Archive for the ‘Bipolar Mommy’ Category

Stuck in Molasses Swamp

20170718_Candy Land Spread Out

I’ve been in a stuck in a swamp of major Bipolar depression for nearly three months now.  When I first felt myself falling in, I reached out to my counselor, with whom I had fallen out of contact.  I patiently awaited my psychiatrist appointment, which wasn’t until in mid-July.  My counselor didn’t want me to wait until then, however, suggesting that I “get evaluated” at a mental health institution.  That was NOT going to happen.  I have a “fear of commitment,” especially considering what happened the last time I was there.  Anyway, I saw my Psychiatrist a few days ago and she adjusted my medication quite a bit.  Of course, it’s too early to have taken effect but I am hopeful.

Everyone has ups and downs in their lives.  It is just so much more extreme for people with Bipolar disorder.  But God promises to be there every step of the way, even when our burden gets too heavy for us to bear.  Of all the symptoms a depressed person experiences, “hopelessness” has not been one of them for me.  Hope is the one thing I have been able to hold on to, to get me through this valley.  It’s a “Footprints” in the sand sort of situation:

Footprints in the Sand

If you’re unfamiliar with this poem, it’s worth the read!

 

The twins’ birthday was at the end of June, I now have two threes!

20170701_Birthday Blowout - Brooks

Though they bring me lots of joy, they are about three handfuls nowadays, stretching borders and testing limits.  I have implemented a “Stop Light” behavioral system.  Each morning they start out on green and if they stay on green they get a reward at the end of the day.  But if they misbehave, they get a warning and move to yellow, then red, then it’s Time Out.  If their behavior improves, they can move back down the color chart.  Bella often ends the day on green, but Brooks (my rough-&-tumble, all-boy, mischief maker) is usually up at the top on red.

20170718_Stop light Chart - Right thing to do

But the other night, they both ended their day on green and as a reward, I offered to play a special game with them.  I pulled out “Candy Land” and explained how to play.  They were so excited at first, but Brooks quickly became bored with the board game (pun intended) and wandered off to play something else on his own.  Bella and I continued and she got “Queen Frostine” rather quickly, which put her way ahead of me, which made me happy because I wanted her to win the game her first time playing.  But then I drew “Princess Lolly,” then got double blues which put me ahead of her.  She was cool about it, though.  As we both approached “Gloppy at Molasses Swamp” I warned her, jokingly, “Now don’t draw a red, don’t draw a red card, if you do, you’ll get stuck until you get another red card!”  The tension built as we both got closer and closer to the red game piece with the black dot on it, when low and behold, she got a purple, just past the red.  And low and behold, I drew a red and got stuck in “Molasses Swamp.”

20170718_Molasses swamp

As Bella got closer and closer to the end of the game, and I kept drawing cards that weren’t red, she started to get visibly concerned.  Finally, when she was just two colors away from winning, she took her pawn’s hand and used it to grab my pawn’s hand and pulled mine up with hers.  “I saved you, mommy, Now we both winneded!” she exclaimed as she put both pieces on “Candy Castle.”

Tears welled up in my eyes as I tried my best not to cry.  Little moments like that do save me.  In those moments no one loses.  And even the smallest of victories count.  We can’t always save ourselves but God can use others to pull us out of the swamp.

(Mica 9, Hope 8, Brooks & Bella 3, Asher 2, Audrey 5 mo)

Double Talk Quote: “Oh my gosh, I never seen that in the world!” – Brooks 6/17 (in awe at Mica’s super-long Chinese noodle)

Bible Verse: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Word that has Lost its Meaning:  stuck

Relatable Lyrics:  “Quiet you with my Love” By Rebecca St. James

“Come to Me, all who are weary
And take My yoke upon you
My burden is easy and light

Lay your head down on My shoulders
Be still my child, rest a while

And I’ll quiet you with My love
Rejoice over you with My song”

Claiming Victory

20170524_Pink Lily

I made the drive home from church.  Making it there to serve in itself was a miracle.  I probably shouldn’t have driven home but it was the only place I wanted to be.  So I took some medicine and took deep breaths the whole way home.  See, in the parking lot as I was leaving, I felt a panic attack coming on.  I’ve been struggling with bipolar depression lately.  The deep, daunting, paranoia-filled affliction has encompassed me, debilitated me, and encumbered me from doing the simplest things, such as taking a shower or washing dishes, to my most important job, mommying.

