One Step Forward, Fifty Steps Back

Yesterday I was taken to the ER by ambulance after yet another overdose of over the counter medication. This time it was phenergen, fifty of them. I have done this before…but yesterday was different.

In the past I have attempted suicide after months of severe depression. Months of not talking to anyone or going anywhere. Months in where I asked for help, but never got it. Then after some major upset I would take every pill I could get my hands on, lie down to try to sleep…and hope no one found me. It’s horrible to feel that lost. To be so sure that everyone, my kids included, would be better off without me. To feel so incredibly alone.

I don’t think I felt like that yesterday. I don’t know what happened. I got upset, really angry and miserable. And I fell back on what has clearly become a habit. I opened my bedside drawer and took every single tablet in a new box of phenergen. Instantly I panicked. I didn’t want to die. What the hell did I do? SO I went and tried to make myself sick. It didn’t work. A call to nurse on call, followed by a call to the ambulance and a trip to ER to be monitored until I was safe.

I was,, of course, visited by the mental health team. After a bit of a chat (and lots of crying on my part) we decided against admission to the psych ward. As she put it…I didn’t want to die…there was no intent. It seemed to have scared me enough to not be inclined to do it again. Maybe she is right. I am being treated at home by the CAT team. They will help me find a new psychologist and psychiatrist and probably a different medication.

I feel like I am right back at the start again. Even worse…I am terrified it can now happen any time I am upset.

Physically I am mostly fine…still quite sleepy and foggy, but that is to be expected given what I took. I am also exhausted…again to be expected.

I just feel like an idiot. I heard my dads voice on the way to the hospital. He was the first person to visit me after my first suicide attempt. After screaming at me for a few minutes about how he was never going to let me see my kids again, he went on to tell me how people with “real” medical problems probably died waiting for an ambulance because they had to come and take me to the hospital. I felt like I was wasting everyone’s time. Especially as I had almost no side effects at all. I never lost conciousness. Five hours later I was still awake and walking around like a normal person. My heart rate was slightly elevated…but that was it. People were on hospital beds in the halls of emergency while I was taking up a bed. I was monitored first for an hour in a resuscitation room with a nurse in the room the whole time. The guy who was next to me was rushed to surgery. The next one died. And here I was wasting everyone’s time.

I am not sure I am making any sense. I feel like shit. I am about to go to bed (before 7pm) as I am just drained.

project:girl

Movie Monday…Ummm Wednesday: Away We Go

I have been thinking about doing a Movie Monday post for awhile…but somehow I blinked and it was Wednesday, but seeing as how I just watched one of my all time favourite movies I thought I would post early/late.

I am starting off with one of my all time favourite movies. It might not be the funniest, the biggest stars, or the best … well anything….but gosh did it move me. I originally wanted to watch it because it starred John Krasinski, who I fell in love with on the US version of “The Office”. I had been teased relentlessly over this crush and had forced the husband to sit through some truly horrific movies with him in it. We both went into it assuming a) we wouldn’t like the movie much and b) he couldn’t really act. We were wrong on both accounts. We laughed and I cried. We sat there dumbfounded at the end because the couple through out the movie was us in so many ways.

The movie starts off with a 30 something couple who are expecting their first baby. They are a bit odd and don’t seem to have the things other thirty year olds might have (ie. a house with working electricity). When they discover that his parents are about to take off for a few years they realise they don’t have to stay where they are, they can raise their baby any where. So away they go – visiting old friends and relatives trying to find a new place to settle down. It starts off really quite funny, each new place showing some crazy people they don’t want to be like, or live near. Then about halfway through there is a scene that left me in tears and the whole movie changes from a comedy, to a heartfelt drama.

The first scene of a movie that has ever made me have to stop the movie and have my own total breakdown is this one. It deals with miscarriage. You see I have had seven miscarriages myself. Yes I have been blessed with four beautiful girls, but I have lost seven beautiful babies as well. It is something that is hushed up, not talked about and honestly, very few people understand. Unless you have lost a baby yourself, and even then some people (ie. my mother) don’t seem to understand the profound feeling of pain & loss. Not only did this movie show the pain and heartbreak that comes along with that, even if you are lucky enough to have children, but more importantly it showed a father who just had no idea how to cope with it. It was…beautiful. heartbreaking, but beautiful.

