Archive | April 2022

Another Visitor

Looking forward to seeing my middle one today on her birthday. I hope she is on her way already, but I have not heard from her directly. She’s probably texted her daddy, but he has not checked his phone yet this morning. So we will see when she gets here. We are taking her to a new Greek place for her birthday, and then she will likely visit her grandfather. She will only be here for a night unless something drastic happens. She will likely go back to Georgia on Sunday afternoon–we plan to have an early Mother’s Day lunch on Sunday at Fannin Mart.

We are holding up pretty good. My oldest spent her son’s afternoon nap cooking for her grandparents yesterday. She made chicken, pasta salad, baked apples, apple cinnamon muffins, green beans, and cauliflower. So they have some good food to help them make it through the next several days. Bob got weepy holding the grandbaby yesterday evening. I comforted him as best I could. Bob worked with his father everyday for the past twenty years and is going to miss him terribly.

I guess I will tell something on myself. I was getting ready to feed the baby and had him in our high chair left over from when we had the girls at home and realized I thought I had picked up a clean plastic spoon off the counter that had actually been used. I sat there for a bit trying to figure out how I was going to walk away from him in the high chair and get a clean one without him diving off the side before I could get back. So I turned the spoon around and fed him with the plastic handle. My oldest came in and said, “Why are you feeding him with the wrong end?” I told her and she said, “I just wanted to make sure you were aware of what you were doing.” She thought I might have completely flipped out and was just checking. That’s what bipolar does to your family dynamic–people have to check on you.

Hope everyone is doing well this weekend. We are doing the best we can.

Thank You

Thank you to all of those who said they would pray for us through this difficult time we are facing.

My grandson is such a joy to be around right now. He wakes up happy and seems to love all of us now that he’s used to the idea of being here. He’s taking a morning nap right now and went down without any argument; he started rubbing his eyes, and all I had to do was put him in his portable crib and he went to sleep. Such a good baby.

Finished my newest prisoner story and turned it in to MCIR. I have more to work on but will need to find time to type out the information. I have two COVID stories to do and plan to work on those probably this weekend when the baby is napping. Then I have two more stories in the hopper to start on. I will call and set up an appointment today to talk to one lady so that will be ongoing for the next little while.

I am glad I see Dr. Bishop and Tillie next week. Keeping my bipolar disorder under control will be very important right now, but so is feeling what is actually going on and not bottling it up. So we will be talking about those things this week–how to balance the two issues: grief and bipolar disorder. My main concern is that I don’t give Bob anything else to worry about other than his dad right now. So keeping my stability will be paramount right now.

We are putting our diet plans on hiatus. Meals are going to increasingly catch-as-catch-can for a while so we can’t keep to a strict schedule, and we will be eating out a lot with my daughters here. So not a problem–the plan has a structure for eating to maintain loss so we are transitioning to that and seeing what happens. We will try to get back on track once everything settles back down.

I suppose that is all I have to say this morning. I hope everyone is heading for a good weekend. Love your loved ones as life is fleeting. Godspeed.

Heavy Heart

Bob’s dad is not doing well at all. It seems to just be a matter of time at this point. My oldest is here to visit and help, and my middle one is probably on her way Saturday on her birthday. Today is the oldest one’s birthday and as she put it, this is not how either one intended to spend their birthday weekend. I have permission to work at home today since the oldest has the baby, and I can sit with him when he naps and she goes to visit her grandfather.

My oldest is worried about me. She told me yesterday that she remembered how I went down at their great-grandmother’s funeral eleven years ago, so I understand. I am trying to be strong and handle everything without going bipolar either way. If I need Tillie or my doctor, I will have them available during the week; I am scheduled to see Dr. Bishop on Monday and Tillie on Friday. We will see how things go.

Pray that we all can bear up under the stress of the next few weeks and maybe months. My worry is my kids and Bob. I think Iwill be all right unless some new crisis develops on top of this. I know I need to depend on God. And I will. I don’t have the strength.

Doing Better

I actually did write a bit yesterday–expanded an article somewhat. I need to write my MCIR article this week–hopefully this afternoon when I get in from work. I will be going to the office today so pray that I get a lot done there since I can focus better there than I can at home.

I want to ask for prayers too about my latest commitment–my church printed up a Bible devotional that lasts for forty days on the promises of God. I have started on it because it has been a long time since I had a regular time to meet with God. So far I am taking time in the morning to read the readings and learning about how to pray and really focus on what God may say to me. Prayer really does need to be a conversation rather than a monologue. So that is where I am now. Pray that it’s not a commitment, but a surrender to what God wants in my life.

