Thursday, December 30, 2010

Janome DC2010

So I found a modern sewing machine I actually LOVE! It's called the Janome DC2010. I went to OK Sewing in Omaha the other day as I wanted an opinion on the various Janome's I had been looking at online and was really intersted in getting a basic overview of any modern sewing machine.

When I was six years old my grandmother, Edna, taught me how to sew on a Singer 301a. It's the primary sewing machine I've used for twenty years. It's a solid machine, well built and I really wanted one. It's the only sewing machine I've had my eyes on for years now.

My mother-in-law, Sue, owned her own quilt shop for years and has been a professional seamstress for most of her professional life. Having been brought up around fancy machines, sewing, embroidery, and sergers my husband, Jason, had his own opinions on what kind of machine I should have. He didn't want to spend our money on the Singer 301a. Until recently I didn't understand why. He just kept telling me that I should get a newer machine and simply learn to use it, then I would come to love something other than my beloved Singer 301a. Jason spoke with his mother about this topic and her favorite brand of machines are Janome's so I began my research.With her extensive experience there had to be a reason?

When I came into the store I informed the clerk of my beloved Singer 301a that did not meet the approval of my husband or mother-in-law. I also let her know that I was interested in finding a very basic Janome if I was to get a sewing machine other than the Singer which I so loved. This woman was well informed about not only the Janome's in stock but also the Singer 301a located in a display with all the other antique sewing machines, most made of black cast-iron. The direct comparison of the Singer 301a with the newer, much fancier Janome DC2010 was the selling point for me. She knew the features of what I had been using for so many years, how the machine operated and the differences between that machine and the Janome DC2010. I was not only impressed with the newer machine but understood how I could benefit from this over the Singer 301a.

The Janome DC2010 has fifty stitches, some similar to embroidery stitches and also had both serger and applique stitching functions. The needle threaded itself. The bobbin was incredibly easy to place in the machine! The button hole function is a piece of cake! This machine will spoil me. I absolutely adore it! The few things I may have questions about when I'm able to purchase it can all be answered in a one on one class purposed to teach me how to use my new sewing machine. Now we only need to save up the four hundred dollars for my purchase and be done with it! I'm so happy I could burst. :-)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Christmas can be a very difficult time for many who have Bipolar to get though, although for me most of the time it can remain stress free. One thing that most people who know me need to realize is that if you want a specific item for Christmas, ask for it at the beginning of that year, say January or February. I've become quite the planner to cope with unnecessary stress in my life. So to keep the Christmas season from freaking me out due to business or financial issues I shop year round.

As a matter of fact I already have three of the gifts for my niece Zyanah ready for next year's Christmas. I've found over the years that if I do my Christmas shopping well in advance, usually finishing by Thanksgiving when most people are beginning I have very little stress surrounding Christmas.

Unfortunately this year I did have five or six gifts that either changed or needed to be done after Thanksgiving. I found with that and the idea I would make all the Christmas cards with materials I already own I added some unexpected stress to my holiday. Not good. Hopefully next year will be different.

I was still able to manage my stress but it was difficult at times because I don't like to get so busy. I become overwhelmed and apparently even if I'm not stressed I appear to be, so when I am it looks as though the whole world is going to come crashing down upon me.

It did help that I refilled my last prescription which I was saving for an emergency as most of the year I have not had the blessing of medical insurance thus I pay 40x the amount I usually do for my mood stabilizers. After the first refill in three months I feel so much better! No more migraines for one! I was getting them at least 3-4 times a week...sometimes less but only then the migraine would last for several days. I did some research and found that there is a direct link between my prescription Limictal and the relief of chronic migraines although it has not been approved for that treatment in the United States. Currently it's only approved for Bipolar 1 and Epilepsy.

In conclusion while I try to not let the Christmas season stress me out, sometimes it will and I have to deal with it. We all have to try and manage this stress to the best of our abilities and maybe up the positive self talk more than usual. We are never fully in control and sometimes we just need to say: Enough! It's not a big deal if I don't bake during this season or wrap all the presents super pretty or even send Christmas cards when I'm not feeling well. Cut yourself a break, step back and just look at the children around you. They can be so happy with so little and we can as well. Simplify and live a little less stressfully.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Do I ever wish that I didn't have Bipolar?

I have a Yes and No response to this.

Yes because...

I could live without the fear of "passing" this along to my children or relying on my husband so much for support and the fear that I'm a burden to him due to my Bipolar. I also don't like the fact that I need medication in order to appear normal. After being diagnosed friends and family in the medical profession have confessed they either knew something wasn't quite right or had guessed I suffered untreated from Bipolar. It's not something you just tell a person, however so they never said anything to me.

Mostly the severe ups and downs could be wonderful to live without. During the depressed side of Bipolar I'm most fearful of myself as it's the most detrimental to my life. I'm both suicidal and unstable and the possibility of loosing my job is high due to severe irritability and the feeling of a need to stay home and never leave my bed. On the manic side, I have a lot of debt and no license due to my actions in a manic state.

No  because...

I love manic states when I don't end up doing anything really stupid. I get so much done. I have no need to sleep which was wonderful in college for obvious reasons. When I cared for my nephews during a manic state it was easy to take care of three boys under the age of three because I felt I could run after them forever. Overall I adore my productivity in a manic state. I'm like the energizer bunny!!

