Tag Archive | mental health

We’re Going West, My Friends

Family trips can be a huge source of stress for me. The planning, packing for 7 people, securing hotels, car, transportation and everything else that goes with it is just exhausting. Not to mention that the change in sleep cycles and routines can really do a number on my mental health.

All that being said, guess what I’m in the midst of doing. Planning a vacation. I’ve actually reached the point where I’m beginning to pack. I have a mere 4 days until we depart. Even though I’ve been planning this for months, I feel like I’m drowning in to-do lists.

Part of this is self imposed. I want the house spotless before we leave. There’s nothing worse than coming home to a messy house after vacation. So I’ve got everyone on cleaning detail. This is creating more headaches than its helping at the moment though. The kids are rebelling. They’ve put together a list of demands that they insist must be met before they will continue in their work. I don’t negotiate with terrorists, no matter how cute they may be, so it seems we’re at a standoff.

I wanted to buy small travel pillows. We’re taking the train there and flying back, so I need something small we can cram into a bag on the way home. After looking at my options, I decided it would be cheaper to make my own. It was cheaper to buy the materials. Now, being that I have no time to make these things, I just need to find a bunch of little mice to sew them up for me. I wonder if Cinderella’s little friends would be up for it…

I also got the great idea to make these felt Mr. Potato Heads to keep the kids busy on the 2 day train ride. They’re so cute and compact, and even a couple the older girls wanted to have one. I started those two weeks ago. Guess who’s still not done. Oh well. At least I only need to cut out the accessories.

I have 3 1/2 people packed, clothes-wise. That’s half way done! Woo hoo! It also means I have 3 1/2 more people to pack. Okay, fine, it’s more like after the half is done I only need to pack for myself. Knowing the eldest and the boyfriend, I’ll have to double check bags though.

The eldest will pack too much, as teenage girls often do. She recently went on a week long trip and took two bags for herself. I’ve been packing everyone else’s clothes two people to one duffle bag. I don’t mess around when it comes to packing.

The boyfriend will do the opposite. He tried to argue that one pair of shorts would be enough for a 10 day trip. Yeah… um no. I’m sure he’ll forget something important too, like his underwear. I’m not sure I ever met a man who was good at packing.

Despite all this chaos (or maybe because of it) I’m really looking forward to this vacation. We’ll be spending time with the boyfriend’s friends and family, we’ll see some beautiful scenery, including waterfalls, which I’m psyched about. I know that it will be a great time. It’s just the preparing stage that makes me bonkers. Then it should be all good… until it’s time to come home and unpack it all, that is.

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Nature’s Lesson of the Day

I had a rough day. On my way to school I had the beginnings of a breakdown. Not one for breaking down in public, I decided it would be best if I center myself before heading to class.

Quite a while back, I posted this blog about one of the many spots I like to go to around school when I’m feeling this way. That spot is nice, but it’s too close to school. I needed something more secluded today.

Right next door to my school, there’s a county park and golf course. While I’m not much for golf, I do love the natural scenery it has to offer.

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This is an instagram photo I took today. My first one ever, actually. I think it turned out quite nice. It’s taken from my favorite spot to sit. On the bank of the stream, there’s a rock that sits next to a tree. I sit on that rock often, listening to the water babble as it flows over the rocks and branches.

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I wasn’t in the mood to sit today, so I decided to head to the bridge. While there, I stopped, closed my eyes, and let my senses take in the surroundings. The sun felt warm on my skin. Birds were singing and everything smelled new. I opened my eyes, allowing my refocused self a chance to see the picture around me. The water on one side of the bridge was babbling, but just on the other side, the water appeared smooth as glass.

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Then, a thought came to me. In many ways, I am like that stream. The side that’s like glass, appearing calm and unmoving while churning below the surface is me most of the time. When my obstacles are small and hidden below the surface, I appear to be smooth and steady. What others fail to see is the churning below the surface. They don’t see the nasty tricks my mind plays on me. I appear calm and put together through years of practice.

On the other side of the bridge, the water has many obstacles in its path. Because of this, the waters movements are more visible. Right now, I am the water on this site of the bridge. There’s so many obstacles in my path, now the storm that brews beneath the surface has come to light. I can’t contain things in the manner I’m used to because so much had been put on my plate. Now all I hear is the incessant babbling of my mind. It’s maddening.

I hiked quite a way down the stream, contemplating all of this and what it could mean for me aside from some insight and a decent blog topic. There’s a point on the trail where it circles around a tree and heads back the way you came. There, I noticed a small tributary. This got me thinking.

