The First Downfall – My Life: Part 3

The First Downfall – My Life: Part 3

Just before I turned 17, I met a guy and was immediately attracted to him. Jared had a personality that was appealing to many. He made friends with people easily, but he only let them see the side of his personality that he wanted them to see. For the first couple months of our relationship, he only let me see positive traits. Once we moved in together, everything changed. He became physically and emotionally abusive. He would tell me when I could see my friends. I had to have dinner on the table when he got home, or else. We did a lot of drugs together. I fell for every trick he played and didn’t stand up for myself at all. He had me convinced that I was lucky to have him; he made me believe that no one else would want me. The worst part of it all is that he broke up with me. He said I wasn’t happy anymore. I remember telling him he would regret it. I was devastated. I don’t know why I was so hung up on a guy that treated me like crap, but I was.

At a party, I met a guy who was so sweet. Chris was the exact opposite of Jared, except for the drug use. I started smoking crack when I met Chris. Jared tried to get back together with me, but I finally stood up for myself and told him no. Jared started stalking me at that point, so I became terrified for my safety even more than I already was. Chris and I dated for several months. He kept talking about getting sober, but I wasn’t ready for that. I was completely addicted to crack that it came before everything. I was even with Chris getting high instead of being at the hospital when my dad died. That is one of the biggest regrets I have. Chris ended up getting killed only a few months after we met.

The loss of my father was exceedingly difficult, even though I knew for years that it was coming. He had been sick for many years with cancer and kidney failure. He ended up dying from an infection on October 10th, 2003. He was in the ICU for a while before his death. I miss my father and think of him every day. Losing him was like losing a part of myself. I wish I had been there to support my family, but I was too far into my addiction. I wish he could have seen me get sober.

My drug use was insane, I was almost always drunk or high on something. All of this made my mental health even worse. I was dealing with rapid cycling; I was either manic or depressed at all times. I didn’t want to spend much time with my friends, the few that I had left. All I wanted to do was die. This was probably my lowest point in life. I finally decided I wanted to quit drinking and using, but I couldn’t do it. I wished I was dead every day. I had lost so much in life, but the worst thing I lost was my self-respect.

One day, I had finally had enough. I went to my mom and told her I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her I needed to go back into the hospital. She told me that a behavioral health hospital would not fix things. I needed more than that; I needed to get sober. Apparently, she had already been looking at places to send me. She showed me some of the places she found. I was interested in this one place in Arizona; it was a year-long in-patient treatment center. It treated drug and alcohol abuse as well as mental health. I actually became excited; I finally felt a glimmer of hope. I was scared, but so enthused about the possibility of feeling better, that it actually lessened the fear. Most people don’t go to rehab willingly. I went not only willingly, but eagerly. I was also terrified; the thought of something new scared me, but the depression was so horrible that I felt my only other option was death.

Real Neat Blog Award

Real Neat Blog Award

I would like to thank DecodingBipolar for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award. I’m honored that you thought to nominate me. I love reading your blog every day; it’s so easily relatable. Please check out her blog, if you have not done so already.

The questions to answer including my answers:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?
Most of the people who view my blog are from the United States. I also receive a good number of views from the United Kingdom and Canada.

2. What is your favorite sport?
I love hockey. My husband brought me to one game, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2016?
I got to spend this past Mother’s Day with my mom and grandma. It was a simple and wonderful day. Any time I get to be with my family is special to me. Also, I spent the evening with my 8 month old granddaughter last night, and I got to make her laugh and smile. Normally, she laughs at my husband, but this time she laughed at me!

4. What is your favorite quote?
“Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.” – Franz Kafka
To me, this quote by Kafka reminds me to stay prepared, and it has been helpful many times in my life.

5. What was your favorite class when still at school?
I loved any math and science classes. I like things that make sense and can be proven. I love having a right and wrong answer to any question.

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?
I wish I had learned to accept myself for who I am earlier. I’m harder on myself than I am on anyone else. I’m still learning how to give myself a break. It’s a task that’s much easier said than done. It would have been nice to start learning to do this sooner.

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?
I have played many instruments over the years, but the one that has stuck with me is the piano. I started it when I was about 6 years old. Over the years I have also played the clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe, and the alto saxophone. Playing the piano is my favorite, and my next favorite is the saxophone.

I nominate the following:
Story of my Life
Closer to the Middle
Wallflower or Butterfly
Bipolar Strength: Rebel with a Cause
Tony Vega dot Net

The rules are:
1. Put the award logo on your blog.
2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3. Thank the person who nominated you, linking to their blog.
4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Getting Ready To Go Home

Getting Ready To Go Home

I leave tomorrow to go back home. I’m both saddened and excited at the same time. I don’t want to leave my mom and other family members; however, I miss my husband, his (my) family, my dog, and my routine. I’m close with my husband’s family, I feel like they are my family, not just my in-laws. I’ll be home tomorrow night. My husband is picking me up from the airport and I can’t wait to see him.