I've come to understand my father and his struggles. He passed away a few years ago, after I sought help but before I was properly diagnosed. Ironically I was given the same diagnosis he had, Bipolar Type 1, Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Thinking back I don't excuse his behavior because he never continued treatment, which he could control however I now understand, which allows me to forgive him for such behavior. In a sense I'm happy to know exactly why he had the thoughts and the actions he did. There is nothing logical about why we have the thoughts we do however it's now understandable.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Voice of an Angel that Calms

"TRUE THINGS" - Lyrics

I’m not the clothes I’m wearing
I’m not a photograph
I’m not the car I drive
I’m not the money I make
I’m not the things I lack
I’m not the songs that I write

I am … who I am
I am who I am
There are true things inside of me
I have been afraid to see
I believe, help my unbelief

Would you say again what you said to me
I am loved and I am free
I believe, help my unbelief

I’m not the house I live in
I’m not the man I love
I’m not the mistakes that I carry
I’m not the food that I don’t eat
I’m not what I’m above
I’m not my scars and my history

There are true things inside of me
I have been afraid to see
I believe, help my unbelief

Would you say again what you said to me
I am loved and I am free
I believe, help my unbelief

To your love I’m waking up
In your love I’m waking up

 JJ Heller is a woman with an angelic voice. I discovered her music earlier this year as I was going though some difficulties. My grandmother was quite ill and no one really believed she'd live though her open heart surgery. I spent every waking hour I could with her in the hospital, although she remembers very little. Soon after, I had my break down and ended up in the hospital myself. The songs of JJ Heller from her cd, Painted Red helped me get through those difficult moments. 

Her lyrics ring true to me and can keep me from going to dark places. On my cell phone I had downloaded the only song I knew of at the time, Your Hands. Each time therapy became too much for me I would go to the woman's restroom, play and sing along to that song. Sometimes I'd even sing it over and over again on my lunch break. It would always calm me, allowing me the strength I needed to return and finish what must be done. 

In my opinion if someone ever tells you therapy is easy, they must not be doing it correctly. It was by far one of the best things I've ever done and most necessary, yet it was on most days the most trying thing I've ever gone though. JJ Heller is an artist I respect on a very basic level. She helped me in a way no one else could. Above I've listed one of my favorite songs, True Things.

Below are some links to other videos of JJ Hellers music on You Tube. 

Love Me

This one just made me smile

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Save a Child or Teen from Themselves

This blog combines two of the things I'm most passionate about, the protection of children and mental illness. Each year nearly 7% of all children suffer from mental illness yet few of them ever receive the help they need. Below is a link that will take you to vote for funding that Pepsi can donate to the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF) to fund a campaign that will help both children and their families that suffer from mental illness.


Although I was recently diagnosed with mental illness, I've had it for quite some time yet no one noticed and as a child and teen I didn't know how to reach out to the right people and get help myself. I attempted, thankfully unsuccessful, suicide several times as a teenager. If I had been better at killing myself I would just be another statistic of suicide and no one would know why.

There are many kids who grow up feeling out of sorts with reality. They know that something is wrong. They want to be like everyone else, yet no matter what they do nothing ever works. 

They learn to talk more slowly, not realizing they talk too fast when in a manic state. They isolate themselves, reading the minds of their family thinking no one loves them when they are depressed. They don't think it will ever change because depression and manic states are all they know. They are a bipolar child. 

They ask their parents every time they leave the house where they are going and when they will be back. They make sure everything is planned out so that when things do not go according to plan, they can cope more easily. They stay away from messy homes or rooms, sometimes secluding in their own room which is perfectly clean, so much so that if you move anything they will notice. They are the child who suffers from anxiety. 

They have a difficult time falling asleep. They have nightmares when sleep finally comes. They get uncomfortable and frigidity when left alone with a man of any age.  They refuse to talk to a man of any age while alone. They have panic attacks when trapped in a room with a man of any age. They are the children with PTSD due to trauma suffered.

The signs are different for each person. The examples above are purely mine. Fact is that it happens. Children of the world have mental illnesses and they need help so that they can live. With your vote children may not only live, but live well. They can learn what it's like to not always be "sick". They can enjoy childhood, which I guarantee most children who suffer undiagnosed do no enjoy. They have no childhood. All they have is worry and despair.

Please Help, Please Vote. 
Deadline is November 30th, 2010.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coming Home

As many of you already are aware I'm new to Omaha. I've lived here with my husband and kitty for less than a year. For me this city is overwhelming with stimuli which I don't need especially considering I'm overly sensitive to people, noises, stuff. Too much of anything can cause me to fall into a depressed state as I become overly stressed and overwhelmed. Simply put, I don't care for Omaha very much. I would be much more content in a small town, similar to Valparaiso, NE. There's less than a thousand people who live there. It's the perfect size for me. For my husband though small town life is not home.

Jason grew up on a farm. I grew up in large town or small city, depending on where you're from. My grandparents own a farm and I took solace there trying to visit when ever possible. After my college roommate married I moved on to the farm and lived in the small town for a few years. It was bliss. I loved it! Jason was bored a lot while growing up, yearning to be in the city. I guess there would have to be a point in our lives that what we're comfortable with in terms of living conditions would collide. This time has arrived.

I want to be the supportive wife and be happy here. I want to be content living in a city that is too large to walk from one side to another in an hour. I want to be able to be at peace when I look out my window and see the constant view of hustle and bustle. Hundreds of buildings, homes and vehicles in view. I'm hoping to be happy here, so that Jason can be happy.

Today I went to a new church, yet again, trying to find a church home to which to belong. My anxiety goes though the roof when I attend a new church, especially alone. Jason usually doesn't attend with me, so I'm always alone in my search.
A few years ago I worked in a church and found out how political and corrupt some people within them could be towards each other. This was disheartening. I was naive when I began thinking that people would abide to their faith above all else. I find my self a bit jaded now. This experience scarred me, possibly as much as the childhood abuse I endured. The main person who hurt me while I worked there is someone I struggle with daily to forgive. As you can imagine that experience doesn't make this search any easier. A co-worker invited me to his church a few weeks ago and I attended but I was not comfortable because the church was small and I knew that if it were to become unhealthy the size would make it more susceptible to fall apart and really hurt some of it's members in the process.

The church I attended this morning could be referred to as a mega church. It is quite large which puts some of my anxieties to ease and stirs up others. The stimuli there is sometimes a lot to take but I just try to stay focused on why I'm there and not all the people around me.

