Saturday, October 30, 2010

Who AM I?

When I was young, and something went wrong, I was usually sent to my room to think about what I did to cause such a thing to happen.  A perfect example of this would be when I lost a friend or someone was mean to me and I would come home crying.  I would be told I need to think about what I did to make them not like me.  It was detrimental to my confidence, and still lingers with me.  

But I have seen several places - whether it's read or heard or seen - that much of what you do not like in other people, many of the strong reactions you have toward other people's actions are because you, yourself, in fact possess those qualities and that is why they are so grating.  Is this really true?  And if so, to what extent?  

I struggle with this a great deal.  I am a highly reactive person.  My nerves are grated easily, and I'm a plethora of buttons to be pushed.  So I'm constantly trying to take a step back and say to myself "Is this happening because I possess the same quality and do the same thing?"  Where does it end?  What is the guideline for such a skill - to notice that what you don't like in someone else is in fact something you do yourself?  It makes me crazy sometimes.  

Am I rude?  Am I abusive?  Do I not listen?  Am I not present in conversation?  Do I expect too much?  Do I want too much?  Am I unrealistic?  AM I UNREALISTIC??  At what point do we stop dreaming and start doing?  (Side tangent.)  

But back to the matter at hand.  People grate my nerves.  And it does not take much.  So I think, what have I done to make them react to me in such a way?  And then I think, do I possess that annoying characteristic?  And then… I'm just lost.  I'm lost for who I really am.  I am constantly questioning myself.  I would like to think that I am a caring, considerate, present person.  But am I really?  Am I just plain selfish like I've been told my whole life?  

I recently had a conversation with my sister about possibly needing a good, swift kick in the ass to get myself back to better.  And my sister said she doesn't know how to give me a good kick in the ass because she doesn't know how to kick herself in the ass.  Does that mean I do need a kick in the ass?  (Side tangent #2.)  

Who am I?  And am I the only person who is secretly paranoid about what she's doing and how she's interacting with other people to the point of embodying everything she hates?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Support and Inspiration

So I did it.  I decided to jump right in and follow my heart.  I created a Facebook support page called Stop Living the Stigma, following my recent blog post and some great feedback I have received on it.  

Did I do the right thing?  Who knows, but I have nothing to lose.  I thought that despite the many Facebook support pages out there, this one may have its own touch.  We will see what kind of following (if any) I receive!  I'm excited, and have had fun with it so far.  

But I must remember, that I'm not always going to feel as good and inspired as today.  So what do I do on those days?  Well, hopefully I will look back on my past posts and find comfort and inspiration from them.  If not, I absolutely must be kind to myself and give myself time to heal.  Because that's what the page is all about.  And I'm hoping, that I will be comfortable enough on the page to be honest with my friends, and tell them if I'm just not feeling myself that day.  Perhaps they can help keep the page going.  After all, that's what I was looking for!  

So I did it!  I followed my heart and took a leap into the unknown.  I can't wait to see what happens.  

In other news, I had an amazing weekend with my fiance, Tony.  We didn't do anything except for grocery shopping and lazing around.  It was wonderful.  I did find myself a little emotional and snippy Saturday, and finally I started talking and it all came out.  A lot has been on my mind.  

I told you in my last post that he admitted to being jealous of me being home.  Well, I finally admitted to him that this compounded the guilt I already felt of being home and not working myself.  He felt bad.  And I felt bad that he felt bad.  He never meant for it to be taken upon myself as another stressor.  Poor guy.  But the great part about it, is it led me to talk more about everything else that's been on my mind, and how stressed out I have been feeling.  He actually thanked me for being so open with him.  It's times like these that I realize just how lucky I am, and just how much pressure I put on myself.  I constantly hold it all in, and stress and stress and stress, much to the detriment of my mental health.  It comes out as snippy and bitchy in the end.  It's a terrible habit.  

But he does love me.  He does want to marry me.  And he's not even thinking of the possibility that this could be a forever situation.  He's just enjoying the here and now… with me!  I have already learned so much from him.  And I look forward to learning so much more.  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stop Living the Stigma - My Story

It's time I face facts.  I am mean to myself.  Really mean.  I have been my whole life.  I hate to say it because I do love my mother dearly, but I know a lot of it comes from my upbringing.  She was pretty unstable, and very nasty.  I grew up feeling like the scum on the bottom of the scum on the bottom of the Earth - sometimes worse.  

I never felt like I did anything right.  Or just when I thought I did something right, some how it was just wrong enough that it warranted a tongue lashing.  I never understood.  Even to this day, at 31 years of age, I get tongue lashings over things I do or have done.  It's unbearably frustrating.  

So that's what I learned.  And that's what I have accepted in my life - until now.  Because let's be honest, deep down, despite those nagging voices and negative thoughts, I know in my soul that I am doing well.  I know I'm not always wrong.  I can't always be wrong, right?  No.  "No, Carrie, you need to give yourself more credit." 

Even now as I write this, I feel uneasy.  I do not like giving myself credit for good things, or progress, or success.  I don't feel worthy.  But I'm working really hard to recognize when I do accomplish something.  Right now, I'm accomplishing this post, this wide-open-heart post; I'm bearing my soul.  

Enter Bipolar Disorder.  I was angry at first.  Then I thought I accepted it and had it all figured out.  Then it took me for a ride.  Doctors, endless medication combinations, lost jobs, and a hospitalization.  Just for fun, let's throw a relationship in there to see if it can get any more exciting… er, challenging!  (Insert sarcasm.)

I still was bringing in money to the household through unemployment, but I was not prepared for the guilt I would feel of not working.  Then Disability comes in and I'm ecstatic!  But more guilt sets in.  Because I'm not a poster child for someone who stays home all day.  I don't do the dishes all the time.  I'm slow to do laundry.  I do not clean.  My lifeline is my computer and my friends on Facebook.  TV helps sometimes, music also, but I do not leave the house except to go to the corner store for soda.  Going to the doctor or counselor is a huge feat for me.  It means leaving the house (with real clothes on, not pjs), catching the bus, then catching the train, then walking a few blocks, then waiting in an uncomfortable waiting room, then pouring my heart out to a practical stranger, then leaving feeling wilted and bruised only to have to catch a train and and then a bus home.  Then I have to face the rest of the guilty day at home.  

I beat myself up something fierce!  Oh man.  I may have inadvertently been brought up to think the worst of myself, but I was also brought up to be a competent, independent, responsible adult.  Leaning on others was not acceptable.  Asking for help was unheard of.  So to have to accept that I am "unable" to work?  Wow, that's a doozy.  I still struggle with it after a year of not working.  I know the reality of it.  I know that the stress becomes too much for me, I fall into a depression or mixed episode and am unreliable and very edgy.  But why?  Why can't I work?  And if I'm not working, shouldn't I be taking care of the house?  