Anytime I start to think big, I feel like Satan rallies his demonic troops and launches a full-blown attack against me.  Some might think I’m paranoid.  But this is backed by the Bible (which is my test to see if I’m being paranoid).  And this is Biblical:  Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  I’ve got some big things coming up.  At the beginning of last month, I started actively pursuing a way to get my “Think Big and Be Big” scriptural affirmation cards off the ground.  I also got the idea to start a topical small group for writers at my church.

It’s so hard to claim victory in the midst of despair.  I know God has won the war for my soul but that doesn’t mean I don’t get wounded in battle.  But it’s the little victories that lead back to the path of stability.

The other day I was too weary to get out of bed.  I had to ask my mother to keep the kids.  After sleeping for over 19 hours straight, I woke up, and prayed my simple prayer, once again, “God, please help me.”  Then, I got up and cleaned my daughter’s disaster of a room, which took about three hours of concentrated effort.  The twins came in and climbed on everything and wanted to get into big sissy’s stuff and play (which of course, I took some time to do).  Cleaning and spending time with my little ones… It was a small victory, but a victory none-the-less.

Throughout this depressive episode, I’ve tried to get out and do things even if I didn’t feel like it.  I dragged myself to a few play-dates and tried not to isolate myself, which is what I usually do, claiming that I’m sick.  I am sick but “depressed” is a more accurate description.  I hate claiming that over myself.  I’ve been deeply depressed for nearly a month now, but I’ve got some important milestones coming up that I pray will help pull me out.

I seriously considered canceling that writer’s small group, which is set to begin this Thursday (and I’m supposed to be the “leader”).  Me, in my condition, leading a small group of any kind will be, well, another miracle.  But God wouldn’t let me let go of that idea so I know that with His help and guidance, I can do it.

So I have to claim victory, not defeat!  Regardless of how I feel, I know that God’s got me and He has His purpose and plans to build me up and NOT let me down!  I believe that.  I put all my hope in that.  I have faith that He will pull me through this storm.  I claim victory now, Lord.  I have the victory in Jesus.

Double Talk Quote: “Mommy, I’ll sing a song to you so you’ll feel better.” – Bella 5/17/17

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

Word that has Lost its Meaning:  defeated

Relatable Lyrics:  Victory In Jesus – the classic hymn

AND THEN I CRIED
“DEAR JESUS,
COME AND HEAL
MY BROKEN SPIRIT”
AND SOMEHOW JESUS
CAME AND BROUGHT
TO ME THE VICTORY!

20170526_funny big red chair - 5 earthquakers, Audrey

Bella (2), Baby “Rain” (4 months), Mica (9), Brooks (2), and “Hope” (8)

 

Bless your heart, little “Rain”, I know how you feel!

*Note:  Sorry if this was a “rambling” post.  At least right now, I’m able to think in full sentences!

What To Do When…

 20170505_Super Brooks Sleeping

When so much is going on around you that you just can’t respond…

When you feel like you’re in the center of a hurricane…

When you force yourself out of bed just long enough to throw lunch together for your babes…

When your hands are shaking so hard you can barely type…

When you don’t even have the energy to change the sheets from the pee-pee accident that your little one made in the bed last night; the very bed you can’t get out of, just covered up with a towel….

