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Mental Illness, Addiction and Recovery

When looking around the Internet the other day for symptoms and links to help with recovery I came across several different links and when reading some of the  symptoms I once again read how many people become chemically dependent trying to self medicate a problem they do not understand. So here I am talking about a recovery center located  in Newport Beach, California, called Morningside Recovery.

This picture is off their website, private facilities in Newport Beach

Private Facilities in Newport Beach CA

In my opinion California is a great place for a facility, as we have sunshine nearly year round and the beach is a very peaceful place. This of course is just my opinion but I believe if I lived somewhere with less sunshine my illness would be harder to control, specifically my depression, anyway back to the recovery center.

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Do You Speak Respectfully?..

This morning my daughter and I were talking about her school and her counselor. She has a counselor on school grounds as part of a new program to help kids get counseling that can’t afford it. Anyway, she said the counselor made a statement to her, this is what she said,” I have worked with other Bipolars.” That kind of rubbed my daughter wrong.

Then She told me about her teacher Mr Knopp. This teacher is teaching the disabled kids in her school and she took his class as an elective to work with the disabled kids. He was talking to them yesterday telling them that you don’t refer to people as their disability, that you always say person first with what ever disability they have. He explained that people are not defined by their disability, that is Steve who has down syndrome. Not that is down syndrome Steve!

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Versatile Blogger Award…

I have been honored once again with the Versatile Blogger Award by  my good friend at TheAgoraphobicBlog.  

This woman suffers with Agoraphobia, if you hadn’t figure that out by the name of the blog, and she is one of the strongest women I know. She fights through her fears and shares it all with her readers.  She posts videos showing her struggles and showing her determination to win over this illness.  She does all this to help others who may be suffering. Not only does she share all this, but she reaches out and helps others and supports her fellow bloggers.  She is one of a kind and I am happy we have connected for so many reasons. Anytime I feel like life is hard, I simply go see what she is up to and it quickly makes me realize how strong we really are.  Thank you Fiona!! 

 

Versatile Blogger Award

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Bipolar Disorder Types…

I have come across a video that explains 5 Types of Bipolar Disorder, This is an interesting video and I think some of you may find it helpful so I am posting it here.

If you or anyone you know thinks you may be affected by a Mental Illness please get professional help. Don’t try to self diagnose. 

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Mental Illness??? Or Another Problem??

I was talking with a friend and it made me realize that deciding if you are mentally ill or have some other issue is not easy.  I remember when I met with my psychiatrist all those years ago, the one I see now, he told me NO ONE fits into the molds of textbook Bipolar or whatever illness you may suffer from.  I think that was one of the eye-opening facts he gave me right away.  

If you look up Bipolar for instance… I never knew there are two forms and if I read the symptoms I don’t fit perfectly into that yet I am Bipolar II.  That is my diagnosis and I fully believe it.  I realized after talking to my doctor that life factors come into how your mental illness starts and progresses therefore none of us fit PERFECTLY into a diagnosis.  You maybe Bipolar but have some symptoms from other illness’ kind of related to it.  

So when you see symptoms you aren’t sure if it is actually an illness or something else, maybe a health issue or tumor etc..  Is this normal? you will ask yourself, and others, who will tell you yeah your fine..blah blah blah  There is very little understanding of Mental Illness in general society, people fear it and therefore there is a stigma.  People will deny it for years and years, maybe forever… Like my mother!   

My point here is… drum roll please…. :)  If you have any one serious symptom of any mental illness who is it going to hurt if you go see a doctor to discuss it? Also Is that symptom interfering with you living life normally? If so you need a doctor… The earlier you catch a problem the easier it is for you to learn and control it and have the doctors help you with medicines, your diet or therapy, whatever is right for YOU.  There is no Magic Pill out there that will fix you up with out some work and YOU MUST LEARN ABOUT YOUR ILLNESS.  Knowledge is power people, I know that’s cliché but it is true.   

