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

Posts tagged ‘bipolar’

Depression and Illness 

I got sick for the first time since coming out of my depression. Really sick. All of a sudden- flu sick.

I never used to be so ancy to get better, or maybe I just don’t remember what it felt like to really not want to be sick
One of the most difficult things being sick has been the fear that I wouldn’t want to do things again that I would find myself happy to be sitting around, in the recliner or in bed and watching movies and streaming an entire season of a tv show in one day. You know how when you get really sick, it’s hard to imagine getting better? Like, you feel so sick like you are dying, but you know you aren’t dying, your body just feels like it is.

I turned a big corner today after 4 1/2 days off illness with high temperature. I actually got to the point where I could tell I felt better and after watching some tv, I told myself, I would stop watching and get some things done. Because I finally felt up to it and finally could see a light at the end of the tunnel of illness. Yet, I watched one more episode and then another.  I have vivid memories of doing this in the past, when I wasn’t feeling well

Depression is an illness. It does leave you feeling sick and tired. No energy, no motivation, thst isn’t Laziness, it’s depression.  You don’t look sick to anyone. People don’t know why you don’t get the project done on time or follow up like you said you would or make that phone call to set up an appointment for yourself or even for your child. Little things take a lot of effort to complete. There are no “little things” everything feels like a big thing, everything feels like a lot of work to complete or it takes all of your energy to do it.

When you are sick with the flu, you are tired,  Have no energy, no motivation to do Anything, no desire to,

When I am sick with the flu, I became content watching movies. I figured, why not make the best of my time and do something I enjoy. I also wanted to keep my mind on positive thoughts. I picked feel good movies and comedy shows. It’s ok to be “lazy” when you are sick. It’s like universal permission to be lazy.

The fear of becoming depressed again can be crippling.

I wrote the above post more than 2 1/2 years ago when I was in a very good place as far as my mental health. I have bipolar depression, the kind where my upswing is hypomania, or just high functioning and feeling good. I have been though a few cycles of ups and downs since I first write this post. I have realized some more things as I reread this post

I get sick more often and am much slower to shake any illness when I am depressed as compared to when I am not. I look back on things I did just days after being very sick in spring of 2016 and in a more depressed state, wonder, how the heck did I do that?

I have gotten sick during my more recent down cycle, one that lasted from June or July until Oct-November. It was ten times more awful being sick as it felt like forever and even when I began to feel better, I still didn’t have much energy to do anything, which just lead to not feeling well again. A vicious cycle of physical illness and depression.

Is it possible that some people with chronic illness are caught in this loop of physical illness and depression?

I see it in my own life. And I consider myself generally healthy.

The only medications I have been taken are for my depression.

What I ask of my readers today is this:

The next time you have a friend or family member not follow through on something or fail to do what they said they would, stop and contemplate the idea, Anne they are dealing with some form of anxiety or depression.

Sometimes I look like a lazy person and yet, I have accomplished much in my 49 years. I have had periods where I completed WonderWoman like feats, as well as many long stretches of barely getting by.

If this post helps even one person dealing with a mental illness or a loved one who has mental illness, than I am forever grateful for the opportunity to write and share my experiences.

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Everybody Hurts, Sometimes

Life gets messy at times

We all experience ups and downs and for those for us with Bipolar Depression, this experience is exaggerated often to the point of dysfunction.

For me, it is to the point of barely getting by, doing just the bare minimum.

Barely functioning, yet somehow making it through each day

Yet, in the bigger picture, it really feels as if this life is not my own.

I am listening to R.E.M. sing.

This song is powerful and propelled me to writing a blog today.

I had no intention of writing a blog but as soon as this song came on, I reached in my bag and pulled out my keyboard.

The music and the lyrics brought me to a place of honesty.

When I was younger, I wanted life to freeze so that I could catch up.

Now, I feel like I am the one who is frozen and life is wizzing by…

I am now taking a mood stabilizing medication along with my antidepressant.

