Archive | February 2015

Danger Zone

I’ve written before about how dangerous springtime is to me, and I can already feel some of it coming on.  I didn’t really want to blog today because I kind of feel like I have nothing helpful to say right now.  I know it doesn’t have to incapacitate me, and I know it, too, shall pass.  But the inbetween time is still difficult to get through day by day.

I think the line I hate hearing the most is that “You don’t have anything to be depressed about.”  And that’s true in a lot of ways.  I have a very good life.  I have family and a husband who love me, I have friends, I have a job, I have time to pursue my interests, etc.  At the same time, I have friends and family that are ill.  Both of my parents are disabled, and I worry about them.  My dad doesn’t like my husband, and that upsets me.  Just because I look fine on the outside doesn’t mean that nothing is going on inside.  But bipolar depression doesn’t always respond to outward circumstances.  It’s a brain disorder that needs medication in order to correct it.  And that medication comes with side effects that aren’t always pleasant.

I thought of two more contacts for possible job opportunities in creative writing, so I’m going to be trying to call them today.  Pray that I’ll get some direction soon so I can begin making plans for whatever God has in store for me.  Thanks for reading!

Happy Valentine’s Day

I hope each and every one of you are able to enjoy Valentine’s Day today.  It’s hard for us to enjoy it in our house because it always marks the beginning of my dangerous period during the year.  I have a weird variant of seasonal affective disorder in that once the sun comes out, I tend to go into an episode of some kind.  Typically it’s depressive or mixed.  I’ll have some manic symptoms  (obsessions, etc) and some depressive symptoms (usually excessive sleepiness or suicidal thinking)  I’m typically on high alert until Mother’s Day, when the symptoms seem to abate.  I’ve spent Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day in the hospital at various times.

I’m sorry to put a damper on all the happiness going around.  I love my husband and I love my kids and I hate what the holiday has become in our house.  I can feel some depression coming on already, but all I can do is pray my way through it.  I’ve already had my medicine jiggered so much lately that I’m scared to try anything new for fear it will send me in the opposite direction where I was between Christmas and New Year’s.  It’s hard to believe that was almost two months ago.

Please pray for me as I start this time in this year.  It’s always dangerous–last year I had a depressive episode that began in March and ended in May but with two crucial differences:  I was not suicidal, and I managed to function my way through it.  Pray that if it falls on me again that I am able to push my way through it and come out the other side stronger than before.  Thanks.

I Hate Cancer

I have someone that is heavy on my heart this morning.  He works with my husband and is just about to turn 40, and a few months ago he discovered he had cancer.  He had surgery to remove it, and since I hadn’t heard anything else from my husband about him, I assumed he was fine.  I just found out last night he is having to undergo chemotherapy as well.  He is generally one of the most cheerful persons I know, but I know he wrestles with psychological problems as well (he is afraid to fly).  I just am praying that he’ll get through this trial and live to see his son grow up.

I had another very close friend that is finally ending her battle with cancer triumphantly.   She will have a hysterectomy this summer since during her breast cancer treatment, they discovered she carried markers for ovarian cancer as well, which claimed the life of her mother a few years ago.

Cancer runs throughout my family–I have lost relatives to it and my own father underwent treatment for prostate cancer several years ago.  (Finding this out landed me in the hospital for a few days).  And my father-in-law is battling it now, about to go to M.D. Anderson in Texas for treatment of metastatic cancer from a tumor he had removed nine years ago.

I hate the disease, I hate how it steals your life slowly, and I hate to even hear the word. Please pray for all of these as they continue to fight.

Tenth Birthday

So today is my youngest daughter’s tenth birthday.  She was born somewhere between 7 an 9 a.m.on February 12, 2005.  I knew I was in labor the day before but was sent home by the obstetrician at the doctor’s office and then again at the hospital at 2 a.m. or so the next day.  When I went back the third time, I was through being a “nice” patient and let them know just how much pain I was in.  I was at 6 centimeters by the time I was admitted, and she was born just a little while later.  Little did I know that her birth was going to kick off such a serious change in my life, with my postpartum depression morphing into bipolar disorder within a year.

Today she is a happy young lady involved in piano, dance, and karate.  We recently discovered she has mild dyslexia and are getting her therapy for that and tutoring after school.  She is easy to discipline but defnitiely  has her own opinions about matters that affect her.  I remember very little about her childhood, being in a heavily medicated state for most of it.  She has been a shy child, which was a big change from her two big sisters.  But she is beginning to blossom with lots of friends who love to come to her house and play.  She does not remember me at my sickest—she was just over a year old when I had my psychotic break.  I hope what she rememebers is the mom who makes cupcakes for her class on her birthday and helps her with her spelling words.  Happy Birthday, Bitty Girl!