When I learned of my illness I went online into chat rooms and listened and sites and read and read and did all the research I could. My husband hated it and complained about the time I spent on the computer.  That really should have been my first clue he wasn’t going to support me… LOL  Years of work and research and therapy and doctor appointments and medicines and all that goes into full treatment and finding the road to recovery.  The first step is to accept it and realize its not the end of the world its the beginning of your happy life.  Really it is.. at least it was for me. 

Image of dock going of over a lake

Peaceful Journey

Image: federico stevanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Life Values and Bipolar Limitations…

This is part of a comment from a blog called Thebipolarproject… and the reason for the topic of this post! I suggest you check out her blog! 

I think you have it quite tough because you have a lot of responsibilities, you have children and extra stresses and difficulties. That’s a lot to juggle, and I admire your ability to keep pushing on. I would love to know more about what you value in life, what is important to you and the limitations that you do have and how you work within them (or not!) – Maybe a topic for a post on your blog? 

I’m not sure how to answer that but here is my best try at it; I value high morals, always do the right thing, always think of others, always make up for what mistakes you make, own your actions don’t blame others, work as hard as you can to be the BEST person you possible, don’t accept less than your best and be the best parent you can, your forming adults and they must know your values!  Help others in whatever way you can but don’t accept abuse from them. You must respect yourself or you won’t be happy!

With my illness I find it important to surround myself with positive people. Those that don’t make drama out of nothing and those that care about others. That doesn’t mean I don’t help those that don’t appreciate my help but I will only do what I can and if it affects my life, my kids, my world in a negative fashion it has to be stopped.  I have been mistreated many times but I can’t usually help myself until it affects me in a negative way.  Then I realize I’m not helping anyone and just sacrificing my stable moods so I have to stop.  I don’t help anyone with any expectation of getting anything in return, except respect of my life and my feelings.  

I do my best to not judge people, I don’t know what their life is like and I am not in their shoes so I try not to judge. Am I always successful at that, NO we all have those moments that we later realize we were being unfair, we are human. 

I have severe mood swings and anger at times and I have lit into people unnecessarily but I always regret it, the rage that comes with my illness sometimes takes over.. like the incident with my neighbor that I wrote about in a earlier post.  I always apologize and I  feel horrible about it as that rage isn’t who I really am, it’s a symptom of my illness that I work hard to control.

The number one most important thing in my life is my Children.  My two girls mean the world to me and I have worked hard for years to control my illness and change my negative thought processes to a more positive way of thinking and I am hoping they will be better people for it just as I am. 

My limitations you ask.. there are many! Number one I cannot work! The stress of a job sends me over the edge every time, it undoes my stability and pushes me into a world of depression and anger. I get lost in the swirling of my Bipolar Mind.  It takes a lot out of me daily to control my symptoms and live normally. I have to watch my feelings , reactions and level of happiness constantly, because any change could mean a big mood change in my life.  It’s difficult to not be able to work, money is a huge issue. Here I am on the third of January with not enough money to pay rent, turning in my recycling and collecting it from others to attempt to make it one more month. It’s difficult with two teenage girls who also have depression issues that have to be treated. I also have to watch them and their lives and reactions and such to make sure they aren’t falling over the edge and get them to the doctor when they are.. I must have the money to buy their medicine which is quite expensive even with insurance.

When you are depressed, which we always are, its hard to get up each day and get two depressed teenagers out of bed, ready, off to school and deal with all their weird morning quirks etc. I love them and I do it because I do love them, they have to see that you can’t let the depression rule your life. Really depression is just a fact of our life and we have to set up our lives and limits around it. If our anxiety is high then we don’t go shop that day or where ever we would normally go but we will push our way out the next day.

I can’t go into big crowds most days and my oldest daughter can’t either as our anxiety is high, we have a difficult time going some where we have never been before or talking with someone we have never talked to before. The anxiety is crippling if we give into it.

Since this post is getting so long I think I will stop there… Maybe I can expand on things further in another post.  There are so many accepted limitations that it isn’t easy to know what mine are in comparison to others anymore. :)

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Thinking and Thinking… Just Thoughts?

♥ ♥ This evening I realized I have been thinking a lot lately…  What does this mean to me? 

