My Journey to Stability, Pt. 3

by Shara Adams

A circle of blurred faces surrounded me, all talking at once. The level of chaos outpaced my own mind and I struggled to keep track of what was going on. Drugged and intoxicated beyond capable cognition, the world began to slip away once again. In the mess of voices, the realization of my fragile state caught the action of the paramedics and I was whisked down the stairs from the apartment to the ambulance. Because of the design of our place, a stretcher was worthless. They half carried, and half walked me down the precarious stairway. Once I was inside the bus, one of the paramedics joined me and began a pleasant conversation with me.

Blonde hair and blue eyes watched me intently. It may have been my lost mind, but at that moment, he had the most beautiful eyes that I had ever seen. Smiling, I was lost in his hypnotizing gaze. His voice was soft and inviting. I felt like I could listen to it forever, and I did listen to it the whole way to the emergency room. He conversed with me to keep me awake and cognitive of what was around me, and it worked perfectly. It also kept my mind off the fact my husband had not come with me. I did not notice this fact in the middle of everything going on; he was completely absent from my side.

Once inside the ER, I was forced to drink charcoal from a small cup, and it did not take long for it to make a reappearance. It was absolutely disgusting, and my toxic stomach contents were having none of it. Frustrated nurses yelled at me for throwing it up and then gave me another cup – but I never touched it to my lips. Without something to focus on, I was slipping away from the bright lights of the room. Metal walls of the elevator were my final memory before losing consciousness. I have no recollection of being in the ICU or being ‘asleep’. No dreams or thoughts; it was as if I went to bed and woke up the next morning but waking up this time was a much different experience.

Stirring in the hospital bed, my eyes opened several days after my arrival. I felt lost and confused at my surroundings, but my eyes fell on a familiar face and relief washed over me. I am sure she felt the swell of relief as well. My mom had driven about 740 miles in eight hours to be by my side. We later calculated that she had averaged about 95 mph the entirety of the drive, never being pulled over. There was always a driver going faster than she was, and they were the ones to get caught. Her foot never left the gas pedal, and I will never make fun of her panic.

Once awake and somewhat aware of where I was, I noticed the lack of a certain person from the room: my husband. This was something my mom attempted to fix, but it was only mildly successful. He came to visit me once during my entire stay, but never said a word and refused to look at me. He sat on my bed and I rubbed his back, but nothing I did to interact with the stone-faced body made any difference. His blatant resentment was more than I could overcome. I began to wonder if I went too far to prove my point, but it also seemed to be working.

The chaos from the apartment had compartmentalized in my mind, blurry and distant memories, just like that night.

by Shara Adams

For more stories by Shara Adams, visit http://pennedinwhite.com.

My First Time.

I have never been hospitalized before. I think that I am pretty good at hiding things, but I couldn’t hide this from myself. I knew there was something wrong. I wasn’t sleeping more than a couple hours, I was becoming emotionally abusive, and I was falling back into overspending. Mania. This isn’t the first time I have been manic this year, but I hope it is the last. I moved into a new apartment earlier this week and I already can’t make rent. I am exhausting. I am tired from being me.

I took myself down to the hospital which I think we can agree is a feat on its own. Not having insurance was both a blessing a curse. The plus side is that I could choose whatever hospital I wanted and the downside is that I am uninsured. I can’t help but laugh that this insanely expensive vacation I just took and I didn’t even get to go to the pool. I am constantly, actively working to better myself. I take my medication, go to all my doctors appointments, religiously see my therapist, use the breathing exercises. I am not immune to it. It wasn’t at all what I had expected. Clean, hospital like in some ways, slightly degrading, and cold. BUT I am blessed to have gone to a place that provided me a private room and bathroom. Granted, everything was bolted to the floor and the bathroom had no door. Overall it was a really nice place filled with people actively trying to get better.

