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Trying to Bring the House Down.

If you want to know what it’s like to have ADHD as an adult. Here it is in all of it’s glory! You are so scatterbrained and unfocused. You don’t just lose track of time. You don’t just forget your keys in your room. It’s not just forgetting a drink before you leave. It’s not searching for hours for a key that you are the only person that has a copy of it. It’s not just locking your purse and everything in the truck. It’s next level scattered and unfocused. Stress only intensifies the scatter. That’s what January has been like for me.

One of my scattered mornings where I was rushing too much to stop and check my pockets, I locked my keys in my bedroom. Easy problem to solve right? Nope! My bedroom door can’t be picked with a skeleton key or simply unlocked with a credit card. My bedroom has a keyed lock that we installed to keep my ankle biters from creeping in and stealing our stuff. I couldn’t call the other person who had a key, because my purse was in my truck with my phone, which was also locked. My keys were behind that door and I was late for work. What was I to do? Well I probably could’ve done something else, but I did the first thing I could think of…I kicked the door in. I’m bad ass, but also have no time management skills in my possession.

A few weeks later I couldn’t find the key to the danger drawer. This is not a good situation. All my sanity and that of my threefold is locked in the danger drawer. I looked EVERYWHERE for that small key. My robe, nope. The sherage (my garage), not there. My traveling trash can (my truck), not there either! I cleaned my purse three times and checked all seventeen of its hidden pockets and emptied that black hole, still nothing. My jeans, the laundry basket, the kitchen, under the bed…no. I searched high and low. I even dug in my garbage, just to make sure. No dice. So ‘E’ had to drill out the lock and render the danger drawer unsecured. The next day it was found in my hoodie pocket that I had worn two nights before.

Probably the most dangerous conclusions of my absent mindedness came when I was pulling out of my driveway. I had realized as I was backing out that I didn’t have a coke for my afternoon caffeine kick. Much needed and very important piece of my life for full functionality. Well. What had happened was…I pulled back in the driveway and ran into the garage to grab a coke out of my outside refrigerator. I heard a crash. I came back around the front and realized I didn’t put my truck into PARK! It was rolling into my closed garage. Shiiiittt! Thankfully, my maintenance on my vehicle is pretty much nonexistent. So my alignment isn’t quite right. My Ruby {yes she has a name} took a slight left. And hit the three trash cans in front of the garage before coming to a stop at the wall. No harm. No injuries. Just some spilled trash and a lot of feelings of embarrassment at my brain malfunction. I got the coke though!

When I say all three of these events happened within weeks of each other, I’m not kidding. I have kicked off the new year and also a door in. I lost my key in a sweatshirt. I did not do this month right. I crashed and am crossing my fingers, toes, and legs {because I’m a damn lady!} that I don’t burn too. I am going to have to slow the hell down! My house can’t take the beating I’m giving it!

So that’s my recap for January. I did reach some goals, but mainly I just lost my train of thought. I was in a funk more often than I had anticipated, but February is here and it’s time to clear my brain fog! I am going to refocus, slow down and get my year in gear! January was my ‘free trial month’ for 2022, now the real deal is here. I am keeping the subscription so I’m going to use it more carefully! No option to cancel! Stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Tending to the Toxic Ties

Can we discuss how hard it is to try and be the “bigger person”? I’m exhausted by it. I don’t want to mind my p’s and q’s all the time in fear of rocking the boat. Sometimes I’m ready to turn the whole damn thing over and sink that ship! I have to remind myself repeatedly that sinking someone else’s ship will most likely mean I’m going to destroy mine too. How do we overcome the idea of “rising above” and steer our ship without it being under fire by those around us?

Some would say that’s an easy task. They say we should just eliminate the people we are constantly having to walk on eggshells for. If you don’t want to be a doormat and have other’s take advantage, don’t invite them to your front door. This is an obvious solution. You cut them off and move on with your life. Wipe your hands clean. Done and done. k. Thanks, byeeeee! What do we do when it’s not that easy and the toxic tie can’t be cut?