Overall I had a good worship experience. The music was rejuvenating. The message spoke to me, especially on a level that really hit home with my past church political experiences. The message was focused in the book of Titus. It was a beautiful message, given by the pastor who created the Children's Ministry Curriculum of which I am very familiar. The Children's Ministry Program at this church is one of the strongest I have ever seen and I would love my own children to be one day raised in this environment.

After service I walked to the "Guest Services" area forcing myself to say hello to the volunteers. This was stressful for me as I'm not a person to be forwardly social right away in a new situation. After doing this and receiving a warm welcome I decided to push myself a little further and visit the Nursery. One goal of mine in finding a new church in Omaha is finding a place where I could bring our children when we have a family. This is especially important knowing how much Jason loves it here. While I look for a home church I try to keep in mind that by finding such a place in which I'm comfortable I may grow to like or even love Omaha. The Nursery seemed nice and as a major plus, the director of the Nursery used cloth diapers on all her children and doesn't mind if I were to be a future parent using cloth.

I think I found my home. A few more weeks will be the test. In a few weeks if I still feel at ease here, as though I'm coming home, it may be my new church home. With a new church in Omaha, perhaps, eventually I can feel at home in this now very uncomfortable city.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jason Saves The Day!

Sunday, October 31st...Halloween aka Reformation Day.....

I love this holiday, likely because I adore children so much. It was a down day for me so it did not start out well and there was nothing I felt that I could look forward to as there are no children in our home anymore. There was no one to dress up, take trick-or-treating, paint pumpkins with and since we live in an apartment once again no one to hand candy out to. Disappointing was the way the day started and my mood wasn't helping. I've been cycling rather quickly this past month or so. Yesterday was a down day where as Thursday was a manic day.

Work was okay. Nothing special. Not that difficult to get through. Coming home was a different story all together. Jason was off for the day so seeing him was good but that was as far as my mood would allow me to go in a positive direction.

I came home with the intention of making chocolate chip cookies from scratch. My instant cookies have been nothing but disasters lately so I really want to do the homemade thing once again. Problem was when I looked at the kitchen it was as though I had been sucker punched. There's no counter space and thus when there are a few dirty dishes it's overwhelming to me. I did not feel like cleaning so that I could bake for an hour then clean some more. That required a lot of energy I did not possess. Depressed I leave the clean mixing bowl and the bag of chocolate chips on the kitchen table and plopped down on the couch.

I curl up with the couch pillows and my favorite throw, put on FRIENDS and lay there. After a while I get up as I haven't ate much all day and look for something that doesn't require a lot of room or dishes to make. I didn't have the energy to clean and am very hungry at this point. The only thing I find requiring no room and no dishes was a sleeve of Ritz crackers. I bring them back to the couch and devour nearly the entire package. Not good for me, I know but I didn't care.

I take a nap. I do this way too much when I get bored, upset or simply depressed. I can't cope so I sleep. When sleeping I don't think and I don't feel which during these down times is all I want. 

Evening approaches and Jason asks me what I want for dinner as I stir on the couch. I reply, "Something that doesn't dirty a lot of dishes and that is easy and fast. I wanted french toast but we have no bread. I wanted pizza but we have no pizza. The kitchen is so messy I can't stand it and it's overwhelming so I don't want to go in there for very long." I go back to sleep. I know I wasn't very cheery, but it was the honest truth. If there's one thing I do well, it's telling the truth. I'm honest to a fault.

When I awaken I hear a buzz at the apartment door and Jason leaves. I try to go back to sleep but thankfully I was unsuccessful. Jason returns with delivered pizza and bread-sticks. I wander into the kitchen to grab a plate as I'm so happy we have pizza! Even more surprises, Jason has loaded the dishwasher and the kitchen is clean! Oh, bliss!! I wasn't super perky but not so depressed either. After having yummy, yummy pizza the coffee maker was easily accessible so I made some coffee. No more sleep for me.

The remainder of the night turned around. By noticing what kind of mental state I was in and realizing that I was not going to be able to pull myself out of this one Jason saved the day! He did what was needed for me to be able to function for the remainder of the night. I'm so happy that Jason is understanding a little more about this crazy illness (no pun intended) and there are some days when I cannot do what needs to be done on my own.

I'm super clean myself but when others are not there are days I just don't care to clean up after them. It's too much. Clean equals peace in my world. There's less stress when things are all in order.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Memories

When I think back to the happiest days of my life (thus far) I think of the time my husband and I were foster parents to my oldest nephew, Jadien.

Jadien came to live with us when he was eight months old. A victim of a domestically violent situation Jadien took the worst of the violence. It was November of 2007 when everything unfolded. Jadien was just over four months old and he was "sick" or so my sister and I thought. We took him to the emergency room on Thanksgiving day before going to visit our family. It was a crazed morning, one I'll never forget. Jamie, my sister, had a very difficult time leaving the house that day as her abusive boyfriend was physically trying to keep her from leaving the apartment. He kept yelling at me through the door to bring Jadien back to the apartment as I had taken him down to the car to sit with my husband as Jamie finished packing the diaper bag. I refused which made him even more irate. I was not going to bring a sick child back to the apartment when it was obviously not safe. So, Jadien remained in the heated car with my husband while I began to deflect his anger.

Deflecting an abusive person's anger is something I learned growing up with my father. It always worked quite well in the situations I've found myself in, yet I'm not a medical professional, just someone who has lived though a lot of domestically violent situations so take it worth a grain of salt if you will. My sisters never learned this trait but someone tends to be abusive because they enjoy the power they have over the other individual. I use that need for power to deflect their anger away from other people towards myself. Basically I began very calmly (never yelling) attacking the person's shortfalls. With my sister's ex it was his lack of a high school diploma or GED when I was attending college and planning to go on to grad school. I moved on to asking him about how the job was going, which of course he never had. I would tell him everything that was wonderful in my life and ask him in return about his own shortcomings. Doing this allowed him to become very upset with me and gave my sister the opportunity to overcome her abuser and get out of the house. We ran! We called and met with the police. They began the search as he had tried to chase after us with my sister's car.

