“Lennie hesitated, backed away, looked wildly at the brush line as though he contemplated running for his freedom. George said coldly, “You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?”
“Give you what, George?”
“You know God damn well what. I want that mouse.”
Lennie reluctantly reached into his pocket. His voice broke a little. “I don’t know why I can’t keep it. It ain’t nobody’s mouse. I didn’t steal it. I found it lyin’ right beside the road.”
George’s hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand.”
~ John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men
Maybe I just don’t know how to say, “I’m sorry” it’s something I probably never learned and possibly why I over compensate in other areas and can’t fully explain my mental illness. When the mania is over and the depression starts to slithers its way into all the wounds where most people would receive light, it feels like your world is empty. Each wound is slowly filled with someone’s anger, someone’s hurt, someone’s disbelief. Those wounds sealed with darkness.
My extreme mania, so lucid. An experiment with medication, euphoria, psychosis, and the ability to do anything. Now, I find myself sealing wounds with darkness. Take away all the sickness, I’ve lost my closest friends. I trusted people who betrayed me, because I inadvertently betrayed them, endless cycle of the bipolar mind. You trust and love people and learn instead of helping they run, opening wounds. Others, stay building an invisible net catching me as I fall into darkness.
Now, in depression my mind can only remember the good and can’t think of how I ever hurt a soul. I’m reminded daily, but my mind is a blender on high. I gave until i couldn’t give anymore. Understanding, any hurt isn’t even comprehensible and only brings tears. Looking at the faces of my children when I returned home from the hospital reminded me where my priorities should’ve been and suicide was not the answer. Getting proper medication was important, everything else wasn’t important. Until you have experienced the bipolar mind it’s important to remember it’s all real, it’s amazing and deadly.
Each time like Lennie, from the quote above, he would pet them too hard often killing them. I love too deeply, I love too hard. I give my soul to causes, to people, to everything and disregard the people who truly love me…breaking them in the end. If you read the Steinbeck story, I’m not only Lennie, I’m George…I’m constantly protecting (him) myself and I want my story to end with us as one person again.
“”For the rabbits,” Lennie shouted.
“For the rabbits,” George repeated.
“And I get to tend the rabbits.”
“An’ you get to tend the rabbits.”
Lennie giggled with happiness. “An’ live on the fatta the lan’.”
Lennie turned his head.
“No, Lennie. Look down there acrost the river, like you can almost see the place.”
Lennie obeyed him. George looked down at the gun.””
~ John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men
I am my own story, I am my beginning, my climax, and my end. I just want to write happy endings for everyone. Sadly, in this world everyone can’t have happy endings, but I can survive my story. Tonight, I listen to my little guy who is seven play football in the house. I do not stop him, I hug him. I listen to my crazy cat break ornaments on the Christmas tree, I hug her a little harder. The dog constantly scratches next to me, I stay calm and hug her a little swiftly with my foot.
I’m happy I am alive.
So this morning I couldn’t bring myself to write in detail about this recent experience in the mental hospital, except for the very brief post. Every experience is different, every hospital is different, and even case is different. Go immediately if you need help, but I thought to myself in the two weeks what were top ten things I’d pack if given the chance. Here you go… enjoy!
Top 10 things I wish I packed (cause we all plan our breakdowns)
1. Slippers (no laces) Honestly, the rubber threaded socks are sexy, but provide zero support or protection from the random “mystery yellow water spot” that would appear just as you put on a clean pair in the common area. It’s like passing gas, no one ever knows or claims it.
2. Sweatpants. The good old Hanes or fruit of loom are perfect. It’s freezing and you’ll get sick of the paper suit, trust me. I played like I was Sully on Xfiles for about 2 seconds until it wasn’t funny, no paper blue suit!
3. Sweatshirts/t-shirts . See above
4. Small Blanket and pillow. Yes, they told me 3-5 days, but apparently I needed to be dug out of the rabbit hole, never assume. This helped me more than anything.
5. Personal toiletries. Obviously, they had to approve each item but my own soap and hair products were amazing. Plus, my toothbrush was awesome. Trust me, this was a very short list but each helped me live and I learn my roommates enjoyed just as much…
6. Adult coloring books (obvious reasons)
7. Assorted fine point sharpies for coloring, they will keep these and let you use them under supervision…..completely worth feeling like a child.
8. GUM. You’ll have to ask, but I was at the point I was going to pretend to be a smoker to get the smoker’s gum.
9. Small notebook or journal with phone numbers. You’d be surprised when you get phone privileges but no memorized numbers.
10. Chapstick…because everything and everyone will chap your ass so at least be prepared to pucker up.
“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!
One of my favorite parts of this article. I just had to share.
“It is important to keep in mind that you have more than a diagnosis. You have a destiny, and you can still realize all the dreams you ever had. Sure, it takes courage to move on with your life, but courage is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
Bipolar disorder is only as limiting as you allow it to be, so do not let it hold you back. Bipolar disorder does not define your life: You do.” ~ Stephen Propst
Read the entire article link at bottom. It’s a great one to share and read.
Absolutely great list and post to read and books to check out
“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
“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