Now the only problem with this movie seems to be other peoples reactions. The people we have shown it to, or recommended it to, don’t seem to get it. We LOVE this movie. This movie is us. We relate to it, which is why I think we love it so much.

For so long we were lost. We desperately wanted some family in our lives, which is part of the reason we had babies so young. Unfortunately our family is more than a little crazy. They have very little interest in us or our beautiful girls. We were in a place we didn’t love, in a town that had nothing. When we moved to Melbourne we found our first real home. We love it here. Here we have also started to create family. Family are the people who love you no matter what, and are always there for you. Not necessarily the people you are blood related to.

This movie is also shot beautifully and has the most amazing soundtrack. I highly recommend it if you want to laugh and cry.

project:girl

Thank You.

I spend too much time whining on this blog…we all know that though 😉 as you all know it is my outlet. BUT I want to take the time out to say some thank yous to my lovely readers. The people who have gone out of their way to comment on my blog with support, words of comfort and just generally to check in on me…I really appreciate it. I really never expected to get a “following” on my blog. But more than that, I never expected it to help me make new friends. So I am going to take this opportunity to say thank you to my top 4 commenter’s….all of them have blogs of their own which I find fabulous reading. Click on their names to go see for yourself.

My very top commenter is the lovely Lisa. Not only are you the person who comments on almost every single blog entry, you really seem to genuinely think through your comments. Especially the last one where you took time out of your day not only to post, but to research bipolar and send me some links which have been incredibly helpful. I really, really, really appreciate it and I wish you all the best for your move back home and good luck with it all. (ps. a friend has had success with allowing me to comment on her blog by allowing comments from name & url…meaning I wouldn’t have to log in to wordpress to comment. I really do read all your posts and I keep coming back hoping to be able to comment again one day soon).Thank you for your support.

Next up is Aly. My beautiful, lovely, lovely friend. I honestly have no idea how this friendship started…but I know it had a lot to do with this blog. We started commenting on each others blog. Then emailing. Then twittering. A teacher friends with a homeschool mum…who would have though *wink*. We chatted a lot while she was away in Jordan and I have been lucky enough to meet her in person a few times (not enough IMO…thanks to my craziness) and she is just so incredibly lovely. Oh and beautiful. Also she has amazing skin…I know because I asked her what foundation she was wearing the other day thinking I needed to get me some…and of course she wasn’t wearing any. She is always up for a chat and is nice enough to still want to catch up, even when so often I have to stand her up. She also sent me the most thoughtful Christmas present. As some one who rarely gets presents (and the girls have figured out if they buy me things they want, then ask for them I always say yes…so I have been getting toys lately), and when I do they are of the purple rhinestone covered ug boot variety (thanks mum) I appreciated my book so much and it hasn’t left my bedside table since. Oh and she got me muppet nail polish…she rocks.Thank you for being a lovely friend.

Lady Demelza. My first ever “fan mail” came from her and it was the most wonderful, heartfelt email. Since then she has been a constant source of comfort, strength and kind words. As someone who has “been there, done that” in regards to mental illness – well it is just nice to not have to explain myself. You totally just get it. Not only do I get lovely emails, I have gotten my first handwritten “proper” (four pages long) letter in years. I have received presents in person and in the mail and I had my very last piece of cheesecake with her in a cafe in Werribee. A giant piece of cake along with wonderful hours of conversation (the cake was so huge it took us forever to get through it). I can’t wait to catch up again this week. Thank you for everything.

And Number four on my list is the super cute Jennifer from Polka Dots & Pearls. You always have something lovely to say and I was so honoured to be included in your post about bloggers you enjoy. To know that there is another person who has my back, who will read my whining and say “hey I’m here for you”…well it means a lot. I only wish you lived here so we could start that book club! Please come visit me in Melbourne I want to see your amazing style in person. Thank you lovely for always having something nice to say.

But truly, I want to thank everyone. Everyone who reads. Everyone who has something nice to say to me. Everyone who has anything to say. Most of my life is lived in isolation since my “breakdown” and diagnosis. I spend most of my days in bed. I am lucky enough to have four amazing daughters who I love and adore and who I share my life with….but like any adult, I crave company. Company that is often not possible when you can suffer extreme agoraphobia or have panic attacks or are not awake when other humans are. This blog has not only given me an outlet, a place to dump the thoughts that swirl around in my crazy brain, but has been a place when I can find companionship, company and friendship.