My fiance (bless him) finally confessed to me recently that he is jealous that I get to spend my days at home - that he would give anything to have 5 minutes of the peace he sees on my face sometimes.  It broke my heart.  I feel guilty every minute of every day for being home and not being a functioning member of society.  I feel guilty every minute of every day for sitting on my fat ass not cleaning the house, not trying HARDER to get out and make something of myself.  Only, I know when I do try harder, I get overwhelmed and fall into an episode again.  But I still feel guilty.  Something should be different here.  Something is not right.  

I have no idea how to balance it all.  I just don't.  I'm trying, and every time I think I'm getting somewhere, another rock hits me in the side of the head and I have to figure out that bump in the road.  "That's life?"  I don't entirely believe that.  I do believe that life can be better than this.  I refuse to accept that this is my "fate."  I will continue to work on it.  I will continue to try to learn what's going to be best for me and all others involved.  

But this is why this "movement" is so dear to my heart.  I have endless compassion for other people.  I can see strength and beauty in them where they cannot.  So why can I not extend the same love and compassion to myself?  Is it society's demands?  Is it a lack of understanding on the part of those who are dear to my heart?  Maybe.  But I think it also needs to exist within.  If we cannot give love to ourselves, who is going to give us love?  If we do not find ourselves deserving of the best?  How can we ask others to give it to us?  How do we know they are giving us what we need, if we ourselves do not know what we need?  

I suppose that's my point in the whole matter.  I am learning to love myself for who I am.  I am learning to love myself despite my illness.  I am not bipolar disorder.  I am not a weakling.  I am strong, and I am capable.  I know this at the depths of my being.  I can feel it.  It is time.  It is time to eliminate all the negativity that has plagued me my whole life.  What better time than the present to start?  What better time than when I'm feeling at my weakest, my most vulnerable?  There is only one person in this world who can truly make a difference in my life - and that's me.  From where I stand, I have nothing to lose.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stop Living the Stigma

There's a problem in the Mental Illness World that I feel needs to be addressed.  We are fighting so hard to fight the stigma associated with mental illness.  There are groups and organizations all over the world that are working to fight misconceptions of mental illness and what it means for those living with it.  But I keep finding a recurring ailment among my friends living with mental illness that hurts me to the core: we are living the stigma we are fighting so hard to eliminate! 

So what does that mean?  Well, it means we are hard on ourselves, painfully brutal with ourselves for not living up to society's expectations - me included.  Not working, not being "able" to work, not bringing in a substantial income, not cleaning the house, doing laundry, doing dishes, socializing, getting out of the house, or just a simple lack of energy because of our mental illness that causes us immense pain!  It hurts me so much to hear my friends suffering with this.  I, too, struggle with these thoughts and self-criticisms on a daily basis.  

I think we need to band together.  I think we need to help one another to stop living the stigma we are fighting so hard to eliminate in other people.  How are we going to be an example of what NOT to do when we do it to ourselves every minute of the day?  

I know, this will not be an easy task by any means.  We stigmatize ourselves greater than most of our biggest critics.  But it is so unhealthy for us.  The negativity that we allow to permeate our beings is hurtful, it's harmful, and it needs to stop.  

I have no idea how to do it other than to try to re-train our brains.  We need to embrace what we're telling other people to accept about us and accept it within ourselves.  We need to be kind to ourselves, love ourselves, and support ourselves, because we are our own best advocates.  

I was recently accused of wanting unrealistic support based on what someone close to me was taught at a NAMI meeting.  It was perhaps one of the most hurtful things this person could have ever accused me of, because I work so hard on learning what I need, what I don't need, and finding a balance between the two.  And it changes.  It changes with my mood changes.  And I am ONE individual.  Every person dealing with mental illness is different.  But ultimately, I believe we each know what our needs are, and we need to fight for them.  

So let's start a movement to stop living the stigma.  Are you with me?  

To be continued...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Newness of Heart

It's October!  Wow, when did that happen?  I'm so glad.  The weather is finally right up my alley - cool, breezy, and even sunny today after a few days of miserable, cold, rain!  I'm very excited. 

Welcome to my new blog!  There are a lot of posts I brought over from my old blog so that I would not lose them.  The last few are pretty powerful and full of pain, so beware if you decide to read them!  

So, where do I start?  I feel full of light and inspiration today and it's so refreshing.  I've been through a lot the last few weeks.  At times, I feel like I've been to hell and back.  That tends to happen after the deep throws of an episode.  This last episode was a doozy on its own, with some external factors exacerbating my symptoms.  Very frustrating.  

I want this to be a new start.  Actually, each emergence from a bad episode is a new start.  Each time I am stronger, freer, and more inspired.  That's the beautiful part of being bipolar or having mental illness in general: the strength and tenacity you learn, and the beauty that comes after each bad episode or depression.  Life is so much lighter, brighter, and more beautiful when I'm able to breathe freely again.  It's like drawing new breath each time.  

I truly loathe the agony of a depressive or mixed episode.  It's so difficult.  But coming out of it feels like I'm a phoenix, rising from the ashes.  I brush off the remaining ash, and rise above to greet the new day.  

This is how I wish I could live my whole life.  I'm working on it.  When I'm feeling this inspired, I work hard to take in as much as I can, because I know if or when I fall again, I will have a very difficult time seeing the light.  It is scary to say the least.  But I cannot deny the immense LIFE I feel afterward.  It's almost like I needed to go through that to re-gain perspective.  I don't know.  I could be making no sense.  It's been a while since I've shared my thoughts, and has been a while since I've felt like this.  

I worry that as easily as I'm saying these things, my mood can change for the worse.  It has happened before.  But I hope that my mental state is stronger than that today.  I have been battling a cold, but despite that have been feeling better mood-wise.  Today marks day #2.  Yes, I count days.  The best part is when the days turn into weeks.  

I really hope this is the start of something new.  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So many things are going on right now.  And they're all going on in my brain.  I can't seem to slow it down.  I can't seem to make it "behave" the way a "normal" brain would.  My brain just wants to wreak havoc on the entire neighborhood.  That neighborhood people, is my life.  

So I thought I was getting better.  Time for rest, time for reflection, time for positive thoughts and feelings was exactly what I needed and hey!  It worked!  "Ehh… not so fast" says my brain.  

My moods are misfiring all over the Universe it feels like.  One minute I'm fine.  The next minute I think I'm going to totally lose my shit.  The next minute I'm calmer but worried that if anything else goes wrong or irritates me, I will most definitely LOSE MY SHIT!

