Sunday, August 31, 2008

Reflections from the retreat

One thing I journaled about was what is going on in my head. I would call it unrest but that is not entirely accurate. Park of what I struggle with is the void feeling. Not feeling on top of things, not remembers, not knowing intrinsically what to do not with out it written out in detail. Some of this has always been with me (learning disability); some of it is newer. Part of it is the effects of the medicine and part of it is part of the bipolar disorder. I feel very relaxed in my body except in my head which feels like I am missing something. So that begs the question "So what if I miss something?" And the answer goes to the core of me who has told myself "I'm not supposed to miss stuff. I'm known for being on top of things." I think that keeping on top of things is a valuable asset in life, but that coupled with my OCD is what landed me in a psych ward for 72 hours in 2007. It's not pretty but it is the truth.

I have worked out a lot of stuff in the last 16 months. But the one missing piece to the puzzle is the void in my brain. I can almost feel the fuzziness. The harder I try mentally to combat the feeling of not being with it - I get a headache in the front of my forehead. And thanks to the newly published book "Breaking the Bipolar Cycle" (see book list) I have a new piece to the puzzle. Chapter 10 is called "I thought I was smart, but I just can't perform". It outlines what I am experiencing as a information-processing problem and difficulties in working a declarative memory. I don't want to go into any more details of the book out of respect for the author's rights to their material. I highly recommend this book for people with bipolar spectrum disorder or friends and family of a person with the disorder.

What this book gives me is an affirmation of what I experience and terms in black and white that it is a part of the disorder. Even when my mood is stable I still have bipolar and side effects of it. When I am stable most people around me easily forget when I wasn't stable. But I have come to realize that I too think that stable means I'm in a sort of 'remission' until the next episode. That isn't how it is. I have a wellness plan that is necessary for me to keep my moods in check. I try to daily follow this wellness plan. In general it has become part of my lifestyle. I do get a little OCD when I can't follow it perfectly. I'm learning to give myself grace and not have a
"well I messed up I'll quit trying" attitude.

Because the mental challenges I face are not external it can be difficult for me to acknowledge them to myself and even harder to admit to others even if they are on my support team.

Personal Retreat

I took a personal retreat last weekend. I got a hotel in town. Only my DH knew my exact accommodations and he agreed to only call if it was an emergency. I used and got a studio hotel room...I'm hooked. I liked the room because it felt like I was back in my apartment before I got married and I was only responsible for one person - me. After I got married I moved into my DH's house which he had for a couple of years. I recreated the space of my apartment in the spare bedroom. It was my room. All my stuff - set up pretty much like my apartment bedroom. It was bigger so I was able to add a full sized table for scrapbooking. When we got pregnant that room was was going to become the nursery. I had pictures in my mind what it would look like - however when it came to the big day of disassembling my stuff I fell apart and cried - I mean really CRIED. DH was confused at my emotions. I tried to explain that I was giving up my space to the baby. I know it didn't make sense to him to be excited about a baby and decorating her room and at the same time resenting that the baby was taking my space. I struggle today to find a quiet space in my home with a toddler and a hard of hearing husband.

It is hard to take time to quiet my spirit but to coordinate that with the household seem impossible at times. Part of the "noise" in the house is all the things that need to get done. When I walk in the kitchen and see the sink overflowing with dishes there is an internal nudging or a scolding even that I need to do this task. If my OCD kicks in it adds NOW!

In the past I have taken to 'running away' once a week to a coffee shoppe - which if funny because they aren't very quiet. I intend to keep up the practice of getting "me" time once a week, but I want to get away from the notion that I'm "running away". I want it to be a time for me to enjoy a cup of coffee and the opportunity to read a book, journal or work on a crossword puzzle - hopefully uninterrupted.