When we felt it was safe we drove to the emergency room for Jadien. We were there for what seemed like an eternity-due mostly to the drama of the morning which was causing a sense of urgency. We found out that the abuser had been arrested but within an hour released. He would be able to go back to the apartment soon. I went into survival mode. I rushed the ER staff, which in retrospect I wish I had not done, and got Jamie and Jadien out of the hospital as soon as possible so we could go back to her place for formula and other necessities. Jamie said she was fed up! She said she was leaving! Later that night, she returned.


I was working for Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery as an intern when I received the news, Jadien was in the hospital and Jamie and the abuser were in questioning. I knew this would happen, prayed that it wouldn't, but it did. It was found at a routine checkup, two separate brain bleeds and two separate detached retinas. Jadien had Shaken Baby Syndrome. He was injured at least twice and he had been throwing up and "sick" due to massive head trauma. The doctors said that he would need emergency surgery to correct the damage and that there was a change he could come out of the surgery with brain damage and/or blindness.

My question: If Jamie and the abuser were not able to care for a perfectly healthy little boy, how would they care for one with brain damage and/or blindness?

My husband and I discussed possibly caring for Jadien over the next week and made the decision to become his foster parents. Although there is a policy in foster care in which the state attempts to place a child with family before an outside source it would take us four months and a lot of work to have Jadien placed in our home. By January we had our home visit and had purchased all the necessities for taking care of him at this age. Although we had thought the home visit went well it was advised I drop one of the last two college courses I needed before graduation as the interviewer thought parenthood and taking two courses would be too much for me to handle. I did this. It was also suggested that I seek therapy for the trauma of my own childhood. I did this. Still months of waiting went by. No Jadien. I made calls several times a week, wanting to know what was going on? What did we need to do in order to become his foster parents?

Granted I'm sure that there were some reservations that placing Jadien with us may not be in his best interests. Why? An attempt was made at one point to remove my sisters and I from our biological parents. It failed. My father met the social worker with a shot gun at the door. The worker never came back. I'm the oldest and my two younger sisters were obviously damaged by our upbringing. Jamie, the middle sibling, was in a relationship with an abusive drug addicted man who not only hurt her but nearly killed Jadien yet at this time and for a least a year following she stayed with this man.  My youngest sister found her way into the drug world as well and found herself her own unemployed drunk boyfriend. It only makes sense that if everyone else in my immediate family is that screwed up I should be as well. Perhaps I am, yet it's not visible and what I am defective in I look for help to correct. 

My husband and I, for being so young, had good jobs and were quite mature for our age. Lack of a proper childhood aged me quickly. I learned to take care of myself and my sisters. Now one of my sisters' children was in trouble and those survival instincts to protect everyone around me as much as possible were once again kicked into high gear. Not having Jadien placed with us was causing serious stress. I began losing massive amounts of weight, which I did not have to spare. It seemed hopeless.

Finally in late February of 2008 I received a letter inviting me to a foster care course in Nebraska City, NE. We were willing to do anything to have Jadien placed in our home thus I enrolled. I drove out to Nebraska City on a Saturday morning ready to learn all I could, not knowing this course and the instructors there would change everything for us and little Jadien.

After the class I spoke to the instructors about my family situation. As this foster care class was centered on placing foster children with a family member first and foremost I was an example of the system gone wrong. The instructors both warned me that if Jadien was not placed in our home within the next week he would never come to live with us. I had to work quickly now. A judge would not move Jadien if the process took very much longer for fear that he had already become too attached to the emergency family he was originally placed with. I received the names and numbers of those in charge of the foster care system in the state of Nebraska as well as the name and number of the regional director. It was time to talk to those who could make anything happen.

Within a few days I was receiving answers and offers to take Jadien for short visits. My husband and I had long been approved through the state yet everything was at a stand still and our case had been all but forgotten. The calls that were made to the big wigs finally jump started everything and put Jadien's case on the forefront. Less than a week after the class I saw Jadien for the first time since Thanksgiving Day 2007. A few hours into our visit we received surprising news, we could take him home that day. Oh what a splendid day that became!!

Here are some pictures of Jadien's life with us as his foster parents, some of the most joyous moments of my life to date. Jadien will always hold a special place in our hearts. We will always consider him as one of our children although he is now our nephew once again. Jason and I will one day make wonderful biological parents in loo of what the state initially believed. My childhood did not ruin my ability to become a great parent. With therapy the cycle was broken. The drugs, the abuse, the irresponsible parenting ends with me.
We love you Jadien!!

These two pictures were taken a week after Jadien came to live with us. They were his first ever professional photographs. It was near Easter obviously and he's eight months old in these pictures. At this time he was unable to crawl as he was still healing from his injuries.

These pictures were taken in early summer 2008. Jadien was not quite one year old yet. It was his first trip to the zoo and boy did he love it!!

Jadien's favorite person in the entire world his his Uncle Jason. Every day that Jason came home from work Jadien would get to the door as fast as he could to greet him. As you can tell he had not yet learned to walk yet, that would not happen until after his first birthday. Jadien was thirteen months before he began taking steps. 

Play time. When ever possible I tried to have Jadien at home and not at the daycare. I enjoyed caring for him and was able to give him more attention while at home. We played a lot but also did some age appropriate learning activities. 

Jadien's first birthday was celebrated in our front yard on the fourth of July.  We had a very large party and by the end of it he was so very tired.

I love this picture. Jadien was getting to be such a big boy at this point. His facial features here are more pronounced. 

Where Jason was, Jadien wanted to be. What Jadien used, Jadien wanted. Jadien attempted to play with the computer, cell phone or in the car when Jason was near any of these. Often times we let him, as long as nothing would hurt him and he wouldn't be able to hurt, much. :-)

Play time in fall of 2008. It was during this time Jadien had learned to walk and gain enough balance in order to bend over and pick items up. This was such a happy moment as he had overcome so much. No blindness, no brain damage and now the ability to walk. 

