MDAO Forum

Support for People with Mood Disorders => General Discussion => Topic started by: Peace on December 31, 2014, 09:39:17 am

Title: Check In
Post by: Peace on December 31, 2014, 09:39:17 am
Hi everyone,

There hasn't been a lot of action. I genuinely care about the members here, and am interested in knowing how everyone is doing and how everyone did throughout Christmas.  ???

I'm at a stage where I can leave my home with only a few people I'm comfortable with due to my anxiety. Unfortunately those people either don't live too close to me or have busy lifestyles. There's a lovely woman that lives 3 houses away from me that I'm not overly comfortable with (uncomfortable silences at times) that I'm going to call this morning to see if she wants to go for a short walk.  :-[ This will be difficult for me, but I'm going to force myself.

My oldest daughter has been out of the province for two weeks. She returns late on Thursday. She called  us one day for drug plan information due to a private health issue. A few days later (3 am Sunday) we received a text from her friend saying she was quite ill and was being taken to hospital. Naturally, I lost it a little. I was able to speak to her on the phone later that day. She's currently feeling a little better, but in a weakened state. I can't wait for her to return home so we can care for her and know how she is. I feel so bad for her for spending so much money to go away, then for getting as sick as she did.

My childhood was quite dysfunctional, but I always remember despite it all that Christmas was special so I'd like to do the same for my family. My husband has been somewhat bah humbug the last few years. My father-in-law passed away in August of this year. My step-mother-in-law and step-family members currently will not talk to either my husband or I, so my husband is not only grieving the loss of his dad, but also the loss of his step-family. He has very little in the way of family. My husband, youngest daughter and I opened presents Christmas morning, but my husband was very lackadaisical during the opening of the presents. He would not eat Christmas dinner with my daughter and I.

It was my sister-in-laws turn to hold the family Christmas (siblings and their offspring) this year. She told my sister she would not be doing it (my brother passed over June 2013). I was next in line. My sister sent an email out to everyone saying she would hold it (she knew I didn't feel well enough to). My husband said if my sister held it he wouldn't go since it was our turn. Since I can't drive my daughter and I wouldn't have been able to attend, so I held the event. I sent an email out asking who would attend. My sister-in-law whose turn it was didn't respond and none of my nephews responded. After time, my sister phoned her son and told him to let me know, which he did and we had a nice conversation. I sent a follow-up email to my sister-in-law and remaining nephews saying my health is extremely poor and I'm unable to leave the home so I need to know who's attending so I can be prepared. No response. I finally got ahold of my nephews through Facebook. Both said they would be here with their girlfriends and one said he thought his mom was attending.

My sister-in-law never let me know if she would be here or not, and did not show up. I found it a little disrespectful considering it was her turn to hold the gathering. I'm trying to not think the way I do and keep in mind she's grieving my brother, but it's difficult. My nephews stayed 2.5 hours and the rest of my family stayed 4 hours. I was really disappointed because my husband, daughter and I put a lot of effort and expense into the day. I'm still trying to recover from the effort it took to host the gathering.

A big deal was made during the gathering about where I was sitting. I sat on the stairs because I need an escape and it was the only place available that could give me that. People meant well, but I ended up going into a long explaination about why  I had to sit where I was sitting. Unfortunately, people couldn't accept that I was okay where I was. My husband tried to move a chair into hall for me to sit on, and it upset me because with my OCD I couldn't handle the chair in the hall, which I've tried to explain to my husband many times. I was exhausted from the preparations and from being made center of attention over where I was sitting, so I said "no, my OCD" and ran from the room in tears.  :-[

If you made it to the end of this, thank you so much for listening.  :) Looking forward to hearing how everyone else managed and how everyone is now.
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: Soozan on December 31, 2014, 03:18:54 pm
Hi Peace, sorry to hear your  holidays didn't go so well,

Our holidays were a pleasant surprise as the snow held back and we had safe journeys to my sisters house in Brampton, so I am grateful for that. Rich and I had a nice one night getaway in downtown Toronto and saw a movie ( the hobbit at the VIP section) which was actually free for us because we used our scene points.... my daughter kept and eye on our mother in law who isn't doing so well these days. It was nice to get away, if even for one night.

