bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Archive for February, 2008

Song Sung Blue

Is anyone that reads this blog old enough to recognize that song?  Just wondering.

My thoughts today are about songs.  I was in my car listening to KSHE rockin’ out to “Live and Let Die” and it was an instrumental part of the song, then I realized…THIS WASN’T THE PAUL MCCARTNEY VERSION!  It was Guns and Roses.  Admittedly, not my favorite band.  But, I was sitting there thinking, “Does anyone ever think that the remake is better?” 

Now, the first one that comes to mind is Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”  First written and sung by Dolly Parton.  But, was it a hit?  Or was it just some track on an album or a “B side” as we used to call them?  Had anyone really heard it before Whitney made it huge?

I was telling my husband that I felt I should send Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr a note of apology.  Because when I was in Jr. High, the Bee Gees version of Sgt. Pepper’s was big and so was the movie, I guess.  I didn’t see it.  But, I remember my choir teacher had us listen to the Beatles version because we were going to do a medley of Sgt. Pepper’s songs.  The class practically revolted!  “This isn’t as good as the Bee Gees!”  “Why can’t we listen to the Bee Gees version?”  I’m so ashamed because I was right along with them.  Now, I look back and say, “Oh dear.  What was I thinking?”

So, are remakes ever worth it?  Or is it a case of whichever version you hear first, you like better?  My good friend and I go round and round about which movie is better:  “Philadelphia Story” or “High Society”.  She saw “High Society” first, so she likes it better.  I saw “Philadelphia Story” first, so I  like it better.  She’ll say, “C’mon!  Grace Kelly and the music!!!!”  And, I’ll say, “C’mon, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant!!!!”  We’ve agreed to disagree.  She’ll never convince me and vice versa.

Another example is “Sabrina.”  As a huge (and I mean HUGE) Harrison Ford fan, I wanted to LOVE the remake.  I really liked it.  Really, really did.  But, seriously, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn?  Can you top that?  No way.  Saw it first, loved it.

I’m not going to go on about how Hollywood and the music business has run out of creative ideas of their own and so they remake the classics or turn TV shows into movies.  That’s another issue altogether. 

But, I’m curious.  Do you have any examples of remakes that were better than the original?  Now, it’s not fair if the original was not a hit.  Because if you go to www.imdb.com, you will find a surprisingly large number of remakes that you had no idea were originally done in the 30s or 40s. 

Let me know.  Right now, I have to send a letter to Paul and Ringo.

To Tuck or Not to Tuck?

No, not my face.  Please.  I’m insulted you even thought that.  And, no, not shirts.  I used to be a major tuck it in girl, until I had kids and that baby bump never left. 

No, I’m talking about sheets.

Last night, I got into bed and the top sheet was untucked.  I was alone, but I said aloud, “Eww!”  You would have thought there were mice in my bed as quickly as I threw off the covers and jumped out of bed!  Unlike George Costanza, I hate not having the sheets tucked in, no question about it. 

I know there are people out there who don’t even use top sheets.  I’ve stayed in their homes.  I can live with that.   But, there is just something about feeling that top sheet creeping up my legs that drives me nuts!  (Since I’m bipolar, I can say that about myself.  You just can’t say it.  Sorry.  One of the few benefits I have.  Live with it.)

As I laid in bed, after the re-tucking, I breathed a sigh of contentment.  Then, I wondered.  Who else cares that much about tucked or not tucked sheets?  My husband sure doesn’t.  He just wants to be warm.  Not picky at all.  Everyone has their quirks.  I probably have more than most.  (Yes, you can say that about me.  That’s just weird, not crazy.)

Maybe I should just sleep in a sleeping bag.  No question.   I’d be all tucked in every night.

A New Day, a New Insight into Me

So far, so good.  My moods have been very stable the last few weeks and I am thrilled, to say the least.

Today I met with Kent, my therapist, and it was a long hour, honestly.  And, it was because I am doing so well.  YEAH!  I mean, we even had time to discuss Britney Spears and whether or not she was bipolar.  We came to the conclusion that she may be, but it was a drug-induced situation.  She has probably taken some kind of drug to keep her “hopping” since she started out, and, obviously, that’s not good.