I was sad and anxious that I was taking all these days unpaid, but I had to. I had to go and get help. It was an out of body experience watching me set fire to all the relationships that took years to rebuild. One conversation has sent it all tumbling down. Here I am, trying to intervene and slow the damage. I was discharged yesterday afternoon and it seems that my grandparents are going to be the hardest to recover. I suppose it is divine timing because we just moved away after living next door to them. I am fortunate to still have my mom in my corner because it would be hell living together for the next year if I am going to be the source of her pain and anger.

I am doing better today. Better than yesterday, better than a week ago. I just have to keep pushing forward. My anxiety is manageable right now and I hope that it stays that way. I hope that this made inpatient stays a little less scary for those who haven’t experienced it.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Too Close To Home

Okay, so I wasn’t going to write anything about the pandemic. However, I’m in the middle of a very personal experience with COVID-19. I knew I’d be a little bit paranoid about this virus – especially because I work with the public. I never imagined my fear would actually come true. I haven’t gotten my test results yet, but I want to share our story thus far.

On Monday, March 16th, my 7-year-old daughter developed a cough. At first, I assumed it was her asthma cough since she was running around outside. However, the cough had gotten more persistent and deep by Tuesday. Tuesday night, at 11:30 pm, she spiked a fever of 104.2. We made a Dr. appointment the next day. I wanted her to be tested because, it turns out, we’ve been exposed to the virus via 3 positive cases at my brother’s work. He also just flew to NYC a few weeks ago and was in 3 different airports (Pittsburgh, NYC, and Dallas). The Dr. refused to test her and I had to force her to at least test for the flu.

When I left the Dr.’s office, I called the department of health to see if we could get tested without the Dr.’s referral. They put me on a mandatory 14 day quarantine and said I needed to go get her tested. I called a testing site in Pittsburgh, who told me they wouldn’t test her because her fever had broke. Fine. We’ll just finish the quarantine. But, by Thursday night, she was taking 40 breaths a minute, which is twice the norm. Her pulse was 107, which is 20 beats per minute faster than norm. And her cough was even worse.

We went to the emergency room at UPMC Northwest at 2 am on Friday, March 20th. The triage nurse didn’t warn the hospital that a possible COVID-19 case was coming in, so they sat us in the waiting room where we put our germs on the chairs. They had me use the check-in kiosk, so that my germs were on the screen. They had me sign a paper with a pen that all other patients use. They took us to a room that wasn’t set up for the virus. They weren’t wearing proper PPE. However, they did take good care of my daughter. Turns out, she developed pneumonia from whatever virus she has. The hospital wouldn’t test her. They sent us home with a note saying that the Wolfe Center would contact us about a test.

I waited a week for a call, and it never came. I waited so long because I’d already been told by a testing site that they won’t test unless all of the symptoms are present at that time. Well, I started to cough on that Friday (March 20th) we went to the hospital. And, a week later, it hadn’t gotten better. I was short of breath and I was wheezing. But I didn’t have a fever, so I didn’t try to get tested.

By Sunday, March 29th, I decided that I wanted to try one more time to get tested. I decided to call Meadville Medical Center. They decided to test me because of the exposure I had, the symptoms I had, and the symptoms my daughter had. Even though I didn’t have a fever. That’s exactly what should have been done to begin with. Not everyone shows the same symptoms. Turns out, I did have a fever when I went to the testing site, and my pulse was 125. My lungs sounded “junky”. They stuck the test swab so far in my nose it felt like they were scraping my brain. It is terrible. The results will be in sometime in the next 72 hours – 2 weeks, depending how backed up the lab facilities are.

Throughout these 14 days, I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions. Not only do I have to deal with the fact that I have no income right now, but I don’t know when I’m returning to work, and I still don’t know if I have the virus. I had to deal with the panic of watching my daughter struggle to breathe and hear her coughing 24/7 and have her temperature be 104.2 for 24 hours. It was terrifying and I live alone and am quarantined, so I went through all of it by myself. I started having trouble sleeping. I lost my appetite. All while being sick with whatever I have. It’s been tough. Let’s not forget, I’m bipolar, and this is definitely a stresser. I have been on top of my mental symptoms and went back on my anxiety and sleeping meds for the time being.