Grading Papers

Graded my first set of papers last night.  It wasn’t as depressing as I was scared it would be at first–I had to fail some people for not citing their sources properly right off the bat and I wondered if they were all going to be like that.  But they weren’t, so that was a nice surprise by the time I finished.  I actually gave a few B’s and one A as well.  So it was a mixed bag altogether.

I’m always scared to grade the writing because it is so subjective, and I don’t want my moods to influence the grades I give.  I don’t want to inflate grades in a manic state nor grade too harshly if I’m depressed.  Right now I’m in a good place so it wasn’t as nervewracking as it could have been.  I hope they understand my comments and why they made the grades they made.

Also went to my follow-up appointment for my surgery and was medically cleared–she said everything looked fine and for me to let her know if I had any more problems!  I don’t think I will since this week is time for my cycle and I’m not having one 🙂  SO I believe the surgery was a success, glory to God.

Continue to pray as I search for direction on what to do this next year. I’m trying to build up the blog, do more press on it, and decide if I’m going to continue teaching or not.  I’m just in a waiting game right now, looking for God’s direction and not seeing it very clearly.

What is Within Your Power?

Sometimes we feel trapped in circumstances that seem beyond redemption—a soul-draining job, a troubled marriage, a difficult pregnancy, or an uncomfortable family situation.  You wonder what you can do about your circumstances and fix whatever problems are bedeviling you.

Remember that God promises not to give his children more than they can bear—he gives us strength and grace to endure through any circumstance.  However, that doesn’t mean we have to feel victimized by anyone in the situation we’re in—God, our demanding boss, or our impossible sister-in-law.

After I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under my life.  I was externally successful, having a successful freelance career and having just completed a first novel, but my symptoms soon became overwhelming and I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation.  I had to take medicine to regulate my moods and thoughts; I felt the stigma of being diagnosed with a mental illness; I wondered what I had done to bring this circumstance on myself.

But I didn’t stay in that place for long.  I followed my doctor’s orders and felt a great deal more stable on medication.  I bought every useful book I could find on bipolar disorder and devoured them, reading about this condition and absorbing all the information they contained about treatment and therapy.  I talked to people about what I was going through.  And I prayed for understanding and deliverance from the situation. Afterwards, I was still suffering from the same disease, but I was no longer the same person who had been diagnosed two months earlier.   I had information, medical treatment, therapy options, and the power of prayer by my side.

Make the choice to live above your circumstances, working to change them daily as far as it is in your power to do so.  If all you can do is pray, by all means do that and let God do his work in your life—which may change you far more than it changes the circumstance.   No situation is ever beyond hope.

“Solutions That Work”

So often this time of year can offer up so many reasons to be mired down in the blues.  The rush and bustle of Christmas is over, leaving some of us with the hangover of unpaid bills and a pile of gifts to return to the store.  In some areas, the poor weather can work to dampen our moods, from snowstorms to rain to cold temperatures, making us cranky and grumpy as we slog through the days.

For those of us with mood disorders, the dark days may begin to seem like they’ll never end.  But the winter solstice has already passed on December 21, meaning that each day offers a little more sunlight than the last.  The Christmas decorations may be stored away, but most of us can carry some good memories of the season forward to sustain us through a difficult time.

Victoria Moran counsels us to make a list of “solutions that work”—things you can do that will lift your spirits and convince you that life really is worth living at a time when the darkness threatens to close in on you.   Some of my personal favorites are to listen to inspiring music, cook cookies, take a long bath, pray, and look through home decorating magazines for new ideas around the house.

Make the list when you feel on top of the world and keep it handy in your desk or journal where you can refer to it often and choose an activity that will give you a little pick-me-up during what could be a difficult time.  Keeping the materials for your treats in plentiful supply is important, too—having the means to make hot chocolate at home when you’re in the mood for it keeps you from going out in the weather to get milk and cocoa, possibly denting your mood even more.

Know that the dark won’t last forever.  Better days are coming–we can anticipate them even as the freezing rain is falling on our heads.  What works for you to get through the darkness?  Write down your solutions and put them into practice so you can endure with grace and a measure of happiness.

Liebster Award

Apparently Lecy at “Simple Life Happy Wife”  has nominated me for  a Liebster Award.  It’s a blogging award for small bloggers, which Lord knows I am.   I have to answer 11 questions about myself, post 11 random facts about myself, and nominate 11 other small bloggers.  Hm.  Well, here goes.

