Doing What I Know


I am having a very difficult time forgiving myself lately for having bipolar disorder. Even though I know it isn’t something I can help having. I feel like when the delusions are raging and the disease is out of control it is at my own doing that things are falling apart. As if it is all in my control and there is a magic button that will make all the bad parts of this disorder disappear if I just do everything I am supposed to.

Fortunately, that is how it works a majority of the time. If I take care of myself and do the things I lay out for myself in what I call my bipolar care plan I normally don’t have any slip-ups and if I do they are very minor slip-ups and they don’t take but a little tweak and I am back on routine without question.

 I have experienced a major relapse episode of mania

Recently though, I have experienced a major relapse episode of mania. That episode has now put me into a questionable position of being in a mixed state. A mixed state in bipolar is where you are still experiencing symptoms of your mania like some of your inability to sleep, your agitation, irritability, some of your focus, and many other of manias characteristics but you are clearly in a deep depression and not euphoric at all.

 Mixed states are the most dangerous times for those of us living with bipolar disorder. When someone with bipolar disorder is in a mixed state that is most often when they will take action on their threats of suicide and turn the threats into an actual attempt on their life. Most of the time when someone is in a mixed state they are also feeling like they have no will to live at the same time. If they do feel like they have a will to live it will be a last minute decision to take their life and act on the feeling and because it is something they have thought long and hard on in the past they already knew how they would go about taking their life if they even thought they would do so.

 It has been since 2008 since I wanted to take my life

Let me be clear. It has been since 2008 since I wanted to take my life. It has only been in the last 3 months that the thought of suicide has even returned to my thoughts. I had not thought about suicide in so long I thought I was free from ever having thoughts like that again. This disease is a nasty beast. It sucks the will to live out of you because you just want the pain and delusions to stop. You just want to stop hurting everyone else. You just don’t want everyone to hurt because of you anymore. I know that my stopping my hurt in that matter would actually do more harm than good. I would never take my own life. I can’t lie though and say I am not thinking about it again and that once again I am not suicidal. I am. I very much am. I, however, promise you even though I am thinking about it. I do not have a plan in place and I am not going to act on it.

I need to get myself back to a place of recovery and wellness. Bipolar Care plan 101: Step 1: Self-Care; today I went to get a pedicure and to get my nails done at 2:30 I will walk to the gym and jog. I have set a goal to get back to running again, I would like to actually find a 5K and run it with my husband. That seems pretty lofty but manageable. I don’t know how he feels about that, but I like the idea of us doing it together. Once I get through Step 1: Self-Care. I never stopped Step 2: Medication, I kept that up the entire time.

I am one of the lucky ones

I am one of the lucky ones I have said this a million times. I have support. The support of my husband who loves me unconditionally and the support of the rest of my family and friends. I am blessed. Bipolar sucks. If I have to have it, at least I am lucky enough to have it with people around me that love me. Thank you to each of you that take the time to love me, check on me, and send me messages, it doesn’t go unnoticed, I love each of you and you mean so much to me. I am more of a person because of each of you.

Remaining Mindful


When I am going through a deep depression for some reason, I have a hard time practicing what I preach to others. I constantly talk about how important self-care is, but now that I am myself, going through a deep depression and I am to get myself out of it I am realizing the fact that what I have let go is my self-care. I have spent the last 4 years taking care of myself. It is the reason I didn’t work. So that I can tan, go to the gym, get my nails done, do my hair, clean my house, do my meditation, clear my mind, write, and do the things that I need to do to take care of me. Over the last five months I have lost sight of all those things and here I am thinking I want to go back to work or school when I can’t even get through the day without letting the delusional thoughts taking over my mind.

Delusional thoughts for me right now are my biggest struggle. I hate them. They consume me when my thoughts are bad. If I start off in a good state of mind during the day, it’s not a problem but if I start off in a bad mood or if I get triggered by something the delusional thoughts will begin and they snowball into a huge issue that wasn’t needed. I am working on being mindful again when those are starting.

