Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's just me

Sometimes things people say and do get me thinking. Sometimes things I say and do get me thinking... But I'm pretty much always thinking so maybe it would be better said that they can direct my thinking.
Sometimes I say and joke about being "crazy." I am rather open about my mental health issue's these days and maybe I need to be more careful. Though I'd like people to just see it for what it is, accept it, embrace me for who I am, and then laugh with me about it, I realize we still have a long way to go before things of this nature are understood well enough to reach my ideals.

So I've been thinking about what I am and how to explain it to people that I may have frightened so that they understand.

Before I was so keenly aware of what a "mental" brain potentially looks like I'd say I was most certainly at risk of many "mental" things. Such is the case with everyone you meet, you really don't know what's going on in someones head, possibly even your own.

In my head there was a lot of noise. That may be the best way to explain it.
I would have racing thoughts and I would have flashing thoughts. I once went to a concert where they had a video playing that was basically flashing different images, only staying on them long enough to know that they were there. I liked that I could point out to my husband "that is what it is often like inside my head, images flashing almost constantly."
Fortunately for me I am a very logical analytical and practical person. Unfortunately for me just about everything I see and learn sticks around somewhere in my head even if I can't utilize it productively. Which I usually can't do in this state because there is too much going on and it takes all my energy just trying to sort through the excess amounts of crap floating, whizzing and crashing into each other freely inside that little head of mine. But all the imaginative things I have been subjected to and all of the logical things I have been subjected to in addition to spiritual, religious, social, etc, are each formulating an argument, analyzing and trying to process all things I encounter, seen and unseen. I remember in high school thinking I had a small sanity chip that somehow held all the chaos together keeping it from destroying me.

Now maybe all this noise is what cases my anxiety issues but there are times, even now when my mind is not so out of control that I can feel that "anxiety" just right below the surface. The best way that I can explain this is something like endorphins rushing up in response, or random, to events that do not merit such a response. Anxiety can also be excessive nervousness or worry, but maybe it is these responses that case me to worry and be nervous.

Then I can get stuck in ruminating thoughts. I think that might better fit me over the term obsessive. But ruminating thoughts that last for days, weeks, months and even years may have then turned into an obsession... but then again I am not sure. All I know is the old cliche "just get over it" somehow does not magically work when one is sincerely stuck in genuine rumination. Rather it just adds another element to the rumination and helps the ruminater despise them self or what ever they may be ruminating over because they aren't "just getting over it".

Then there is the issue of ups and downs. Highs and lows. This is the most interesting, most fun and most awful of all. There are times when I didn't "suffer" so much from these "episodes." It is possible that all that noise is the cause of these. The possibility being that one side of my brain wins an argument causing an upward swing but then the other side fights again and wins causing a down all the while the "real" me, somewhere in there, gets a chance now and again and I get to experience level. That's an idea but the ups and down seem present even with medication though not as severe. It is also possible that they follow a hormonal cycle as they are quite regular. I am not sure about this "instability" at all but I do know that I like it to be less extreme since floating off to euphoric plains, though fun, can be dangerous and sinking down to the hell that is within me is not fun and takes every once of strength to fight. As early high school I remember being afraid to be too happy because I knew what it would be followed by.

These things are not so frightening to the outside perspective and apparently easily hidden, intentional or not. They are not so dangerous in early stages. Had I not been made aware and had I not started to look into some of the suggestions that were made to me then I'd still be accepting them as part of who I am and I'd still be headed down that slippery dangerous slope to "insanity."

But I am not yet insane and I don't think I'm even on the path anymore as I have done much to understand these issue's and amazingly medication gets rid of most of it.
The noise is gone, likely focused into one voice that is my own. The flashing thoughts are a distant memory. Though I may think about things a great deal, my thoughts are progressive and if they are not productive or become undesirable I can change them or be rid of them. At times it may require some effort but it's possible. The anxiety seems to come in forms that, to me, seem what they are intended to be for, to help keep me in line when I might be heading off. An example: at the store I want to buy something that we really don't need, anxiety about finances will keep me in line so that I am not buying excessive amounts of toys and crap that we really don't need. As for the ups and downs, currently they are still present though much less severe. We (being my doctor and I) are working on those because I'd like to be more level. I'd like to be a bit farther from the edge. In addition, when one thing is slipping it is quite possible the others will be following.