Yep, the life of a mixed episode, rapid cycling bipolar.  Sounds like fun, huh?  Not so much.  

I feel like not only do I not understand what is going on within my psyche, but others don't get it either.  I don't blame them.  How in the world is someone else supposed to understand what's going on with me if I can't TELL them what's going on with me!  I mean really, Carrie.  Let's get a grip here.  

Thank the Lord and all that is Holy for my doctor.  I talked to her again today and she assured me that I am not getting worse, I am just having a "normal" (for me) mood fluctuation that is exacerbated by external stressors.  Okay.  Makes sense.  But wait, it still doesn't make it better!  SIGH.  

So I'm waiting.  I'm trying to be patient, but there goes that whole "losing of shit" fear again: agitation over practically nothing.  Yeah, that's a fun one.  Sitting here in the calm of the day, feeling worse and worse even though I'm doing the things I love most.  

I cleaned the bathroom today.  Woke up feeling better and HAD to do something productive.  Then my mood plummeted.  Again.  Up, down, up, down, up, down.  In mere minutes I go from pleasant to poltergeist.  Yep, minutes.  

I'm trying to ride through this, but there's too much going on.  I can't seem to control myself.  I can't seem to keep my shit together.  This roller coaster is getting a little too wild for my likes.  The last five days have been hell.  No medication changes needed, thank goodness.  No emergency hospitalization either.  Just the overwhelming challenge of riding these rapids lies ahead.  I don't deal with stress well at all, especially emotional stress.  Too many things are taxing my heart strings and it's making me miserable because I don't know what to do about them.  And I know that the road ahead is going to be a long one.  Perhaps that is the reason I am rebelling at the moment - because I'm not happy that I am not going to BE happy for some time to come.  

There's a five branch fork in the road ahead of me right now.  I'm so confused...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Coming Back

Wow, what a ride!  Last week was quite a challenge for me.  I was met with a continually worsening low mood and many frustrations on top of that.  Actually, I thought I was getting better Friday, but that was the worst day of all.  Saturday was just the icing on the cake.  

Have you ever had times like these?  Sometimes I find myself sitting here, scratching my head, thinking "What the hell just happened?"  Over the weeks preceding, I thought I was getting better and better at being positive and having a better outlook on things.  But after several aggravations, I finally broke.  I finally lost control and got ugly.  I am not proud of that.  

However, I need to be kind to myself.  Ugly or not, I was hurting.  And when a trigger comes along that's strong enough to break me, I need to realize that it was just that - a trigger - and I can overcome.  I wasn't so sure I could overcome last week.  

But Monday is upon me: a new day, a new week, a new beginning.  I have had time to think, time to sleep, and time to regain some of the strength I feel I lost, if only for a moment.  Quite frankly, I am proud of myself that I did not fall into the dark abyss for more than just a night and a day.  In fact, it was only a span of hours where I felt really hopeless.  The rest I was just hurt and angry.  

I want to let it go.  I want to release the anger and move on.  Anger does me no good.  It only makes me toxic.  And that is unacceptable to me.  So despite the gray, rainy day, I invite positivity and light back into my house.  I am ashamed that I let the negativity consume me so quickly.  Then again, it was not easy by any means.  

I feel lighter again.  I feel healthier again.  I am going to draw from some of my resources to get back to "me" again.  What you saw in my last post was not the me I want to be.  Not by far.  I refuse to let the anger, frustration, and sadness take over my life like that for longer than it already has.  I am better than that.  

So, "Hello New Day…"  I can't wait to see what you have in store for me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Correction

After some feedback from one of (or perhaps my only) readers, I feel the need to add to my last post.  Because maybe me being "honest" will make them feel better.

The REASON money is a big issue at the moment is because I went on a spending spree for my birthday.  Yes, me.  It's all my fault that I do not have the money to afford my doctor or counselor right now.  And it's absolutely driving me CRAZY.

I feel horrible.  I feel irresponsible.  I was not trying to lie, or deceive by not offering up this information in my last post.  My last post was about how I was feeling.  Money being tight was not the reason for my last post, it was the catalyst.  

But let's be "honest," right?  I have failed.  I have failed myself and my fiance.  I have failed my doctors and my counselors.  And most importantly, because I failed myself, I have failed my health.  

Every - single - thing I said in my last post I feel every day with or without money.  Let's just put that up front.  Yes, I experience roadblocks.  And they're frustrating.  The particular roadblock of getting a letter about fees being raised came at the wrong time.  I was already worried about money (AT MY OWN DOING - ugh).  I was having a frustrating day to top it off, and then I got the letter. 

I'm not sure if anyone who reads my blog knows much about triggers.  But triggers are a BIG part of being bipolar.  One thing, one small little thing can send a bipolar spiraling into the dark abyss.  That happened to me yesterday.  It was a trigger on top of many others I was able to dodge.  But this one stuck.  

To top it off, my fiance and I are now fighting.  Because why?  Because yet again, I wanted too much.  I EXPECTED too much from him.  I could not just accept that he needed some time to himself and therefore I got selfish and needy and we ended up in a huge fight. 

I need to much.  I want too much.  I spend too much.  And I expect too much.  Because some how, now matter how hard I try, except for the comfort of my doctor and counselor, I am constantly met with people telling me I am too selfish.  And now, that I am not being honest with myself.  

So there you go.  Honesty.  I honestly feel like I am fucking up my life and I have no control and have NO idea how to fix it.  There you have it.  

Friday, September 24, 2010

Unraveling From Within

I feel like sometimes we are tested to our limits.  And today, I just reached mine.  I'm not sure what to say.  It was just the straw that broke the camel's back for me today.  I got a letter from my doctor's office telling me they are raising their fees.  What's most frustrating is the timing of the whole thing.  Money is a big issue at the moment.  So much so, that I cancelled both my doctor and my counselor because I couldn't afford them this month.  Then I find out fees will be raised starting in November.  

I feel like I'm unraveling from deep within my core.  Yes, I am worried and fearful of the fee change.  But what is keeping the tears from stopping this afternoon is how hard I feel I work to better myself and my health, and it feels like it's just one roadblock after another.  I finally get to a stage where I feel like I'm GETTING somewhere.  I'm feeling more positive.  I'm happier, I'm healthier, I'm breathing easier and smiling more.  I'm more patient.  I'm less hostile.  I am finding blessings in the smallest of things.  So why?  Why am I met with challenge after challenge?  It just doesn't seem fair.  

