Death of a not so old friend

 

th42HDM3S3

 

 

Wow… here it is…  The tears won’t stop. Trying to deny the reality of the enviable. The body is made up of so many key ingredients. One being the skeleton. The framework that gives each of us our own unique design. Bones are to the body as the chassis is to a car or a hull to a boat. Strength, stability and structure are the essential responsibilities of the bones.  Well, mine are no longer cooperating in their intended function. First is the diagnosis, then the warning and ultimately the fracture.   Where did these deficiencies come from?   When you play by the rules and then get fouled, the frustration is undeniable. Sometimes there is no point in trying to figure it out…

The past is behind me. The future is before me. Today is mine and today I will try to accept my future. (insert fake smiley face here)

Nice try… feelings are too real … the pain of rejection from my own being is unacceptable. Being disappointed in my own body is nothing new. I am quite familiar with my rebellious anatomy. From simple body functions becoming faulty to major organ malfunctions and brain chemistry imperfections,  this “little rebel in a shell” can’t ignore the obvious. Our bodies begin to die the moment we take our first breath. We are immortal beings with one opportunity to grace this world with our presence. We must live in harmony with ourselves.  We are very complex beings made up of body, mind, soul and spirit. Just like I have come to terms with a body that bore 5 children, grey hair and gravity, I have bravely accepted and actually embrace being bipolar. But this seems different.

I believe the best way to begin each and every day is with faith and a toolbox. I rely on my faith in God, and my toolbox is filled with every imaginable device to be a successful wife, mom, caregiver and mental health warrior. I discovered within my bag of tricks something that was almost a (one size fits all) kind of tool that I began to use almost daily 6 years ago. I became a runner. Running fixed depression, weight gain, high cholesterol, alcoholism, sense of purpose, self-esteem, time with God, and the list goes on. Over the course of 6 years, I developed relationships with other runners and felt as though I belonged to something that was “mine”. The high from completing a 10 mile run or crossing the finish line at a half marathon was more than enough to keep me floating for a long while.

Now on the garage floor of my life, the toolbox has been overturned and spilt out. Among the go-to tools of prayer, yoga, and my hammock and chocolate bars, there is something missing. The Brooks running shoes with the matching singlet and shorts. The bib numbers and victory bells. The timing watch and hydration bottle. All of which are no longer at my disposal. I feel the dark cloud of impending depression slowly creeping in to overpower me. The grief of losing my ability to run is like the death of a not so old friend. I knew I could always count on a few miles to clear my head and help me feel secure in my abilities to conquer my adversities in life.  Now what?

Does life stop? Do I crawl into the fetal position and cover my head? Do I scream and rant that life isn’t fair? Do I try to find someone else to blame?  No, no I don’t…because I already did all of that and more. It was my grieving process. Now it’s time to pick up what is left in my arsenal and carry on. I wake up in the morning. I gather my scattered devices from my life’s garage floor and put them in my toolbox. I face the day with a bold determination that my life is to be embraced with or without yesterdays paraphernalia and assets. Today could hold the secret to finding the one missing link to my needed survival with mental illness. I approach life with an open mind and heart, ready to go forward and be victorious. I will be up and I will be down and my toolbox will be beside me. My friend will be missed.

Moral of the story….when you find something that works for you, use it. Do not deny yourself daily victories because your toolbox remains closed. Always keep your eyes open and your mind prepared for letting go, embracing the new.

Suncycles

P.S. you got this

 

 

