Bella’s Babbles: Lemons

close up photography of lemons

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

What is the saying for lemons?  Is it the lemons don’t fall far from the tree?  Or a bad lemon spoils the bunch?  Oh yeah, I don’t think it is either one of those.  Let me think, oh yeah, it’s “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

I have had numerous lemons given to me, perhaps a number of boxes or a crate or a dump truck full.  Therefore, I have made a ton of lemonade, so to speak.  At this point in time, I am sick of lemonade.  It’s either sour or sweet and I’ve also had enough cavities from all that sugar!

I recently celebrated a birthday.  I am smack dab in the middle of my 30’s.  And boy things are going down hill (literally) fast.  I am noticing changes that I am not thrilled about.

I recently went to the optometrist because I was having a horrible time with night vision.  It made driving feel risky and I was struggling with even allowing my self to drive at night.  I already have driving anxiety so it was exemplified due to the problems with the night vision.  After seeing the doctor I found out that my eye sight was now increasingly worse and this occurred over a short amount of time (4 months to be precise).  The new prescription will clear everything up, literally speaking, and for this I am grateful.

However, I took this news hard.  The change in the astigmatism is probably from age.  But, the overall prescription change is most likely caused by my medication change.  I was in tears conversating with my spouse about how frustrated I was with the side effects of medication.  And how I was struggling with the fact that I have a condition that is not curable and will require medication for the rest of my life.  In that conversation I was reassured that I am doing really well, symptomatically speaking.

Through my tears, runny nose and mascara trailing down my cheeks, I had to stop and take in what he said.  The truth is this is the most stable I have ever been.  And with the change in medication I was actually able to lose a quarter of the weight that I have gained over the last four years.  My anxiety is decreasing and the irritability is extremely low and almost non-existent.

With this thinking, I am making lemonade.  And I am making it the way that I like it, and that’s with a little bit of ice tea in it.  It’s easy to get caught up in how many lemons you get in life.  To dwell on the unfairness of life and pout about the crap that has flowed downhill.  But, I have found that stopping, taking a breath and then thinking before acting is what is helping me succeed.

Today I am trying to embody a sense of peace and lightness.  To connect with my inner being and find solace in my soul.

 

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

My mother.

With the news of James’ mom’s recent passing, I find myself reflecting on my own parent/child relationship. How lucky am I to have her, and how much I feel for James. Please consider donating here to his family’s gofundme to help with expenses. I know that this place that he has created has helped me immensely. It has done more for me than I can put into words and I hope that we can open our arms to be a comfort in return.

______________________

I have always had an incredibly tumultuous relationship with my mother growing up. I know now that I was a bit unpredictable to say the least and with reason. What I didn’t know is how much of a comfort she would be to me now.

My mom is disabled and she lives with me. I am just on the cusp of 30 (HELP!) and many people who hear this picture an elderly woman who can’t feed or bathe herself. They look at me with sad eyes and apologize. They provide niceties about how “you shouldn’t have to take that on!”. The truth is she takes care of me. Yes, I end up grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and the occasional bathing when she is really hurting. But she does a lot for me too. We can start with the obvious: She hasn’t killed me.

I was, in all honesty, a mean little bitch. I told her I hated her, stole from her, lied, and had even hit her once growing up. I wasn’t some pot smoking, partying, rebellious teenager. I was just, bipolar. It is kinda funny now, but it really isn’t at all. I was so “moody” as we had thought that my mom wanted to send me away to a camp in an attempt to reform me. I was even more manipulative. She took me to a specialist on numerous occasions to be evaluated. The mental illness is heavy in this family. My devious ass saw right through their questions and lied my way home. Things only got better when I acknowledged I had a problem and sought out help. I only got better then.

That woman is a saint. In a few short weeks she will be 50. She had me young and endured more than she should have. She put up with me and sometimes had to keep me at a distance. So yes, I take care of her. I pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, fetch her medications, and at times I bathe her.

But she is still doing more for me. She still puts up with my sudden mood changes. The volatile sport that is Bailey. She bites her tongue when I tell her I am having an “off day” as I have grown to call manic episodes. She helps me monitor my spending during this time so I can stay on the right track. My mom stays up with me when insomnia strikes and we binge watch Netflix and crack jokes. She sets her alarm, but has no reason to get up early. It is for me. One time they raised the dose of my Seroquel and slept through three alarms and multiple calls from my boss. She keeps me accountable.

