sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘bipolar’

Writing first thing in the morning: 6 am Dance Party

If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

Cat Stevens

LYRICS

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out

And if you want to be free, be free

‘Cause there’s a million things to be

You know that there are

I woke up early this morning knowing I did not need to go to work. Yesterday, I found peace with being called off work at 10:15 pm for the next day, when I usually work 6-8 hours on Sunday. The universe was telling me to write!

I gathered all of my supplies: cold water, iPad, Bluetooth keyboard, iPhone, wireless earbuds, my purple bag with journals and other items, made some hot tea, heated up my home made hot packs, and set the lighting and picked my place to sit. I found a play list on Spotify that suited my mood, Inspiration, a playlist I created to inspire me to write.

Walk the Moon began to sing, Shut up and dance with me…

How could I sit and write?

Earlier, I had the thought to exercise before writing, but then decided against it.

Yet, my goal for February is regular exercise. January i got in the routine of regular writing. Now it’s time to take charge of how my body feels.

So I got up at 5:50 with my wireless earbuds blasting awesome music and began to dance!

Early morning dance party in the dark, why not?

(I copied pictures of my Facebook posts to share here. Now if I could only figure out how to insert pictures with the wordpress app here on my iPad. I hope the WordPress 101 will also show me how to use the app. I can usually figure the things out on the regular site but now I’m using the app more since my iPad is essentially my lap top. )

I spent over 40 minutes dancing to my wonderful inspiration playlist that I decided i needed to rename, “inspiration to dance”

I felt energized and alive!

Each time I decided this was the last dancing song, a new wonderful song would come on.

I got a good workout and stretched and drank lots of water.

Then, I finally felt read to sit and write.

My husband came downstairs to do his exercises and stretches and i paused my music and my writing to talk with him. He was watching tv but I put my earbuds back in and resumed writing, until Parks and Rec came on after his show finished.

The first episode of Parks and Rec! I have watched the entire show already. It is even funnier the second time around.

I enjoyed the episode and then realized I needed a new quiet place to return to writing.

My daughter’s top bunk!

I had discovered the magic of her top bunk in my favorite room of our house.

I first discovered this when she was out of town and so I was not disturbing her using her top bunk as my office, as a writing retreat.

Today, just before 8 am, I decided to return to the top bunk. I put all my belongings in my bag and quietly went in her room with my earbuds, my bag and hot packs.

I forgot how much the bunk shakes when you climb to the top!

Are you serious? Don’t mess up my jackets” was how I was greeted by my nearly 16 year old daughter.

I apologized for the noise and promised I would be quiet. I figured she would quickly fall back asleep because when I try to wake her up in the morning, she struggles to wake up and even when she answers me, she falls back asleep.

“Stop cracking your ankles!”

Opps with my ear buds, I didn’t realize the nosies i was making.

“Do you have a hot pack up there because it stinks!”

“At least turn off your notifications!”

“How do I do that?” I asked as i tried to figure it out.

“Never mind!”

I really tried to be quiet and even figured out I needed to also silence the notifications on my iPad in addition to my iPhone.

I reminded her that she always wanted a sister, and now here I am!

I got very distracted for a while on Facebook and sending messages.

It is now 9:42am as I finish this blog. And I have the whole day ahead of me.

I hear my family who are all up now, my daughter included. She gave up trying to fall back to sleep.

I love the sounds of my family, even when they are arguing with each other.

Life is good up here on this top bunk.

I hear the dogs below and yet they don’t disrupt my writing by jumping in my lap like the little one would do if I were still in the living room on the recliner chair.

I have music and my purple bag.

I handled letting my 9 year old know I needed to finish what I was writing before I could listen to the parody song he was telling me about. I handled it respectfully, for him and for me.

I need to respect my writing time and ask my family to respect it as well.

I just need to ask.

They are old enough.