Christmas 2008 was Jadien's first Christmas with his family. At eighteen months he was in love with cars and there was no lack of them under the Christmas tree this year!

These pictures were the bittersweet end to Jadien's life as our foster son and ours as his foster parents. The following day he returned to live with his biological mom.

Although the abuse Jadien suffered and the difficulty we went through to have him placed in our home was not very pleasant, having him for a son even for a little while was worth it. Jadien was a blessing which truly enriched our lives. I adore and will always love Jadien. His life with us made my life full of laughter and joy. Someday I hope he realizes how much we treasured him as a foster son and treasure him now as a nephew.

**Less than a month later, Jadien returned to our home, along with his little brother Hunter, and his pregnant mom, my sister. She and the kids were homeless and would live with us for nearly a year, but that's for another blog.**

Friday, October 29, 2010

Productive Craziness Makes Me Happy

Yesterday, Thursday, was one of my days off for this week. Tuesday was my other day off and I was utterly depressed on that day so hopes were not set very high for yesterday either yet I was pleasantly surprised.

The day began with some Christmas shopping for my grandmother. When that was completed I swung by the apartment maintenance to inform them of some repairs which were needed. Pleasantly the maintenance man came out immediately. We even received an upgrade from the product that was replaced. It was nice! Almost made me consider breaking things in our apartment "accidentally" so they could be replaced with newer and better things...almost. Our apartment is kinda cruddy, so it was a tempting idea. I guess you get what you pay for though and what you pay in Omaha is much higher than what you would in Lincoln for the same quality.

Since I really don't like others coming into my home when I feel it is less then perfect I began to clean after the maintenance stop. Began with the dishes, then started on the living room. When I began in that room I did not expect it would take up most of my day, yet it was totally worth it!!

Jason and I moved from Lincoln, NE to Omaha about six months ago due to my health issues. We were attempting to escape for the majority of my stress triggers. In order to afford the rent in the "big city" we were downsizing, a lot. We moved from a three bedroom duplex with a full yard and basement in a good neighborhood to a one bedroom apartment with our garage as the only storage in an okay neighborhood. By an okay neighborhood I mean that my gas has already been stolen out of my car since living here. Stating it's okay is giving it a lot more credit than perhaps I should.

On moving day everyone placed everything in the living-room. I typically don't like moving this way but we were in a hurry and our helpers did not care as much as I do about where things are placed. The boxes, bins and bags were piled high. I had a massive moving sale yet apparently I did not get rid of enough things. My grandmother was kind enough to allow us to store seasonal items and our cannot do without baby items at her house for when we need them. We do not have children of our own yet, but we did buy most everything we'll need at least in terms of Baby furniture when Jadien lived with us and to get rid of it only to replace it later would be wasteful spending. Until yesterday there was still far too much in our living-room though I've tried for months to clean and/or organize that room.

I went though every box and bin still remaining. I threw out what I knew that I could, meaning I threw out what was mine and I didn't want and what was Jason's and I knew he wouldn't care about. If it was questionable I threw it into a bin with any of Jason's tools or computer items and it went in our storage pile. I figure I'm not going to get into trouble for tossing something he wants and I'm sure he will not care to go through the bins himself, so they're just going to sit in storage. As long as they are outside our apartment and I don't have to look at them I don't care. :-) 

I sorted the bills and important paperwork. I folded all the laundry Jason had completed the day before. Hopefully I'll have the energy to put that all away tonight after work. You would think all that would be enough, but no. I then began making eight Christmas Cards and painted my toe nails. It was such a wonderfully productive day.

I feel so good about myself that I was able to accomplish so much in only one short day. More than anything I feel relaxed and at peace when I enter the living-room now.  My husbands thoughts when he saw all the cleaning I had accomplished: "We look poor now." Apparently lack of clutter, means you are poor. In that case...I love being poor. LOL Growing up I was extremely impoverished yet I loved the simplicity my room brought me. I didn't have much. What I did have I cherished. I enjoyed the cleanliness that my few items offered me. Less stuff=Less stress.

Now if only I could get Jason to unclutter some of his things which he never uses I'll be even more relaxed. One can dream, can't they?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Feelin' like a Potato

Today I went to Five Guys for lunch. I had never eaten there before but heard that it was pricey yet tasty. Funny thing is that when I arrived all the reviews from various magazines around the restaurant boasted about the economical pricing of the place. Apparently for most areas the prices are very reasonable. Here, in Nebraska it's pricey. I purchased a small fry, bacon cheese burger and a drink for around ten dollars. Granted the amount of fries I received could feed at least two people but I only ordered for myself. I really don't like wasting so I tried to pawn some of my fries on others and no one wanted them. Sad. I wasted food. The burger was really good even for the nearly five dollar price tag and I did get to drink my favorite Golden Peak Sweet Tea. All in all it was a good experience.

Would I go again...maybe. However, I would never order fries unless someone was going to share them with me. It's not something I'll do very often as for this area it's quite pricey. Due to the massive amount of fries I currently feel like a large potato!! There's a little more than three hours before I can head home and oh, do I want to lie down as soon as I get inside the apartment. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yoga makes life a bit brighter!

As you could tell yesterday was not very pleasant for me. In fact the few days prior were not all sunshine and roses either but today is much better. I'm not saying life sucks, far from it. I have a lot going for me but sometimes I forget that and it really doesn't help when you work in customer care. It's also not beneficial when you have an illness that causes you to be overly critical of everyone and everything but mostly yourself so much so that it's paralyzing.

Upon coming home from work yesterday I did some yoga from one of the GAIAM dvds I own. My instructor was Colleen Saidman. My other instructor I really like is the popular Rodney Yee. This was a very peaceful and rejuvenating workout. I highly recommend Yoga to anyone dealing with any kind of major stress or a mental illness, especially Bipolar which feeds on stress. Sometimes I don't feel like doing much of anything but if I force myself to get up and do some Yoga I always am thankful. I never thought that something so little could give me such peace and a sense of calm, but it does!