Ok, time to cut the metaphorical bullshit and get to the point past the ships and the shells. There are plenty of times we want nothing more than to not have to deal with someone, but we have no other choice. Maybe it’s a boss, a colleague, a PTO president, a family member, an ex, or a customer. Whoever the toxic ties are in our lives, the chances we can cut off those ties without major consequences to ourselves is highly unlikely. How do we handle these people without feeling like we are just pushovers?

My personal toxic tie will be the cliche example to give, but also one of the most complicated of the listed examples given. The ex. Some exes are not even a blip in our day to day life. Mine, made himself a damn fixture. My threefold requires me to have a piece of my life {my biggest piece} entangled with his life. I still have to hold to that ‘bigger person’ standard against a man who is over a foot taller than me and at least twice my size overall.

Sometimes he is intolerable and he seems to make everything more difficult than it has to be. My stress level is only amplified when I am forced to be around or interact with him for any amount of time. Whether it be a text, phone call, pick up or drop off, he is always triggering my fight or flight response.

My number one piece of advice that I would tell anyone that is in a situation like mine, or has any toxic tie-in that can’t be cut, would be to stand firm in your truth. If you know that your truth is yours and truly believe it, stand behind it. They will lie, manipulate and bully you. Stay firm in your truth anyways. They will never come to see your side of things. There will always be another excuse or reason that it happened. Even when the proof is on your side the toxic tie will find any excuse and come up with lies to try and debunk your truth. Stand firm anyway. Don’t trust them.

My second piece of advice would be to create and maintain boundaries. If you give an inch, they take an acre. Don’t budge on your boundaries. You decided it was important to set them for a reason. Back them up with your truth and your why. Anytime the toxic tie attempts to push them simply reaffirm those boundaries and your reason for creating them. These boundaries will be your strength and your armor that protects your truth. Do not give them the opportunity to kink your armor. Don’t let your guard down.

Finally, I would say limit contact as much as possible. Become the most uninteresting and uninterested person you can conjure up. The shorter and blander the response the better. The toxic tie will try to bait you and trigger your reaction. They will try to pull you into their toxic circle and your reaction feeds their desire to see if they can get you to come down to their level. It’s a trap. The toxic tie is a master manipulator. They will twist everything and deflect as much as they can. They refuse to be accountable. Don’t give them the satisfaction of your reaction. Respond thoughtfully, don’t react emotionally.

It’s important to note that ANY information you divulge will be used against you. ANY cards you play at any moment they will find a way to manipulate to fit their own narrative. They intend to cover their ass and attempt to shatter that truth card you let loose. It is tempting to tell them you’ve caught them red handed, but in true toxic form they will twist the truth to make it seem as if they have a logical explanation for your assumed indiscretion. Wait until the deck is stacked in your favor and they are forced to be accountable. That’s when you’ll see the real truth. When you can call their bluff and expose the lies beneath without giving them time to cover their ass.

As an add on to your communication I would say any form of text or email communication is better than in person or phone conversations with the toxic tie in. If you are forced to be in the same vicinity, stay away and stay quiet. Don’t engage with them beyond the expected civil formalities. It is always harder to maintain a calm composure when you are forced to immediately respond. With text and email you can form your response, reread it, and edit it if necessary all before pressing send. Remember to respond as if you are uninterested and if elaborate details are required then try to keep it very brief. Don’t react in response to attacks.

Personally I silence my exes notifications. That way if he is on a tear and wanting to fight I don’t have to hear the notification every couple of minutes. It honestly made such a difference in my ability to keep my energy clear of his negative and toxic behavior and words. He can wait until I have time to answer. He is no longer on my priority list. My exception is only my children are in his care.

