Monday, 21 May 2012

Religion, Karma and Mental Health

I envy those people that have found religion.
I am jealous of the way that they have complete and utter blind faith in something, or someone.
It must feel quite liberating, I would imagine. To be able to shrug and say something like "It's all in God's plan" and believe it.

This is a concept I struggle with. I'm no Atheist, but I'm not a believer either.  Not in God anyway.
I believe that there is something, I don't know what. I believe that miracles can happen. I believe that it is possible to be watched over by loved ones passed. I believe that death isn't necessarily the end.

I don't believe in prayer. I don't believe that there is a 'God' sitting up there in a cloud listening to us all. I don't believe that he or she can 'save' us simply because we ask.

Karma is another one. I'm not entirely sure that it exists. The logic of it is solid, but in practise, it seems to let somethings slip through the net.

I have tried to believe. Tried to believe that my thoughts and actions are just. That this is how it was meant to be or else something, somewhere in the world would be off balance. Fate and all that.

But then I have moments of clarity. Admittedly, they are few and far between. I realise that it is all just a load of bullshit. How can you think that consequences don't exist? Or that there is a white knight on his steed just waiting around the corner ready to catch you when you fall?

No one can save you but yourself. We came into this world alone and we die alone. There is no hand holding. No reinforcement.

Sometimes I think that maybe, subconsciously, I like falling. I try so very hard to make things OK and right and normal, just for my brain to blur the lines and jump the walls that I have taken months, painstakingly building around me. And yet, I am powerless to stop it.

The inevitable crash that will happen. Each, and every time I hope that it will not be as bad or last as long as the previous one. I hope that my landing will be softer, not for me, but for those around me.

I can't believe that a 'God', a 'higher power' would think that this is a way of life. Created with so many flaws. Not equal. Not in the least. Each and every single day, a struggle.

So I do envy those who can ignore Science and ignore the things that I see. I am jealous of their inner peace and strength and knowledge, that someone out there has their back and will break their fall.

Mental Health Awareness Week 21-27 May 2012.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Timely Reminders

Photo Credit

After posting yesterday, I got asked about my book of reminders.

If you used to follow me on Twitter, then you may well have seen me reference my post -its and reminders for those days, well, every day really,  when my brain just doesn't quite function properly.

I have an entire notebook dedicated to notes and reminders of things that I should and shouldn't do when going about my daily business. Bipolar has messed me up completely.

Some of my notes are just written on the pages of my notebook for me to read through, some are stuck in on brightly coloured post-it notes, which I transfer to my laptop screen, or stick on my front door or in my car.

These notes are extremely important to me, and help me a lot to not make the same mistakes, but I have to also take steps to ensure that these work correctly.

I have to set alarmed reminders at various intervals during the day on my iPhone to remind me to look at the notes. I also have to constantly change, or add to my notes. Making sure the wording is just right is crucial. If it's not, it doesn't work, and things fall apart.

For example, one of my original notes was: 'Don't buy stupid stuff!'
This was adapted to 'Don't waste money' and then it was added to 'Don't waste money on things you don't need' then 'Don't spend money we don't have' and finally 'Don't waste money, save money, have fun with D and the kids'.

It takes a while for me to figure out the correct wording that works for me to not do the thing that it is reminding me of.

Others are more encouraging like 'Take Che to toddler group today, you CAN leave the house'
and 'The school run is NOT scary, it is essencial' and 'Getting out of bed today makes you a better person' and 'Don't forget to eat and drink today'

Silly little things for most people, but its the basic things that my brain blanks over. My spending when I'm manic is almost non-existent now, and my savings account is looking a lot healthier. We have even booked four mini trips for this year and I am happily saving for them. IT WORKS FOR ME!

The days when I don't eat or drink a single thing are fewer. The days when I can't force myself out of bed are less, and Che is going to toddler groups (mostly) twice a week.

It's not a perfect system. It's certainly not flawless. But, it is slowly starting to make a difference to me and some of my behaviour. It is a work in progress and it is trial and error.

For me it is a life line, of sorts. I need to focus on it more to help make me a better person. I am determined to be that better person and hopefully, somewhere down the line, I can show my husband and  my children, that I am better than this. That I am stronger than this. That I am a person that they deserve to have in their lives.

If you have anything that works for you, please do share them in the comments below, I would love to hear from people that have developed strategies and coping mechanisms.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

One Day at a Time

Yesterday was a bit of a break through for me, in that I managed to write a post that seemed to convey the message I wanted it to. This made me happy.

This has also compelled me to write again today. I don't know how long this will last, so if you do read my ramblings, make the most of it!