And I will finish my blog with the remainder of the lyrics that I used to begin this post…

And if you want to live high, live high

And if you want to live low, live low

‘Cause there’s a million ways to go

You know that there are

You can do what you want

The opportunity’s on

And if you can find a new way

You can do it today

You can make it all true

And you can make it undo

You see, ah ah ah

It’s easy, ah ah ah

You only need to know

Well, if you want to say yes, say yes

And if you want to say no, say no

‘Cause there’s a million ways to go

You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me

And if you want to be you, be you

‘Cause there’s a million things to do

You know that there are

You can do what you want

The opportunity’s on

And if you can find a new way

You can do it today

You can make it all true

And you can make it undo

You see, ah ah ah

It’s easy, ah ah ah

You only need to know

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out

And if you want to be free, be free

‘Cause there’s a million things to be

You know that there are

You know that there are

You know that there are

You know that there are

You know that there are

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I AM HERE NOW…My 500 Words: January 31, 2018

And entire month of focus on writing,

New habits formed

Writing first thing in the morning

Quiet, reflection time before social media and music

Returning to daily gratitude journal writing

Inner peace

Restless energy

Anxiety

Channeling my energy

To what matters most to me

Priorities

New music

Inspiration

Deep within my soul

Reconnecting

To myself

And to my loved ones

Road trip with Harrison and my parents

My first born

The spirit who initiated me into motherhood

My practice child

I am my own harshest critic

Jan Luther

EFT and The Ego Tamer Academy

New opportunities

To explore

Alongside Don,

My soul mate

United together

With one vision,

Together

We are ten times stronger than

The sum of us alone

Shouldn’t you be in Charlotte?

The magazine spoke to me

Back in 1992

Sitting in my kitchen in Whitehall

Pennsylvania

Our paths

Destined to cross

United

As one

May 14, 1994

Here

I

AM

NOW

Living in the present

Pulled myself up

And out of the muck and mud

Raised my head out of the water

Learned to not just tread but to swim

To cross over to the other side of the lake

Feeling our feelings

Living through the experience

Stronger only after

Having gone through it

And come out on the other side

Many puddles along the way

Some deeper like oceans

With strong currents and…

Waves

Today

I

AM

Here

NOW

the present is a gift

Yesterday a canceled check and tomorrow a promissory note…

All we have is now

Right here,

Right now

What is the name of that Van Halen Song?

Jesus Jones sings Right here, right now

Van Halen sings Right Now

Music

Feeds my soul

Connects me to my inner self

My higher self

My

TRUE

SELF

i can’t stand to fly

I’m not that naive

I’m just out to find

The better part of me

I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane

I’m more than some pretty face beside a train

And it’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry

Fall upon my knees

Find a way to lie

About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd, but don’t be naive

Even heroes have the right to bleed

I may be disturbed, but won’t you concede

Even heroes have the right to dream

And it’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away, away from me

Well, it’s all right, you can all sleep sound tonight

I’m not crazy

Or anything

I can’t stand to fly

I’m not that naive

Men weren’t meant to ride

With clouds between their knees

I’m only a (hu)man in a silly red sheet

Digging for kryptonite on this one way street

Only a (hu)man in a funny red sheet

Looking for special things inside of me

Inside of me

Inside me

Inside me

Inside of me

I’m only a (hu)man

In a funny red sheet

I’m only a (hu)man

Looking for a dream

I’m only a (hu)man

In a funny red sheet

And it’s not easy

It’s not easy to be

Superman (It’s Not Easy)

Five for Fighting

Wonderwoman

I

CAN

FLY

My spirit

Can sour high

I am finding it easier to be me

I am finding comfort

In my own skin

The challenge

Is living in this human body

The challenge is letting my spirit shine while occupying this human space

The challenge has been connecting my true self with my human self

I AM HERE NOW

Depression: Trudging through the mud with chains on my back while trying to keep my head above water

Here comes the sun

It’s been a long, cold winter

When I look back to when I have been depressed, I see sadnesses but there is so much more to it then that.

Life becomes a chore, all of it. Getting through each and every day is exhausting

And I look forward most to going to bed at night and sleeping and being in the quiet

But when I wake, I don’t feel refreshed, I feel tired and want to keep sleeping

Getting up is challenging

Getting up and starting my day takes a lot of effort

Leaving me with a half empty tank for the rest of my day

And some days, getting up takes nearly all my tank and so I am left running on fumes all day

Until I can go to bed again.