Currently I'm considering getting rid of most of my craft items and just forgetting about the Etsy thing. This is not because I want to give up but because I want to de-clutter my life. It's important to me that my house be clean and I work out to maintain my health. Easing stress when ever possible is key to a healthy life for me and by extension those around me.

One thing that would irritate me would be all the money I've spent on my craft world. If I were to get rid of it I would want to either put it to good use or sell it so that I didn't feel as though I was being wasteful. Please don't misunderstand me I love crafting...I just don't need to have the feeling that I MUST do this card or make that scrapbook, etc. I'm making all of my own Christmas Cards this year as I have the materials and it will save money, yet I've spent more money on materials than I would have saved and it's causing me stress. I make a card and think that it doesn't look good enough. Granted what I'm doing is "stinkin' thinking" and that's very popular among Bipolars but why put myself in a situation when I know I'm prone to that kind of negativity.

I'm really good at crafts. I know that. I can paint, scrapbook, make cards, crochet, basically do anything I really want when it comes to being artsy yet what I must remember is everything in moderation. So maybe I shouldn't completely get rid of all my paper art supplies, just limit what I do. Finish my current projects and then take it easy. Yes. That sounds like a good plan.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What a FLIPPIN' day!!!

Where to I even begin?!?

I've been depressed lately. I don't want to get out of bed. I could care less about my scrap-booking or card-making for Etsy. I feel that what I make is not good enough for anyone to buy. I look at the mess of a house and I don't have the energy to begin to clean. I know it's not unlivable so I don't get up. I stay on the couch or in the bed. I don't have the will to care.

If I could have I would have called in sick today.

If I had called in today then... crazy woman would have screamed at me about her computer being broken and although it had nothing to do with what we had worked on demanded we fix this issue for free!    
     ...I would have not had issues trying to QA a stupid laptop HP sent us
     ...would not have had to deal with stupid people giving me problems to solve assuming I made a mistake when there was no problem and thus no mistake
     ...would not have heard that my boss was fired.

And it goes on and on!! This all within the first two hours! It sucks that this is the beginning of a six day work week. Crap couldn't have hit the fan on day five or, had to be day one!


It's too much, just too much! I had to vent, either that or risk doing some really stupid things. Oh what a FLIPPIN' day!! Someone sedate me! PLEASE!

Perhaps nothing would seem so bad and irritate me so if I was medicated but I'm not. I'm trying and failing here. At least I'm at work. I know of many BiPolars on or off meds have a difficult time getting there. You can include me in that group once in a while, but not today. I'm here, at work, putting up with the bull and not getting least not yet.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Well yesterday did improve. I went to Target and bought some running clothes on clearance and a SHAPE magazine. When I arrived home my husband was already cleaning the house which made me so happy. He suggested that I throw our laundry in the multiple washers at the apartment clubhouse so they all get cleaned in a short amount of time and run at the gym.

So I ate the wonderful dinner he had prepared which was oh, so delicious and off I went. After tossing all the laundry in for a quick wash headed off to the gym. There are two treadmills in our apartment gym and as luck would have it they were both taken. Usually I would be bummed but with my new clothes I was determined to run! I bolted for the door and into the cool crisp dark air of an October evening. It was oh so pleasant. I forgot how much I miss running outside when it's dark out.

As a teenager I would run at least twice but mostly three times a day. I would go out for my first run before day break around 4am, second run would be after school around 3pm and the last run would occur between 7-8pm. Although the first run was so early it would always be my favorite because it was so dark and there wasn't anyone outside to glare. I also had an issue with not paying attention and running out in front of cars, less people meant less chance of this happening.

Last night was like one of my 4am runs, simply beautiful. I'm new to the area in which I live so it was nice to go and explore. When I returned home I was at peace. It was different from the norm. It was nice.

This morning I went again.
Hopefully I'll go tomorrow, and the day after that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


It's been one of those days. Nothing is wrong but at the same thing everything is falling apart.

I am at my breaking point in relation to stressors.  This seems a bit insane to most people because I don't have a very stressful job. Currently my mind is racing and I'm "reading" a lot of minds. Doing these unhealthy things cause me to get anxious and freak out. One of my long time solutions to becoming overly stressed is to go on a shopping spree. REALLY trying VERY HARD not to do this. I know deep down that this would not be a positive way of coping. Thus I begin to think of other things I could do which would have the same effect.

I could eat some candy...
     doing this makes me think about my nine year old cousin who informed me that I've gotten "fatter" since the last time he saw me three years ago at my wedding. I know I've gained a little weight...going up one size in everything from dresses to tops but fat is not what I would use to describe this, yet I feel terrible thinking of it.

I could watch a movie...
      this may just be a waste of time though because while watching the movie I'll end up falling asleep and not doing any of the laundry that's been piling up all week and needs to get done before I leave this weekend.

I should...
     go running...just need to get over the fact that no one is willing to go with me.

I should...
    clean...making a cleaner house will ease my anxious mind. Set the kitchen timer to 15 minutes and get done what I can.

I should...
     get my perscription refilled even if there's not enough money. Shopping unnecessarily will not do my finances any good either but I'm considering that option. At least with medication I know that I will not be so stressed over such silly maters.

Question is what will I do when I get home after typing all of this up? Honestly I don't know. I really hope I will go running, then come home and get a little cleaning done. Finally relax with a nice bubble bath. That sounds shopping for me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just Had to Share- Source:

This blogger is so well spoken in comparisson to myself. His blog has a similar message...getting rid of the stima that exsists for those with mental illnesses.

Five Common Myths About Depression

August 2, 2010 by thegallowspole

1) Myth: Depression is brought on by some event or occurrence. It’s the most common misconception about depression. Even those of us who suffer from depression make this mistake. It feels so completely irrational to experience so much pain and anguish for no apparent reason the mind naturally tries to link the experience with something external; a nasty boss, money concerns, etc. This misconception is most insidious because it serves as a ready excuse to do two disastrous things: a) deny that there is an underlying medical problem, and b) seek to fix the perceived phantom sources of depression rather than seek treatment. To deal honestly with depression, you have to decouple the illness from external causes and treat it like what it really is: a medical condition.