For this blog and these friends I am eternally grateful.

project:girl

How do you put one foot in front of the other when one isn’t working?

I have hurt my ankle. I am not quite sure what happened. It was achey after day three on the reclining bike. Then I followed that up with a romp around Bendigo (to see the Grace Kelly exhibit) and I have barely been able to walk on it since. To comfort myself I have sat in bed downing panadine and eating carbs…because if things are bad, why not make them worse? Then of course I was feeling even worse after eating carbs. Headaches. Body aches. Nausea. Blarg.

With things going downhill fast I started to avoid the 12WBT website and forums. How was I suppose to do anything I cried pathetically to myself. Stupid body always lets me down.

Also I was in a foul mood all week. Really bitterly angry. Grrr.

Of course after two days of carbs I made myself sick enough to remember I don’t even get any enjoyment out of them any more and I was being stupid. Eating something just to “rebel” when you get absolutely nothing out of it…yup, stupid. Thankfully I no longer seem to get carb withdrawals after I “slip up”. My body craves protein and whole foods. Salad, surprisingly, makes everything all better. I haven’t even had my sugarless chocolate in weeks.

I decided last night it was time to catch up on my 12wbt “stuff” – which meant watching my preseason videos. The last time I spoke about it I had just watched the first preseason video about excuses. After that came goal setting. I had to think about what I wanted to get out of 12WBT…and my life. Is it too much to hope for a day when I can be my old self? Have someone find a cure for mental illness? Yes…ok, well back to reality then.

It was broken up into 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months goals. It’s all too easy to assign a number to it “I want to lose xx kilos so I weigh xx”. But given that I have been reading more on weight loss and body image (I highly recommend Portia De Rossi’s Book “Incredible Lightness” for insight into eating disorders) and my daughters (one of whom has already shown signs of the starts of eating disorders) and what is achievable that really, I want to change my focus from weight loss to health and fitness.So what are my goals in regard to 12WBT…

1 Month

  • Increase exercise to 30 minutes per day, 6 times a week (when I am able to function “normally”)
  • Increase my vegetable intake to 5 cups a day to make sure I am getting my 5 & 2 (and to stop me from binging on food that isn’t so great)
  • Lower my sodium intake to under 1500mg per day

To achieve these goals I just need to get moving and make sure I do a proper shop and meal plan. To lower my sodium intake I need to start preparing my own sliced meats rather than relying on deli items. If I cook and freeze in 100g batches I can do this easily.

3 Months

  • Run/Jog without stopping to walk (or pass out) for 5km
  • Be able to perform a burlesque routine (not necessarily in public)

To achieve these ones I want to enrol in a “proper” burlesque school (Thinking of Bottoms Up Burlesque) and practice with my Jo Weldon DVD’s and for running I need to get fitted for a new pair of runners and start using my C25K running app which is an 8 week running program.

6 Months

  • To Enter (and finish) a 5km Fun Run
  • To Enter (and finish) a Mini Fun Triathlon (Like Triathlon Pink)

For this I need to start riding my bike more, not relying on the reclining gym bike and to be going swimming at least once a week to get my form back. Then I just need to remember to sign up before the cut off dates…which I almost always forget.

12 Months

  • To be able to Run/Jog without stopping for 10km
  • To be able to fit into clothing at almost any “straight” sized clothing store
  • To be as fit and healthy as I can possibly be

Once I finish my C25K program, move on to their follow up one to extend running to 10km. The rest is just time and effort put in, consistently, for the year.

Next up we had task number three “Gear Up” which meant making sure we had everything we need to start the program in two weeks. Unfortunately finances have been a tad tight so I have been going slowly at this. I have most things now I just need to be fitted for a new pair of “proper” runners at athletes foot and order my heart rate monitor. I have tonnes of exercise DVD’s (I even managed to get my hands on some of the training videos for the Les Mills classes you see at the gym…saves me having to sign up for a gym that has them) and things like hand weights, a fit ball and resistance band. I wouldn’t mind picking up a little step and maybe a medicine ball…but they aren’t necessary.

