Mental Illness and Addiction Don’t Discriminate

This week has been somewhat emotionally draining.  I have remembered where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.  I’ve remembered how hard life can be and how devastating mental illness is. Four days ago I wrote a post about having … Continue reading

Mental Health is a Dance

After a week of over-thinking, it has been soooo nice to just rest AND be somewhat busy to get out of my head. Friday was town day, Saturday and Sunday I did cleaning and food prep, and  Sunday night was … Continue reading

Scared to Hope

scared to hope

I’ve been feeling good for about a month now.  My “feel good” time started out really strong with lots and lots of energy and motivation.  I really thought I was hypomanic but wasn’t sure.  I just kept going with it.  But also, when I started feeling good was just about 3-4 days after I started a new med.  I hoped that’s what was making me feel good.  Again, I wasn’t sure.

A month later, and I’m still feeling good.  This is just odd because I typically don’t feel good for very long.  Either I am struggling with severe anxiety, I’m hypomanic, or I’m depressed.  Just “feeling good” isn’t super common.  Sure, I have my good days, but this has lasted continuously for a month.  I can remember one day where I felt “down,” but it was because I was really tired and slept a lot.

Previous to this, I was pretty miserable.  I was pretty depressed.  I was sleeping all day, every day.  I wasn’t sleeping at night.  I was anxious.  My house was a complete disaster and there were always piles and piles of laundry.  I felt like I had no purpose in life and didn’t know what else to do with myself.  I just felt like that was my life from now on.

Part of this is because I put my kids in school and the homeschooling season is just over for our family.  Part of this was because I was so, so tired all the time.  I also have hypothyroid on top of my other issues.  Then I was just in a bad cycle of not sleeping at night and sleeping all day.  It’s hard to get out of that.  Now if I don’t sleep well, I try not to go back to sleep, and I end up sleeping better the next night.  If I do sleep during the day, it’s for like an hour, not 4 hours.

The hard thing for me right now is that I’m scared to hope too much.  I don’t want to assume that I’ll feel good consistently if that’s not reality.  I mean, everyone has bad days or “down” days, and I can handle that.  It’s the debilitating depression and severe anxiety that I cannot handle.  Well I guess I can handle it, but I really, really don’t want to.

I do have hope in Jesus, but I am also aware that He has never promised us an easy life and I know that perfection won’t happen till heaven.  In the mean time all I can do is take one day at a time and enjoy the good days.

Remembering What’s Important

path1

Today as I was looking at my memories on Facebook of years past on the same day, I came across a blog that I wrote a year ago today (It’s Been a While).  It was exactly what I needed to read.

You don’t really have to read it because the important stuff will be quoted here.

A few reminders:

I am unable to work.  I have tried and tried.  I thought an at home, part time, computer job would be the dream job because it’s more simple than teaching, but it proved to be just as difficult for me as my previous jobs.  I have never been able to keep a job because of my mental illnesses, and I just don’t see that changing.  I have been denied for disability twice and am now working with a lawyer to try to get it.  It’s hard because I’m okay when I’m not working, but my anxiety and depression are terrible as soon as I start working!  It’s hard to explain that to social security!

I truly do have a sick brain.  My bipolar has been under control, but I’m still working on managing my anxiety.  I go to counseling once a week for cognitive behavioral therapy (for anxiety), take lots of medications (6 for my mental health alone, plus supplements and 2 other meds), practice lots of self care, daily prayer and Bible study, and go to AA (including meetings 3-4 times a week, step work, meeting with my sponsor once a week, and daily gratefuls) for my addiction to alcohol.  These are the only way I’m managing right now.  Without these, I would be really struggling.  It takes a lot of work!

I am back to the food freedom, body positivity, anti-diet life.  I wish I had stuck with that last year instead of ditching it and dieting again (for 3 months!).  For some reason summer is a huge trigger for me to diet.  I don’t understand why.  I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again this year.  I am now in several groups that focus on these things, so hopefully I’ll stick with it! I wrote this in last year’s post: “I am learning to finally accept my body the way it is.  I am finally DONE with diets and hard exercise programs.  I am learning to eat to nourish myself (and sometimes that involves a doughnut), move for enjoyment, and I am okay with the fact that I may never be the size I once was.  I have kind of become anti-diet industry now and am un-following everyone that focuses on that (especially the pyramid scheme marketing companies that sell stuff for “weight loss”) because I don’t need that un-healthy view of bodies staring me in the face.  It has brought me so much freedom.”

