Archive for the ‘Bipolar Mommy’ Category

MIA

I’ve been “Missing In Action” for a while here in the blogosphere.  But I have been plenty present in reality land.  Packing and unpacking, playing with little ones, and making time for family, have been a struggle with the move but one I can handle with a little help from my…meds (ugh).

But there were times when I was MIA in real life.  It was 2006 – I call it my missing year because I remember very little from that time period.  I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in late 2005 and put on a litany of medications:  One after another in an attempt to see which one(s) would work for me.  I’d try one which would take up to 6 weeks to kick in and then when it didn’t work, I’d have to wait another few weeks to wean off it to try the next.  My sleep pattern was as crazy as ever.  I’d be up for days, just like before when I was unmedicated, except then, the medications made me zone out.  I can’t account for my days or my daze.

That’s when Mia took over.  In paranoia and sporadic breaks from reality, my alter-ego formed.  Mrs. Mia Wallace is a fictional character from the movie, Pulp Fiction.  Whatever made me relate to a heroin snorting, drug dealer’s wife, I have no idea.  But Mia Wallace became the name I’d use when meeting new people, getting credit for new accounts, buying and selling on eBay, or even filling out job applications.  I know this because after coming out of my “state of mental obscurity”,  I saw the havoc she had wreaked on my life.

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I distinctly remember in early 2007 looking into a mirror.  I hadn’t slept in almost a week.  In my mind, the mirror was cracked – shattered just like me, just like the skin & bones reflection I saw, just like Mia.  I was missing something and I just couldn’t take being her anymore.  As I stared in the mirror, I cried and cried.  I cried out to God, begging him, please help me to change.  And He granted me a renewed strength.  Instead of crashing, as usual, I knew I had to first override Mia.  I got to a doctor’s office that very day and insisted on a medication that would make me sleep, that I could take regularly at night to finally get stable.  It took a lot of convincing to not get committed that day.  But that night I slept, and the next night too.  It took a few weeks but Mia slowly faded away.

I recently ordered my credit report. Mia Wallace’s name is still associated with my social security number.  I guess a part of her will always be with me.

Double Talk Quote: “God’s way is perfect.”  2 Sam-e-lonians 22:31 – Hope, trying to say Second Samuel 22:31

Bible Verse:  “And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.” Ezekiel 25:17

Word that has Earned its meaning: Subconscious

Relatable Lyrics:  “Flowers on the Wall” by the Statler Brothers

“I keep hearin’ you’re concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you’re givin’ me is conscience I guess
If I was walkin’ in your shoes, I wouldn’t worry none
While you ‘n’ your friends are worried about me I’m havin’ lots of fun
Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one…

mia

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“Twins are So Much Easier Than a Singleton…”

silly selfie 4 - cute twins mommy belle

Excuse me?  Huh?  What?  Are you serious?  Do my ears deceive me?  How do you figure? Did you really just say that?  The questions raced through my brain.  Unfortunately, our conversation was abruptly interrupted (betcha can’t guess how) and I didn’t get a chance to ask the veteran mom-of-twins any of these questions before we had to leave.

Right after my babes were born, I asked a fellow mom-of-twins, whose boys were nine years old, if she had any wisdom or advice for me.  She bluntly told me that she didn’t remember anything from the first two years due to the stress, lack of sleep, and chaos that having two babies at one time brings.  She was the first of many mom-of-twins to tell me that the first two years are a blur.

I wondered if the veteran mom who made the title comment had contracted the ever-so-prevalent fugue state illness, known as “Mommy Brain.”  Earlier in our conversation, she mentioned that her twins were in kindergarten.  I’ve heard that by this age twins “entertain themselves,” (although moms have to be more vigilant of competitiveness and more attentive to conflict intervention / resolution).  Maybe over the past three years she, too had forgotten the first few years.  Or maybe she just had easy babies.   Or Maybe she’s just a better mom than me.  Or maybe she finds it easier because she doesn’t have Bipolar disorder.  So many maybes…

I’ve been a mom to a “singleton.”  It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t that she was disobedient or misbehaved, or out of hand.  Being a mom is a lot of work. (You’ve read the Mommy Resume!)  As I’ve written before, “here’s my equation:  Double that (2 year old twins) + 8-year-old daughter + marital challenges + financial difficulties + changing environment (baby Asher leaving, 7-year old Hope becoming like a 4th child to me) + Bipolar disorder & anxiety issues = “’God I need your help’”

So the veteran mom is a SuperMom for sure, as are many of my other friends and acquaintances who have multiples or multiple children.  Just because I’m not as confident or centered doesn’t mean I’m not a SuperMommy too!  And here’s why:

Because God helps me get through day by day, minute by minute.  Regardless of whether they are taking turns napping, throwing food across the table at one another, having meltdowns, or pulling their diapers off and running away from me.  I have the patience to deal with whatever comes my way, simply because God works through me daily and I feel privileged to have the above equation.  