When all else fails, remember why you are dealing with this behavior at all. If it’s like me,where children are involved or your livelihood is at stake, then find your best ways to cope and keep the distance as much as possible. If it’s for a futile reason, weigh your pro’s and con’s. Is it worth your mental health and energy being affected? If so,try my steps. If not, cut the toxic tie and live a better life. As always, stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Break the Cycle!

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Truth Be Told…

⚠️⚠️⚠️Trigger Warning!!!⚠️⚠️⚠️

I’m going to tell you a true story that I have not told many people. It’s the truth that I’ve hidden from everyone, even those closest to me for as long as I can remember. I’m telling this story because my threefold is celebrating huge milestones in their recovery and people don’t seem to understand why I celebrate these milestones instead of just saying ‘I’m proud of you.’

Celebrating the milestone of three, six, and twelve months being free of self harm behaviors is a BIG freaking deal for my threefold. It’s a big deal because we’ve been through hell trying to reach these milestones and we have taken the path to healing. After numerous hospitalizations, thousands of hours of therapy, a lot of self reflection, and deciding to fight for the future we have reached these milestones. It’s been a hard and scary journey, but the end result is so worth the celebration.

So that big truth and that scary secret I’ve hidden from even those closest to me is that I was the 14 year old girl that took a blade to her body trying to escape the pain. I was the 16 year old girl who starved herself for days at a time and purged everything she did eat to fit the stereotype that the world told me I needed to be in order to be beautiful. I’ve been the 25 year old who held a gun to her own temple and fought back pulling the trigger to escape the pain. I’ve also been the 35 year old who sat on a bathroom floor with a bottle of pills that could only find three reasons to hold me back from swallowing the whole bottle and chasing it down with the alcohol in my other hand. That’s the ugly journey of self harm, suicidal ideation, undiagnosed, and unmedicated mental illness.

I’ve also been the person who thought so little of herself that she allowed others to inflict that same pain onto me. I’ve worn the bruises and still bare the scars of the many times I’ve allowed people to use me as their own way to feel better. I’ve allowed my body to be torn apart by the men I chose over my own self respect. From cigarette burns, to being pushed down steps, to being clocked and choked. It’s a reality I’ve lived in for far too long. It’s a part of me now that I can’t erase. The hate filled words and the demeaning labels I’ve been told are burned into my brain. The many times I was told what I was and wasn’t became the only words I could hear. Those negative identifiers became the voices in my own head long after the people were gone.

I’ve been accused of attention seeking, it being a phase, and that I was just being too much. I didn’t get the help I needed at 14, 16, 17, 25, or 35 because I was told it was a me problem not an illness in need of treatment. My mother didn’t acknowledge it. My father didn’t see it. My ex-husband told me the medications made me worse and the ‘head doctors didn’t know me well enough to know what they were talking about. I’ve allowed everyone in my life around me convince me I wasn’t bipolar, even when the symptoms were obvious. Even after being hospitalized for 6 weeks to treat the symptoms I allowed someone to tell me the medication made me worse and it belonged in the garbage. So that’s where that medication went. I waited over 20 years to seek help for my mental illness. It’s not a life I can stand by and watch my threefold suffer through for themselves.

I refuse to allow me to be the barrier that stops my threefold from getting help when I know the dire consequences of that choice. I won’t be the voice in their head that tells them that they are the problem. I refuse to stand by and watch my threefold struggle like I did and live a life they don’t have to before they find a better way. Not when I have the power to help them find that life now. Not when the help is available and they show me they need it. I can see it, because I too have been that young girl struggling to find a person who would help me. I didn’t get that, but I will make damn sure they do.

I’m not glorifying this behavior by celebrating my children fighting for their future. I’m celebrating because there is cause for celebration when you overcome the bad and the ugly of mental illness. It took me too long to share my journey. I don’t want them to feel like they should hide theirs. It took me far too long to find the help I needed and if I can prevent them from taking the path I did, I will.

