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Sunday, June 10, 2012

War Horse

About an hour ago I just finished watching a wonderful guessed it, War Horse! Now if you haven't seen it you may not want to read any further as this blog is mainly inspired by this movie. 

I havent been on facebook for I believe a month now and during this last month, boy have I been through it.  I started an ultra rapid cycling but mostly manic episode.  It all started when I woke up around 4 am on a weekday mind you, a day when I have to take my two young children to school.  I woke up feeling like a million bucks.  I honestly thought, wow my meds are working and I'm NORMAL! I made a full course breakfast, very unusual for a weekday. I even had time to sit down and read with them.  I was supermom :)  After dropping them off at school I decided to do some shopping, why not I didn't have any anxiety AT ALL and normally I do while shopping.  Then....the dreaded then.  I could feel my mood rapidly change.  I was sweating profusely, even shaking and you guessed it I was starting to have a panic attack. Trying to keep myself together I purchased God knows what paying while my hands shacked as I swiped the card.  I amazingly got to my car and started crying like a baby.  I was so overwhelmed and I didn't want to be alone, I didn't feel safe being with myself. I thought something bad would happen to me if I remand alone.  I called people. I got a hold of a dear friend who helped me calm down enough to drive home.  Once I got home I was feverish and my muscles were so weak I could hardly get off the couch.  I had a major high and now I was having a major low.  My world became bleak and honestly hopeless and dreadfully fear filled.  I had not control anymore, my body was shutting down.

So once my husband and I figured out what was going on I called my doctor.  She changed my medication, that's it.  That was supposed to help. I also could no longer care for my children I was literally feeling like I was going insane. I described it to my husband that I am near a cliff and I'm about to fall off if I don't get help and get it now.  He called my in laws who I will call in loves because they are so wonderful, and they took the children for about a week, taking them to school and picking them up and staying at their place.  THANK GOD. 

It was one of the scariest episodes I've ever been through.  I would fight urges and impulses and my husband had to take my car keys away and have me on lock down.  I was not safe.  So I called my doctor again and she increased my meds.  I thought OK good now I should start feeling better soon.  But it only got worse.  I would be staying up unable to sleep or take naps.  I started gluing pebbles to our wall attempting an art project.  I had so many ideas running through my head and I couldn't stop the thought for the life of me.  It was dreadful and scary. 

Then BOOM, the low came...and I slept two days away. When I awoke I didn't know what day it was.  My in loves had to go back to work and could no longer help out with the children so it was me.  I did one day of driving them to school and I knew I could absolutely not drive back to pick them up.  I texted my husband and mom and pretty much said, I need help or I need to be hospitalized NOW.  I was scared I would hurt myself or God forbid by children.  I was losing my mind.  So my husband came home we called the doctor and she saw us immediately before making a decision to be an in patient at the hospital.  She took me off the medicine I was taking that she kept increasing and it was obviously making me worse or not helping me at all and she gave me a higher dose of zanx to calm me because I had easily used it all up and she started me on a new medication I had never tried before.  My husband took vacation time to take care of me and the children, then once the weekend rolled around they were back at the in loves.

Amazingly I got better, I felt like my mind was coming back. And thus I am here able to write this blog.
I am a strong Christian, I believe in hope, but I had lost all hope.  I believe I have purpose, I had lost my purpose.  I believe I am valuable, I lost value of my life and wanted to die.  I was no good. I was a burden. I would be better off.....dead. For my sake ( for relief  of the dreadful torment of having bipolar disorder) and for their sake....who would love me? I'm useless and should be thrown away.

I'm sorry but those were the thoughts and feelings I was battling almost daily, hourly, and by the minute.  The reason I named this blog warhorse is because in actuality that is who we are.  We just pause and repeat that to yourself.  We close your eyes and look at the darkness. Open and see the light...we fight and we win.

As strong as I thought I was I was weak, so very very weak.  As independent as I was I was fully dependant on others.  I thought I would NEVER get well.  I thought who will take care of me when I'm 50, 60, 70, or 80s? Will I be locked up for the rest of my life? I was scared and ashamed of what could have been my future, at least in my mind at the time.  But guess what? I did not lose my mind, I did not give up trying. I hoped with what little hope I had and I am here today feeling better, much better. 