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This tiny creek I isn’t churning up the water. It’s feeding the stream, giving it more life force. Without it and others like it, the streams water level would lower, exposing more rocks and obstacles, making the stream have to work that much harder. The stream could even dry up without these little creeks.

I have isolated myself recently. It’s partially because I’ve been so busy I don’t have time to be social. There’s a large portion of it that’s intentional though. When I’m like this, I’m not easy to deal with. Everything ticks me off, and if it doesn’t tick me off it will probably make me cry. I have zero tolerance for anything I deem as stupidity. I don’t want to be around people and, with the way I am, I figure it’s better for others not to be around me.

The problem is I’m running low. My stream is drying up. I need others in my life, whether to lend a helping hand or to have a shoulder to cry on. I’m realizing that part of taking care of me also means caring for those connections. Now to try to find the time….

The Girl Who Never Cleaned

It seems my posts are getting further and further apart. I guess I need to start making writing a priority again, but with so much going on, it’s honestly hard to find time to breathe these days.

The eldest is still not walking right. She’s in a wheelchair anytime she’s not at home. Her strength is slowly coming back. I wish I could say the same for mine. Bi-weekly physical therapy, weekly neurologist appointments, and various other appointments fill my time now. When I’m not running, I’m trying to keep up with school, my business, and the house. Needless to say, the house is suffering. There’s a story behind why this last one bothers me so. If you sit a spell, I’ll share the tale with you.

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That was mighty old-fashioned of me, so here’s an old fashioned photo to go with it.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who got married at a young age. This girl had many responsibilities growing up and felt that she had been treated unfairly. This caused her to shirk her adult responsibilities and her house became a huge mess. Her spouse wasn’t much help, often adding more to the mess than he ever helped with, and then blaming her for the state of the home. After all, she was home with two kids under 4 (one of whom was a newborn) all day. Surely she had tons of time and motivation to get things done while he was gone.

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This bodes well for getting housework done, let me tell you.

Over the next year, her house displayed varying levels of cleanliness, but mostly, it looked like an episode of Hoarders gone wrong. Okay, maybe not quite that  bad, but it was sure close. After child number three came along, she fell into a deep depression. As you can imagine, the emotional state was reflected in the appearance in her home. Some days she could barely find the motivation to brush her hair, let alone do the dishes.

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Something tells me this woman was having one of those days. That, or she couldn’t locate a mirror.

Through the years, more and more messes were made and it seemed to the girl that the more she cleaned, the messier it got. No matter how much she plead with those who shared her home, she could not get help doing even the simplest of chores. The girl gave up. Her house was forever a pigsty after that.

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I can safely say my house never got this bad. Thank goodness!

The End

Only it wasn’t. That douche of a spouse left. At first, the house wasn’t any cleaner because the girl felt like a failure. She had made promises and now they had been broken. Not by her, but by him. She felt she had failed her kids and her whole family. She felt she failed herself.

Little by little, her eyes opened. She realized that she hadn’t been in a healthy place for a long time and part of that was because of him. Now that he was gone, she could find herself again, because she didn’t even know who she was anymore. She became happier and as she did, her house got cleaner and cleaner. She realized that having a clean house made her feel better too.

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I wish my house looked like this. It’s simply not this pretty though.

Fast forward to now. The girl is happy-ish. Things are tough, sure, but they seem to be getting better. She has so much to do, that the house is beginning to slip again. The girl thinks back to the way it used to be. The way her house used to look. She looks around, unhappy with where things are. She knows it’s not bad yet, but worries that it could get there. She gets so much more help now, so that’s huge, but she still feels like she should be doing more to help. She feels this way, but instead of cleaning, she writes, because right now, it’s all she knows how to do to keep sane.

Which End Up?

These past weeks have been trying to say the very least. I’ve hit a low that is unlike any other I’ve experienced before. It’s uniqueness stems from the fact that I have much to be happy about while I am curled into the fetal position crying about what is going wrong. I swear, my life is more bipolar than I am right now.

My grandfather passed away. He was 89. He lived a long and wonderful life and for that, I’m happy. But the way he passed away is something I cannot be okay with. He was hit by a car and then spent the next 3 days in the hospital before passing away. Yes, he was 89, but the man was in great health and still sharp as a tack. He could have easily seen 100 if this accident hadn’t happened. Yes, it was an accident. Little old lady hit the gas instead of the brakes. I plan on writing a beautiful piece about him some day, but right now, I just don’t have it in me. I think the pain is too fresh.