God gave me a lot of responsibilities because he wanted to show himself through me.  He wants to be glorified in me.  If I had had a singleton instead of twins, then maybe I wouldn’t have felt the need to lean on Him so much.  And with this great responsibility comes great joy.

And if anyone ever tells you that “Twins are So Much Easier Than a Singleton,” you have my permission to tell them that it has been scientifically proven that that simply is not true!  (You have the archives of my blog as evidence to back it up.)

Double Talk Quote:  Me to Bella, who was throwing a fit “What’s the big problem here?”  “Dada!”  (I still don’t know the details but he did something to make her raging mad!)

Bible Verse: “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

Word that had Lost its meaning (there for a minute): confidence

Relatable Lyrics:  My own personal lyrics to DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win”

All I Do is Twin!

All I do is twin twin twin no matter what
Got laundry on my mind I can never get it done
And every time I step up in the buildin’
Everybody hands go up
And they stay there
And they say yeah
And they stay there
Up down, up down, up down
‘Cause all I do is twin twin twin
And if you goin’ in put your hands in the air
Make ’em stay there

I never go no where
But they saying Mommy’s back…
My hands go up and down like babies’ booty’s go…
Y’all better count me in
Got empty bank accounts, accountants count me zip…
Cause all I do, all I, all I, all I
All I do is…Twin!

Money Shot - My Earthquakers - Micaela and twins1

Letters of Support

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For the past few months, I’ve been vigorously working on my husband’s immigration case. It involved a lot of writing, office type work, obtaining and making copies of records, and gathering information.  None of it was easy.  But the hardest thing for me was asking for what’s known as “Letters of Support,” which basically vouch that Amor is a good, decent person and upstanding member of society.  I have social anxiety (along with Bipolar Disorder) and for so long, Amor and I have kept his immigration status hush-hush.   Now, however, we had to come out of the shadows (so to speak) and admit the truth to friends and family that (gasp & shame, shame!) my husband entered this country illegally.  He was 16 years old when his brothers first brought him here and he has built his entire adult life in the US.

It was stressful and nerve-wracking for me to announce this and ask for help. But it had to be done, as part of the petition process.  So, I wrote down a list of 25 names of friends, family, and acquaintances.  It was scary to me to think of contacting these people without knowing their political stance or possible prejudices regarding this touchy issue.  But I took several deep breaths, and said a few prayers and started contacting.

The response I received was shocking.  Our community of friends and family were more than willing to help us file by writing for us.  In all, I collected 20 notarized letters!  I saw how kind and generous these people were to take time out of their own hectic lives to invest in ours.  They had to actually sit down and think about me, Amor and our kids, construct the letter, then go get it notarized.  A few of these people, I know had physical health issues.  One had a newborn baby.  Another person is a dear friend whom we haven’t physically seen in over a decade, but we’ve kept in touch via social media.  Yet another had problems getting the statement notarized because her identification was expired but she made it happen!  Each person went out of their way to help us.

I read each letter as they trickled in.  Each one with optimistic affirmations about us and our family.  After gathering them all, I sat down and re-read them.  It wasn’t just the quantity that astounded me, but the quality as well.  These people wrote from their hearts. I know we are in their prayers. Tears of gratitude trickled down my face.

Our case has since been put on hold, for now, anyway.  But we have our paperwork ready at a moment’s notice.  Now, whenever our attorney says to submit, we will be ready and able to move forward.  Thank you, so much for those of you who helped us.  We love and appreciate you all.

(July 2016, Twins 2, Mica 8, Hope 7)

Double Talk Quote:  Amor – “I’m too smart for that show” (Ruff Ruff, Tweet and Dave).  Me – “That’s why I watch Curious George.”
Bible Verse:  “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
Term that has Earned its meaning:  true friendship
Relatable Lyrics:  Lean On Me by Bill Withers

“If there is a load you have to bear, that you can’t carry, I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load if you just call me, if you need a friend…We all need somebody to lean on.”

