Becoming Whole

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Pain. At one point or another we all have some sort of pain. That pain could be emotional or physical and if I am being honest with you, I would tell you, I have many more scars from the emotionally scars of pain, then I ever will have when it comes to the physical scars of pain. Frankly my life because I live with bipolar 1 disorder and borderline personality disorder is an emotional roller coaster.

Bipolar Disorder is a Mental Illness that is characterized by extreme mood shifts. Ranging from Manic to Suicidal Depression, the symptoms of the disorder have gotten to where there really are too many symptoms to list as they differ from individual to individual so greatly. The main thing I try to remember about my bipolar disorder is that the symptoms that are caused by my bipolar disorder can be modified or controlled by medications. Borderline Personality Disorder is a personality disorder which differs from a mood disorder because it is not genetic for one it was brought on by a traumatic experience for that person. Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave. There is some research that shows it could have a genetic component or that it could because due to brain abnormalities however, most research reflects that it is caused from stress in childhood that causes the issues later in life.

Borderline Personality Disorder also gives way to other mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder but on like depression where you can take an anti-depressant or bipolar where there are numerous options for medication Borderline Personality Disorder is controlled by behavior modification and learning how to control yourself and be mindful of how you treat others and the ways you are reacting to the situations as the unfold throughout the day.

I normally do not have a problem with my borderline personality disorder. Many years ago, I learned mindfulness and was able to use it to guide myself through my daily activities seamlessly without much effort. I have raised four children and been married 21 years. I thought I don’t even need to research this disorder much I have it figured out before I even really know what it is, I have been diagnosed with.

I have always concentrated on the bipolar part of my illness I always have tried to learn everything I can about all my symptoms and all the ways I can keep myself from having any issues with my episodes. What I am learning though is what triggers those episodes are the symptoms that they list for borderline personality disorder. If I am feeling rejected, I will go into an episode. If I am lonely, here comes an episode. If I feel harshly judged, it sends me into an episode. My husband must work late suddenly I have an episode. I have the impulsive spending and gambling I thought that was bipolar but is it possible that it is part of the borderline personality disorder and that is the reason medication never seemed to help that symptom.

There is also the fact that one minute I have all the confidence in the world, and then the next minute I am scared to be seen, which is common for people with borderline personality disorder. I didn’t know about this symptom, and it is a symptom I will be looking further into because if there was one thing that I could change about myself it would be the confidence I have in myself. I would give myself the confidence to believe I am capable of all things. To believe I am good enough, and to believe I am wanted. Confidence has been a key factor for me lately in my life, and a key component for complete healing, and until I can feel truly confident in myself, I won’t ever feel whole. Maybe that is asking for too much, but it is a hope I have for myself someday to truly feel confident in my own skin, and comfortable. Not with just the way I look, but with the human I am as well. I need to know I have something of value to offer this world.  

All of this can be mixed in with the same symptoms that are included with bipolar disorder, who’s to say which is which. I know I have both because of the actual voice that accompanied my suicidal depression telling me to just end it all. Along with the delusional disorder that comes when I work in a traditional work environment and my psychosis sets in because my co-workers are all conspiring to get me fired because they can’t stand me and then slowly the paranoia creeps into other areas of my life and I can’t control the thoughts that come at me so quickly, judging me, and telling me others dislike me as much as I dislike myself.

Bipolar is no joke, but I am quickly learning that I may not have been giving as much attention to a diagnosis that is just as an important part of me getting well as bipolar disorder. I have Borderline Personality Disorder and the key to me feeling 100% worthy of living a fulfilling life is probably hidden somewhere within that diagnosis and I am looking forward to discovering more about how these two disorders intersect and how to manage them both much more fully. I have hope to becoming Whole!

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Remaining Mindful

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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!  

Second Chance

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I always craved the nightlife. However being a bigger girl the majority of my life I was never very good at being a part of it. As I now know, the bipolar was bad at allowing this aspect of my life to happen. The bipolar delusions were strong and I was struggling very hard internally with the paranoid thoughts that flooded my mind day in and day out. The thought of being talked about behind my back, and people not liking me, was never far from my mind. I never felt like I fit in wherever I was. I never stayed at a job for much longer than six months because I would get overwhelmed with the feelings that my coworkers were out to get me. The struggle had me in full force by 2008 when I had lost all the weight after my gastric bypass surgery.

I always wanted to do something I thought only the pretty girls could do!

            I always wanted to do something that I thought only the pretty girls could do. When you are bipolar you can be hypersexual. I married young but I loved to flirt. The type of innocent flirting that didn’t mean anything other than the fact that a guy found me attractive. I wasn’t going to let it go anywhere and my husband wasn’t the jealous type. I knew I couldn’t be a stripper; one, I have no rhythm, so dancing was out. Two, since I did have gastric bypass and couldn’t afford the skin removal surgery, I had a ton of extra skin. However with a sweater, corset, skirt and pantyhose, I could hide that skin, so I waited tables. The money was awesome, and for a while, I was having the time of my life. 