I manage to do the essentials, feed my children, feed myself

When I am depressed, I eat, too much

Trying to find comfort in food, but the comfort never comes

Leaving me feeling heavy and disappointed further pushing me down

I manage to wash clothes, I like doing laundry, the only cleaning task I truly like

Something about the simplicity of laundry and the reward

Sort the colors, fill the washer, add the soap and turn the dials

I get myself and my kids to the things we must do, are committed to

I get myself to work and get through the day

I don’t enjoy work very much and it feels like WORK

There are moments of pleasure and times where I feel good at work, work gives me a. Feeling of accomplishment

When I am working, I feel competent, because I have been an Occupational Therapist for 25 years

And I know the routine

I complete an eval, setting goals and then reassess them 3-4 weeks later and see the progress, or lack of it

And when they have reached their maximum potential, I complete the discharge paperwork with reassessment again.

It is logical and familiar.

I am a good therapist and I know what I am doing.

Yet, i have many moment so “I don’t want to do this anymore” seeing all the flaws in the system

And the problems that need fixing and it frustrates me beyond belief

Yet while I am at work, I probably am functioning my best

Home

Thinking about it now, recalling how coming home is always challenging when I am depressed,

I think it is because I come home to “disappointment”

Disappointment in myself for all the things I have NOT been doing in my time away from work

You can look at the menu but you just can’t eat

You can feel the cushions but you can’t have a seat

You can dip your foot in the pool, but you can’t have a swim

You’re the fastest runner, but you’re not allowed to win

YOu can see the summit, but you can’t reach it

It’s the last piece of the puzzle but you just cant make it fit

The doctor says you’re cured but you still feel the pain

Aspirations in the clouds but your hopes go down the drain

There are moments of joy, playing with my youngest and engaging with all my kids

Yet there is this dark cloud over my head the whole time

Just when I think I am pulling myself up and out of the muck and mud,

Something happens creating more challenges in my life

Causing me to fall back into the mud

Don is my rock, steady and always by my side

Yet, when I am depressed all I see are his flaws

I expect him to disappoint me and that is what I experience

This is a new reflection, a new realizing that I am just now fully realizing

As I listen to Peter Cetera sing, The Glory of Love

DEPRESSION

Have you ever seen the rain coming down on a sunny day?

I always thought if you were clinically depressed, you wound have any moment of joy

I always told myself, i wasn’t really depressed or i won’t be able to go to work

I wouldn’t be able to function at all, that is real clinical depression

Those people have it bad

I am still functioning.

It wasn’t until I came out of it, that I could look back and see how depressed I was

It didn’t matter that I was still functioning, I was barely functioning

I was barely getting by and it was painful

Often physically painful with aches and pains, throwing my back out to the point of not being able to move

Many trips to the chiropractor and other doctors for a variety of illnesses

And then I would get sick, stay home from work sick and it would take a long time to get better or I would relapse

Looking back this happened in college, often, sinus infections that just wouldn’t go away

Mood swings

All my life I have experienced big mood swings

When I went to college and learned about bipolar disorder

I wondered, Is this me?

Yet, i don’t experience mania

Not full on mania

It was years before I learned about hypomania

I think I learned about it from my brother and his bipolar diagnosis

From that time, i began to wonder about myself

I went to a psychiatrist after I had been on an antidepressant for a long time, 8 months ore so, prescribed by my primary

Because i finally took myself to the doctor and tole them I needed treatment for depression

So by the time I went to the first psychiatrist, i was having nearly all the side effects from the antidepressant and i was in a state of hypomania but beginning to look more like mania

The doctor diagnosed me with depression, removed me from the medicine showing me how I was having all the side effects fro it

And then

She declared me cured

I knew I was not cured but hopefully that I didn’t need the antidepressant anymore

And so worried that I would fall back into the depression again

I was good for a while, for another few months

Until i slowly began sinking again

So slowly, rreeping up on me

Realizing it but naively thinking along the way that

THIS was the low point and surely I would pull back up

Sinking further and further

Finding a doctor again and trying a different antidepressant and going to a new psychiatrist

Because I wanted to make sure the medicine didn’t cause mania because

That can help end with bipolar disorder

I had been reading and researching becoming more and more convinced that this was my proper diagnosis

And going to the psychiatrist, to the expert, to determine if that was the case

Yet, she diagnosed me with depression

And I got tiered of paying twenty dollars cash each visit and not happy with her

Challenged by th noisy fan because the building’s air conditioner was broken and she had a soft voice and an accent

And my hearing is not what it used to be and it was a challenge to hear her words

And a challenge to be there with her asking dumb basic questions

When I had dug so much deeper with all my purists in EFT and alternative modalities and inner work

Luckily, my primary has continued to prescribe my medication and i don’t seam to baving side effects

I wonder about mania vs hypomania

I realize that it would have been good to continue to go to the same psychiatrist so manybe she could have seen the difference in me,

Why?