Advertisements

Rambling without apology…it happens

12651255_984101425015062_5166068535221148960_n

 It’s ok…I’ll be brief,

Where was I?  No clue… another day another cycle. They all like to say “another day another”… thought…emotion…dollar…pain….sorrow…joy….trouble…memory?  Perhaps. It is all whatever you allow it to be. The options are endless…what do you choose for yourself today?  Perhaps you got lucky and the genealogical gods chose a good day for you. Yaya baby! There is also the possibility that you are on the far end of the stick and got a lousy hand….sorry… such is life. Unfortunately, genetics are real shit…no denying. Well if today sucks, get ready cause tomorrow might not be any better. Then again you could be on the most epic high of your life….don’t worry …it won’t last long, never does. Trust me, I know…unfortunately.
Maybe I should take that back…unfortunate? Perhaps not…so many think bipolar or any mental illness is so taboo…HAHAHAHA can’t help it… Only those with no mental illness associations can ignorantly say “awe poor people”, hell I have an incredible life! With all the ups and downs and stories to tell and experiences to share, how can this possibly be poor?????   I’m so rich in love and emotion and faith and relations and experience and depth..along with sorrow and pain and despair and loneliness and depression and ….and….laughter, how can this be poor?  I am anything but poor. I suffer with some of the folks. I laugh with most of the folks and I am resilient like the few and far between. Where do you stand?  Just askin don’t mind me…I like to make folks think deeper than their comfort zone. Get used to it… 
I’m not done yet.  My life provides an entire kaleidoscope if I let it…choice open. I think this is a safe place to stop…for today
After all, the only way around is through. 

Hey who turned the world upside down?

                                      5fdd9c27029a968baebcde9ff6b693ad

Inside, outside, upside down. Bipolar at it’s best. I felt this flip coming on knowing the inevitable was about to occur. No one asked for my permission or even my opinion on the matter. The cycle has come. I have flipped. The tide has once again produced an ebb and flow. Now in the wee hours of the morning or is it the dead of night, I am tapping away at the keyboard with more thoughts than fingers to form words. As my body fights to be silent my brain makes up for the struggle with an inaudible  volume that only I can hear. I won’t ask why. I know I’ve been chosen. This is as much a part of me as my brown eyes and freckles. Acceptance is half the battle when we discover a component within our very being that bring about a challenge . Hit that sucker head on !  Ignorance is for fools. There is no denying my eyes are brown or that I have bipolar. So what ! I could wear green contacts and try to fool others. But the facts are not changed. Is the snowman right side up or upside down? Does it matter? It is what it is. As for me…at this moment…I am who I need to be , and my snowman if just fine.

Exuberance

10645021_845931712086595_1504510124438540823_n

I consider myself in good company. Wilson Bentley, better known as “Snowflake” Bentley , a farmer from New England and an exuberant lover of snow. At age 19 he used a camera and a microscope to study the multiple differences in snowflakes. He believed every crystal to be a natural masterpiece with purpose and reason. Every snowflake he recorded had a number and description. Some he gave names and personal notes with such detail that one could almost see the shards of each unique point. His scientific journals were filled with such characterizations as,  “beautiful, spectacular, wonderfully brilliant, masterpieces of crystal architecture”. Born in the 1800’s Snowflake Bentley was not of the (norm). He was rather eccentric one might say. But it was his extreme exuberance that discovered the fact that no two snowflakes are alike. He was also accredited for other weather related scientific studies. He was a passionate man and lived and studied while existing in an unpredictable mind of mania and depression.

Theodore Roosevelt was a man whom I would have liked to have known. A person of extremes and a very vivacious personality. There is no  time here for a history lesson so let me just add a quote by a reporter  from The New York Times, “The President speaks with great animation, gesturing freely and in fact talking with his whole being, mouth, eyes, forehead, cheeks, and neck all taking their mobile parts…a hundred times a day the President will laugh…it is usually a roar of laughter and comes every five minutes or so. You go into Roosevelt’s presence… and you go home and wring the personality out of your clothes”. He was also know as a man who felt pain and loss almost to the point of death itself. He spoke of going completely mad with grief over the loss of his father. Shortly after on February 14, 1884 both is mother and his wife died. He was quoted as saying, ” The light has gone out of my life.” When he felt something he felt it to the utmost of his being. When he spoke he did so with determination and confidence. When he acted upon a notion he did it with passion. Even in his sorrow he was exuberant, not with positive enthusiasm but with purpose of wholehearted loss and excruciating pain.