Yeah… "this is life," right?  Well, I'm sorry if it seems selfish of me to want better for myself.  I try so hard, SO HARD to change my perceptions.  I try to keep calm and keep "sane" when sometimes I just want to go off the deep end.  Do you know how hard that is?  Do you know how hard it is to live your life one step away from the edge?  I try so hard, especially lately, not to dwell on it.  I try to accept that challenges will always lie in my path, it's how I choose to overcome them that matters.  And it's the fact that I choose to overcome them that matters most, that I choose to stand up and fight and not give up.  

Today I made a vow to continue to work to create a better, healthier me.  But sometimes, I wonder if I'm strong enough.  

I am used to providing for my partnership.  I am used to bringing home a solid income.  I am used to being able to eat and not count every single penny that comes into my bank account.  I am not used to the two weeks of anxiety that consume me before my next Disability payment.  

I want to believe I will overcome this too.  But my sorrows today, my tears and agony, come from the frustration of working so hard, and getting 10 steps ahead, only to fall 20 steps back.  Another challenge.  Another roadblock.  Another obstacle to overcome.  And my state of mind - my poor, fragile, unstable brain cannot take it all sometimes.  

I'm Melting

I find this fascinating.  I just had a difficult mood week.  I was feeling low, down in the dumps, sad, just bad.  But I was able to ride through it.  I was able to "flow through the low" (my new favorite phrase), and today I am feeling lighter.  It was another difficult time getting out of bed this morning.  I wanted to sleep all day, but I got up, had my coffee, and I'm feeling better.  It's such a relief.  I feel like I'm slowly emerging out from behind the clouds today.  It's a process.  I am not up, jumping for joy.  But I definitely feel better, lighter, happier.  I feel like it's easier to smile, it's easier to move, it's easier to breathe.  

Except for ONE thing.  And it's been driving me crazy for months.  And I'm not sure how to let go of this one thing.  It is - the weather.  It is warm.  Not nearly as hot as it was earlier in the summer.  But I feel like I've been waiting ALL SUMMER LONG for some form of relief from the heat and humidity.  It's been the bane of my existence since it started.  

You see, I get very crabby in the heat.  It makes me sweaty.  And I hate being sweaty, because I feel gross.  I feel dirty, smelly, slimy, and gross.  The heat makes me uncomfortable.  I cannot move without sweating.  I cannot move without my body temperature rising and it's just unbearable to me for some reason.  I realize, that I need to "flow through the low (or high)" of the heat.  But how?  I try to stay calm.  I try to make myself more comfortable by sitting in front of fans.  Sometimes, I even hole myself up in the bedroom, the only room with an air conditioner, just for some relief.  But I feel cooped up in there.  

Keep in mind, my life is conducted in my house.  I do not get out of the house much, and on days where it's unbearably hot, I do not want to leave the house, because that means going out in the hot sun, sweating more, only… in public!  Ugh.  I cannot bear the thought of other people seeing me in such distress.  I feel like they are looking at me thinking "what a fat slob - look at how badly she's sweating because she's so fat!"  It's a curse.

So how do I let the heat go?  Because as I look at the weather forecast, it appears the more I look at it, the more warm days appear, as if there will never be an end in sight.  Sure 78 is in the 70's, but it's still close to the 80's and that makes me frustrated.  I get so agitated!  

I've been begging Mother Nature to hear my calls for too long.  So I have decided I have to change MY thinking and just grin and bear it.  There is nothing I can do about the weather.  Nothing.  It is completely out of my control.  So why do I fret about it so?  Time to turn my frown upside down, and figure out how to get through this endless summer.  

I have NO idea what to do.  But I'm thinking.  Perhaps gratefulness will help.  I am grateful for the sunshine.  I am grateful not to have to shovel 3 feet of snow.  I am grateful to be able to wear flip flops.  (No, you negative thoughts that are trying to creep in.  I will not succumb to you!)  It is beautiful out.  Yes it's warm, but it is still beautiful.  My housework can wait until a cooler time.  Hopefully… HOPEFULLY we are only a couple weeks away from some relief.  Ha!  That's what I said a month ago.  ((sigh))  Help.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do Not Disturb

Negative thoughts are knocking at my door.  Some are even shouting out loud so I can hear which ones are trying to come in.  I will not answer the door.  Instead, I will open the window full of sunlight and encourage positivity to come in.  Go away negative thoughts... you are not welcome here.  You scare me and I do not like how you make me feel.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Okay to Have a Bad Day

One thing I have been working on since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, is the unexpected (and unwanted) mood swings.  I am ever thankful for the blessing that my swings are getting fewer and farther between, but they are still there, even if they are mild.  And they still can be frustrating.  

I have to be honest, I wondered what this week would bring after such a fun-filled weekend.  It's not that I cannot have a fun, exciting time without some sort of downfall, but it's rare.  And usually my fun has to be moderate in order to ward off a dip such as I'm feeling today and have been feeling since Monday night.  

What can I say?  This is just part of being bipolar for me.  It may change in the future, and I hope it does.  I hope my level of activity and fun can intensify more and more with time without the inevitable dip.  But right now, I am trying to honor how I am feeling, and although I am fighting the negative "depression inducing" thoughts, I am still letting myself flow with how I am feeling. 

What is hard for me to accept, is that it is okay to have a bad day.  It is okay to feel low sometimes.  I guess, having been in such a low state for so long - when I feel good I just want that to last forever, and it's hard for me to understand why, when I am working so hard to make it mean everything and take every moment in, why I can't just have it last.  

But it doesn't last.  Like the pendulum of life, so goes the pendulum of my brain and its chemicals.  What I am trying to focus on today, is that despite feeling low, I am not text-book depressed.  I am not killing myself with negative thoughts.  I am not crying inconsolably.  I am not berating myself to the point of feeling hopeless.  And I am not suicidal.  Those are all precious things to be thankful for.  

I hope that this only lasts a brief amount of time.  I pray.  I'm going to do what I need to do to keep going through this.  To "keep going" is the important thing, not give up.

The way I would like to think of the low I feel this time, is that I just had so much fun and fabulousness on the weekend and the week previous, that I just need some time to rest.  This is my body and brain's way of telling me it's time to slow down, and take stock of where I am.  And that's okay.  It has to be okay.  Because the more I make it not okay, the worse it gets.  

So I'm okay.  I'm just a little low.  I'm a little tired.  And I need some "me" time to regroup.  It will be okay… right?

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I am not really sure where to start, or what to write about tonight.  I am a mix of emotions.  

Ultimately, however, I am feeling blessed beyond anything I knew I was capable of feeling.  The love has flown intensely today, coming from people and places I never would have expected.  I am ever thankful for the outpouring and feeling more special than ever.  

