Category Archives: Family

Moving

New, and exciting? Depressing? Things afoot.

I need the support of my family to feel better and be more stable. So I’m moving from Chicago-land to Dallas area (where they currently live) to live with my brother and parents (who also live with him).

It’s rather sudden. I’ll be in IL for two weeks to see doctors and friends and to pack. My mom is coming with me, and my cat is returning with us. Now that will be an adventure!

Then two weeks later my brother will fly up and drive the moving truck and car trailer down to Texas. Before April I’ll be settled and a resident of Texas. ((((Ew, not a fan))))

A lot of friends will be involved in the moving. Thank you!!

And I will miss dearly all my friends and my mental health care team. It hurts.

It hurts too that I’m giving up my independence for my health, which, while probably the best decision, puts two strong values opposing one another.

I will probably move into my own apartment within six months about a mile away. I hope that physical closeness will provide support and independence.

So much is happening so quickly. My psychiatrist gave me haldol instead of Ativan to help with anxiety. It’s working. I’m in so much grief over losing relationships that just are not going to survive the physical distance. Don’t let it happen again.

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Welp. Win Some, Lose Others

Good news! I haven’t been so suicidal that I haven’t had to go to the hospital! I’ve been increasingly suicidal the last week. But I’ve promised myself I won’t follow through, even when tempted to follow through.

My mom came back with me on Halloween for a few weeks, then extended to a month to help me adjust and get settled and give me moral support for the routines I need. I sadly got bronchitis so I haven’t been able to exercise, which would have helped my mood and my routines. I did adopt a cat! Charmer.

After a lovely Thanksgiving with my mom, she left and I was able to adjust for a time. Then my finances fell out from under me and my bank was not helpful. I was totally destabilized emotionally and mentally. I got help from my family and from my church and a friend’s church. One of the problems was an increase in intensity in one of my medical diagnosis and needed medical supplies and drugs.  And I would run out of food at the end of the month.

So, my family is taking me back to their house again, for a few weeks to stabilize emotionally and mentally. The rest of my life seems ok. Getting over bronchitis so I can exercise, making meals, finances stabilized. But I’m not.

I feel broken, inside and out. My mood was destabilized and it’s not righting itself. As my psychiatrist pointed out, this is a difficult time of year for me and getting family’s support would be helpful. She also wants me to practice self-forgiveness for all the financial mishaps. And self-compassion that I need help. She increased my anti-anxiety med too, since I feel more anxious too.

I feel like a failure for needing help. I feel like a failure that I let my finances blow it for me. Just when I was getting on my feet after my mom left. And now I’m going back. GRRRRR.

Turning a Corner

With my ever-wise therapist, I have decided to buy a plane ticket home. Two or three weeks out. It’s time to transition into my own space and my own rhythms and routines. 

This scares me to death. How much of my mood will destabilize? (Probably labile between 3 and 5 for 3-4 weeks. 5 seems to be my baseline.) How will I deal with all the anxiety? (I’ll probably get up to 8 and 9 which is dangerous/suicidal for me. Time to pull out the Ativan.) How will I deal with the fear that I can’t do this? (Repeating true things about myself that I believe: I am competent to take care of myself; I know when to ask for help.)

You can see all the work we did today. Homework is to buy the ticket. Set up time with friends now that there is a date to work with. Other things are bonus.

I’m still scared to death. And crying. Definitely crying.
Pic from time in Texas: 


My brother

Progress and Regress

I’ve been tooling along with the stabilization plan here in Texas with family. I’m still getting up at the same time and going to bed at the same time (already good at that); eating regularly (new skill); exercising 2x/day (new that it’s twice and it’s everyday); making lunch and cooking dinner (new skill, still learning); using time to exercise my brain with reading, puzzles and art (re-starting an old skill).

I’m still going to church while I’m here – a Unitarian Universalist one actually since a friend from seminary is the pastor there. Shhh. Don’t tell my family. They already think it’s weird I go to church and Presbyterian is enough for them. They’d probably flip if I went Episcopal! But we have different worldviews.

One funny thing is that we have together found a floorplan we all like that would allow us all to live together. Unfortunately it’s in Texas since my brother is the only one gainfully employed and we’d have to stay close enough to his job. That takes me away from values of long-term relationships, which I’m in back in Illinois and living independently, which may be overrated since I’m doing so well mentally and physically living in community with my family. I’d have a suite with two bedrooms and my own bathroom so I could have a couch, tv, office in one and feel I could live independently within the community.

I’m going on and on about this (unrealistic?) plan because I have been doing well and getting better in the head and body while with my family. Yay! And I don’t have the same live-in community at home. I don’t have someone doing my laundry or cleaning my house (which are things I’m good at taking care of at home, making it easier to let that happen here. But I’m cooking and exercising my body and brain, and those are all things I needed to get better at. The social environment has helped. And I just can’t get the same level of social environment at home. Hence, the flirting with living altogether as a family (boyfriend welcome to live there too – but not with someone long enough for that to be an option, IF he wanted to move to Texas in the first place. IF I wanted to move to Texas in the first place.)
 

Texas Healing potential

Well, it has been way too long, dear reader, since I have checked in. A week after finishing the outpatient program, I flew from Chicago to Dallas to spend a couple months with my family. The purpose is establishing healthy routines I’ve fallen out of. The very routines that could anchor me and my moods in an environment that will help stabilize the swings. Plus I’ll be in a supportive, social environment to help make the process a success.

That stabilization is the theory anyway. 😀 My therapists and psychiatrists are on board. And so I’m giving this a try. 

