Self Care

Blogging makes my heart break

Blogging has been difficult for me this year. Within six months I’ve lost two close friends. Ulla (Blahpolar) died in September 2016, and Johnna (Painkills2 from All Things Chronic) earlier this year. Johnna played a significant part in supporting me through my grief over Ulla’s passing.

Johnna and Ulla were active and involved blogger.s Their avatars were everywhere. Their part in my life has made me a better person. And now they’re gone. And as life evolves and changes, it seems the ‘old crowd’ has scattered to the wind. I open up WordPress and feel the impact of those departed – the ones that faded quietly away never to return, the friends who kindly bid farewell as they moved on with life. And then the dead. Nothing is the same anymore and the bloggosphere feels so foreign and empty. I don’t adapt well to change. And I form attachments very quickly. While I have since made wonder new friends and know there are plenty of new friends to be made, loss is still so fresh that right now, I’m not sure what direction I will take with my blog.

Not to mention I can barely keep up with following everybody else. I feel so guilty. That I’m not present, reading and interacting like I used to. Life doesn’t leave me with too much spare time. There’s work, which is a mammoth undertaking, exhausting keeping up and avoiding mistakes because of my poor memory. Since my L5 lumbar spinal surgery, its difficult after a full day of sitting at work, to come home and sit and blog. I’m not a laptop-lying-down kinda person. And then there’s my bipolar personal management plan I try so hard to keep to – routine, vigilant for triggers and combating them, lots of sleep etc. Its hard work trying to be healthy.

Stay, go, limit interaction, change the purpose of my blog. I’m not sure. But when I figure things out, you’ll be the first ones to know. In the meantime, know my friends, I love you all and will do the best I can for now.

Advertisements

This old dog learns new tricks

What a triumph! I actually took part in a social activity. The Animal Anti-Cruelty League charity had a 4km fun walk; the fun part being we actually walked the rescued dogs. I joined a lift club/convoy with some ladies from work for the 80km round trip. I’ve never socialized with people from work. I’ve been invited but always say no. So once we got to the venue and I got out the car, one of the ladies exclaimed – Pieces! You’re the last person I expected to see here. She was thrilled I had joined in and kept telling me how happy was to see me there.

I asked for a fat, lazy dog to walk because I didn’t want to pull or strain my back. Well, Pebbles wasn’t fat or lazy… just old and we had a steady stroll along the marked trail winding through the farmlands, with plenty of watering troughs for the dogs. Out in nature, walking a dog, life really doesn’t get any better!

Pebbles wasn’t interested in leading the pack

Pebbles and I enjoy the scenery

 

A new year, a new me

I NEVER do new year resolutions.  But I thought I’d break the mould this year.  I devote this entire year to myself in the name of freedom and self-care.  To practice all I have learned in 2016.

 

 

Explore my value system and work on my self-esteem

Explore my value system and work on my self-esteem

Save money and go away for a weekend Which means.... stick to my budget.... so I can save money and go away for a weekend

Save money and go away for a weekend
Which means…. stick to my budget…. so I can save money and go away for a weekend

Work part time at home to subside my income..... so that I can earn more money.... to save more money and go away for a weekend....

Work part time at home to subside my income….. so that I can earn more money…. to save more money and go away for a weekend….

Learn to love my new home as I settle in. Despite the work it needs and however uncomfortable I feel in it right now, it belongs to me and I want to love it. I want to be content and feel at home.

Learn to love my new home as I settle in. Despite the work it needs and however uncomfortable I feel in it right now, it belongs to me and I want to love it. I want to be content and feel at home.

Develop new friendships and avoid heartbreaking entanglements

Develop new friendships and avoid heartbreaking entanglements

Take my medication as directed – no abuse of meds to escape the pain

Take my medication as directed – no abuse of meds to escape the pain

Stop people-pleasing behaviour. They must love me, not the me they want me to be

Stop people-pleasing behaviour. They must love me, not the me they want me to be

Go on day outings over the weekend

Go on day outings over the weekend

-Be a proactive participant in the newly formed bipolar support group comprised of another 4 ladies from the psych hospital
-Take care of my physical health by cooking healthy meals
-Volunteer somewhere
-Read more
-Go swimming on hot days
-Take walks on the beach
-Less absenteeism at work
-Make friends. Keep them. Don’t push them away
-Develop my interest in photography and painting
-Knit something to completion
-Learn to crochet

I’m getting carried away now, when it’s supposed to be baby steps and I’m getting ahead of myself. But hey, isn’t that what self-sabotage is for – setting ourselves up for failure? Well, we’ll see who the failure is at the end of this year.