Anyway, I wasn’t paying this guy to talk about Hollywood and its problems, but I will say that he told me an interesting tidbit.  Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame is bipolar.  And she says that both her marriages (including the one to James Cameron) broke up because she wouldn’t take her medicine.  See, one of the limits of being bipolar and on your meds is that you cannot be up 20 hours a day and live through it.  You pay for it.  Dearly.  So, there are those who go off their meds in order to be able to live that kind of lifestyle.  She was one of them.  She fought taking drugs for her manic depression for a long time.  It wasn’t until, as she described it, “I decided to become an adult,” that she took control and took her medication.

Obviously, no movie studio is asking me to work on a movie, so this has nothing to do with me, right?  Wrong.  I wasn’t working 20 hour days, but I was volunteering up the wazoo!  (You’ll have to go to WebMD to find out where that is located.)  Even when I wasn’t actually somewhere else volunteering, I was at home working on the things I was volunteering for.  Now, I know several people who can do way more than I did and live to tell about it.  I wasn’t some kind of SuperMom with a giant M on my supersuit.  But, I was doing WAY more than I should have been and really pushing the limits.

But, now my moods are stabilized.  Wow.  That only took….let’s see….math was never my strong suit….2 1/2 months?  Not bad.  It seemed forever.  And, I look back on it and it still seems like a long time.  So, now I have my moods in order, it’s time to continue to keep my life in order.  And that means a routine.  (Something I would have sworn I hated.  Turns out I had no idea what I hated.  Routine is AWESOME!)  It’s predictable.  I wouldn’t have lasted a day on The Island on “Lost” since you can’t predict what is going to happen after the commercial!  But, I have found that I do love routine. 

What else have I discovered?  I still do not like to talk on the phone.  (Weird, huh?  Those that know me would be very surprised at that.)  I also hate to listen to talk radio.  Not just the political shows, but even the light-hearted ones.  Too much noise.  What have I replaced it with?  K-SHE.  Classic Rock, baby!   I know, it scares me too.  I didn’t even listen to K-SHE in high school, when that’s what you were supposed to listen to!  (However, I did like Quiet Riot and Def Leppard)  But, Led Zepplin is amazing and really gets me in a great mood.  Even a little Black Sabbath here and there rocks my world.  ha!  It seems so bizarre to even write those band names.  (Not a big Pink Floyd fan, though)

Anyway, if you had time to look at yourself and how you have changed with your likes and dislikes, what would you find?  Meanwhile…I’m gonna rock and roll all night…and party every day….

Hello Again?

A strange thing happened today, and I wasn’t sure what to do.  As I was walking through the West County Mall, I was 90% sure I saw one of my fellow inmates from the loony bin getting a Cinnabon.  We had been relatively close, and I really didn’t know if I should say hello or not.  Here’s the strange thing about my visit to the loony bin.  I forgot the names of almost everyone there.  While I was there, of course, I remembered everyone’s name, and did so for a few days after I got home.  But, slowly, their names were erased from my mind.  So, I couldn’t have called this guy by his name if I had a gun to my head.  Which complicated things.  I mean, what do you say, “Hello.  I don’t remember your name, but we were in the loony bin together back in December.  Do you remember me?”   First of all, maybe it is him and he doesn’t want to remember anything about that, especially me.  (Doubtful, but maybe.   I mean, I’m awesome.  Let’s not forget that.)  But, secondly, maybe it wasn’t him and he then looks at me like I need to return to the loony bin!

This guy’s story is one of the ones I haven’t written about, and believe me, it really deserves its own entry, but I’ll put it here since I may (or may not) have seen him today.

We’re going to call this guy Phil.  (Obviously, I have no idea what his real name is, but I like “Phil”)  Phil came in one day and said that he was there after a “momentary lapse of reason.”  Okaaaay.  Weren’t many of us?  Well, Phil assured us that he was different.  And, we believed him.  He told us he drove through his garage and that was why he was in the loony bin.  Okay.  As I have mentioned before, it was an unwritten rule that you didn’t ask anyone why they were there.  Some told, some didn’t.  So, Phil decides to tell us all his story.  It’s a doozy, I assure you.  The entire time he’s telling it, my mouth would drop open, I would gasp, and put my hand over my mouth in awe!  Have I built it up enough?

Phil said that he had a list a mile long to do the day before he came.  He said, “It was just like any other day.  I had an entire page of things to do.”  The first thing that happened before he even left home was one of his dogs peed on the floor.  He told us that his dogs never do this, so it was odd.  But, it was very irritating and since he had so much to do, he now had to clean this up before he could even get started!  The rest of his morning went just like that.  Everything went wrong.  So, he goes to the airport to pick up someone.  This other person didn’t know what flight they were on or what airline, so he went to the airport, waited for 45 minutes and said aloud, “Okay.  That’s enough!  I’ve had it!”  And drove off.

