Bipolar – Dreams & Surviving Life Changes

Wilmington, North Carolina

Image by Rebecca_M. via Flickr

My big change – moving to Wilmington, NC by myself to be close to my son and grand children.  It’s something that I’ve dreamed of for a long time ago – to be a grandma.  I’ve always dreamed of living near the ocean – the sound of the ocean makes me feel so peaceful.  So here I am being with my son and grand kids and living by the ocean. Can’t get any better – can we?

I 1999, I had checked into rehab when I tried to commit suicide while drinking very heavily. It was then I found out I had bipolar.  Also, I found out that drinking and bipolar don’t go together.

While in rehab I was told we should have dreams and goals.  We should write them down and work towards them.  So I wrote those dreams in a spiral notebook and dated it 1999.  My goals were to learn photography, be a grandma, live by the beach, have my own business, and meet the man of my dreams.  All have come true with exception of the man, but that’s okay. I do have more dreams, but those are just between God and I. Believing in God and Intuition has helped me  achieve my dreams.

Having bipolar is not easy to accept, and I was in denial for a long time and time is what I need.  The important part is making sure that you are taking the right medications and stay on them. Some people stop them or just forget.  This will not help.  I felt it important to get my life back for my family and myself.  I was tired of being in pain and always angry.

I’ve gone through a lot of changes since December 2010. Before, I was living and taking care of my parents who both have disabilities.  Then, I decided that at 58, I needed to start my own life. I decided to move to North Carolina and be with my son and my grandchildren.  I was afraid if I waited too long I would be too old to enjoy them.  I was afraid too.

The move was a big and drastic change in my life.  I was moving away from home where I have lived most of my life. I knew no one except my son and family. Having bipolar makes it difficult for me to make decisions, and then I’d always second guess  myself.  I always feared making the wrong decisions.  I was feeling guilty leaving mom and dad behind.  But, even they wanted me to have my own life.  They really hoped that I would find some man to marry, that’s not going to happen any time soon for me.

One of my big steps with Bipolar was taking the Greyhound Bus by myself from Texas to the east coast.   They was scary for me.  I was afraid I would miss the bus at each stop so I would always stay very close to it.   The ride was two days long with no sleep.  I did it and I’m proud of myself.

On February 27, 2011, my dad passed away.  It was traumatic for me by feeling if I had stayed he would somehow still be alive.   When I heard of his illness I immediately bought a bus ticket back to Dallas. Airline tickets were priced out of this world.  It was the longest bus ride spent only of praying and thinking.  I was praying that my dad would stay on earth long enough for me to say goodbye.

I arrived two days later and I couldn’t wait to see my dad.  When I got to the hospital I was shocked.  He looked terrible and didn’t even know who I was at first.  The doctors said he had a massive stroke and really didn’t expect for him to live much longer.  They were going to send him to the nursing home for hospice.  He was there a week before he died.  I remember the phone ringing and I knew when I heard them say, “Your father is having a hard time breathing – you should get here as soon as possible.”  We hurried as fast as we could without getting a speeding ticket. 

The elevator door opened and we were met by the head nurse “Hon, I’m sorry, but he stopped breathing just a few minutes ago.  My mother collapsed and I took off running in hopes that she was wrong.  I pulled the curtain back and there laid my dad laying so quite and peaceful.  He wasn’t going to wake up anymore. I should have driven faster.

Now, I back in North Carolina only 10 minutes from the beach.  My mom is back in Dallas and it was the hardest things I had to do, and that was to leave her behind.  Plus, leaving everything up to my brother – that’s hard.  I’m use to taking care of my mom and her matters.  I talk to mom everyday and she keeps telling me I’m where I need to be and so is she.  Mom, seems to be getting along okay,  but lonely. 

Even now I cry for my dad, and I still can’t believe he’s gone. I can see his face and his voice all the time, and I feel he is watching over us.  The last words he said as he struggled to lift his arm up and around my mom’s neck, and brushed his lifeless hand over her hair, “I’m sorry.”  Those were the last words and then he started to slip away. 

Love you daddy.

Stay strong -Dad

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Bipolar – Patty Duke is my Inspiration

I watched the Patty Duke show in my early years when she ran track in school on the Patty Duke show.  She was a fast runner in track and when she was at the starting line she could hear the beat of music, and know she could get to the finish line before anyone else. 

Like Patty Duke in her show, I ran track myself and used the same principle.  I knew if I just focused on the finish line and forget who was around me  I could do anything.  I could reach the finish line before anyone else. Running was the one run thing I knew how to do.  Learning Math or English were not.

In 1968, while in High School my disabilities were more noticeable especially in English and Math.  My parents knew I had a problem, but at that time, didn’t know what ADD or Bipolar were.   I just thought I was stupid.   Even the teachers made me feel stupid so needless to say I lacked self-esteem.  I could read a page and by the time I’d got to the end the information had cleared my memory.  Math gave me anxiety – could not understand it nor did I want to.  I feared math so much I wouldn’t take th TASP to enter college.

Over the years I knew there was something wrong with me.  My grammar and speech were different and was joked about.  I couldn’t keep a relationship, because they thought I was crazy.  In my later years – 40’s – 50’s, I couldn’t keep a job.  The illness just got stronger – anger, memory problems, confusion, fatigue, and hallucinations.  I always thought people were talking behind my back and would confront them with anger leading to dismissal.  I couldn’t understand what was happening – I’d always been told by my boss  I was the greatest.  I was good at my job and always got projects done on time.  What happen to that person?

