Living A Bipolar Life

I have written about being Bipolar before but so much has happened since that first post. It’s May, the month of Mental Illness Awareness. I just watched All The Bright Lights. A A movie that I felt represented me my struggles so well. I have been unable to do my usual release activity of going to the movies due to a World Wide pandemic. So after weeks of being stuck at home my anxiety is high to say the least.

It’s not that I enjoy going out because I don’t. I enjoy the the movies because I can sit in the dark with very few people around me and focus on someone else’s life for 2 hours. It’s cathartic for me. There is something different about choosing to stay inside your home and being told that you HAVE to stay inside your home. It is not the same thing and has very strong feelings of being trapped with it.

Anyway, just in case you missed my original post I have treatment resistant Bipolar. I say treatment resistant because of how many different medications I have had to be on and how many times I have fallen into a spiral of darkness. My old doctor, who treated me for almost a decade, had to retire due to medical issues but she used to tell me everytime a medication that had been working suddenly stopped working that I had the best Liver ever. It was her attempt to explain the unexplainable and to try and cheer me up.

My last hospital stay was February 2019. Since March 2019, with some tweeking, I have been able to manage my Bipolar with the help of a new Doctor, a good amount of medication, and a therapist. I’ve had highs during this period where I spend way to much money, start projects that are likely not going to be finished, and lose my temper far to often over the simplest things. However, I have had no significant lows which for me is a good thing because those are the worst. The thing about me that’s important to understand is that I don’t miss doctors’ appointments. Whether I am extremely low or really high I still show up and try to act like what they are doing is working because I want to make them happy with my progress so unfortunately this means sometimes my husband has to go with me to tell them what’s really going on.

I was officially diagnosed in 2007 after my first hospitalization for suicidal thoughts. It was a bittersweet diagnosis. It was so eye opening learning what Bipolar was because it explained so much about why I was the way I was, why I suffered from such drastic mood swings, and why sometimes I felt like I could do anything without consequences and other times I felt like dying was the only way to escape the pain. At the same time this was something that would never change. I would always be Bipolar just as I had always been Bipolar before my diagnosis. There is no cure. No magic surgery or pill that can make me better. Make me normal.

My children have lived with a Mama who would take them to midnight movie premiers, give them dessert before dinner, let them stay up as late as they wanted too during sleepovers or summer. They have also lived with a Mama that would bite their heads off over nothing or have a complete mental breakdown over not having Modge Podge (seriously happened). They know a Mama who at times couldn’t even get out of bed to send them off to school or greet them when they got home. I have laid in bed for days at a time so depressed I couldn’t even function. My lowest point was a few years ago.

Steven had just gone to college and Jake was in elementary school and I reached what was and has been my lowest point living with this disease. I lost almost a whole year due to severe Bipolar depression. I went to places without even remembering being there or knowing how I got there. It was at my nephew’s birthday party that my family began to realize what my husband and younger son had already known, that something was terribly wrong with me. I was like a zombie. I was on probably nine different pills at this time none of which were working, and I had no emotions, memories, or comprehension of what was going on with me or around me at this time. When my doctor finally felt like she had exhausted all options she told my husband I would need to have ECT. Electro Current Therapy. Yes, what they used to do asylum patients. She wanted to shock my brain back into existence. Granted ECT has come very far since asylum days it is still a last resort method. It comes with lots of side effects.

For two months a couple of times a week I was put under anesthesia and my brain had electric currents sent through it. I had to quit it when I stopped being able to control my own bladder. I couldn’t physically or mentally take it anymore. I had lost several years of short term memory. I couldn’t remember trips I had taken, or people I had met and known for a while, or even how to know when I needed to pee. I was exhausted and my brain was so foggy. I didn’t think at the time that ECT had helped me at all because it still took months afterward to start feeling like myself again but I honestly I can’t say where I would be today had I not done it.