Writing a blog post every day is not my usual thing. I know a lot do it and some even do more than one on any given day, but, for me, that is a very unreal expectation.

My mood swings with Bipolar are so fraught that the extra pressure of trying to write everyday is just too much for me to cope with.

Last week, I once again removed myself from Twitter and Google +.
If truth be told, despite feeling incredibly lonely and isolated, the interaction of social media networks such at Twitter is overwhelming. I am just not good at keeping up with such a large 'audience'.

I also develop relationships all too easily and then end up either upsetting people or am left feeling devastated when my trust and friendship are not returned. The problem is that if I click with someone, I invest everything I have into that. (I guess that's the loneliness thing) It makes me feel safe and happy to have a close friend that I can confide in. Yet, despite this genuinely positive impact this kind of relationship has on me, I must learn not to do it.

I have added yet another note in my ever increasing book of things to remember when my brain goes super squiffy.

When manic, I find it difficult to not blur lines, no matter how innocent or funny I think I'm being, it doesn't always come across that way to others involved. But mania has no filter, so I must constantly remind myself of this.

I have officially been Bipolar for 2 years now, and I am still on a very steep learning curve. It sucks. Big time.

I have to learn to be patient (not one of my strong points) and to just take one day at a time.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Help Through the Dark Days

A couple of weeks ago, I told a fellow blogger that I was going to write a post in response to one he'd written. I have struggled to write it. I have written 12 different drafts of this post and none of them really convey the message that I would like to put across. I don't think this one will either, so I'm just going to write and see what happens.

Actually, it's not really a message. More a feeling. Yet, I can't quite get that feeling into words.

I want him to know that I understand. That I know exactly what he means. That I feel it too.
I want him to know that he is an inspiration to me, and I'm sure, many others. That he is doing an amazing job raising his two children, despite the obstacles he faces. I want him to know that I have come to almost idolise him. The way he deals with his problems in such an open and honest manor. The way he shares his experiences with not just the online world, but with his children too. The way he carries on and doesn't let it define him.

I want him to know all of those things. And I want you to know him.

The person I am talking about is Spencer and he writes at SAHD and Proud.
The blog post that provoked me to write about Spencer is titled 'Oh Just Fuck Off' and you can read it here.

I have read 'Oh Just Fuck Off' many times now. The first 3 times, it made me cry.
Firstly, because I felt enormous sympathy, and empathy. Secondly, because I have, and still do feel the same. And lastly, because I had just heard the news that a good friend of mine had taken his own life. That week was rough on me.

My Bipolar and my thoughts and feelings aren't really talked about. I struggle a lot on my own.
I hate not knowing how I will wake up. I hate even more when I have rapid cycles and can switch from manic to depressed part way through a day, without a hint of a warning.

My husband tries his best. And I am fully aware that I wear him out. I try hard not to. But it is simply out of my control. I don't speak to family about things, they don't understand. I am ridiculed at every possible moment and having a 'made up' illness is just a big joke to them. "Snap out of it" and "Get a grip" and "You're a mother now, stop being so dramatic" are things I hear often.

I cry and cry and cry, until no tears can come. I contemplate suicide. I have even tried on 2 occasions to end my own life. But, to those around me, that is the easy part.

Then the manic episodes hit. I become a totally different person. Gone are the tears and the deep, dark thoughts. Gone is the inability to get out of bed or leave the safety of my home. It is replaced with overwhelming confidence, and focus. I can do anything and everything. There are no consequences. I am invincible.
Only.. I'm not.

I'm not indestructible, neither is my family. And I'm not made of money. And I'm not really, deep down this overly confident, go-getter who can do and have it all.

Then the cycle continues and I crumble in a heap on the floor, sobbing like a child.

My brain doesn't function right, in either state. I mess up all too often and I genuinely never see it coming. I try to learn from things. I leave myself notes to remind me not to do things, or indeed to do them. The trouble is that I very rarely seem to be in a 'normal' state of mind. I am either severely depressed, or crazy manic. On my few and far between good days, at best, I feel numb.
Bipolar really is an accurate name for my condition.

I always tell myself that I should write more here, and I always intend to, but putting my feelings into words isn't easy. I'm used to putting the fake smile on my face and getting on with it. Talking is hard to do, but I know it helps. When I do write I am as honest and open as possible, but even this sometimes causes problems, so I write sparingly, and don't do the things I want to or say the things I need to say, because others seem to have such a problem with seeing glimpses of the inside of my head.

To Spencer,
I salute you. You do what I could never do. You live how I could never live. You amaze and inspire me to be a better person.
Keep doing what you are doing, because, although you don't see it, you are doing it well.