But I would like to take a moment to reflect right now, I think.  

As I enter the next year in my life, I cannot help but think of the significance of the one I leave behind.  I want to take so much from it.  Yet, I also want to honor the fact that it is behind me and move on.  It has been full of ups, downs, and in betweens.  It has been terrifying at times, but has also been perhaps the most enlightening year of my life.  30 was a good age for me.  I can only hope it was just the start of more blessings to come. 

I left a job I loved because I was too ill to give it everything I had.  I struggled with Disability applications in perhaps some of my darkest and most directionless days.  One of the things I find so frustrating about living with mental illness, is that when we are at our near end, we are instructed to figure out our next path.  There is no one to tell us what forms to fill out, what numbers to call, and what questions to ask.  At least that has been my experience.  It is beyond frustrating, and absolutely terrifying.  

I did what I could with the resources at my disposal, and most importantly, what little strength and resilience I had left.  The medication changes continued, but I finally found a new set of doctors (yes, a team) that knew what I was going through.  There was hope, and that hope kept me going.  But I just did not have enough strength to keep me going indefinitely, and I ended up in the hospital psych ward for the first time in my life.  Yes, it was the most frightening experience of my life, but it also SAVED my life, and I am thoroughly convinced of that now.  I will be eternally thankful not only for the doctors and nurses that helped me through that difficult transition, but I am also grateful for the knowledge I had within me that something needed to change, and I was not ready to give up just yet.  

It has been mostly a positive journey from that point on.  I got on a new medication regime that worked better than anything before.  Yes, I've had my ups and downs.  I have had complications and road blocks.  But I have had more strength than before to get through them.  I have soldiered on.  And on this journey, I have found friendship, kindness, compassion, and love.  

I have become more active.  I am happier.  I smile more.  I laugh more.  I am more relaxed, and less sad, less angry, less agitated, and less hostile.  I have felt at peace.  

I have my days.  Some are better than others.  Some days I don't want to wake up still.  But most days I enjoy getting up to have my coffee, even if it means dragging myself out of bed.  Progress.

Each day is still a constant body of work.  The work that goes into each day, most "healthy" people would never understand.  I work to maintain the peace I have felt.  I work to be a better me.  I work to just BE me.  There is still darkness.  But I choose to focus on the light.  I choose to swallow 10 pills a day because it means some semblance of sanity for me.  It means life, not death.  It means light, not darkness.  It means happiness, not sadness.  No, pills do not fix it.  Pills do not "make" me a better person.  But they help put my chemicals in such a place that I can function the way I have longed to for a greater part of my life.  They help me keep my hope.  

It has indeed been a very difficult year.  But how can I not revel in a year that has opened my heart, made it bigger, fuller, and beat harder and stronger than ever?  This has been a difficult year, but it has been my year.  

So thank you, 30, for showing me a strength within myself I never knew I possessed.  Thank you for opening my eyes to some of the greatest beauty I have been blessed to see, feel, and find faith in.  You have been a good year, because you taught me how to start finding "me" again.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Am Me

I'm in awe, and almost speechless.  

Today started out very difficult.  I slept in, because I was very tired.  I woke up grumpy - very grumpy.  I wasn't sure what to do with myself.  I was frustrated by my pet turtle.  I was frustrated with how I was feeling.  I was just plain frustrated.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I wasn't sure how to make it better, and I so desperately wanted it to be better. 

I had a counseling appointment that I did not want to go to.  I was miserable!  I wanted to stay cooped up in my house, not catching two busses to her office and then another two busses home.  But I had to do it.  I had already canceled my last appointment.  I knew I needed this, even if I was miserable about going. 

The busses were crowded.  They were stinky.  But I got there.  And as I walked through the door something struck me.  I was GLAD to be there.  I realized that even though I didn't want to go, it was a good thing to be there, and I was okay with being there.  

Quickly into my appointment I was full of smiles.  We talked about how I had been doing lately.  And I said, I had been doing well!  I looked back on my last two weeks, and apart from yesterday, I felt good about them.  And even though I wasn't feeling my best yesterday, I flowed with it, and was okay with saying "it wasn't a good day."  

I laughed and smiled, and was thankful for everything that had been going on.  I raved about the book I just read, the Power.  I even had great laughs and smiles and heart warming emotion telling her about how much I love Tony and how much fun we have.  It was wonderful.  

I walked out of there renewed.  I even stopped by the park to listen to some beautiful music two women were singing on a tiny stage.  The music echoed off the large buildings surrounding Love Park, and it was magnificent.  

I got home and caught up on Facebook, and was (as usual) met with wonderful posts, quotes, and smiles.  

I am home.  I am comfortable.  I am well.  I am happy.  And it all started with a birthday card from my mom that brought tears of pride to my eyes.  Pride about myself.  And a deep love and thankfulness to have her in my life, and to be living my life.  I am living.  I am me.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Well, I'm feeling low today.  And no, I'm not too sure how to handle it.  I had some very good days recently.  And this is hard to be feeling.  I woke up this way - very tired, and wanting to sleep all day.  I still managed to get out of bed, because I felt like it was the right thing to do, but even though I have checked my email and Facebook, I'm not feeling my usual morning uplift.  

So, I will take a tool from my new book, and start counting my blessings:  

I am thankful for getting up despite feeling very groggy and slow and tired.  It was still nice to get out of bed, make my coffee, feed the turtle, and open the blinds.  I am even enjoying the fact that it's a gray day outside so far.  I find sometimes that endless sunshine is too much pressure.  Lately I have truly been enjoying it, but I love the occasional gray, snuggly day.  

This morning when feeding Leona, she was being her usual silly self and Tony got a glimpse of it and laughed, hard.  It was wonderful.  I just love his laugh and smile.  And to hear a laugh like that come out of him so early in the morning was awesome.  I told him it's laughs like that she gives me every day and that's why I love her so much.  I love that turtle.  And that Tony!  

I am grateful for the message I saw on Facebook about letting the Universe answer your problems and not worrying.  That is what happened for me yesterday.  All is well now, and I am lighter one less worry.  It's wonderful.  

I am thankful that one of my favorite songs just came on and I can sing along.  I love singing, even if I don't have my gift anymore!  It's still fun to sing out loud.  Hehe!

I am thankful for the cool temps so far this morning.  Perhaps I should go take a shower to start off my day.  I'm stinky!  

So yes, I have plenty to be thankful for.  My house, my bed, my coffee, my pet turtle, my amazing fiance, my comfortable clothes, the fact that I paid my bills yesterday, and on it goes.  