Being mindful of them means knowing the thought is not real

Being mindful of them means knowing the thought is not real and recognizing that the thought is something that I am making up. No matter how real it may feel. An example is my husband not loving me correctly. My husband loves me very much and he expresses his love for me in his own ways. He always has. Through his support. By our bond, by our cuddling and the time he wishes to spend with me. I have never not felt loved by him. However, one of my love languages is when someone puts thought into something and buys something with me in mind or plans something for me. I am totally touched by those efforts and I love those things. It makes me feel special and totally adored and loved. He however isn’t that sort of person, does it mean he isn’t loving me correctly, well know he just loves me differently. I however feel a need isn’t being met with in me. I wish he could bend a bit with this, but it isn’t something I think he will ever be able to do. He does when things are good buy me a rose from time to time. Its been hardly ever now days. However, he does do it. I miss him doing it more often. It meant a lot more to me when he did it.

Just writing this blog is triggering to me because I feel myself getting triggered. I feel myself going into the delusional thought that he doesn’t do enough for me. When the man loves me in other ways. The man makes sure my medications are picked up every day and every time for me. He makes sure that they are put out every day and, in the right amounts, every day for me, to keep me safe. If I need anything he is there. He will hold me as I cry during a delusional break down because they just won’t stop. Not truly understanding what is happening but knowing I am hurting and that is all he needs to know to hold me and let me cry on his shoulder. Many men would walk away at a time like that.

I am a lucky girl; I am a blessed girl

I am a lucky girl; I am a blessed girl and sometimes I forget how good I have it. For 21 and a half years I have had a partner who has stood by me and fought with me against this disease and let me stay at home while he goes to work to provide for us at a job with good insurance so that I can have good medical care to fight against this. I have it so good and I am so thankful for my husband.

I need to start treating him like I am thankful for him again. I need to remind him that I am blessed to have him and that he is my world. I would be nothing without him. He is my world. I am so glad to have him in my life and I think I should stop thinking about how he doesn’t love me and remember about all the ways he does love me. It is really about perspective. Our lives are different than many other people’s lives, because of bipolar disorder. Not that it’s all bad because of bipolar disorder but our lives are just never going to be like everyone else’s lives. That’s just going to have to be OKAY!  

The Hold of The Fear of Rejection!


Self-confidence, where does it come from? My theory is it comes from within. I haven’t been able to find my own inner self-confidence in a long while now. I have had glimpses of it, here and there. Every now and then I will have a fleeting moment where I will not think that every one that is in a room is laughing at me, judging my every move. However, for the most part, I lack the self-confidence I desire in my life.

Part of that does have to do with my mental illness diagnosis and my mental health overall and the fact that paranoia and delusional thoughts about how others perceive me is going to be a part of my life forever. There is never going to be a point that I will be completely free of the nasty thoughts that plague my brain and make me think others are judging me and dislike who I am. It is however up to me to make sure I am mentally as strong and as healthy as I can be in order to find those true glimpses of self-confidence and find the self-worth I know I want and deserve to have.

What can I do to change my lack of self-confidence?

I often think there must be a way for me to overcome this lack of self-confidence that I carry around with me. Whether it’s in my personal life or my career, I walk around in a state of constant avoidance in life with even the simplest of things, because I am always so fearful of the rejection that seems inevitable. I fear rejection, and I think that ultimately that fear of rejection is what is keeping me from the abundance of self-confidence that I crave. So, what can I do to change that fear of rejection and my lack of self-confidence?

Stop Giving My Power to Others!

 I need to stop giving my power to others. The reason I am always lacking self-confidence is that my mood is dependent on external factors in my life. I live on an emotional roller coaster ride that is determined by my emotions that will be decided by the way others react to me. If I am praised, I will be in a great mood. If I am given bad news, I will be in a terrible mood. My mood is determined completely by outside factors all dependent upon if I am rejected that day or not.

My happiness should not depend on whether my husband had a bad day at work or not. Yet my whole being is wrapped up in how I perceive someone is viewing me at a given moment. If he comes home in a bad mood and not in the mood to cuddle I take that as a personal rejection and I am hurt by it and I will lose my confidence in myself. My own self-worth is then devalued and I feel as if I am unwanted and I and my feelings don’t matter to him. When that isn’t true. He simply had a bad day and needs some space.

