What is this Thing Called Bliss?

What do you see when you think of your bliss? When I first read this I could think of nothing. My depression weighing me down, holding my thoughts behind the fogged and smeared glass of my mind. I tried to see out to something clearer when I remembered something that happened this past weekend. It was something that made me realize how close I could have come to losing everything I have, my home and family, and how easily that could have been.
My younger daughter was cooking and splattered some oil into the fire which caused the fire to rear into a huge fireball. The whole scenery frightened her greatly and she was going to spray water on to it when I stopped her. Luckily she had turned the flame off and the fire burned out. My daughter has long hair and always has some item of clothing hanging off of her though I tell her repeatedly not to cook with anything near a flame. She also cooks on a high flame, acts as if she is always in a hurry, and turns a deaf ear to all my teachings about safety. This time she saw and felt the effects of her actions. Fear can be a greater teacher than words unfortunately. Luckily for her she didn’t burn herself, just scared herself.
But it made me realize if it had been a worse case scenario and there had been a fire just how difficult it would have been to get everyone out of my house. My father is disabled with dementia and I can’t get his wheelchair through the door at all. I would have to drag him on a blanket, if I could move him at all. It’s not a nice thought to entertain.
So, when I think of bliss I think of what could I lose. I think of my daughters. True, they’ve driven me crazy through the years but it could be reciprocal and I think of my siblings and father. Depression makes me think they wouldn’t miss me but I know that’s not true. I care for my father and keep the household functioning (though some days I wonder how I manage this). I’ve lost my husband but I have his memories. The sadness I feel can’t take away my family or memories. My bliss is all of this.

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Up and Down

Each day when I wake up I don’t know how I will feel so I started off this week meaning to be as positive as my mind would allow. Monday wasn’t too bad. Since my brother returned home from work early and started his vacation for the week it gave me the chance to do something for myself.

Studies talk about how nature is good for mental health and is a stress reliever so, after a break in the rain the dim sunlight drew me outside for a walk at the nearby park. I haven’t been there in many months and I was surprised to see how the scenery had changed because of beaver damage to the stream-side trees. My walk continued through the wetlands to see ducks and other birds all of which I felt like I hadn’t seen in many years. Before I knew it I was crying. I was crying because of ducks….crying because I haven’t taken a walk with the ducks in so long and I’m so screwed up. But I continued to walk until I felt better and walked the entire trail. When I returned I felt good and was able to spend the remainder of the day up, feeling somewhat manic but not out of control.

Unfortunately, what goes up must go down. The last two days I have been so far down I don’t know if there’s a bottom. Yesterday was worse than today so I am hoping that tomorrow I’ll feel better. Maybe the pendulum swung so far to the manic side that it had to swing the other way and now it is swinging back. Honestly, yesterday I felt so depressed that I considered overdosing on pills. Suicide is not something I normally fixate on because I am a caregiver but the depression was so bad that I wanted to just go away. I wanted to feel nothing. Then I switched to thoughts of drinking again and decided to go to the liquor store. I figured the vodka would be my friend again and I could just drink everything away. I even walked out the front door but suddenly I stopped. I didn’t want vodka to be my friend again. In fact I didn’t want anyone to be my friend so I went back into the house and just sat there and cried.

Obviously I have made a mistake by going off of my anti-depressant. I never knew it was masking so many emotions. I had wanted to feel something too. I was tired of being in a fog but I can’t live like this.  Experiencing mixed state bipolar disorder is absolutely the worse thing I’ve ever felt. For those who don’t know, a mixed state is when someone feels both depressed and the effects of mania at the same time. I’m not referring to the happy, fun state of mania but the irritable and trapped in a cage feeling of mania. The agitation combined with the depression and crying is wearing at me considerably. And by coming out of a fog I realize that my life really isn’t worth much of anything. I don’t mean to say that I’m not worth something to others but I feel worthless to myself. I feel like I am a caregiver and that’s it. I don’t feel like a mother anymore and I lost my identity as a wife. I feel so empty that I don’t know what to do with myself throughout the day anymore. I’m just a prisoner of my life.

For the time I am existing moment to moment until this passes. I’m trying not to think about what I will do tomorrow or the day after because I find it too depressing. Just trying to hang in there until I can talk to my pdoc and see if I can get on another medication. I’ve given up on ever being anything other than medicated.

A New Week

I’m looking forward to the coming week with a positive attitude and a tiny bit of trepidation. I’m going to be facing a NEW me. A NEWchemical” me. And honestly I’m scared to death but I can feel positive too. I’ve said recently that I’m trying to recreate the old me and even while typing it I realize how silly that sounds. We can’t reclaim an old me because we are constantly growing and changing. So, this week I am attempting to be positive again (I have tried before) and since I am minus the Risperidone now I want to see what is going to happen to me. I decided I wasn’t going to wait a whole month to see my P-doc before some changes take place. So, the last few days I tapered off my pills and stopped them last night. I didn’t sleep well though. It’s probably a reversal of when I first started taking them and they gave me insomnia. I just want to reconnect with myself again and instead of thinking I’m crazy and making a big mistake which is some of the negative chatter in my  mind, I just want to get back to the original two drugs I had been on so long, the Topamax and the Depakote. Those are my base line drugs and I can work from there again.