It’s now 2020 and I am much more aware of how important it is to tell people when I feel off and I know not to stop taking my medications on my own. These are things I have struggled with in the past. I also struggled with my Faith for a long time. I couldn’t understand why I was being punished by God. I struggled with the “Why Me” until I started asking myself “Why Not Me”. No one deserves to suffer from mental illness. Having a mental illness does not mean God loves you any less than someone who functions at a normal level. Mental Illness is no joke though. I am very blessed to have a supportive group of family in my life (my best friend is family) who checks up on me, who isn’t afraid to go to the doctor with me when they feel something is off, who don’t judge me by my mood swings but instead love me through them. I have Bipolar. I will probably be suicidal again. I will probably spend thousands of dollars on stuff I don’t need. I will probably scream at my husband and kids when they don’t deserve it. I will probably shut people out for no reason. I am pretty sure my days in the mental hospital are not over. But the difference between the 2020 me and the 2007 me is that I know I am greater than my ups and downs. I also know that God is fighting the battles that I don’t have the energy to fight and He will be with me until I am called Home. 💜✌️

Causebox Spring 2020 💜

I have tried several subscription boxes over the last 12 months. I thought some were good and some not so much.

I liked the Causebox so much that I decided to subscribe. Some of the cost was gifted to me from my Dad for my birthday.

Causebox is amazing to me in the way it supports women’s business’, charities, and causes. Everything you get had a woman’s touch in creating it. Causebox also tries to be eco-friendly and often includes something to help you reduce waste.

The Spring 2020 box did not disappoint. It was full of cool items that I look forward to using. If you are interested in trying a beauty box then I would highly recommend you try Causebox.

You can click on any of my links to get your first Causebox at a discount. I will get a referral credit which would be so cool and you get a fantastic box full of goodies that supports great causes. It’s a win win.

You can watch the unboxing video here.

Why I feel blessed every year I get older.

Steve Piatt
“There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone the light remains.”

I turn 43 on March 8th, in two days, and my 13 year old asked me “why I liked getting older”. He thinks “old” people are supposed to dread their birthdays. In a way he isn’t wrong because as a child I can remember many women in my life dreading the thought of another year gone.

However, at the very young age of 17 I lost my best friend and Uncle who was only 29 years old. Steve was such a life force that everyone knew when he walked in a room. He was FUN and CRAZY. We always described him as being “WIDE OPEN”. He was so full of life and vigor that now it’s hard to try and picture what he would have been like as an older man. It makes me think God made him the way He did because He knew He would want him back sooner than most.

Steve wasn’t a Saint. He was human and he had flaws. He was always getting into fights, he dated a ton of young ladies but only one held his heart, he had a weakness for Budweiser and always went past a buzz. But he would spin my Nanny over his shoulder and run from her feisty chihuahua Cricket in her big front yard while singing “running with the devil”. He would play football and frisbee with us kids and hide Easter eggs in insane places (think pine trees and exhaust pipes). He never wore clothes unless he was going on a date. It was always what you see in the picture…shorts and no shirt.

So when he passed exactly one month before I turned 17 it left such a void in my heart. He was the first and the closest person to me that I had ever lost. As sad as I was and still am I feel so blessed to have known him. And because of him I treasure every year I get older.

It started when I was 29 and realized just how young he truly was. Most people moan about turning 30 but for me it felt like a milestone. I had been blessed in a way that Steve hadn’t been. It’s the same reason why I named my oldest Steven because Steve never got to be a father and my Steven was the biggest light to enter our lives since Steve had left it so it felt right. My Nanny loved that I did that and she loved her great grandson even more than me which was justice for my sister and all my cousins. She wasn’t good at hiding her favoritism.

Today we talk about Steve and we tell his stories so much that my kids probably think they knew him. That’s just how big his light was and still is. He would have loved my boys and they would have loved him. Steven is the sweetest guy I know and loves his Mama and Jake is all about hunting, fishing, and building stuff.