I'm still feeling heavy, but my heart is lighter having taken a moment to remember all I am thankful for today.  I hope the gratitude continues as the day wears on.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Can't Help Myself!

I had to share.  I just had to - and you'll see why.

I decided to let the day go, to let the day flow away from me and stop fretting about the technical difficulties I was having, my loneliness, and my frustrations with my limitations.  I was feeling low, tired, and sad.  But I decided to let it go… to let it flow.  

I realized after taking a gutsy step in sharing my blog on my Facebook page, that the day was not for me to know or predict.  I could not change what each minute would do, but I could try to appreciate each minute of the rest of the day.  

The TV came off, the computer on my lap, and music flowed.  I relaxed.  I was one with my thoughts and feelings.  I stopped fighting.  

Within minutes I had to go upstairs, and I decided to try to give the computer/document problem I was having one more try.  And you know what?  When I relaxed into it, not knowing what would come of it but being okay if it did not go the way I wanted it to, I figured it out.  Just like that.  

Just like that I let the day go and just like that the day and the Universe handed me exactly what I wanted.  I am in awe.  Even one of my favorite songs came on, Over The Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.  

All I could do was smile.  And let the peace settle into my heart.

Ps:  Just as I finished writing this, an ambulance went flying down the street and I started to smell smoke.  I always get nervous when I smell smoke anywhere and so I stepped out on my front stoop to see where it was coming from.  Smoke is thick down the street about a block away.  I am praying that whatever it is, and whomever it involves, they are okay.  Prayers.

Carrie Quote of the Day

It is not for me to know how the day will go.  What's up to me is to make the most of each minute, even if that means relaxing with my thoughts and some good tunes.

Working Some Things Out...

My day started out really good, and positive.  But I find myself fading this afternoon, and it's frustrating me.  What I think I just realized, is that I need to stop, and let it flow.  

I get so quickly frustrated with what I call "my limitations."  Although I wake up feeling good, positive, and ready to conquer the day, quickly into doing anything that requires a great deal of concentration, or especially if I meet road blocks in my day where things aren't going like I'd hoped, I get frustrated.  And the frustration frustrates me.  

Frustration is a very negative emotion for me.  Because it seems to breed itself.  The more time I give to my frustration, the greater it becomes, until I have lost my positive mood all together.  That is what I'm met with this afternoon.  I'm tired.  And I'm feeling low.  And I have decided I need to address this.  

I am not flowing right now.  I am not letting the day flow as it should, as it is intended to be.  Yes, I've met some frustrations today, but there is no need for it to ruin my day.  And there is no reason it should ruin my mood.  I can still be a positive and happy being even though I am met with some bumps in the road.  

The flow of my day has been more rapids than a gentle creek.  And I'm trying to slow it down to where I like it to be.  I still have accomplished things - many things in fact that make me feel good.  So I'm still thankful.  I'm thankful for my Disability payment that enabled me to pay my bills.  I am thankful for my electric bill that means I have electricity.  I am thankful for my gas bill because it means I have warm water and can use my stove and heat my house if it were cold.  I am thankful for my phone bill and the communication it stands for.  I am thankful that I have a little extra so I could buy a new pair of shoes as a birthday present to myself.  

I am thankful for my delicious lunch, for the sunshine and fresh air coming through my windows.  I am thankful for the music streaming into my computer which brightens and calms my mood at the same time.  

So yes, it is a good day, just a mellow afternoon.  And I'm working to be okay with that.  

Dear Dad,

Today while browsing Facebook, I came across a post of a video of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing "Puff The Magic Dragon."  I instantly thought of you.  I remember not long after you died, sitting in Dave's house and he put a video on of you singing karaoke to this very song, and he told me it used to be one of your favorites.  

We so enjoyed watching that video.  We had great laughs, and I recall (as I look back on it now) the amazing spirit of fun that surrounded you.  That is what I most want to remember about you.  I want to remember your silliness and fun.  It's all people can talk about now that you are gone.  

So I watched the video of Peter, Paul and Mary.  And I listened intently to the words for the first time.  And wow, the tears fell.  What a great song, to be such a sad story but still have a light about it that makes it a fun song to sing along to.  

I think about the pain you must have felt in your life.  Mom and I talk about it from time to time.  It's hard for me to overcome the guilt for the hatred I felt toward you for so many years.  How I wish I could take it all back.  But I cannot, and I have to have faith that all things happen in their own time, and with good reason.  I still love you.  You will always be my father.  I will always carry with me the memories I have, especially those of your smile and silliness.  

So today, Dad, I dedicate my love to you.  Unexpectedly your spirit entered my day, and I am so glad for it as I approach my 31st birthday.  I am so thankful that you impacted the lives of those close to me so much, that they can tell me stories of you full of fun and happiness.  

Dealing with my own demons, I feel genuine pain and sorrow for anything similar you had to endure yourself.  But I hope some day, we will reunite in the Heavens, and have a good many laughs over all our successes in life.  You may have felt like a failure, but the more I learn about you, the more I realize you were a success beyond your recognition.  And I just love it.  

Thank you for the memories.  And thank you for loving me, even though you weren't sure how to show it.  I may not have known it growing up, but I know it now.  Your spirit is with me always.  

I love you,  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things That Made Me Smile Today...

Seeing something so great on my television that I clapped enthusiastically from my couch!

Realizing it's only five days until my birthday and figuring out that I can have mimosas to celebrate that morning!

Finding my "Why God Made Little Girls" poem plaque while doing a little tidying up of my overwhelming beauty product supply!

Usher's new song, DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love ft. Pitbull just makes me want to boogie the more I hear it!

And the quote of the day: "I could be a victim or victor…" ~Wynonna Judd.  She chose to be victorious, and so do I!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Smiles on Sundays Cont...

This has provided me perhaps the biggest smiles yet today.  Tony's been his usual silly self, and when I opened a beer, this is what I got… and presented to him.  What can I say?  It was impossible to resist!

Smiles on Sundays

I'm having a hard time today.  On Sundays I LOVE to write about smiles, but my smiles seem hard to come by for some reason this afternoon.  I feel like I'm oozing negativity, and that alone is making me more negative.  

I've been up since an early 6:30am, woken up from a bad, ghost-filled dream.  I was  so skittish after that dream, I even turned the lights on.  But I got up and made my coffee, and had quite a few giggles over the turtle not being sure what was going on because I was up so early.  She never gets fed that early, but knew that since I was up, food must be coming soon.  She slowly got more and more frisky, climbing on her log and kerplunk-kerplunking to get my attention.  It was pretty cute.  

