Hello Again!

Oh, it’s been awhile hasn’t it? And I have some more followers…I didn’t even know that! How great!!

It said it has been 3 years since my last post –  I can’t believe it’s been so long! I guess once you get into the ‘groove’ of life, once you have a treatment plan somewhat established, and a routine somewhat set, you just barrel ahead and don’t really stop to look up or around. But now, I feel like I’ve finally come to a season of rest! I feel a little reluctant to write that as calm seems to be snatched so suddenly. But I guess I have to try and force myself to just be in it when it comes, and not worry about what tomorrow may hold.

I have been through such a journey, both with my husband, and within my own personal life. My 30s have been a very transformation time, in a very painful but amazingly positive way.

I look forward to taking a breath and writing again. I hope my followers didn’t drop off for good, because I think and hope you will find it encouraging 🙂

Summertime Thoughts

Looking at the calendar, I realized that WJ will be heading back to school soon..in less than 4 weeks! YES!! Not so much of a yes that he’ll be going back to school…but I’m so happy that we are surviving the summer. No major episodes, no tragedies, no upheavals.  I’m getting to a better place. W is slowly getting to a better place. Compared to last year this time, when the life I had was unraveling. Compared to the summer before, when I notice W was behaving somewhat odd, but chalked it up to stress and a new job, and blithely assumed everything would work out just fine, just as we planned it to.

W becomes more like his post episode self slowly.  Sleep is somewhat better…not where we would like it yet, but better then it has been.  The depression is not as heavy on him.

My counselor has been a blessing in that he has been helping me refocus. Not to see things as ‘why me’ or ‘why us’, but why have I been placed here? What should I be learning in all this?  I feel closer to breaking through this mirey, swampy mess of of thoughts I’ve struggled with since last summer. There’s more clarity the longer I walk through this.

It’s good to have a no-major-lifechanging-event summer.

 

 

A New Week

Just a quick update, since my last post was so difficult, that I’m in a better frame of mind today. Camping was rough, and the thoughts persisted into Sunday, but we did it, we both slept well last night, and a new option for a sitter has come up, at least for now. W is also seeing his new doctor today, so I’m hopeful for that too. The dark thoughts are ebbing, so that is very good. To all who read and have shown concern, thank you, and have a lovely week 🙂

Rough Week

As the title said, it’s been rough this week. Just a flurry of stuff that has led me to a morbid frame of mind.

W has dipped a bit in the past 2 weeks again. Apparently his sleep medication hasn’t been working well for him. The newer stuff gives him stomach aches, the older stuff makes him extremely groggy throughout the day. But he’s been taking both to get rest through the night, so the days have been rough. He’s become groggy, forgetful, and just overall out of it. Not good when he’s trying to watch the kids. It’s hard because he had a stretch where he was doing so well, or at least to me it seemed he was. But he’s been shutting himself into the house more, it seems, and beginning to watch old westerns on Netflix, some which, to me, seemed pretty dark.

W has been seeing a counselor whom he seems to like and connect with. She is pricey, but he comes home with new energy to try things, at least for a bit. He will also be seeing a new pdoc on Monday. We both felt the old one was not very receptive, as well as difficult to get a hold of (no matter when W called for issues with his medications, the pdoc could only respond on Thursdays. It was infuriating, really). I’m hoping this new change in direction will get W back to a better place.

I’m frustrated and angry. On a base level, I get angry at W – that he won’t try to exercise or eat right or make changes that can help his healing. That he’s not emotionally available to me. But I know that really only poorly covers the deeper level of frustration and anger I feel, which is feeling as though I have no options and need to leave the kids with him irregardless of how his mental state is. We have a sitter who is only available certain days of the week, and W’s parents have been traveling more as the spring has arrived. When those 2 options are not available, I have no one else to turn to for childcare, and I feel trapped. It is a HORRIBLE feeling, and I drive to work and pray W will be alert enough in case an emergency situation arises. This has been hanging over my head since we moved out of W’s parents house in January.