To diagnosis me properly

Whatever

I have done that for myself

I am more qualified to do it

Which is sad, really sad that the mental health system has failed me

I intended to work in mental health when I was in college studying Occupational therapy

We had an entire semester plus dedicated to mental health and level I and level II fieldwork in a mental health setting

Only finding traumatic brain injury and a acute rehab pulled me way from my interest in pursing a career in mental health

Here I am

All these years later

Discovering that the doctors don’t always do the best job at diagnosis in

The psychologists and psychiatrist with their MDs and PhDs, all those years of school

Didn’t help me

My own personal education, experience, research and inner work and trial and erro with a variety of approaches

Has led me to diagnosis myself

I would have been the last person to say this is valid,

I am biased, this is why i went to the professions in the first place

They were supposed to be the experts

They first failed me with my children, especially my youngest son

In getting him help for his anxiety and challenges that affected his every day life

Yet, I find myself needing to say, I mean no disrespect for these professionals and they are essential in the system

And I KNOW they help many, many children and adults get the help they need.

And yet, there are those who are misdiagnosed and those who fall through the cracks of the system

Those who don’t get the help they need because of costs and insurance, bad insurance or no insurance

Or no qualified providers in their insurance plan

WE MUST ALL TAKE CHARGE OF OUR OWN HEALTH AND BE INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS

As an Occupational Therapist, my role is to facilitate my patient’s return to a higher level of independent functioning.

I facilitate, but I can not do the work for them and if they are not motivated and don’t make the effort, there is nothing I can do to make them better.

“Man, through the use of his hands, can influence the state of his own health”

The quote is from one of the founders of occupational therapy and something I learned in freshman year in a Theory of Occupational Therapy class. I learned about many different theorists yet that one quote is what has stuck with me.

That quote is what motivated me to help my daughter learn to knit and crochet when her OCD was so severe that it crippled here in her daily life. And what drove me to engage her in Sudoku puzzles and other tasks to help calm the anxiety that was rampant in her Brian causing havoc in her life and in ours.

I have learned that I must go to the doctor and get their advice AND do my own research, go to the alternative practitioners and gather all the resources and information and advice

AND then I must decide what to take in and what to discard in order to maximize my level of independent functioning.

BUT WHEN I AM DEPRESSED, IT IS REALLY HARD TO DO THIS!

I KNOW What I need to do much of the time, but making the decisions to do it and taking the action is challenging.

It can be paralyzing to know what I need to do and not be able to make the decisions to do it.

To an outsider it looks so simple, just do it,, just call the doctor and make the appointment, just get up 30 minutes early and walk every morning, just go. Outside once each day and do grounding exercises, just write in your journal daily.

Sure I KNOW I need to do these things and at times, I can do them, once or twice,

Trudging through the mud with chains on my back, while trying to keep my head above water

Depression and Bipolar 2: January 22, 2018

Coming out of depression

I have diagnosed my self with Bipolar 2. I swing from depression to jypomania.

I have seen this tendency throughout my adult life and it became exaggerated after Don’s heart attack.

When I came out of the depression back in 2014, I think that was the year, is when I saw how depressed I had been and for how long. I couldn’t fully see the extend of the depression until I was out of it.

It was quite a realization to look back on years of my life and see how I had been barely functioning slowly sinking further into depression.

So many life challenges had entered my life that had drained my energy and suppressed my true self.

What is depression?