When there’s nothing on TV; at least nothing you could possibly focus on…

When you don’t know the day or date without looking it up on your phone or computer for the 3rd time today…

When you look at your to-do list and freeze…

When you can’t laugh…

When you can’t cry…

When you don’t even care that they’re getting into your jewelry or makeup or other breakable / messy things…

When you don’t care that there’s rice sprinkled all over the living room furniture…

When one of them asks you for help and you say, “in just a few minutes, baby.  Mommy’s resting…”

When you lost your confidence overnight…

When you read a journal entry from just last week and can’t relate nor do you even remember writing it…

When you can’t think in complete sentences…

 

Double Talk Quote: “Mommy, mommy, look what I can do!” – Brooks  (Jumps from on top of desk to bed as I try to type this), “uh-huh, that’s nice, son.”

Bible Verse: “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Psalms 121:1-2

Word that has Lost its meaning:  awake

Relatable Lyrics:  “Everybody’s Changing” by Keane

“So little time
Try to understand that I’m
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody’s changing and I don’t feel the same.”

“Psst… Are You Pregnant Again?”

I just got back from a BIG family vacation to Disney World a few weeks ago.  It was a crazy, awesome time!  But more on that at a later date.

All at Disney - Majic Kingdom

Me and the Crew at Magic Kingdom, Disney World!

 

Yesterday was Sunday.  I would like to take a moment to focus on a little question that was made to me yesterday.  I was volunteering at my church, like I usually do, teaching in the 3-5-year-olds’ class.  It was near the end of the service when an associate of mine approached me and engaged me in a short conversation.  After exchanging pleasantries, we chatted briefly about our children.  As I was returning to my room to finish up, she whispered down the hall, “Psst…Are you Pregnant Again?

How should I feel?  Should I be shocked, dismayed, angry, annoyed, criticized, self-conscious, disgraced, scored and/or maybe embarrassed?  Doesn’t everyone know not to ask that question unless they are absolutely sure that the answer is “yes”?  Am I so big that I look pregnant?

“No, I’m done with all that,” was my simple reply and off I ran, back to my classroom.

Now, just before Christmas, with the approval of my doctor, I had slowly decreased a few of my medications and even cut one out altogether.  I did have some difficulties with the transition, including some moderate depression and fluctuating moods.  One pleasant side-effect (for me anyway) was that I lost a few pounds, without even trying (my dear husband likes me on the bigger side, however, so he wasn’t as thrilled with the change)!  The weight-loss wasn’t significant and my weight tends to fluctuate anyway, so it wasn’t a very big deal.  I really didn’t think anyone even noticed except for me and my husband.

A couple of weeks before we left to go on the vacation, I knew I needed to pull myself together so I’d be stable for what turned out to be a very unstable trip.  So, again, with the doc’s permission, I upped my doses of mood-stabilizers.  And with that increase, I regained some of those previously lost pounds.  “No biggie,” I punned to myself.  After all, I’ve been eating healthy foods, drinking tons of water and getting plenty of exercise.  The only change has been with my meds.  Some medications just have weight gain as a side-effect and it’s really, really hard to beat.

This past week, my sister and her two-year-old son were in town visiting and my now 9-year-old daughter had her birthday party at our house.  We had a great time, but some things were left undone.  For example, in the morning, as I was getting ready for church, I realized that I hadn’t done my laundry in over a week!  Really the only clean, decent thing I had to wear was an extra large tank top or a tiny tube top.  I decided that the tube top might be indecent for church, because for pants, of course, I was going to wear leggings. But then again, the large tank top was so loose that my cleavage would show.  So, I wore both; the tube underneath to cover my boobage and the tank over it to cover the tube’s tightness.   I wasn’t worried about how big the shirt was, it was long enough to cover my bum, plus I was going to wear an accentuating sweater to tie the ensemble together anyway.