Last weekend we were out too much, and I didn’t get time to myself. This coming weekend we’ll be going camping with a large group, and I’ve been trying to push W to plan for that despite his groggy state. I received a letter Tuesday that our credit card company has slashed our credit limit in half, essentially leaving us with no credit to fall back on – this due to the ongoing lack of payment on our mortgage on a house that has had no offers on it since August 2012. I found out the paperwork I sent in over 2 months ago to the mortgage company was not the correct paperwork. I’m paying off a large dentist bill. W and I still have no insurance.

All these things finally took their toll, and last night I was up until 2am, first looking at morbid things online, then lying awake in fear that some tragedy would befall me or the kids if I fell asleep. I cried becasue I felt that I couldn’t look to my husband to keep us safe; in his groggy stupor I doubt he could do much of anything. And then of course flashbacks to when he was in a mania and saw me as a threat. I’m becoming preoccupied with thoughts of death and tragedy. Sometimes I hate the internet for what you can see…images I wish I hadn’t looked at that now flash in my mind and haunt me throughout the day. Yet I somehow feel drawn, because it, in a twisted way, keeps my mind off of the very real and present struggles I’m facing and feel as though I have no answers to. I think I rationalize that if I read/observe other people’s tragedy, I will see my own issues in a better perspective, but really I think it’s like a ‘mental cutting’, if that makes sense.

So that’s where I am at today. These thoughts usually start to ebb away within a few days, so I need to try and redirect my thoughts and continue to pray. I am going to try and see if the local college has someone willing to pick up some babysitting during the summer, and give me another option for childcare. I’m trying to find a cheap counselor I can see, if only intermittently, to vent to when things get this bad…I feel as though I’ve put my friends through enough and feel badly about calling them. Those are my 2 plans, so hopefully it will be enough get things going in a better direction. If you are a praying person, prayed for renewed strength for me. Thanks 🙂

April Update

WE continue on our steady march towards accepting, and learning, and weathering the set-backs, and just overall life. W has found a new counselor, this one closer to home, and so far she seems like a good fit. There was a spike in W’s irritability a bit last week, and a little more trouble getting to sleep, but overall no major red flags as of right now. I hope the continues thawing of the season will continue to help his mood.

I feel like I am no longer on pins and needles, waiting for another major dip in W. I feel like life is starting to become a bit more predictable. I find myself not worry about the kids as much, and even a slight bit of hope that things may get better overall. I didn’t realize that ever since we moved back, I subconsciously assumed our life as it is right now, with me working full time and W at home, and his overall lack of interest in life, would be life forever. Perhaps that won’t be the case. I doubt we will ever return to the life we had prior to the bipolar diagnosis, but I think that’s a good thing in some ways. Life then was always lived with an undercurrent of worry. Now we have more knowledge of what we’re dealing with.

I also realized that I almost have to make a daily choice of letting go of what we’ve lost over the last 2 years. It takes constant effort to keep myself in the mindset of thankfulness. If I begin to slip, I get depressed pretty quick. I’m not complaining; it’s more of an observation. It’s like walking on a tightrope and making sure not to look down, I guess. This is life, I was not promised an easy one, and God is with me as I continue through it!

Next month I’m planning on visiting my side of the family. W will not be coming, and honestly I will be heading out with some trepidation. There are some people I haven’t seen/spoke to since right before W got sick who will be there for some of my visit, and they have a major deficiency in empathy. They will never understand the bipolar diagnosis. So I need to mentally prepare myself for that. I think when I put it in perspective of all that has gone on, it really isn’t that big of a deal in the scheme of things. I’m actually finding that more and more as we continue to walk through this.

Spring Is Coming!

There’s a lull in the office, and I’m on break, so I’m writing a little update. I made it through the week of depression, and things are starting to perk up a bit. I’ve learned quite well that a few good days does not mean the struggle is all over, but I am very happy with the overall steady improvement in W.  I know the shift to spring helps a lot; and the bit of a lift in financial pressure helps too. But overall I think he’s finally beginning to heal instead of just be in crisis mode, and that is wonderful.

