I got half a mind to scream out loud…I got half a mind to die…

I hadn’t heard that song in YEARS until today when I put in one of my super old CDs on during our ride to Fort Bridger, WY.

So how have things been?

Not so great, but I’m hanging in there, Slightly anyway. Josh said if going to Bridger didn’t help perk me up, he was committing my dumb ass. Woohoo for loving husbands!

But for right now, I am actually feeling better. Two nights ago when I took a couple to many pills wasn’t such a great moment, but hey, it’s over and done with. I’m bipolar, I’m going to make my mistakes here and there, and although it’s taken me a few days to start feeling normal, no harm, no foul with that.

I’ve discovered that more people I ever imagined are reading my blog and finding something from it. Josh read this book, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and I’m reading it too now and it talks about how you have to have a sense of purpose for your suffering, right? And if you can understand why you suffer, then you find meaning in life. And he says that I’ve taken my suffering from being bipolar and turned it into this blog, which gives me meaning and purpose for living. It doesn’t seem very glamorous or life changing, my purpose just is to blog about the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, but maybe he’s right. Maybe here in my small corner of the world, I am making a difference by writing about living with this. I may never be a famous, world renowned writer, bu I know people are reading what I have to say, and gaining something from it. I can survive on that for now.

Here’s that song for anyone who’s interested, btw 🙂

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Words have a powerful effect on people.

I read a great article today on facebook. It talks about what a SAHM needs from her husband, and how they can better support each other and create a ore loving, thriving marriage. I want to share this letter with you, in the hopes that it can help spark a talk, or a notion that can help you in your relationship.

I read through this letter, and thought, ‘damn!’, I really need to take this to heart. I rarely take GNO because I don’t think I need them…but I feel so much better when I do go out with the girls. And I don’t give my husband enough credit for having worked a long hard day at work, I expect him to come in right away and be family man. I think it would help our relationship out dramatically if he decompressed for half an hour or so before coming home on especially rough or tiring days. I also wish I could be responsible enough to cook a dinner and have it ready every night, but it just seems like that will never happen *sigh* And it’s too much of a hassle for Josh to work a 9 hour day, commute home, and then cook for the family…so my family is suffering a bit on the nutritional side of things until I get the cooking thing down more. I also wish I was more appreciated for the things I DO actually do. The way this woman describes a trip to the pool with 4 kids is spot on, and my hubby seems to think it was just a walk in the park. I sometimes wonder if he thinks that they don’t actually run wild and screaming all over the place and that they really just sit quietly on their chairs and read the Bible while each other child gets a turn in the water.

And about the secretly loving the attention your spouse hands out…it’s true…after having 4 children ripped out of my body, it’s nice to know someone still finds me attractive. I won’t say anything about the non-sexual touch, because I’m the one who wants it more often in my relationship, lol, so no need to touch on that…and then the talk about trips versus vacations..of so true!

We go on family vacations and come home more tired than when we left! I’m dying for the kids to get a little older, and we can leave them with a sitter and feel less guilty about it,. Then we’ll  get a ‘real’ vacation, one with a hotel, and no kids, and us getting to do exactly what we’d like for a day or two. I’m grateful for my children and all, but eventually one day they’ll leave and go on their own way…I’m still going to have my husband, so I need to nurture that relationship just as much as I nurture the relationships I have with my children.

And some of these things I definitely need to vamp up in my own life. I need to stop comparing. I need to look forward to dates with my husband more often. I need to not dump all my day’s problems on him the minute he walks in the door. But I also need more praise. I like it to be noticed when he mentions something and I take note and it’s done without him asking. Like I’m willing to bet you money he won’t notice the sheets on our bed have been washed and put back on for him, just because he was complaining about how dirty the bed was this morning. I do it because I love him, but I’m a lot more motivated when I get praised and noticed for the hard work I do put in, even though I have my personal struggles, I do try and put in effort and I like to be noticed for it. I probably need to work harder on praising Josh as well, so one more thing for me to improve on as well.

And the very last part…about there being no one other person I’d rather be going through these struggles with…so true.

It’s been 7 years, and it’s still just as true today as it was those 7 years ago.

I often hear young moms complaining about their needs not being met.  About things they wish they had, wish they received, wished their husbands did…  And I realized…  not all husbands “get it.”  Some take longer to learn their wives than others.  And some wives don’t help the situation at all.  We play games.  We expect much but express little.  Today, I felt compelled to write a letter.  On behalf of stay at home moms.  If you’ve never said it.  Or he’s never “gotten it.”  I hope this helps.