My thought process while actually getting ready was really not that sophisticated.  I mean, who am I there to impress?  God loves me no matter what.  And three, four, and five-year-olds don’t care what you wear.  So I went to church and did my service.  While singing and dancing with the kiddies, I got hot, so hot, in fact, that I took my sweater off. The only thing I felt slightly self-conscious about was the large scar I have on my back, part of which was partially exposed because my hair was up.  It was shortly after that, that the comment was made…

Psst…Are you Pregnant Again?”

How should I feel?  Insulted.  I should feel insulted; throw that tank top away, go on a strict diet, starve myself, and quit taking my stupid medications that cause the stupid side-effect!

But the more I thought about it, the less insulted I felt.  I began to have a fresh perspective.  I decided not to accept it as an insult.  And here’s why:

  1. Someone thought I was enough of a Super Mommy to actually handle another kid, (especially another baby).
  2. I’m no spring chicken.  I’m not old but at age 35, the ob-gyn docs start considering you as a “high risk” patient.  I could take the comment as a compliment, even.  I look young enough to want to have more children!
  3. I’ve heard this same woman talk before.  I don’t think she tries to be mean or insulting.  I think she’s just insensitive.  And maybe she doesn’t even realize she’s saying something that others may find offensive.
  4. I really just don’t care that much about what other people think about me anymore.  Why should I let one comment bash my self-esteem when I know I’m trying my best?
  5. I don’t think I look pregnant.  Why should I care if one other person on this planet does?

20170308_Pretty Mommy 2

A very recent picture of my (not-pregnant) self!

 

So after this post, I’m going to “Let It Go;” like water off a duck’s back.

water off donald duck's back

 

Double Talk Quote: (And this is a coincidence…) “Mommy, can you give me some insults?” – Mica, after our first day at Disney World.  She was trying to say “insoles” for her shoes because her feet hurt from walking so much.

Bible Verse: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9

Word that has Lost its meaning: insulted

Relatable Lyrics:  “Let It Go” – Disney’s Frozen

“Let it go, let it go… I don’t care, what they’re going to say…”

Disney - Epcot - Me Mommy Belle at Epcot with the girls, Bella, Micaela, and Grace; Elsa and Anna

Me and my girls at Epcot

 

 

 

Looking Forward, Advice from Successful Bloggers & Another Award!

So much has occurred since my last post, I can’t wait to write all about it! As previously mentioned, I just need time, direction, energy, and motivation; seems so simple, doesn’t it? Anyway, I (me, this bipolar mommy), actually built up the nerve to take the four kids (ages 2, 2, 7, and 8) plus Amor, Grandma, sister Sarah and my also two-year-old nephew, Asher on a BIG family vacation, and it was quite an adventure, to say the least! There will be more on that to come.

In my last blog post, I implored my readers for feedback and promised a meet-and-greet for my next post, this post.  Specifically, I asked for more advice for novice (or even established) bloggers.  I got one resounding response, which was also my number one piece of advice:  Be Yourself!  I’d like to thank the following bloggers for taking the time to read and comment:

The above blogs are Super Awesome so I encourage you to check them out!

Now, here’s an award for YOU, dear readers of Super Mom Mentality aka, SuperMommyOfTwins.com, for those of you who like awards.  You deserve this one.  This “Super Blogger Reader Award” has but one requirement, that is that you continue to do what you already do: read and write!  You are Super!  So here’s to you to copy and paste if you so desire:

SuperBlogger Reader Award

Triple Talk Quote: “Me and Brooksie and Asher are twins!”  – Bella (especially funny because she rarely calls Brooks her twin.  She calls him her “friend” or “brother,” for example, she’ll say,  “Me and my friend, Brooks went to the Science Center.” or “I shared my crackers with brother.”)

Bible Verse: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33

Term that has Lost its meaning: on time

Relatable Lyrics: “Time” by Hootie and the Blowfish

“Time, the past has come and gone
The future’s far away
Now only lasts for one second, one second…

…I don’t know where I’m goin’
I think I’m out of my mind
Thinking about time.”