The movie war horse was the first movie I watched while still recovering. It was not until I was done watching it when a thought entered my mind.  We, those who are at war with bipolar disorder are champions.  The father saw something in that horse, something special among all the other horses and said, that one, I want that one.  We are special, though some might reject us and not see our greatest potential, but there are some who do.  I went through war this month. I was shot at and bursed and muddy and bloody.  I was in a war for my sanity a war for my mind, a war for my life.  And I came through and made it home...home to sanity, home to peace, home to hope, and home to rest.

If you are facing what I am talking about, keep running, keep running! Run.............. until you make it home. <3

Fight the good fight
BB Jenni

Friday, May 4, 2012

How To Deal With...unsupportive, negative and down right mean people the severe disapproval of, or discontent with a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society.  Stigma may attach to a person, who differs from social or cultural norms. Stigma is the process by which the REACTION of others spoils normal identity.

This happens wether we like it or not.  Having a mental illness these days also means fighting the stigma that comes along with it.  At times the stigma can be harder than the illness its self.  So how do we handle those who have stigmatized us?  Well first off its easier said than done.  It can be painful and unfair what others think, say or do concerning your mental illness. 

Step one: Know that that person or persons are not educated about mental illness.  If they were they would think twice about making such rude, mean or unjust comments or actions.

Step two:  With step one it will better help you step back from the drama of it all and know that its not about you, its about them being scared of a topic they have no understanding of and are judging it unjustly.

Step three:  They are attacking the illness not you.  Yes it feels like we are being attacked but it is the illness they are attacking because somewhere in their mind they dont understand and therefore disagree and have their own pre conceived opinions of what they are observing.

Step four: Shake the dust off your feet and move on.  We all would love it if everyone loved us, supported us and understood us.  Wish them well in your heart. When we do that our hearts become better instead of bitter. 


Remove yourself from the stigma by removing yourself from the illness during that time. Because we are not our illness that is being attacked.

Understanding...that they dont know what they are talking about. Looking at them with compassion, knowing that they are afriad and want to attack. 

Move on...go where you will not be stigmatized. Remove yourself mentally, emotionally and if you can physically.

 I really hope all this will help release the pain that stigma can cause.  Remember you are more than your illness.  You are a fearfully and wonderfully made human being that deserves justice, understanding and support.  And thank God that things are better now a days.  There is more awareness and people are learning.  Dont get stuck in peoples dark cloud they try to put over you.  Forgive, release and wish them well and maybe someday the light will turn on for them to see the error of the stigma way.

God bless

Friday, April 20, 2012

Living In A Fish Bowl

Hi everyone, I recently deleted all my friends off of facebook.  It was a massive bold move on my part to help stabilize my emotions.  I have been wanting to get "off" of facebook as if it were a drug, for a long time.  I would try to take fasts and deactivate my account, sign out but could get right back on with a click of a button.  First off I didn't delete friends because of I have pretty nice and normal people in my life, it was for me.  My moods have been grey and I have found myself becoming short and irritated.  I control it real well but I hate the feeling.  I have been drained.  Facebook for the most part drains me emotionally.  I feel like even when I'm not on it I have the words, the actions the pictures all floating around me as I go about my day.  I do not need to know everything and on facebook you pretty much do.  I;ve also had a lot of fun on facebook.  It is fun and can be fun but for someone extreme such as myself it can go too far.  I have work to do and a family to take care of.  I have to be held accountable and with facebook there is no accountability, I can be on there all day and all night.  But something else will suffer. Like laundry.  Say you have laundry and a kitchen to clean up and you have facebook to look up that is full of beautiful pictures, funny quotes and updates from friends.  Well I would almost always chose facebook first. 

There is this thing called sensory overload and alot of people who have bipolar experience this.  I know that I certainly do.  Sometimes its better than other times.  Like right now I want to live in a 1.8 gallon fishbowl as apposed to a 10 gallon or say even the ocean.  I can not take it any more.  I love order.  I love simplicity.  I have a complicated inner life called bipolar and to have order outside brings a calm to my insides.  I am not your average Joe. 

