Thursday, April 23, 2015

me vs bipolar: round 5793 FIGHT!

I haven't been feeling well for a little while now. I spent about half of this month depressed. Possibly a little longer, because my sense of time is fuzzy right now. Today has been a really rough day due to my fucked up brain chemistry. I slept all morning on the couch because I just didn't have the energy to do anything. Then I was anxious this afternoon. Then evening hit and I found myself somewhere between wanting to scream incoherently in rage/frustration and sob with crushing grief.

I've taken some Ativan and as it has been kicking in, I can feel myself calming down. I still feel lousy but I'm no longer ready to throw things across the room. This is a significant improvement. I just want to curl up and go to sleep but I dread the idea of it. A part of me tells me it is wasted time which I should be spending on something productive. Today, I was so unfocused that I couldn't really do much of anything.

My sense of time has become so warped that I honestly thought today was the 30th and put that date on some checks I was about to mail out. I have picked them out of the mailbox and set them aside to send on the correct day. I was feeling better yesterday. I wasn't feeling great but I wasn't like this. I was landing more on the depressive side of the ledger but I was more functional too.

Now... I don't know what to do with myself. I feel awful between the frantic sense that I am doing everything wrong, the guilt that my disability is keeping me from contributing financially to our household, and this directionless, all consuming anger. The Ativan is making it a little less explosive but I still feel like I'm on the verge of falling to pieces. I tried, I really did try to get some writing done today but I couldn't get past the sense that my efforts to create a writing career is an exercise in futility and that no one really wants what I have to offer.

I am struggling with the sense that I am somehow doing this whole parenting thing wrong. Logically, I know that there is nothing I have done to cause my children to have autism (or be showing pretty much most of the hallmarks of ADHD). I fully understand, intellectually, that my only contribution to this situation is genetic and that Beloved and I are doing all the things we can to support and help them navigate the challenges that come from these diagnoses. My neurochemical issues, however, have me perseverating on the idea that I have some how caused my children's difficulties and that I am a bad parent because I get short tempered with them. I get stuck on this concept that I should be like I was about ten years ago when I was working at the daycare and pretty much able to cope with most of the challenges that came at me with the kids.

I get so angry that I am not that woman anymore. A part of me wants to cry and scream about how unfair it is. And then there is the part of me that angrily insists that wouldn't make a damn bit of a difference and there is no point to indulging in those kinds of things because they wouldn't contribute anything positive to the situation. Last night, I was real angry too. I was angry with everyone who has said that they didn't know 'how you do it' to everything that I've done thus far and am doing right now.

For me, there was never an option to just give up. It has always been something that I fought against. Because I am angry. I am so filled with rage that I could be incandescent. It's anger that pushes me forward just as much as it is passion. I'm angry with the injustice in the world. I'm angry with the cruelty that I see in it. I'm angry with the people who have hurt me and the ones who hurt the people I love. Oh, how I am furious with the ones who hurt the people I love. I am angry with the fact that I am disabled. I am angry with the fact that I can't do all the things that I would like to, even if disability wasn't a factor.

I get so angry that I feel like I am going to vomit. And then I pour it into pushing forward. I'm waging war on life and each time I am forced to take a tactical retreat, I get even more furious. People wonder where the darkness in my stories comes from. It comes from that rage that is bubbling beneath the surface. It comes from the dichotomy that I am forced into where I must always keep a calm and soothing, if not pleasant, facade for the world and this madness that drives me into a stammering, trembling mess just looking for a target to explode on.

I wish I could just put this down and be happy. Or at least not so livid. Right now, however, I am in no state for such things. It is just how this mixed episode is going. I knew that I was tending into a mixed episode when I went from being able to sleep through the night to waking up in the middle of the night and having a hard time falling asleep. I get like that as I move into and experience a hypomanic state. Why can my hypomania have me doing things like baking cookies? Why must it be anxiety, restlessness, and on the edge of fury?