He then drove to his home and opened the garage door, and just kept driving.  Literally, he drove his Range Rover through the garage, through the laundry room, through the home office, and into the living room where he was stopped by a brick wall.  He left the car running, took his dogs upstairs, opened the windows in the room, and shut the door.  Then, he went downstairs to the bar, opened his best bottle of scotch and drank it all, along with a whatever Valium he and his partner had in the house.  He mentioned that he was surprised they had anything like that, since they don’t usually use medications like that.  Then he closed the garage door, got in his car, and prepared to take a long nap.  He said he did feel sorry for whoever found him, and that would probably be his partner, but he just couldn’t do it anymore.  Almost 3 hours later, his partner did find him and he was still alive.  He was brought into the hospital and then transferred to the loony bin with the rest of us freaks who just didn’t have as fantastic a story.  😉

Well, needless to say, we were all in shock.  This guy should have been dead.  I told him, “Phil, God wanted you to live for some reason.  He kept you alive for a purpose.  There is no way you should still be here.”  He agreed.  He was somewhat light-hearted about the matter and said, “Well, we were considering fixing up the home office anyway, so that saved us some time.  Plus, now we have a three-car garage!  No one else does in our Clayton neighborhood!”  He also told us the figure they estimated to repair everything.  Staggering, I assure you.  Plus, he got a ticket for disturbing the peace.  IT’S TRUE!!!!!!  A $500 ticket.  Crazy. 

Phil was going to get to go home the same day I did, which would have put him in the loony bin only one full day.  He said he and the doctors agreed that he had just snapped and wasn’t in need of any medication, but did need to seek counseling and get a lifestyle change.  Just a momentary lapse of reason.  We all snap under pressure.  Just not to that degree, I hope.

Before I left, he sat down with me and said, “Michelle, you and I are a lot alike.  We try to please people all day long.  People call us and ask us, ‘Can you just do this one quick thing for me?’ and we think, okay.  Then it becomes overwhelming.  We need to learn to say no.  I can tell that you are such a sweet person and good mother.  I have a feeling you know exactly what my normal day is like because you have days just like that.  You and I have to learn to limit what we do once we get out of here.”  I told him I completely agreed and I would be cleaning off my plate immediately.  He said he was too, after gets the brunch invitations out.  (Yeah, he lives that kind of lifestyle, where you have invitations printed and sent out for brunches.) 

He told us all a story about setting expectations too high (sound familiar?).  He was having a large group over for Thanksgiving and everything was going great until he ruined the gravy.  He said he went ballistic.  He started crying.  He felt the meal was ruined.  His partner took him by the shoulders and said, “Phil.  Calm down.  It’s just gravy.  I will run to the store and get some cans or jars of gravy and no one will know the difference.”  Phil let him and realized he was right.  He almost let the gravy ruin the whole event.  No one said, “Is this jarred gravy?”  They all had a wonderful time.  Phil said he needed to remind himself of that many, many times.  I think we all do.  In fact, I just read in some magazine that some woman said that her best gravy recipe for Thanksgiving was a jar and can of different store-bought gravies put together.  She said everyone always raves about her delicious gravy.  She never tells her secret. 

So, I don’t know whether I saw Phil today or not.  I decided not to approach him.  I was kind of having a mini-breakdown because I couldn’t find where I parked my car.  But, that’s a completely different story.

Time to Add to the Plate

I would like to start back drumming for the Living Water Worship.  Dale (the worship leader) asked me if I would like to sing, but I told him singing still makes me emotional, and I doubt you want one of your lead singers up there weeping.  So, hopefully, I will be able to make it to practice on Thursday night and start on Sunday.

This is the first item I adding to my plate.  I figured it was one of the most pleasurable activities I enjoyed before entering the loony bin, plus it is no stress, no other commitment during the week.  Just Thursday practice and Sunday worship.  A good first start, don’t you think?

I’m just excited that I feel like doing something.  This is truly the first time since I’ve gotten home that it even sounded good.  YEAH!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel….and it’s not an oncoming train!

So You Had a Bad Day

Great news!  I had a bad day yesterday!  (Wha???)  I know, sounds like a bad thing.  But, here’s why it’s a good one.  It was like anyone else’s bad day.  Things didn’t go exactly the way I wanted them to.  I ran into a few “roadblocks” in my day, but NO MELTDOWNS!  Praise God!  I actually got to feel what it’s like to have a bad day and not go completely loony.  It also showed me that I will be able to feel normal emotions when things get settled with this bipolar/thyroid thing.  EXCELLENT!  (Now, I did have to call my friend and cry on the phone a little with her, but I would have done that years ago.  Thanks, friend!)