I celebrate the milestones because I know the struggle to reach the milestones too. I don’t talk about my struggle through self harm because it’s ugly and it’s the hard part that most don’t relate to. I haven’t shared it because everyone has told me that I’m the reason my threefold struggles. My threefold doesn’t even know most of my struggles and how bad it was. I never wanted them to see me as that person. It’s not a side I wanted to share and I don’t want them to believe self harm or suicidal ideation is normal. It’s not normal! It’s a sign of mental illness and the statistics that come with it are scary as hell.

You can judge me, but I am my own worst critic in the parenting department. I question if I am doing it right all the time. However, because I see their growth, their progress and their fight I know that I am doing exactly what I should to see them to a better life than what I had. I’m making that life for myself and for my threefold. We create our own path forward and the future is too bright to live in the darkness of the past. Don’t live your life waiting for the good, find the good in life. That’s the only way! Stay positive! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Emotional Rollercoaster

This weekend, I was all in my feelings {as my kids would’ve said probably years ago, but I’m always late.} I was emotional for reasons that made sense to me and to me alone and other reasons that made sense to those around me. I was riding my own crazy hot mess express freight train straight into bipolarville where manic episodes meet depressive ones and triggers meet emotional roller coaster rides. Then these rides travel down the roads of my feelings leading to pit stops along the way of irrational thought and anxiety, breakthroughs and breakdowns, scattered thoughts, and sanity that is single handedly fighting for the spotlight back from these conflicting mix of emotions. That’s my best description of triggered anxiety while fighting against the sleep deprivation that too much sleep from days prior brings. This complicated run-on sentence is also sponsored by mixed episodes of bipolar disorder.

People hear more often about the depressive episodes and the manic episodes that are famous for the original manic depression name of bipolar depression’s previous identifier. When a person says ‘mood disorder’ this is the usually what people think of. Most don’t know the different types of mood disorders nor the different types of Bipolar that a person can have. They don’t understand the nuances of the disease and they tend to mix up facts due to the stigma placed on bipolar disorder.

Episodic cycling is what makes Bipolar different from other mood disorders. Episodes often range in severity and length of time depending on treatment and type of bipolar disorder a person is diagnosed with. I experience mixed episodes with my bipolar which is characterized by having a more often cycling of symptoms that can overlap each other, have symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously and a lack of recovery period before the opposite cycle begins. This type and cyclomathic bipolar are two types that are difficult to spot and diagnose due to the more rapid cycling process that characterizes each disorder. This is due to the length of episode which means that a person experiencing both mania and depression in rapid succession might have severe depressive symptoms that overshadow the manic symptoms that are more likely missed.

Bipolar I (which #2 of my threefold is suspected of having) is the more intense presence of mania symptoms than Bipolar II. Bipolar II (what #1 of my threefold has been diagnosed with), is considered less severe as type 1. Type 2 presents with less intense symptoms of manic involvement, their manic episodes are decreased and termed as hypo manic.

Most people, including myself, are quicker to dismiss mania symptoms because it’s almost like a reprieve from the depression that is all consuming. Mania doesn’t always seem as bad as it is. It seems like that is what people love to see. Mania makes you feel on top of the world, confident, brilliant and you have an energy that makes you so on the go. Manic symptoms seem harmless but that is untrue. It involves risky behavior, recklessness, and makes a person not care about the consequences of those actions. You may suddenly spend all your money on unnecessary items. Maybe it looks like sexual promiscuity or infidelity. It can show up as aggression and stealing. It is a myriad of bad behaviors that are almost like the person has no care on the world and is invincible. Mania is much less recognizable in the hypo manic episodes also. The depression is so much easier to pinpoint and the main reason why people find that depressive diagnosis easier than that of bipolar.