Task Four is “Say it Out Loud”. Basically making the commitment to the 12WBT and tell everyone you know. Well this one was easy…everyone I know either lives with me or reads my blog. I am also not one to hold back on what is going on in my life. The point is to make sure you can’t hide from what you are wanting to do. Well for everyone who is new…I am doing the 12WBT and I am going to exercise and eat well. My family knows. My friends (the few I have) know. It seems like this is a hard one for most people….but one of the easier ones for me. My commitment (for those interested) is “simply putting one foot in front of the other and to keep going, no matter what.”

In other semi-related news I am heading down to Geelong on Friday to have my BioAge done. You know the thing they do at the start and end of biggest loser. It may seem a bit lame…but I am really curious. I am having it done once before and once after the 12WBT. Then I will catch up with my lovely friend Lady Demelza, get some op shopping in and hopefully get to see her home with the old telephone boxes! I might even treat myself to a walk along the beach. I used to walk along the beach a lot when we used to live up North. I am not a big beach swimmer (terrified of sharks and the unknown) and I really hate sand…but I love the clarity that comes with a beach walk. The freshness. But I really must  remember it is almost winter in Melbourne and to take my coat!

project:girl

 

Like Cleopatra

I used to have a bath every single day. I always loved lighting a few candles, popping on some jazz music and just relaxing. It was a ritual. Put the kids to bed then lock myself in the bathroom. It was the only time I could manage to switch my brain off.

I think I stopped having baths regularly when we got our first house with an ensuite. I loved it so much that I started having showers all the time. My own little bathroom. Growing up I lived in various dumps. In housing commission flats, a caravan (with no bathroom at all) and one house where you could see through the floorboards to the ground underneath. Having a house with my own little ensuite seemed the height of luxury. Our current ensuite is HUGE and off my walk in wardrobe. But it doesn’t have a bath.

The girls bathroom has a bath, but the first/last time I used it – about 3 months ago – it seemed tiny. Maybe it was the extra 18 kilos I was carrying.

I have been stressed out lately. Angry. I haven’t ever been a really angry person, sad definitely…but not angry. I needed some serious relaxing. So last night I gathered some supplies and decided to have a bath after the girls were all in bed.

While the bath was running I  added in one cup of powdered milk, 1/4 cup of honey and a tablespoon of sweet almond oil (you can also add in scented oil if you want, but remember to mix it with a carrier oil like almond oil first). As my ankle has been aching lately I added in a cup of epsom salts as well. Then I whipped up a new playlist on my iphone (god bless technology I was able to export my playlist to itunes…click on thplaylist link to see what is on there and get it for yourself). I lit some tealight candles and my new Marseille (gardenia scented) Glasshouse Candle. Mixed up some pastel pink clay with some rosehip oil and witch hazel (I am all out of my Trilogy spray) and brewed a pot of French Earl Grey tea. I blew up my little bath pillow (the only useful thing my mum has ever sent me…much better than the purple ug boots with rhinestones). With Etta James crooning “Stormy Weather” I got into my Cleopatra bath and didn’t get out until the water went cold. I was so incredibly relaxed. It turns out the bath wasn’t as small as I thought.

Not only was my skin was crazy soft afterwards, but I was incredibly relaxed. It really got me thinking about how it is so easy to just accept that the only way to cope with modern anxiety and stress is with medication and then have to deal with all the side effects from that. But a bath? A massage? Reading your favourite book? They don’t have any side effects at all (with the exception of book addiction…I am onto my 4th book in 4 days). I feel daft that it has taken me this long to apply it. This week I need to find a place I can go for regular massages (when I get stressed I tense up my shoulders and I end up with massive knots there). I want to focus on things I really enjoy – including finally trying to find a horse riding school that I can get to. I think I also need to find someone who can help me learn to clear my mind. I have never found mediation effective at all, but I also have never given it a real shot.

I have been cranky all day….so I am off to have another bath and am looking forward to becoming addicted to this new side effect free miracle cure for stress.

project:girl

More Than I Am

I find myself today wishing, more than ever, to be more than I am. I want to be a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better sister. I wish I could work again. I wish I wasn’t so tired all the time. I wish I wasn’t so weak. I wish I didn’t have so many negative thoughts. I want to be more than I am.

