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: Stress – What We Can Do To Help?

Meditate & Exercise

There are an estimated number of two million Americans with bipolar disorder.  Stress is the one of the conditions that triggers your mania.   Even mild stress can make manic symptoms worse by making you feel more easily distracted, impulsive, and unable to make practical decisions.  Myself, I get very confused.  When someone simply asks me what I would like to do – I can’t make a decision right then.  I can’t make an immediate – my mind doesn’t work that way.  I had to know what might make my life a little easier. I never know when stress or mania will strike so I want to find something that might prevent it.  

Taking up a hobby great stress-buster.  I was getting stress over Christmas with my money flow looking very low so I decided to pick up crocheting.   I had to learn all over again, but it was like riding a bike.  Crocheting is very calming and it helps to tunes out what’s going on around you. Even noise – I’m very sensitive nose.  Luckily, I was able to make several Christmas presents.

The number one cause of stress is sleep problems.  Having insomnia keeps you tossing and turning, which stresses you out even more. People with bipolar disorder with their changes in sleep patterns can trigger episodes or make them worse. My favorite stress-buster is creating a spa like setting with bubbling warm bath water, soothing music and putting on your nicest pajamas and sink into your bed.  I like to pick up one of my favorite books and read until I get drowsy.

Research shows bipolar disorder is more likely to lead to substance abuse than any other mental illness.  Researchers have found that drinking and taking drugs tends to make bipolar episodes more frequent and severe, and can increase stress, anxiety, and other problems even more.

How about a support group?  People with bipolar disorder find that sharing their illness with other people with bipolar is beneficial to them.  When I talk to someone else with the same illness I get excited.  I want to ask them how they cope and if they have some of the same symptoms as I do.  Sometimes I’m not even sure about myself, but I know I’m not really comfortable around people who don’t have bipolar.  I always try to watch how I act or say.  Check the web site  or yellow pages for your local support group and give it a try.  I’m working on that anti-social phobia and it’s getting better.

What about a vacation?  I love vacation – it’s a time to meditate and reflect on your life and your goals.  I’m always dreaming about what I want to do with my life. 

Exercise?  Yes exercise.  That’s all I’ve been hearing lately.  I’ve put on a lot of weight since I found out I have bipolar and take medications.  I’ve got to say when I started walking it’s made me feel so much better and proud of myself.  Not only that, but it helps you sleep better and boosts the release of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that help fight stress.

Finally, writing has been the best therapy I’ve discovered.  In writing you find a subject and I’m a big subject so I’ve done a lot research on bipolar disorder.  I find out more about my illness and it helps me to understand myself.  I also hope that my writings will reach others with the same illness.   Hopefully, you will feel comfortable commenting and corresponding.

Once last thing.  I have ADHD with horrible grammar and punctuation so  please forgive me.

Is It Fear? Is It Mania? Hallucinations?

Today, I gave my dad a box of VHS tapes and that box had a couple tapes that had my son on them when he was a little boy.   Dad put these together for me to keep as a memory. Notice I said memory?   I took out the two tapes that I wanted to look at when I got back from the store. I placed them on the top corner of the VCR.  When I got home they were gone.  Dad had gone through all of them.  I asked him where were the two tapes I had laid on top corner of the VCR.   He didn’t know.  He said, they were all mixed up together now and didn’t really now which one was what.  I freaked out!  I went through them all and none of them looked familiar.  I started sweating, breathing hard and feeling delirious.  I then felt like I had never saw the tapes at all.

This has happened to me before.  I have lost a lot of things.  I felt I hallucinated,  it never happened, I never had it or I just dreamed it.  Dad kept asking, well, don’t you know which one it is?  I  put my hands to my ears, and said no, and I can’t discuss it right now!  I have to go to my room.

I fell into my bed trying to figure this out.  Mom, came in and gave me one of the pills we take – Loreaspam.  This pill kicks in pretty quick. I laid there for a while.

I started feeling bad for my dad.  He had no idea what happen.  Dad has never believed that I had this illness in the first place.  I guess he got a taste of it today.   Dad came into my room and asked, “Well, do you know where you put the tapes?”  I just put my hands over my ears and said, “Dad, I can’t discuss that now!”

Later,  I asked mom if Dad was confused about what happen and she said he was. Later, I went and sat right in front of him.  “Dad,  what happen was my Bipolar.”  I told him that I had put those tapes on the corner so I would know where they were so when I got back I’d know where they were.  They were moved.  When this happened I then went into a tailspin.  I started to feel like I was hallucinating it.  It’s a horrible feeling when you feel like it never happened, it wasn’t there or you just made it up.  Sometimes you just don’t know what’s happening.

I’m not sure how my Dad felt about all of this, but he did act confused.  He hates to feel like he caused any harm to anybody.  But that’s really funny, because he has been doing this to me all my life.  He has never felt that anything was wrong with his little girl.  That sounds weird to, because I was in a mental home for 7 weeks and he visited and paid my bills all the time.  I never know what he’s thinking.   In fact, he hated me about two weeks ago and now being on Aricept for Alzheimer’s/Dementia he acts a little different.  That’s a different story which I will talk about later.

Today, I go the doctor and maybe I can get some answers

Bad Trip on Bipolar

I haven’t been here in a while.  I’ve been confused, down and have been busy trying to get my business going to make some money.  First I need the money to pay my rent so I keep praying for that some miracle is going to arise and get me on a plane to North Carolina to see  my family and new grandson.

I’ve been on that research drug and last week I had some horrible things happen. They went up on the dosage so was taken that one, Lithium and Trazodone.  I was having nightmare’s and one night I got up to go to the bathroom.  I felt like I had just done 10 shots of Tequila.  I was staggering all the way knocking down anything that was in my way.  When I finally got back to my bed I went to lay down and bam! I fell to the floor butt first then fell backwards and hit my head on the nightstand – then I was knocked out.  I didn’t wake until the next morning and was late to work.   I have a feeling that the research drug is the real thing.  A sugar pill wouldn’t do that – would it?  I went to the doctor a day later and they were very concerned about what happen to me and decided to lower the dosage of the drug.  Then last Saturday – I was taking a drive to estate sales and got heartburn real bad — I could feel something driving up my stomach and throat and then – yes – I made a mess.  I through up on the only thing I had available at the time – ny jacket and then all over me.  Sadly, I had to return home change clothes.  Then, I just went on with my business.

I have felt a little better in the last few days.  There have been moments when I feel like I want to go manic, but I just try and take some deep breaths to make it go away.  My memory is not so good – meaning short term.  It takes me a while to have everything (codes) to enter my mind to figure out what that person said to me.

This little part-time job has been great for me.  Can’t beat it.  I manage the fitness center and work in my own little business in the office.  Can’t beat it  I’ve feel that my goals and dreams are trying to battle their way up and over the hill.  I’m not rich, but that doesn’t matter to me.  It never has.  I can’t have it because if I do I will spend it all.  I found that out while in my manic stage I went shopping and spent on all my credits cards to their limit in one day.  Yep, one day and have been spending the last 10 or more years trying to pay my debts off.  Pretty soon I will be too old to worry about it.

I wanted to share a new piece of jewelry I just made – It’s made of magnetic hematite beads, and bone beads.

Thanks for visiting