Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Last two weeks have been some of the worst weeks I have had in recent memory.

Our cars were broken into in our driveway. Both of them. The thieves got away with my purse and wallet, and my work laptop. That morning, Bea woke up throwing up. So with a pukey kid I was dealing with going to two different banks and cancelling all my cards as well as calling my credit cards and cancelling all of them.

Two weeks ago the girls came home from school with lice. It took two days to completely eradicate the lice from our house. It involved two rounds of shampoo and so much combing. SO. MUCH. COMBING. The girls both have hair down to the middle of their backs so it is such a pain to comb through with tiny little combs, looking for nits and such.

Last week, on top of the theft, after Bea got over the pukes, Edie came down with them and her case was much worse, as it tends to be in younger children. Then I got a bladder infection to top off the week.

Add into that a huge upheaval with my business partner that I can't talk about and it was a recipe for instant suicidal depression. Waves of anxiety, crying, suicidal thoughts. Heartbreak. Betrayal. Waves and waves of feeling overwhelmed and feeling like nothing will ever be okay again.

Things are a little better now. I've spent the last few days doing all the self care I need to do when I start feeling like this: I told my people, I made a plan with John, I withdrew until things started to make sense again and started feeling more like myself again.

Time to head to lab. I'll write more later.

Friday, February 09, 2018

I shouldn't blog when I'm angry. I shouldn't blog when I'm angry. I shouldn't blog when I'm angry.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Finally, success.

Sitting in the Zoe's Bagels on campus, waiting to meet up with a friend. My assignments are done and it's as good a time to write as any.

I'm feeling capable today, something I don't normally feel. Hectic, stressed, pulled in several directions and lost is my usual operating state. This morning, I got up at 6:30, ate breakfast with the kids, managed to shower and get dressed and out of the house and on the early bus to get Edie to school on time instead of 15 minutes late. I hauled ass across campus to get to my early morning study spot before it got full of people and inaccessible and pulled out my journal and my coffee to set my work goals for the next couple of hours.

I got it all done! I got the Ochem homework finished, slightly ahead of turn in time (11:59 tonight.) I finished and printed out my Geology lab. I checked off the items I wrote in my planner, ding ding!

I also called the pharmacy after fighting with my doctor yesterday to find that I have my prescription for my bipolar meds ready to pick up. I called the bowling alley and scheduled Bea's birthday party and confirmed with the FIG about Edie's party. I also scheduled a happy hour for me and talked to my bookkeeper about the W-2's.

I am on a fucking roll today.

I think my bullet journal is starting to help me organize my thoughts. I'm less worried that I'll be forgetting something or that I'll be missing something when I can trust that I'm writing it down for my own mental health. I'm not sure I'm using the system to its full potential yet, but I'm getting there. Next is getting some tabs at the bookstore to tab out different weeks for easy flipping.... Maybe I'll ask my friends with bullet journals what their favorite tabbing method is. I'm sure there is something that will work easily for me.

I wish that I could write when I'm feeling stable like I can write when I'm manic or in the grips of a depression. I go to reach for the words and they just aren't there. It's the same with sewing, or knitting, or any other crafting project I undertake. When I'm manic I can sew my own patterns, create whatever I want. However, if the trade off for better mental health is a reduction in my creative capacity, I'm all for it. I'll take that bargain. Because I can't live with the severe ups and downs my bipolar creates.

Time to meet a friend.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sometimes I just get so fucking sick of my own fucking face.

Realities of Bipolar

I'm up. I'm here. I didn't want to be.

It took a huge effort to get me off the couch where I landed this morning after baking. Edie threw a kicking screaming fit on the sidewalk on the way from the bus to school about how she just wanted to go home and be with Daddy all day and I wanted to fall down with her and say "Me too, baby" but instead I picked her up and held her and calmed her down and got her to class and now I'm in the library drinking my coffee and working on my bullet journal to do list.

I told John last night that I was feeling really depressed and he told me that it's probably time to go talk to my doctor about my dose. That bums me out even more. It took years but I'm finally on a medicine that stabilizes me on a fairly low dose and with very few side effects other than a concern about a slight raise in cholesterol. (My cholesterol is actually surprisingly low so it's not a concern for me, specifically.)