So this is a long entry but I'd like my friends to be at peace with my "crazy." I hope that they can accept me and know that they can trust me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tis' the Season

I am hopeful and happy this morning. I feel quite "normal." I am thinking that medication just might be keeping up with me enough and will likely just get better.
My highs aren't so high, my lows aren't so low (or long) and God does help me to pull out of it quickly when I turn my heart over to Him(again and again). This is a good sign and I am more patient and so much more often the mom (and person) I want to be.

Of course it is early in the day so we will see when those hours roll around that are often so unbearable (usually around two or three pm). But I slept fine last night, I don't feel so euphoric and I even feel like eating yet not looking to eat just for a burst of energy or something satisfying.

I remember the words of a dear old friend who once reminded me that sometimes the benefits of medication far out weigh the side effects. It still took me a couple of years and some progressively harder times to heed his advice but now that phrase runs through my mind often and I am grateful because really it is so much nicer here, for me, my family and I am sure others.

I am grateful and Thank you friend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I wrote this yesterday and I hope you will (or have) read the other blog I wrote in the morning of yesterday. This would be the evening me.

Today I went from somewhat euphoric to plain and uninterested and I am about as boring as any mortal could be. But for me it is not that boring because I rarely get to spend much time here.

This also is the time I turn on people, as my affections fade into nothing but being human and I am not always a great human. And so often all the feelings that I so freely share and so passionately feel are gone and I am left just feeling human. I am sure this is quite normal. But I really don't spend too much time here, feeling like this, this is when I just live and do. But though I always think it won't and I am always certain I have it beat, the next phase will be down, down, down and I'll be battling my worthless pathetic self that has somehow, once again, suckered me out of the good traits/aspects of me.
I am sooo, so much better then I used to be and really the cycles are at a much more manageable level and maybe I really will avoid the low this time but we'll see. Sometimes it is good to expect it because then I can remember I'll be up again pretty soon. It is getting better. though I do wish I wouldn't bounce between heaven, hell and mortality so much. It gets exhausting and I am not sure how much more my little body can take of this. One day at time.

That was yesterday.

And then tonight I've found myself down again. battling my worthless pathetic self. Confused once again by everything and not sure why nothing is working to pull me out of this.
I don't feel like laughing. Things are bothersome and my patience is short, and the tears come easily as I am overwhelmed by everything surrounding me and inside of me. I am sure that I am just a silly little girl but then why and where has all that conviction, passion, and confidence gone.
Here I am often sure that I am stupid and I have made all kinds of terrible mistakes. Here my best is obviously not good enough as everything I ever attempt is a failed attempt and a ridiculous idea in the first place. Here it is hard to know who the me (or anything for that matter) is that I am supposed to remain true to. Here I am not happy and I feel irritated.
I often wonder if I have fallen prey to the devil, though God is not quick to save me when I try to turn my heart over to Him (which is something I do regularly). I suppose that could be and suggest further evidence that there is a chemical and physiological issue here, as I am not willing to to give up on my belief in God. I see no point in that and truly it is an even more depressing thought.

This is also a very forgetful place as well where it is very easy to lose sight of many things... But now I can look back and remember, mostly because I have it documented now, or at least see that I have been through this before and with faith I can feel confident that I can come out of it again.
I still have some fight left in me yet and I will not go down without a fight.

Oh how lovely life is...

I will not be defeated! (there I feel a bit better already...)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ups and thanksgiving

I thought I might write.
I have been waking up a lot in the nights lately. Not as tired in the day. Not seeming to need as much sleep and even more productive.

I know what this can mean.

It does seem different in that when I am awake my mind is not completely stuck ruminating and obsessing on the same subject but rather wanders some what freely, contently contemplating some of the more interesting points of my life, while I lay relaxed and not much bothered by the fact that I am not asleep. I usually fall back to sleep, though I've been waking up easily an hour earlier on my own where I usually struggle to get up with the aid of the despised alarm.

I am happy in the day and I realize this could just be an "up". But I have yet to come crashing down. And over all I am calm and patient.

Though I do have my moments where I come down a bit or I feel the waive of chemistry that makes me shaky or a bit nervous, I am hoping that this cycle will become a bit more regular in my life.
I am hoping that the new medication that I am slowly, slowly introducing is keeping up with the excitement of life that we are currently experiencing. (it is a mood stabilizer)

I think I don't want to push it though, and I don't feel quite ready to tackle some of the bigger tasks at hand. Specifically writing about my brother, for the wise mantis, the rest of my family and hopefully the world.