I hope others managed to have a nice holiday and if not .. I hope that they survived them with more insight than scars. It was a great comfort to me to have good weather and not have to take any pams this holiday season! Whoot!

- Soozan
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: LuckyLou on January 01, 2015, 05:52:29 am
Sorry to hear this peace! Glad you had a good day soozan I survived but am feeling a bit low right now dreading going back to work on Monday but restless at the same time! I am feeling unappreciated and unloved at times. Also have a feeling something bad is going to happen. My moods are all over the place! And I am thinking that I may need to let my partner go as he deserves better. Anyway I am rambling so that is where I am at
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: Rich on January 01, 2015, 01:22:33 pm
Happy New Year, LuckyLou!

You're near the bottom of the October to March hell that happens every year, especially to those of us with Bipolar Illness.  Everything will start to improve in April.  But in the meantime, it is imperative that you avoid making any big, life-changing decisions!  Just keep your head down at work and put a fake smile on your face and wait it out...this works or me!

Now that you know how it will be for next October thru to March, you should start to set some money aside for some one-night getaway's during that time of year, like me 'n' Soozan do....they really help!

Title: Re: Check In
Post by: NeitherHereNorThere on January 01, 2015, 02:57:42 pm
Ahhh, the difficult holidays.....

The pressures of pretending to be on top of my game.  I actually celebrated these past few weeks but not in the way expected of others.  I made no commitments, promises or life altering decisions to anyone but myself.  It has been hard but I'm sticking to my promises to myself.

I am dedicated to being kind to myself and only hope that this will extend to my loved ones, as I wish that they will be kind to themselves.  Some people are not happy with me right now but I feel that it is only because they aren't getting what "they want" from me.  It's draining...  but rewarding.  At the end of the day, it's my own face that I have to look at in the mirror.

Lucky; if you don't mind me saying so...  I also don't feel that this is a time for life altering changes.  I hope that you can focus on being kind to yourself and not trying to do what you think others expect of you.  I truly hope that you can embrace genuine kindness and be at peace with the part of you that's feeling like something is brewing and ready to blow up.  I know exactly what you mean.  It's all I had known...the payback for feeling a smidge of happiness.  Please don't punish "yourself".  Please be your own friend.

Huge hugs.
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: Dragonfly on January 01, 2015, 09:11:04 pm
My Christmas was rather bittersweet. I miss my husband very much. I spent it with my 2 daughters, son, daughter-in-law and my two grandchildren. That is what my Christmas is all about. My family.

My daughter had a very disturbing and frightening experience. She was working at the holiday inn on boxing day and two days after by herself except for the maintenance man. An older fellow probably over 65 yrs. old. He has been verbal and somewhat physical sexually harassing my daughter and young women at the job.
On those two days this man's sexual harassment escalated. He was very explicit as to what he was going to do to my daughter sexually. He grabbed my daughter's wrists. She said no, no. He probably would have have raped her but her supervisor came down and told him to stop.
Reports were made to the manager on duty.
My daughter came after her shift to my house and she told me exactly what happened and I typed it into a letter to the head manager and other managers. When the letter was read by the managers they were shocked. The managers assured my daughter that he would be fired. My daughter and I and the family were furious at this pervert. My daughter's Christmas and mine and the families was not particularly pleasant at this point.

On a brighter note. My daughters and two grandchildren came over on New Year's Eve for a sleepover. Their parents went out. We had a lot of fun with the grandchildren. Lots of laughter, games, etc. The holidays weren't all bad.

I am sorry to hear Peace that you had such a difficult time. LuckyLou I hope that you start to feel better. NeitherHereNorThere. It sounds like you are being true to yourself and not catering to what other people want. Good for you.

Title: Re: Check In
Post by: paulm on January 01, 2015, 11:10:15 pm
Hello Peace.  I'm sorry that you had such a poor Christmas. I hope that next year is better.

 I can't advise anyone what to do, but Christmas used to be extremely hard on me as well. It's still hard, but it's a piece of cake now,considering how it used to be.