I’m here to say that, maybe we shouldn’t be panicking about the pandemic, but we most certainly should be taking it seriously. If this is what I have, it is no joke. People who have any kind of respiratory issues (we have asthma) are at a higher risk, and it’s no fun watching someone you love struggle to breathe. Even if you will be fine if you catch this virus, your vulnerable family member or friend may not be. Please take this seriously, stay home, and fight for your right to get tested if you have reason to believe you have symptoms or exposure.

My No-Medication Journey to Emotional Health and Well-Being

Going on about 40 years ago, I was diagnosed as bipolar.  Today, I don’t know whether that diagnosis was correct or not because I’ve chosen to live my life the way I’m going to live it regardless.

So in this post, I’m going to talk a little about my choices for medicating and not medicating.  I need to state up front that everybody’s situation with medication may be different.  Some people can’t live off of medication; it’s a life or death matter, the difference between being able to have a life or not, or have a life that’s undamaged or one that’s damaged.  So this post is not a comment on other people’s choices in any way, shape, or form nor is it a suggestion as to how other people should live or the choices they should make in any way, shape, or form.  I just want to say that clearly.  This is my journey, though there may be something in it that speaks to you.

I was diagnosed as bipolar, which is funny because years later I received – when I was in therapy, again – a book entitled Mood Swings.  The therapist told me to go home and read it.  I asked her, “Do you think this is what’s going on with me?”  She said, “No, I think it’s what’s going on with your mother.”  I’m not going to say anything more about that except to say that I have doubted my diagnosis of bipolar pretty much the entire time since I received it.  What I did believe myself to be was extremely depressed.  Yes, I get very, very active sometimes – it’s actually the way I live almost ALL of my life.  Energy is what I am; people comment on it all the time.  I used to have periods where I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning; I would be busy, I couldn’t sleep but I’ve never felt I was in a manic state.  I just thought I was avoiding laying down.  I didn’t sleep well.  In addition, my dreams and I are very attached; anything that’s bothering me comes out in my dreams and a LOT was bothering me, for YEARS.  (Over time, I have come to see my sleep avoidance as a bad habit and have dealt with it as such – the same way I dealt with the bad habit of smoking and too much wine; the result is that now it’s not a part of my life (well, I still like my wine!).  Staying up super late happens rarely now and when it does I’m quite annoyed by it and I knock it off quickly.)

I was never medicated as a result of the bipolar diagnosis but a few years later I found myself hospitalized for depression.  Sometime prior to that, I had been given two medications (I won’t say what they were), one for depression and one for anxiety. Those two medications drove me insane.  That’s the only way I can put it.  I went from being depressed to being suicidal.  I just couldn’t … I just couldn’t.  That’s all I can say.  I was also having other disturbing side effects from these medications.  I was told the side effects would pass as my body got used to them.  In addition I was going through something horrible.  I was very angry at medications and I developed the attitude, “Why should I be medicated because of what other people have done to me?!”  One day I decided, “You know what?  Instead of taking just one of these a day, I’ll just take them all today.”  I made the (life-saving) mistake of saying that to my therapist at the time and that’s when I learned an important truth about being committed:  commit yourself, leave when you think you’re well; get committed by a professional, leave when they think you’re well.  My situation was the latter.

That was the end of medication for me.

A few years later, perhaps five or so years after I was married I ended up hospitalized again.  This time I drove myself to the hospital because I was just having the worst day and I felt I couldn’t function and I went to an emergency room and tearfully told them, “I’m not safe.  I’m not okay.”  I took myself away from my husband and my children and I was in there for probably about a week.

When I came out of the hospital that time, I said, “Enough is enough.”  Now I’m not suggesting that I no longer dealt with depression anymore because I did.  I continued to have periods some might have called manic.  I don’t know.  I just wanted to stay up to avoid laying down and dealing with my dreams and thoughts and I can deal with it better when I’m up.  But I decided, “I just can’t do this anymore.”  I really paid attention to the materials I was given on my way out of the hospital, which discussed how to manage my life.