Yet, there are two sides fighting right now. I’m not really sure what I am doing nor why I am doing it. I have an idea that I want to go off of these medications because I gained weight and I was unhappy but I’m scared too. I’m afraid of myself and what I have become in the last year and a half. I’m definitely not the person I used to be. I used to be the decision maker all of the time. I was a strong person, confident to the point of being crazy. If someone messed with me I was convinced I could take on that person and three more. Now I dread all decisions and barely want to go outside anymore. I used to go hiking by myself every weekend, take my camera and do my photography. Now I only go out if a relative takes me out. I hate to be alone. I want to be the person I used to be again. It’s as if I am afraid of feeling emotions and if I stay in my house locked up I won’t feel anything. If I go out alone, then I only hear my own voice and my own sadness. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I want to be happy again and move on but I am stuck in the past.

So, I want to try to convince myself that tomorrow and the day after that, etc. will be a good day. I have to try. Of course I will have set backs but I have to think forward to something good and not feel that I can’t do it. I am a strong person. I have proven that. I remind myself that outside influences, like my father’s behavior (which he can’t help) will not deter me from being happy. The never-ending darkness of the afternoon sky WILL NOT depress me nor the cloudy days because the sun hides behind the clouds, it is not gone only hidden. Just remember to not listen to the noise in my head when the days are bad and I should be fine. Everything should turn out okay. Tomorrow will be a perfect Monday.

Dec. 1 Loneliness

I was greeted this morning by snow falling. Even though I am full aware of the weather report I wasn’t expecting this. I must have missed it. Normally I could care less. Today I am awash in this loneliness again. I don’t understand ….. let me analyze the situation…..  last year I was adrift in a sea of medications. My consciousness squashed in a jumble of non caring, non feeling and non being. I remember Christmas last year, I barely decorated the house. I put up a string of lights and a small stuffed Christmas tree my mother had made. My brother hung a wreath on the door. That was it. Last year was the first Christmas without my husband and no one wanted to do anything. It felt like a relief to do nothing. Also I started using the holidays as my excuse to drink. So, initially, I felt better in an alcohol induced sort of way.
It’s strange the way those medications work though. They took all my grief and shoved it down into the pit of who knows where and there it stayed. I think that’s why I feel the way I do now. Though I kind of want to punch myself in the head too. I grew up in a house where you were supposed to be quiet and not show emotions. So, when I feel strong emotions internally I feel very uncomfortable. I know it’s best to let them out, have a good cry, but it becomes a very strong internal struggle too. I definitely would like to get over the grieving and not feel the loss but being married for almost 25 years is a long time. And everything just screeched to a halt and in 3 1/2 months he died.
So, now here we are people are getting everything ready for the holidays and I have set up my scrawny tree again. I am looking at the mess that my upside down house has become. I am trying to figure out how to get rid of this lonely feeling, replace it with something else. I am determined to clean things up the best that I can. It’s true that I can’t help that my entire dining room became displaced when my father had to move his bedroom into that room. So, the dining room furniture is now into the living room and there are chairs everywhere. The house looks like a storage warehouse. But I certainly can put books into bookshelves and tidy up the place. No one ever comes by but my siblings but I have to look at it everyday and I need to see it neater. Besides, maybe if I keep my mind occupied I won’t feel as lonely and hopefully my next post will be brighter.

Dear Dr. PDoc

I’m happy today because I have to see my pdoc and I’m trying very hard to be happy. Usually I’m not happy and I am anxious. Today will be different. I think the doctor deserves a break from me and my insanity. Maybe I will go in there and start laughing hysterically. No, I’ve done that already. So what, who says I can’t do it twice? When I saw my therapist last week I confessed to her that I had been telling teeny tiny white lies about being sober when I wasn’t being sober but now I have been sober since going off of the Sertraline. The only problem is my pdoc doesn’t know yet and I’m not sure if she slipped him an email telling him or not. They’re always slipping little emails to each other so I can’t get away with any mischief at all. AACK!! But I will come clean to him too, I just will have to squirm around about it because I do feel bad about lying. I never tell lies unless they are to my children and will protect them from harm or protect me from embarrassment from something I did as a teenager or something. So, I want to be happy though because my pdoc is going away for three weeks or so and usually I don’t care but when doctors tell me they are leaving on vacation I always feel abandoned. My brain starts yelling, “What do you mean you’re leaving? What happens to me when you’re gone?” I get all panicky and think its the end of the world and surely a tree will fall on me in the forest. Of course I know he’ll have a back-up pdoc but my stupid brain will still go through it’s PTSD dance of panic and the logical side of the brain will try to act all cool and non-caring like “oh, good, I hate you anyway” and turn the whole appointment into a manic mixed up, stressed out, insanity filled thirty minutes (!) of fun. Hopefully he treats me kindly about the drinking too and realizes that I am crazy and if I was sane I wouldn’t have been drinking in the first place and wouldn’t even be going there.