Maybe it's somehow tied to my c-PTSD. I don't know. I don't claim to have the answers. And that's something else that makes me angry. Because not knowing what the fuck to do about this stuff aside from take pills and yammer at my therapist is making me upset because there has to be something I can do to make these symptoms easier to manage.

I don't know. I'm tired. My brain is just running full tilt. And I feel like I should be breaking shit right now. Totally not the right headspace for much of anything, unfortunately.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Garden disappointment.

It looks like we're finally past the danger of frost. I had hoped that I would be doing some gardening by now but this is not the case. It is not that the new landlord is averse to the idea. He thinks it is a pretty good one and that I am more then welcome to pursue it (as long as he doesn't have to put any money in on it). My disappointment rests in the fact that where I had planned to put in a flower bed was a great deal of poorly buried trash. In the midst of getting rid of all that trash, the potting soil I had put down there was thrown away as well.

A part of me wants to just throw in the towel on any sort of gardening this year. I think, however, that it is my illness talking. I am currently in the waning phase of a depressive episode and it has my view on the world skewed towards the negative. I have been getting short with the kids and being upset by small annoyances far more then I would if I was in a more reasonable state of mind. This has me on the whole feeling upset with myself and the world. It also has me making a negative forecast for the future. A thing which I am trying very hard not to do.

I tell myself that this too shall pass but it feels like empty words. It has been difficult this go on the depression merry-go-round but not as hard as it has been other times. I honestly think that the medication adjustment that was made back in February is still effective right now because I am not caught in a crushing sense of despair. I'm just cranky and ill humored right now. And I am getting less so as the time passes.

I have my second Filianic oriented book out now. It was kinda hard to get that one done. I am of mixed feelings about the final result. I know that it is a book that may prove useful to others who follow the Filianic faith. There is an utter dearth of books that look at the devotional aspects of this faith. While I know that Filianism does not have a large populace following it, I know that people who are drawn to it find themselves at a loss for what to do when they engage in worship.

I have a radio (webcast? radio? I honestly don't know what the best description for this is) interview coming up in a few weeks. I'll be discussing the book and providing some in depth information about Filianism based on the research and study that I have done over the last several years. I feel a little bit out of my depth right now but I am going to make a point of putting together a document that covers the history and current state of Filianism. I will be publishing it on my religion blog at about the same time as when the interview will be happening. I feel a little nervous about this but I know that my ability to put together a research paper is solid and I can just start from there on the rest.

I don't really know what more I should add right now. I haven't been feeling up for being social of late. I would have gone to the spinning guild's meeting today but the prospect of dealing with a large group of people made my stomach do flipflops. I did, however, make a point of working on spinning some of the dyed roving that is part of a guild wide project. I am approximately a quarter of the way through the bag. I haven't decided if I am going to ply this stuff on itself or with something else. I started out trying to use the kick spindle but I got very frustrated with it. So I went to my trusty top whorl drop spindle and did that whilst pacing the front walk as I minded the kids outside today.

I suppose that finishes off what I have to say for today. I'll try to post something else in the near future. I can't keep letting life get the best of me and keep me from posting on here.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Getting healthier.

After my appointment last week with my psychiatric care professional, I stopped in to see the nurse they have at the facility. It is something new that they are doing, where clients who are on medication have their blood pressure and other things monitored to keep an eye on how the medication is working. It doesn't cost me anything more and sounds like something that will actually be useful. Thus, I am participating in it.

The nurse was a lively fellow with an extensive history in the medical field and a delightfully sharp wit. I found him to be quite charming. I was told that it is impressive that my lungs are clear bilaterally and moving air well for someone with asthma. He was additionally pleased when I reported that I don't smoke (because Beloved would skin me for it, amongst other reasons) and that my alcohol intake was very low. My blood pressure was 120/80. I restrained the urge to laugh when he said wow before telling me the numbers.

