From March, 2014

Just Relax

There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. ~Chinese proverb Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at other times move forward with it. ~Ray Bradbury It seems like everywhere I go people are talking about relaxation these days. My therapist asks me about my stress level, like it’s something that can be quantified, measured on a daily basis.  I probably…

Gambling on Goals

Goals are so crazy popular, aren’t they? I mean, I went looking for one quote on goals for this post, just one, and they were all so contradictory. Some said set your goals high and don’t stop ’til you achieve them. Others said it starts with the spirit, and if that wasn’t true, forget about it. Then there’s the one who says to set small goals and build upon them. So even the meaning of the word goal is somewhat sketchy. I know of a famous, at least famous on my terms, writing website, which has a whole board (forum) dedicated to the topic of goals and the…

5 Things Not to Say to Someone in a Mixed State

The art of conversation is fraught with land mines on a good day. When you have to deal with someone in a mixed state, you’d better be sure to speak to your higher power too. 😉 Now, I can joke about this, because I’m the one in the mixed state. Not that it’s funny to be in a mixed state, but you know the saying “If you can’t laugh about it you’ll go crazy.” But this experience, I think, helps me to know a little about what may be more appropriate and productive as opposed to—well inappropriate. Without further adieu, here are five things so not…

Putting On That Other Pair Of Shoes

Gentle readers, I’ve been trying and trying to write this blog, wanting it to be gentle and light, to bring you good vibes so you’ll come back and keep reading. But my mind and heart are heavy with all the colossal blunders I’m making that I keep wanting to slough off onto my illness. A mixed episode of bipolar disorder is nothing to laugh about. It’s like a modern version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. My loved ones never know who they’re going to be speaking to from one minute to the next. Until I got into Al-Anon, I…

The Blogosphere Status-Checking Neurosis

Come on. Admit it. You check your FB status more than a couple times a day, and get a little charge every time somebody “likes” it, or the more the comments pile up. Want some help? Okay. My name is Chris, and I’m a status-checking junkie. In fact, I’m thinking I might close my FB account for good. Have to think some on that. Here, read this quote from Finding God in the Dark: “The blogosphere is reality television for people (conservative Christians) who consider themselves too good for reality television . . . Status updates about perfect playdates or craft…

Feeling Helpless? Try This!

Ever feel helpless? When I feel that way, it’s usually because I’m feeling overwhelmed. Then I will remember one of these three things: 1. Breathe. Mmmm. There. Feel better? When I’m helpless, or when I get the thought in my head that says, “I’m helpless,” weirdness descends. Shortness of breath. My chest is tight. Constricted. It sort of feels a little like drowning. So I take a deep belly breath That’s what I call breathing through the diaphragm, because you have to push your tummy out–it seems confusing but it’s not. Do it as many times as you need until the world starts to…

Love Yourself Through the Process

When I saw this cartoon it made me laugh so hard, and I was drinking coffee at the time. 😀 Then I realized it’s all about expectations and how what we think about things make them difficult. I hope that makes some sense. We dive into recovery and expect so damn much from ourselves from day one. God forbid we don’t meet those expectations. So when we can learn to laugh at ourselves it’s f***ing fantastic!! When I told the brilliant Dr. Walker this morning (therapist) that it wasn’t fun making paper cranes anymore, and I told him the whole story about…

7 Do’s and Don’ts in a Manic Phase of Bipolar Depression

7. When you wake up, startlingly wide awake after just a couple hours of sleep at night, don’t listen to your brain when it tells you you’ve had quite enough sleep. Do perhaps drink a glass of water and try to lie back down. If you can get it, this is a most excellent investment: Delta Sleep System. I think Jeffrey Thompson must be some kind of genius, because this puts me to sleep every time, even when I don’t stay asleep because of being manic. 6. Don’t get up instead, lurch over in a drug-induced stupor to make coffee and get onto Facebook. FB is a…

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

My sister and I are more alike than we are different, and sometimes this makes us competitive, even—I have recently learned, in our respective illnesses. We each grew up with an abusive, hard-working, hard-drinking father. My shostra (sister, in Polish) is 13 years my senior, and she grew up in the 60’s, a turbulent, changing, experimental decade. The way we each dealt with our abuse was different. Carol turned to drugs and alcohol. Me, the ever helpful codependent, did my best to help her stay sick and keep the rest of the family intact until I was in my late…

Anticipation…..it’s making me wait!

It was hard to wait all morning to meet my new therapist, Dr. Walker. Anticipation and expectation had my mind going in all sorts of directions. “Will he want me as a client? Will he decide I’m just too much to deal with? What if he gets sick of me?….What if..he can’t fix me?” Then I got lost. There are only two things that can terrify me more than anything. Getting lost and not finding my way or, worse than that, when a spider drops off the ceiling without my knowledge and lands on my person. I think the spider is scarier. ‘Cause I found my…

Distraction, distraction everywhere and not a point to land on.

The good news is I’m sleeping better. Five and a half hours of sleep last night. Bad news is I’m still flitting from thing to thing to thing like a bird in a cage who can’t decide on a perch to settle. As I’m writing this post, I am surrounded on the table by origami papers (for the 1,001 paper cranes, of which I have yet to make one), a jigsaw puzzle, and a book on anxiety. I’m reading all at the same time (picking whichever book fits my fancy at the moment): The Husband’s Secret, When Panic Attacks, The Mayo Clinic Guide…

A Rose by Any Other Name

I’m so incredibly nervous writing this, and at the same time . . . feels like home. I have been completely overwhelmed by the positive responses to my last blog post. Just–flabbergasted, truly. Those lovely comments came on the heels of a little over seven months of severe depression and severe anxiety, which brings me to why it’s been so long since I’ve posted. So many times, when one grows up in an alcoholic family, or any sort of dysfunctional family, it becomes all about the alcoholic for so long, or about the person or sickness that draws the most attention from…