I want to write this to vent and tell that this is something I am experiencing and that its ok to step back from things, even if they are good things or simple things.  I took a bold step toward my mental health.  I deleted facebook.  Life before facebook may have been lonelier or boring but it was healthy.  I got all my work done, meals cooked and I had energy to give my family.  I have spread myself too thin.  I have been living in a 10 gallon tank when I really do best and am blessed in a 1 gallon tank.

Bipolar <3 Butterfly

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Loving Someone Suffering With Bipolar Disorder

One of the best ways you can show your love for someone suffering bipolar is to never give up on them.  Yes it may be hard and there may be times when you have no idea what to do.  But one of the things you can do is tell them that you will always be here.  Even if you ran out of things to say and do, just knowing that someone is there no matter what brings assurance and eases the sufferers fear of being abandoned for something that is literally beyond their control.

Bipolar is a serious illness.  Just as if someone lost a leg and losing that leg has brought disability and limits and not to mention suffering.  The difference is you can easily see a lost leg but looking at a bipolar patient can at times look like they are choosing to be difficult.  Not true at all.  Most bipolar patients are the kindest and most compassionate people you could meet.  They know what suffering feels like and can have empathy for other sufferers. 

Also, read. Learn more about the illness.  Have an understanding for what they go through.  This will help you to not take alot of the things they do or say personally.  When one is depressed that is not the time to point out all their flaws.  They may need extra affirmations and positive feed back.  If your friend were in the hospital for any kind of illness the right thing to do would be visit and maybe even send flowers.  Same thing for someone suffering a mental illness.  Now is the time to show extra love, care and concern.  This will reinforce that this is an illness and is not their fault. 

Mania can bring a scare to loved ones watching their loved one act out of control.  Shopping sprees, life of the party, not sleeping, talking a million miles an hour.  It can feel like there is nothing you can do.  Sometimes the bipolar patient will resent your input because they don't see their behaviour as dangerous or out of the ordinary.  This may be time to step in with some tough love.  If they are going out of control with spending, take their credit or debit cards away for a time.  Make sure they are safe when going out with friends.  Keep alcohol away and maybe even out of the house.   And if it gets really bad get them to the hospital.  Call their doctor and get further advice.  Hopefully they will cooperate and receive the help.  You may not be able to talk them into doing what you want them to do.  Usually it takes them to realize their need for help.

 It may seem unfair that you have to deal with someone who has an illness, but it is the human thing to love, support and be there as much as possible.  Its the golden rule. Do unto others what you would have them do to you.  Think about that.  If you had any kind of illness.  Would that be the time for friends to step away, stop calling, decide that your no fun any more?  Well I can tell you that that is not friendship and your better off without them.  Think of Mother Teresa who dedicated her life to caring for the sick, poor and dieing.  Be great.  Make a difference.  Be important in someones life.  Does this mean never having time for yourself and never enjoying yourself? No.  But it does mean that this person needs you.  Feel honored that God would chose you to be His hands and feet, His heart and compassion.  Never ever give up especially if it is family.  You would never give up on your friend who could no longer walk would you?  If its true friendship you would still visit, still love and still give.  Life may be different now but it doesn't have to be ruined by illness, disease or a mental disorder. 

This is what I would want as a bipolar sufferer and that is who I am.  Someone in need of love, care and support through all the ups and downs.  I have felt utterly alone many many times.  Send flowers to your suffering friend or family.  Trust me it will mean the world.

Art by Jenni Moore
On behave of all those suffering a mental illness...Thank you for caring enough to even read this.  May God bless you and give you the strength to love your loved one fighting this disease.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Summer Mania

The sun shines brighter these days, and the days are longer.  So many of us feel so much better as the winter days are past and we see the sun shining once again.  Some of us may come out of a long suffered depression, while some of us fight the natural urge of hypo-mania or a manic episode.  Although we love the birds sing, the flowers blooming and the warmer days, this time of year can be scary.  I for one am doing great and I can confuse this with being hypo-manic which means a less intense version of a full blown manic episode.  Its hard to tell what I'm experiencing.  If it is a more pleasant mood or a bit of mania.  So I'm keeping special watch over my mood and activities.  I feel especially social and energetic, wanting to go on adventures and do the things that depression wouldn't let me for so many months. 