Around that time I had been seeing a commercial for a program called Attacking Anxiety and Depression.  Honestly, that program was somewhat expensive at the time; we didn’t have a lot of money early in our marriage.  I invested in it anyway and I actually did that program, the whole thing.  It was very involved.  It involved practically every moment of my every day for weeks and weeks.  I did the entire thing.  I wanted to get well.   I was desperate.  I don’t want to say it cured me because “cured” is such a subjective word; who the hell knows whether they’re cured.  The circumstances at the heart of my illness were still the same and therefore I still had to cope with the same things.  So I don’t know whether I was cured.  Like an alcoholic, I’m still a depressive – I’ll say in remission.  But what that program, and my dogged (almost crazed) devotion to it, did do was teach me to manage my life.  To this day, I fiercely – and I do mean fiercely – manage my life.

I talk to myself in certain ways.  I hear when I’m bad to myself and then I remember that I’m also pretty damn great.  After all, look at me surviving.

I fiercely defend my privacy, my time as my own and not being owed to anyone.  This has alienated many people in my extended family because I’m from a family (two, actually) that feels like we should get together often but my family is also very critical of each other and being with them is not healthy.  Well, I have a family – I have a husband and sons and a granddaughter.  This is where I put my time.  I also fiercely defend my need to spend my time in places and situations that don’t stress me.  My extended family stresses the hell out of me and brings back all of the bad memories and they like to talk about these things and they’re a little bit bullying.  And so I very, very rarely spend time with them because I always end up having to defend myself around them.  Who the hell wants to be in that?  And so I don’t.  I am comfortable with my family and I devote my life and my time to them.  My home is peaceful.  Many people have commented on it upon entering and again upon leaving.  It’s a great compliment that fuels my dedication to sticking with it.

I have chosen work and hobbies that nurture me and that allow me to nurture others, activities that bring out and display the best in me.

I have no interest in anyone else’s “shoulds” about life.  I have examined my life thoroughly.  I know what it needs and that’s what I give it.  If things fall by the wayside, they fall by the wayside for a reason.  If I say no to things I say no for a reason.

Another big change that occurred – perhaps the biggest – is I learned to defend myself as if I were defending my best friend.  You know how we all jump up and just don’t allow anyone to say anything horrible about our best friend?  Well, I’ve learned that I have to treat myself like that.  I will not allow myself to be made a doormat.  I will not allow myself to be bullied.  Even if it’s coming from me. This has made me assertive – not aggressive.  It’s made me stand up for myself.  If someone tries to embarrass me, even in public, I will call it out tactfully, “I understood what you said.  I don’t know why you would say that in front of of all these people but let’s talk about it,” which invariably makes the person stop and leave me alone.  (I did this just recently with a family member.)  I’m not perfect and I get those times when I’m bad to myself because, hey, I will probably always have low self-esteem; it’s part of my fiber, it was built into me.  So sometimes, when I can’t talk myself out of it, I have had to learn to

Listen to my husband while he talks me out of it.  (And he defends me like a mama bear!) I’ve had to learn to listen to those people whom I know love me and admit that sometimes maybe they are right and I’m not horrible.  Then I can get myself back on track.

I stick to my regimens.  My regimens are my regimens.  I get up the way I get up everyday and do the things that are important to me everyday.  I end my day with time to myself everyday.  Whether I use it to think or to read or to write or to make something or to watch a show or to play a game, whatever the case may be, I end my day privately.  My husband respects that and appreciates it.  When he realizes that he is staying long and I’m staying up because he’s staying with me, he kindly acknowledges and says, “I’ll see you when you come up.”  I really appreciate his understanding that there are certain things I have to do to be okay; time with myself is one of them.

During these years of transition, I was having a horrible, horrible, horrible time with my mom.  If anything has been close to killing me, it has been my relationship with my mother.  I decided I was tired of being sick.  I had done all this work and yet still I was sick.  And so I went on over to an online platform called LiveJournal and I said, “I’m going to write this journal every, single day for 365 days and I’m going to find my way out of this.”  And I did.  Over 365 days I missed writing on only a handful of days.  At the end of 365 days I was very proud of myself because when I looked into my word cloud, I saw that I had developed gratitude and I was beginning to see great things about myself and my life.  (A sad side note:  my relationship with my mother did not survive this.  We became emotionally estranged, although we did see each other from time to time and were civil.)