I hope it will last. It seems a bit different.

Whether it be medication, interactions, lessons learned or a combination of it all, I am grateful.

and I thought I might share.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

to the beat to a different drum

I'm thinking I may have written about this somewhere but I am not finding a title that matches and I do not wish to read through every thing I have written (Often I do not go back and read through as somethings are embarrassing to me. But in pursuit of truth and reality I don't feel it far to "edit," though the temptation would be irresistible with some of the dumb things I write). So this may or may not be a repeat.

I have been thinking about an experience I had a couple of years ago, not sure exactly how long ago but it was somewhere between after my son started walking and before I started taking medication again (so at least a year and a half ago but no more then three and a half years ago).
We went to a large park in a city where they have a wonderful man made river play area for kids. This is a very large park and it seems there is always a lot going on. We happened to be there on a Sunday which is when the local "hippies" participate in their version of a drum circle. (hippie would be what they call themselves, though I am not sure of the exact definition and if they really fit so that is why I put it in parentheses...and my mom was a Boston hippie of the 60's. Her sisters were at Woodstock).
The drums could be heard in the background of where the children and families were busy playing in the water. As we approached the water I was pleased with the sight of children playing and families being together. As my children started playing something started to sink in that something wasn't right. I was completely unsettled. I kept looking around trying to figure out what was bothering me. I wasn't seeing it. The drums were beating in the background. Something was definitely wrong and the children's laughter was starting to bother me. I was starting to feel a bit frantic, what was so wrong with this picture. The drums were still beating. I was agitated and just about panicked but everyone else was so calm and unaffected, nothing seemed wrong at all in there perfect little world. The drums were still beating....

Then I saw it, from a slightly elevated spot where I could hear the drums even better. Everyone, the kids and adults, were moving and playing right along with the beat of the drum. It was eerie and surreal. It made me incredibly uncomfortable to see these people all moving along with a beat which they seemed completely unaware of. I was relieved and more relaxed once I realized what was "wrong." But then I was also perplexed and somewhat agitated by how people seemed so unaware of how influenced they were by what most would consider background noise or harmless entertainment.

That would be an assumption though. Maybe they weren't so unaware, maybe it was part of the enjoyment for them. I was not moving to the beat of the drum and maybe that is why it bothered me so. I did not wish to be so easily influenced. Maybe it is evidence of my heightened sensitivities and intensities, or maybe I am much more defiant and non compliant. Maybe I just need to relax and enjoy the beat, easily blending into my surroundings. Maybe I just view the world a bit differently. Maybe the others just weren't bothered. Maybe they were and hid there agitation much better under a smile or looks of boredom. Maybe they view the world differently and it just heightened their experience. Maybe they were completely unaware, maybe they weren't. I am almost certain the children were. But they're are a lot of maybes here aren't there?

You be the judge.
Are you aware of the beat of the beat of the drum to which may or may not be following?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Embellishments

Recently my husband had shoulder surgery. He has been in a huge awkward sling for three weeks now. It is especially awkward for him because he is not the type who likes to draw attention to himself, especially the sympathy kind. He admitted that he was getting a bit tired of everyone noticing and all the stories everyone felt inclined to share with him about their own shoulder, knee, elbow, friend/relative or what ever.
"And they're always such a big deal," he says.
"Do you think they embellish," I ask.
"oh yeah, but everyone does," he adds.
He even claimed that he does from time to time.
Of course I had to contemplate, "do you think I do?"

"Actually no you really don't at all," was his thoughtful reply.
"If anything you minimize and down play."

Although I will confess that tonight I did find myself embellishing just a tad when my young children asked to hear a story about when I was a kid. I really don't remember very many good stories to tell and my son wants to hear a story every night (from when I was a kid)... If it's not exciting enough I'm stuck wracking my brain trying to remember another as he is not satisfied with simple, short or boring stories.

But I dare say that I typically don't embellish. I had made a conscious effort not to, for a very long time. It is not so conscious anymore, now it is just how I am. But I think it is good for people to know, especially when I expose myself so in the name of mental health awareness. I am most likely playing it down so keep that in mind as you read.