Ode to Mania

 

 

Mania, dear, sweet mania, oh how I hath loved thee.  You give me passion, a spark, a zeal for life that’s lacking when you’re not around.  Together, we’ve accomplished so much.  Sure we’ve gotten into quite a bit of trouble.  Yes, we’ve angered and alienated a lot of people.  But still, I love you dearly and I hate when we’re apart.  When you’re not around, I miss the euphoric energy you emanate that allows me to do almost anything.  I miss the grandiose feeling that I have superpowers and can juggle anything that life throws my way.  I miss being me to the 100th power.  I miss having the strength it takes to go days without sleep and not missing a beat; when the concept of time is meaningless.  I miss the floods of creativity you immerse me in, that drown out all the other non-essential, mundane dryness of this world.  I hate the Abilify, Ambien, and Alprazolam that suppress you and weaken your illustrious powers.  I loathe the Lamictal, Seroquel, and Wellbutrin that drive away that aggravated ecstasy that invigorates me to feel so free.  The selfish me wants to flush them all away.  But I can’t.  Alas, dear Mania, we cannot be together, not like before.  Even flirting with you is dangerous.  I know you’ll cause me to fly.  I know I can see the world, I can see the entire universe with you.  But you have to understand, I have responsibilities now.  Responsibilities that I can’t just throw out the window whenever you come around to please me.  I have to stay grounded.  I must remain stable.  Because I know each time we fly together, regardless of how intoxicating the ride, I always, always crash and burn.  You leave me alone in desolated isolation, vulnerable for depression to come and devour my soul.  I can’t afford your thrilling heart breaks anymore.  My sanity depends on it.  So I have to bid you adieu.  Farewell, my bitter-sweet, fair-weather companion.  I did love you.  But now; now I love myself more.

(Written February 2016)

Double Talk Quote: “Mommy, I like me!”  – Bella, “I like you too, baby!” – me

Bible Verse:  “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Word that has Lost its meaning: Superpowers

Relatable Lyrics: Coldplay ft. Beyonce – Hymn For The Weekend

“…You know you make my world light up
When I was down, when I was hurt
You came to lift me up…

…Put your wings on me, wings on me
When I was so heavy…

…Then we’ll shoot across the sky…”

Upside Down

upside down TP toilet paper

Despite toggling among 6 different psychiatric medications, I still have up and down days.

It was Sunday (the day Satan loves to attack the most) and I got up early to prepare my lesson for the Church’s kid’s ministry.  I felt fine, energetic even.  After reading the lesson plan, I had all kind of supplemental ideas and gathered the material I’d need for it along with everything else I’d have to take to church that morning.

But then, seemingly out of nowhere, I started feeling tired.  At the same time, the babies started to wake up.  I went and laid down to cuddle them.  For some reason, tears started pouring out of my eyes.  I didn’t feel sad, just heavy and tired and overwhelmed.  My back was hurting too.  So, after much mental debate, (and the realization that I was running out of time), I sent a message to let the church know I wouldn’t be able to make it.  I needed a “down day.”  Amor and Grandma took care of the kids all morning until around nap time.

The last time I was this “sick” (Ok, yes, let’s call it like it is – “depressed”), I had come out of it only to find myself extremely frustrated by the house being upside down and things not having been done “my way.”  I was angry at Amor for not doing things more thoroughly, but mostly I was mad at myself for not being able to handle it all.  I thought about that.  

I was so down, though and isolating, that I didn’t want to get up to go to the bathroom or leave the comfort of my room to grab a soda.  I kept the babies in my room watching Curious George II from about 3 – 5:30pm.  Their sweetness brightened me, but I was still very tired.  So I sent them outside with Amor.  Grandma was in her room.  I hurriedly threw pizzas in the oven and microwaved veggies and set them up for dinner.  I did my nightly “side work” and went to bed at 6:45pm.

I woke up at 6:45am in a rush to do devotions with Mica and Hope and get them ready for school only to discover the following:  

  • Kitchen table with yesterday’s dinner not put away, covered in ants
  • Cat vomit on the floor
  • Dishes piled up in the sink
  • Toothpaste still on the toddlers’ toothbrushes (they hadn’t brushed day or night)
  • Crackers smushed into the carpet that I’d just vacuumed
  • Every trash can in the house full to the brim
  • Pointy toys littered the floor, out of place, just begging to be stepped on
  • (later:  daughter and neighbor T.P.ed the backyard!)

I shook it all off and tried to stay calm about it, but Amor sensed my irritation.  I had an appointment with my therapist but no one to watch the babies.  I really needed to get to that session!  I contacted six people before I finally got something worked out (Grandma and Mica to the rescue)!   

I spent some time turning the house right-side up again.  And it feels good for me to be right-side up again today, even though I’m still struggling.  At least I’ve got my family and they’ve got my back, and that’s what really matters.  And God’s got this.  I know.