I don’t understand why I got Bipolar other than what I’ve read – inheriting from someone in your family.  Lately, I don’t remember things like buying something online and it showing up at my front door. Buying something at the store and finding it later wondering where it came from. I could lay something down like glasses and go to pick them and their not there.  I’d go crazy looking for them.  Then when I looked in the place where I thought I left them they would appear like magic.  WHAT IS GOING ON!

I’m trying to figure out a system that will keep me out of trouble.  There’s one thing I don’t want to forget and that’s picking up my little black Pomeranian at the airport on Saturday.  He has been my angel through many bad times.

Like Patty Duke, I have Bipolar.  She seeked medical treated and is doing very well today.  That is why she is my inspiration.  If I could meet one person in my life it would be Patty.  I would love to sit down and talk about Bipolar and ask questions.  I have a lot.  If I could talk to Patty Duke it would be one of my dreams I could check off my list.  Love you Patty. 

Visit:

http://www.bipolar-lives.com/patty-duke-bipolar-disorder.html

http://www.pattyduke.net/blog/index.php

Bipolar and Compulsive Buying

I hear a knock on the door there the postman handing me a package. don’t remember buying anything.  I opened and sure enough it’s something I bid on at eBay.  I just didn’t remember.  It’s when you purchase things and don’t remember.  It’s been constant when I would get an email saying “Congratulations you have won!” 

I didn’t start having this problem until I moved from Dallas to North Carolina.  I’ve been trying to wean myself off Effexor this horrible sick andepressant pill.  I do believe it’s effecting my memory, blood pressure and now I’m having trouble with my high blood sugar.    I have no energy so anything I do is pretty much limited.

I went shopping with my daughter-in-law the other day.  She called me the next day to tell me I had left the package in the car.  I didn’t remember buying anything.  This is really scarring me.

I’ve always been a compulsive buyer but I had learned to control it, and I remember buying it.  Then I got on this medication Effexor, and it seems that my whole body has go wacko!   Aches, pains, headaches, nausea and other side effects.

The other day I went to the doctor and I had left my purse at home with my cell phone and medicare card.  My daughter gave me her number to call her when I was through.   I got a load of blood tests, which was over a week a go and have not heard the results!  Sorry it ticks me off when I don’t hear from doctors.  Anyway, when I was leaving I realized again that I did not have my purse and I did not remember anyone’s phone number, and I had lost the one Sade had given me.  I felt so lost, so old, and so helpless.  I hated that feeling.  It got to be dark and my son finally drove up.  I was beginning to feel like they had forgotten me.  I was about ready to get in cab.

So what’s the answer to this compulsive buying and the memory problem.  Maybe my blood results will tell.  Hey! where’s the doctor!  Doctors aren’t like they use to me.  I had some great doctors who had very caring bedside manners.  Not anymore.  Now, their rushing you through like cattle getting your blood test and scheduling you a month latter. What if there’s an issue that needs to be tended to.  I guess go to the emergency room 911 – yea they need business.

Bipolar: Free To Live

I'm Free!

Here I am in North Carolina in a sweet cottage only two blocks from the ocean.  I’m staying in a 700  sq. ft  dream house with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths.  I love it!  It may be small but it’s larger than the room I’ve been staying in before. 

My parents have Alzheimer’s/Dementia – I was living with them to make sure no harm could come to them.  But, the harm seem to come to me.  They just didn’t care about anything.

I was staying in a small, I mean small, bedroom room in the back of my parents house and sleeping in a small twin bed. I hardly left the room unless I went to the book store or to take my parents to the doctor or grocery store.  It got to the point where I couldn’t stay in the same room as my parents I know that’s sad, but they treated me like I owed them all the time.  I was taken advantage of and talked to terribly.  They forgot the reason I was there. I love my parents and that’s why I moved in two years ago when it was decided they needed help.  But, the longer I stayed there the worse it got.  I wasn’t treated like a daughter, but a servant.  It was so hurtful. 

My mom started drinking more and more. She told me she was 84  and she could do what she wanted and she did. I  told  her drinking and pills didn’t go together, but she said she didn’t care.  She was ready to go to her maker.  I’m a recovering alcoholic and I watched my mother  go to the refrigerator every afternoon at 3pm and pour a glass a wine after wine until she passes out in her chair.  She would forget to take her medication so I said, “Mom do you realize how hard it is to watch you drink?  It makes me want to drink with you.”  “Sure, join me,” she would say.  I couldn’t take it any more.  I had to think about my survival and well-being.  I had to leave.  Now was the time to be a mom and grandmother.

Having bipolar and living in this kind environment was not good for me.  I found myself crying and feeling unloved.  I had to ask for hugs.  Mom, told  me once that she just wasn’t like that because my dad never was nor her parents.  I need hugs.  I liked the feeling when a warm loving person can  put their arms around me and say “I Love You.”   

I desperately wanted to be needed.  I have a son, grand children, and a beautiful daughter-in-law that I want to get to know.  My son was in the army from the time he graduated from high school until he left the army 6 1/2 years later.  Then he left for a great job in Wilmington, NC.  The whole time I felt abandoned and alone.  The part of me that I treasured the most was gone.  That was 8-years ago and now my dream has come true.  I’m now getting to know my son again, as well as my grand children and daughter-in- law.

My son has become more attentive. Maybe he sees that I’m not healthy as I was 6-7 years ago.  He has always thought of me as that young good-looking mom who could do anything.  He was always proud to introduce me to his friends. When he saw me get off the plane holding a walking cane I think the moment changed.  Now, he seems to be more attentive and calls me more than he did before.  I feel loved and needed.  I now have my family that I’ve so wanted for a long time.

Today, I feel great.