I have lots to do today so I can go back home tomorrow. I’m anxious because I have so much to do and I’m not sure if I can get it all done, but I’ll do my best. I wrote my to-do list last night. Besides writing my blog, I have to email my doctor, wash my hair, do laundry, pack, try to go see my grandma once more, go to the local farmer’s market, and look for secondary health insurance. I also have a few things to help my mom with, while I’m still here. I know it sounds obvious to wash my hair, but it’s such a huge task because it’s so long that I feel it’s worthy of being on my to-do list. I can tie my hair in a knot, like a bun, and it stays up. I’ve been meaning to look at secondary health insurance, it might help to have something in addition to my primary insurance. I figured I would do it while I’m here so my mom can help me figure it out. Sometimes, I just get overwhelmed and can’t figure out how to do even the simplest of things.

I got so many other things done already this past week and was able to visit with so many people. I met with two family friends yesterday and was able to catch up with them. I had a great visit with both of them. My brother and his awesome wife invited me over for dinner last night. I’m honored that they would invite me, and we had a great time. I love how happy they are together.

Now, I just have to get moving so I can get all of these things done on my list. I can’t put off washing my hair, laundry, or packing any longer.

Don’t Let Others Define You

Don’t Let Others Define You

It doesn’t take much for me to start feeling frustrated, upset, angry, and hurt. In fact, it happens pretty easily. Whatever the situation is, I do my best to talk myself through the frustration; I often end up pretending that everything is okay. I fake it until I make it. While this may not always be the healthiest way to manage emotions, it is fairly effective. However, there are sometimes that pretending everything is okay doesn’t work. I’ve tried over and over and, but still nothing has helped.

For example, a woman I’m very close with stopped reaching out to me. This is within her character; she is not a person that reaches out to just about anyone. At least I knew it wasn’t just me that she was ignoring. Our relationship had been strained, but was finally starting to improve, yet now that she was ignoring me again, everything started to become difficult again. I had reached out to her multiple times. I called a couple of times and left a voicemail, I sent text messages, and I also sent e-mails. Still, I heard nothing in return. I was frustrated, but mostly, I was hurt. I didn’t understand why everything was okay between us one day and then it wasn’t the next.

For a little while, I decided that I was going to stop reaching out to her. What’s the point of reaching out when you always get turned down or ignored? However, someone told me something that made me look at the situation in a completely different light. This person told me not to let other people define who I am or what I do. If I want to be someone who reaches out to friends and family, then I should continue to do that no matter what response I get. This made so much sense to me. I still want to have a relationship, so I should continue to reach out; maybe one day this person will reach out back to me. I should not change the things that I do and think of as important because of the actions of another person.

Family is the most important thing to me. So I need to keep reaching out to this person so that they know how much I care. If I stopped reaching out, then I couldn’t say that family is the most important thing to me. I am defined by many things such as my likes, dislikes, actions, and words to name a few. If I were to change how I act, then I would be changing who I am, and that’s not right. Also, if I ever want someone to reach out to me, then I need to reach out to them. It’s a two way street, and I’ve decided to keep my side of the street moving. The funniest part of it all is that once I made the decision to keep reaching out to this person, she responded to a text message. I’m glad I kept reaching out, because currently, the results are going pretty well.

Visiting Family

Visiting Family

There are some people, that no matter how many times you explain it to them, or how many times they see you have an anxiety attack, they will never understand. I don’t think really ask for too much. All I want is to know what is going on.  My first 2 visits today went wonderfully. I had a fantastic time visiting with people as planned. My third visit was a bit more difficult. Despite the difficulties, I’m still glad I got to see everyone I was hoping to see. I’m also very grateful that I took a Valium before going to third visit of the day. If I hadn’t taken anything, I probably would have had an anxiety or panic attack at their house because of the surprises I encountered.

I ended up going over to a family member’s house to visit with my nieces and nephew. I was finally told what time to come over a couple of hours before the actual visit (I had only been trying to make the plans for 2 weeks). I drive up to their house, knock on the door, and my nephew lets me in. I’m ecstatic to see him, he’s grown so much. I step into the kitchen and see 2 people who I don’t know at all. Apparently, my brother-in-law planned on having his mother and sister come over for dinner, but no one told me about this. He knows that I struggle with new people. All I wanted would have been to be informed of who would be there. Also, those other people, who turned out to be extremely nice, get to see the kids pretty often. I get to see the kids approximately 2 hours every 6 months. So I also had to share my time with the kids with these other individuals.