Looking back, Advice for new Bloggers, & an Award!

I haven’t posted a new blog in over a month!  Wow!  My lack of work here has a lot to do with parenting two two-year-olds and a seven and an eight-year-old.  But it probably actually has more to do with me having Bipolar Disorder I, Anxiety, ADHD, and feeling so overwhelmed and knocked-around by life in general that I just sigh and don’t put forth the effort it takes to write.  But it’s so therapeutic for me to just write.  But I haven’t lately, and that just shows that I’m letting Bipolar win and I hate when I do that!  (Anyone out there feel me?  I know someone does, someone has to, so speak up!  The comment section is below.)

I have 39 open drafts, so there’s no shortage of inspiration, it’s just finding some quiet time (usually between 4-5am works best for me), direction, energy, and motivation.

I was recently nominated for this “Blogger Recognition Award.”  Now, I know there are a lot of blogging awards out there, then there are those who are so proud NOT to have awards that they make an award for having an award-free blog!  But I do appreciate the nomination and I proudly choose to accept the award, because it means someone else – one of my peers – appreciated me enough to nominate me.  So here it is (Isn’t the artwork lovely?):

blogger-recognition-award

I’d like to thank FEARFULLY WONDERFULLY ME for giving me this.  The author, Emily Susanne, is a Christian blogger who writes about “Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion.”

As per the rules of this award, I will briefly mention how my blog got started:  I was manic with a touch of Hypergraphia.  I was just weeks postpartum from having twins and I needed, I mean really, really needed to write.  I googled various forms of “postpartum mania,” but most articles were devoted to postpartum depression or psychosis.  That’s when I came across Dyane Harwood’s blog, Birth of a New Brain. I left a very long comment on her post, “Another Great Divide,” (which you can feel free to click on and read, if you feel so led).  And she responded! Twice!  I felt like, wow, someone actually hears and understands me.  I had so much to say, I knew I had to start my own blog at that point.  That was August 20, 2014.  I published my first post (Double Teamed) on August 22, 2014, and have been writing ever since.  My hopes and prayers are that the articles I write on this blog will be (and have been) a blessing, not only to me as a writer but also a blessing to others who struggle with similar issues.

So, I basically write about Bipolar Disorder and Mommying.  But there are other categories my posts fall into.  Looking back, here are a few of my favorite archives:

Think Big and Be Big

Season of Survival

I’m Sorry…But

Ode To Mania

Time to Brush Your Teeth

ADHD, Anxiety, and Bipolardisism

Big Sissy

Why I Choose To No Longer Wear Leggings

My advice to new bloggers:

  1.  Be yourself.  Be your authentic self and don’t apologize for being who you are.  (Unless you KNOW you’re not right, in that case, apologize in advance! JK)
  2.  Respond to each comment you get.  Another writer took the time to read what you wrote, then took the time to write you a message.  Respect that by taking the time to respond in kind.
  3. Read and follow other blogs.  Get to know your readers by reading what they write.  Build your own supportive community.
  4. Use “Grammarly” or at least a Spell Checker.
  5. Proofread and Pray before you hit the “Publish” button.
  6. Don’t expect your friends, family, or relatives to create “Gravatars” and read everything you write.  You may find your biggest supporters are strangers who relate to what you’re going through or writing about.
  7. Don’t worry about your stats.  The quality of your writing may not be reflected in the number of “likes” you receive, so don’t base your self-worth on numbers.
  8. Don’t expect everyone to agree with you.  Someone may “like” what you wrote but disagree with your philosophies or certain points you make.  That’s okay.  Actually, you can expect some (usually polite) criticism.  You can agree to disagree, and not take it personally.