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 4

Values are invaluable

I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week. I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy. This is a documentation of all that I learned.

Codependency is also referred to as the Love Deficit Disorder. A broad definition is this: I can only love myself when I’m making someone else happy. I have no boundaries due to fear of abandonment and loneliness. But the real dysfunction occurs when I perpetuate the cycle of abandonment by choosing people who are abandoners. On a subconsciously level this abandoned state has become my normal, my comfort zone becaue it’s all I’ve ever known. But its time to break this dysfunctional pattern of behaviour.

This year I have learned about codependency and relationships. I’ve always been driven by a desperate need to be wanted. So if a person crossed my path and wanted me, that was the only criteria required to enter the inner sanctum of my life. I would invest the full intensity of my bipolar energy into being the person that would make them happy and ‘want to keep me’.

So we’ve established I’m lonely and its putting my health at risk. My doc has given me permission to enjoy the company of men without forcing it to become a deep and meaningful relationship. I grew excited at the opportunity of dating again. But when I attended one of the group therapy sessions about personal value systems, I learned *shocker* that I have none. No core fundamental beliefs that drive my decision-making. But how could I if I’m constantly changing who I am in order to please people. To, by default, live their life and not my own.

The beauty is, I’m learning how to face my beast
Starting now to find some peace, Set myself free
Today, I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to let the damage consume me,
-Blue October (Fear)

I can have all the permission in the world to mingle, but until I discover and develop my own value system, I will perpetuate the cycle of choosing abandoners. Before I start dating, I need to build up an arsenal of key values to live by. If you’re looking for me I’m over at Youtube or Google learning the shit outta values and self love.

 

 

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 3

I am suicidal but I don’t want to die. Quite the opposite. I want to live a full and productive life. So I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week. I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy. This is a documentation of all that I learned

Permission to mingle

Okay, so I have ‘permission’ to mingle in the dating pool without that horrible label of being ‘needy’. But how to do it without getting my heart broken each time? I become quickly and intensely attached to people which always ends in heartbreak.

3-_permission-to-mingle

Here’s what the doc had to say:

Just because you date someone doesn’t mean you have to have a relationship with them.

If you meeting someone and you have chemistry and all the right stuff and you date and get married and live happily ever after, well then good for you. But that need not be the approach or end game. You can date for fun, for companionship, just for sex, a one night stand, be friends with benefits or all of the above. You can date but still keep a distance and don’t engage your heart.

My doc’s awesome analogy:

Say you go on vacation to Mauritius. You meet a local man with a gorgeous, sexy french accent. You spend time together, there’s chemistry, you laugh, have fun and have sex because you are intoxicated by the adventure . But all holidays come to an end. Its sad to part, but you knew it was going to be short-lived so you stayed in the moment with no emotional investment. There was no pressure of a potential future together. It was simply a fun holiday romance. Perhaps you do maintain contact and develop genuine feelings over the course of time. And perhaps you end up together for that happy ever after. Or maybe not.

My doc said to me:

Go out there and have some fun. Be safe. No serious stuff. If that happens to evolve over time then great. But let that not be your goal. Eat, drink, be merry, have a one night stand if you want to. Above all, keep your heart to yourself and don’t invest emotionally. Think of your French Lover and laissez faire. It doesn’t have to be long term. It can simply be for enjoyment and you can be the one in control, doing it on your own terms. This new perspective makes me feel like an independent woman. I just need to figure out what ‘my own terms’ are.

The Hospital Chronicles – Part 1

I am not a Specialized Psychiatrist

I am suicidal but I don’t want to die. Quite the opposite. I want to live a full and productive life. So I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for a week. I’ve had my medication adjusted, an addition to my diagnosis and received some invaluable therapy. This is a documentation of all that I learned.

I look back on the past 12 months since my last hospitalisation and reaslise all I’ve been doing is a stop-drop-and-roll from one crisis to the next with no real stability inbetween. If its not triggers, then its been life events that have embedded me in the rolling cycles of bipolar. From hypomania into the trenches of suicidal ideation, depression, insomnia, agitation. Roaming through a cluttered mind of twisted paths that lead no where. Circling and recycling the symptoms until I feel like I’m going insane.