Since my bipolar diagnosis my life has been flipped upside down. It was only recently that I realised (stupidly) that there was no cure. I wasn’t going to find some magic combination of things to turn back into the person I was before bipolar. Even if I manage to get things to the point where they are extremely well managed I am not cured.

I spoke to my mum the other day and she wanted to let me know about this program she saw which saw people cured of diabetes. I have seen it (really interesting documentary called “Simply Raw – Reversing Diabetes in 30 days”) and the problem is that while you can remove all the symptoms, you can have blood tests that show you no longer have diabetes, but it’s still there. At the moment I have had “normal” blood sugars for about two months. If I was to have a regular blood test they would miss the diabetes. But if I was to go back to eating cakes and lollies it would come right back.

Bipolar is forever. Once you have it, you can’t unhave it.

Today I am down. Which sucks as I had an absolutely amazing time yesterday. I went on a little v-line day trip with a friend to Bendigo to see the Grace Kelly exhibit. We had lunch. The exhibit was amazing. I found a new hat. I had great company. We were asked to pose for some pictures for the tourist information centre as we were “stylish”. My lovely friend noticed I was so different since we last saw each other in January. I think she was talking about more than the weight I have lost as I got home and my husband noticed the same thing. He said I was more “spirited” than I have been in a long time. I got my hopes up. Maybe this was the turning point. Maybe I could be the old me.

But I am not. Today I feel so incredibly down. It took me ages to get to sleep last night. Then I slept too long today…barely being able to drag myself out of bed at 4pm after 16 hours sleep. I felt useless. My brain hurt. I wanted to cry. Irritated over the smallest thing. Even my beautiful girls set me on edge. So once again I hid in my room. Despising the person I am.

I have accepted bipolar is forever. I haven’t accepted the person that I have become.

I realised today that I will most likely need to be looked after for the rest of my life. I can’t remember to take my medications …. even with an alarm, once I turn it off if I get distracted I forget instantly. Then assume I have done it because my alarm is off. I can’t remember to take my salmon oil…which is really upsetting me as I know it can only work if I take it regularly. I almost burnt myself getting into the shower as I forgot to turn on the cold water.

I used to remember everything. I could quote something someone said to me 10 years ago.I managed a household, I remembered all our appointments, I managed a business solo, I ran a charity. I remembered birthdays and anniversaries. I forgot it was my little brothers birthday yesterday. I only remembered when my mum apologised for not sending my daughter something as well (she thought her birthday was at the same time…its not). I remembered that it was mothers day, but somehow forgot that that included my mum.

I feel lost. Embarrassed. Horrified. I know that it isn’t the bipolar that causes the memory loss, but the drugs I am on. But what if I can’t get off them?

My mum has the onsets of dementia. The doctor I saw with her a few years ago said it has a lot to do with her drug use. She has smoked pot all day everyday since she was 14. She isn’t even fifty. I thought my memory would be like my great nanas. At 98 she could rattle off every childs name, every grandchild, every great grandchild…stopping fondly at twin B, her youngest great grandchild, who shares her name. The last time I saw her we talked politics and marriage and raising children and the fact that she hated the nursing home. She was sharp as a tack. Quick witted, almost as sarcastic as I am.

I feel weak. I feel like I took my husband back for my own security. To be looked after. Fear that I couldn’t do anything on my  own any more. I fear that I am becoming my mother. She went from one abusive man to the next. Never leaving until they were done with her, not the other way around. I swore I would never allow a man to treat me poorly. I have said some horrible things about him on this blog, all true unfortunately (though I haven’t mentioned many if any of the good) and what if I am just like her?

I was fiercely independent. I never asked for help. I lived alone from the time I was 15 years old, choosing to be alone rather than live the life my mother had chosen. I would have preferred live on the street than submit to her misogynistic, alcoholic, abusive, backwards partner. I worked hard so we had financial security and freedom from centrelink. I was idealistic and fought for my beliefs.

Now I am looking at a life with a full time carer. A life dependant on centrelink (boy am I regretting never insuring myself against a debilitating illness). A life of compromise.

I know tomorrow will be better. But I won’t be the same as I once was. Tomorrow I will still be forgetful, dependant, easily overwhelmed and longing to be more than I currently am.

project:girl