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Trying to Wake Up

Had kind of a long night last night–it was Homecoming for my daughter’s school and she went to the dance that night so I was up late seeing her off to that. Then I went to bed and let Bob stay up to welcome them home after the dance. So he was up even later. He’s just now getting up. Which is okay.

We plan to watch the Mississippi State game today and have fun with that. We just plan to goof off today. I need a few goof-off days–I didn’t accomplish much yesterday in terms of chores but I ran around all day–I left the house at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t return for good until 2:30 p.m. I went to Dr. Bishop, a bookstore, a clothing store, lunch with my mother-in-law, and then the dentist. So I was very busy. I got some fun stuff at the bookstore so that was good–I spent my birthday money from my mom so that was good.

I got my birthday present from my middle one yesterday–she set me a really fancy calligraphy set–one where you dip the pen in the ink, which I have never worked with before. I will have to try it out on the Christmas cards this year. I have only worked with pens that take ink cartridges before so this will be new.

Dr. Bishop seemed really proud of how well I’m doing. He said he was glad I had really reached a good place after the scare with my meds earlier. I go back to the sleep apnea people in October and will get my CPAP fitted and adjusted so we will see how that goes. I am not looking forward to that, but I also don’t want to take a high dose of stimulant medication forever just to feel normal.

Tomorrow will be my official eighth anniversary of the blog. Stay tuned for an update on the state of bipolar blogging tomorrow. 🙂 Godspeed to all.

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Still Birthdaying

Among other things–I go see my psychiatrist this morning and my dentist this afternoon but sandwiched in between is my birthday lunch with my mother-in-law. So I am looking forward to that. Bob and my youngest gave me their presents last night once she came in from the homecoming activities–she gave me a Charlie Brown book and Bob gave me a fancy purse for fall he found at Disney World that is themed–it has pictures from The Rescuers movie on it! Bob said the girls picked it out for him to give me. So it was a very good day.

I slept pretty solid last night so that was good. I’m soon going to have to run get ready for going to my appointment and will see what all I can get done today. Here’s to another wonderful day! Godspeed to all.

First Day of 52!

Yay me!

Been a slow morning so far–I haven’t been up long. I don’t feel any more older than yesterday so I’m taking that as a good sign. 🙂 Today is my long day working so I will be busier than usual. We will see how it goes.

I really am actually proud I’ve made it this far. Sometimes I remember how bad I used to feel and how badly I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. It reminds me to be grateful for good medicine, good therapy, a strong family, and the grace of God that never took me when I so wanted to leave the world behind. I’m grateful for every year I’ve had since 2006.

I need to run get ready for work. You all have a great day right along with me! 🙂 Godspeed.

Big Day

We had a big day today–my mom turns 74 tomorrow and half of my Vowell cousins decided to throw her a party this year. Not quite sure what brought that on, but they wanted to do it so they did and invited me and my sister. So we’ve been upstate most of the day. We had a good time with all of them just talking and being loud like we generally are when we get together. We all sat in Sunja’s carport and just talked for like two hours. Had cake and ice cream and chips and whatnot. They told me not to bring anything so I didn’t, except my mom’s present from us. But it was good to see everybody and visit.

We went to church before that and I held up pretty well staying awake until the very end of the sermon. It wasn’t the regular preacher (not like that’s made a difference in my staying awake) but it was good the bit I heard before I started dozing.

MS State won their game last night so we were glad to find that out this morning. Other teams in our division were not so lucky, but maybe they’ll make for easy targets for us this year. We will see.

i have a lot I need to catch up on being gone all day so I will leave off here. Hope everyone has a good workweek planned and to those for whom today was the worst day of their lives 21 years ago, I wish blessings on you to ease the pain. Godspeed.

Eight Years of Bipolar Blogging

So on September 25 of 2014, I was forty-four years and three days old. I had spent a cople of days trying to get my website skills on track, figuring out what I wanted the site to look like and operate as ever since my actual birthday on September 22 that year. I had a lot of material to start with–I had written a hundred or so pages about what it was like to have bipolar disorder, my ups and downs with the disease, and my feelings about my diagnosis.