My eleven questions are:

  1.  How did you decide on the name of your blog?

The domain name is my name with my middle initial.  My blog is “Day by Day” because it’s an account of how I struggle with bipolar disorder to make every day count for something.

  2.  How many unread emails are sitting in you inbox? (be honest!)
None.  I’m an email addict.
  3.  What is your favorite food?
Chocolate almost anything
  4.  What is one wardrobe staple you can’t live without?  (mine is hoodie sweatshirts)
My white capri pants for summertime.  I love them.
  5.  Do you have children?
Yes.
  6.  What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I like Facebook because I can keep up with long-distance connections from forever ago.
  7.  What is something you do, smell, taste that immediately takes you back to your childhood?
See my mom.
  8.  What is the best thing (in your opinion) about blogging?
That it is so immediate.  You make an immediate connection with your readers without intermediaries.
  9.  What is your guilty pleasure?
Designer purses
10.  Where state/country are you from?
Mississippi
11.  What 5 things do you always have to keep in your purse/bag?
Wallet, pens, two checkbooks, cellphone
11 random facts about myself.
1. I am a native Mississippian and I have never lived anywhere else.
2. I have three children, all girls
3.  I went to Mississippi State University
4. I finished my Bachelor’s degree at age 19
5 I have six unsold novels written
6 This is my fourth blogging attempt
7. I used to blog about Mississippi reality TV stars
8.  I was a Girl Scout when I was young
9. I was a freelance writer for ten years
10. I used to rollerskate for exercise (read about it at “Rollerskaing Over Forty”)
11.  I still use a Nokia phone with a little retractable antenna.
Nominating other bloggers.  Okay
1.  Jesse Yancy at “Made In Mississippi” at http://www.jesseyancy.com
2. Beth Kander at “A Little Pixie Magic” http://www.littlepixiemagic.com
3. Beverly Lynnt at “Working Through Bipolar” at http://www.beverlylynnt.wordpress.com
. 4. Hillary at “No Pens or Pencils” at http://www.nopensorpencils.blogspot.com
5. Reayn at “The Scarlet B” at http://www.thescarletb.com
6. Kitt O’Malley at www.kittomalley.com
7.www.abodyofhope.wordpress.com,
8.  Eve at “Positively Eve” at http://www.positivelyeve.wordpress.com
11. Dyane at “Proudly Bipolar” at http://www.proudlybipolar.wordpress.com
 Whew,  Now I have to find out how to display the award.
Now all of you can answer the same questions I did on your blog and nominate 11 other bloggers. if you want to participate.  Thanks all!

Tired But Happy

Had another sleepover last night–eight ten-year-olds all happy and getting along.  They played musical chairs, had a talent programs, played with American Girl dolls, and watched two movies before crashing around 11 p.m.   So I got some sleep at least,.

Went to my psychiatrist yesterday and everything seems to be on an even keel. Got prescriptions for the new medicine regimen and a follow-up appointment in three months.  He was happy my surgery went well and that everything seemed to be moving along well.

Got a letter from the English department head for another college I’m trying to adjunct for.  His letter did not sound hopeful that I could get any classes in creative writing, but he encouraged me to apply and sent me an application to fill out online. I did that and sent it back.  So we will see.  All I can ask for is an opportunity and see what they say.  And pray. I just need direction in whether or not to sign up  for classes at my current position or not.  I feel pulled between the status quo and just doing the creative writing teaching and see how that goes.  I don’t know what I would do with my time if I weren’t teaching at the community college I’m at now.  But I feel so depressed at the idea of grading papers tonight that I know I’m doing a disservice to the kids not wanting to be there.

I hope you enjoyed the poetry; most of you seemed to.  I may post more as I look through my collection. I haven’t written serious poetry in at least 15 years, so it’s all old stuff.  But some of it may interest some of you.

Advanced Class

And if this poem isn’t a perfect example of rapid-cycling mixed-state bipolar, I’ll eat my hat:  “Temporary Insanity”

I’m picking up the pieces of

my shattered personality.

The mirror is the image of

a fractured, broken mind.

THe fabric of reality

is ripped to hell and gone. I sit

alone with eyes squeezed shut; I know

I’m simply going crazy.

I don’t know who I am, you see

a crisis of identity.

I’m rhyming, though; how can this be?

I scream out loud, “No more!”

I can’t control the words I say

Much less control my manic life

I think I’ve really lost it now;

I want to find a knife!