Sometimes I wish one of his many girlfriends would show up with his kid so that a real part of him would still be in this world but it’s never happened. So I cherish my many memories of my time with him and I celebrate every single birthday I have with joy for the year that has passed (no matter how difficult) and a welcoming heart for the possibility of another year that I have with those I love.

So on March 8th I will celebrate and enjoy my day. I will thank God for another year of getting older. I will remember my Uncle, my best friend, the older brother I never had. I will not moan and groan about turning 43 because I know not everyone gets to. 💜

When it rains it pours.

Sooooo this happened…

The other day our dishwasher died. Honestly it’s been slowly falling apart for about 6 months so last month I started saving for a Black Friday sale but Murphy hit in February. She’s kind of a brat like that.

Since becoming an adult I have learned the luxury of having a dishwasher is not one I want to live without so we bought a new one. By the way in case you weren’t aware they are expensive (never had to buy one until now). And yet again another budget month busted wide open like a Piñata of debt raining down on us.

So we pull the old one out so the installation of the new one can be done and find a totally soaked through floor. We thought it was weird but maybe all floors under dishwashers look like that? Yeah, no.

The guy brought our new dishwasher and said our floor was rotting out and he couldn’t install it. So now what seemed like a big financial bump in the road has become a possible crater. We have to have the damage assessed by a professional to find out the extent of the damage. It could be big or simple we just don’t know.

What I do know is right now the boys (husband and youngest son 😁) are back to doing dishes by hand while standing next to our brand new uninstalled dishwasher and I’m guessing by their complaints that it isn’t fun. I am also part of a Bible Study group and our book right now is One Thousand Gifts so I am sure I should be trying to find the gift in all this mess.

I guess I am thankful the water comes out of my faucet. ✌️

What’s for dinner?

So I had this pin on my Pinterest board titled “What’s for dinner?” for a few years now. I’ve been wanting to create a meal board since I pinned it. Last year I contacted the creator Robygurl1 and bought a pdf of all of her recipes. I ordered card stock, magnets, a calendar board, and a laminator from Amazon (among other little items). Well, the stuff sat on my dining room table for months.

The reason I wanted a meal board was to have a place everyone could go to and know what’s for dinner. I’m also hoping that having the recipes right there and color coded will help me to reduce our grocery bill.

I am great at starting projects. I’ll order everything I need. Gather all my materials and then lose interest. Well last month I told myself I was going to complete my meal board. So it took me just over a month and a half (mistakes were made and recipes were added) but it’s done.

Half of the recipes I bought my picky eaters won’t touch so I’ll just continue to add what they will eat as I go along. They’ve already given a hard no to Salisbury Steak which sounded yummy to me. I forgot I bought these really cute colorful magnets to hold the recipes to each day and by the time I remembered it was too late. So my meal board isn’t as pretty as the one on Pinterest but to me it’s cute enough. 😊

You can check out the Amazon items I purchased here.

Winter 2020 Causebox 💜

This is my second time getting the Causebox box. The first was Fall 2019 and I loved this one (Winter 2020) as much as that one. They are always beautifully decorated by female artists and so much fun to open.

My 13 year old “director” filmed the video and he focused on every chunky part of me. 😂

If you’re looking for a subscription box that’s cruelty free, supports women’s businesses and causes, and is environmentally friendly then you will enjoy Causebox.

You can see the Causebox unboxing video here.

If you’d like to order your own Causebox then just click on my links. I’ll get a referral credit, which I really appreciate, and you’ll get a box full of goodies. It’s a win win. 😉

When the Doctor Says…

This is a very personal post. Some people will wonder why I’m sharing such personal moments of my life with anyone who comes in contact with my blog and I promise it’s not for pity or attention.

I’m of course hoping that someone will read this and think “I’m not alone, there are others just like me” and also writing it down means I have to face it. I can’t just bury my head in the sand and hope it goes away.

There have been several moments in my life when a Doctor has said something that literally took my breath away, caused my heart to race, and made me want to throw up. I am going to share some of those so you understand the level of the last words my Doctor said affected me.