She stays on the phone with me when I choose to move 1000 miles away on a whim. When I left her with my grandmother to care for her. When I am sobbing because I am off my medication and afraid of myself. She doesn’t push me to get back into life when I move back home. She doesn’t comment on the amount of time that I have gone without combing my hair or showering. Instead, she waits for me to be ready and offers to help me sort it out.

I am so grateful for my mother. I am grateful that I have her. I am grateful for the things she does for me. I am grateful for the way she has loved me in spite of the way I have behaved.

I have no idea how it feels to lose a mom. The closest I have come is to emotionally feel like I have lost her as a teenager when she had to love me from a distance. I know now that when we speak about that period of time, we both weep. I especially am brought to tears when she tells me how hard it was to not be there, to not communicate. I know that when she is gone from this Earth, it will hurt like hell. Life will never be the same. I will have to remind myself of her words and how her heart aches when she is away from me as well, that she did not abandon me.

All of this to say that we are so lucky to have people in our lives that support us through….well, us being us. It isn’t easy to see past the terrible parts of mental illness. It is all risk and no reward. My heart absolutely goes out to James and the others that find themselves one less ally, friend, parent, sibling, or other relative to walk through life with. I hope that you know that you meant the world to them. I can say that with full confidence. You have to love someone more than a lot to stick through it.

 

 

 

 

I Need to Call My Therapist

Today was the peak of my anxious December. Each day I have been getting more and more anxious, little things add up to become huge issues in my head.

A week ago I was nearly in tears because I was overwhelmed by anxiety. I often feel like I need to have a perfectly spotless house. When I’m tired or just want to relax, I sometimes ignore that and keep on cleaning. It becomes too much for me to handle so I crack.

Today I was experiencing a lot of anxiety that I don’t know where it was coming from. I was angry at everyone and everything for no reason. I could feel my muscles tense from the anxiety so I thought I would go to the gym to release it. Sadly it only helped a little bit. I walked back into my house and the stress fell back on to my shoulders.

Anxiety is the freaking worst. For me it is worrying about everything. Anxiety is stress piled up so high on my mind that I cannot see the top. It is being unable to act because I am frozen with anxiety.

On Monday I am calling my therapist to make an appointment. I need to hash out the worries and blockades in my brain that are holding me back.

How has your mental health been? If you struggle with anxiety, are you managing it ok?

Reflecting.

Mental illness can be exhausting. I feel that this past two years have been a whirlwind of emotion and change. Both fast and slow at the same time. Depressive episodes have made the days drag and falling into the pits of despair made them almost unbearable. Stable moods made days of adventure seem like flashes of happiness rather than long days of fun.

I hated this past year.

I feel like my mental health management consumed me. The constant ups and downs were exhausting and I felt as though it would be the end of me. I really didn’t think I would make it. I lost my humor and silliness. I did not dance in my kitchen, I did not play silly pranks on my sister who has come to adore them, I did not go out with friends more than a handful of times, and I did not love myself. I am an extrovert through and through, but this past year I was a shut in.

2019

4 doctors.

2 states.

4 jobs.

2 moves.

4 lapses in medications.

5 lapses in health insurance.

6 medication changes.

This is not my ideal year. I have let bipolar run my life. It has humbled me. Sometimes, when I am feeling under control, I let doubt creep in and think that maybe I am completely fine. Maybe I don’t need medication and I am just one of those people that needs and excuse to behave badly or skirt responsibilities.

I am in fact, not that person. I am completely, without a doubt 100%, mentally ill. And in 2020 I will, for the first time in my life, be making a resolution. I will consistently manage my illness.

2020

Choose a new doctor (mine quit)

continuously take my meds

blog twice per month (because I made a commitment that I never kept)

finish my graduate degree

be okay with being okay.

 

Social Anxiety and Me

Starting a new job can be challenging for anyone but when mental illness is tossed into the mix, things can be even more difficult.

I am about to start the fourth week at my new job which involves doing marketing for a local charity. Of course during my first week I was nervous, you never know what your coworkers will be like after they aren’t obligated to be polite anymore.

Positive to Anxious

Everybody was very nice during my first week. I got to chat with a lot of people my age which was really great. I didn’t talk to many of my coworkers at my previous job so I had a lot of culture shock which is odd to say about a new work environment.

Week 2 was not as easy as week 1. I had become suffocated by my anxiety, unable to speak to anyone unless they started the conversation. Even then I would try to end the conversation or leave the room entirely to find a space to be by myself which is hard. I used to have my own office but now I share a workspace with 3 other people.

When I did get time alone, I was spinning in my chair, pacing the floors trying to get my head to relax. One day I had to hold my coffee cup with both hands to drink because I was shaking so badly. I asked myself, “Megan, what the hell?! It’s just a new job, how is your anxiety this bad?”