I thought the antidepressant alone was helping until I discovered i was spiraling down again, slowly, yet enough that even calling my doctor to get in to be seen sooner took much effort and then I called and got no response and I wanted to call back again but never did.

And then it was time for my regularly scheduled appointment. She didn’t give me much time to talk this time but quickly jumped to adding a mood stabilizer when I began to describe my experience and was eager to prescribe the same medication that has been working for my brother. I agreed.

It takes time with all of these medications. To avoid side effects, you slowly titrate up the dose and so you won’t see any results for weeks or often months.

She told me to come back in 4 weeks after I had increased the dose to 50mg, after starting at 25 for 2 weeks. I went to check out and schedule the appointment and she did not have any openings for 6 weeks.

So what do you do with that?

They told me to call back in a few weeks to see if there has been any openings.

Why do they make it so challenging for someone with depression to come in as prescribed by the doctor for a medication increase.

Don’t they know how challenging it can be to follow through and make that phone call?

Don’t they know how challenging it is to get a person on their phone system?

Maybe she has an online way to get in touch with her, I think I remember that. If only I could figure out where that information is so I can access that.

Because waiting an extra 2 weeks to up the dose feels like too long.

Why do these small tasks feel so large and overwhelming to me?

I sat here at Panera while eating my dinner and enjoying a Netflix show and watched a young couple at a booth across from me.

They were holding hands and looking at each other. They were not holding their phones and had their full attention on each other with that look of total infatuation and young love. That feeling of connection with someone new. The attention and interest with each other, such intimacy.

I glanced up many times finding joy in their connection.

Depression is like the opposite of intimacy

You fell disconnected, out of touch and invisible.

You feel lost and uncertain and out of touch with your inner feelings.

You are lost in the day to day mundane tasks and use any opportunity to escape from regular life that you can.

“I want to break free

I want to break free from your life’s, you’re so self satisfied, I don’t need you

I want to break free”

Queen sings in my ear and I feel the lyrics

I want to break free from this depression, my depression

I want to be free of this feeling of drowning, of sinking, of being lost and disconnected.

“But life still goes on….”

“I don’t want to live alone…

God knows I have got to make it on my own

So baby can’t you see, I’ve got to break free…”

I made an effort today to jump into my work, reading and researching information for my new business endeavor with my husband.

We have developed a presentation and program for Collaborative, Conscious, Respectful Parenting.

This week we will give our second presentation. We have one client now, a family, from our first presentation we gave about 2 months ago.

We scheduled a second presentation for last month but no one signed up to attend.

It felt easy to pursue this endeavor 4 months ago when we first dove into it.

These past 2 months since that first presentation have been very difficult. When I practice the presentation with Don and we discuss things, I am engaged and energized by the experience and I know I can do this.

Life creeps back in and day to day life and my irregular schedule of getting weekly work from on e of the 3 companies I am employed with and it falls to the background.

A few weeks ago, I took 2 of my children to the dentist. My youngest was 9 before he would allow a dentist to clean his teeth. My oldest had serious trauma from dentists. I have anxiety over taking my kids to the dentist because of those experiences. Taking my youngest to any “professional” is challenging because his typical response is not to be compliant and do what he is told. That is challenging for me in a social setting.

We came out of the appointment having a very easy experience with only my daughter needing to come back to fill a cavity. She has no problems going to the dentist and usually does not have cavities.

I realized after that visit, that if I could survive that and we all did very well, then I could surely speak to a group of people about parenting.

In other worlds, getting through challenging experiences or potentially challenging experiences, helps me to realize that doing what I have longed to do, what my should wants to do, is not really as difficulty as it feels at times.

It feels difficult because it is not what I have been doing for “a living” for the past 25 years. It is outside the realm of my usual working experience.

Yet, is is also within the scope of my work practice and even experience with both adults and my own children.

It is new and new things take time to become comfortable.

I need to slowly figure my way in this new experience.