I really started to be healthy after that and will even go so far as to say happy.  This is my current state and has been so for several years.  Again, I still deal with things; I still get sad; negative emotions still come in, I still have to deal with them.  But a real, substantive change happened after that.  I said, “Wow, my life is great!”  My life is great.

During all these years, I also developed a very strong, close relationship with God.  I know there are people who will ridicule that.  There’s nothing I can say to you.  If God is present in your life, you will know.  I worked hard but I did not do this alone.  It required a strength that I just don’t have.  I don’t care what people call it. It’s not blind faith because I have seen, for certain, His hand in my life.

I’m sorry I can’t put all these things together on a better timeline.  I just can’t because all of these things were happening over years at different times by themselves and they all became part of one closely-meshed fabric of health and well-being.  But all of these things became my method for living that protects me.

I’m not antisocial.  I’m very extroverted; however, that has shifted also.  I’m extroverted when I’m around people but I really prefer not to be around people.  I’m an introvert who is just really good with people when I get out there.  (Sometimes.  Other times I feel like I totally make an ass and a fool of myself but I know that a lot of people feel like that at times.)  When I want to be with people, I’m with people; when I don’t, I’m not.  It’s important to note that my work is a mashup of teaching and entertainment so I am always doing both and people are my livelihood.  So when I say “I don’t feel like it,” I’m talking about my non-work time.

It all comes down to making choices that benefit my health, my well-being.  I just turned 60.  At some point in your life, you have to say, “This is my life.  I have to live it my way with my priorities.”  At that point, you have to start really taking a good and honest look at the things around you that work contrary to you living your life and living it in a healthy way.

Are you trying to live someone else’s life?  Are you living according to someone else’s priorities?  Are you living in a way that benefits your own well-being or someone else’s?

This is not selfishness, especially if you are a significant other or a parent.  Because if you can’t be healthy, how can your relationships be healthy?  Sometimes we say, “Yeah, but he/she just loves me and has my best interests at heart.”  Nobody knows what’s best for you but you – and I would hazard to say God.  Come to know yourself.  Come to know God.  (I’m not going to go any deeper into that because I don’t want to get into religion.  I can’t stand religion.)  I’ll just say learn to pray.  Get out of yourself, take an honest chance and pray.  Pray for guidance.  If you don’t believe, fine.  Prove that you’re right.  Just give a few, deep, heartfelt prayers, deep from your soul.  Pray for guidance to know yourself.  I could have done nothing without this.  It’s where I got the strength to continue because it was hard.  I didn’t mean to go off on that but it’s impossible for me to separate out.

So again, a list of where my journey to emotional and mental health has brought me:

  • Fierce protection and defense of myself as I would my best friend, husband and children
  • Fierce protection and defense of my time, priorities, and need for quiet solitude
  • Listening to people who truly love me when they stand up for me, not fighting against them
  • Remembering to ask God for help and especially to thank God for all the riches I do have, to be grateful

These are the little pills I take to protect my health and well-being.  I hope there’s something in there that will help you.

Peace

Now I See

Yesterday, I received my very first pair of glasses. I didn’t realize how blind I was. I now see everything so differently. So crisp. So clear. It’s insane. I had no idea that I wasn’t seeing things clearly. And it reminded me of myself when I realized something was wrong with my brain.

I have struggled with crippling depressions ever since I can remember. And these depressions are a lot longer than a week or a day. They last from 6 months to 3 years. My most recent depression lasted 3 years and included 6 months of not eating, which resulted in my body nearly shutting down. It included many, many nights of self-harm. And when I finally came out of it, I dove straight into my very first manic episode.