We are focusing on getting up and going to bed at the same time (something I’m already ok at), showering regularly (which I’m not good at), eating regular meals with more healthy snacks. I’m also focusing on regular exercise by walking after breakfast and water jogging three times a week, with some treadmill thrown in. I’m going to church on Sundays, an important part of my spiritual practices.

I also brought all my art supplies and books and paper, and there are puzzles here, to do some art therapy and some mental exercising. It’s been two weeks and I’ve already finished my first 500-piece puzzle ever!.

Sadly, with all we are doing, I’m still heading into a depressive episode now and I’ve been feeling alone, fearful and suicidal (with plans) too. I can’t win. And I’ve gained weight even with all the focus on losing weight. Gah! Not helping.

I talk to my therapist once a week. Today we talked about my resistance to defusing from my thoughts (ACT skill), and how I can use my support system better, when I’m out of my home and close to them. 

I just don’t want to feel alone and fearful anymore. Here or at home. 

Trying to Travel

For people with bipolar disorder especially, travel can be very destabilizing. Time changes, schedule and routine changes, new activities and people – all work to change one’s life enough that a mood change might commence. 

I’m visiting my family several states away, but in the same time zone. I haven’t seen them in over five years. We are celebrating Thanksgiving together since we haven’t done that in 25 years. The visit sounds great, right? My schedules and routines and stamina are different. Being with family is being around some kind of strangers since I hardly ever see them. We have different views on politics and religion so we don’t talk about them – my idea. We’ve done some kind of activity every day. So I’ve needed to have stamina for all the driving (they live in the boonies) and the activity itself. 

I discharged from the hospital the Saturday before I traveled on Tuesday. My mood really was stable. Starting yesterday I’m feeling a dip in mood toward depression with suicidal thoughts and plans. I would say I’ve been managing anxiety well – one day, one hour at a time. But anxiety, I think, is triggering this potential mood change, as often happens for me. Some environmental factor triggers anxiety which leads to suicidal thoughts, and I feel depressed that I’m feeling suicidal. 

My therapist thinks I get suicidal when I don’t feel perfect, my too high expectations aren’t met. Maybe in this case, I wanted to feel relaxed around my family. And when that didn’t happen – which should have been obvious from the beginning – I become anxious, then suicidal, then depressed. 

And that’s where I am now. I can probably make it til I get back home. I just don’t want to spiral as I do into needing the safety of a hospital. 

Lability: Posts from Hospital

** Heavily Edited

I am all over the place with my feelings and with my thoughts. Even my behaviors which I’m supposed to have control over seem all over the place.

I’m angry at the situation, including at myself for staying so long when I was hurting so badly and enabling so much. I gave blood, sweat and tears to something on life support.

I’m scared. I stuck it out for so long, even after hunches and actions that pointed to unhealthy behaviors I found myself doing. What’s left? I hitched my wagon to something that didn’t work the way I expected it to. I wanted us to work and to grow together, but it couldn’t happen if I was pouring myself out completely. I was scared to ask for what I needed, and didn’t get much when I did. Just your usual marriage there, I’m sure.

I love him. I have tremendous compassion for a person I spent half my life with. I also can’t live with him in order to be healthy financially, emotionally, behaviorally.

I feel duped and then hard on myself. And lost in the process.

I’m sad for all of this. Regret tinged with sadness. I’m sad that it’s broken. I was so young and full of hope that we would grow up and entwined together. Now I’m jaded. Maybe this can be reworked into something beautiful again. New beginnings.

My head and heart are not in the same place – mind is jumping ahead to what’s next for me and for us, while heart is labile.

I’m sad and I can barely cry. I’m sad that we made it nearly 17 years, even though I know that this was broken long ago. I just woke up 2 months ago. My heart was invested for 17 years, no matter what my mind says. And it’s my heart that is breaking.

I hurt. Friends have each other’s backs. We were friends. We lacked common goals, which hurts. We couldn’t be on the same page. We bumped into each other: the caregiver Dave who probably was angry that he became an adult and caregiver too soon, who bumped into the patient who was angry to be a patient and so took a caregiver role instead. But a caregiver that allowed all emotional and financial support to come from her – enablement. I wanted a different dynamic and wanted to make it work in a new way with all of my being. Wrong time I suppose to be on the same page or to have the same goals?

I feel wounded and bleeding. I wish these were visible so there was more support – someone – to pull the ache out of me. I know in my head that it’s a long process, and in my heart I am weary for all that I have processed and grieved about who I am for the last 3+ years and don’t think I have it in me to go again.

I need patience from myself and from my support system. There’s been a death, even if temporary, and my breath is taken away. I am bleeding, hemorrhaging  and all I seem to be able to do is to be rational. But there is fear of the unknown and of judgment and of death. There is hurt – a dull ache in the heart, sharp pain where I am bleeding, with a wonder whether it can be repaired.

I am sad. A lump in the chest, stomach is empty, limbs heavy. Thoughts are depressed. I’m ok being sad. There are lots of things to be sad about: 20 years disintegrating, family broken apart, lack of support from family, alone for the most part. Anger and hurt are under the surface, but sad is predominant. My movements are slow. I want to be happy. Can I be regal and strong and resilient AND sad and depressed? 

Mind is ready to more forward, but the heart is still bleeding. I’ve had an achy heart for a long time. What I thought were normal trials of marriage – turned out, not so much. It was our weird dance. My heart didn’t know it didn’t have to hurt all the time. When I knew and felt healthier, I called the unhealthy one for what it was – despite the anger, sadness, fear, hurt, bleeding that would come.