We went to our youngest’s band concert last night and really enjoyed that. They finished with a Star Wars/Jurassic Park/ET medley which is always a risk for a group–everyone knows what those songs are supposed to sound like so every little mistake can stand out. But they did really well, and my youngest had fun. So we will see how it goes for her this week. Next week starts exams so she is nervous about that.

I suppose I need to get my water bottle and head out for work. Hope everyone has a good day today. Thanks for reading!

Blocked

I have a half-hour to write before I start work today, and I am almost completely blocked about what to say. I didn’t finish any writing yesterday because I couldn’t think of a way to lead off the article for MCIR, and I am still not over that. I love to write, but when it gets hard, I really start panicking. I don’t understand why I can’t settle into a good writing routine right now. The only writing I can regularly accomplish right now are these blog posts, where I am just dumping my feelings. And right now, I am panicking about finishing it because I don’t know what else to write about and no one wants to read whining, which is what it feels like I am doing. How can I have so much victory in my life but still be so panicky about this?

What does a writer do when she runs out of words?

Forgiveness

Last night I went to church and had a major revelation from God–eleven years ago I had been hurt very, very deeply by someone I was very close to. I had hurt that person during a bipolar episode, and they lashed out and hurt me back. The months dragged by in a standoff. Afterwards, we were still close, but I had lately been reminded of that time and had determined I was not going to be hurt like that again by them, and if it came down to the same situation, I was going to cut off contact, which would have had severe ramifications on my life and theirs, as well as on other people as well.

My pastor talked about making “inner vows”, hardening your heart against people who had hurt you in the past and against anyone in the future who might try to hurt you in the same way. I became convinced that I had not actually, truly, forgiven this person in a heartfelt way. At the end of the service, we had a prayer time, and to make a long story short, I spoke with someone that I had this hardness in my heart and wanted to be rid of it. After prolonged tears and prayer, I said those words and begged God to make them true.

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. My time was not well-spent thinking about how this person had hurt me and how I was going to hurt them back the next time. My mind was slowly being poisoned by this inner vow I had made. I had to let go of this hardness and not hold it against that person. And I believe I did. I believe I am free of the resentment and the anger. Otherwise, I would not be taking pains here to obscure their identity and to not name the hurts and the offenses. It is in the past. I believe I can now step into the future with hope and love and a new sense of purpose. God knew my heart, and my self-righteous anger was killing me.

I think one element in the healing was that I did not get a sermon from the someone I spoke with at church. She did not tell me that the other person had a right to hurt me because I had hurt them first. She told me that my sense of being wronged was understandable and acknowledged that it was real. But she reminded me of the consequences of unforgiveness–bitterness, a hardened heart, and a barrier between me and God. Reminded me that the benefits of forgiveness outweighed the “benefits” of unforgiveness. So I forgave. And now I am free.

Encouragement

Telling people about my struggles with bipolar disorder has always been a focus of my life ever since I was diagnosed. There were particulars that I didn’t tell about my symptoms, but I have never tried to actively hide my diagnosis. I talked about it at church, among my family members, and with friends. I always had the idea that God could use me to help others understand mental disorders and have compassion on those who struggled with depression, anxiety, etc.

Almost every day I hear from someone that this blog has encouraged. When I started my Instagram account, I posted my website on my bio and posted my entries to there. I’ve found out that one of my youngest’s friends is now a regular reader. She says it’s interesting to see someone talking about these issues openly. Today a lady in my Sunday School class said she reads my blog and is encouraged on a regular basis by what I post, especially on days when she just doesn’t have it all together.

The more we talk about mental illness, the more we encourage understanding and compassion for those unfortunate enough to be caught in its grip. I personally have hope because my God has promised in his Word that he can use what we feel are our worst times to ultimately bless us and others. The phrase the Bible uses is that he can redeem the years the locusts have eaten. In other words, my suffering is not pointless–God rewards those who persevere and keep faith with him by blessing them for their persistence and keeping on. I am working on a story for MCIR about how COVID-19 impacted ordinary people’s mental health, and in some cases, made them question everything they ever thought they believed about themselves. But they also found hope at the lowest point–and continue to move on.

I try to show hope to people who may have given up hope. I have been without hope on many, many occasions–so without hope that suicide seemed not only my only option, but the best option for me and everyone around me. That is the disease talking. The disease is real, but it lies to me on a regular basis and makes me believe things that aren’t true. My kids would not just get over my death. My husband would not be relieved that I am gone. My parents would miss me.