To: My Husband.

From: Your Stay at Home Wife/Mom.

I used to think it would be so romantic if you just knew me so well, that you knew exactly what I needed.  I would never have to verbally share with you my needs because if you really loved me, you would know what they were, even before I did.  You, my love, were to be nothing less than a mind reader. It sounded fabulous and romantic.   However, we’ve been married awhile now. And reality has set in.  You are an amazing man.  An incredible husband.  But I must tell you: You are horrible at mind reading.  And it’s not your fault.  I now get it.  It’s physically impossible. There’s nothing you can do to acquire this superpower that I wish you possessed.   So today, I am declaring that I am letting you off the hook.  No more guessing.  No more expectations unmet.  Today, I lay it out.  I’m giving you a peek into me.  But once you know, you are responsible for that knowledge.  No more playing dumb.  No more acting clueless.  You can choose to stop reading here if you enjoy the guessing game.  Ah, you’re still reading?  Awesome.  I love that about you.  You’re IN.  I knew it.

OK wait.  Before I express my needs, let me explain something that might be difficult to understand:

I love our kids.  I love my role as a mom.  But honestly?  It’s tough.  And here’s the tricky part – those 2 things DO co-exist.  One doesn’t trump the other or cancel it out. I love it – And I’m tired. It’s an honor – But it’s exhaustingly hard work.  I’m fulfilled – And I’m drained.  Get it?  Me either.  It’s tricky and complex.  But it’s called Motherhood and I’m in the thick of it.  OK, so in light of that, here’s what I need.  Or want.  TomAto….TomAHto. Here’s the reality in no particular order….

1) I need to refuel.  And it’s not by grocery shopping with only 1 kid instead of all 3.  I need to get out of the house.  Alone.  I need to ride in my car and listen to adult music.  I want to use the public restroom in the small stall. The one without the changing station.  Alone.  I don’t need extravagance.  [I mean, I won’t turn down extravagance, of course.  But I don’t need it.] 😉 You know what I’d love?  To wander the isles of Target for an hour.  Or to sit at Starbucks alone for 30 minutes.  Or to walk in a shopping mall without pushing a stroller.  It really is that easy.  Will I come back completely changed and ready to conquer the world? Honestly?  Sometimes yes.  But mostly, no.  But what I WILL come back with, is a little more life in me.  I will have a spring in my step.  It’s a little shot in the arm.  I reeeeallly need this.  When you ask if I want it, and I say, “I’m OK.”  I need you to tell me to go anyway.

2) Please don’t call and ask what’s for dinner.  If anything, call and ask, “Do we have dinner plans?  If not, can I stop by the store and pick anything up?”  I love you.  And I love providing nourishment for our family.  But when I have spit up running down into my bra and a toddler who just learned to take off his own dirty diaper, The Call adds that little extra pressure in my day that just makes me want to accidentally change the locks on the front door.

3) When I take the kids to the pool, please know that I didn’t spend the day poolside with a cocktail.  Sometimes I feel like that’s how you view the life of a stay at home mom.  In reality, every 2 minutes, I’m doing roll call to make sure everyone is above water.  “1..2..3..…1…2…3…” over and over and over and over.  I’m changing poopy swim diapers on hot concrete and peeling wet swimsuits off tiny bodies because they have to go potty AGAIN.  I’m schlepping towels and sunblock and swimming goggles and dive toys and flippers and water shoes and cover ups and diapers and wipes and snacks and drinks.  I have one child who has no fear of water and is jumping into areas he’s not allowed to, and another child who’s deathly afraid of the water and is leaving claw marks in my arm.  Blood has been drawn.  A walk in the park is not a walk in the park.  It’s chasing, and counting, and disciplining and refereeing.. A day at the pool is all of that, in a big hole of water.  Attempting to avoid death.  For real.

4) I’ve been nursing a baby all day long.  My “nursers” are over stimulated.  The last thing I desire when you get home from work, is to have one more person perusing the “food court.”  Those are not yours right now.  They are on loan to the person they were actually created for.   Your time will come.  It’s just not today.  If you will understand this and not let it become a point of tension, I’m certain you’ll get extra rewards in heaven.