 Many years ago I decided who I was going to have with and who I wasn't.  For many yrs I only had a very small Christmas with my own family and I didn't even attend my inlaws or my siblings Christmas, although my own wife and kids went. Gradually I was able to get stronger and I attend a lot more in the years that I feel better.

 However some yrs I don't attend many and I never host one. Rather than host one I sometimes provide the food so that another sibling or in-law can host a Christmas, but I never hold one in my own home.  For my in-laws Christmas dinner there is up to 60+ people come and partly at my urging we have rented a church basement or small hall for a number of years to accommodate everyone and while we have a turkey, the rest is sort of pot luck. (the cost is small when spread out between families).

 This year I felt better and actually had 6 Christmas dinners to go to over the season and went to all six without major problems, but it took years for me to reach that point. (and all six created some stress for me)

 I'm not trying to be critical of anyone or trying to brag. I would be pretty hypocritical if I did. As I said I never host one myself and for the rest I arrive as late as possible and usually leave as early as possible, never get trapped in a corner and usually make use of my PRN medications, as well as taking frequent breaks.  Even for the one my son had for us and his bro and their spouses and our grandson(just 7 of us) I arrived at 5pm and was gone by 8pm and to fill in time I did the dishes.

 All I'm trying to say is that Christmas is stressful and sometime we can' t do it all, and sometimes we can't do any, just like I can't host a   Christmas dinner in my own home. (too many people and I can't very arrive late and leave early in my on home.)

 I've came to the point in my life where I really don't give a **** if people are upset whether I come or not, I have an illness and if people can't accept that some years I don't feel good, well that's their problem.

 Took me a lot of years to reach this point, but hopefully others can find their own methods to enjoy Christmas. I hope that next year everyone can enjoy their Christmas. Take Care. paul m
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: LuckyLou on January 02, 2015, 07:36:38 am
Thanks guys u are probably right now is not the time but I am tired of biting my tongue so much to say but I don't have the words! Just feeling so blah right now and I know it's my illness but I do get tired of fighting all the time to keep my sanity. I know by March I will probably feel a whole lot better but I also know things can not continue the way they are. I think I deserve better and I don't want to settle anymore I want what we had before I got really sick yet I know that is not possible I know intellectually that I am not the same person and will never be but emotionally if I could just be who I was then he would want me again in his words I used to be fun and I am apparently not anymore I thought moving would help but it's just more of the same and I think that is a source of my stress and depression it does feel like I am biding my time waiting for the perfect ime to say all that I need to say I hope this new year I will finally learn to love myself and accept myself and this illness
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: Soozan on January 02, 2015, 09:06:41 am
Hi Lucky... Your post struck me with the comment "used to be fun" .... my daughter used the exact same words with me .... unfortunately what they don't see is that fun also carries with it mania and we can't have both .... medication squashes that out of me and I seem to be down all the time too ... I know what its like to be down all the time and feel like a downer... few things give me happiness, ironically for me... its doing graphic work and working with my clients, but that takes me away from family interraction, but its an escape from the every day life.

I wish that the medication didn't have to take all of the mania from me.. that it could keep my moods up just take the crazy from my thoughts but it seems to do the opposite.. leave me with self defeating .... dread the future, anxiety for the future thoughts which leads me not to want to see tomorrow for what it will hold .. what will go wrong next .... which makes it not fun .... Mania seems to make it so you just don't think about all of that and live more in the moment... but as we all know that is dangerous in itself because inevitably it leads to a downward spiral ....

It sucks having this illness I know... but at least we have this board and each other and we are lucky enough to all have family members it seems here that support us no matter what and if we don't we can come here to find support. I am grateful for that.

- Soozan
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: Peace on January 02, 2015, 11:20:29 am
It's really nice to hear from so many! I'm in a really awful place, so unable to reply to everyone individually, but I did read and take away something from what said by all.

It seems to have fallen on the siblings to take turns holding the gathering that was a tradition my dad started. With the passing of my brother the year before last, I'm uncertain if my sister-in-law will ever act as host again. I spoke to my sister and other sister-in-law about making the event pot luck in the future to make things less work, less stressful and less expensive for the person doing the hosting. Both seemed receptive to the idea.

