“Understanding me”

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“Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.” ~ Charles Bukowski

I’ve done a lot of reflection, experienced great things, great people, and been part of some extraordinary projects and events even since my last post. Again, this is such a silent illness. If you know me in person you will rarely see me without a smile on my face. What is hard to admit is how many times I wanted to run or avoid any human interaction. I forced myself, not because it was for the experience, not for the social reward, but to make myself experience life. I do this because my family and my friends mean more than this thing I fight in my mind.

On social media, you only see the good and rarely the bad. I promise for every extraordinary experience, I’ve had a great fall from the over stimulation. It was never someone’s fault and I am thankful for the wonderful things I am blessed to be apart of socially and recreational. I am able to listen to everyone, hear everyone, remember, and listen. I do put together huge pictures in my head. It’s almost a curse, I pin and connect everything and have amazing epiphanies. People want to see other failures, it’s astonishing. I see it everyday, someone who volunteers and moves on to another endeavor is always criticized, success is criticize.

I connect the dots in my head and have an overwhelming sense of shame for knowing something I should not know, only because three or more people placed puzzle pieces via causal conversation. I was able to see it all completed, and it hurts me like a dagger upon completion of the puzzles in my head. I’ve found myself withdrawn from those whom I never wanted to finish the puzzles, but regrettably by forcing the smile and “living” it was inevitable.

As, Bukowski said above, “I do not have time for things that have no soul” and I shall not make my time available to be sucked dry of any hope I have to win the battles in my mind. I fight too hard everyday to erase, remember, and overcome the thoughts in my mind.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” It’s questionable to the origins of the quote, was it Plato? Most likely Ian McClaren, but it is something we should all remember.  I am reminded daily by brief encounters, private messages, emails, or comments on wordpress that I am not alone and we are all very different, but….you are not alone.

Remember, you deserve understanding.

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Parenting through the blur

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”Debra Ginsberg

I enjoy every moment, occasionally I will complain about all the mommy chores. So many friends or facebook peeps complain constantly about the juggling act for various reasons. But, I remember this past summer struggling after moving. Changing all my doctors, trying to get my medication refilled. With each doctor, they rarely agreed on treatment plans. Each thinking they knew more than the other. So that left me in a pickle and found myself running out of my old medications. New doctor prescribing medications I’ve loathed and never worked, such as lithium again. So I found myself turned upside down, in a new town and state. I left behind my network I had built and people had just started to understand me and i’m relocated to a place to begin the cycle again. But as a mother, I put my children first and planned summer camps and summer sports for both kids before my appointments.  I delayed my own health to ensure they relocated and made friends. I’d find myself going to soccer practice and crying for no reason. Emotions completely unchecked, mood stabilizers not working. Sitting watching my kids play soccer. I would  remembered the times when I played outside carefree. I remember those moments and again I’d cry. It was just uncontrollable at times and and without rhyme or reason.

Even dealing with my problems and pretty sure some of the parents thought I was antisocial, it took everything to survive summer. Watching my kids play, helping them find friends, and trying my best to hide my mood imbalance, not to mention anxiety of all these new strangers. I wasn’t sleeping at all for various reasons. Watching all the kids reminded me of the ones I have lost and even more thankful for the amazing ones playing on the soccer field, I sat and cried. I wasn’t being antisocial, I was protecting these new parents from meeting that person. Somehow the stigma of people with mental health problems can cause others who do not understand to protect themselves and children from what they don’t understand. It’s a circle of protection. I’m protecting my kids, I’m protecting myself, and I’m protecting potential friends from knowing this person.

Eventually I survived the weekly blood draws, the medication changes, and surprisingly avoided the hospital. I worried what people thought if they noticed the needle bruises, sometime it took 4 or 5 times to give blood. I survived summer and got back on the very cocktail of medications I love to hate, but work.