I hope this healing season I am in lasts. In another two weeks, I will have made it to another Mother’s Day without going into the hospital for a bipolar episode. That will mark almost two years of relative stability. Pray for me that it will continue. Thank you for reading. Godspeed.

Why The Change?

Why did I change the name of my blog? I think it better reflects my standing vis-a-vis bipolar disorder at this point in time. I may be in remission from bipolar disorder, but I certainly haven’t forgotten about it. It’s in the back of my mind all the time.

The original title “Day By Day” reflected my reality with bipolar disorder–that I could only take life day by day. I couldn’t think of my future; I didn’t think I had much of a future; and I could only cope with one day at a time.

The new title actually comes from our way of speaking down here in the South. Mental illness runs throughout my family history, both on my mom’s side and on my dad’s. But I never knew that growing up. All that was ever said about mentally ill relatives was that they were “not quite right”. So those are the words that were used to describe all mental illness. “Not Quite Right” became the name of my thesis/memoir I wrote for my MFA, which describes what it’s like to grow up having a mental illness without knowing you have a mental illness.

So right now I feel very, very good. I am thinking about the future. I am making plans for what kind of work I want to do and finding ways to go about it. But I am always aware that it may get upended in an instant. I feel great, but . . .not quite right. I am recovering, but I’m not completely there and may not ever be. The title “Not Quite Right: Living with Bipolar Disorder” makes clearer my situation, I think.

Right now the struggle is with fear. I feel good, everything seems to be going well, my brain is firing on all cylinders, but . . . I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I may somehow mess it all up. If I’m not careful with my medicine. If I break out of the routine I am in right now. If I take on too much work or try to be too involved with new projects. I’m just flat-out scared that next time I lose it, I may lose it all for good. I don’t want to have to climb back up from rock bottom for another fifteen years. I want to live. So I am currently a little afraid of what may come along and upset the equilibrium I’ve been able to keep now. I don’t talk about it much, but I think about it a lot.

So I hope this makes my decision a little clearer. As always, thanks for reading and stopping by to check out my blog. Godspeed to all.

Mechanicals

Our refrigerator is acting up–the motor is running really loud and it’s not cooling right. And our air conditioner needs a spring tuneup. So I will be calling people about those pretty shortly. We may need to get a new fridge, which does not excite us. But we will see.

I got a LOT done yesterday so I have the decks cleared to write, write, write today. Hopefully I can get unstuck of staring at the blank page by just writing out my notes and then arranging them into a story. We will see how it goes. I really want to break out of this slump and write with freedom again.

I need to run to the bank and the grocery store as well, but I will do that as breaks between assignments. Do my best to keep my nose to the grindstone. Oh! And I got an acceptance for a political piece I did on the Russian-Ukraine conflict earlier in the year from an outfit called Humans of the World. Don’t know much about them, but it was kind of nice to step out of my comfort zone a bit and be rewarded with someone taking it.

Anyway. I’m going to go and start some laundry then get to work. Hope everyone reading has a good day and starts the weekend off right. Godspeed.

Calmer

My mind finally stopped racing yesterday after I took a Klonopin. So that was good. I worked slowly the rest of the day, but at least I finished what I intended to finish. I don’t feel as wacky this morning so maybe I nipped it in the bud.

Again with delaying writing last night. I did revise a piece to send to BPHope and another to send to NAMI, but I couldn’t get started on my piece for MCIR. So very frustrating. I know what the problem is: I am handling such serious topics that I don’t want to make a mistake. I think I am just going to have to transcribe my notes and then start moving pieces around to construct a story. That’s not the best way for me to write, but with the freeze I’m in, it might be the only way that works. So I am going to do that this afternoon after work.

The birthday presents are shipped off and I hope my oldest enjoys them as much as we think she will. The middle one already got her presents when she came down last weekend, and she got a kick out of them. So that was nice. I am trying to get ready for Mother’s Day, too. I think I am going to ask Mom and Dad to come down for Mother’s Day on that Saturday so I can cook and we won’t have to go off our diet plan again that weekend. Make some things everybody likes but adapt it to our needs. We will see.

So today is more news release emails until I’m done, then I may start communicating directly with authors, which will be interesting. Depends on how prepared my supervisor is for today whether I will do that or not. We are about to get ahead on a few things so I can go back and finish catching up course adoption emails as well. Lots of fun. There’s always something to do with this job, which I’m grateful for. Means they’ll keep me around as I’m doing a good job!

Gotta run log in to work. Hope everyone is having a good day. Godspeed.