I'm actually going to send an email out soon to family members to suggest we make the event pot luck going forward. I'm quite nervous to do so. I've had a strip chewed off me by a couple of family members, to the point where my brother and his wife have felt it necessary to stand up for me without me asking them to. Now I actually obsess for a long time about my emails so I don't offend anyone.

Suggestions from anyone on how to word the email?
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: LuckyLou on January 02, 2015, 01:04:22 pm
Soozan thanks that is exactly how I feel the mess definitely keep me on the low side which makes it difficult to enjoy the simple things
Peace u could try wording it as being only a suggestion and say you don't want to offend anyone but... And if anyone does get offended realize that that is their problem not yours!
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: paulm on January 02, 2015, 11:17:12 pm
Hello Peace. It may be hard to word in an email and I don't know your family, but we all used to meet at my mother-in-laws(including some of her siblings). However as families grew up, moved away and had kids of their own and then some of those kids had kids, it became too big for one person to host. If all of my ma-in-laws kids, grandkids, great grand kids and spouses, boy friends etc showed up their would be about 84 of us. If you included my Mother-in-laws siblings all of their kids etc then we would be looking at 300+ people. So obviously what worked for my mother-in-law in her younger years would no longer work, so no matter how good a tradition is, it sometimes has to be broken.(not to mention the fact that people are scattered all over Ontario). 

 You find that out yourself as your children grow up and have B/F's and spouses of their own as well as children and then they all have to spend time at inlaws places as well

 I don't know how you would word it in an email, but basically we just suggested that due to cost, time of preparing the food, time it takes to travel and the time of year perhaps we could all make just agree to bring something. We would still get together, but perhaps everyone could just bring a dish or desert next yr and all that the person hosting it has to supply is the turkey(or ham etc).  That way we can all spend more time enjoying each others company and have less stress. We also precook the turkey the night before and then debone it and seal it up well and just microwave it the next day. 

I agree with LuckyLou that if sent out as a suggestion it may go over better. Good Luck and Take Care,

 Hello Dragonfly. Sorry to hear about  your Daughter-in-laws bad experience, I can see how it would cast a pall over Christmas. Take Care. paul m

 Hello LuckyLou. As other have said this can be a difficult time of year and I can understand and sympathize with your suffering and longing not to be ill.

 I can't say that I enjoy having bipolar and I certainly wished that I didn't have it. However we don't usually get to chose 
what illness we get and I've come to accept that.  While I still battle my illness I have few fond memories of the good old days. Having bipolar caused me to do a lot of things that I wouldn't have otherwise done and most of them weren't good.

 Sure there were some times when I was the life of the party or super productive on the job. However would I have had those good times, been the life of the party or been able to be the star of the workplace because I didn't need sleep and could work super fast for 70 hrs a week if I hadn't had bipolar?  Not very likely.  I've also learned that depression keeps me thinking bad and unreasonable thoughts.
 As well, even when I'm not depressed I can allow super negative thoughts to lead me down the road to depression.

 That isn't a criticism of anyone and I'm certainly not saying that thinking happy thoughts will make me feel better, it doesn't work that way. But I do know that thinking bad thoughts will make me worse. Sometimes I can't help but think bad thoughts, but I really try hard not too.  I hope that you feel better soon. Take Care. paul m
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: LuckyLou on January 03, 2015, 09:43:26 am
Thanks Paul I hope that I can accept this illness soon and know my limits and recognize when I am going down a dark path sooner
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: NeitherHereNorThere on January 05, 2015, 04:16:12 pm
I find this illness so tricky to stay on top of.  Sometimes, I spend so much time deciding whether I need to take action or ride-the-waves.  I'm not sure if I'm getting worse or if what I'm feeling is part of healing.  I thought that if I could manage the mania, then my life would be full of bliss.  It turns out that sometimes I miss the mania because I had accomplished so much during my episodes.  Maybe I'm just expecting too much, in general.

