bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘therapist’

You’re a Damned Train-wreck

A year ago, that’s what my internist told me.  I had just gotten out of the loony bin, found out my thyroid was low, have sleep apnea, and who knows what else he was looking at.  Most people might find that insensitive, but I love this guy, and he meant it as a strange compliment.  In other words, “You’ve been through a lot.”  He also mentioned that he was impressed that I hadn’t started drinking in order to survive day to day.  🙂

Well, now, friends, we can add another malady to the list.  Gentlemen, you may now quit reading.  This gets female in the next paragraph.  Okay, you’ve been warned.

I am having a hysterectomy on March 4th.  I am 42 years old.  And, a damned train-wreck.  I have fibroids on my uterus that are really causing trouble, so after other conservative measures, a hysterectomy is the last choice.

I’m fine with it.  Which is probably surprising a lot of people.  The comment I get the most, including from my therapist, is “Ooh.  Major surgery.  That must be scary.”  No.  Not in the least.  I think this is where my faith in God kicks in with a vengeance.  There is truly nothing I can do in order to help or hurt this surgery.  I know it is the best thing for me.  If I come out of it on the other side, great.  If not, I spend eternity in heaven.  What’s to be worried or scared about?  I’m treating it the same way as getting a wisdom tooth pulled. 

I’m a little unsure as to what to expect during recovery, but Tom will be taking time off, my parents will be on-call and taking care of the kids while I am in the hospital, so that is all taken care of.

My biggest concern last week was how being thrusted into menopause was going to affect my bipolar disorder.  Was I going to be all over the place?  Would I sink into a deep depression?

Kent gave me the greatest news of my life (aside from the two times I took the EPT tests that told me I was pregnant).  He said that often hysterectomies affect mood disorders in a very very positive way!  WAHOOOOOO!  Because hormones have A LOT to do with mood disorders, the reduction of the hormones will most likely help stabilize my moods.  No more PMS!  WAHOOOOO x 2!

So, while I get to add this to my list of “issues,” I’m looking forward to coming out the other side of this feeling much better.  Both physically and mentally.  (Oh, but when I asked my psychiatrist about what to expect after the surgery as far as the bipolar disorder goes (and not telling him what Kent had said), his response was a hesitant, “I’m optimistic.”  What the heck?!  He also asked me what I felt about the economy.  What was I supposed to say?  “Well, you know, Robert,  this week, the Commerce Department reported retail sales crept up 1 percent in January as stores slashed prices. It was a small rise after six straight months of declines, and economists cautioned that sales were likely to slip again as consumers curtail spending.”   Not one of my better sessions.) 

Well, Pollyanna here, is VERY optimistic.

Low Maintenance?

In one of my favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally, Harry has a great line when he talks to Sally at the beginning of the movie.  “You are the worst kind.  You are high maintenance, but you think you are low maintenance.”  That used to be me.  I’ve now come to the realization that I am HIGH HIGH maintenance.  Just ask my husband.

I haven’t been to my therapist since before Thanksgiving.  It’s been my choice, but lately I’ve been wondering why I decided to stop going.

Is it because I think I’m doing well enough to make it on my own?

Is it because I can’t imagine what we’d talk about?

Or, is it because I’m tired of working on handling different situations?

When I first left the loony bin, I was so scared to be out in the “real world.”  I didn’t know what I would be facing, how I would react, or even have the slightest idea of how to handle everyday life.

Seeing Kent was like grabbing on to a life preserver in the middle of an ocean.  I always knew I would be seeing him the next week, or the week after that.  I would keep record of the different situations that I had faced and bring them up during our sessions.  When I was finished, I was ready to take on the world!

I thought I was handling the pressures of Thanksgiving and Christmas really well, and then I had a meltdown.  If I could have gone to Kent, I would have in a second.  But, I knew I couldn’t get in right away, the meltdown subsided, and the need for Kent passed. 

A year ago, I was so very dependent on his insight and help.  Now, I feel like I am controlling my emotions much better.  But, there have been some signs that I could still use some work.  My fuse seems shorter than usual lately.  More like back to my pre-bipolar-diagnosis days.  But, a huge part of me is just not wanting to go to see Kent.

So, now, I’m trying to figure out why.  And, I think it is because I wouldn’t even know where to start.  My mind seems foggy when it comes to actual incidents that would cause me to blow.  When I get some alone time with Tom, things seem much better after that.  But, that’s a lot to put on him.  “My mental health depends on you and your support.  Good luck, Babe.”