Here Comes the Depression!

That Friday as I walked out the door of the building into the chilly evening, my anxiety plummeted into depression. All weekend I had no interest in anything, I was completely numb. I kept myself busy by constantly cleaning and cooking so I wouldn’t fall pray to my usual answer to depression: laying in bed for hours.

My boyfriend kept thinking I was upset with him or that he had done something wrong. This is the first time he has truly seen my depression first hand since we moved in together. I had to explain that it wasn’t his fault, that it was the new job.

To help I asked if we could watch a “Harry Potter” movie together. I chose the fourth movie, “The Goblet of Fire” which is my favorite one! We got out our toy wands and he put on my special Harry glasses which made the experience so much more fun.

My Therapist Saves the Day

Thankfully I met with my therapist the next day to talk everything out. I explained my fear that nobody would want to talk with me even if I initiated the conversation and that I was too nervous to make the first move.

She reassured me as always that they all just met me and that in time maybe I will make a friend or two. That would be pretty cool to have a new friend!

Her positive words and encouragement helped me get through my 3 days of work last week. I was able to speak to people and even begin conversations with my coworkers!

So progress? We shall see what this week brings, I never seem to know what my future has in store for me.

Have you had a similar experience? How to do deal with social anxiety?

I’m sorry this is so terribly long!!

TLDR: New job makes me anxious so I talked to my therapist. Last week was better than expected.

Depression Makes Me Flaky

Canceling plans and  not showing up to things when I say I will has been a constant in my life recently. I am falling back into depression which makes me want to stay home all of the time.

Day to day activities like going to work have been very challenging. Yesterday I couldn’t make it through the day so I left two hours early. When I got home, those feelings of emptiness evaporated. My boyfriend had off yesterday so I got to spend some extra time with him which is always a plus since he works a lot.

Yesterday I also was flaky in my personal life. I lied to my friend saying I was working the day of her wedding and couldn’t come. Why would I do that? The regular, not depressed Megan wouldn’t do that.

I also flat out didn’t show up to my cousin’s last soccer game of her lifetime. I told her I would be there then just didn’t go. I feel so horrible about it, what kind of cousin am I?

I feel like a hideous monster that needs to run back under the bed. That I should’t talk to anyone because I will only let them down in the future.

Reflecting on my actions my stomach turns, my heart races and I can’t shake the feeling that I am a terrible human. My depression has such a deep influence on me that I haven’t made any decisions without consulting it.

“Depression, I was invited to a party what should I do?”
“We are not going. We are staying home, Megan.” 

My hands are stained red with guilt that I am a bad person for telling lies and being a flake. I was raised to always tell the truth but lately my nose has grown 5 times it’s normal size.

Does your mental illness make you act out of character? Do you ever cancel plans because you’re not mentally well?

New Doctor, New Me.

Haven’t written in a while. Blame the mental illness. I stopped doing a bit of everything for awhile. I finally moved and have been back in Arizona for a couple months. I could already feel better just being back around my support system. Isn’t it weird that you don’t even realize how familiar environments can make or break you?

I started seeing my new doctor the day after I arrived. She really took the time to listen. She asked me a ton of questions and even asked that I take the time to write some things down that we didn’t get a chance to discuss. I was put on an additional medication, respiradone, that was to help in addition to my lamictal and Seroquel. It made me incredibly sick and I have been told that I had what is called Melatonin syndrome. FUN. NOT.

I have since been switched to a new med and only time will tell if it helps. I know that it can be difficult to know if you are improving or not because we do not see how we are, we only feel. I know that I have had problems my whole life with what was mostly referred to as “my attitude and tone”. I now know that it should have been known as my moods (hello mood disorder). I was constantly told that I need to focus on my tone with people and customers at work. This greatly impacted my professional life. It would always begin with being commended for my work ethic, skills, and problem solving skills. A few weeks in and I was kind of discarded because of my attitude. This completely sucked. I would leave work and come back the next morning telling myself that I am just going to do my job and keep my head down. Didn’t happen.

The job I have now has been AMAZING. Since getting back on all my medication (I just up and stopped taking them, bad girl) I have seen a drastic change. I received a raise and was even commended on my professional tone by multiple members of management. MEDICATION WORKS YA’LL. I know that my outlook and perseverance has a hand in my treatment, but I am telling you that I think I am in a good place.

I was recommended for a job by a friend for a project manager position. This a HUGE deal. I have never had anyone offer to help me in getting a leg up in my career. This is the position I acquired over 100k in school loans for. IT’S HERE! As much as I like my current job, I am at a place where there is no growth potential which is incredibly disappointing.