5) However, when we’re home and you walk by me in the kitchen and grab my butt, and I swat you away, I don’t mean it.  I secretly love that you still want to be playful and frisky.  The timing may not be right, or I just don’t know what to do with your playfulness because my brain is counting the number of loads of laundry waiting for me.  But please don’t stop.  I need to know you still like me.  I understand this is confusing in light of the point above.  I can’t explain everything.  I’m just informing.  I’m complex like that.

6) I need a Girls Night Out every once in awhile.  While we both know you rock, I  need some time with girlfriends as well.  Unless, of course, you would like to discuss bikini waxing, my period and the latest fashion trends with me.  No?  Cool. Girl’s Night Out it is.

7) I need non-sexual touch.  I know you don’t quite understand what that is.  Just pretend it’s valuable and possible.  The grabbing mentioned above is fun and all, but sometimes I just want to feel your arm on my shoulder, without it slowly moving a few inches south.  I need your physical affection without motive.  I need to know that you like to just be with me.

8) When you walk in the door, let’s make a deal:  You won’t walk straight to the family room and collapse on the couch with the remote… And I won’t greet you at the door with all 5 kids, dump them on you and clock out.  When you come home from work, let’s do it together. Share the load.  If you need to decompress from your day at work, please take the long way home.  Drive around the block a few extra times if you need to.  Just don’t walk in and disconnect.  You are my Knight.  I love knowing you’re coming home.  I can’t feel like I have another child to care for when you walk in the door from work.  I need my partner.  My teammate.

9) That trip we took with the kids was awesome. We created family memories.  We had fun.  But that’s exactly what it was – a “trip.”  I now need a “vacation.”  A vacation is like a trip.  Just without the diapers and wipes and baby food and high chairs and primary color toys.  Oh, and without the tiny humans that come with those things.  Don’t get me wrong, I love those tiny humans. But a break to refuel, refresh, clear my mind, etc..is invaluable.  I have no way to explain what a true vacation will do to me. Other than to say hotel room sex is fabulous.  The end.

10) When you come home to a clean house, be assured it didn’t look like that hours earlier. There were crackers smashed on the floor, toys everywhere, food smeared on walls, 8 outfit changes from our preschool daughter strewn around the house…  If you come home to a clean house, please notice.  Please say something.  Acknowledge that it obviously took superhuman powers to get it to the state it is.  It sounds silly and needy.  Maybe I am.  But you know that “atta boy” you got from your boss at work that made your day?  Ya, I need that too.

11) When we go to a restaurant, sometimes I need you to offer to sit next to ‘the kid.’  You know, the one that needs extra assistance.  The one that cries and grabs and throws and needs.  When I say, “No, it’s OK. I’ll sit next to The Child” I need you to gift me with the break anyway.  I’m not saying every time.  But we both know that going to restaurants with The Child is difficult. I’d so appreciate sharing that load with you.

12) I need to go on a date.  With you.  I need to wear clothes that don’t smell like any type of child’s body fluid.  I need to order food for just me.  I need to eat it while it’s hot.  I need to look into your eyes.  I need to hold your hand.  I need adult conversation.  And while the topic of kids might creep into our conversation, let’s commit to keeping that to a minimum.  We spent so much of our dating years getting to know each other. Asking questions.  I was your student and you were mine.  A lot has happened since then.  You and I have changed and grown. Let’s learn about each other again.  Re-discover who we are today.  Let’s know and be known.   Let’s date.

13) Let’s commit to not comparing.  My friend might be prettier.  Or a better homemaker.  Or parent with ease.  Her husband might be more romantic.  Or more successful.  Or a more engaged father.  There’s always going to be someone who does what we do, but better.  Or so it seems.  Let’s commit to not comparing.  Comparison will steal our joy.  It will take the wind out of our sail.  It will make us feel defeated.  Or frustrated. Or angry.  Or all of the above.  Let’s be honest – everyone else is just as messed up as we are.  We just see the beautiful, shiny outsides of them that they put on display, and tend to compare it to the dysfunctional, broken insides of ourselves that only we know.  Let’s just be the best “us”we can be – keeping our eyes ONLY on OUR path.  I love you.  I chose you and you chose me.  Let’s be in for US and US only.

Thank you for hearing me.

You may not understand it all.  I don’t even know if I do.

This season is glorious and difficult.

And in all the uncertainty, the only thing I do know is there is NO ONE I’d rather do this with, than you.

You are exactly the “who” I need.

The other stuff is just the “what” I’d love from you.  I ask you to just try.

