Friday, April 17, 2015

The Answer to Everything


Before I begin today's post, I just wanted to thank you once again for all of your kindness towards me.

Goodness.
I received so many lovely little notes, and I so appreciated each and everyone.

I think my greatest fear was that some of you reading would think 'oh, I know this bipolar person....' and you would think that my behavior was identical to someone else that perhaps suffered more than I did - or behaved in a way that I've never behaved.

But, I can't fix that.

But I can share with you the answer to everything.

And that answer is goats.


I had the immense pleasure of babysitting two prematurely born goats this past weekend.

My neighbor asked me if I could come up and bottle feed them a few times whilst she was out of town - and I thought it much easier if I were to just bring them home.

Was I nervous?  
You betcha! 
 I've never handled livestock with four legs and teeth.

Was Glenco nervous?
You betcha!
He fully realized that this was going to create goat fever, of which there is no cure.

I don't think words can describe the feelings I felt when I was handed a warm, lanky, needy, baby goat.
How it soothed my barren womb, my empty nest.


If I could make a video montage of my feelings - it would include images of pies cooling on windowsills, sheets drying on the line, babies smiling, the hands of a good honest working woman, the smell of roses on the breeze, fried chicken, warm biscuits from the oven, aprons, the taste of a freshly picked heirloom tomato still warm from the sun, the buzz of honey bees, the cackle of  a contented hen...I could go on....

It.was.magic.


I couldn't let it go.


However, I did let it go just long enough to go clothes shopping for them.
This is a note I tacked to the door.
The goats in house caused quite a stir - there was a revolving door of visitors.


I laughed at myself when I was in the Goodwill (half price day!  Score!) rifling through the baby clothes trying to find 'the perfect sweater' for a goat.  
Imagine my delight when I found the most darling dress for the girl goat.  

Don't think Glenco wasn't in on this too.
He picked out the following ensemble.




I may or may have not bought several outfits, and had a bit of a fashion show.




I'm utterly ruined!



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

PS



Quote on bipolar: I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.   www.HealthyPlace.com



I realize that I ended quite abruptly last night.
It was late - I was tired - and writing that post drained me somewhat.
The reliving it and all.

I just wanted to 'shoe horn in' as Anne Lamott says, the following.

I'm in a very good place now.
VERY good.

I feel healed and whole - but as I said in my previous post - I live aware.  Aware that poor nutrition, lack of self care, taking any type of a pill - could easily cause me to be symptomatic again.

In the darkest days I had - I always knew there was hope.  I truly never felt alone.  
Surely, you all know how ridiculously introspective I am - and I feel that I do know myself quite well - and I just knew within my core that this was an organic problem - and there was a solution.

I knew I could be fixed.  I knew THAT wasn't me.

If the source is not on the picture, see Bipolar Bandit's blog for source of the picture quote.

If you could see the bookmarks on my computer - you'd laugh - there has to be at least a hundred of them - all related to nutrition and bipolar symptoms...

Did you know many people are diagnosed bipolar when it's really your thyroid?

Read here.

Did you know Jane Pauley was hospitalized for three weeks after taking steroids and anti-depressants (which I took for the poison ivy, and again for tendinitis) - she was in a hypomanic state - and depression followed. It's a fascinating article.

Read here.

Did you know that gluten can cause flare ups in bipolar disorder?

Read here.

I could go on but I won't.

But I will tell you this.  When I stay away from gluten and dairy - I'm as right as rain.
Food sensitivities are real.

What I hope you will take away from all of this is:

Don't stop fighting.  Find the answer.  You shouldn't have to live your life depressed, overwhelmed, confused, stressed, etc.  It's not right - it's not how you were designed to live.

You have to be relentless, you have to keep digging, and find those answers.
Don't treat symptoms.
Find the cause my friends.

Find.
the.
cause.

Initially, it doesn't seem like it's the easy way - but honestly - in the long run - it is.

I've proven over and over again in my life that food is an issue.
Wheat and dairy - I'll say it til I'm blue in the face.

I think Glenco summed it up perfectly when he said 'This is great - you know what the answer is - it's the food!' - and then in the next breath said 'oh crap - it's the food'.

It's one of the hardest things to do - to completely change your lifestyle and eating habits.
Sometimes I have thought 'a pill is easier! Pass the bread!'