I try not to talk much about what meds I take because I don’t want others thinking, “I need that because she’s awesome” when behind closed doors I’m not awesome all the time. I have a condition with no cure that makes me awesome, not my medication. It’s like Ironman and batman need their suits to be superheroes. This mom needs her meds to control her superpower and be my children’s superhero. It’s what helps me be awesome. I want people to know and understand mental illness.

 

You can always reach out to me if you’d like a dialogue or have questions. I’m not a professional, nor would I give medical advice. I just share my experiences with my blog andon my Facebook page www.facebook.com/itsnotcrazytoday A valuable tool  is wonderful to have interact on my page or via messenger. Invite friends to like the page too. Keep the dialog open! 

 

My Top 6 Books about Mental Illness

Absolutely great list and post to read and books to check out

Hello May, Birthday month, musing on aging gracefully

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“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” – Roman Payne

I love growing older. As I age, each year I notice subtle changes in my body and appearance. I’ve grown to love myself even at my darkest. I complain about my weight, wrinkles, and body like any other woman. Unlike most women I feel more complete each year. My crows feet draw attention to my eyes and adds character. The weathered experienced look, as if I’ve lived too much; In reality, I lived too much, laughed too much, lost too much, and cried too much. I wish they were caused solely by laughter. People tell me I’m beautiful now and it very flattering. But, let me tell you about about my beauty.

I grew up being the ugly duckling. It’s hard growing up with boys, I had two brothers and my neighbor, all boys that I also considered my brothers. As you might imagine at critical times in the developmental years they weren’t as free with compliments. It’s possibly another reason I love Roman Payne’s, The Wanderess, “She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs.” That was me, but I was always alone. My brothers did the usual, you’re ugly, you’re fat, or my favorite was “Bertha butt” since I have always had a nice round butt and thighs. Looking back at pictures, I had a beautiful body. I’ve always had the pinup body, but as a kid in my head I  was ugly and fat. I don’t hold it against them now, but in my youth it hurt me deeply and it changed the way I dressed and covered body.
I would quickly get very dark skin from my mother’s American Indian heritage and straight black hair. It would reflect blue like a raven in the light. I found myself lightening, getting perms to curl, and doing various things to make it look like the other kids. I never told anyone, I just begged for a perm, curls, or some sort of chemical treatment to change it so I wouldn’t be teased. I wanted to look trendy, like other girls. Those things lightened my hair to a dark brown all because the straight black was just unnatural and I was teased. I was teased about my skin, my hair, my curves. I worked hard to change my appearance.  I wanted to be pretty, but made myself uglier in the process of fitting in with the girls.
So I always stayed active, involved, but withdrawn. So it  may be surprising to some to learn how incredibly ugly I felt thought my childhood years, even in my various uniforms which made me like the others. I never appreciated myself.

It wasn’t until I turned 20, I lived in Japan for several years. It was the different culture, that changed my view on aging. Aging is beautiful, I regret not being myself as a kid, it was learning I was beautiful not only on the outside, but the inside in a foreign country. It was at the end of my time in Japan bipolar slammed into me like a freight train. It possibly aged me ten more year in a single moment. But I did not fight it, I embraced it. I because free, happier, I was pretty and back in the United States. I had found myself, but I also found my superpower and did not know one thing about controlling my mind.
Aging for me, has been like being reborn each year. I feel unrecompensed with each passing year. Closer to something, closer to completely understanding myself and I welcome my birthday’s. With age, I’ve learned I’m attractive, intelligent, funny, intellectual, sexual, compassionate, complex, and introspective. Because of the experiences of my past, I honestly appreciate each and every compliment and even the negative compliments. It’s made me able to be modest and a more compassionate person. Modesty is rare in today’s society. It’s also recently made me brutally honest. That is what this birthday is going to celebrate. Being honest, telling my stories, and sharing my experiences.

It may appear, it’s been a beautiful ride, but my history and mileage learning to control the speed of my superpower, called Bipolar, with a bit of all the other crap included many training wreaks. Mental illness isn’t something you shouldn’t be ashamed of and I hope if you’re reading this, no matter your age don’t be ashamed for a second.