I have been hospitalized two times during the summer months.  I wish to never have that happen again even though I'm thankful for help if needed.  I"ll tell you a bit of my experience during those times. Maybe you could see a bit of you in my story and get help if you need to.

It was another beautiful summer.  Blue skies, warm weather and lots of time spent with friends and enjoying the water.  I felt so high, so happy. People used to ask me what I was "on".  I always said I have a natural high.  I honestly felt invincible.  I thought I could be the mayor of the town.  Change the world and basically do something BIG.  I was a teenager at this time so that in it's self should have been a warning.  I thought everyone around me was living lower than their potential and should liven up and live.  I quit my job thinking, why am I doing this when I could be doing that?  With no consideration to my employer I never showed up for work again.  I decided to take a trip to the coast.  I had a convertible jeep that my parents were paying for.  All I had to do was provide the gas money and it never once crossed my mind that I could run out of gas and the coast was very far away.  It was extremely spontaneous.  I don't even think I packed anything and only a few people knew what I was doing.  I started off just heading in the direction I thought would lead me to the coast.  I had in my mind that it was filled with happy and loving hippies who would accept me into their "family".  I thought of drum circles and organic salads.  I couldn't wait to get there. 

Everything was incredibly beautiful.  No danger could get me.  I was floating on a cloud and felt like I was flying.  I remember picking up a hitch hiker.  I'm so glad that he turned out to be a very nice guy.  After I dropped him off at his home he payed me back with vegetables from his garden.  God was providing for me and God was with me.  I felt so close to God in such a tangible way.  I was His best friend and the center of His universe.  I knew He was taking care of me and I had nothing to fear.  I then picked up another hitch hiker who wanted to pay me back with weed.  Generous but I did not enjoy drugs at all.  Now if I had a daughter I would have been mortified if she picked up random hitch hikers, especially males.  I was young and naive.  But I was safe.  God really was watching out for me knowing that I was experiencing a mental illness.  I slept on the side of back roads.  I thought I could hear my hippy friends playing their drums and waiting for my arrival.  Only a few times did I feel scared in the dark with only a rag top protecting me from the outside world. 

I finally ran out of gas, or at least close to it.  I had brought my saxophone from high school.  I was planning on playing on the sidewalks and receive alms.  But instead I spotted a music store and sold my saxophone.  Again something my parents bought and I had no consideration for them at all.  I was again provided for this trip was ordained by God.  I filled my gas tank and bought food. 

When I did finally make it to the coast, it was magical.  Just the windy drive down to sea level felt like entering heaven.  I could almost hear the angels singing.  But once I got there I was sad.  I couldn't find my hippie family and it was not a fairy land.  It was normal and quiet busy full of normal life.  It was a let down.  I was alone.  I was disappointed.  I had no where to turn and no body to turn to.  I was deceived.  I parked my car and walked onto the beach.  A man did come up to me and appeared to be homeless.  He kept telling me about Jesus and was saying that He is us.  It was cool but I didn't quiet get was he was wanting me to hear. But he was kind enough to take me to a little church right on the beach.  He said they have free soup and sandwiches.  Of course I went.  I sat at the table visiting the couple serving me.  I excitedly told them about my trip, but they could discern that I was dangerously far from home.  I was 16 and alone and very far from home.  They decided to fill up my gas tank and told me several times to go back home.  They also took me grocery shopping so I had enough food to get me home.  But, without even thinking I was so excited to have enough gas in my car to explore more of the coast.  Everything became magical again and the high continued. 

It was spectacular.  So breathtaking.  It was heavenly.  I decided I needed a bigger car though.  I has always wanted a VW bus.  So I found a camper bus.  Test drove it and offered an exchange.  I had no idea about the papers, I thought I could just hand over the keys.  When the seller realized my naivety he had a very concerned look of his face.  I knew he thought I was crazy but I knew that I was invincible and could do anything and that I was in no danger at all. 

I remember one incident where I was looking over the edge of a cliff out onto the Pacific.  I felt as if I was a prophet and that it was the end of the world.  I had a special message for the whole earth.  I didn't even feel human.  I felt one with God.  My high continued down the coast through three states.  I still had my saxophone money and I ate very little.  After seeing all that I could see I headed back home.  I got there and again felt so high and was trying to get others to join me in changing the world.  They did not find the same enthusiasm. 