2) Myth: Everyone gets depressed from time to time. Everyone experiences grief and sadness. Everyone suffers. Everyone has bad days. Not everyone suffers from depression. It may make sense on the surface to group depression together with other kinds of mental pain, but peel back one layer and you’ll find depression is a whole separate matter. Even with the limited understanding modern science has of the underlying causes of depression inside the brain, they can see fundamental differences between a grieving brain and a depressed one.

3) Myth: Depression can be cured. If wishing made it so….. No, unfortunately, science is still barely learning to crawl with complex brain disorders like depression. Depression can be treated reasonably effectively, but its underlying medical causes are still only theorized, so the word “cure” is not yet in the vocabulary of those researching this illness. While it might seem humane and compassionate to talk optimistically about curing depression, it does no favors to those suffering from it to lie about the prospects for a cure, no matter how well-intentioned that lie may be. The complexity of the brain simply precludes any easy answers with depression. The watchword here is “treatment,” not “cure.”

4) Myth: Depression is a character flaw. If depression is a character flaw, then so are all other diseases, like cancer or diabetes. The overwhelming medical evidence conclusively demonstrates that depression is a serious medical condition requiring treatment. It is unacceptable, even legally impermissible, to view depression as anything other than a medical condition. Consider that before the causes of many medical conditions were understood (like leprosy and, more recently, AIDS) it was common to view those suffering from these illnesses as somehow inferior or blameworthy for their condition. Such attitudes have caused untold suffering for millions already beset by disease or disorder. To perpetuate such attitudes in an age where information is so readily available is to place a drag weight on human progress. Depression is a serious medical illness. Not recognizing that fact — now that may well be a character flaw.

5) Myth: Depression is a “fad” illness fostered by pharmaceutical companies and New-Age psycho-babble. In purely logical terms, this is a fallacious argument. Simply because a genuine illness is wreathed with opportunists and profiteers does not make that illness somehow less legitimate. It stands to reason that any illness with subjective diagnostic criteria will yield false positives. Likewise, injecting profit motive into the same environment will surely lead to over-prescription of medication. Numerous books and articles have noted as much and served to make Prozac a punchline for countless jokes about the supposed lack of resiliency in modern society. But, beyond the sheer stupidity of painting an entire population with one brush simply to serve some social statement about modern civilization, it’s worth noting that it’s also bad science. Questionable motives by a few patients or drug companies shouldn’t serve to undermine the reality of depression, anymore than the over-prescription of antibiotics in Africa should call into doubt the existence of Malaria. Again, doubts about the legitimacy of depression, whether guided by some insipid social agenda or rank ignorance, speak far worse about the doubters of depression than those suffering from it.

The above are myths because they are perpetuated despite empirical evidence to the contrary. Disputing them in the face of genuine medical information bespeaks either a profound ignorance or a virulent social prejudice. Make no mistake: an inability to accept that the above listed (and too widely held) beliefs are in fact myths should not be tolerated. When the history of mental illness in the early part of the 21st Century is written, it will take a dim view of those unwilling or incapable of dealing with the harsh realities of mental illness. Medical practitioners who used leeches in the infancy of medical science were merely operating at the limits of their field’s knowledge base. Dealing with depression in an analagous manner now carries no such caveats. In the Age of Information, there are simply no excuses for remaining ignorant.

Bad Idea Becomes Reality...Let's Change

It's been forever and so much has occurred.

In my last blog I battled with the idea of going off my medication and take the chances of falling into a Manic rather than a Mixed or Depressive state. Well, I did end up doing this but not intentionally. I ran out of medication and due to the lack of insurance it took forever for me to find a way to get a refill without breaking the bank. I'm 25 years old and not from a well off family so I'm certainly not well off at this point in my life.

These few weeks off my medication were some of the worst times of my life. Prior to medication and therapy I knew I was different but I didn't realize how much of an impact medication can make on the severity of my illness. I nearly lost my job three times and injured someone out of rage making them bleed. It was the first time in my life I had ever lost control so severely that I had hurt someone. I don't like conflict, which I confessed in therapy, for one reason...I fear what I will do in the heat of the moment. These few weeks I experienced off my medication proved that I am not okay without help. If I need the assistance of medication and therapy to control my moods and some of my responses to those moods then I now welcome it.

I was truly scared that my life would spiral so out of control that I would end up unemployed and alone. I completely understand my unmediated bipolar father and his rambles. He said what I now feel unmediated. That was the most unpleasant experience ever! Don't ever do this!

This evening I watched a commercial about the stigma that surrounds those of us with mental illness. This is the same stigma I mock in the title of this blog with the words "BiPolar Freak". Check it out:

Lets change the way everyone looks at mental illnesses so that those who truly need help seek it before it becomes life threatening! No one should look for it for the first time when they are suicidal as it did due to the fear of a stigma!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

They Know

It happened today. It was something I was aware would come when I began this blog I just didn't know how scary it would be when the truth came out. I was admitted to the hospital in February of this year and very slowly I told my side of the family. Today my husband's side learned what I've been hiding.

Mostly I was ashamed of the truth. Growing up I always tried to appease the extended family as they were full of doctors and my immediate family lived in the ghetto and used my high school job paychecks to pay the bills. When I met my husband there was at least one person who at the time didn't think I was good enough for him. No worries...I feel the same way most of the time, yet I'm not my family. My father had bipolar I and so to I yet we chose to handle it in very different ways.

He did not medicate...I do. He rarely went to a therapist...I spent three months, not working seeing a therapist for forty hours a week. I screamed for help as a teen yet my father refused to hear me. There is a strong case for the genetic connection to the bipolar illness. I have extreme fears that our children will become "crazy" as I am and have a lifelong battle with this illness. What I have come to realize is that even if they do become sick I will choose to listen and get them the help they need before they end up where I did earlier this year.