Don and I bring a unique dynamic because of our personality differences.

I am a big picture person, a dreamer of possibilities, and he is detail oriented, organized and follows through.

I am an introvert and process things internally and through my writing. Don is an extrovert and loves being in front of a large group speaking to people.

I have the background of being in healthcare and he has a business background.

It really is an amazing combination and together we share a passion for helping families. In particular for helping families with anxiety struggles, especially those with children suffering from anxiety related issues which we know effects the entire family dynamic.

It is so fun to see him using the tools that I first discovered years ago when our oldest was young and see him sharing books like, “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk” with his Clients in his EFT practice.

Engaging in this new endeavor with him has been a vision of mine since at least 2011. And yet, struggling with depression, takes a toll on my ability to follow through.

I have the benefit of knowing that I have pulled myself up and out of the depression several times before and so I do have hope that I will again. Despite knowing I am dealing with depression, I am still making small steps forward. Today, after sitting and talking with Don about our next steps we need to take, I felt energized to dive into the next steps. I also knew I needed to get out of the house and dive into a place of quiet where I go to write and do inner exploration and know I can focus solely on myself and my pursuits, knowing Don is home and engaged with the kids and dogs and they can reach me by phone whenever they need to.

David Bowie sings, Changes, as I finish this post tonight.

Changes…

Runaway Train

Runaway Train

Call you up in the middle of the night

Like a firefly without a light

You were there like a blowtorch burning

I was a key that could use a little turning

So tired that I couldn’t even sleep

So many secrets I couldn’t keep

Promised myself I wouldn’t weep

One more promise I couldn’t keep

It seems no one can help me now

I’m in too deep

There’s no way out

This time I have really lead myself astray

Depression seeps in

Silently and slowly creeping

Like a shadow obscuring the light

It arrives slowly without warning

A gas leak that slowly chokes out the life

Within us

We struggle and fumble

To find our way out

To the fresh air

And to the light

Again

Rain falls softly

Quietly covering the ground

The wind blows the leaves of the trees

Branches sway

Thoughts of how I use to be

Enjoying myself with my children on a road trip to ohio

To an unschooling conference

Just this past May

Two months later

And here I am feeling lost

We drove to St. Louis over Easter weekend

I had determination, organization, purpose and poise

Now i sit in the silence looking at old photos

Longing for that feeling I once had

Happiness, joy,

It is more than that

Purpose

I sense of divine purpose

Yet each time I encounter the chains of depression

I move forward

Never back…

Runaway train never going back

Wrong way on a one-way track

Seems like I should be getting somewhere

Somehow I’m neither here nor there

Can you help me remember how to smile?

Make it somehow all seem worthwhile

How on earth did I get so jaded?

Life’s mysteries seem so faded

I can go where no one else can go

I know what no one else knows

Here I am, just drowning in the rain

With a ticket for a runaway train

And everything seems cut and dry

Day and night

Earth and sky

Somehow I just don’t believe it

Runaway train never going back

Wrong way on a one-way track

Seems like I should be getting somewhere

Somehow I’m neither here nor there

Bought a ticket for a runaway train

Like a madman laughing at the rain

A little out of touch, a little insane

It’s just easier than dealing with the pain

Runaway train never going back

Wrong way on a one-way track

Seems like I should be getting somewhere

Somehow I’m neither here nor there

Runaway train never coming back

Runaway train tearing up the track

Runaway train burning in my veins

I run away but it always seems the same

Today is June 4, 2018

I went to a new psychiatrist today. This is my third psychiatrist in 2 1/2 years. I have not been happy with the psychiatrists I have seen. I have been disillusioned by the majority of the mental health community that I have encountered for myself and my children.

Today, I went to my appointment with a plan to be completely honest.

Refreshingly, the psychiatrist asked what brought me in today and I spoke frankly with her and she was real. She listened to what I said and spoke to my questions respectfully and authentically.