Apparently, my systolic number is a bit high but still within the normal range. I mentioned that high cholesterol ran in my family and asked if that could be a contributing factor. He said that it was possible but some people just have higher numbers normally than others. My weight is still level around 185 lbs. I mentioned some frustration with how I've been doing in my efforts to get back down to my goal weight of 150 lbs. He suggested that I monitor my weight daily and keep a diary of what I eat and how much I exercise.

I explained that I was very uncomfortable with the daily weight monitoring because of my history with eating disorders. (I was borderline anorexic when I was younger) Thus I was recommended to do so twice a week. I'm still a bit uncomfortable with that thought but it is more reasonable then every day. He suggested that I engage in walking or swimming as my mode of exercise because it would be easier on my arthritic knees. His ideal was for me to get 20 min of walking in three times a week.

Now that the weather has improved, I think that will not be a problem. I think I am going to try for 20 min of walking every day, to be honest. The exercise helps my anxiety and quiets my mind. As much as I'd like to take up running (as many of my friends have done) I don't think my lungs would appreciate that.

I am trying to be more disciplined with my diet. For a little while there, I drifted away from my habit of eating vegetarian meals every day at breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack. My dinner has always included some sort of meat. I recognize that it's important that I get the nutrients in it and that vegetarian meals will not go over well with folks in my house. Sometimes I think about switching my diet to a fully vegetarian one and then I remember that I love a good stake as much as the next gal.

I am, however, dramatically cutting down how much soda I drink. I tried replacing it with tea and I had a moderate amount of success. At the suggestion of this nurse, I'm trying out replacing it with Crystal Light (or the generic equivalent of it). I've gone through one week doing this and I'm not completely repulsed by it. While it does have aspertame in it, the taste is nothing like diet soda. It's a little off but not enough so that I find it disgusting.

So, now I am attempting to find a flavor that I like. I have this strawberry version that I have been drinking. I thought I was going to enjoy it because I love strawberries. All I have accomplished thus far is reminding myself how much I dislike artificial strawberry flavoring. It doesn't completely repulse me but it is not pleasant unless I am very thirsty. And even then, I'm not drinking it for flavor but for the liquid intake.

I am limiting the amount of sugar in my diet. Last week, I had what I hope will be my final pint of ice cream/sorbet for a while. As much as I enjoy the stuff, I recognize that eating a pint every week (which is what I had been doing for a little while when the holidays were in swing) just is not good for me. I found myself looking for something sugary after dinner tonight. My solution was a 1/3 cup of M&Ms. It's a little over one serving but a lot less sugar then a half pint of gelato. (Yes, I am the woman who will eat a pint of ice cream when stressed out. I don't watch romantic comedies when I do it, though. So I'm not the stereotype.)

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Spring Break, yay?

Today is day three of spring break (if we don't count the weekend as part of it). The weather yesterday and the day before was pretty rotten. It was unseasonably cold, wet, and it even snowed a little. As a result, the boys and I were indoors all day. I'll be honest, I prayed to the gods for better weather today. I didn't trust the weather report that it was going to be seasonable today. It had happened too many times over the last few months that they said it was going to be seasonable and then it turned out to be brutally cold.

We got outside today. I have started work on transforming this place of building debris into a circular flowerbed. I manhandled the four pots of tired soil over to the spot. Dumped the soil out and let the kids have at it. They got a good percentage of it broken up before they found a board and decided to build a bridge across two of the larger lumps of soil. I still have another pot of soil to move. This one is up on the back deck, so it will be a bit problematic. I hope, however, that I won't drop it. I did that with my sunny yellow plastic pot and split the thing in half. I was not pleased.

I am still at a loss for what to do about the boys behavior. Cuddle Bear has been defiant and acting out over the last few months. It is more of a problem at home than at school. This relieves me, at the same time, however, they are seeing an uptick in his defiance there as well. The hope is that this is just due to cabin fever. I am still dreading the remainder of the break because he is still somewhat prone to throwing tantrums/having a meltdown over being disciplined. And, because Cuddle Bear is acting out, Snuggle Bug is acting out. It made things difficult, to say the least.