My doc wanted me in hospital in March, then September, and then in early December. Each time I refused. I’m hard-headed. I want to do things myself. I don’t like asking for help. In my head I think its weak, but in my heart I know its needed; that asking for help is actually a brave step. Eventually I got to a point where I was just too tired. Too tired to try anymore strategies, skill sets, motivation, coaching, rewarding, routine, writing notes, keeping reminders, setting timers. Tired of forcing myself through life. So I made the decision to phone my doc and hand the control over to him. I had to accept that he’s the professional, not me. And I needed professional help.

I always like to think I know my own mind and body, so I know what’s best for me. But sometimes I don’t. Especially when I’m unstable. If I had listened to my doc in March, and not tried to micro-manage my health, perhaps I would not have spent such a long time suffering. I’ve lost a lot of time in the name of stubbornness, don’t make the same mistake as me.

 

 

 

 

 

I admit I have to be hospitalized

I’ve admitted myself into hospital after two weeks of insomnia and chasing my tail in mixed episodes. Loud and laughing then switching to tears. I swear to god if I have to cry one more time…. if I have to have one more sleepless night….. if I have to become fixated on Mr Google’s access to information one more time….. I’m gonna go nuts!

So here I am, back where I was last year. This time without visits from Lover… bittersweet…. but a good thing because he’s a big part of the reason why I’m back. I’ve seen my doc and he’s added to and increased my meds. Our goal is to knock me out. He’s also treating my sciatica pain. Having no sleep means my body hasn’t been resting and recuperating from the day and my pain is beyond screaming at this point. I can barely put weight on my right foot.

A big part of me doesn’t want to go to sleep even though I’m tired. My brain is moving so fast, so many things I want to do. My energy feels endless. I feel electrified. Alive. But I switch, so quickly, and I’m heartbroken and desolate. So I know I need to press the reset button to stop this cycle; to get any quality of life moving forward into the new year. At least here I know, I will have no choice but to be sleeping peacefully.

Self-love has been the missing piece

I’ve had a bit of an revelation regarding my distressing feelings of ‘aloneness’. I’m thinking its not about being alone. Rather its about being alone with somebody I don’t like. Me! I don’t like myself. I certainly don’t love myself. No one enjoys the company of someone they don’t like. That must be an unpleasant and distressing experience…..? So now I’ve discovered the faulty wiring of my thought pattern, hopefully I can begin to work towards developing self-love and live in harmony, not ‘aloneness’ with myself.

 

Food saved from spoiling

Its been a bad week all round with depression, mixed episodes, a fall in my kitchen and sciatica pain ruling the day for more than 2 months now. I had fruit in the fridge about to go off. I’m too poor (poor me) to let it go to waste so I made the monumental effort of chopping it up and adding cream. It was worth the effort. Then I had eggs also about to go off – apparently this happens when depressed people don’t cook the food they have in their fridge. I mustered all my efforts into chopping an onion, grating some cheese, mixing it all up with about 8 eggs, threw in some gluten-free flour and baked. Lo and behold, I did not burn this attempt at dinner. I ate off each of these meals for the entire week. Hopefully this upcoming week will be a bit kinder on my destabilised mind and body, but judging by the way I feel right now, I highly doubt it. I’m holding out hope for my doc’s appointment at the end of November to chemically put an end this year long battle against bipolar *sigh*

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

A slow progression

I am bipolar and a recovering anorexic made fat by both side effects of bipolar medication, and a damaged thyroid caused by Lithium. Living single and alone, its not only a challenge to cook for one, but it’s a daily battle to eat a nutritious, balanced diet. Or even just to eat at all. I transition between starvation, comfort and binge eating. Everything to extreme, and nothing balanced. This is my weekly journal documenting my eating patterns, moods and thoughts. An attempt to keep account of my successes and failures with food.

cream cheese and crackers

cream cheese and crackers

That then progressed to putting vienna sausages into boiling water.  Its not quite cooking, but I did use boiling water.  That has to count for something, right?

That then progressed to putting vienna sausages into boiling water. Its not quite cooking, but I did use boiling water. That has to count for something, right?

Wow! I grilled meat and chopped a salad.  But what you don't see is how much of it I ate.... not much

Wow! I grilled meat and chopped a salad. But what you don’t see is how much of it I ate…. not much

Ohmygod!  I put sweet corn in the oven and baked with butter.  Never knew I had it in me.  Probably going to be feasting on this for a few nights

Ohmygod! I put sweet corn in the oven and baked with butter. Never knew I had it in me. Probably going to be feasting on this for a few nights