And, oh, yes,…… did I fail to mention that I cut back on some of my other medications that you prescribed too. OOOPSIE……. well, only a little bit. I cut back on that Depakote that you increased recently and I cut back on the Resperidone by 1/2 a tablet. Can I help it that I want to lose some weight and these medications are guaranteed to make a person gain 90 lbs. a years?? At least I didn’t stop taking them just cut them back a little. It’s quite amazing the awakening I’ve had by stopping the Sertraline though. It’s as if I’ve been at the bottom of a murky pond looking upwards towards the top. I could see the top of the water and the whole time I’ve been holding my breath. Slowly I’ve been making my way to the surface of the water and now finally I have broken through and can breathe again. It’s amazing. I hope he sees how important this is to me and doesn’t just view it all as a bunch of mindless rambling which it may come out as, especially when it’s mixed with maniacal laughing….hahahaha. But, that’s what happens when I’m happy. Got to love it!

Ego I Am

Last night I tried to calm myself by reading. I am currently reading a book by Deepak Chopra called ‘The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment‘. As I started chapter two I came upon words that suddenly were aimed directly at me. I could feel the words striking me and sinking to my very core. I felt almost as if I was under a microscope. I had to remind myself that many people have read and will be reading this book. It also was exciting to know that someone was describing how I felt.
Anyway, this chapter discusses finding your true self-esteem. This is not the same as your self-image but what lies beyond images. Self image is when we identify with external things. We seek outside people or objects and think they’ll be happy. Or when we wait for someone to tell us how good we look so we’ll feel better. I have been unhappy lately because I’ve put on weight and I feel like everyone has noticed and is talking about me. So this is me confusing myself with my self-image.
Your true being has nothing to do with what others think and has no limitations. My true being wouldn’t care if I weighed five hundred pounds, it would be happy anyways. But I’m too busy listening to something else. And that something is my ego. The ego is very insecure. It is addicted to approval, control, security, and power. That’s me in a nut shell. I love approval on one hand but am ashamed of it too because I don’t know how to accept it. Control is my big issue. I must feel in control at all times or my mind will lose it. Security to me means I can relax and not feel anxious. Power is something mysterious but I think I obtain it from being in control; even if it is fantasy related.

This is what Deepak Chopra says about ego. See if you don’t relate to this:
If you want to know how strongly you identify with your ego as opposed to your true being, there’s no mystery about it. The ego has the opposite qualities from the five we described before. The ego feels isolated and alone. Therefore it needs outside validation in order to belong and have worth. The ego feels limited and bounded. Without power and control over others, it fears that its helplessness will be exposed. The ego prefers routine and habit over creativity. It finds security in making today the same as the day before. The ego fears the unknown more than anything else. This is because it sees the unknown as a place of darkness and emptiness. The ego struggles to get what it wants. It assumes that without struggle, its needs would never be fulfilled; this reflects a deep sense of inner lack.

Chopra, Deepak (2009-10-28). The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment (p. 49-50). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I really found this fascinating on one hand and frightening on the other because I realized that I am a complete nut job. No, I’m just kidding. I realized that I could work on this by being aware of myself more than I was doing. It’s not going to be easy because I am addicted to so many of the things that the ego stands for. Control especially. But I can try to help myself. What have I got to lose?

Losing It

I’m losing my mind today. My bipolar brain is tearing around bouncing off the walls and getting me very irritated. This is not a fun mania. This is just plain being annoyed, irritated, feeling every muscle tense, and wanting to run away from here. What am I doing to cause this to happen? I’ve been trying to think positive thoughts and my brain takes them and likes it for a moment, strokes it as if you would pat a dog or cat and then goes right back into its twitching and spasming, slamming all of my good intentions into the wall…just the way I want to slam my head into the wall. I keep telling myself, tomorrow is Friday, tomorrow is Friday, TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!! One more night and I’m free for a bit. Of course I’ll lose my place to sit down in the kitchen because my brother will be there but it feels like I’ll be able to let my guard down. Please let me have a good night. I’m hoping  and praying my brain doesn’t derail like it is now. Last weekend I almost started drinking again. That is always a danger for me on weekends but I’ve been good so far. I’m not going to worry about it now. But I do need to plan activities to keep myself as busy as normal because as they say ‘idle hands make the devils work’ and I don’t need to have that involve drinking again. I’m going to try to calm my brain down with some reading if I can concentrate long enough. Hope you all have a good night.