I decided quickly that I liked her.

She did not know what EFT was but she initiated asking me about it. She heard my perspective of my experience of depression and respected that I felt it was bipolar depression. She stated she was going to keep the major depressive disorder diagnosis for now, not sure why, but whatever, it does not really matter. She did understand Bioplar 2 and spoke clearly about it and asked specific questions about my experience.

I felt heard.

After the appointment, I thought about the law of attraction.

I was ready to be honest with the doctor and also wanted to be heard and that is what I experienced.

When I was depressed and sought a psychiatrist, I found one in an old building with no working air conditioning and so she ran a fan which affected my ability to hear her confounded by her soft voice, accent, and my hearing loss. And she only accepted cash payment, very inconvenient for me to have to have cash on me. I don’t have a local bank and so finding an fee free ATM is a challenge. Last thing I need when I am depressed is more challenges, hurdles, to going to the doctor that I most need to see.

When I was hypomania, bordering on manic, I saw a psychiatrist who although very open to alternative therapies and resources, was easily distracted and lacked focus.

Hmmm..

Something very funny about all of this.

The law of attraction is powerful.

I also worked today, at my newest job. The job where I feel like a queen in a palace. Quite an unusual feeling for me at work. I worked longer than I had told them I could work, but it worked out ok because the reason I had to leave early changed, an appointment I was supposed to have in the afternoon got canceled.

I have put in many hours at this new job and am happy to do so. I am getting the best pay rate at this new job, the best and the first time I have had a true increase in pay in over 20 years. Crazy, huh? No, I work in health care.

I went to get a massage today. A good friend offered a special on massages this month, 90 minutes for the price of 60minutes. I couldn’t pass it up, an opportunity to support her, get a great massage, and see my dear friend who I have not seen in a while.

I think I am now clearing toxins.

I feel like I need to exercise or something.

Restless discontent.

Maybe it is the fact that my husband, Don, and I are speaking in just 3 days and I am beginning to feel the panic of do I really know what I am doing speaking to a group of people about parenting?

This Panera closes too early, 9pm. I am used to the Panera that is open until 10pm. They are cleaning the floor already at 8:30 and out of 2 kinds of tea. I got prickly pear and don’t like it.

Restless discontent

That state of being agitated and bored and edgy yet uncertain

Not knowing what is going to happen next and ready to move forward

To move out of this feeling of unhappiness

Was I feeling unhappy?

life has been wonderful lately

Yet, a part of me is grieving

Grieving a loss

My life is about to change

Change in a good way

And yet, a change is still change and loss

Does change have to be loss?

No, yet it is a loss of the way life was…

And the way it was… despite the challenges, was familiar

I am entering into unfamiliar territory

I started 2 new jobs for 2 new companies recently

I lost my hours at a job I had been at for 8 years

They are choosing not to use me and also have changed policy so that even if they choose to use me, there would not be many hours for me

Body Language

A song by Queen plays as I write

Strange combination

Yet, body language is such a perfect image

For change, speaking to people

Not exactly the way Freddie sings about body language…

The way we communicate with each other

Communication includes how we say what we say

Respect

Consciousness

Collaboration

The three tenants of collaborative, conscious parenting

Moving through the restless discontent

The only way out of the mud, is through the mud…

Diving in deep

Deep into the mud

And Journey sings…

Workin’ hard to get my fill

Everybody wants a thrill

Payin’ anything to roll the dice just one more time

Some will win, some will lose

Some were born to sing the blues

Oh, the movie never ends

It goes on and on, and on, and on

Don’t stop believin’

Hold on to that feelin’