But then I remember the hell I lived through for the better part of two years.

Get your gut healthy.
95% of your serotonin is made there.
Heck, everything is made there.
This is paramount.

Be grateful.

Don't overbook yourself.

Take hot baths.

Be around people you love often.

Eat real food.
(and some marshmallows)

Sleep more.

Forgive generously.

Always look for the good in others.

Be kind to yourself.

It's really simple - we just make it hard.


Please know I am here - even though I don't blog very often - I'm here, and I read every stinking comment.  You all have been a tremendous blessing to me.  If you need to, please feel free to reach out.  I will return your email.  



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Hardest Post I Ever Did Write


The scene -

I came home from a detox class at my local health food store an hour ago.
I still have on my Martha Stewart-like quilted jacket.

I'm on my couch covered in an afghan that I made for my mom in 1983.
I'm chilled.
It's my comfort blanket.  
I take it to the dentist with me often, for reals.
The laptop is almost burning my legs, and the tears are about to burn my eyes.

It's time.
The.
Story.

If you only know how badly I really wanted to just sweep this under the rug - but I feel that I'm supposed to share this journey - this brokenness - lest anyone else is going through it and feels alone.

With a buildup like that - you may be disappointed by the time you finish reading this.
Similar to a movie that ends is a most ridiculous way after you've invested one and a half hours of your life into it!

Before I delve into it - I just wanted to thank you for all the lovely comments from my last post!  I really am having the time of my life - being stretched in so many ways - using all of my talents, honing new ones, and learning to ask for help for the things I just can't figure out!

Aaron IS moving to Chicago in 21 days, and I'm totally fine with that, and I'm so happy for him!
Please check back in 22 days.

Many of you still here reading all of this drivel may remember that Effexor nightmare that I went through nearly two years ago.  I never really shared the full horror of it.

I want to do that now. 
 I want to explain myself.
  I want to, hopefully, be an arm reaching out to a drowning soul.
There is hope.

It's a very difficult journey for me to share with you, not only for the vulnerability it will take to share it, but for the sheer fact that I have had some serious memory loss because of it all, and it's almost physically draining to try to remember things.  At this point, much, if not most of my life seems as if it were a dream - or that I've watched a movie of someone else's life.

I'm not sure when it all started - but it seems I've always had some issues with anxiety, racing thoughts, hypomania, ADHD and mild depression.  Of course, I did my best to hide these things, especially the depression - because somewhere, somehow - I'd deemed depression a disease of the weak.

Life seemed a struggle for me.   A struggle to finish things, a struggle to decide, a struggle to calm down.  A struggle. I felt as if I were always fighting the good fight, starting over, changing my mind - over and over.  And yet many times I got more done, and was more focused than anyone I knew.
It was quite exhausting.
This wasn't a daily struggle - it's not like I was always struggling - but it was just a common thread that tied my years together.

But - I was always pretty happy.  I really was.  I've always enjoyed life.  I love learning.  I love doing. I love people. I love love.  
I can assure you that I am and always have been the very person that has been portrayed here on my blog.
I can assure my 'real life' friends that I am that person they know - I am not someone else behind closed doors.
I'm not an angry person, I'm not an argumentative person.  There is peace in my home.

Anytime I sought help from Dr's, it was always the same answer - 'try this pill'.
So I did.
I tried Sarafem at one time - which was just Prozac renamed with flowers on the package for us gals to take a couple of weeks out of the month when we were hormonally out of sorts.
It seemed that it initially helped and then of course, I'd go off.

Fast forward to August of 2012.
I'm doing great - I've lost so much weight it's not funny - Aaron is grown, finishing high school and is readying himself to move to Chicago to go to Paul Mitchell.

I felt that life couldn't get much better - I was fit, happy, life was just great.
But.
But - my ovaries hurt like crazy during ovulation.
But - 
I had off the charts anxiety right before my periods.

One or the other I could take - but not both...something had to be done...
Again, I went to the Dr, and wanted relief.

Birth control pills or antidepressants were the options given to me.
Oh how I wish I would have just come home and talked to friends first, or thought about it some - or researched something.

But I didn't.
In our 'quick fix' world, I took the pill.
I chose the Effexor because I feared the birth control pill would cause weight gain, and I'd never taken them before - but I felt that I didn't want my hormones played with.  
So I chose my brain.