Ok, I was only supposed to write 2 points there, I guess I got a little excited!  Now, I’m supposed to nominate some bloggers to do a similar post and receive this award.  Whether or not you choose to participate is completely optional (again, some people want their blogs to be award-free.  To those I say, “more power to you.”)  The following are bloggers I admire greatly and I hope you feel honored that I am nominating you:

Birth of a New Brain

That’s What Anxious Mom Said

This Girl’s Faith

The Bipolar Mama

Grief Happens (So Does Joy)

The Monster in Your Closet (is quite friendly, actually)

Anything is Possible

Pieces Of Bipolar

What… Cookies Again?

Uplifting Stories

Multicolored Smartypants

Find The Lovely

All In A Dad’s Work

I also hope any people reading this will take a few minutes to check out these awesome blogs!

(For the Blogger Recognition Award, please complete the following:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select (15) other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created.)

 

Finally, I’d like to give you a sneak peek into my next post…

“Looking Forward, Advice from Successful Bloggers & another Award”

For this post to be successful, I need a lot of feedback.  This is a call to all Super Bloggers who struggle with anything, from everyday parenting exhaustion, to addiction, to mental illness.  If you are a Super-writer or Super-Parent (and if you’re a parent, I bet you’re Super to someone), please comment below with your website link, and I will set up a “meet and greet” so to speak, for my next post.  Also, please give one piece of advice on blogging.  Until then, whenever that may be, goodbye and God bless!

Double Talk Quote: “And for a long, long, long while, Grandma read the bible.” – Mica, when they missed church one Sunday.

Bible Verse: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

Term that has Lost its meaning (to me, anyway): Award-free Blog

Relatable Lyrics:  “Beautiful” by Eminem

“Yea… To my babies. Stay strong…
And to the rest of the world, God gave you the shoes
That fit you, so put ’em on and wear ’em
And be yourself, man, be proud of who you are
Even if it sounds corny,
Don’t ever let no one tell you, you ain’t beautiful”

Snow & Rain and Big Ideas

It’s the last day out of school for the big girls due to the snow.  The night before last, the low was 1 degree.  Tomorrow’s high is predicted to be 66 degrees!  Talk about a dichotomy of days!  

nc-weather-meme1

But the real story here is that during this snow “storm,” Tia had her baby!  The new addition to the family’s name is Rain and she’s mighty cute and from what I can tell so far, a good sleeper too.  She weighed in at a healthy 8lbs, 12oz.  Her mother’s recovering well overall but will need some extra support over the next few days, weeks, months, maybe years.  As we know all too well, it takes a village.   

grace-and-audry-hospital

I’d like to say thanks to my good friend, Cheree, for the suggestion of making a memory Jar.  She guided it to me via Facebook last year, and I loved the idea.  Whenever you have a noteworthy day, you write a small message and put it into the jar, then open it on New Year’s Eve and remember the great moments from throughout the year.  Unfortunately, I never got around to making one and before I knew it, 2016 had come and gone without one.  Now I want to also say thanks to “What…Cookies Again?” for motivating me to actually make one this year.  Here’s a picture of our jar, it’s not as Pinterest-worthy as Cookies’ Picture, but hey, I’ve started a Joy Jar!

joy-jar-2017

I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  (Bipolar Disorder has a way of disrupting those anyway.)  But I do believe God has big plans for me this year.  I feel led to become a small group leader at our church.  I also plan to pursue “Think Big, Be Big” more this year – making prototypes and searching for connections for publication.  

All that while juggling these two big girls, two two-year-olds twins, and my new niece may be a challenge.  But I’m optimistic.  I won’t overload myself.  Bipolar disorder also requires flexibility in case of melt-down moments, but I am not my disorder and I won’t let it dictate my life.  God has big plans for me.  Always has, always will.  This year, this year is going to be big.

Double Talk Quote:  “Mommy, can you draw a rectagon?” – Bella

Bible Verse:   “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

Term that has Lost its meaning:  New Year’s Resolution

Relatable Lyrics:   instead: “Revolution” by The Beatles

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

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