Gratitude: Embracing Bipolar Depression

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

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

Cat Stevens sings as I sit here telling myself to write

Ups and downs, highs and lows

Bipolar depression and mood swings

Life challenges

Leaving me wanting to escape it all, at times

Other times ready to jump in and fight, power on…

Emotions

Feelings

Memories

Regrets…

Life for 48 and a half years and counting…

Opportunities come and gone

New endeavors

Staring new jobs, new people, new places, new computer systems…

Old jobs and people I have known a long time

Letting go

Moving on

Writing

Because I have to

Because it is what feeds my soul

Because when I don’t write,

I feel lost

Something is missing

Until I return to my keyboard

And figure out what to say

My life is awesome

Sometimes my life sucks

Circumstances and situations suck

Infuriated by government systems

Lack of organization and logic

Waiting

Mental health services

Sick care

Thinking of those things is a whole ‘ nother blog

Embracing myself and who I am

Embracing where I am

Right now

Right here

In this home

My 5 year home that I have lived in for 17 years…

With all its cracks and crevices and needed repairs

My house is nearly 49 years old, as am I

Built the year I was born

A good year

1969

I was born on Peace Day during the Vietnam war

October 15

I believe I choose to be born on that day

I was born 3 weeks past my mother’s “due date”

They allowed that back then…

Here I am

Now

Journey sings to me

Don’t’ stop believin’

Dreams

Writing

Aspirations

Hope

New endeavors with Don

Speaking

Speaking!

Writing and speaking my truth

My true self is emerging

i sing this song to my true self…

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

The mist is lifting slowly

I can see the way ahead

And I’ve left behind the empty streets

That once inspired my life

And the strength of the emotion

Is like thunder in the air

‘Cos the promise that we made each other

Haunts me to the end

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere you can hear my voice

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

I know I’ll find you somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

The secret of your beauty

And the mystery of your soul

I’ve been searching for in everyone I meet

And the times I’ve been mistaken

It’s impossible to say

And the grass is growing

Underneath our feet

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere you can hear my voice

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

I know I’ll find you somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

[Interlude:]

You see I know you’re out there somewhere

O yes I know you’re out there somewhere

You see I know I’ll find you somehow

O yes I know I’ll find you somehow

the words that I remember

From my childhood still are true

That there’s none so blind

As those who will not see

And to those who lack the courage

And say it’s dangerous to try

Well they just don’t know

That love eternal will not be denied

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere you can hear my voice

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

I know I’ll find you somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

Yes I know it’s going to happen

I can feel you getting near

And soon we’ll be returning

To the fountain of our youth

And if you wake up wondering

In the darkness I’ll be there

My arms will close around you

And protect you with the truth

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere you can hear my voice

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

I know I’ll find you somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

Thank you Moody Blues and Azlyrics

Story of my life

Have you ever seen the video for the song, Story of My LIfe, by One direction?

I have always liked the song and having just watched the video, I like it even more.

And I am very picky about my videos. My favorite song currently is Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill, but oh my! I really dislike the video. It just does not do the song justice. I find the video cheesy. But I will focus back on the video I like…

Story of My Life by One Direction

Today is my half birthday.

Crazy? That a 48 year old woman is celebrating her half birthday?…

Maybe…

There is no cake or anything. I just always think about it when it arrives, 6 months prior to my next birthday.

And today, I am using the date to focus on me and my life for my blog.

What better song to use and after watching the video, I knew it was perfect.

Do three links to the video impress upon how much I want you to watch this video?

I will superimpose my blog within the lyrics of the song today….

“Story Of My Life”

Written in these walls are the stories that I can’t explain

I leave my heart open but it stays right here empty for days

April 15, 2018

I am 48.5 years old today. My 49th birthday is 6 months away. It is also “tax day” but being Sunday, I guess that will really be tomorrow.

I am very happy with my life right now. I would not have said that last year. Two years ago, I might have, but several years prior to that, most likely not. I have had more than my share of challenges over the past 11 years. Somewhere in all of it, I lost myself but have been working to uncover myself again. In doing so, I have discovered that the truest part of me has been lost for far more than 11 years.