The courage and naivete it took to expose all of this emotion to everyone in the world was vast. It was right in the middle of the blogging boom, not long after Jenny Lawson had become a spokesperson for women with mental illness with the publication of her first book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I had bought a little writing book on how to succeed in the blogging world called How To Blog Your Book, where I followed the steps dutifully to bring awareness of bipolar disorder to the world and bring myself internet stardom.

Now I am one of the few bipolar bloggers who still posts every single day about the struggles I face. I get that I’m not flashy or exciting–I don’t live on the edge on a regular basis, where mania threatens to send me to new heights or depression lurks to drag me over the cliff to suicide. I don’t try to present tips and tricks for overcoming my disability–because I don’t have any outside my mantra of 1) take your medication and 2) stay in treatment, whatever that looks like for you.

What I do best on this site is be honest about what my life is like, humdrum as it seems at this point. I think a boring life with bipolar is the best success story there is. So many people–men, women, children, teens–don’t get to have what I have right now, which is a productive and happy lifestyle. Many people face a different struggle–affording medication, accessing treatment, trying to avoid crisis situations that could send them to the hospital or, as seems to be happening more frequently these days, to jail.

Those people are the ones I try to write for now. I don’t know how best to reach them with my story. I try to write my MCIR stories keeping those people in mind. Every time one of my stories on mental health comes out in a local newspaper somewhere in the world, I breathe a sigh of relief that someone without access to the internet may see it and see hope–that someone who suffers the same illness they do can successfully overcome its ravages long enough to advocate for others.

i appreciate those of you that read and keep up with me. For those of you who pull me aside at church or out in the world and tell me how much I encourage you. For those who send comments and messages on the internet from wherever you are. I want to continue speaking out and being honest. Thank you for inviting me into your lives.

Back from Trip

So we had another great trip, this time just spending time with our youngest. We went to Chattanooga, Tennessee and went to the Tennessee Aquarium, ate at a great burger joint next to it where we found a fellow MSU graduate from Cleveland, MS, and the went to Rock City. After that, we went back to the hotel to rest. We ate again at a great Italian place run like a restaurant ought to be–we walked in at 4:57 p.m., ordered, got fresh, hot pasta dishes, and were out by 5:35 p.m. Tight, tight ship. Then we went to the Zoo this morning and drove back this afternoon.

We had terrible weather driving up; an awful thunderstorm traveled east with us for a good ways until we finally got ahead of it. But after that we never had another drop of rain and the temps were much lower than here. We were able to relax and have a wonderful time.

I held up really, really well. Trips are becoming easier and easier, probably because the girls are grown and now it’s just worrying about packing for me, myself, and I instead of packing diaper bags and all that. I’m looking forward to more trips just me and Bob as we get older. We will see how all it goes. I was actually able to forget about bipolar disorder for a few days, and that is rare, indeed.

Hope everyone has a good start to their week. Godspeed.

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.

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.

Wonderful Weekend

Yesterday was really special for lots of reasons. We went to see my mom and dad, and my mom gave me a ring that one of my daddy’s sisters had left them when she died. She said it was too big for her fingers, and all of us tried it on and agreed it fit my hand the best. It’s really beautiful. Then we got home, and I was looking to put it in my jewelry box when I found another ring in there that was seven diamonds in a cluster with a small gold band. I had never seen it before, I thought. (I store my jewelry that I wear to church in there, not my everyday jewelry).

I showed it to Bob and asked where it came from. He looked at me strangely, and I said, did you give it to me? He said he did for one of my milestone birthdays, like my thirtieth or my fortieth. I don’t remember at all. Nothing. Big blank. I started crying. He hugged me for a long time and waited for me to calm down. I said I would never have asked for one for my fiftieth if I had remembered it. I wear the fiftieth birthday one all the time. So now I am discovering even more holes in my memory than I thought I had. I was so upset and apologized for never wearing it. So now I will wear it. I’ve lost almost enough weight to start wearing my wedding rings again, but not quite enough. But soon.

This morning was nice for church; we all went, even my middle one. I’m not sure how she feels about church now, but I hope she’s coming back around to it. It will be an answer to prayer. So we will continue praying. It was a good sermon and a very full church. So that was good as well.

I am cooking lunch so will run now. Hope everyone has a wonderful week next week. Love to all.