“’Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” – Roman Payne

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“Mental labels don’t define who I am, time and aging only gets me closer to those I love, will love, and have loved” ~ S.L. Cato

Full moon rising, are you?

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“I fancied my luck to be witnessing yet another full moon. True, I’d seen hundreds of full moons in my life, but they were not limitless. When one starts thinking of the full moon as a common sight that will come again to one’s eyes ad-infinitum, the value of life is diminished and life goes by uncherished. ‘This may be my last moon,’ I sighed, feeling a sudden sweep of sorrow; and went back to reading more of The Odyssey.” ~ Roman Payne

*I adore Roman Payne if you’re not familiar with his works, he writes with such sexual energy, poetic and translates his passion and character’s passion in his books. His awareness, portrayal, and understanding of mental conditions are beautifully displayed in his book “The Wanderess”.

So back on topic, his quote struck a cord and sparked this blog post. Each month I look forward to the full moon. I read many articles and today ran across this one I’m sharing, It was an excellent article regarding lunacy and effects on mental health. It contains some great theories listed throughout the article from some of our greatest philosophers and psychologist discuss the theories based on my opinion outdated research from the 1980’s. I love the historical content, great article.

Read for yourself here:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lunacy-and-the-full-moon/

I firmly believe it affects my cycles and moods. I’m one who can’t sleep and have a fascination with the full moon,  honestly the moon in general. It one of my many obcessions. It affect the earth, living creatures, and even plants. Why would it not affect us as well?

I get a surge of energy, elevated mood even with medication I can feel it happening. I’ve actually charted my moods. It can be argued it psychosomatic, but over the years and experience with others it seems Lunacy is real, yet still only a theory. I’m curious to hear from others. What is your experience or feelings on the subject? Do you experience mood changes?

How to enjoy being introverted…with some mad women steps….

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Let’s explore how I reset and enjoy the healthy time alone.

1. Learn to observer and watch people. It’s simple, watch children play and interact. Sit in the bar or group and listen. It’s much the same. Listen, don’t talk, unless spoken too.

2. Enjoy your time alone. It’s rare, turn off every device in the house for 20 minutes. Everything, phone, WiFi, televisions. Actually, go find the breaker box main switch and flip it off (turn the usuals off before doing this), you’ll instantly feel peace. It’s a strange sensation. Close your eyes and feel the lack of WiFi and electricity…..you will feel it if you shut it all off.

3. Learn to talk to yourself. You can always be kind to yourself. Learn to appreciate what your mind tells you in silence. Many times I’ve ignored what I knew or I should have done only to have my mind tell me, “I told you so”. So it’s worth listening and talking to yourself. No one will ever love you or listen to you like yourself.

4. Volunteer! You can do the smallest thing and change a life. But you do it on your own, you don’t do it to seek recognition. You just do something that helps others selfishly.

5. Decide you’re going to learn a skill or project. Complete it! I wanted to learn electrical repair. Several vocational classes and yours truly can fixed a toaster, wire a lamp, or do general household repairs. It was so rewarding, I continued with woodworking, plumbing, and auto repair. I’m a bit obsession so don’t use me as an example.

6. Make a list. I hate list, but make an agenda of things you want to accomplish before bed. Make sure the first this on your list is MAKE YOUR BED. Trust me, if you don’t make your bed you’ve screwed up the list. Make your bed, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and then that first thing is checked off your list.

7. This is by far my hell on earth task, working out. Yes, workout! Walk 30 minutes, yoga, run, or what ever your vice….even sex. I prefer the latter. Sex count.

8. Do something completely alone. I’ll go to the movies, bookstore, and then have a drink and dinner while writing in my journal, ALONE! It is possibly, my best advice if you’re a mom or dad with a schedule. Plan a run away monthly!