I started taking Effexor in late August of 2012.
It worked great - 
but what I didn't realize is that by September of 2012, I was pretty much in a hypomanic state.
This is where it gets fuzzy you guys - I sort of don't remember the year 2013 and the first half of 2014.  It's truly a blur.  I almost feel that I will be telling falsehoods if I try to be detailed here.

I do remember that the Spring of 2013 was an especially hard time - I got a bad case of poison ivy, and had to take steroids.  I believe it was sometime in there I got the shingles.  I remember that summer stepping on a rusty nail and having to go get a tetanus shot, and it was during that Dr's visit they told me my blood pressure was high - and it was a side effect of the Effexor - so I decided to wean myself off the Effexor.

And you guys went through that with me - and I thank you for it.
The things that happened from May to November of 2013 are quite a blur - my brain was not right.
I was hypomanic or depressed.  I was not myself, and it was frightening.  
Withdrawal from Effexor has been likened to heroin withdrawal.

The after effects of taking Effexor have been equally as devastating.  I fell into a serious depression and was suicidal.  
I hit an all time low around Thanksgiving of 2013 and suffered a nervous breakdown.

Aaron tried his best to get me out of bed at times.
I was a ghost, I was completely empty inside.
Upon the insistence of my dear friend Gina, who would bring me Starbucks and let me cry - I went back to the Dr.  
I finally stopped trying to be strong - I simply couldn't.
I cried freely and often.
I didn't bathe or dress.
I was broken.
My cousin drove up from Missouri to watch me so Glen could work.

For the first time in my life, I was truly worried about myself.

At the Dr's office I sat and cried for an hour and explained everything.
She sent me to a wonderful therapist who've I've been seeing on a monthly basis since.

She initially diagnosed me as Bipolar II.
Perhaps this comes as much of a shock to you as finding out Liberace was gay.
The diagnosis was as devastating to me as the symptoms of bipolar were.
I felt labeled, crazy, broken, and I would say things like 'I HAVE bipolar, I'M not bipolar'.
I felt that if anyone knew, they would shun me like a leper, or they would talk about me saying 'I knew it all along' - or just treat me differently.

And here I am announcing it on the world wide web.
Nice knowing you!
:)

It's been a lllooonnggg, hard road - but I am well.
I've read about bipolar disorder until my eyeballs have fallen out.
I've taken webinars - the best one being 'Bipolar INorder' by Tom Wooten.

I'm not on any medication at all, and in fact I refuse to take anything, not even an allergy pill.
I'd have to be in some kind of pain to take even ibuprofen.
I've found out that my brain chemistry is so incredibly sensitive, that I cannot even have a cortisone shot without suffering a mood swing.  
I'm not willing to take chances anymore.

I've set my mind on treating it naturally with nutrition, lifestyle changes, exercise and mindfulness.  I've been very successful, although it hasn't been easy.  I reach out now.  My therapist tells me I'm a poster child, and in fact has just recently removed the 'label' of bipolar from me, taking the diagnosis down to Cyclothymic Disorder.

Hypomanic phase of cyclothymia

The highs (hypomania) of cyclothymia meet the same diagnostic definition of hypomania for type II bipolar disorder. Signs and symptoms may include:
  • An exaggerated feeling of happiness or well-being (euphoria)
  • Extreme optimism
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Poor judgment
  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Aggressive or hostile behavior
  • Being inconsiderate of others
  • Agitation
  • Excessive physical activity
  • Risky behavior
  • Spending sprees
  • Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
  • Increased sexual drive
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Tendency to be easily distracted
  • Inability to concentrate

Depressive phase of cyclothymia

Depressive episodes of cyclothymia may include a combination of these signs and symptoms:
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite problems
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities once considered enjoyable
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Chronic pain without a known cause

But this I'll always know - I'm genetically prone to it.
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that genetics has loaded the gun, but my lifestyle will pull the trigger.
I have to be extremely careful with what I eat, my sleep schedule, monitoring stress, vitamin and mineral supplementation.  I do Tapping, I pray, I meditate, I practice mindfulness and gratitude.

  I have the most incredible support system known to man - Glenco, Aaron, my cousin Jim, my friends, my blog readers - I'm blessed beyond measure.
I'm well.  I'm really well.  