Amazingly I was able to take care of myself with angels visiting me all through out my journey.  I was manic but still taken care of.  Gods mercy was with me and He really was taking care of me. 

I do have fond memories but I look back now and could see a mania that was beyond my control.  It scared me a little bit that I was that extreme.  I knew something was off or I was just very different.

This is a somewhat successful story of mania but we are not all that lucky.  Some of us do find ourselves in major danger and go completely out of control.  Mania can be dangerous.  We must be aware of this and keep a watchful eye on our behavior.  Even ask a trusted friend to speak up if they see abnormal behavior.  With mania comes the dreads low that follows.  The high may be fun but the low can be devastating.  I sometimes feel like I had never fully recovered from the low that followed the high.

Let us keep our appointments with our doctor and therapist.  Although we may feel cured let us stay on our medications.  Don't let mania deceive you.  Manage your illness.  Be responsible.  Be safe.  Get help when needed and have a successful summer.

Love and care,
Art by Jenni Moore
Bipolar Butterfly

Friday, February 24, 2012

Keeping Things Simple

Have you ever gotten so overwhelmed that you felt like you were going over the edge and would break at any moment. I cant take one more thing!  I'm on overload!  People with bipolar disorder can experience what we call sensory overload.  I have had this my whole life.  I found crowds very overwhelming.  I couldn't handle having a lot of friends at one time.  I would find a quiet space and place at family gatherings.  I didn't know what it was or why I felt that way.  But as I educated myself I found out that its common for those with bipolar to have delicate brain chemistry that can be set out of order if not handled with care.

Think for a minute about a delicate beautiful flower blossom.  That is a picture of our minds. Beautiful but delicate.  And we are responsible for protecting it.  If that means setting limits to our daily activities or making sure we are feeding our flower with water, sunlight and food then it is only fair and right to do that. Which would mean, feeding our minds with beautiful and helpful reading and resources to meditating with happy thoughts and healthy thoughts.  We must care for our beautiful flower and our beautiful mind.

For me keeping things simple is a major key to my sanity.  I thrive when I have limits and boundaries.  I have analyzed what I can handle and what I can't, and there is no shame with setting limits especially those with a mental illness.  I stay close to home.  I have a fairly regular routine.  I work for a time then rest so I don't get into manic mode.  I stimulate my mind by being creative.  I try to keep my home clean and in order.  Making things simple doesn't mean there is not effort or work involved it just means that there is less ciaos and more peace.  Having a massive amount of pressure could send us into a manic or depressive episode. Keeping things simple can keep things stable.  Only you know what simple is to you.  Some of us can handle things that others cant but I encourage you to take a look at the activities you do each day. Ask yourself if its bearing fruit, if its beneficial, if its important, if it aids your life and goal to be stable.  Can you cut back on it? Is it sucking you of life and energy?  I think there are a lot of things we can stop in order to feel more peace.  There are obviously unpleasant things we must do daily. But there are also alot of things we may be doing that are not important and not beneficial.  So lets take a look and see what can be cut off, what can be pruned in order for our lives to bear more beautiful blossoms of peace.

Bipolar Butterfly

Artwork by Jenni Moore

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Help is How I Feel

It feels like a sad numb low emotion type day.  I miss my family. I want my husband. I just want to sit on the couch in his arms.  Watch my children play, listen to their cute little voices.

This is how I felt today.  Being alone was not fun.  Alone was very alone today.  Its when I want to build a nest and hide away from the world.  I become extra thankful for having my place in this world.  The world feels too big for me today.  I don't want to look at the stars, I don't want to look at the view.  I want to look two inches in front of me.  Simple. Simple. Simple.  I can not handle the vastness of space, the news of the nation. I want peace but not quiet. I need You Jesus to quiet my mind. To speak peace to my soul.

So I look right in front of me and I see a palm tree swaying lovingly above me.  I'm here, I'm small, I'm not lost in the complexities of my emotions, chemicals, wires.  I'm here, safe in my husbands arms, watching my children play.  Even though there is such complexity inside, craziness, sadness, uncontrollable swishing.  I focus on whats right in front of me. Love. And instead of faith I believe in what I see.
Art work by Jenni Moore