This thinking could mean several things! I noticed that I am feeling down and thinking about different things in my life.  Is this a new episode of Depression? Is this just the time of year? Am I feeling like I am missing something in my life? Is there something more 

I can do for others? Am I letting anyone down? Am I letting myself down in some way? 

Honestly I’m not sure the answer to any of those questions! I just know I am thinking and wondering many different things. I pray that I am not falling into a Depression that will affect the people around me negatively. Don’t get me wrong I am happy in my life, things have improved so much over the past month within my mind, but it leaves me wondering whats the next mood going to be.

Did I stabilize or did I just shift moods? 

This is a question I ask myself often in my life, why? Because if I don’t who will?  I am in control and have to stay that way, its part of my daily work to live “normally”.  Part of my daily work to have life “normal” for my kids and those around me!  I’m not sure how many of you realize that we who have mental illness work hard everyday to control the part of our brains that don’t work “normally”.  It’s exhausting work sometimes.. well all the time.  It is part of our daily lives and the effort it takes to constantly study our reactions, behaviors, feelings, choices etc is immense. Are we always successful?  No of course we aren’t but we are harder on our selves when we don’t than any person with a “normal” functioning brain would ever dream of.. 

We are deeply caring and intuitive people usually.  We aren’t dumb in any way, we are typically quite intelligent.  I am more intuitive and giving than book smart but I feel deeply, deeper than anyone I know. I have this empathy for people which tunes into how people feel and it’s exhausting sometimes. My emotions are high at all times!  Yet I have to work to control every possible thing I can within myself and my Bipolar symptoms! 

Anyway you can see that I am spending a good part of my energy thinking lately! I have been so busy with the kids and the holidays and I haven’t had the time I need online. I am trying not to stress about it but stress is what I do! :) 

Really I think I just wanted to give you insight into how things are for me where my mind is and my attempt at “normal” life! 

“Success in life comes to those who simply refuse to give up; individuals with vision so strong that obstacles, failure and loss only act as teachings.” 
Silken Laumann

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato 

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” George Bernard Shaw 

 

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net  –   graur razvan ionut’s portfolio is: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=987

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Ashamed of Seeing a Shrink???

I have met a  person on twitter who suffers terribly from depression etc.  She is a great person and she recently posted about NOT being ashamed of seeing a shrink.  I am sharing the link to her post because EVERYONE needs to realize a mental ILLNESS is just that, an ILLNESS.  

It is not a choice, we are not lazy, overly sensitive or just different or looking for attention! We are ILL and should NEVER be shamed for it by anyone! If you don’t believe in mental ILLNESS you are simply IGNORANT!  Please check out her blog but know that she is real and some of what she posts is difficult to read.  If you want to understand mental illness and how it affects a life you must read her blog. 

 

Now Go and Learn about Real Suffering and the fight to live with Mental Illness… 

Rethink Mental Illness

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Dinner Out and Anxiety…

Have you ever seen an adult or child out in a Public place with a blank stare, staring straight forward and looking really unhappy? They have that look like they are trying to disappear into the back ground and they don’t make eye contact at all. 

That was my daughter this last Friday night when we went to dinner with some friends.  Unfortunately the restaurant choice was a noisy, crazy, fun and somewhat obnoxious place.  It is a fun place but my daughter, who is 15, has serious anxiety and is Bipolar2, couldn’t take it.

Of course all the adults in the area kept trying to talk to her and the waiter was down right picking at her because she was so blank.  Really, she was petrified and every person that insisted on talking to her and trying to make her smile made it ten times worse but how do you tell people to stop with out embarrassing her? I have never over the past 10 years had any way to tell people to stop with out it being an issue and them wanting further explanation.  If you explain its anxiety they don’t understand and want more information, which turns into a full discussion and embarrasses her. :(

So on this occasion I decided to start the fun.  I picked up a napkin, wadded it up and threw it at my other daughter.  See this restaurant you throw napkins around and do whatever make a huge mess. That started everyone at the table throwing napkins at each other and then expanded to the other people seated in the area.  Before I knew it the entire room was throwing napkins and wearing funny paper hats the waiters were making for them. The waiters and waitresses were throwing entire packages of napkins into the air and they were falling like large snow flakes. It was a ton of fun.

