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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.

FUN!

Heading up to see my parents today and meet up with my middle one coming in from Georgia. Looking forward to seeing all of them and hanging out for a while.

Had a great visit yesterday with MJ. We ate at Primos and just had fun talking about everything. She said she was so happy to see me doing so well. She is getting ready to swim in the Senior Olympics! I told her that was exciting. She’s done it before in the years before the pandemic and is glad to finally be able to do it again.

Finally got Google to delete my old blogger site that was still coming up on search engines. I’ve been doing a lot of things to clean up my online profile. I’ve started using my maiden name as my middle name to differentiate me from all the other Julie Whiteheads that also write. I’ve updated my LinkedIn profile, neatened up my Muckrack site and updated it, that sort of thing. Deleting the blogger site was kind of the last piece of the puzzle. So I feel good about all of that.

I suppose that’s all for this morning. I deliberately planned to keep the weekend as work-free as possible so as to spend time with my middle one and my family. We should go to church tomorrow and then she will likely head out after we see Bob’s parents. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Godspeed.

Phone Calls

Story of my life–making phone calls and waiting for people to call back. But it’s good work so I don’t mind.

I’m off UPresss work today so I’m doing MCIR work. I have a call at 11 a.m. for an interview then I’m going to meet Mary Jane for lunch at 11:45 a.m. at Primos in Jackson. My youngest is going out with her boyfriend for lunch, and Bob says he is just going to still come home since going on out Friday has become so dicey for avoiding being around fish cooking in restaurants around here. I’ll either cook for him tonight or him and my youngest will go out somewhere to eat, he said. We will see.

I just wrote my buddy Mike up in University of Wisconsin–Madison about what all I am doing lately, and it sounds like a heck of a lot right now. I swear I am not trying to overwhelm myself with commitments. I am just busy and happy being busy. It’s a lot of small things, mostly. No big commitments. I did get approval to do my BPHope topic on art therapy so I will work that up this weekend. I think that will be fun to write. Writing what I can is always fun. 🙂 I just hope I get more unblocked on new writing that doesn’t necessarily have a deadline or a point. That is where I am having the most difficulty.

We go up to see my parents tomorrow for Easter and then my middle one will be with us for the rest of the weekend–she is supposed to meet us at my parents’ tomorrow and follow us down after visiting them. We will do Easter dinner here then go see Bob’s parents for a bit, then my middle one will head back to Georgia. We are looking forward to seeing everyone.

I need to go grocery shopping this afternoon and get a cake for the middle one’s birthday. SHe can take it back with her but can enjoy being spoiled a bit.

I suppose that’s all for now. I will see what I can do with the laundry for the next bit and then get on my 11 a.m. call. Hope everyone has a good day. Godspeed.

Storms

We weathered the storms again; the really bad stuff went around us again and traveled over south of us. No big reports of damage except downed trees. So we got off the hook again. They’re hoping next week will be calm. We will wait and see.

I’m going to be at home again today–hopefully soon someone will run our new internet cables at the office. But it’s a state agency, so no telling when that will actually be. I don’t mind much–I do think I miss going to the office. Home is where I’ve been for years, so I’m used to it. But we will see.

My stories on COVID are finally coming together. I’m so glad because I think they are important. I’m going to make a few more phone calls, etc. then next week hopefully write them up. Then I’m not sure what I’m going to concentrate on. I don’t have anything lined up in my head yet. But that can always change. I’m sure something else will come to my attention.

My mood is still holding up well–a few dents in it here and there but nothing too severe. My middle child comes home for Easter this weekend, and we will also celebrate her birthday, so I am looking forward to that. We will ship our oldest her birthday presents next week. I need to go get one more of them. Going to be a fun weekend!

I suppose that’s all for today. Hope everyone else is doing well. Remember to pray for the world. Godspeed.

At Home Again

I worked from home yesterday and will do so the rest of the week. Today we had someone coming out to look at the phones which had gone dead, but they came back up yesterday afternoon so that was good. But the internet at the office is still wonky so I will be here.

Finally got my request for people to interview about one of my stories in front of one of the right people–it’s been retweeted quite a bit so I have two people to interview so far. We will see what comes up. Looking forward to wrapping those stories up.

I plan to call two more people for one other story then I’m writing it up. So that will be good. I’m looking forward to all this productivity. Puts a smile on my face. 🙂

I need to run get started on work. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their days. We are in for some bad weather this afternoon so think about us southerners. Thanks for reading.

Working

I may work from home today–my supervisor is going to check the internet speed and let me know if I need to come in or not. So I am just going to hang out until I hear from him. So iffy.

Our landline phones are dead. We lost power Sunday and ever since, we can’t receive calls. I will try to work from home tomorrow so I can be here for the repairman when he comes so that will be fun as well. The phone line works fine for calling out, but the phones don’t ring for incoming calls. So we will see what is going on with that.

Our middle one is coming home for Easter; hopefully she will come in Friday night so we can see her longer. Otherwise we will meet her at my parents’ house and after that she will follow us home. We also will go see Bob’s parents for a little while on Sunday.

I am looking forward to having a good day. I am so glad to be able to say that. I am optimistic and cheerful right now and loving every minute of it. I’m aware of how precarious the world is and how unnerving everything going on is, but it’s not weighing on me like things usually do. I know it’s a trick of my mind, but I suppose this is what euthymia looks like–you can keep things in perspective? I’m not overwhelmed or nervous. I feel so stable.

Anyway. I hope everyone else is doing well. Godspeed.