This is not to say that my life has suddenly improved 100% and I have no issues. I am struggling financially and frankly am drowning in debt right now. I can say that had this all come about a few months ago, I am not sure I would be writing this. I was in a really bad place and not managing my mental health in a healthy way at all. I have found myself on a good treatment plan that is allowing me to really manage the stress. Apparently that is a huge trigger for my mania. Isn’t that fun?

I know we have all been at low lows and dark places we can’t imagine pulling ourselves from. Just remember that you recognize your own lows and you are responsible for seeking the help. You can get it. You can manage this.

 

p.s. I promise to contribute more. Money woes=no internet.

Megan’s Anxiety Raceway

I have a recurring stumbling block that when I trip over that I can’t always get up from right away. When I have upset someone or done something wrong (no matter if it’s major or minor) I can’t function.

If it happens at work, I can’t be productive. I will spin around in my office chair until I can go home to crawl into bed and hope one of my cats joins me.

This morning it happened and I have barely done any work at all.  My mind continues to race around the thought that I upset someone. On repeat I hear, “you upset this person, there’s no way they will love you anymore” and “why are you such an idiot, Megan? Why didn’t/did you do that? So moronic!”

My stomach is in knots. My brain is a scrambled egg.

Even if what I did/didn’t do is minute, I always have this type of reaction. My anxiety jumps into the Subaru Legacy in my brain (that’s the car I drive), revs the engine and speeds around the race track that is my mind. I’m calling it Megan’s Anxiety Raceway.

I can mess up without criticizing myself only if my actions don’t effect someone else. Like if I spill my smoothie on the floor (did it last year, very messy) or misplace my work keys (happened this morning, they were in my office), it doesn’t matter. Knowing someone is hurt, disappointed or flat out angry at me makes my mind shrivel up. I think again and again about how I should have acted differently to prevent whatever happened.

My regrets stick with me because of my anxiety. I am a professional ruminater.

How do you overcome your anxious thoughts? How do you stop ruminating over stuff? Please leave me a comment! I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

The Voyage and Worthiness

I am worthy

even when I don’t feel like it.

There’s so much of my past self that I don’t

resonate with at all anymore, but I love her just the same.

She was growing.

She was doing her best.

She fought hard to get me here.

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

Angel love and rainbows.

Love, Francesca.

Babbles: Truths

women wearing sun hat

Photo by Lucas Lima on Pexels.com

It’s been a while since I have taken the time to sit down and write.  True.

I have not been feeling motivated to write. True.

I don’t feel like I have had much creativity over the last few weeks. True.

I have been struggling to make it through the workday.  True.

I have been sleeping more than normal. True.

I spent all weekend in bed last weekend. True.

I’ve been suffering from depression. I finally confess, that this is also, true.

 

It’s amazing home things sneak up on us.  How we are doing well and then as days turn into weeks, weeks into a month and before we know it, we are having trouble getting out of bed and we are dreading leaving the house.  We look at the shower and contemplate the necessity of this torture chamber, and debate whether our hair really needs to be washed.

I swear just a few days ago I was fine, but then when I really think about it, it wasn’t a few days ago, it was more than a month ago, and I have not been fine for a while.  I’ve been tired, exhausted, and agitated, fussy and not much fun to be around.  I look forward to sleeping at night, treasure the hours when I get to disappear from the world and live in my dream world, and spend all day waiting to go back.

I have been lying to myself.  Telling myself that it’s the heat, that’s it, the heat, it’s just wearing me down.  Or, that it’s just a dreadful day, that I am grouchy because I am constipated perhaps due to meat or gluten.  Or due to a restless night’s sleep disturbed by nightmares.  I’ve also blamed it on stress from work, stuff with the kids, or just blame it on life in general, yeah that’s a good one.  Plus my favorite is citing the medication change, which most times that IS the trigger to my ups and downs, but still, I have been in denial.

The bad data that has been filling my head with negative thoughts, the feelings of despair and the idea that I am not good enough have been torture.  The tears that have been running down my face, the amount of mascara that I have wasted, that time that has spent wiping snot off of my face, I have simply lost count.  Swollen, puffy, red eyes, looking back at myself in the mirror wondering where the sparkle has gone.  Wondering why I can’t help but to yell, why do I do this, what is happening?  Why do I feel this way?

Why does the good Segway into the bad?  Why is this so cyclical? How long will I go before the sunshine comes back and when it returns, how long will it stay?

Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there will be sun…

 

Cupcakes with Sprinkles,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com