And if you’re willing, I’d love a list like this from you in return.
This is a tough season for us both. I know you have needs you rarely express as well and I’d love a peek into those if you’d be willing to share.

I love you and love that we’re living in what we’ll someday call “the good old days.”

You have my heart forever.

I’m giving credit to Deanna Rischer Ramsay because that is the page this was shared from. I don’t know where she got it from, but it is awesome.

Day 3: A Letter To My Schemas

I was given the assignment to write a letter to my schemas a few months ago to try and get out the emotions that I was bottling up inside me. I’d like to share that letter with you all.

To all my schemas:

I hate you. I despise the fact that I’m stuck in these unhealthy belief systems because of everything that’s happened to me. I hate that I can’t get close to others because I’m scared they’ll hurt me. I hate that I can’t figure me out because I’m just as scared of myself as well. I hate that life has been unfair to me and thus creating all this mistrust in the people I want to care about. I hate how I can’t form new relationships with people because I’m scared they’ll eventually push me away. I hate that I generally distance myself first so I’m not hurt when they do it because it ultimately always happens.

I hate that I feel so isolated from the world and that I feel not one with my community or family  or anywhere really. I desperate;y want to belong somewhere and feel cared about and welcomed, but I don’t know how to un-break myself and find a place to belong.

I strongly despise the fact that I see myself as inherently broken and flawed. Because I view myself like this, I believe others view me like this as well. I hate feeling so ashamed of my past and especially how I feel s ashamed of the person I am now. I don’t think I need to be so hard on myself, but I don’t know how to change my perception. I hate how I can’t handle criticism or feeling rejected by the slightest things and I especially can’t stand being blamed for things that aren’t my fault. I feel like it’s led me to over-blame others at times and not take my share of responsibility. I don’t like feeling constantly on-guard and so self-conscious and insecure in my surroundings and interactions with other people. I hate how I have masks I wear so no one sees the genuine me because I’m too afraid to be left vulnerable. I hate being bipolar, I can’t find the happy medium I need to exist peacefully and it makes me miserable. I hate how my meds stifle my creativity, yet there’s nothing I can do about it. I hate taking meds every day for something no one can see. I hate being punished time and time again because I’m bipolar and can’t always control my emotions. I want to come to terms wuth who I am so I don’t feel so insecure around others and so I am finally comfortable in my own skin again.

I don’t like that I put everyone’s needs ahead of my own, to the point that I go without necessities because I feel that the resources necessary to me would be better used elsewhere. I hate that when I go too long without filling my own tank and fulfilling my own needs I overcompensate and go on a spending spree or if I truly want something and can’t afford it, I’m inclined to steal it rather than waste money on me. This also ties into not having good self control and I hate that about me. I try so hard to stay in control of my emotions that I stop feeling completely because I don’t want to be out of control. I can’t complete tasks, if it’s too hard or perceived as too hard I find it almost impossible to do. I go out of my way to avoid discomfort and pain, but by doing so I generally create more discomfort and pain in the long run.

I also hate how I never feel ‘done’, or accomplished, or good enough.  I’m never satisfied with myself, I always feel insecure about nearly every move I make and it is generally because I want to avoid criticism. I wish I could just feel comfortable and known when things are ‘good enough’ or what’s normal so I could keep my thoughts and behaviours more in tune with that.

And most of all, I hate this trapped feeling I have and the overwhelming frustration of not being able to fix this myself and figure myself out without anyone else’s help. I feel more broken because I don’t know which direction to go in or what steps to take to change my life around and I don’t like it. I should know myself and not need anyone else’s help knowing me and I resent myself for being this way. I resent these life traps because I don’t know how to change them and I struggle to use the techniques I’ve been taught that might help. This is just not fair.

Tricia

*Now that you’ve read this (if you stuck with it and didn’t just scroll to the last paragraph here), you probably think I’m a crazy loon who should be locked up. I disagree. I wrote this letter shortly after getting out of the hospital and as one of my first ‘real’ therapy assignments. I’d like to think that if I were to rewrite this letter now, it’d be far less angry and bitter, and that some of the issues with my schemas have been resolved. You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see me thoughts on my first schema, mistrust/abuse. I analyzed my thoughts and reasons for that schema and wrote about it. I’ll be doing thta for all my schemas this week and I’d like you to notice the difference between my letter talking about those schemas, and how I write about them now. So definitely stay tuned for more crazy ramblings from this bipolar mama!