Do not be afraid because you now know. I am freed by the truth of the burden which I will always carry. Now everyone knows.

Perhaps it is understood why my husband and I cannot buy birthday presents for anyone but the children in our family, why I hate the noise of the city, or why I prefer simplicity. Anything to try and ease the unnecessary stress helps my condition. Technically I'm only supposed to work part time due to doctor's orders but instead I took a less stressful job to help our financial situation although the pay is much less. Perhaps some day I can do the best thing for me, to become a stay at home mom. To raise a family in the country would be heaven to me.

Today you learned a little more than you knew before. I was afraid to tell you but now we all must deal. I'm sick but I'm healing. I'm better today than I was yesterday and certainly better than I was last year. You must first hit rock bottom before you can get better!! This is me getting's okay to call me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Although I understand fully that I shouldn't go off my meds, even for a day, I truly considered doing this today. Currently I'm moving. The move date is set for next Saturday. I have four rooms to paint using primer and two coats of paint and tons of packing and cleaning to finish. These tasks seem far too much for me at present.

When I wasn't on my current mood stabilizer I would have extreme ups and downs. In my manic states or extreme ups I would experience very little exhaustion and have a way too much energy for a normal human. It was in one of these states that I painted the four rooms of my rental in the first place. I did this in a few days with no problems. One of the side effects of my medication is fatigue. On my way home from work I always fall asleep. My husband is driving me as when I tried to drive the hour and half home I would have to stop several times and sometimes take naps in my car at rest stops. Most recently this has been the most difficult portion of my illness to deal with.

My life used to run in spurts. I would run on an extremely accelerated pace and then when my lows came I would crash and the rest of the world could disappear as I did not care. Simply put I would be wrapped up in my bed hidden beneath the sheets. Granted with my meds I still have my ups, downs, mixed states and sometimes my "normal person" pace yet none of them are as extreme and they are manageable if I listen to the advice of my therapists and psychologists.

I'm sure I'm not the only one with bipolar who sometimes wishes not to be sedated. Although if I chose not to take my meds I'm intelligent enough to realize the crap I do when not medicated would not be all positive. Yes, I would have the energy to get done what needs to be done, yet I would do things later I would regret.

In the past few years during manic states I have done many things I regret. Listed below are a few:
          -Spent money as though my husband and I had all the money in the world, resulting in two lawsuits filed against me. Currently we are paying off thousands due to these suits.
          -Speed so much while driving because I felt as though I was invincible and nothing could ever touch me which caused the authorities to revoke my license
          -The last thing I want to share which I have already eluded to...painted four rooms of my rental although I knew I would have to paint it back someday because I didn't like the eggshell white and refused to live in a place so bland

Maybe it's not such a good idea to even consider the possibility of going off my meds even for the week leading up to our move. That may be a very bad move on my part. Oh well, one can always take things into consideration.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Continue to heal though understanding

"Bipolar disorder or, manic depression, is a medical illness that causes extreme shift in mood, energy, and functioning. These changes may be subtle or dramatic and typically vary greatly over the course of the person's life as well as among individuals. Over 10 million people in America have bipolar disorder and the illness affects men and women equally. Bipolar disorder is a chronic and generally life-long condition with reoccurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from days to months. These episodes often begin in adolescence or early adulthood, and occasionally even in children. Most people generally require some sort of life long treatment." (CareNotes System, Bryan LGH Medical Center)

As previously mentioned I recently spent a good deal of time in the hospital in both the Affective Disorder ward and the Partial Hospitalization Program. My total time spent was approximately three months. I believe part of the reason my time was so extensive was that my initial diagnosis of Depression, Anxiety Disorder and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) was partially incorrect.

When someone is diagnosed with Depression initially and given antidepressants which also will calm anxiety it will make manic stages of bipolar more extreme. In my case not only did my mania worsen but so did my depressive states. Things became so much worse than anything I had ever experienced before.  By the time I was admitted for my safety to the Affective Disorder ward I was so fearful of simply going to work at all that I would have a panic attack each time the thought would enter my mind that "I need to go to work."

Though my time spent in the hospital I realized I am not alone. Others suffer as I do. This stigma that surrounds the bipolar illness should not be there any longer. This illness is just like any serious health condition. I compare it to cancer quite often.
          It can effect every aspect of your body.
          It requires the help of doctors regularly.
          You must take your meds in order to get and stay better.
          There are support groups which can help and you should check out.
          It can become life threatening.
          And most importantly some days you will not feel like getting out of bed and continuing to fight but you must!

My title of this blog is meant to make fun of the stigma. Most of those with this condition including myself at one point have seen ourselves though the eyes of the stigma. No one wants to be diagnosed with this condition. It's difficult on your family and yourself. You will never be cured and without consistent work you will never get better or stay that way. Although this illness is something we must endure it is something if we choose that we can we may live with. Perhaps for others suffering the hard work will pay off. Having a stable mood could be one of the greatest blessings you experience in your life!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Introduction to the Road of Healing

I am a girl like so many others with a troubled past. A past that sometimes is difficult to bear and impossible to speak of to others, even my spouse. Recently I spent a few months in and out of the hospital because I was suicidal, not once but twice.

My entire life I've had emotional issues. You could say that I've been on a roller coaster that I have come to call my existence. It goes up and down and the ups are just as extreme as the downs.

When I was young I was very much aware that something was wrong....something I couldn't fix on my own. No matter how much I prayed, this curse wouldn't go away. Yes, this last time was not my first embrace to suicidal thoughts as they have always been a part of me as long as I can remember. I begged to be seen by a doctor as a child but that would not occur until I became an adult. In tears I would come. It would be the beginning of a long journey, one I could not escape!

These are my confessions, experiences, opinions, and my life. I hope to give to others a sense of hope that I have so recently received. Although I have this illness (specifically Bipolar Type 1) I will not be held captive and I will never be defeated!
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