The realities of life with this disease mean that some days I'm feeling like I can kick ass and take names, and I CAN. I am invincible. I can take it all on and do it all and do it well and smile and wave a take a bow when it's all done. But when I can't? I don't have time for when I can't, so I muscle myself out of bed and force myself to shower, to brush my teeth, to put on clean clothes and head out the door and get to where I need to go on time. When I'm feeling like this, I don't retain information. I don't make the connections that I can when my brain is working.

I know I need to get my ADHD meds refilled. I haven't been doing that because the process is daunting, even with my primary care giver knowing I have ADHD and that the meds are needed. Which is really fucked up when you stop to think about it. Women, especially who suffer from ADHD are more likely to be avoidant when it comes to routine things like returning phone calls, setting up doctors appointments and following through with them. They make it mandatory to get drug tested for marijuana use when you get your ADHD meds, even though mariijuana is legal in the state of Washington. I don't do it that often but the once a month I have an edible and play a video game or whatever shows up and then I get a big lecture and they tell me if I am tested again and show use they won't prescribe me my meds. It's a big pain in the ass and I hate it.

I got a table in the mostly empty 4th floor of Wilson library where I've been able to sit and do homework the majority of my career here at Western. I should really go back to looking outside, finishing my coffee and my bullet journaling for the day

Stream of consciousness 2018

Starting as a stream of consciousness and seeing how far it takes me and if I can kickstart some writing again

I'm sitting in the atrium at school. The feeling that I don't belong here has slowly intensified every time I think about last quarter and the grades I received. I am basically barely containing my anxiety every day to get up and get out of the house and get here. I look around at my fellow students and make excuses as to why I don't belong here and what I should be doing instead.

We still don't have a plan for next year. We don't have any more federal funding after this year and I might end up taking classes out of pocket a quarter at a time once Edie is in kindergarten.We just don't know. There is so much that is up in the air and there are some serious options to consider. I'm trying to get John to go back to BTC for his computer repair technician degree and see if that's something he enjoys and wants to do. He could easily do that out of the house with an upgrade of equipment investment and I could do his billing. We could set up a squarespace website for him and get him going fairly quickly.

I'm basically despairing that I will never get my degree at this point. All this hard work, and for what? Had I been smarter about it at the beginning, had I focused more on my biology degree without trying to do a double major in Spanish like an idiot who thought I was superwoman.... well who knows what I could have accomplished. As for now, I'm not really accomplishing anything. I'm retaking the class I needed to pass with a C last quarter and ended up with a C-. I missed the cuttoff by two percentage points. This will be my third try starting this course and my second time completing it. I really hope that I can do it this time.

I feel like I've slowly lost brainpower over the last few years. I know that chronic sleep dep doesn't help but I literally feel dumber than I used to be. I look around and see people half my age completing these courses and I feel even more useless.

I feel like I'm entering a depressive episode and it scares me. I don't have time to be depressed. I don't have time to be using all my basic daily functioning power to get up out of bed and get to where I need to be, bathed and with teeth brushed. Just fighting back the anxiety and depression is a full time job when I'm lost in an episode and I already have two of those.

I was told my by partner last week that I'm basically not doing my job and that I'm bad at it. I don't know if that's what he was trying to tell me but that's what came across. I felt like yelling that I had been keeping us running for years on my own and that he doesn't get to tell me that I'm bad at it, but he had a point. I'm bad at keeping up at mundanities. Is that even a word? I'm bad at keeping up with day to day financials. I basically do the bare minimum required to keep us running and then rush to finish up the rest at the end of the month, but leave those end of the month closeouts for months at a time. He asked me how he could help me to get those done back in November, and I gave him some of the work to do. He came to me and told me he was burnt out with all the stuff he'd been working on. I felt like telling him that I'm just bad at maintenance but that I've been keeping us successfully running since 2009.

Being bipolar is just hard hard hard.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Prepping for the worst

Fall quarter zoomed by. I shrugged off the insecurities and hit the ground running for my life. John fell easily into stay-at-home-dadding while I broke my brain daily trying to get through the quarter. I did it well. I managed straight A's and thought I could handle anything.