Less than a week before this occurred, my mom was in the hospital for a suspected heart attack. She’s been in to see specialist after specialist now and will be having a cardiac catheter done this week. I’m really worried about her. She’s only 52.

My eldest is having so many health issues it’s not funny. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve taken her to the doctor in the past few weeks. After taking her to the ER the other night, she experienced not one, but two allergic reactions medications they gave her. Now, she can barely walk and the only thing we can do is wait. If she’s not improved by tomorrow, it’s another trip to the doctor for us.

The younger kids have been having some emotional issues due to my grandpas passing and that is presenting in their behavior. Trying to balance all that is becoming pretty tiresome.

School is one of those things I’m holding tight to right now because it helps me focus on something positive, but I’ve been so busy at home, doing my homework is becoming more and more difficult and now I need to drop a class I really like due to attendance.

I haven’t had time to decompress from anything lately except for a night with friends and a date night. My sewing machine is collecting dust, my craft box has been untouched, my books are collecting dust and I haven’t written for pleasure in ages.

All of this makes my heart hurt. There is a literal, physical pain in me right now. I want to fall apart for a million reasons, but I trudge on. My tank is on empty. I NEED things to start looking up and fast or I’m not sure where I’m going to end up with all this.

The good thing about these past few weeks is that my family seems more supportive and closer. I hope this will last. My boyfriend has been his amazing, supportive, helpful self through all of this and I truly believe that if it wasn’t for him, I’d be in a much darker place right now. He really does help keep me strong. I’ve had a chance to spend a lot of time with my eldest, but I wish she were feeling better so we could enjoy it even more.

I also FINALLY got a minivan yesterday, after needing one for ages. I’m so glad that’s out of the way. It’s pretty and it’s red. I never thought I’d own a red car, but this one suits me nicely I think. Plus, beggars can’t be choosers, and the price was right, so… lol. The BF even let me do the haggling and I think I did mighty nice. I managed to talk them down almost 15% from the sticker price! Go me!

So like I said, I’m in a weird place. I have a lot to be happy about, but life also seems to think it’s a good time to throw every type of chaos possible my way. Hopefully things will mellow soon. The optimist in me is getting pretty worn down.

Crazier than Nutter Butters

I really need to start taking notes when I get an idea for a blog. I had a great idea the other day when my craziness was at an all time high and now that some semblance of sanity has set in again, it’s gone. Poof. Like a fart in the wind. Oh well. Maybe inspiration will strike again soon.

Yes, I went crazy. I’m actually still kind of there, but just to a lesser degree. I managed to keep myself out of the hospital, but it took a fair amount of Xanax and a lot of patience on the parts of those around me. I’m not sure what caused this most recent decent into the darkness, but I know a few things that probably didn’t help. I find self reflection is one of the best ways to keep myself sane (or at least maintain the illusion of sanity). By acknowledging where I slipped up, I can do my best to avoid it in the future. So, here’s where I went wrong this time.

I stopped seeing my counselor. I see my shrinky dink (as I have so affectionately coined her) on campus. She’s great. She’s also ON CAMPUS. I’m a mom of five, a college student, and busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. That convenience factor is HUGE for me. It’s been winter break for the last six weeks and in that time, I’ve managed to only see her once. During the semester, we had weekly visits. It made sense. I was there practically every day anyways. Might as well. At the end of the semester, we decided it might be easier to meet every other week. That’s where I went wrong.

Any break from routine screws me up in the worst kind of way. This isn’t to say that I have every second of my like scheduled out. Oh HELL no! I would die if I had to live by a strict schedule. I do better with patterns though. A certain level of predictability. I usually try to schedule any appointments on the same days of the week and around the same times because then I can think, “Oh, it’s Thursday, appointment day. Do I have any today?”  That’s the kind of routine I strive for.

So, being used to a weekly schedule and switching to every other week may not have been disastrous had my whole entire routine not changed as well. I’m yammering on here though. I think you get the point. Lots of changes in routine all at once, bad. Little changes so things don’t fall through the cracks in my cerebral cortex causing me to loose my nutter butters, good. Mmmm. Nutter Butter. Aauuuhhhhh.. (Drools like Homer Simpson)

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Peanut buttery deliciousness, oh how I covet thee

I was also denying myself my car therapy time. For those of you newbies -Yes you in the back, it’s nice to see a new face! Welcome to my blog. Like it says, buckle up and savor the crazy- my car time is what I like to refer to as “self therapy”. I sing, I dance, I cry, scream, talk to myself in different foreign accents, whatever I need to do to let the crazy out in one of my most sacred spaces; my car. Yes, sometimes those who drive along side me get one hell of a show, but I don’t really care. Sometimes I’ll even interact with them, doing things that I know will make them look at me like I’m batty. I suppose it’s a bit like throwing a temper tantrum when I do that. I’m getting attention for all the wrong reasons at that point, but it’s attention so… you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.