On another subject (and the reason I cried), I have been reading my Bible a lot lately and doing a personal Bible study about people in the Bible.  Certainly more than I did before my hospital stay.  Certainly am praying a lot more.  So, suffice it to say that I feel closer to God than ever before.  So, yesterday, I call a friend and ask her if she would like to go to lunch.  She said she could, but it would have to be in an hour or so.  That was fine with me, since I needed to make some heart-shaped cookies for my kids for Valentine’s Day. 

Almost immediately after I got off the phone, I had this feeling that I shouldn’t go to lunch with her.  I ignored it.  I really wanted to see her.  Then, the feeling kept getting stronger.  Ignored it some more.  Got in the car and headed to meet her.  At this point, the feeling became so strong I could not ignore it.  I wrestled with it for awhile and kept driving.  Then it was undeniable.  I was NOT supposed to make that trip down Manchester.  (I realize driving down Manchester is nuts on a normal day.  ha)  So, I called her cell phone and left her a message telling her that I was sorry, but I just couldn’t do it.  (She was in a meeting which is why she couldn’t meet right away and had her phone off.)  Fortunately, my friend is a strong Christian as well, and I knew she would “get it”.  But, I was still disappointed.  However, as I turned my car around the “bad feeling” immediately went away. 

I called another friend who had recently had a similar experience.  And, I started crying.  I didn’t want to disappoint my other friend, and I was tired of changing/cancelling plans with people.  (I’ve done it a few times to do bad bipolar days, this was the first non-bipolar-related incident.)  She “talked me off the ledge” as we call it.  And was awesome.  I later talked to my lunch-date friend and we talked on the phone for more than 30 minutes.  She completely understood and wouldn’t have been able to meet me anyway since her meeting ran long. 

I don’t know why I wasn’t supposed to meet her.  God obviously could see the whole picture and I trusted Him.  I told my son about the experience and he said, “Maybe you would have been in an accident or something.”  (This had crossed my mind as well, but I was impressed that he would come up with it as well.)  This may end up being one of those things where I’ll have to wait until I get to heaven and then slap my forehead and go, “OH!  THAT’S why I wasn’t supposed to go to lunch with her!”  I have a feeling heaven is filled with people doing that.

Dance ’til You Drop

If I called you on the phone right now, you would think that I was an obscene caller.  All I’d have to do is say, “What are you wearing?” and you’d hang up on me.  Immediately.

That’s because I’m breathing heavily since I just burned 200 calories doing DDR.  (For those of you who are not hip to the lingo, DDR is Dance Dance Revolution.  It’s a video game that has arrows to tell you where to put your feet on the beat on a special mat.  Kind of like Twister with out the falling down.  Hopefully.)  I bought DDR-Hottest Dance Party for the Wii back in October or November.  I would never do this kind of thing in public like the young kids do, but I thought it would be fun to mess around with in the privacy of my own home.  The cool thing about this version, is you can put in how many calories you want to burn and it figures that out for you as you step all over the mat.  I put in 200 and thought I was going to die.  I haven’t done it in several months.  Certainly not since I got back from the Looney Bin.  I’ve just been too tired.  But, today I decided to give it a try.  Boy, am I seriously out of shape.  (I know, I know, round is a shape…)  The thing with this game is there is a guy that is trying to be Simon Cowell, I guess, because he tells you how you did at the end, plus you get a grade.  So, I stepping my little heart out, and he’s saying, “AW!  That was simply terrible!”  And up comes the grade: “D”.  😦 

It takes more than some stinkin’ ol’ Brit to get me down though.  I kept trucking along.  Until I had burned up my 200 calories.  So, I decided to look up what else burns 200 calories in 30 minutes.  Running Cross Country.  My husband and son love to do that.  I do not.  Not even a little.  Sweet.  I’d much rather dance than run.  Or I could do a step workout that has a 10-inch step for 30 minutes.  Yikes.  I tried that once.  Once. 

I like this DDR thing for one particular reason.  No excuses for not doing it.  It’s here in my own home.  No “it’s too cold” or “I don’t want to drive all the way there.”  All I need is my TV, my mat, and my rhythm.  Well, Meatloaf put it best “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

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