I keep coming up with excuses as to why I’m so “testy”.  It’s because winter break was dang long!  (Geez-o.  We never had that much time off when I was in school!)  It’s because I may be going through some hormonal issues.  (I apologize to my male readers.  I probably should have warned you that the “h” word was coming.)  It’s because it’s 2009 and that’s an odd-numbered year.  (Okay, I made that one up, but I had to come up with something.)

I’m thinking I could probably benefit from going for a refresher in the next week or so.  I guess I don’t have to go in with an agenda.  By then, maybe my health issues will be solved, but if they aren’t he could probably help me with coping with that.

See?  This blog thing really works.  I started this by thinking I would convince myself that I didn’t need to go to Kent, and now I’ve done a 180.  Tomorrow I will call and make an appointment.  I can always cancel 24 hours in advance.  But, I will do my best not to fall into that trap.  While I feel like I’m just on a maintenance schedule, my family will most likely benefit from a few more sessions.

Nope. No Tote Board Just Yet

Days have been better, but not great.  I still seem to be teetering on the edge all the time.  One little thing could push me off into tears or, for that matter, laughter.  But, tears are the most common occurance these days.  Sometimes as I sit and cry, I try to figure out if I would be crying even if I weren’t bipolar.  That’s not as easy to do, as one might think.  First of all, you are still so caught up in the moment that reason isn’t exactly knocking at your door wanting to come in.  You have to go searching for it.

Right now there are a lot of outside elements pushing in while I’m trying to create my little “normal” bubble.  And, I can’t exactly ignore them.  So, I know I have to deal with them without letting them rule my life.  Again, easier said than done.

I’ve been sleeping a lot.  Am I depressed because I am sleeping or am I sleeping because I depressed?  Ah, now that would be worth climbing the great mountain of wisdom and asking the guru sitting at the top, “So, what is up with THAT?  HUH?!?” 

I see my therapist on Tuesday, and he usually helps put things in perspective.  I think I can make it until then.  Well, I KNOW I can.  Now I know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

Mom’s Day Off

Yesterday was my appointment with my therapist, Kent.  Love this guy.  He was impressed that I had started tracking my moods without it being suggested.  Yeah me!  🙂  So, he took a look at it and in the last 22 days, I’ve had 7 bad ones.  For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that comes out to about 33% of my days are not good ones.  He said he’s like to get that down to about 10%, which sounded good to me.  (And, by bad days, I mean days that I had crying spells that came out of nowhere and were pretty bad.  Afterwards, I would be exhausted.  It was not a cleansing cry.  I have those ever so often, and they are no big deal.)

So, trying to see a pattern, he noticed that most of my Mondays were bad ones.  So, he asked what our weekends looked like.  I told him that we really didn’t do anything in particular.  Everyone was home.  The kids usually want to go play at someone’s house or have someone come over.  We might run errands.  We go to church and Sunday School on Sunday.  No special routine or anything.  He asked me what  did.  I said that I was in charge of all the meals just like every other day.  I might be shuttling the kids around.  Whatever. 

Then he came up with a great idea.  He said, “Your husband works Monday through Friday, right?  And your kids go to school Monday through Friday?  So, Saturdays and Sundays are their days off.  Why don’t you take Monday off?”  My face brightened a little, as you can imagine.  He said, “Would your husband get the kids off to school in the morning on Mondays?”  I told him that I’m sure he would, but he really loves his sleep and likes to sleep in at late as possible.  Plus, I didn’t mind getting up at 6:00 and getting the kids off.  So then Kent said, “Well, would he make dinner?”  I said, “Absolutely!”  He said, “Well, it seems to me that your weekends leave you fatigued and stressed and that triggers your meltdowns.  So, maybe by having Monday off, you can avoid those.  No grocery shopping.  No appointments.  No laundry.  Just do what you want to do.  If you want to go to the bookstore, go.  If you don’t, don’t.  Don’t make any plans so you can do whatever you feel like that day.  If you want to lay in bed all day, then do it.”

I know, I know.  How much did I have to pay this guy to tell me this?  Twenty bucks.  Do you have to have major meltdowns to get a day off?  I don’t know, but I do know that my family (husband, mostly) seems to be more than happy to try this plan in order to prevent those bad days.  I realize that some people may think that now that I have eliminated all my activities and “cleaned my plate” what could I possibly be doing during the week that I didn’t want to do?  Don’t I already have those five days off?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  But, I can’t argue with the pattern on the calendar.  And, if all it takes is for my husband to be in charge of a meal once a week, isn’t that worth trying?  My husband and I think so. 

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