Not being who you truly are

I always think of mud, being stuck in the mud, moving through mud

Slow and difficult, extra work to do everything, to get through each day

Drowning in water, but not quite, trying to keep your head above the water

A continuous doggie paddle

Slipping into the water, unable to breath and then coming up for gasps of air

Just enough air to keep going

Through off your mental chains. (Thank you Howard Jones)

Jacob Marley’s chains

Dragging you down

Then I slipped back into depression, I could see it slowly creeping up on me

I could feel it taking a hold and yet I couldn’t stop it

I couldn’t see how much lower I would sink, Thinking at each stage that “this” is the lowest point

Only to find myself further down the spiral, lost and wondering,

“How the hell did I get here again?”

PRESSURE

Pushing down on me, pushing down on you

These are the days that it never rains, but pours

It is the terror of knowing what this world is about,

Watching good friends scream, let me out

Turned away from it all like a blind man

Insanity laughs

This is our last dance, this is our last dance

This is ourselves, under pressure

Music moves me through the memories of depression and what it feels like

And music helps me move forward and out of the depression

I am way too young and I won’t stop running!

I believe the tables will turn

I won’t stop dreaming

This isn’t over, it’s never over

Facing forward, lights out, I wont stop running

Falling backwards, I won’t stop running

I will take another sunrise….

I am way too young and I won’t stop running

I am living it all

Tearing off the labels….

This isn’t over

This isn’t over

I am way too young and I won’t stop running

Thank You to Queen and lyrics of Under Pressure

Thank You to A Great Big World and lyrics of Won’t Stop Running

Gratitude January 19, 2018

I am grateful for…

Ed Sheehan

Music

Earbuds

iPads and bluetooth keyboards

Waking up early before the sunrise while everyone else sleeps

Sitting in my living room with hot tea, music,

Writing

I am grateful for Jan Luther, EFT, Reiki and all the amazing people I have met in my life

All the wonderful friends who have helped me grow and

Become who I am

Playing in the snow

Teaching Jason how to roll a snowball to make a snowman, snow girl, named her Mary Poppins

Sledding down our driveway and our yard

Laughing

Remembering times with my older children in the snow

Walking up our street, to the stop sign with Jason

And it was like yesterday that I did that with Harrison, when he was maybe 4

Watching my children grow

Being a part of their lives, learning and growing alongside them

Enjoying the journey, our homeschool journey, our unschool journey

Our learning through living journey

I am grateful for reflection

Pictures, videos, memories, reminiscing, celebrating, birthdays

And holidays with family, Thankmas, the years spend on the lake at my parent’s house on Lake Murray

Time with my niece and nephew, my children growing up with their cousins

Family reunions at Red Top Mountain, Georgia with the Elefante’s

Sending prayers for my aunt, her husband and son and my mom

The other side of depression…

Hypomania, creativity, bursts of energy, enthusiasm, ideas….

So many ideas, dreams, aspirations, goals, desires

The anticipation of something great

Living life right

Now

The present, being present, the gift of life

All those who have touched my life

My college friends

All the places I have lived, Flanders, NJ; Canton, Ohio; Bethel Park, PA; Whitehall, PA

Elizabethtown College

Charlotte, NC

the ad in my OT magazine, “Shouldn’t you be in Charlotte?”

Facebook and reconnecting with high school friends, lost friends from all the places I have lived

Cousins

My South African pen pal, Zurina

Meeting her after loosing touch for like 20 years

It was like we had always been friends, so much in common

Despite living so far away from each other when we met as pen pals in the 80s

Connection

I am grateful for my life

Dealing and Coping with Mental Illness

One of my biggest challenges in helping my children with their mental health issues, has been doing so while dealing with my own mental health issues.  I have diagnosed myself with Bipolar 2 because the mental health professionals have failed me in that area. They diagnosed me with Major Depression despite my repeated information on my bipolar symptoms. One practioner wanted me to see if my insurance would cover generic testing, in part to see if Bipolar disorder was likely. I don’t need to take a test for that. My brother is diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and has been for a long time. My brother and I share much other genetic similarities. 

I have found in helping my children, that I have been more qualified than the so-called professionals with diagnosing myself and my children. Especially my youngest child who I know has OCD and social anxiety despite failed attempts with professionals to get these diagnoses. I am a health care professional after all and hey, who knows my children better than me? No one. I homeschool/ unschool them based on my knowledge of who they are so I guess we unschool mental health too. 

