Note: This was my first written post of the new year … but not the first one posted. I’m sure you’ll understand as you read on.
I planned on blogging a lot sooner this year. After all, I haven’t blogged since July and getting back to writing on Renaissance Mom was at the top of my to-do list for 2015. But as often happens in life, my plan was slightly altered when I spent the first couple of weeks taking care of my health — mental and physical — with no time for much else.
You see, 2014 was not a good year. I gained weight, I lost weight and gained that weight back then some. I began an exercise regime and was in kick ass shape and then let it all fall apart … TWICE. My life ebbed and flowed, but with an extreme and intensity I had never experienced before.
Since I can remember (at least post kids anyway) I’ve alway been an “all inner” or an “all outer” (and I’m not talking about my bellybutton, that has been a little bit of both since I had twins). In my daily life — taking on a new project, a job, a new parenting technique, a writing assignment — I seem to be overly excited and all consumed about jumping in and doing something 15o percent. I tell everyone to jump in with me. I’m exuberant and enthusiastic and man, am I productive. Then, as quickly as I jumped in, I’m over it … completely! I give up on the project. I become sad and depressed that what I was trying to accomplish wasn’t embraced by family, my readers, my friends. I become uninspired, lackadaisical, I feel like I’m a failure. A difficult way to live, for me and the people around me.
As if that wasn’t frustrating enough, the last six months or so, this all-in all-out personality of mine has reached extremes!
I had days where I accomplished a week or two of work in one day, spoke a mile a minute, had the energy of 10 teenagers and cooked, cleaned, decluttered and organized like a mom on crack. And then I’d hit rock bottom. I’d sleep 15 hours a day. I was moody, irritable and didn’t feel like interacting with anyone, and I obsessed … ABOUT EVERYTHING. My mind worked overtime and my obsessions filled my head 24-7. I couldn’t hold a conversation, but the conversation in my head never stopped. My word retrievable was mediocre at best, yet I woke up every morning or sometimes in the middle of the night with words streaming through my head. I’d still be dazed and confused from a restful night sleep, but my brain would be up and ready to go, already midway through to-do lists, and arguments with people I had a bone to pick with. It was overwhelming and tiring and depressing and frustrating and these last few months have genuinely sucked.
And then there were the panic attacks. The racing heart that came out of the blue; the shortness of breath; the tightness in the chest that never went a way and felt like a never-ending case of heartburn. But no amount of antacids could make it go away. There were tears and angry outbursts, there was a newfound love affair with my daily glass of wine or two or three, and there was the constant loneliness and isolation. I felt as if I was going crazy and there was no way out, and no one would EVER understand what I was going through.
I felt judged and like eye rolls from my husband as “mom went into another one of her fits about the disorganized nature of our house” were constant. And everyone in the house just stayed clear of me, and ignored my pleas to help me, even if the pleas to clean up their shit and minimize the chaos made no sense to them at all. NOTE: In defense of my husband and children these were my perceptions at the time, whether the eye rolls were happening or not, this is how I felt.
I went back to counseling. I began meditating. I started reading “The Untethered Soul.” And these things helped. But the exhaustion remained, the chaos in my head, though less, still continued to wake me up at night, and the daily naps were a necessity.
My GYN PA drew blood — my thyroid was fine, all my levels (whatever they were looking at) were normal, but my cholesterol was borderline. Great, I thought. She just confirmed what I’ve been feeling all along. I’m simply fat, unhealthy and unhappy. But at least my thyroid was something that could be rule out.
Thoughts began brewing in my head, that I had been denying for quite some time. But I pushed them back. I was just “psychotherapizing” again, an old habit from a former career.
My next appointment was with a new psychiatrist — maybe I was having side effects from my depression meds and a simple tweak would make things all better. My fingers were crossed, but deep inside, I knew it could be something else. I didn’t share this with anyone, I just went to the appointment with my husband by my side and waited to see what the psychiatrist would say as my husband and I shared our story(ies).
After 45 minutes or more of talking history, and medicine, and familial observations, and a few tears … we had the answer I had been dreading, but knew was a very real possibility. It made sense to my husband, my kids, my mother, my therapist and ME. It was the unspoken thoughts that had been lingering in the back of my mind for a while, at least the past six months and probably longer. The psychiatrist was hesitant to speak or label me, for fear of the stigma around what he was about to say — my own fears, my own stigma about the disorder. I allayed his fears, but telling me it had been an unasked question of mine for a very long time. So he laid it all out there in his office, while I sat quiet and ever so still on the leather sofa with my husband.
I was Bipolar.
For those of you who know me personally, or have followed my blog the past few years, you are probably not surprised to hear that I have begun a Declutter Challenge in the new year. Yup, 365 days of decluttering tasks — one a day — to get my house in order. For those of […]
NOTE: This review was previously posted on Berkshire Family Focus. “Somewhere in the losing of my love for Anne, I lost a little bit of my love for everything else.” ~ “I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You,” by Courtney Maum, 336 pages. $25.99. From the Oprah Magazine to Glamour, the Today Show to […]
In my house we never discussed our family tree, but often commented on our Family Bush. You see, our “family tree” is short and wide, much more a bush than a tree. Growing up, I knew that family wasn’t defined by blood, but rather by your feelings for a particular person and your actions toward […]
Last year for Father’s Day, I took the Grinch (and the Things) to Barrington Stage Company’s press opening of “On the Town” (one of the perks of being a writer). My thoughts behind this “gift” to my husband? Dinner and show with the entire family in tow (a rarity these days at the Seuss […]
For those of you who follow Renaissance Mom, you may have read a post I wrote in April about faith and discovery. I had a few readers unsubscribe to this feed after that post (coincidence?), but that didn’t stop my journey. As I said in that post, I’ve been reading … and I’ve been asking […]
I often write about “when I was a good mom” on Renaissance Mom. I poke fun at how I used to pay more attention to my children and their needs much more so than I do now; how I’ve lost or forgotten Thing 3 in more places than I can remember; how cereal often becomes […]
Early in my parenting years I would feel myself cringe as I heard my mother escape my lips. It was my voice — deep, sometimes raspy, rarely soft (I’ve never spoken softly … or quietly for that matter) — but the words weren’t my own. “If I have to pull this car over.” “Don’t make […]
Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~ Oprah Winfrey I take a deep breath, sucking in every ounce of happiness my lungs can take. I breathe in the spring flowers, the walls of my majestic white farmhouse, the tropical smoothie I […]