Have you ever written an angry letter? What did you do with it? Did you tear it up, burn it up, or actually send it? Did you even…put it out in the blogosphere for the world to see?

Apathy Versus Acceptance

How do you know when the reason you’re letting something roll of your back is good or bad? If it’s because you’ve accepted it, or simply because you’ve become despondent and apathetic over it? This is what my therapist wanted me to think about this week, because I’ve just been letting life slide past me, not really caring one way or the other what was happening. She asked me pointed questions to see if I was just coming to terms with our situation and ad accepted it, or if I was so overwhelmed by all the events that I’ve become pathetic. Given the sheer weight of everything on my shoulder’s, we determined I was simply shutting down and it was apathy dictating my behavior, not acceptance. I want to be clear here, acceptance is not approval, it simply acknowledging what’s going on and doing what you can to improve the situation. Apathy is your brain shutting down to protect itself from more stress…not literally shutting down of course, but hopefully you get what I mean.

I’ve mentioned our issues with the IRS a few times over the course of this blog, and I’ll probably mention them a few more times as this blog goes on. They’re complete douche-bags…well, the entity as a whole, I’ve talked to some really kind and wonderful people over the course of dealing with our tax issues. Now, if you want a sincere douche-bag, that would be the state tax commission. Those bastards REFUSE to work with us, and instead continue to get some sick pleasure out of garnishing our wages…stopping for a few months, and then saying “JUST KIDDING!”, we really want another couple thousand. In addition to the $3000 they’ve already taken. And that has nothing to do with the $50,000 the IRS thinks they’re going to get from us. We don’t even have $5,000 in assets, paying off an incorrect debt of 50k will never happen.

I’ve talked about this a lot in therapy because it is a HUGE stressor that literally makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it. I’ve talked to tax lawyers, and they all want at least 5000 as a retainer before they’ll even take the case on. At the advice of my therapist, I contacted a few CPA’s, and they want 750 to just get the years not filed done. Once those years are filed then I can take over and hopefully get the OIC that I originally sent in reconsidered. I had no hope at all until I discovered CPA’s and that they could help too. It resparked my hope that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel because while $750 is a lot of money, it’s much less than $5000.

All this stress with the IRS has led me to be very apathetic in other aspects of my life as well, I’ve lost interest in my marriage at times, I’ve felt hopeless about the future, felt like things would never improve, and it’s even led me to contemplating suicide at times…what right does the government have to have so much control over my life like that. I think they have more control over my emotions than I do somedays. It’s not right. I shouldn’t have to feel so despondent over this that I can’t function on a day to day basis because I’ve just given up on life. What right do they have to harass people to death?

Oh the trials we mortals have to suffer through. I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking “I wish that was all the problems I had’, but it’s worse than that. When our wages are garnished it pulls us down to the poverty rate of a family of three, and there’s 6 of us. We don’t live a lavish lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination, and we can’t even pay our bills when this happens. We’ve been together 6 years, and because of this whole thing, we’ve never been on a family vacation, we don’t have our kids enrolled in any extracurricular activities, and even going out to dinner as a family is a luxury we can seldom afford. My husband and I try to go out to the movies at least twice a month, because we value date nights and realize how important they are to a marriage, but that’s the extent of our entertainment for the month usually.

Take right now for instance, we have $40 in our bank account, and 4 days until payday, and both our cars are on empty, and there are bills that still need to be paid. Part of this shortage of disposable income is my fault…I have so many medical bills that we’re trying to pay off, and it’s really eating into our income as well. We’ll be paying off medical bills for at least another year, unless by the grace of God we find another job that pays more and we can pay them off sooner. And speaking of jobs, to make matters even wose, my husband was informed last week that his job will be relocating to Oregon as of June of next year, so he is frantically job searching for work here in our area. It’s so hard to stay encouraging during this trial because he gets so down over every place that declines to interview him, and it breaks my heart. I don’t know how to comfort him and really show him the confidence I have in him.

I hate living like this. I pray that things will improve, and I have hope for the future right now, but it’s a long, cold, depressing path I’m on when I get overwhelmed by all this. Sorry for the downer blog, but I had to vent somewhere about what was going round in my head, and since this is my blog, what better place to do it then here?

So, apathy or acceptance? Where do you think I’m at with all the stress going on in my crazy life? And what’s going on in your life? Cheer me up with the good news in your life right now.