The last time I remember being this confident and happy with myself was when I was 10, 11, and 12 years old and living in Bethel Park, Pa. I lived there for 3 years of my life: September 1979 through the summer of 1982. I made some wonderful friends in those 3 years and have some of my best childhood memories from that time period. I was a Girl Scout, a safety guard for the bus stop, part of the writing crew for a child run and produced news show that ran on the local channel and was facilitated by my 5th grade teacher at Washington Elementary School. I learned to play the clarinet and was in the band which continued even after moving across the state and when entering high school. I played softball for a church league and was a catcher and learned to hit the ball and even got a home run! I played softball the year before we moved to Pennsylvania, when we lived in Ohio, but we later found out that I really needed glasses and this explained my not hitting the ball for an entire season of softball. It is much more fun to play softball when you can see.

She told me in the morning she don’t feel the same about us in her bones

Seems to me that when I die these words will be written on my stone

I received my first journal, “dairy” when I was 10 years old. My sister gave it to me for my 10th birthday, October 15, 1979.

I still have that diary and every one after it that I have been writing in for the past 38 1/2 years. I have been a writer for as long as I an remember. My 6th grade language arts teacher was the best. I can remember creating a book of poetry in her class and I vividly remember her sitting down to review it with me. She encouraged me and praised m writing.

We moved a year later and somehow, my vision of myself as a writer changed. Somehow, when I was in high school and thinking about college, I never thought of pursuing a career in writing. Looking back at my life now, I see how everything I did was perfect to bring me to where I am today. I would not change going to E-town College and majoring in Occupational Therapy. Nor would I change all the places I have worked as an Occupational Therapist. Even the job I held for only one month. It all brought me to where I am now.

I used to say “I am a writer that got detoured by a career in Occupational Therapy”.

I don’t know that I would say that anymore.

I am a writer AND…

I am an Occupational Therapist.

Both are a large part of who I am.

And I’ll be gone, gone tonight

The ground beneath my feet is open wide

The way that I been holding on too tight

With nothing in between

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

I give her hope

I spend her love

Until she’s broke

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

Any love song I listen to now, I often think about loving my inner child.

Nourishing the part of me that got lost, my true self.

I have been actively working to nurture my inner child for over 14 years ever since I began practicing EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique with Jan Luther.

I did personal work and went on to study EFT further and earned a level 1 and level 2 EFT training certificates. I also received level 1 and level 2 Reiki training. I am a student of Conversations with God. That goes back even further, I believe to before my oldest child was born over 20 years ago. I remember hearing Neale Donald Walsh speak at Unity of Charlotte when I was pregnant with my oldest child. I have read many self help books as well and engaged in classes on spiritual health and growth. I went to counseling with my husband when we fist met and before we even had a first fight. I attended further therapy on my own and joined a women’s group and continued to be in touch with those women for several years.

Written on these walls are the colors that I can’t change

Leave my heart open but it stays right here in its cage

I know that in the morning now I see us in the light upon a hill

Although I am broken, my heart is untamed, still

Depression has been a part of my life since my teenage years. I did not struggle significantly until my senior year of college at the age of 22. Although, high school was difficult for me and I lacked self-confidence and could not wait to move out of highschool. I excelled academically but socially was a very different story.

Moving out on my own after graduating college was a shock to my system. Somehow I envisioned that experience to be an extension of college, but it was not. I had challenges but found my way.

I met my husband in March of 1993, just four months after moving 600 miles south to North Carolina.

I can still see the add in my OT magazine for the job, it read,

Shouldn’t you be in Charlotte?

It spoke to me.

I am glad I listened. That is one “should” that benefited me!

Married in May of 1994

First big job change in August of 1995 with significant pay increase and less stress

First child born November of 1997

Changed to part time work (from full time) in January of 2000

Moved to new larger house in April of 2001

Child number two born February of 2002

Home full time in Summer of 2007, something I had desired since February of 1998 when I returned to full time work leaving my 12 week old son home with his dad

Spring of 2008, expecting my third child and when three months pregnant,

…Back to work because my husband was reduced from full time employee with salary to contractor paid commission only

January 8, 2009 my third child is born and I choose to stay home for a full year because that is why we had waited to have a third child…

So that I could be home full time

Our financial struggles began in summer of 2008 when my husband lost. his job, but never collected unemployment because he still had a job, as a contractor, paid commission, and he even had to collect the money from customers.