The visit was still nice, but it was far from what I expected. Visits always change when you add in other people. I need to change my expectations. Sadly, I can’t and often don’t expect much from others. I generally think I’m going to be let down. Next time, I’m going to do my best not to expect a visit, personal alone time with the kids, or even a response to my text messages. I’m not going to change how I feel about anyone. I love my family and would do anything for them; however, I need to protect myself. By lowering my expectations or having none at all, I’m simply guarding myself from being let down or disappointed. I will still try to see everyone; I’m just going to try my best not to have ideas in my head of how the visits are going to go.

The lessons I learned here are to keep my hopes and expectations to a minimum or not have them at all if possible. It’s another reminder for me to love my family no matter what. Also, it makes me extremely grateful for my relationship with my mother. Everything between us is so simple and loving; I’m so appreciative of everything her and I have.

Busy Day, Fun Day

It’s going to be a busy day today. However, all the things I’m doing are things I want to do. I get to visit with several people, and I’m visiting everyone separately. It’s best like that, so I can actually catch up with everyone and we can all spend time together. One-on-one time is always the best.

I’m having breakfast with a guy who was my dad’s best friend. I’ve always called him dad, it’s a long story, but he is a very important man in my life and he has been as long as I can remember. Then I get to see my aunt. I get to spend all afternoon with her. It will be nice to talk to her in person instead of just over the phone. We have such meaningful conversations over the phone. The best part about her is that it’s easy for me to be with her. We have an open and honest relationship. Then I’m going go visit my nieces and nephew. Honestly, I’m hoping that last one works out, but I’m not sure if it will. I’ve been stressing over that one. I like to have everything planned, but making plans with my sister or brother-in-law have been impossible. Maybe I’ll just show up there, I don’t know anymore.

Even though that last visit could be stressful, everybody I’m seeing today, I want to see. All of it is my choice; I only see these people twice a year at most, so I’ve been looking forward to these visits, which are long overdue.

I Pushed Myself and I’m Grateful

I Pushed Myself and I’m Grateful

I pushed myself today, much further than I normally do. I took a Valium before I left with my mom, but the event was more than I expected. A friend of the family was putting on a fundraising party and we wanted to go and support it. We got there, and the parking lot was full. My heart started to beat out of my chest. We sat in the car for a little bit while I got the courage to go in. It only took about 5 minutes, and we went inside. I looked around and people were everywhere, both upstairs and downstairs. I stayed close to my mom, she makes me feel safe. I saw a couple of family friends that I wanted to see. We stayed about 30 minutes. I’m surprised I made it that long. People kept bumping into me and others were looking at me. I was terrified inside, and then my mom put her arm around me. I felt safe again. I was ready to go; I hate crowds and did not want to be there anymore. My mom knew by my body language that I was ready to leave, so she helped me make it out the door.

I was also worried that I was going to run into someone I grew up with, someone who I used to get high with. It really doesn’t matter, but I’m always afraid to run into some of these people. It’s really just a trigger, seeing people from my past. I have enough triggers already; I don’t need to add in people from my past. Luckily, I went to the event, stayed for 30 minutes, and left without running into a single person that I used to get high with. There were lots of people I know, but they were family friends, so that was okay.

We got to the car and my mom told me how well I did and how proud she was that I pushed myself to do that. I was still a little freaked out, but after a little while I was able to get myself to calm down. At that point, I was happy and grateful that I went to this event. I did it to show the person running in how much I care about her. Friends and family are important, and it is vital that we show them how much we care. I did the best that I could tonight. Everything was terrifying and felt awkward, but I did it. It was such a huge accomplishment for me. It’s okay to say no to some things, but it’s also okay to say yes. Today, I said yes, and I’m happy I did.

Routines: A Plan Of Action

Routines: A Plan Of Action

Maintaining routines is extremely helpful to me; it is a great way to help manage bipolar disorder. Routines require ideas, plans, and action; these things keep us active and help us to feel good when we accomplish our daily tasks. I know I should follow my routine more strictly by keeping to a regular sleep schedule and eating on a regular schedule, but those things are very difficult for me to regulate.

The routine that I do keep may not be as structured as it should be, but it works for me. First of all, I go to the same stores that I always go to when I run errands, even if they are further away or more expensive. I do that because I’m comfortable going to stores I know. I like to write in the mornings and evenings. I take the dog for a walk late at night; he has a reflective harness for our safety. I also try to run errands during the day before the stores get busy. Then I can do household chores later in the day. Every night, I write a to-do list for the following day. As I complete my tasks the next day, I cross them off my list. My to-do lists allow me to create a plan for the next day that I can take action on and complete.