I had hoped that the thoughts would go away because I was finally pretty. After all the years of being 355 lbs, I was finally a size small, and 142 lbs. A feat I thought I would never achieve. I was sadly mistaken. By this time I realized that the nightlife, no matter how much I enjoyed the flirting, was not where I needed to be. It could really make me feel pretty downright lousy about myself and the person I was trying to be.

I decided then, that I was going to end my life.

              One night I came home and I had had enough. I decided I didn’t want to deal with the self-hatred I felt any longer. That the pain I felt, the overwhelming feeling of just wanting all the pain and all the distress I was causing my family – to be over. I decided then, when I got home as I was lying in bed – and as my husband got up to start his day, that I was going to end my life.

            I was working crazy hours though, 13 to 14 hours a day. My boys were playing football every night. If I wasn’t working, I was sleeping at practice in the car, which I am sure didn’t look good to the other parents. I slept all day. I missed most of their life for about 6 to 8 months while I was doing this job. I worked most nights from 3 pm till 6 am. The drive was 40 minutes from my house. I was having fun though. I saw my doctor. I was taking Ambien to sleep. I was on ADHD meds during the day. As well as anxiety meds. I thought I was doing okay. Then slowly the thoughts started to creep in.

            I couldn’t just say goodbye to my boys though. I climbed the stairs where my boys were awake and getting ready for school. I went to my oldest and I said to him, “Colton, remember you can do anything you want to do. Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently. You’re smarter than people believe, and always know you can do whatever you put your mind to.” I went in to see my twins, and I said to them that I loved them, and to never forget mommy (at the time they were only about 6 years old). Then I grabbed my son Justin who I am known for having a very close relationship with. He and I have always had a very special bond. I said, “come lay down and say goodbye to mommy”.

 Little did I know that those were the words that would save my life. Justin and I went down the stairs and laid in my bed. My husband came in from his shower. I had taken every pill I had and I had a lot because my scripts had just been refilled. He asked me what we were doing. I said “we’re saying good-bye” and I must have already been distant because Chris didn’t hesitate a second, he knew I was serious. He grabbed the phone and dialed 911. He told them what I had done. Moments later I sat down on the gurney. I remember going out the door but not being put in the ambulance. I remember none of the drives. How would I? I died on the way to the hospital.  They brought me back. I woke up at the hospital a day later on a vent. The damage I had caused my body was unknown. I asked, “why didn’t you just let me go”. Chris said, “No way!”  I got lucky, and there was no damage to my body from all the different medications. After 4 days of court-ordered admission to the hospital. I was released.

I am thankful every day my husband didn’t just “let me go”. I have gotten to see my boys grow up. I’ve seen Colton graduate High School. I’ve seen Justin get into U-High. I have seen Cory give the speech at his 8th-grade graduation, and I have seen Cale grow into a kid with one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met. They are all so great!  I would never trade any of it for anything in the world. Teenagers are a pain, but I am loving every minute of it. Mostly because I almost wasn’t here for it.

I got a second chance at life;

I got a second chance at life and I am going to make sure that I take care of that life. I hope that my strength can encourage others to be aware of the changes within themselves and when to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. Life can be a battle and when you have a mental illness, everything is more intense. The normal life circumstances that happen to people for those of us that suffer can throw us for a loop, which is why at the end of each day we are so tired. A battle of the mind can be so much more exhausting than any other physical challenge ever dreamt of being. It takes strength and courage to face each day. Do it bravely knowing that you are worth living for! That your breath is worth just as much as everyone else’s. Face each day with “Amazing Strength

It’s hard to swallow for me that I put my family through such a traumatic experience. They know that life can throw you curves. That you’re not always going to feel 100%, but tomorrow will come, and you are probably going to feel better eventually. That there are people that can help, and medications to help as well. They know what I have been through, and I hope they don’t ever feel helpless, but if they do – they know they can always ask for help. I am so glad I got a second chance at life.

With bipolar, every day can be a challenge and most days is a challenge, but I know that if I get helpless again, I have the strength to overcome it. My husband and my boys give me the strength I need to get through each and every day. They give me the courage to continue life even in the darkest of times. I am confident that I will be okay eventually I just have to keep going one more day.

 When dealing with suicidal thoughts I know how quickly I can feel alone and as if the pain will never end but now that I have gone through what has been the darkest days of my life so far, I can see where eventually the clouds will lift and I will smile again.

Sometimes the courage comes with knowing your limits. Recently I again had a manic episode which also produced psychosis. I do believe I was close to a psychotic break which again would have resulted in a trip to the hospital. Since I practice mindfulness and constantly do self-checks on myself to make sure I stay healthy, I knew I was manic and I had to take some drastic steps to get back on my management plan. I am fortunate enough to have a loving family who supported me and helped me quickly get into the doctor and seek treatment. I was able to stay out of the hospital and regain my recovery.