I enjoyed the morning.  It was quiet and rainy.  My coffee was good and it was even cool enough that I could have oatmeal for breakfast.  I haven't had oatmeal in some time.  Late-morning, while waiting for my mom to call and Tony to wake up, I started reading my book, The Power.  It had me feeling pretty good.  I stuck with it until it got into the tools to use to find more positivity in your life, and how to attract what you want in life.  I thought, "I can do this," and even started the imagination process.  When Tony came downstairs, I closed the book and was feeling good, ready to make some breakfast for the two of us. 

But after an hour or so, I felt the negativity seeping in.  It's been getting worse and worse.  I feel edgy.  I feel irritable.  And I feel bitchy.  All of which I despise.  And that, in itself, is doing the exact opposite of what the book was about: focusing on the positive.  So I'm feeling frustrated.  

I suppose I need to remind myself that it's not a skill I'm going to learn in an hour.  But the difficulty is that somehow, in my desires for the positive, I realized just how negative I am.  Maybe it's part of the process.  Let's just hope.  I think perhaps I need to envision being more positive.  Being healthy.  Being happy.  

So let's try this: although my Sunday is feeling particularly negative, perhaps this is the start of finding more positive light in my life.  Turn that negative around, yes?  

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Day for Love

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  And it seems fitting with what today signifies for me.  

Two years ago today, I stopped taking medication of any kind, which started the spiral into what I consider at times the depths of hell.  My doctor told me it was okay, and wished me well.  What a mistake on his part, but what a blessing in the end for me.  

That day was the start of one of the most tumultuous journeys I could ever imagine.  But the journey has produced some of the most amazing blessings I could ever imagine.  

Two lost jobs, three new doctors, endless medication changes (when I finally got back ON medication), and a hospital stay later; I am able to sit here and celebrate LIFE.  What a powerful gift to possess.  

It has been two long, terrifying years.  But two years that have been more filled with life and love than any of my 30 years of living.  The underlying blessing is that of LOVE.  How amazing and powerful love is.  It can come from your mother, sisters, boyfriend/fiance, and friends old and new.  It can come to you in the form of an embrace, in the form of simple words, in the form of laughter or jokes, and even in the form of a shake of the shoulders to wake you out of the stupor you have fallen into.  Doctors have love, Therapists have love, and even Pharmacists have love.  All love to help you be the person you are meant to be, the person they see that you have lost along the way.  

I think she's coming back… me, I'm coming back.  I can only pray that the "me" I am learning to love so dearly will stick around for years to come.  I hope I do not lose that girl again.  But if I do, for whatever reason, I am confident that she is surrounded by LOVE, and it's one of the most powerful forces in the Universe.  

Today, I celebrate strength, weakness, vulnerability, life, and love.  May those suffering for whatever reason feel something like this before it's too late.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Precariousness of Paranoia

Something is bothering me.  I put a silly, self-absorbed comment up on Facebook.  And a friend of mine that I have really, in all frankness lost, put up a comment about ignorance.  I couldn't help feeling that perhaps that was meant for me.  

Ah, the paranoia that lives deep in my psyche.  It's the same one that makes me worry that people are laughing at me on the bus when they're joking around behind me.  Or the same one that makes me think everyone on the street is looking at me funny, and they somehow "know" I am a lesser being, that I am frumpy and smelly and insecure, that something is wrong with me and I have a mental illness, that I'm "crazy."  

I sincerely hope that her post was not about me.  I hurt her in the past.  But for some reason we're still friends on Facebook.  I sometimes feel bad that she has to read my mindless babble when we cannot be good friends anymore.  

Do people really know when they look at me that something is "wrong?"  Do they really see me walking down the street and think to themselves "What a fat slob!"?  Or on the bus, when teenagers are behind me laughing; are they laughing at me?  

One would say "The world does not revolve around YOU, Carrie!"  And they would be right.  But I wonder, does paranoia thrive on insecurity, or self-absorption?  

Thankful Thursdays

Well, I'm going to go with one of my days of the week this morning: Thankful Thursdays.  

To start, today is my first day without taking an anti-depressant in Lord knows how long.  I have stopped the Prozac.  Now, I still have probably two weeks before it really is out of my system completely, but today was the first day without taking that pill.  ONE LESS PILL!  It's like, SO EXCITING!  Hee!  So we'll see in a couple weeks how I'm managing.  Gotta keep the eyes peeled and the heart and emotion door open to see what happens and keep tabs on myself. 

I am also VERY thankful for yesterday's re-uniting with the blog.  It felt really good.  Not only did I post two entries, but I changed my description so it's geared toward me only, not Tony and me.  I will miss what I had up there before, because I thought it was really cute, and completely full of inside jokes between Tony and I that would make people curious.  But this blog has become mine.  So, although Tony helped me get it up and running and was my supporter when I started, he is letting me spread my wings and go my own way.  I love that he trusts me so much!  

And of course, to have read all my posts up to date and have such an amazing reaction to them is worth being very thankful for.  I am still in awe at how I felt reading all of them.  

And thank you Pandora, for your beautiful mixes.  I'm so glad I upgraded so that I can listen to you as long and as much as I want with no ads!  Music is so powerful.  

On a silly note, I drank all my coffee today and didn't get nearly as stuffy as I usually do.  I think I need to come to the conclusion that I am allergic to coffee in some way because my nose runs like Niagara Falls when I drink it!  But I've been trying to make LESS coffee because I've been wasting it.  And today I made the perfect amount.  Two cups of coffee precisely.  Perfect!  

What a way to start the day.  So thankful.  Grateful.  (And a little nervous because football officially starts tonight!  AGH!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Journey

I read all my blog posts to date today. I am in awe. In keeping with a theme of being proud of myself, I am so proud of myself for what I have accomplished to date.

I think back on the year behind me, the struggles and all the fun I've managed to have despite the intense pain. I am so proud to be sitting here, able to read my posts with an open heart and open mind. I feel like somehow, despite how painful the times may have been, I have managed to blog with a light spirit.

Where does that come from? How am I able to get through such darkness and find light at the other end each time? Some posts I was afraid to read. I was afraid of the feelings they would elicit. But I was pleasantly surprised. I am beaming with pride.

Others may not see what I see when I read these posts. But that's okay with me for right now. This was for ME first and foremost. It has already done wonders for me if after a year of random posts, I can sit here in awe and say "Wow, have I come so far…"

So thank you, internet, for being on this continuing journey of mine. In some ways I feel like it has been many journeys strung together. But I realize now that it's just an endless stream of twists and turns, some flow like silk, some are rapids, but the journey is what it's all about.

Quiet, Please... I'm Begging

The brain. Quite a complex entity in itself. I am ever amazed at all the brain can produce… thoughts, chemicals, nerves, reactions, emotions, and on and on and on says mine.