I try to keep my routine flexible so that it’s easier when I have major changes. It’s more like a plan or structure instead of a strict routine. I’m not good with change, most of us aren’t. When I keep a very strict routine, I have a hard time when it comes to seeing family and friends. My flexible routine allows me to manage my life while still being able to get together with others, even at the last minute. I know it would be beneficial if I went to bed at the same time every night and ate at the same time every day. These are things that I can work on. Everybody is different, and everyone has different needs.

Right now, I’m visiting my family, so my routines are all messed up. I have lots of things I want to get done, so I made a to-do list as always. Hopefully, that will help me keep some structure in my life while I’m away. I’ve been trying to plan things such as visits with people, but it hasn’t been working very well. Some things have to be left up to chance.

Reaching Out To Our Loved Ones

Reaching Out To Our Loved Ones

Reaching out is not something I’m good at. In fact, I have to write it down on my list of things to do so I remember to call a friend or family member. My husband encourages me to reach out to people. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t talk to anyone. It’s extremely important to reach out to friends and family, it’s a great way to take care of ourselves. Reaching out to others during every state of our bipolar disorder allows us to maintain friendships. Creating and maintaining relationships is vital to our health; we don’t have to do this alone.

We can reach out to our friends and family in many ways. Even just a simple text message to let others know that we’re thinking about them is helpful, it helps maintain the relationship. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m manic, I tend to reach out to others more often. The things I say are not always the most appropriate. Luckily, my friends and family are very understanding. One of the things I’m working on is reaching out to others during depressive episodes. It’s extremely difficult, but I want my loved ones to know that I care about them and that I’m not just reaching out when I’m manic.

When I’m depressed, I don’t always know what to say to others. I have a hard time talking to other people in general. I have realized that when I reach out to loved ones, I can simply say, ‘Just saying hello; I want you to know I’m thinking about you. How are you doing? What’s new?’ Saying something that simple to someone you love can make them feel loved. Our loved ones are usually the ones that do most of the reaching out. I’m working very hard to change that; I don’t want to be the person that never calls or sends a message. When I receive a phone call or text from someone I care about, it makes me feel really good. It makes me smile and feel loved. I want to give that good feeling to my friends and family as well.

In my opinion, I can’t expect others to always reach out to me if I never reach out to them. Relationships go both ways. I believe that I need to put more effort into my relationships. I have been doing this with a couple important relationships and it has made a huge difference. For example, I’ve been reaching out more to a family member; I email, call, and text her and she does the same to me. I’m going home tomorrow and I can’t wait to see her. Our relationship has grown in just a short amount of time and it has had a huge and wonderful impact on my life. Every person that I’ve reached out to has been a success; I’m building and rebuilding relationships slowly but surely.

Overwhelmed and Anxious

Overwhelmed and Anxious

I have so many things to get done in a limited amount of time. So many things, such little time to do it in; we’ve all heard that before, we’ve all probably said that before. Right now, that seems to be my life, except I feel frozen. I’m struggling to get things done, even some of the smallest things. All I can think about is all of the other tasks I need to complete. It’s weird to have your brain running so fast but also be frozen at the same time. What do I do now? Where do I start? Sometimes I feel as if I’m outside of my own body. I feel as if I’m looking at myself and all the things I need to do, and still can’t get it all done.

I feel off, something feels off and I can’t pinpoint it. Is it because I forgot to take my Clozapine two nights ago? Maybe it’s because I’m on a time schedule? It could be because I’m dealing with what appears to be a minor depressive episode, hopefully it doesn’t get worse. It could just be because I’m about to go on another trip to visit my family. I love my family and we get along wonderfully, but it’s still stressful. I’m really looking forward to seeing my family. I can’t wait to have one-on-one time with my mom, nieces, nephew, aunt, grandma, and more. There are so many people to see, and I have only one week to get it all done in.

My best friend from high school just reached out to me and she wants to get together for lunch while I’m back where I grew up. I haven’t seen or talked to this girl since I was 17 or 18 years old. Now, she wants to catch up and that worries me. Now that I think about it, this is probably why I’m having so many issues right now. This is overwhelming. I tend to have anxiety attacks when I go visit my friends that I see regularly, what will happen when if I visit with someone I haven’t seen or talked to in over a decade. Thank goodness for Valium. I don’t take it that often when I’m in my normal surroundings, but I know I will go through quite a lot while I’m away. I won’t take more than I’m supposed to, but I’m allowed two 10 mg pills a day, and that is a lot to me.