I sought work but it took a few months to get hired and worked many weekends ad other days as needed until December when I felt I was too pregnant to continue. I had worked up to the day before for my first two children, but this time I was 39 years old and very tired with this pregnancy.

I returned to work at that same job in spring of 2010 when my youngest was just over a year old, working “PRN” on a part time, as needed basis. I continued at that job until recently.

I could continue to list life events from this point on and yet, that would take hours.

I already have many blogs written about the challenges overt the past 10 years.

The important part…

Is that I am on the other side now

I have walked through the mud

Swam the swamp and come up for air

Hurdled the obstacles with bruises and scars

Badges of honor abound

And courage…

I am stronger because of it

I am also who I am because of all of my experiences

I am NOT what has happened to me…

I AM who I now as, as a result of my choices I have made about what has happened.

And I,’ll be gone, gone tonight

The fire beneath my feet is burning bright

The way that I been holding on so tight

With nothing in between

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

I give her hope

I spend her love

Until she’s broke

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

And I been waiting for this time to come around

But baby running after you is like chasing the clouds

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen

The story of my life

I give her hope (give her hope)

I spend her love

Until she’s broke (until she’s broke inside)

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

The other side of depression, Bipolar Depression

I found this post in my drafts written February 12, 2018.

For some reason, I never published it. I suppose I felt it was unfinished.

Two months have past since I wrote it….Today is Monday April 9,2018.

I will first share the post as it was written two months ago and add to it at the end.

Written February 12,2018:

I decided today was a day to write about myself and my journey with depression.

I reread the post I wrote 8 months ago, shortly after I started on my current anti-depressant,

Seeing the Horizon

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

Bruce Hornsby sings in my ears as I write…

When I am in the midst of depression, I feel stuck like the words of the song, that’s just the way it is.

Yet, I never lost hope, but don’t you believe them.

I have now been on Prozac for 8 months and I feel I first really saw improvement back in October, after 4 months on medication. I insisted my doctor start me on 10 mg before moving up to 20mg for an easier adjustment for the medication. It’s what we did for my daughter and was recommended to minimize side effects and so I wanted to do the same for myself. It was also how the nurse practitioner had started me on a different anti-depressant 2 years ago when I first asked for medication help for my depression.

Here I am on the other side and looking back

Now if you’re feelin’ kinda low ’bout the dues you’ve been paying

Future’s coming much too slow

And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin’

Can’t decide on which way to go

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I understand about indecision

But I don’t care if I get behind

People livin’ in competition

All I want is to have my peace of mind

Boston says it so well. Thank you amazing musicians and azlyrics.

Reading my post Seeing the Horizon….

I feel that I am in a weird fog.  I don’t want to use someone’s suffering to figure out my own life. Yet this expereince today has affected me. I want to take from it to move forward in my life and in my choices.

In my post, Seeing the Horizon, I shared an experience I had going to a new location for my writing time and discovering a man on the floor. My first thought was he was sleeping, which seamed so silly after the fact. He had collapsed, fallen out of his booth onto the floor face down on the ground and I froze, witnessing the restaurant employees try to figure out what to do, offering him ice because he was clammy. And I stood there frozen, knowing what to do but unable to make myself step forward and speak up, “I know CPR”.

This experience and how I handled it has haunted me since it happened. I came to some peace with myself realizing it had triggered my PTSD from when my husband had a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest in my own home. I was so thankful the medics arrived before he went into cardiac arrest. I was grateful that a police officer showed up rather quickly after the restaurant employees tried unsuccessfully to help the man. One employee knew to roll him gently onto his back and someone called 911, while I sat there paralyzed.