W is still struggling with sleep a bit. He also adjusted meds on his own 2 weekends ago when he started feeling manic, and I ‘expressed my concern’ with that, telling him he really needs to talk with the psychiatrist before taking himself off anything (grrrr…he really should know that by now). In response, he started struggling with sleep. He has since put himself back on that med, and now is snoring away quite well through the night. We have an appointment next week with the pdoc, so we’ll see what he suggests.

One thing I continue to struggle with and try and learn is that W is in control of his decisions, and even if they are poor, I cannot debate him into a right way of thinking. I can suggest, but it’s a difficult balance to do so without sounding controlling or preachy. He continues to be pretty stationary most of the time, and when he struggles with sleep, he eats junk food. I KNOW he would sleep better if he began a daily exercise routine, but as of now, he has not taken any steps towards that. Rather then draw up a plan for him, I occasionally encourage him to start walking. I have so much on my plate, and he is aware enough, that I am not going to ‘mother’ him into being more healthy. I hope that’s not unloving of me, but I think I would just get resentful, because I feel he is perfectly capable of doing this on his own.

As for me, I’ve been struggling with a lot of fatigue this past week. I fear the daily commute of 1.5 hours round trip is starting to wear on me, but I have no solution right now. I just keep on, and pray for strength, and know that when it’s time for change, it will happen. I have been into my art more, which is a big step for me!! It makes me so joyful when I do it, yet I fight a lot of resistance in my own mind and in my life situation, so any move towards creativity, I try to celebrate 🙂

March Update

Just a quick post during my little break at work, since I’ve seemed more and more reluctant to get on the computer at night once I’m home.  W was approved for disability last week…this is a HUGE deal for us! No rejection, no appeals, no re-applying…just an approval letter 4.5 months after the initial application.

The back pay has been very helpful in catching up with the small pile of medical bills we’ve collected. W will get a monthly check, and the kids will get a smaller check, and it will all help very much as we climb out of the financial hole this illness has created in that last 2 years.

It’s funny, a freind of mine asked how I felt about the disability approval, and, of course, called me out when I expressed my positivity at the financial help it will be. She  wanted to know how the fact that he is now officially considered ‘disabled’ made me feel. It’s a thought I’ve been avoiding as I’ve tried to get through the paperwork and the waiting and the overall running of the household….but it was a good question.

After the initial relief it brought financially, I’ve found myself struggling a lot with depression this week. It’s a very odd depression…It’s an odd place in my thoughts that long for some sort of feeling I can’t find. I find myself lost in thought, thinking back to our time in Florida, and feeling this ache in my chest. And not just Florida…it’s a roledex of memories that swirl in my head and stop at some memory that makes me long for a pre-bipolar time.  It’s the sudden mulling over a tragedy in the news, or the loss of friends through one of our many moves, or just a brief thought of a walk I took or some flowers I picked…it’s so random. I think of WJ and all he’s lost, and the questions of ‘when can we see so-an-so again’ or ‘can we go back to that beach’. It’s C asking me when we can go back to our ‘old house’….and the very firm ‘no’ I have been given from God that we will not be heading back there, even as the house is being given back to the bank.

I can feel spring so close now, just ready to burst forth, and I keep telling myself that this sadness, this mourning, is once again part of a cycle, and that soon it will fade with the winter and bare trees and cold wind. And as we settle here and  make new memories, it will get better. But this week has just been so damn hard.

One of the great benefits at my current job is the ability to work while listening to various internet broadcasts that I normally would not have access to.  There has been a very good series on suffering and trial this last week which I have clung to by a pastor called Chip Ingram. In the past my depressed thought would lead me to surround myself with music that would bring out my dark feelings more poignantly; I would wallow in them and allow myself to sink into a dark place. This time I am struggling to keep myself from that. It’s no help to me. I realized I mourn what my children have lost, but that I’m mourning in the present and it keeps me from them now, right now, when I could be helping them and helping myself move forward.

W continues to struggle with the anger he has over the diagnosis. It frustrates me to see him stuck, but I can just as easily become stuck too. Perhaps by really deliberately taking these steps forward to move away from the depression and dwelling on all we’ve lost, I can at least pull the kids along with me, and we can finally move forward and start living life again.