There is no historical or scientific proof of either of these men having a bipolar diagnosis. Although I look at their lives, their accomplishments and passions as well as the extreme exuberance in which they lived their lives. Wow. I see nature all around me and know that only an exuberant God could have possibly created everything. I listen to music and must come to the conclusion that Beethoven was indeed exuberant. Many too many examples to even begin to mention. Exuberance can be found in paintings, skyscrapers, quilts, poetry, sculptures, essays, the solar system, Broadway, hymnals, the face of a child as well as the worn hands of a laborer. Exuberance is all around us and in us if we would just be brave enough to express it. Fear of being who we truly are can be of a great loss to mankind and the world as a whole. Who knows, maybe your hidden exuberance has the next flight to the moon locked inside. Perhaps my exuberance will be expressed in the encouragement to a young writer that will pen a moving ballad.

I’m not afraid to dance with freedom in a warm summer puddle from an exuberant recent thunderstorm. I will splash. I will lay in the cool grass at 2 o’clock in the morning and stare at the sky as it displays an exuberant blanket of stars. I will shout with exuberance and sing a silly old song when the perfect Christmas tree has finally been decided upon. I will exuberantly ring my bell at every finish line.

I will fervently fight against the despair and depression that waits for me in the dark places by drawing upon the exuberant spirit that is within me that proves to me that there is another side. I have hope. Bipolar is never sedentary .

People who have been kissed with an exuberant spark in their souls are not always easily accepted. When you look , look with eyes that are open to differences that can be embraced.

Never underestimate the power of Exuberance

Suncycles

Marionette

    3 AM and wide awake. Got up at 3:45 and ran a few miles on the treadmill. I knew the high wouldn’t last forever so I wanted to take advantage of it while I could. Saw hubby off to work at 5:00 then watched a movie, which I very rarely do. Feels like a super fast spin cycle today. I am crashing fast and have so much to get done…a client appointment, tons of paperwork, and coaching special Olympic basketball tonight. The fun never ends. I am still reducing my Effexor a few grains at a time, from 300 mg now down to 50 mg. It’s been 11 months. I know this med has very negatively effected my bipolar and can’t wait to be clean of it. Soon, very soon. Also 17 days sober. I really want to go to bed and hide all day. I’ve discovered that with bipolar , you don’t always have to have traumatic or life altering events taking place in your life to suffer with this disease. The suffering comes from the lurking shadows that jump out and consume you in which you have NO control. You have no choice of their prediction or pattern. The swings come and go at their own choosing leaving you lost in the whirlwind of bipolars demise. Sometimes flying so high you feel untouchable in flight or so low that even the brown blades of yesterdays grass need to look down just to see you. ……Obviously I’m arriving at a rather lowly state of mind. A place of dim lights and damp chills…mostly silent except for the constantly emerging thoughts that never seem to quiet . So how am I feeling today the survey asks, inquiring minds want to know…. I feel like I am held captive . I feel bound. I feel as though I am a pawn in the hand of the all mighty bipolar god. I feel controlled. I feel enslaved. Oh how I long to be released from this relentless confinement . Unfortunately there is no key to open the locks of bipolar. After all there is no cure. Possible symptom suppressants. Chemicals to alter the path of the disease in the brain. But I can’t just decide one day to walk away from this. These decisions are not mine to make……..and so the marionette looks to the face of the master and replies , ” I feel as only you will allow me to feel” .

Suncycles

Scales

1   2   3   4   5    6    7    8   9    10

 So humans….on this scale where do you fall?  Or where do you rate yourselves?

I’m supposing that on any given day the average person feels and responds and reacts to the world around them at a rate of 4-6. Seems average doesn’t it?Now lets take ME for example. I rarely view or experience my world at a 5. I am much more prone to feel the extremes of the scale, 1-10. Why is that? Is it abnormal? Perhaps peculiar? Odd even?Certainly not average, right?What if I were to say that approximately  2.8 million people in the US do not record as being average in this study. Now that’s a lot of oddity. Or is it?Let’s say beige is an average color. Now imagine everything being average or normal on this spectrum. BORING right?

Examples of nature: the sky reflects as being a pale blue with fluffy white clouds on the average day in most parts of the world. But what happens when a rainbow of incredible color and fascination spreads across the span and takes the gazer by surprise? That’s not normal? Therefor we shouldn’t accept it in our average mentality? Or should we?

How does the heart and soul respond when it is ignited by the fire of another’s acceptance of love? What’s the average or normal here? Is the strange and wondrously unknown supposed to happen?   Is that a 5?When artistic expression is exhibited in such a way it almost seems humanly impossible, where is the norm?