If I am volunteering somewhere in my community and I am given criticism in the way I am doing something my mood and whole demeanor will change, and I will instantly go into a state of depression because I will feel the rejection from the criticism that was stated even if it was given to me in a  constructive manner. I will feel I wasn’t good enough to get it right the first time and that I let the organization I am working for down and I should have known better, even if it is something I had no way of knowing about. I have a hard time convincing myself that there was no way I could have known. When by them telling me, they just wanted to help me learn to better my skills not make me feel rejected at all but better my skills.

Stop Blaming Others for My Mistakes and Lack of Growth!

Living with bipolar disorder it is very easy for me to blame others for my mistakes and my lack of growth. I have quit many jobs and even dropped out of college and blamed my husband, my children or my illness for the reason for not returning to those things. The real truth for the reason I have not returned to any of those things though, is I am worried about failing yet again.

I have been told over and over again that history repeats it’s self, I have it in my mind that I will once again fail if I try to return to work or school. However, being in a standstill and never making an effort to improve who I am is killing my self-worth. I need to stop blaming my husband and kids for the reason I have not made changes to my life. I worry that the stress of working or going back to school may cause another episode. I worry if that happens it may cause my family more distress again, but not going is causing damage to my psyche that will be nonrepairable if I don’t act and do something to make myself value who I am once again.

Starting to take ownership of my own failures is a new step for me and not allowing myself to blame my family for holding me back. I chose to be a wife and mother first. I will never regret that choice. I do however wish I had made some better life choices along the way.

Recognize that Making Change Starts with Me!

I have to recognize that making change starts with me and unless I believe I can do something, it doesn’t matter if anyone else believes I can do it or not. I have to own my mistakes and take ownership of my failures and make the improvements now towards the future I want. I need to not fear failure as rejection and realize that I will never know “what all could go right” if I am in a state of constant fear of failure. Avoiding the things that trigger my illness doesn’t mean that I am in a state of recovery it means that I have learned how to avoid the things that cause my anxiety not learned how to cope with the anxieties in a healthy manner.

Overall I know I have some changes to make when it comes to myself acceptance. My journey to self-love is one I have been working on for a long time. I know it isn’t going to happen overnight and that is something I am okay with. I will always be plagued with the paranoia and delusional thoughts of mental illness and those will always be a fight I have to deal with. Staying mentally strong and healthy will be the best asset I have against those thoughts.

I have started to accept that I am who I am, and people love me for the unique person that I am. I don’t have to put on an act, pretend to be someone I am not, or try to be something I can’t be. I am a bit too loud, a little too much for some people, and my style is a little too over the top for most to handle, I’m  a little too glamorous for some and I may get a little too excited sometimes for most people but I am who I am, and if people don’t like those things about me then they just aren’t my people. The people that do like me, they are my people, and I love those people that I can just be me around.

Stigma In A Small Town

When waiting for the school bus, children should know not to play in the street and to stay far enough back from the curb so they can’t accidentally step into the street.

I always wondered how I would tell my story if ever given the chance. Having bipolar 1, ADHD, and general anxiety I have so much to share. It was cold out. That’s all I really remember. I had on a stocking cap and I was wearing a sweatshirt. This was my common attire for my then-position as a bus monitor for the school district I lived in. The depression was back and it was hitting hard core. I had lost faith in my current psychiatrist and getting in to see a new one proved to be a challenge. I had an appointment, but it was a month away. I was going to see a doctor who was newly out of school, young, and hopefully wouldn’t, as I called it, “cookie cut” me when it came to medications. I had just found the webcam feature on my new mac, hit record, and “Ramblings of a Bipolar Mom” started to flow from my mouth. After I was done speaking I thought, I am going to use this for good. Maybe someone else needs to hear it. I posted it on Facebook without a second thought. I did a video about every other day, talking about having bipolar illness and how it made me feel and some of the things that it did to me. I got some positive feedback from friends; supportive feedback. “Good for you Tosh, maybe this can help someone else,” one friend said. I felt good about the video blogs. I was very depressed, but I was getting into the doctor and hoped I would be OK soon. I remember getting one message that didn’t make any sense to me until later. It said, “I don’t care what people are saying, I have depression and I am behind you 100%.” It was from a neighbor. I live in a very small town, small enough that it is actually called a village. I just took that comment as a compliment, and it didn’t dawn on me to pay attention to the part that said “what people are saying”. I would, however, find out very soon.

