Archive for December, 2015

Crash & Burn

The cat and the hat falling

“So how much sleep have you been getting lately?” asked my counselor.  “On average about four hours a night,” I replied.  “You can’t keep going like that, can you?  How do you see this resolving itself?”  “I’m hoping it will just even out and I’ll ease down from being manic into stable.”  (Anyone reading who has bipolar disorder, knows someone with bipolar disorder or knows anything about bipolar disorder, you can laugh out loud here).

I take mood stabilizers and medication that is supposed to help me sleep.  But when I become manic, my brain tends to fight with those medications.  It’s like it overrides them or something.  The meds do some good (four hours is better than no sleep at all), but they aren’t powerful enough to stop my brain train.

I’ve been this way, my conscious self fighting with my subconscious self to sleep, for a few weeks.  I was having other manic symptoms, but all were relatively manageable.  But the tension was building.  Money issues, problems with my daughter’s school work, babies throwing tantrums, keeping up with daily tasks, when the days run into each other; these are all difficult things to manage.  Then there’s my husband.  He is a character.  I love him.  But I’m not convinced he’s not trying to kill me (oh, the stress).

The straw that broke the camel’s back:  sickness.  I don’t know if my body was just too weary to fight it off or if my brain was just to exhausted to keep trying, but I got sick, very, very, sick.  I was in bed in excruciating pain for several days.  It started Sunday night, mid-fight with Amor.  I suffered through to Tuesday night but then I became bed-ridden, until Friday morning.  During that time, my mom bought flowers, and she and my sisters took care of my little ones.  Amor “did his own thing.”  I wondered if this is how it would be if I died.  That made me cry.

One doesn’t usually ease back into a state of normalcy after being manic.  There’s usually a big crash into depression.  At least being sick gave my body a chance to stop and get healthy and actually sleep.  Hopefully it was a blessing in disguise and I won’t sink down low. I want to celebrate Christmas and rejoice with my little ones and see the look on their faces in wonderment.  I want to and I will.  I will not let anyone take that away from me.

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Double Talk Quote: “The only reason I’m still here is because I am a responsible person.” – Amor

Bible Verse: “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Term that has Lost its meaning: loving marriage

Relatable Lyrics:  “Stomp” by Kirk Franklin

“Lately I’ve been going through some things that’ve really brought me down.  I needs someone, somebody to help me come and turn my life around… Jesus, Your love is so amazing.”

Don’t Dream It’s Over

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I was having a hard day.  I was so tired.  It seemed like everything was going wrong.  I had switched medications.  Being a mom with Bipolar Disorder is always a challenging battle.  I had a dark thought.  I just wanted this to be over.  I immediately rejected the thought as an attack from the devil and irrational depressive thinking.  I told Amor to watch the kids and went to bed early.  Tomorrow would be better.

The next day was a Monday.  My oldest daughter, Mica was off of school due to a teacher’s workday and I needed to obtain passports for me and my three children.  There was a passport office at the mall, so I pack up the whole family and off we went.  It was raining outside.  Unfortunately, the office was closed.  I was so disappointed and irritated.  The process seemed complicated and we kept running into obstacles.  Frustrated, I told Amor I was ready to leave, but he insisted we walk around for a while, since we were there anyway.  So he took the twins in their stroller.  Mica and I wondered off to do our own thing.  We looked at some jewelry and tried on some shoes, and found an inexpensive Christmas gift for Aunt Starla.  All that took about 20 minutes.

The rest of our 2 hour excursion was spent riding the escalators.  Mica has always enjoyed doing that. The mall was basically empty at that time so I let her tread up the downward steps and try to get down the upward ones.  She was so enthused and entertained by such a simple thing.  We stopped to throw a penny in the fountain and make a wish / say a prayer.  After a while, Amor called and was ready to meet up to go back home.  By that time we were back on the third floor so we had two more flights of escalator stairs to traverse.  I was patient enough down the ride to the second floor.  By the time I arrive to the first, however, my patience was wearing thin.  I looked up and there she was, still at the top and continuing to climb up as the escalator floated downward.

I resisted the urge to rush her.  Instead, I stopped.  Instead, I watched.  I watched my beautiful little 7-year old girl play.  After a few minutes, she turn around and sat right down on the escalator and innocently cupped her chin in her hands.  She smiled as she descended in her fancy green dress, her rainbow colored hair bow and sparkly shoes.  The lyrics to the song played, “Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over”.  The Holy Spirit gently reminded me how precious life is.  It is a memory I hope to hold forever in my heart.   These are the moments I cherish.  These are the moments I look forward to.  These are the moments I live for.

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(written October 30, 2015, Twins 16 months, Mica 7)

Double Talk Quote: “I dropped my kitchen in my ketchup”  – Mica (meant to say chicken)

Bible Verse: “And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 8:15

Term that has Lost its meaning:  come here! (seems like all the kids run the opposite way when they hear this!)

Relatable Lyrics:  “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House

“Now I’m walking again to the beat of a drum
And I’m counting the steps to the door of your heart

Hey now, Hey now, Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, Hey now, When the world comes in
They come, they come, To build a wall between us
You know they won’t win”

A NEW song for your brain (a second refrain)

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This past week, one of the pastors at our church preached a sermon about gratitude and thinking patterns, both from a Christian and a scientific perspective.  The sermon really ‘struck a chord’ with me, so to speak.  It was so in-line with what I write about that I just had to repeat This Article  I wrote over a year ago:

In a depressed mind, neurotransmitters do not work properly. Often the problem is complicated by the fact that neural pathways that have already been formed are often the “go-to” route because they have been used so much. They are the “beaten path” so to speak. A tired brain which is not functioning properly anyway says to itself, “Go the way you know.” In a depressed brain that way is usually a depressed path.

Current path: negative thought –→ acceptance of negative thought –→ obsession on negative thought –→ negative feeling –→ possible negative action

It is very difficult to break that pattern. However, brains are very resilient and are abundantly blessed with neuroplasticity. It is like any muscle movement that has become a habit. Have you ever learned to play a particular song on an instrument and always seem to err at one particular place every time? Your fingers have learned to take the wrong pathway. You correct the problem by practicing a new movement. The same is true for our thinking patterns. The brain has hardwired itself to think a certain way, but it can be retrained! Reprogram Neural Synapse Pathways using affirmations and scriptures.

New Path: negative thought → recognition of thought → replace with TRUE thought backed by scripture → positive feelings → positive action

Satan is the author of confusion and a proficient liar. Why do we even think negative thoughts? They are the whispers of Satan to God’s anointed people. Give your brain a new song today!

 

This is the basis of my Think Big, Be Big cards, that helped me get out of a spiral of bipolar depression and mania, which I would like to see published one day (and soon)!

The anointed sermon regarding the power of positive thinking and retraining your brain to be grateful, was delivered by Pastor Eric Freeman and is available via podcast here.

(12/3/2015, Twins 17 months, Mica 7, Hope 6)

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Double Talk Quote: “Hope is not my sibling or my friend, she’s my cousin.” – Mica, justifying why she hadn’t volunteered to “serve” Hope.   (Her God-Time Card had challenged her to secretly serve a sibling or friend.)

Bible Verse:  “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

Word that has Lost its meaning: ungrateful

Relatable Lyrics:  The Thankfulness Song by Veggie Tales

“…A thankful heart is a happy heart”

(Thanks to Starla Ward for the Starlagraph Photography)

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