Perhaps the pain of below average existence according to the human standard is what brought us the depth of Blues Music.  A 2 , tearful love songs and unfortunate war ballads. Was it in the despair of darkness and depression that poetic words were penned from a 3?The  1’s were solemn and distraught; the feelings from the memoirs of the oppressed that we read with renewed strength

.The excitement of a fresh falling rain inspired the 9 to dance all night in the street puddles and choreograph the River Dance or maybe Rent. Speaking of rain: the choice is always yours to make. To simply get wet and miss out on the entire purpose of the rains existence, which is far more than one can find. Or to choose to allow a simple droplet to fall on your face and mingle with the tear of a loss or pain. To be cleansed of all negativity from world and self and to dance uninhibited with total abandon is a possibility if you were not a 5.

I’m not average minded . I’m not a 5  on any regular basis. You see, I’m have bipolar. I’m not bipolar, I have it. It is a mental illness. You may have allergies or asthma or high blood pressure or a thyroid disease, I have bipolar.This may affect what I can be exposed to: like a cat allergy.My bipolar might bring on an inability to breath right like asthma.I will probable have to be careful what I eat and be aware of certain triggers like salt to high blood pressure.I will most likely take medication for the rest of my life and will have negative effects if I stop , just like a thyroid disease.

The world sees mental or brain illness as something not real not acceptable, a stigma.  Why?, I don’t know. I sometimes think the average person assumes that they have the upper hand in the spinning of this world and anyone outside the 4-6 spectrum is ….well….out there.

In case you haven’t noticed, ummm ,  “I’m” out there. I have finally realized that being out here is not bad at all. I find it more difficult to be a 4-5-6 than anything else. When the “middles” happen to me I feel almost nothing. Oh I exist just fine. I get a days work done and go from A to B  without much trouble, I even make people around me comfortable. BUT I FEEL nothing , it’s my numbing phase . You see, without the extremes of the 1-2-3- or 7-8-9-10 I experience boredom. I know that is hard to fathom but it’s real. Trust me, I know it’s real. It has taken me almost 55 years to come to this conclusion. Let’s just say I have been a long experiment and have finally graduated from the beaker in the lab of life.

I have come to the realization that I do not need to ask for anyone permission to be bipolar. I yam who I yam 🙂 . It’s not hard being me …it’s hard for others to let me be me.It must be almost agonizing for the average minded or norms of this world to tolerate us “out theres”. I love my hubby with all of my being and soul. He is an average minded person and very good at it I must add. He is learning how to discover who I really am “out there” , and I’m accepting his “norm”. This is a time for growth and revelation into who we are individually and who we are as one. What an interesting ride  33 years have been.

The spectrum of 1-10 holds no limits. It is only bound by the parenthesis applied by man. The average mind set. I choose to not be enslaved by any limited spectrum. I am free to be who I am. I am bipolar and in all of it’s supposed  adversity , I embrace the limitless person whom I have been created to be. The sky is my limit…I will fly, not only in my dreams but in my art and in my relationships and in my accomplishment in life.

I have said a lot in defense of the “out theres” , now let me hold your attention for just a moment longer as I speak on behalf of the “norms”. I married a norm and I owe my life to him. He has kept me stable when stability wasn’t even in the picture. His regular consistency in life saw my family through the impossible years. His never ending love and commitment to us made life possible. He hung in there when I would have given up. He was always the balance when I had none. He allowed the dips and sways and highs and lows and never knew what they were. All he knew was to be his “norm” his #5. and it saw us threw events no family should have to face.  All this said…This world is made up of very unique people. 1’s  2’s  3’s  4’s  5’s  6’s  7’s  8’s  9’s  and 10’s. Sometimes those people fill the entire scale in one day, others may be a 3 and then jump to a 9 without explanation, as others remain in the 4-6 spectrum….all is good…yes all is good.

 I am my normal.

 Are you yours?

Suncycles

The Motto

The precept in which you live by. You know, the proverb that you always turn back to. The catch phrase or slogan that holds your identity….mine….

“Life is like a stream, it would lose it song if you took the rocks away”   CRH 1977