(Written Monday 6/6/16, Twins 23 months, Mica 8, Hope 7)

upside down - Mommy Belle, Bella Brooks

Double Talk Quote: “Oh my goodness, this place is upside-down” – Amor upon coming home early to a bit of mess (ok, a lot of a mess) in the living room.  6/10/16

Bible Verse: ”For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Ephesians 6:12

Term that has Lost its meaning: sick leave

Relatable Lyrics: “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson

“Who’s to say
I can’t do everything
Well I can try
And as I roll along I begin to find
Things aren’t always just what they seem
I want to turn the whole thing upside down.”

Midnight Medication Mixup

Morning Mommy 3

Sleep is the key to my sanity.  If I can regulate sleep, it’s easier to regulate my moods as well.

I have medication that I take at night and I have medication I take in the morning; and never the tween shall meet.  Except they did last night.  Instead of my usual regimen of Ambien, Abilify, and Lamictal, I skipped the first two, opting to take 1/2 of  a Seroquel instead (my doctor is okay with me doing this on occasion).  I had felt a bit of hypomania coming on so I wanted a good night’s rest and Seroquel usually does the trick.  I also knew I didn’t have a busy day coming up so I could rest if it made me a bit drowsy.

But…A cat pressed his way through the door, which was pulled-to but apparently not closed and the hallway light was on.   I woke up in a haze, barely able to see.  The piercing light was coming from the same direction of the clock and I could have sworn that hallway light was the break of dawn.  I could have sworn the time said 6 am, not 2 am.  So I swallowed my pills thinking I’d snooze for a few minutes before I had to wake up Mica to get ready for school.  I was at the apex of a very intricately narrated “movie” dream, when suddenly I was jolted awake.  The meds had kicked in and it was time to get on with the day.

Except…it was 2:30 am.

I’ve been working a lot on immigration case work for my husband lately, so I had plenty to do to occupy my time.  But I worried I’d run out of energy mid-day and be out-of-sorts when the twins (and older girls) needed me the most.  Fortunately, I was able to direct my hypomania into my work during those early morning hours, and even throughout the day, going to the grocery store before anyone in the household was even away, preparing breakfast, cleaning house, and playing hopscotch, painting with the twins and cooking and having a picknick supper outside.  The most trouble I had was lying still when the babes were ready to cuddle.

It’s 8:55pm now.  I’m starting to get tired.  Not sleepy, though.  Just tired.  I’ll take my night meds and rest again and maybe tomorrow will be…just as good.

(written 6/1/2016, Twins 23 months, Mica 8, Hope 7)

Double Talk Quote: “It was a surprise!” – Tia (Hope’s mom) announcing her new pregnancy.  Why am I not surprised?  Congrats to me! (jk – kinda)

Bible Verse: “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Matthew 6:34

Term that has lost its meaning: creep-o-cat

Relatable Lyrics:   “I Did My Best” by Soul Asylum

“I was waiting for a chain reaction
With a missing link…
…I was tired of being tired
I could not get no rest
So I kept sleepwalking and talking in my sleep
Yes I did my best”

 

Perseverance

perserverance - Brooks

I’ve wanted to bury my head in the sand and hope all my “challenges” just fade away on their own.  Unfortunately, I don’t live in an episode of “Sanford and Son” where mail can just be put back in the mailbox without consequence.  I have to be an adult and deal with my problems.

Sanford and Son

We attend Daystar church, which has an excellent Kid’s ministry.  Each month the elementary age students take home “God Time” cards, which are children’s devotionals that correspond with what they’re teaching at church.  Their theme this month is “Perseverance: refusing to give up when life gets hard.”  Each morning this past week, while doing the devotions with Mica, the cards seemed to be ministering as much, if not more, to me than to her.

When I feel this overwhelmed, I’m reminded of Joshua crossing the Jordan river.  He asked God to make a way and God told him to send the ark of the covenant (where the Lord dwelled) first and to just start walking.  With each small step Joshua’s tribes took, the river slowly dried up until he and all the Israelites were safely on the other side.

jordan-crossing

Google Images – eyeofprophecy

Small steps.  I have to put God first and just take small steps and walk out into the water and trust that He will make a way for me.

(April 5-12, 2016 – Twins 21 months, Mica 8, Hope 6)

Double Talk Story: I made my to-do list and after having marked off a couple of items with my highlighter, I felt better, invigorated, like I’d accomplished something.  I walked out the room for just a few minutes and returned to see that nearly the entire list had been accomplished by a babe (if only)!

To-Do List

Brooks helps Mommy with her To-Do List!

Bible Verse:  Joshua 3: 14-17

Term which meaning I dread:  Tax Season

Relatable Lyrics:  Shackles” by Mary Mary

“Everything that could go wrong, All went wrong at one time
So much pressure fell on me, I thought I was gon lose my mind
But I know you wanna see, If I will hold on through these trials…

…You broke the chains now I can lift my hands, And I’m gonna praise you”

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