That being said, we do use professionals for assistance. We have a OCD specialist therapist who has been vital in helping both my daughter and my son.  But we have been unable as of this writing to find a well qualified Psychiatrist who specializes in OCD.  We had one that was competent and who we liked (we liked her even more after we went to other Psychiatrists) but she was self pay only and we already have enough debt from medical expenses. 

Back to my intent of this post….

Helping my children when I myself am suffering my own mental illness. 

When I look back over the years, there are large periods of time that feel like a fog and in those times, just getting through each day was a big challenge for me.  One area that has been a big issues is getting my children help or following through with referrals and other things when they are doing better. 

When your child suffers with mental illness, it is exhausting, emotionally and often physically. When, they are doing better, there is a feeling of relief and wanting life to “just be normal for a while” or more normal.  As an example of this, last spring, my youngest had a severe flare up of OCD, anxiety and behavioral issues.  We went to a hospital ER to get immediate psychiatric help but because he was less than 7, we could only seek a referral to a developmental and behavioral pediatrician or go to the local mental health behavioral unit which would have been at least a 3-5 hour wait without knowing if they could even help us. We opted for the getting referred to the pediatrician specialist which involved going back to our primary for the referral and then I called to follow up but did not receive any information from them for 6 months.  I repeat, it took the Develpomental and behavioral Pediatrician practice, 6 months to send us information in the mail to complete to be seen.  Well, 6 months later, he was doing so much better. We had started OT services as well as going to the therapist we already had for our daughter. I intended to fil out the paperwork.  I must add that about 4 months prior to this visit to the ER, we had taken him to a psychologist for evaluation, but she was unable to complete her evaluation due to his inability to answer all her questions and complete her tests. It took her a couple months to send her results to us which said nothing really that I did not already know. 

Back to the referral to the pediatrician specialist.  I truly intended to fill out this lengthy paperwork to get my son seen.  I even contacted a friend who had taught him in a class situation to help with filling out some of the information. Since we homeschool, we don’t have a teacher to answer things.  He also acts differently with me than with other people, so I thought her input would be helpful. She is also the person who first pointed out the idea that he has “social anxiety”.  Yet, I have yet to begin to complete this paperwork. Now, I want to get my daughter referred to this practice in my hopes that they will have experience with OCD, particularly child-onset OCD. Because, she needs a prescribing doctor to follow her on her medication. Our previous Psychiatrist, who we did not like at all, does not take our current insurance. 

So why did I not fill out the paperwork for my son when they finally send it to me, 6 months after I requested the referral?

The only answer I really have is: my own depression and anxiety. 

My own depression made doing daily activities difficulty and anything extra was really a stretch for me to complete. I just did not have the time nor the energy to do it. I wanted to do it. It bothered me that I did not complete it. I also think that I did not have much faith anymore that these so called “professionals” could help my son.  Having the experience of taking my time to go to the psychologist assessment and gaining nothing from the experience other than frustration with the incompetence of the psychologist with knowing how to handle a kid with severe anxiety and getting help for us, I had little motivation to pursue this next avenue of help.  

So was it my depression and Axiety that prevented me from getting the help for my son?  

Or was it because I no longer believed that the professionals could help my son?

Most likely a little of both. 

I took some steps today to get my children the help they need.  Despite the utterly inadequate NC government health care system, I soldiered on with 2 different phone calls and even talking to the person who is my “case manager” who I find particularly incompetent and unprofessional.    I know know that I need to do research to find a psychiatrist that takes our current insurance, NC assisted: NC Healthchoscie for Children (when your income is too high for Medicaid). They had Medicaid until the beginning of this year. My husband is self employed and my prn work status does not qualify me for health insurance through my employers. I work 2 jobs. 

I also plan to find that paperwork and fill it out for my son too. Hopefully, I can find it, buried in the piles of paper at my desk. And I do plan to ask my friend to help me fill out the information. She now has seen my son at least weekly in class and might have some valuable insights and opinions to share. 

So this is my affirmation to myself to make these items a priority. 

If you also deal with mental health issues and have other family members with mental health issues, I would love to hear your challenges, thoughts and insights.   Let us help each other.