I recently completed a 6 week Resiliency Course with the amazing EFT Master, Jan Luther and founder of The Ego Tamer Academy and Author of the book, “Grief is Mourning Sickness”.

This course involved 6 intense weekly phone calls and some other individual work with tapping (EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique) along with other exercises as part of a deep healing experience.

In my own personal work, through the help of Jan and the “borrowed benefits” of my group members, 5 other women, I discovered a connection between my own issues with medial professionals who have failed me and my children in getting the help we need with this experience.

This experience where I failed to respond to help this man in need.

In this realization, I was able to forgive the medical professionals who have failed my family. We are all human and we all make mistakes. On some level, there is still some underlying frustration with the failure to get help for my children when we really needed it. Yet, I have learned that moving past this resentment and anger is healing. Healing to myself including the ability to forgive myself for my own mistakes.

I have always been my own harshest critic.

In reflection, I have continued to move forward with great strides over the past two months.

I went through a long period of only needing 5-6 hours of sleep and getting up very early and accomplishing many things and jumping into many new things. While enrolled in the 6 week Resiliency Course, I realized my job of 8 years was not serving me and the universe had been pushing me to move on, and I had a difficulty phone encounter with my boss that led me to moving forward on my job search process that I had already started due to lack of hours. I also interviewed for and accepted two jobs, both “PRN” work, meaning on an as needed basis which is my status of employment at my other two employers. I have worked PRN for over 16 years since leaving my part time position when my daughter was born.

I was liberated when I moved away from the job of 8 years that was no longer serving me, nor providing me a pay check.

I found new work close to home and a better rate of pay.

I have been an Occupational Therapist for 25 years and for the first time in 21 years, I have found a position with a higher rate of pay than I have previously received. This is the nature of healthcare jobs in 21st century America.

I am still in process of completing online requirements for the one employer. I have begun work for the other employer and am enjoying my 3 mile commute. I have worked at this facility in the past and so I knew several of the employees when I interviewed for the position. Being a familiar place, helped ease my transition to the new job. Change can be hard even when I am not depressed.

I have come to realize that I feel I have had some underlying depression since my teenage years. Most certainly since the challenges that came about in my life after moving when I was 12 years old, just prior to my 7th grade school year. And all the challenges of puberty only added to the struggle for me. I had some bigger issues in college my senior year when my relationship with my boyfriend of 5 years ended. I think the depression was mild until..

Maybe until my daughter was born and the challenges of being home more and juggling the needs of 2 children, or later when I was trying to conceive our third child and having no success but having hot flashes instead. Even then, when I look back, that was a relatively happy period in my life. I was struggling in that year before our third child was conceived and then when I was 3 months pregnant, my husband lost his job. The very job that helped me to stay at home full time and for us to make the decision to have the third child I had always wanted.

My daughter’s OCD symptoms began about this time, but we did not acknowledge it fully until it exploded a year later, when her baby brother was one year old and she was 8 years old.

That was 8 years ago…

The following year, 2011, my husband had his heart attack.

6 months after his heart attack when he had completed outpatient cardiac rehab, I developed Bronchitis that was recurrent for over 6 months and then got in a car accident just over one year to the anniversary of his heart attack.

May 2011 and May 2012: challenging times

My car accident in May of 2012 was far more devastating to me than my husband’s heart attack.

I became a pessimist.

And I wondered how that happened, because I was always the eternal optimist.

Yet, I knew “life had dragged me down”…

Songs like this have kept me going. Music is my therapy.

I will close with the words of the late, great Tom Petty for he has been one of my biggest inspirations over the past several years writing about my depression.

Well, I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

You can stand me up at the gates of hell

But I won’t back down

No, I’ll stand my ground

Won’t be turned around

And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down

Gonna stand my ground

And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right

I got just one life

In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around

But I’ll stand my ground

And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down