I’m back to this 100%.  Exactly the same thoughts and feelings, unfollowing people, the freedom it brings, etc.

 

My family has been and continues to be my support.  Without them I don’t know where I’d be.  Between being passively suicidal many times, dealing with alcoholism, and my severe anxiety, it’s been a very hard thing for us all to deal with.  I mean, my kids had to live with my parents for almost a month.  They were completely out of their normal routine, not doing much school, and missing me and home (not my parents’ fault at all, just not normal life for them).  Robert has stood by my side in sickness and health.  He supports me at my worst and at my best.  He loves me for who I am, not who I wish I could be.

One of the biggest things that I have been struggling with is feeling like my blogging doesn’t make a difference.  I do blog for myself mostly, but I want to know that I’m not just blogging for myself.  Yesterday I was reminded that I am speaking to people (I received a private message from an old acquaintance).  Even if it’s just a few, it’s worth it.  I want this blog to be full of authenticity.  I will always be open and real.  I may share things that I’m good at, and that’s okay too!  I’m learning to be confident in the gifting that I have.  I pray that it is all used for God’s glory and not my gain.

Last year I wrote: “This blog will never be what is viral out there, and I’m okay with that. If my blog never grows, then I’ll just know it is for the people who need it, when they need it. I trust God with it all. Numbers don’t matter to me. It’s authenticity and depth that I’m looking for. So, my hope is that you will always find that here. I may not always post about mental illness, but that is typically what I post about. Hope you’ll stick around!”

And now I post about alcoholism because I’ve finally come to terms with that (AA step 1!).

In the midst of it all, God is good and sovereign.  He has a plan, and He will be glorified through it all.  I am me, and I am made the way I am for a reason and a purpose.  I am thankful for the freedom that I have in Him to be that person that He created me to be.

If it’s Not One Thing it’s Another

I’ve been kind of down lately…

I thought I had found “the answer” to my insomnia.  And in some ways I did.  I sleep great!  I wake up some, but I’m always able to go back to sleep.  The only problem is… I’m so tired in the morning that I have a really hard time getting out of bed.  This medicine knocks me flat!  I’m going to have to start setting an early alarm just to get out of bed at a decent time (after hitting snooze a bunch of course).  I hate that!  I thought with homeschooling and summer I wouldn’t need an alarm.  My fear is that I will just turn it off and roll back over.  So with this, I’ve been down.

I also haven’t had much desire to keep my house clean and be in a routine.  I believe it’s because of feeling knocked out by my meds.  Sleep is such a huge part of mental health and I feel like if it’s not one thing it’s another.

On a positive note…

My doctor wrote a really convincing letter for disability about my mental health condition.  He has made it very clear that I cannot work, and I have struggled to work since I was 21 (true!).  My official diagnoses are bipolar 2, generalized anxiety disorder, and chronic insomnia.  I knew that I had bipolar 2 and anxiety, but I didn’t realize what my actual diagnoses were.  It helped me to feel justified in applying for disability and that I really have actual illnesses that are debilitating.

Homeschooling…

We have taken part of May and all of June off so far from homeschooling.  I’ve tried to implement a “read for 20 minutes” time every day and it has not gone well.  Ethan fights it with everything he has, every single day.  And the complaint I get from him is that the books are all too hard.  I’m at a loss.  So because of this, I decided to start school back up in July.  We need to get him reading and he needs reading instruction.    I’ve just decided to start over on level 2 and do the lessons again.  I think that will be sufficient.  Plus, we didn’t finish our curriculum so we can maybe get caught up if we start early.  We will only do reading, math, and some writing.  It’ll just be about 45 minutes-an hour of school each day.  I’ll also read aloud to them each day.  We started Boxcar Children book 1 and didn’t get that far into it!  Looking forward to reading them more books in that series.

At the moment I’m learning to just take things one day at a time.  I’m hoping that things start working themselves out and I am sleeping well without feeling worn, Ethan starts doing better with reading, and I get disability.  In the mean time, I try to enjoy being with my family.  Every single day is precious.