I don't think society recognizes how difficult it is to heal.  We live in a world where the squeaky wheel gets the oil.  In my experience; once people see that you are making a little progress, you start to hear "it sounds like you have it together" and then you become wallpaper.  I'm so tired of hearing that "other people have it worse because"....  Seriously?  Honestly; how many people do we know that thrive on chaos by creating it, making a bad situation worse and make excuses for their actions/decisions?

I applaud anyone making genuine attempts to rid their lives of chaos.  It's a full time job.

I hope that we can all hang in there and find a way to be kind to ourselves.  Bravo healers!

Title: Re: Check In
Post by: paulm on January 06, 2015, 02:11:14 am
Hello NeitherHereNorThere.  You pretty much nailed it with your comments, except for the part where you are expecting too much.   I think that you may be underrating yourself, there is nothing wrong with wanting to live a reasonable life(or even a great one). Bipolar can take a long time to get a handle on and a lot of getting better and staying better comes from experience. Unfortunately that experience isn't something that is easy to come by.  It took me a lot of years to get all the combos of diet, exercise, medication, lifestyle, how to deal with well meaning people who try to tell me what I'm doing wrong, who don't have clue etc etc. 

 For myself, my recovery took years and I used to set tiny goals that I would try to achieve on a yearly basis. I also tried setting large goals at the beginning and all that did was frustrate me.  However some people do get better quickly, it's just that type of illness.

 Eventually you will learn which wave to ride and which one to avoid. I also used to find it really difficult to tell when I was heading towards mania, then I started to learn about my symptoms and triggers and what they meant.  For example if I start to notice that the grass looks a really nice green or that someone has an exceptionally  pretty flower garden, then for me those are signs of heightened awareness and I'm probably starting to get manic . Everybody has different little symptoms that indicate mania, the trick is to find out what ares and then pay attention to them. 

 I can be triggered into mania quite easily, all I have to do is drink a lot of coffee and not get enough sleep for a week and bingo, drugs or not, suddenly I don't need much sleep.  I actually track how many hrs of sleep that I get a week, but again, everybody is different.

 I have many other symptoms or triggers that I know about, but because they are different for each person I won't list them all here. That's where a good WRAP course (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) or a good CBT course can come in and be really helpful. WRAP especially teaches you how to learn about your signs, symptoms and triggers and how to self correct.

 You said " In my experience; once people see that you are making a little progress, you start to hear "it sounds like you have it together" and then you become wallpaper."  One time a psychiatrist told me that she was cutting loose as a patient as I was progressing so well and she only had time for the really ill. (there's a shortage of shrinks in our area. ) I broke down in her office and pleaded with her to keep me on. She was so surprised to see me go from calm to blubbering in an instant that she kept me on for a while longer, but it scared the heck out me. Appearances can be deceiving.

  In order to qualify for many mental health programs, you have to be "bad " enough to get admitted to that program.  Which seems odd to me, because I have better things to do then to take a program that I don't need to take and who determines what bad is.

 In regards to other people having it worse. My own position is like yours "seriously" . I believe that there is no hierarchy when it comes to a serious and difficult  illness, whether it be physical or mental, suffering is suffering.  Plus there will always be people better or worse off than someone else at any given moment. Besides who gets to judge who is worse off. I've known several people who appeared to be happy, were wealthy and appeared to on top of the world, yet they committed suicide. 

 Good post, thanks for sharing your opinions with us. Take Care. paul m
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: Peace on January 07, 2015, 06:52:15 am
Thanks Lou and Paul for the suggestions  :) I'll definitely use both of your ideas when the time comes. I decided to wait until a little closer to the event to send the email.
Title: Re: Check In
Post by: NeitherHereNorThere on January 07, 2015, 03:35:55 pm
Thank you paulm and all supporters.

I am very interested in the WRAP sessions and am currently looking into how I can join.  I truly believe that I'm not 1) recognizing all of my triggers and 2) not equipped to manage my triggers.  I believe that WRAP would be a huge benefit.

paulm; I'm sorry that you experienced the brush-off from your therapist.  I was beginning to think that it was only happening to me...  I wish I could say that it had only happened to me once.  Unfortunately, it happens more and more as I learn how to cope better.  Thank you for sharing and understanding.

Clearly, the holidays have been a strain.  Thank God for this forum.

Take good care everyone.