If you've gotten this far, thank you - you deserve a chicken picture.
: -)










Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Happiest of Happys


I'm sitting up in here, my living room, wrapped in afghans, too tired to move.

I thought it a good time to check in here.
I've been feeling a blog post stirring for a while.
It's hard to describe the rhythm that you get when you blog often, and it's no more apparent than when you don't blog often - you feel stumbly and awkward, as I do now.
A first date.
A job interview.
Stuff like that there.


I've been working 14-16 hour days for quite some time with the the marshmallow venture.
We've up'd and re-named the business...cause everyone thought I was selling soap at the shows!
Hopefully there's no misunderstanding now.


And how fun is this?
We took the Squirrel (our vintage camper) to a recent show - Glenco made this Mother Wilma figurine out of one of my exercise balls.  May I just interject here that Glenco has been my right hand, left arm, right foot man?  I couldn't do this without him. 
Period.



I'm kind of having a ball.
Yes, I'm working 14 hour days - being stretched in every way - but I feel like I'm living a dream.
I love, love, love meeting all the customers and other vendors.
There was one point where I was roasting a marshmallow for a customer, and the sun was coming in the window at the venue at the loveliest angle - where it just cast a warm glow on everyone and everything - there was some jazz music playing in the background - and I just thought
"this is my life?"
Boom.
Love it.

We will be doing the Chesterton European Market in Chesterton IN on Saturdays May -Oct.
The Griffith Central Market on Friday nights in Griffith, IN May - Oct.
The Pedlar's Market in Whiting, IN the 3rd Thurs of every month - May - Sept.
Hunt & Gather - Crown Point - June & November
AND
The Blue Moon Vintage Market - Three Oaks MI - the last weekend of every month - starting this weekend!

And I have to make everything in between!




This little business venture was just what the Dr. ordered.
I've been able to quit my last cleaning job.
Glenco and I work together all the time.
I'm too busy to be so introspective.  
:-)

Oh, did I mention Aaron got an apartment in the city?
Ya.
I'm okay.



Actually, I've almost never been better.
Life feels as if it's got a whole new start to it.
I feel like a kid on his way to the first day of school with fresh pencils.

I feel ready to share my story with you. 
 The story that I like to call
"The Dark Years"
You know how transparent I am here - why, I'll never know - but it's time to share what's been happening behind the scenes here at the Coop.

I'm not divorcing.
I don't have cancer.
Calm your nerves.

I didn't share all the ugliness of what I went through from July - December of 2013.
I almost didn't survive it - and that's a true story - and I'm not even being dramatic.
In fact, the repercussions of those six months were felt until just recently.
When I scold myself over gaining some of my weight back - I remember to be happy to be alive.

I lived to tell the tale - and tell the tale I will.
That's why my life today seems so much sweeter.
I made it.
I didn't let it destroy me.
I hope my story will help someone - for that's truly my reason for sharing it.

Not to be dramatic or anything...
stay tuned.
: -)


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Love Does Laundry



I was just up on the stove dropping in some carrots and onions into yet another pot of bone broth.
Oh, I'm not leaving today!
It's like 4,389 degrees below zero.
Uh uh.

Today has been working on the mallow business, making sure I'm ready for a show this Saturday.
Alsip Nursery, in St. John - 10 to 4 - for all you locals.

As I was dropping the carrots in, I looked at the laundry basket I retrieved from Aaron's room today and realized that I'm doing something I said I'd never do.

Aaron's laundry after he turned 18.

I have no idea where I got the notion that the BoyNowManChild should just be doing up his own briefs by that age - and that I would be promoting an irresponsible lifestyle if I did his laundry - where do these notions come from?

My mom was still doing my laundry until I got married.  
For reals.

Have I turned out to be an irresponsible oaf?
I don't think so.

Truth is, BNMChild is here maybe a day a week.  
When he is here, I like smashing him, laughing with him, kissing him, 
talking with him and feeding him.

Laundry schmaundry.

So I'm doing it.
The way I see it - he's got a good 70 years to do his own laundry, and there will come a day when I'm no longer able to do it for him.

So for now - I love.
And I separate colors from whites.
And I tumble dry, and press things.
And I fold them.
And if I'm honest, I will tell you that I kiss his clothes and sometimes hug them.
I'm so grateful for him in my life that it's impossible to contain.

Love does.
Laundry.