I should know by now that thinking I can handle anything gets me into trouble.

I signed up for a difficult class load for the current quarter. I had no idea how difficult we were talking. The workload was incredible, astronomical. I didn't have any childcare but John this quarter and we needed someone to put in more hours due to slow season at the shop. I quickly started failing first one class, then another.

I spent a couple anguished weeks trying to figure out the best course of action. I ended up dropping my Organic Chemistry class and trying to knuckle through my Genetics class. I have a teacher this quarter in Genetics that I absolutely cannot learn from. Her class is structured for us to learn most of what we need from the book. Her lectures are frenetic and jump from place to place. The lecture slides are dense and make no sense, much less being able to use them to take notes. She refuses to post our grades, instead telling us to email her when we need to find out how we're doing. I've gotten to the point where I hate that class. I hate the lecture and hate the time spent in it when I know I will not get a passing grade.

I already prepared for the worst case scenario of this quarter because it looks like it's happening. I'll get a D or so in Genetics and have to retake it, I dropped OChem, and I'll coast through physics. Next quarter I'm already registered for just 3/4 time instead of full time classes and that's how it's going to be, going forward.

I'm a worst case scenario prepper. We have another worst case scenario playing out right now and I don't even know how to prepare for it because it's too heartbreaking. Our landlords are selling our house and we really want to buy it but we don't think we qualify for a loan. The alternative is moving somewhere and I haven't been able to find anywhere that will allow us to keep our pets. My dogs are like kids to me, so that's breaking my heart. We're meeting with a loan officer today to see if the work we've been doing on our credit is good enough to get us into a home loan so we can buy through Kulshan Land Trust, which is the only way we'll be able to afford this home. It's a long shot, so I'm already prepping for having to move and not being able to keep our dogs or cats. They're all so old, I don't see them getting adopted. I need some help in a big kind of way and don't know who to turn to. I'm out of options.

This whole thing is crashing in on me with a crushing weight every single day. I feel buried under the heft of it. I don't know how to crawl out.

It's spurring some crushing depression that I'm trying to fight off too. So that's great for rolling into finals in a few weeks.

I need some good news. I need a positive break. I need some help.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Summer goes and Fall comes in. Usually it's gradual. This year seems to have given notice on September 1st that this summer shit is facing its inevitable death on a tight timeline. Leaves are falling, temps are dropping, the sun is suddenly behind a bank of clouds for good and all. The rains are back. Torrential to drizzle and back again.

I wrote a year ago in my journal about hashing shit out after a fight with John, driving in a torrential, biblical downpour. Now is the time of year when things look monochromatic around the Pacific Northwest. Grey skies. Grey ocean. White and grey mountains. Soon the leaves will have fallen and the colors of early fall turn to brown and grey mush on the sidewalks, grey sludge on your galoshes, grey sidewalks and grey, rain slicked roads.

Fall always feels like a shakeup and the rebirth in Fall feels so familiar in Bellingham. School starts back up, Business picks up at the Drop and the weather sets in. We bury all the summer clothes in bins and bring out long sleeves and hoodies and I yet again search for wide calved boots to slog through Fall and Winter.

My bipolar is in check this time around. No crushing depression. No soaring mania. I'm even keeled and the words are stuck and bunged up. It's hard to find the time to sit down and write. Even now, typing this, I'm sandwiched between my two little girls on the couch, fending off their climbing knees and poking elbows and grasping fingers while I try to finish the sentences I've been desperately reaching for. I know the writing lives in me somewhere but I don't have the luxury of time to myself to dig it out. Being a mother is breaking me open while it is suffocating the little bits of self I find and unpack.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Get up. Make the breakfast. Get everyone changed and dressed and get John to work. Sometimes get myself to work. Drink a coffee. Try to wake up. Make the snack. Engage and read. Plan an activity and try to implement it. Lunch. Read all the library books. Make the snack. Pack Bea off to karate or dance class. Home to make dinner. Dinner. Pajamas. Books. Teeth brushing. Bedtime for the girls. Maybe an hour with John after the girls are down, play a game or watch a show. Go to bed. Up at 3:30. Work at 4. Come home after. Nap an hour. Get up. Make the breakfast.......