 I was at the bus barn in between runs when my boss asked me to follow him into the offices of the administration building. My chest tightened and my heart sped up as I walked through the hallway leading to the HR manager’s office. On the screen of his computer was my face, my blog pulled up as if I was doing something deceitful on the job. The whole school district was in an uproar over my videos. Some of my children’s friends were on my Facebook page and some of their parents were as well. News of my illness traveled quickly among administrative staff, principals at the schools, and all the way up to the superintendent of the district. They were flooded with calls demanding my immediate dismissal.

 I sat there blank faced. I explained I was trying to help others who have bipolar, asking why there was a problem. They told me I yelled at the students. I said I have never yelled at the students, I talked loudly. There were 70 students on the bus. If I didn’t speak loudly, how would they hear the instructions? I was dumbfounded. I was advised strongly to take the videos down immediately and not do anymore. I was hurt, and ashamed, and worse than that, I worried about my boys and how would this affect them at school. Would the other kids make fun of them for having a crazy mom?

Without thinking I took the videos down and sank even deeper into depression. The shaming, however, had just begun. Day after day I was told of phone call after phone call to the school and the administrative offices. The parents were relentless. The principal, with whom I preciously had a good relationship since my sons were in preschool (now my oldest was in high school) asked me rudely, “Is it worth it for this stupid job?” when I tried to apologize to him for all the phone calls he was having to deal with. I told him yes it was since the school board paid my insurance. I was crushed that he hadn’t assured the parents I was fine to be around their children, that he knew me personally and knew I would never harm them.

 Then the unimaginable happened on the first warm day of spring during an afternoon bus route. Seating on our bus is by grades with kindergartners sitting in the front progressing towards the back with first and second graders next, through fifth graders at the back of the bus. I always sat with the fifth graders because they tended to be the noisiest and needed the most supervision. We stopped in town where the majority of the children and I got off the bus. Seventeen kids got off starting with the youngest. I was the last one off the bus after the fifth graders exited. The snow had melted, the air was fresh and my children decided to walk the two blocks home instead of riding in the car home with me. I remembered that my oldest son had lost his key to our van in the snow a few weeks earlier so I started looking for it along the side of my car. I noticed another van parked across from mine but didn’t see who was in it, just figuring it was another parent picking up their child at the bus stop. My twins called to me, asking what I was looking for. I called back, “The van key that Colton lost a few weeks ago”. After a few more moments I gave up the search got in my car and drove home. The next day my boss asked me to come to his office. He had received a call from a man who said I had pushed his son, a kindergartner, off the bus and then went up to his son and wife sitting inside their van and started growling at them, trying to get into their van, all of which was a complete fabrication. I asked my boss, “Why do they want me gone so badly? I have done this job for four years without a problem. I don’t understand.” I had never dealt with the stigma of bipolar before that moment. Why would someone go out of their way to fabricate a complete lie to try and get me fired from a job that I had done for years for with no complaints from anyone. I couldn’t understand how people, knowing I was already depressed, would try to take something from me that could send me further into depression. I still don’t talk to many people in the town we live in. Fewer than 700 people live there, and most know of my diagnosis. They choose to think I am different because of that. I know that I’ve read somewhere that 1 in 5 people have mental illness. Is it possible the lady who made up that story about me growling at her is dealing with some undiagnosed illness of her own? Then again, maybe she is just that mean-spirited. Either way, I wouldn’t change what happened. It set the course for other things that happened in my life, and the changes that came next were bigger than anything I could have imagined. Although not all of them were good, they all did prove that I have Amazing Strength.