionally when things are particularly bad, or even when I feel like I’m doing really well. But it has come to my attention that some of the people I thought were understanding have actually been saying some pretty terrible things behind my back. A lot of “wait, she isn’t over that yet?”

I can’t tell you how much I hurt today. How much I hurt for myself, and how much I hurt for my husband. Do you know how hard it is to be a spouse of a mentally unwell person? I know he doesn’t have it even remotely easy. He is carrying so much on his shoulders. Then these people act as if what we are both facing together is not as serious as we believe? That we should just be “over it” by now? I can’t wrap my mind around the… ignorance of that statement. It hurts that much more when it is coming from someone who you thought cared.

I’m just feeling a lot of hurt today. I don’t know how to process it, or how to bring it up. This blog will continue to remain a secret to all those in my life. Because processing my thoughts through written word has been extremely helpful for me so far, but I can’t imagine someone reading it and thinking how silly it is I’m not “over it” yet.

If you feel like me, if you struggle like me, know this: It is absolutely okay to not be over it. It is absolutely okay to not be okay. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I’ll see you soon.

Spontaneous Combustion

If you are like me – and by like me, I mean BIPOLAR – then you have had moments where you have lost all control. Unfortunately, when you are bipolar you learn that can also mean you have an anger issue. Bipolar manifests itself in different ways in different people, that much is true. I do not have the manic episodes filled with sex, over-spending, and bad long-lasting life decisions like others that I know. They do not have the self-harm riddled, suicide-attempt filled, blackest of days lows that I have. It’s all different. Which really sucks sometimes.

The big thing I am dealing with right now is my outbursts. When life gets stressful (well, more stressful. it’s never not stressful) I can slowly feel the build up over time and I just know it’s coming. It’s like a ticking bomb, but the countdown doesn’t make any sense at all! It could explode at 10, 3, o, or -20. I have no idea, I just know it’s coming. I never know what that one thing will be that sets it off.

I hate it. I hate being scared of myself. When these moments happen that I am just overcome by rage and stress – I am not myself. I am not attached. It’s like a leave my own body and watch myself completely lose it while desperately trying to make it all stop. But I can’t. It just keeps going.

I have found the best way to cope with these moments is to go for a drive. I drive around our neighborhood a lot. To the point that I wonder if the people around us know what’s going on. “Oh there goes Steph…she must have snapped again.” “Poor hubby, he deserves so much better than this.” “Man, I hope her girls are coping okay. Their mom is nuts.”

Who knows. But what I *do* know is that driving helps. I cut on a worship album, buckle in, and just go. I have 3 different routes of varying length depending on how bad the episode feels. And I’ve also had extremely bad episodes that have landed me in a different state. That being said, I only live about an hour from the border, but it’s still a sobering experience to realize I’ve left my home state just trying to get away from myself.

These drives are not the end-all, fix-all, as much as I wish they were. They help in the moment, so I don’t hurt someone else or myself. So I don’t say or do something I might regret. It’s a very small comfort in the long scheme of things to know that when I am about to lose all control, i have just enough to get out. To get away. To protect those that I love and protect myself from whatever is about to come.

These outbursts take a lot out of me though. I will either sleep for as long as the world will let me, completely shut down for a few days, or just cry for a few hours. It always leads to exhaustion.

I don’t know how to deal with these. I had a combustion tonight. I drove. I feel better, but not really. It was a small explosion, so I am waiting, terrified, for the big one. I hate having no control of myself. I hate it so much.

I’ll see you soon.

Chaotic, Crazy Life

I have always been one to crave simplicity. I don’t like large, flashy houses. I don’t like being in the city for more than a few days at a time. I don’t like loud, screaming music. I like the country side and the ocean. I like rustic farm homes where family stays close. I like music with solid structure and skillful lyrics. I do, however, like crazy, loud, action packed movies and television shows, but not before bed.

It hasn’t always been this way. I used to love screamo thrasher metal bands. I loved to push the envelope with violence and gore. I loved going into the city to see shows in over-crowded rooms. The louder life was, the better. When my mental health quickly began to decline at the end of 2014, I started to realize I did this things to block out the noise inside myself. If life was constantly going and moving, I didn’t have to worry about what was happening inside of me. Suddenly, I was forced to really look at what was going on. I had no choice. I had a child and a husband, I was in the hospital, I was suddenly very aware of everything that was wrong.

Learning I was bipolar was actually one of the greatest reliefs I have ever felt. I had a name to my demon. There was a reason I was this way. It wasn’t just me being unable to handle life, it wasn’t just me being a failure – I had tangible proof that something else was going on and now all I had to do was treat it.

Shortly after beginning treatment, I found out that I was pregnant with my second child. She was not remotely planned, and was a huge shock. I had to stop all medical treatment because none of it was safe for my baby girl. That was 2 years ago. I have yet to go back to a therapist, I have yet to get back on medication. It’s showing.  I know I need to get back into seeking help. It’s…surprisingly a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. I find I get extremely overwhelmed when I begin the process, sometimes it leads me to a panic attack. But I know I need to do this — not just for myself, but for my husband and my daughters. They deserve me at my best and so I have to do what is necessary. I am hoping that within the next few weeks I will begin that road again.

This blog is for myself. A written account of my life as I just try to live with bipolar and manic depression. An account to myself that yes, this is where you started — but look how far you’ve come. It is going to be raw, real, and at times it’s going to be down right crappy. But it is my life, my soul – my way of bearing it all for the world and God to see. I can’t keep ignoring it and hiding it. It is time to come clean and be real.

So let’s be real.

I’ll see you soon.
Steph