My manic episode lasted for a little over a year. And it took 9 months to figure out that something was wrong with me. During the first 9 months, I was extremely reckless, hyper-sexual, and felt indestructible, all-knowing, and ecstatic. I didn’t need sleep because I was fueled up on manic energy. I was creating art, music, books, and I wasn’t going to stop just to sleep. In order to stay awake when I did get tired, I turned to drugs, which is COMPLETELY out of character for me. The mania caused me to lose my appetite, so I lost a lot of weight again, and the drug use just made it worse. I overdosed 6 months into my mania (didn’t tell anybody, though). During the next 3 months, I was desperate for money and I was still hyper-sexual, so I began taking money for sex. This is also COMPLETELY out of character for me. It was after I got roofied that I realized something had to be terribly wrong with me.

I went to my PCP, who said it sounded like I had bipolar disorder. However, they weren’t equipped to handle mental illnesses, and asked me repeatedly to go to a psychiatrist. I put it off because I was feeling great (still manic). I also didn’t want to admit I had a mental illness. It didn’t take long before I tripped and fell face-first into another depression. This one was intense, and lasted 3 months. By the end of the 3 months, I was experiencing depression and mania at the same time.

I became extremely reckless with men again, and I was hallucinating a terrifying black demon. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I couldn’t even go into my bedroom; I was so afraid. The only way to get the demon to go away was to cut myself. So I started etching little red ditches in my thighs every time it happened. I begged for help. I went to the hospital and begged to be admitted to the psych ward. They even saw my thighs. They wouldn’t take me because they said I wasn’t a danger to myself or others. I never felt more invisible and helpless in my life.

A week later, I called my boss and told them what was happening to me. She has bipolar disorder, too, so she immediately called 911 and asked them to do a wellness check on me. Instead of coming to my house, they called me and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t ready to go to the hospital yet. I wanted to say good-bye to my daughter (who I sent to my mom’s because I knew I wasn’t safe). So I told them I was fine. Thankfully, my cousin decided to call them again, so then they actually came to my door. It was just in time, because I was just trying to cut a path in my arm that was deep enough to bleed out. They saw my arm and said if I didn’t come with them, they would 302 me (give me no choice). I said PLEASE take me, I’ve only been trying to go for a month. So, I finally got the help I needed, and it was 2.5 years ago. I’ll write about my stay in the psych ward another time.

My whole point is that sometimes you don’t realize how blind you are to your situation, actions, behaviors, etc until something is put in front of your eyes to make you see it. For me, being raped opened my eyes. And then my brand new glasses made my vision clear, for real. 😉 The important thing is to make sure that once you see your issues, you get the right help for them. And then do the research so that you can be self-aware and catch episodes before they have a chance to spin out of control, which we all know happens very quickly.

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: Two Sleeps

photo of santa claus sleeping

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I have two nights remaining, or two sleeps, that’s the way we used to count down the days until Christmas, by the number of sleeps.  I have two sleeps until I leave for treatment.

My to do list is starting to get shorter.  The pile of things to pack is getting taller.  The exhaustion is increasing each day.  The head cold is progressing and has resulted in an absolutely horrid, knife in the head feeling kind of a headache that has been throbbing on the left side of my head all day.  The withdrawal symptoms from the one medication I was taking are slowly subsiding (slowly being the operative word).  The ability to do basic things, send a text message with accurate spelling, for example, are becoming challenging.  The driving anxiety has returned from a hiatus that started in May.  I am not welcoming it’s return, but I know it is due to being overall heightened and my body basically throwing a hissy fit.

However, as I was discussing with my brother today, I am persevering.  There is this candle or fire lit deep within me that I swear can not be extinguished.  I am the most tired I have been (without being depressed) yet I am up before 6 AM, getting going and doing what needs to be done.  Should work need to be done after hours, I take care of it.  I am plugging along, some days slowly, and at a toddler’s pace, but I am making movement in a forward direction.

It hit me today, and brought tears to my eyes, how much I am going to miss my people while I am gone.  To see their faces, to hug them, to text them when I am thinking of them, just to spend time with them.  But, I know that I need to let go to heal.  I need to relinquish my reigns so I can work on my deep and inner issues so I can be well from the inside out and allow for a transformation.