In the midst of all this, Beloved and I have decided to alter how we have been disciplining the boys. We had been using corporal punishment (spanking) and time outs. Spanking being reserved for more severe offenses. Things have reached a point, however, that we are realizing that spanking just isn't helping the situation and if anything it is making it worse. And, honestly, it breaks our hearts when Cuddle Bear asks what will happen after he does something really bad (like break our new television, which thankfully he has not) and then fills in what he thinks is consequence will be: grabbing him and giving him a big spanking. When he started saying this over the last few weeks, Beloved and I both decided that we had to stop this.

So, now they are getting time out for bad behavior. And when the behavior gets especially bad, we take their favorite toys away until either when they are behaving better or bed time (which ever comes first). And we make them sit with us on the couch. As they sit, we talk to them about why they are in trouble and if they know why. We also talk about what they could do better and how not to get in trouble. It hasn't had any dramatic successes yet, but this is still fairly new.

The hard part is stopping myself from telling them that the consequence of their actions is going to be a spanking and stopping myself from handing them out. I have to check myself on a regular basis over the last few weeks. My therapist says that Beloved and I are doing something really huge and something that is to be commended. With the two of us having grown up in homes where corporal discipline was a big thing, stopping that pattern of behavior is very hard. I'm trying to stop yelling when I'm angry. I am having very little success with this.

Parent teacher conferences happened two weeks ago. The boys are making good progress academically and in their therapies. Cuddle Bear is at the point where they are going to recommend he no longer have a 1:1 aide. His strength is improving significantly and so are his social skills. The perseveration over garbage trucks is still present but he is beginning to make progress breaking out of that as well. So, it may be that we can get him the skill set to attend better to lessons and his academics, which will lead to him catching right up with his peers.

Snuggle Bug is, academically, right where the other kids are in his grade. He is doing really well with his therapies as well. The fact that he has gone from random scribbles to writing letters is fantastic. The added fact that he can read most of his sight words and spell a bunch of them is just icing on the cake. They are talking about taking him out of the special ed classroom and putting him into the main classroom. His difficulty attending to tasks and his tendency to wander off has them talking about giving him a 1:1 aide. It is my hope that we can make the same progress with him that we have made with his brother.

I had something of a breakthrough last week when I was out washing laundry. I was watching some children running around the laundromat and how they were interacting with their adult. And as I was watching it, I realized that I was looking at Snuggle Bug's daily behavior patterns. Everything down to the way they spoke reminded me of him. It really brought home the developmental delay that Snuggle Bug has and made me feel bad for expecting him to operate at a higher level. It's only served to frustrate the two of us and leave me feeling like a failure. So, I am trying to approach things on that lower level but it has been very difficult.

I was on the fence about doing something for Ostara with the boys. I have been struggling with a good deal of anxiety that I am going to talk about on my other witchy blog. Then an answer to what I was struggling with fell into my lap. Now I'm trying to figure out what I am going to do for them. I don't have time or the finances to do anything extravagant. Only Snuggle Bug likes eggs, so dying a dozen of them wouldn't really work out that well. Also, we have a yard that is devoid of any greenery (lots of mud though) so we have no where to hide eggs either. I think, however, I am going to make them some kind of little basket and put treats into the plastic eggs that I have from last year. Then I'll put them at their spots at the kitchen table or something.

One thing that I wish I had the funds for was to get the boys a t-ball set and a baseball glove for each. I don't know if I can find that at the dollar store or not. If I can, then I'm going to grab it. I'll pull out of my savings jar to do it. Because the therapists have told me that it would be really great for their strengthening and coordination. Ah well, at least we got the bikes out for a while today. But, that is where everything stands right now.