My brain is like a merry-go-round on high voltage. The thoughts riding the merry-go-round are spinning madly, too fast to move and too fast to come out or make any sense. I can see it. I can see the spinning of thoughts - spinning and spinning and spinning. And no, it does not make me dizzy. Funny. It makes me irritable, and antsy as hell.

Just the other day I re-discovered a classical music station on Pandora. I was in love. It was so calming for me somehow, and I could feel the brain stimulation starting up again. But today when I put it on, it sent my merry-go-round into overdrive and I could not get a thought in, out, or otherwise.

So finally now, at 5:30PM, with the help of my most mellow (perhaps one would consider depressing) station on Pandora, I am finding the calmness to talk about the very thing that kept me from talking before. I thank my friends Liz and Kim for the encouragement to write about the very thing getting in my way of writing. Sure, it took all day, but I did it. That's something to be proud of. A start is a start in my book.

Baby steps!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moments to be Proud

Today, it is simple for me. I am proud of myself for recognizing my need for some serious rest. I slept most of the day after going to bed at 9:00PM last night. Amazing. I got up at 2:00PM today and had a bowl of cereal so at least I didn't go without food, but I was quickly back to bed to sleep until 5. I needed it, and could tell by the weight I felt each time I woke up. Finally at 5:00 I woke up feeling lighter, and rested.

Unfortunately, my night is taking a "swing" and I don't like it. I'm frustrated over my lack of finances and inability to just buy and do what I want, when I want. Combined with a tummy ache, I am struggling this late evening.

So today, my pride comes from recognition of what I needed (rest), and the confidence to listen to my body and mind and oblige.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Let's Try This Again

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I am pretty hard on myself. Learning to love myself for who I am, bipolar and all, has been a life-long challenge. Sure, I'm young (only 30), but I have a long way to go before being comfortable in my own skin.

Yesterday in counseling, there was a recurring theme: learning pride. I have accomplished so many things in the last two months, and I really wasn't giving myself much credit for them! I would talk about them, but was not exhibiting pride in my accomplishments. Which is pretty funny when I think about how I try to recognize all accomplishments, big and small. I need to learn to be proud of myself for my accomplishments, not just see them and recognize them.

So my new assignment to myself, which I will be using this blog to try to accomplish, is pride for every day, and every accomplishment - big or small.

Let's begin!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I am proud that I got up and out of bed.

I am proud that even though I was groggy, I got up early to enjoy the cooler temperatures.

I am proud that I was present and able to post status updates on Facebook, and comment on other people's posts.

I am proud that I ate well.

I am proud that I showered.

I am proud that I put makeup on for the first time in months.

I am proud that I went to my counseling appointment, which included walking extra to get there instead of taking two busses. I am proud that I took the opportunity to stretch my two very capable legs despite how hot I was feeling.

I am proud that I tired myself out, because my body felt capable and used.

I am proud for the aha moments I had, not only in emailing one of my sisters about my amazing week with my mom, but also in counseling. I am proud to be writing about a day full of things to be proud of.

I am proud of making dinner for Tony and I, despite how tired I was. I am proud of stopping at the Mexican store on the corner for sodas for Tony and I.

I am proud of taking my medications as prescribed.

I am proud of calming myself down when I went to bed so that I could sleep. I am proud of a night without bad dreams, and a night of better sleep.

I am proud that I remembered my assignment to myself and jumped in head-first this morning.

I like this! I hope it sticks!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Psych Ward

It has been a long time since I have written anything and so much has been happening! As you can imagine, not all good, hence the not writing part. Sometimes I debate writing when I'm feeling terribly low. After all, I wanted to use this as an outlet for things happening. Not sure what my hangup is.

I spent a week in the psych ward at the hospital. It was probably one of, if not the scariest thing I've ever been through. I went to my routine appointment with my psychiatrist and she told me to go to the ER and have myself admitted the minute I left her office. I walked to the hospital alone, unable to reach anyone on the phone, and by the end of that day was in the psych ward at Pennsylvania Hospital. They made me change into hospital gowns and sit in a padded room on a gurney for hours waiting for the doctor to assess me at the psych ER. I was scared. I was alone. And I was more uncomfortable than I've ever been. I told them I was suicidal when I wasn't because I knew that's what my doctor wanted me to do to get admitted. They took this very seriously. What they took more seriously was my admission that I was hoarding medications.

Several hours and a frightening ambulance ride later I was in "6 Spruce." The nurses were so nice. I don't know if I would have made it if they weren't so amazing. I was so blessed to be where I was. We got to pick our meals out of a menu. We probably had more freedom than many other psych wards. But I was still scared out of my mind. I felt trapped. I've never felt trapped like that before. My entire body was consumed by the need to flee. But I couldn't. I was stuck there in my hospital gowns, waiting for Tony to drop off some clothes for me, just trying to make sense of everything that was going on.

You see, I was admitted with the intent to receive ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) treatments. That's right, "shock therapy." In my desperation I originally was all for it. But once I got there, I didn't want it. I didn't want to go that far. Not to mention, funding for my stay was hard to come by. I was told they would get the State to fund me, but that did not cover the ECT. Talk of getting the hospital to do it pro-bono came up and I just finally told them "no." They worked with me. They changed my medications quickly and that seemed effective. Of course my desperation to get out of there helped. I quickly changed my tune from sobbing, begging to be let out, to making the most of my time there. I finally accepted that I would be there for at least a week whether I liked it or not, so I just worked on changing my attitude. By the time I left, I was a new person compared to the somber woman they admitted.

In hindsight, it was a great thing. I'm still wrestling with mixed feelings about having been admitted. It's hard to go from feeling so trapped to feeling grateful for the experience. But I'm working on it.

The depression came back. But I'm fighting it. I'm feeling better today and am taking it one minute at a time as always. I was approved for Disability which is amazing. I am so thankful. Now I'm working on Medical Assistance. It's just one step at a time, step by step. Today I'm positive. Not so much all days. So I'm sharing my story. This is the brief, yet detailed version. I think I cover enough for now.

My Tony… was by my side and behind me one thousand percent when I was there. I don't know if he feels the same way, but I feel like our relationship jumped to a new level while I was there. Ever thankful for his support and willingness to do whatever it takes to help me get well yet get me out of there as soon as possible. His endless cuddles in the first week I was back home were like a drug in itself. I love him more today than ever. I cannot find words to express what it feels like to have someone support me like that. I never thought I was worthy of such a thing, thinking that my "illness" was sure to drive anyone away. To have him stick by me through that and all he's been through with me is the most humbling experience. That's love baby.