As you can see, my car time is whatever I need it to be. It’s very cathartic to have that release to let the nonsense out. Trust me, there’s a lot of it to be let out too. Since I haven’t been doing so, it’s been bubbling under the surface waiting to explode. That’s what it did too. All over my family. In some ways, I’m glad it was them because they love me and will forgive me. In other way, I feel beyond shitty for doing that, yet again.

As far as the bipolar scale goes, things could probably be worse. On the manic side of bipolar disorder, there often comes an impulse control issue. Many bipolar people have issues with drugs, alcohol, gambling, infidelity, spending unwisely, binge eating, disappearing and other behaviors that involve poor judgement. Then, there’s the depression side of things to add on to that. I’ve been lucky enough to only experience a few of those and keep the majority of issues I’ve had to a level of minimal disruption compared to some of what I’ve seen others go through. It hasn’t been easy, I assure you, but I’ve done it.

There’s more to my story of this past week, but I don’t really know that it’s relevant right now. I want to give you the link to a website where people with bipolar and other mental illness can reach out to find help and connect with others who are in the same boat. I hear they have some great support groups. I’m going to look into one in my area.

I hope that helps anyone who needs it. I hope it helps me.

Bitch with a Capital “B”

Something has been off inside me. I’m not quite sure what. As someone who normally prides herself in knowing what’s going on in her noggin, this is pretty goddamn unnerving. It’s not one of my usual cycles, so I’m thrown for a loop. Let me give you a few examples of what I’ve been experiencing.

The other night the BF and I are curled up on the couch watching the Dark Night Rises. Awesome flick right? No amount of chick-flick-ness at all. Yet mid movie, I break out in tears. I wasn’t thinking about anything depressing, it wasn’t anything in the movie that triggered it. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I WAS CRYING. This is so not normal. I only cry when I have a reason and even then I sometimes don’t cry.

Yesterday, I have the creepy crawly feeling. That has happened before, but it’s usually in conjunction with an unpleasant though (or thoughts) as well. I wasn’t thinking anything creepy, I was just trying to write my book.

I have been a Bitch lately. Notice the capital “B”? It’s been that bad. I have no patience with anything and I flux between wanting to be totally alone and being beyond needy. This is also abnormal for me. It sometimes happens in my mixed episodes, but if this is a mixed episode, it’s unlike any I’ve ever experienced before.

Not that anyone cares to hear this, but that wonderful week of the month is coming up, so maybe thats it? It’s not usually like this for that reason either. I’m beyond lost. I was talking about all this with the BF and he decided to try to make a funny. He said, “What if you’re pregnant?” after which he got smacked on the shoulder. Five kids between us is more than enough. Besides, my factory was shut down long ago.

Good news is I cranked out over 2,000 words in the book, bringing the total word count up to almost 6,000. I think what I wrote yesterday is stronger that what I’ve written before. Maybe the emotional turmoil I’m going through is good for the book. Sounds like a good excuse for being a Bitch anyways.

Crawling in my Skin

I sit here, trying to write.  There’s so much to this book and it keeps knocking around in my head, making me more than slightly bonkers. When I write, I usually listen to music. I can’t do quiet. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I have so many kids, but the quiet creeps me out. Plus, I love music.

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Headbanging, Beavis and Butthead style

Anyway, I’m writing (or trying to) and all these hard rock/metal songs keep coming on my Pandora. Apparently, I am too wound up to listen to this music because it is really making my skin crawl. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense. I mean my skin is actually crawling. It feels like I have bugs under my skin and it has me pretty freaked.

So I change my Pandora playlist. I guess listening to the music from Tim Burton’s flicks has a calming effect on me, because the crawling in my skin feeling is gone. Now I just want to kidnap Sandy Claws, Throw him in a box, bury him for ninety years, then see if he talks.

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It’s amazing how the strangest things can calm a person. Now that I’m centered (mostly) again, it’s off to created worlds and lives, only to destroy some of them. Today, someone in my book dies. *cue ominous music* Dun dun da dah!