In all honesty I do not know what to expect and should I put expectations on an outcome I set myself up for failure.  My goal is to adhere to the program and to be compliant.  And for those that truly know me this will be a challenge.  But, I have committed to myself that this is what I will do.  Come hell or high water, I will do what is asked of me and I will do it with all of me.

Shall, I not have the chance to write before departing, I thank you for your support, kind words and positive energy as I embark on my big adventure.  Your support means the world, moon and stars to me!~

Cupcakes and Sprinkles,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

 

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: The Home Stretch

round grey and black compass

Photo by Supushpitha Atapattu on Pexels.com

I leave for treatment on Thursday.  It seems to have come upon us quickly in that slow agonizing kind of way.  I am the kind of person that once I have my mind made up, I am set and I am ready.  When I have to wait it is pure agony for me.

I know that good things come with waiting.  I have been able to spend good quality time with my family and my friends.  This weekend we had family photos taken and I was able to take my son’s senior portraits (what an honor!) I have been able to make my list and not only check it twice, but a good nineteen times at this point.

With the time I have had since being accepted into treatment and actually leaving I believe will be three weeks.  It has been a long, tiring, draining three weeks.  I have attempted to get “caught up” work wise, but alas, this does not seem like it is going to be one of the things that is going to be checked off my list.

And that is one thing I am learning.  I am trying, really hard, and I am doing the best that I can.  And that’s the best that I can do.  I am fighting through horrible side effects due to withdrawal from one medication and side effects from another new medication.  Then there’s stress that causes the body to breakdown it’s personal shields and cold season, and oh so much fun.

But, I am a fighter.  This journey will probably be the hardest one I have ever chosen to take, but I am going to muscle through each and every foot step of it, perhaps not with grace and certainly not always with a smile on my face, but I will do it and it will be worth it in the end.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: Perspective

woman wearing black shirt sitting on rock
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The days are passing quickly.  I suspect that it is due to being so busy.  However, I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water so to speak, only getting done the bare minimum and my head is swimming with what still needs to be done before I leave for my big adventure.

It seems like every few days I venture to the store to pick up a few things that I “need” for the trip and I am currently storing all items in a small, round, white laundry basket that I plan to bring with me so I have something to do my laundry (good thinking there, because how else would I actually do my laundry if I did not have a laundry basket??)  I feel like I am nesting a little.  I am thinking of what I may need over a 45-day period and it is nerve wracking.  I just started reminding myself yesterday that I have a spouse and he WILL be visiting me and he is willing to bring me items, so I should not worry so much about bringing everything that I need because I have a resource who can bring me items should I forget them.  But then, I was wondering if this is my way of attempting to be in control of a situation that is not within my control.  And if it is also a way for me to act out on my symptoms (shopping addiction) and justify it, with a pretty good justification.  In addition, I am spending time engaging in a mind numbing activity.

This weekend I ran errands and I felt no satisfaction from the shopping that I partook in.  It was not much, not like a “spree”, but more like a shopping trip for things that I did in deed “need” but I was numb.  This tells me that I am, in some ways, starting to shut down.

In other ways I am more heightened in my feelings.  When sitting at the dining room table with my family, I will well up with tears knowing that I will go without these family dinners for an extended period of time.  I know that my family will be fine, I have full faith in their ability to exist while I am away, but I will miss them, I will miss being with them, and I will miss being part of my family.

One thing that I have found is that I am holding onto things with more length, knowing that I have a short amount of time left (less than two weeks) and I am no longer taking things for granted.  I am holding on to each hug, each conversation.  I am staring like a weirdo because I know that I need to keep those memories glued in my mind.

I am feeling the depression starting to sink in.  The sadness, the heaviness, the despair.  Yet, there is so much to do that I have not time for depression, or any dip in my mood.  I need a up kick in my mood to be truly honest, I need a little bit of an upswing so I can have all the energy needed to get all this stuff done.  I feel like I need to be the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, but I feel like I am moving from Piglet into Eeyore and this, well, this is just not a good thing.