We’ll start when I was 20 and the Doctor said you’re PREGNANT. I was completely unprepared, in a bad relationship trying to find a way out, and I thought “I’m not even old enough to drink how in the world am I going to be a Mama?” God knew what he was doing when he gave me Steven. Having a child gave me the out I so desperately needed. So at the very young age of 3 it was Steven who saved my life.

When I was 29 in January the Doctor said you’re PREGNANT. Again I wasn’t prepared. Steven was supposed to be my only child (pregnancy was not kind to me). Jay and I were still so new in our relationship that I had know idea how we were going to raise a baby and an 8 year old together.

In February the same Doctor said you’ve LOST the fetus. It’s important to note what she saw as a “fetus” we saw as a baby. I was devastated. I sat in her very full waiting room crying and bleeding, waiting on an internal ultrasound to prove what she had just told me was real because I didn’t want to believe it. Other pregnant mothers tried not to notice me because maybe miscarriages were catching. Jay was driving down from SC, where he worked at the time. This doctor clearly lacked bedside manner putting me back in the waiting room.

Once Jay arrived the Doctor did an Ultrasound (the internal kind) and found a faint heartbeat. Apparently, I had been pregnant with twins (common in my family) and one had survived. This same day, full of confusion and on a roller coaster of emotion this same Doctor then told me “you have CANCER and you HAVE TO ABORT the remaining fetus”. She was so methodical and matter of fact it seemed almost cruel. Jay and I gathered our things and left her office immediately. We found amazing doctors (a high risk obgyn and oncologist) who worked together to bring our Jake into the world. Had I not gotten pregnant I wouldn’t have known I had Cancer (I didn’t go to the doctors a lot) so again God used pregnancy to save my life.

After Jake I spiraled into what I and the obgyn thought was a bad postpartum depression. When I was 31 the Doctor said your CANCER HAS SPREAD. My only option was a hysterectomy. I didn’t even have time to have the 3rd child that at this point I decided I wanted. I ended up being hospitalized for suicidal thoughts for the first time. Over the last decade this has happened more than I’d like to admit.

At 32 the Doctor said you have BIPOLAR. I didn’t want it to be true but it answered so many questions. It made points in my life make sense. It was both a devastating and an enlightening diagnosis. I have since learned, after years of various medications and hospital stays, that I have treatment resistant Bipolar so I am constantly changing medications.

When I was 40 I was in such a zombie-like depression that the Doctor said I had to have ECT (ELECTRO CURRENT THERAPY). For about 2 months a couple/few times a week Jay and different family members would come wait at the hospital while I had my brain fried (exaggeration). After 2 months I couldn’t handle the side effects anymore so I stopped it. I hated it but it did eventually make things a little better though I still remained depressed.

At 41 I was hospitalized yet again and put on new medications that were like a miracle. For the first time in years I didn’t feel sad. The biggest side effect was I started to put on more weight (often a side effect) and I began to have more manic episodes. I didn’t realize the extent of the weight I had put on until I saw pictures of myself at Christmas. I couldn’t believe what I saw.

At 42 I made an appointment with my general doctor, who I hadn’t seen in over a year, because I was so swollen my socks were cutting off my circulation. She has always preached diet and exercise. She doesn’t believe in quick fixes. This time when I was weighed I realized I had gained a 100 POUNDS since February. When my doctor saw my weight for the first time ever the doctor said you are MORBIDLY OBESE and I feel like your only option at this point is SURGERY. I was shocked, scared, and embarrassed. How had I let things get so out of control? I currently weigh over 300 POUNDS. It is absolutely shocking to hear the word “morbidly.”