But there was my daughter still sitting in the same place with a blank look on her face and now she is annoyed as she has no tolerance for fun silly stuff when she feels that way.  At least not everyone was watching her and wondering what was wrong and there were no conversations on the fact that she has terrible anxiety and has since she was 5.

I just try to talk to her and keep her present and calm but she didn’t even eat dinner we took her meal home, she just couldn’t do it!  When we got home she was exhausted, that is what that type of anxiety will do to you.  She went straight to bed and slept late the next day! 

I hope that if you see anyone this uncomfortable you won’t keep at them if they don’t respond. I completely understand why people  talk to her at first because they want to help but when she doesn’t respond I wish people would let her be.  If there was something to be done to help her I would have already done it!! :)  

Information

This is a link to NIMH statistics on anxiety in children http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYANX_child.shtml

Facts & Statistics From Anxiety Disorders Association of America 

 Did You Know?
  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
  • Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,60(7), July 1999).
    •  More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services; people with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
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Big Changes… A Hard Road to Navigate…

Have you ever been faced with difficult choices? Necessary drastic changes to  improve or survive life? 

I stopped talking to my mother, banned her from my life because we couldn’t take the manipulation and the negativity she brought to our lives.  You must know that my mother is not treated for her mental illness.  6 years I didn’t speak to her but that enabled me to change thought processes and begin getting to know who I was and how I wanted to live my life. 

I have had similar experiences with my father.  Years of not interacting as he too is mentally ill and in denial.  I got to where I couldn’t handle them and their stress and negativity, I didn’t want to live my life that way.   We are all closer now than we have been ever, but there are limitations!  I had to do what was right for my family.  

It was a very difficult 10 years, I didn’t have the support of my husband, my mother, my father and I had only 1 friend who moved away.  Depression in itself makes you feel lonely but I had no support and a husband that had no interest in helping me but a lot of interest in making fun of me.  He would mock me when I would try to talk to him about things that I needed to change. I was deeply depressed and exhausted all the time! Loneliness set in and I began to just exist. 

In the end, my husband cheated on me and  I attempted to work things out with him for 4 months, he kept telling me he didn’t want to lose me blah blah blah.  Finally I couldn’t live a lie any longer, he wouldn’t commit to making things work and only went to 8 therapy appointments. I decided to move out to an apartment not far from the house.  We continued work through things, so I thought. Then one of his neighbors came to me and told me his girlfriend was staying the night when I wasn’t there. :(  Devastating really.  It took me 3 years to get through the devastation I felt.  It was like someone had ripped my heart out! I lived in a fog of depression, just going through the motions of life. 

One day I was driving to pick up the kids from school and it hit me.  Happiness is a choice, it was like a voice said to me Happiness is a choice, choose happiness!  At that moment the fog lifted and I began to pull out of my feelings of being lost.  There was life to live and life to enjoy, I was now determined to live that life!

I had to be strong for the girls… We have now finally divorced and are struggling to parent our kids.  Unfortunately, he married his maniac girlfriend and our kids are heart-broken.  The oldest doesn’t even go to see him anymore and it breaks my heart.   It has now been 5 years since we moved out and I am happy!  Something I have never been in my entire life.  I have a doctor that is keeping my illness in check and am dating a man who is very nice to me, easy to be around and I can talk to him about anything.  He has his issues just like me but we have fit together well for the past year.  My girls even like him so that’s a plus!  

I just want to say, sometimes when it feels like life is over, it’s just beginning.  I am now able to be happy inside as long as my illness is kept at bay and my girls are happier for it.  It’s a lot of work to control some of the symptoms and If you read my post A Bad Day…A More Current post, you know the bipolar days are still around but they don’t run my entire life. If you want to make changes in yourself, don’t let anyone hold you back! You can do it with  work and support from doctors and therapists.  There is help out there but you will have to go find it!! 

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