I am going to take a break and take a deep breath and let all the buzzing and rushing and racing come to a stop.  I am going to be still and calm in my space and in my mind.  I am going to embrace what I have in this moment and the gifts that have been given to me.  I am going to be kind to myself and my spirit.  All will be well.  This will be a wonderful experience.  I will be safe.  I will have what I need to function in the manner that I need to function.  I will not be in need of things, I will not be in a place of wanting.  My needs will be fulfilled.  I will have peace in my body and my soul.

This is a big adventure.  There will probably be some scary cliffs, but I bet there is going to be some breath taking views.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure

woman wearing grey long sleeved top photography
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In less than two weeks I am going on an adventure.  There could be lions, tigers, or bears (oh my!~)  It was suggested that I pack light and there was a whole list of what to bring, and an even longer list of what not to bring, and I am stressing over the whole packing situation, because, well that’s what I do.  I am not so good when it comes to packing.  To have to limit myself to specific items for an extended period of time is like putting me on one of those stretcher machines they used back in the old day to dismember people.  At least that is what it feels like to me.

I love clothes.  I love to dress a little fancy, to accessorize with jewelry and to wear nice shoes and more eclectic clothes so to be going to a place where this is not necessarily appropriate, I feel like I am being suffocated.  How will I be able to show my personality, I say as I throw myself down on my bed with gust and expression of disbelief and sadness.  I can’t wear boring clothes (with emphasis on the O) it’s just not my thing.  Oh heaven’s bee this is just impossible, I can’t go.

The reality is that I AM going, whether I pack my bag or my spouse packs it and I will have more joy in the process if I just suck it up and do it myself, because although I love him to pieces, he will probably not pack my favorites and then I will be mad and realistically, I will only have myself to blame.

Next obstacle is getting ready for the adventure because it is a 45-day long adventure and that ladies and gents is a long time to be on an adventure.  I have been handling it pretty well (and in that I mean that I am staying strong, until I am weak and breaking down in tears, sobbing my eyes out and letting my fears get the best of me).  So, that’s my definition of pretty well.  I have been so busy with work and life that I have not allowed myself a lot of time to let what’s going on really sink in.  I am staying busy and just plugging along and getting things done and checking things off the to do list as if nothing huge and giant is coming up down the road.  One may say I am acting like I am in denial or acting in some sort of avoidance.  But it’s my coping mechanism and has been for many, many years.  Staying busy, keep the mind engaged and then it stays out of the mucky muck mud and then we do not have mental breakdowns.

Last night I took part in a sleep study.  I stayed away from home in a sleep lab for the study and it was hard.  I felt utterly alone, even though there were plenty of staff who were quite attentive to my every need.  I was missing my people and my pets.  I felt like this was a trial run to my big adventure and I did ok.  I did not cry, but I also had all my electronics and was in contact with my humans.  When I go on my adventure, for the first three days, I will have no contact with my humans, and I think this will be most challenging and will really cause me to use all my strength to get through this trial.  Moving past the three days, there will be a landline phone that can be used, so no texting, no computers, no electronics, no music.  I will be going through total withdrawal and this is going to hit me hard.

I chose to look at this trip away as an adventure because it’s the power of the mind.  If I state that it’s an adventure, it changes the mindset to a positive one, it implies that there may be challenges, but that they will be exciting, breathtaking, exhilarating, memorable.  If I were to say in a solemn tone that I was going in for a stint in treatment, that to me, has a negative connotation to it, and I am trying to surround this opportunity with as much positiveness as possible.

This is a big adventure for me.  I am scared, but that is overshadowed by the fact that I am looking forward to this opportunity and the blessings that I am hoping will come.  I have the support of my support network and so much positive energy, there may be a solar flare.

In a few weeks, I will sign off for 45 days.  Ill be writing, no question about it, but will not be able to post until around Christmas.  I pray that while I am away my soul is healed, along with my mind and my body.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

What Anger Is To Me

Please don’t tell me that a smile and your sorrow just don’t go together.

I would not look upon my anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight. I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, and with non-violence.

When I get angry, I have to produce awareness: “I am angry. Anger is in me. I am anger”. That is the first thing to do.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Angel love and rainbows.

Love, Francesca.