My insurance won’t cover weight loss surgery (a tool not a miracle) so Jay and I after attending a seminar have began looking for other options. Just an FYI in the past I have tried Jenny Craig, weight watchers, Nutrisystem, diet pills, and several exercise routines with some results lasting about 3 months and then I gain all lost weight back and then some. When I told my doctor that my insurance wouldn’t cover weight loss surgery she said find new insurance. 😳

So that’s why I posted the picture and that’s why I’m sharing my story. I’m scared it won’t work, I’m nervous it will affect my Bipolar, I’m concerned it will cost us a fortune. 2020 was supposed to be our year of paying off debt (I still owe $15000 from my ECT treatments). Most of all I feel like I have no other option. I want to live, I don’t want my joints to hurt, I want to walk 20 steps without an inhaler so one way or another I’m going to have surgery. I’m going to do what the Doctor says.

Thred Up: Hit or Miss With this One.

So I ordered a new Thred Up box. It’s an online clothing service that sends you 10-15 different pieces of gently used clothing.

While I didn’t care for the box I can definitely see how it could be a Hit or Miss situation. Thred Up sent me a Michael Kors sleeveless sweater, Seven7 distressed skinny jeans, Torrid Crinkle L/S Top, and two Kate Spades a Cross body and a clutch, among other more off brand items.

There was no stylist with this box so pieces were very random. I found most pieces to be ill-fitting and quite pricey for my budget. I guess because it’s second hand I just thought the items would be cheaper. Nothing is priced in the box itself so be sure to keep your email with the order details or you’ll be looking for each piece on the Thred Up site just to find out how much each item costs.

Overall my feelings were meh. I am not a name brand person so the costs may have been great. I’m really not sure. The idea of Thred Up isn’t a bad one but for me it makes more sense to check out local thrift shops. I will give them credit for making returns so easy. You just repack your Thred Up box, slap on the return sticker, tape it, and drop off at USPS.

I would suggest taking a look at the Thred Up site and determine if it’s something you’d like to try. Perhaps you will have better luck.

Note: If you click on my links to Thred Up in the post I may receive a referral fee. I appreciate your support.

Happy Unboxing!

Just around the corner…

We spend months preparing for it.

Deciding who is going where and when, what we’re going to eat, what gift will be bought for this person or that one, how much are we going to spend or not spend this year? How will we serve? Will we have time to serve or should we just donate financially? How do we focus more on presence over presents? Will Jesus be the focus of the season or just a thought here and there?

And just like that Christmas is over and we are faced with a whole new challenge. We call this challenge RESOLUTIONS.

I have such a hard time with making and sticking to my resolutions. I mean 3 weeks into January and they just become things to try and work on next year. I know I’m not alone but man do I feel like a failure.

So this year I am going to try and make more intentional resolutions. I am going to try and make more attainable goals. I am going to be realistic and honest about what I think I can accomplish and not set myself up for failure coming out of the gate.

2020 will be my year. The start to my best decade so far. However, with all of that said it’s December 29th 11:50p and I only have 3 days (2 if you don’t count New Year’s Day) to figure out the next year of my life!

FabFitFun Winter Box is Amazing! Worth every penny.

So you may recall that might first FabFitFun box was the Fall box and I ended up giving most of my items away. I really didn’t see the appeal for me to spend $50 on a subscription box, that though a good deal when you factor in that you get $200 worth of full size products, if I was just going to give everything away.

The FabFitFun box is a quarterly (seasonal) or annual (cheaper price) subscription box. The benefit to paying a little more for a seasonal versus annual subscription is you can cancel at anytime. Which was totally my intention after trying out the Fall box and not really being thrilled with what I got. However, I being human obviously forgot to do this so enter the FabFitFun Winter box.

This box came with so many things that I absolutely loved. The blanket is the softest thing ever. I got a Bluetooth speaker for my shower. And ironically, since I just jumped on The Happy Planner band wagon, I also got a Paper Source 2020 planner.

The Winter FabFitFun box came with so many awesome products that I am eager to try out. I am pleasantly surprised and have changed my opinion regarding this subscription service.

To see the FabFitFun Winter box unboxing video click here.

FYI: If you use my links to order your own FabFitFun box I will get a referral fee which I appreciate very much. You may also receive $10 off your first box.

Happy unboxing!