The depressive symptoms of each are similar in severity and the lengths of time vary from person to person. The manic episodes are the determining factor of defining bipolar instead of major depression which is unipolar with or without mania involvement. Depression presents in the classic ways with one major distinction that is more likely to point to bipolar. This major differentiation is in that episodic nature of bipolar. No manic symptoms would lead to a diagnosis of depression. You only need to have had one manic episode to have a diagnosis of bipolar. If it’s missed or mistaken as something else then you leave likelihood of reporting those symptoms is likely to be the key that changes the treatment plan from one that isn’t working to one that will work.

There is so much stigma surrounding bipolar which is why those who suffer tend to hide their illness from the people around them. It’s why people don’t accept the diagnose easily or seek treatment for themselves. It’s also tricky to diagnose and most doctors aren’t quick to do so. It’s genetic with a high probability of family links. This is why it’s not unheard of or unusual to have bipolar diagnoses in multiple generations of a family tree. If an adult has an established diagnosis in a family then it is much easier to begin seeing signs and symptoms at an earlier age and begin treatment earlier than it is to diagnose in an adult who has never expressed the symptoms they displayed in an accurate way or suffered from the more severe complications or consequences that this disorder brings on.

My emotional state was brought on more from lack of sleep after having too much sleep this past week, an increase in anxiety and a lot of nostalgia as #1 of my threefold prepares for high school graduation, college, and turning 18. However due to our struggles, my threefold is hyper aware of the slight changes of behavioral patterns and moods than the average teenagers. It also has come from some process work I have been doing on that little {enter sarcasm} goal of moving on from my mom guilt from the past and from the person I was when my bipolar was left untreated for years on end. I have also been working on this small issue I’ve had with holding grudges, resentment, and forgiveness. {Actually I’m the worst about if you hurt me I will remember forever.}

Thankfully I’m not actually in an episode of mania or depression currently and am on a regimen of medication that helps to prevent that cycling of intense episodes. I know my triggers, how to care for myself, my symptoms and my plan of action in the event of severe episodes. It’s very {knock on wood and glass!} calm in the unpredictable waters of bipolar at my house right now. It’s been a breath of fresh air after the year of drowning in crisis after crisis that in the present moment storms aren’t raging through the waters and everyone is safely wading in the shallow end. In less metaphorical terms for the first time in years no one is amidst an episode at the current moment and no one is in crisis. That is a beautiful thing in a life of a mom with bipolar with kids with bipolar that is hard for people to understand. Why would I celebrate us just being okayish?

Being ok for us, all at the same time, means medication changes and adjustments have ceased because we have a regimen that is working for us and consists of tweaks not new meds to find the combination that works. It is a celebration of a taste of stability not normalcy. It is a celebration of growth and progress. It’s being excited to track your mood because you have seen marked improvement. It’s a time where we can accomplish goals and we can be proud of ourselves. It also means we are in self harm recovery {another thing people don’t understand why we celebrate.}

Recovery from self harm is like that of addiction and just like you would celebrate milestones of someone who hasn’t had a drink in six weeks we celebrate the same milestones for self harm. It’s been over a year since #1 self harmed, nearly 6 months for #2, and for me {yep I’ve been there too} it’s been multiple years. These milestones mean that medications {and awareness of the consequences} therapy, and our own ability to safely communicate our feelings have come to a healthy meeting place. That is something worth celebrating at my house.

Thanks for attending my ted talk on bipolar disorder and it’s presentation. It’s a hot topic discussion that no one seems to want to talk about. For those unaffected it seems to have the lack of education almost like why learn about something that you have no use for? Like learning to do wood working when you have no interest in craftsmanship and no plans to ever use the skills. I find it important for even those unaffected because the informative awareness can help assist a friend or a family member distinguish symptoms and marked changes in behavior. If you know someone who needs help or is in crisis please seek help. You could be the difference between someone seeking help or risking their life. Be positive! You’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊 -M Ps. If you have another three minutes for personal research I have created this anonymous survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/66K3QSL on mental illness. I would love for you to participate! Thanks in advance!