This weekend I am turning 38 and going away for the weekend with the 3 women I treasure most in the world. I will not just be a mom and a wife this weekend. I will get a lesson in spinning yarn and bum around Port Townsend looking for new yarn and new jewelry and I won't feel even a whit bad about it. I may even take this here little laptop so I can write.

When I get back, I have two weeks until school starts and I go back to being a student. I've never been a student while being a mother. I'm worried that being a student will make me a terrible mother or break my focus on raising my girls the way I want to. I'm scared to do something that seems so selfish on the surface, even though I know it's for the betterment of our family as a whole.

I'm scared that this challenge is more than I can handle. I'm scared that the shock from the wash rinse and repeat of my normal life will be too much and I'll flip manic. I'm scared that the change in Bellingham this fall is a change in me, too. When that changes, what will be left? Who will I be?

I've spent over 4 years being primarily a mom and building that aspect of my life. Now that school will be taking on an importance on the level of family responsibilities, where does that go? How does that work? Will I crave the wash, rinse and repeat of my previous life?

Here we go. We shall see.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Okay has to be good enough.

Things are... Okay. Not great, not good, but okay.

Some days, Okay has to be enough.

I'm struggling with quite a few things currently. Parenting, body issues, depression and anxiety, and motivation to change my current situation. It seems like I just can't reach that escape velocity that I need to really slingshot me out of a shitty headspace and into making progress.

The girls continue to grow and grow and grow. They are whipsmart and silly and all of the things I love most. They also are 4 and 2, and with those ages comes what my friend Katie calls "Developmentally Appropriate Asshole." They are totally in  DAA phases right now, and to be brutally honest, it's KICKING MY ASS to parent them effectively. I am trying and trying to be more soft, more kind, and even more soft and even more kind than that. I find an edge creeping into my voice and I feel my eyes tighten and my mouth make a line when  I can't get Bea to stop being unkind to Edie or climbing on my body or can't get Edie to stop hitting her sister or the dog or carrying the cat around. This week, I had what I think might be my worst day ever. I lost it at the kids. I broke down crying on their floor after a yelling match and just held them while we all cried. I am worried that I'm ruining my relationship with them forever, that this is the mom they're going to remember.

See, it's not just that I'm overcoming parenting patterns. I'm fighting my bipolar, I have several friends who grew up with bipolar mothers, Their memories are terrible and their stories are the kind of nightmares that kept me awake when I was expecting Bea. I would lay there, one hand cradling my swollen belly and the other on my heart, praying to be worthy of the love of this little tiny life I hadn't met yet, this person that had yet to be a person. When they were babies, it was easy to see that they loved me too. They were tiny, they needed me, they reached for me whenever they saw me and I didn't need words to understand that longing and trust. Now, they're bigger. They have words for the opinions they have always had. I worry about one day being the day to finally push them into losing that love for me, into turning towards their dad instead and leaving me totally out of the picture. I don't want that! These are my babies! I want them to still love and need me like I love and need them and always will. I don't want it to be broken. I don't want them to be 8, be 14, be 19, be 27, be 38, and feel out of touch with me or heartbroken at our connection. I don't want them to tell their friends the horror of having a bipolar mother, of living in a house of mental illness their whole childhood.

So beyond the normal parenting blogs and seeking help, I look to therapy, I look to friends I respect in regards to their parenting. And I find myself so lacking. I keep thinking "what if this is as good as I get at this and I'm actually just harsh?" And my heart breaks over again.

This parenting shit isn't for the weak for the best of people. So what happens when the not best of people get into it?

And that's why Okay has to be good enough to be good. Because I don't know how to be a great parent. But I know how to be an okay parent. Today, my same friend who coined DAA told me that in the parenting classes she has taught through various organizations, they've found no discernable difference in kids with great parents and kids with okay parents. Okay just has to be good enough sometimes,

I don't have the energy to get into my body issue stuff today. I will, but that's another post for another day and all my heart currency is going into the problem of how not to be a shitty mom tonight.

This shit is hard.