9. Approach and engage strangers and be genuinely interested. I’ve learned so much about people just by removing the stigma of societies norm. I’ve made some of the best and life long friends whom I don’t think I could live without if not for letting go of my preconceived impressions based on societies normal. I’m in a military community, so normal is pretty straight laced.

10. Set goals, writing it down and put it in an envelope. In one year, I will have….? Next one, In 5 and 10 years. It can be big, it can be as simple as I’ll stop biting my nails. But, when you open that envelope you’re rewarding yourself. Do monthly envelopes! It’s goals with the satisfaction, you put it in writing and you accomplished something for yourself, not someone else. You discover and achieved it for yourself.

That is my alone time. That is how I’m alone and not defined by anyone else.

Falling in love with the Moon

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“Love is a serious mental disease.”

— Plato

Some times, I do like to write a bit about those little things off the wall. Tonight, it’s really obsession, falling in love and also of the idea of the unreachable goal. I have fallen in love with the moon. I’ve fallen in love with things that burn me.

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I speak of unreachable goals, because some may argue all goals are achievable. It certainly not true, but worth ever second to try to reach the moon. Love for some may seem unreachable, but it’s achievable. Some things are worth the chase, worth the wait, and certainly worth the risk.

I read blog and books now everyday, now obsessively. I set aside a few hours and really get to be inside others peoples minds for that time. A few, I’ve really fallen in love with as they write and post on blogs, others in books, I’ve started. I love writers and poets. I have fallen in love with dead authors and have this fantasy of them writing about me, because as to quote Mik Everett, “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.” Maybe I never died and live as a character in my classics. Maybe a muse, an inspiration for a character in a classic. I love the writers and the poets. I’ve formed an obsession with the simple and the complex.

“You don’t love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.” William Faulkner

And no matter what, I shall end with a classic story and movie quote.

“Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”
— The Princess Bride

I am certain, I’ve touch the moon. It was once unreachable.

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Popped my cherry throwing disc and banging chains

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Best day ever!  It’s like finding money in the dryer or a jean pocket, but the joy keeps going and you are constantly being uplifted. Yesterday was one of those days. No anxiety or panic, no sadness, no flashbacks, no racing thoughts, no tears, nothing over the top. Just a blank canvas day, that ended up a beautiful picture.

My blank canvas didn’t involve winning the lottery or anything of grandeur. It simply involved waking up to two beautiful kids who let mom sleep, started the house chores, and my oldest made breakfast without burning the house down. When I finally woke up, a bit foggy forgetting the kids were even home on spring break. I walk downstairs and head directly for the coffee pot. From the other room two little heads pop up, “Hi Mom! Good morning!” I yawn and think to myself how awesome of them to let me sleep and go on autopilot. Then almost as if they planned the timing together they asked, “Mom, is today the day you have your friends teach us to play Disc Golf?”  I responded with my normal noncommittal, “We’ll see, mommy needs her coffee first.” This is a protective response from me when I don’t want to let them down. Two reasons, I needed to make sure I wasn’t dreaming and second I knew this activity required a commitment from friends to teach them to play. I hate when I let down my kids, but to have someone else let them down physically hurts.

Bit of a backtrack, I decided months ago I needed to take back up a hobby such as golf. I was really good at one time and really remember it being fun and therapeutic. Then, I ran across Disc golf, I was immediately intrigued. Disc golf is where you throw a flying disc at a target like chained basket, the fun is scored like golf and based on precision and accuracy on a 18 basket courses. Win, win for me, no hauling balls or golf clubs, just a bag of various discs. I loved it instantly and quickly became obsessed with the concept and game. This was going to be my new sport. I shall master it and shared this with my kids. Who watched Vine and YouTube videos that a friend had sent, over and over. They wanted to learn too!

Back to best day ever, “We’ll see” I tell the kids and I sent text to my friend. He’s, a disc golf junkie and jumped at the opportunity to teach the kids and myself. We meet at the park, I knew instantly his passion and obsession with the sport made him the perfect guy.  Plus, he was a bit of a kid himself so the kids loved him and the sport.

Peter couldn’t figure out if he was left or right handed thrower. This took some time since he is ambidextrous. Eventually, he threw it, just somehow backwards each time. When advised to run into it and throw, Peter literally ran 25ft forward then threw. Peter, always the one to look for the cheat.

Turns out Rowan was really good! She was a natural. Not only did she throw really well, she was noticed by some of the local disc golf  players in the league who encouraged her to join the league and play in a tournament next month. They said she probably win. That was really cool and a huge encouragement for her. She sometimes needs encouragement and this came from one of the best female players locally.

As for the mad woman, well I threw, but kept getting my butt kicked by my daughter and dodging Peters crazy Ivins. Try to not scare our new friend with our multiple personalities. Not only did we learn to play. My daughter found something she loves. Peter was still frolicking tossing, then came home to tell stories to his friend about how he plays disc golf like a boss. I found my new hobby and made great friendships.

In retrospect today, I had a day without let downs, a day away from society. It was therapeutic. It was the perfect day. I was again, a new “normal” for the day.

See, it’s not always crazy.

Unexpected outcomes

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Sometimes I just get this crazy obsession for a certain foods or spices. Today it was for Thai food, it’d been at least two weeks since I had had a meal from my favorite local spot. It was a hidden gem I’d run to and was always amazing. So excitingly, I load up the kids and we are on our way for the most delicious Thai food. I didn’t care if the kids were arguing or my 11 year old feels she is the enforcer and boss of my 6 year old.  Today, I was not going to scream “Stop” a million times. Today was my treat! Today would include delicious food porn on my blog, it will not be crazy!

As we arrived and parked, I made sure the rules were clear, “BE good, NO fighting, mommy needs to be fed!” Walking towards the door something was off and they appeared closed. From my side, my little man Peter says, “Mom, I’m pretty sure they are closed for good” And sure enough, a real estate sign, It was closed forever.  Then the kids had a brilliant idea, “Mom, let’s go to your favorite Korean restaurant.”

“Yes!” That will do, so on the interstate we go, if you’re not familiar with Northern Virginia traffic consider yourself blessed. I-95 is hell going south or north on any given day, but I’m determined to eat out and now it’s just painful listening to the kids argue. “MOM!, make her give me to poop emoji pillow back.” “MOM! I didn’t touch him” and so on until we reach the exit.  As we pull into the parking lot to my favorite Korean restaurant something isn’t right and this time I spot the sign immediately, closed and another real estate sign. I lay me head on the wheel, quietly I say “Dammit, dammit, dammit!”

Apparently, not quite enough. Out of my Peter 6 year old mouth, “Mom, Chuck E Cheese now serves beer and wine” Did my kid just tell me the germ factory served alcohol? How did I not know they served alcohol? Heck, I know where I’ll have my next birthday, maybe even my 40th in many, many years to come, I’ve been 29-35 for several years. I could only laugh that my kids thought that I would get them pizza or the fact they knew Chucky Cheese was near the Korean restaurant. My kids had manipulated me into going to Chucky E Cheese with the suggestion they now serve alcohol.

Yes, I’m that mom drinking a beer at Chuck E Cheese getting her Chuck E Cheese photo ID’s made, playing games with no mercy before noon. Before you judge me, I drank one beer and kicked little kid ass for over an hour. I may have cheated and swiped some tickets from the little people. Just the ones who didn’t pay attention, life lesson kids, pay attention to the crazy lady. But overall, I got a squirt gun, sticky slappy hand thing, some silly puddy, and woopie cushion. All these these things are part of the plan for manic black cat of darkness revenge. You can use you imagination, but two can at play “sniper” cat, the game of surprise attack cat! It only cost me a little over $100 to eat and play games…..totally worth it for the entire family!

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