I'm going to take a rest from adding to this blog, for the simple reason that typing at the computer makes my neck and back pain flare up. I'll be writing with pencil and paper in the meantime, and hope to add more posts again someday.
Meanwhile, perhaps my readers would like to explore my other blogs:
The symptoms of fibromyalgia addressed in this post include: *Fatigue, tiredness, unrefreshing sleep *Anxiety, depression
Written in June 2009
Will I ever be happy again?
I’ve asked this question before, and
although I didn’t believe it back then in my teen years, the answer is always
Sad and happy are such devouring
moods. They change my view of the world as though when wearing happy glasses, I
am “happysighted.” I will only see the happy, cheerful, enjoyable side of life
when looking through the happy lenses. Yet when I exchange one set of glasses
for another, I only clearly see the sad and gloomy side of life. Then the tears
I know now why so many people crave serenity.
Serenity is an escape from oneself.
My illness affects me deeply. I feel
as though my inmost core has shrunk until it is nearly impenetrable except by
grief. Grief bathes my soul until even strangers see sadness in my eyes, my
walk, and my voice. They feel compelled to ask me, “What’s the matter?” But the
only answer I know how to give is, “Nothing. Nothing at all.” I’m simply
wearing my sad spectacles, and they change my face completely.
What’s the matter? Oh, nothing.
Merely that I have talent, ambition, intelligence, training, skill, and a
desire to serve. But I cannot serve. I have an inability to make good – a
success preventative. What is it called? Fatigue.
Fatigue binds me to my bed, to my
eyelids and my sorrow. Is fatigue to be my fate? Is my life to be thrown on the
recycling heap where it takes the shape of a paper plate when it should have
been a novel?
So much has been given to me that I
find my body to be a sponge, sodden with liquid yet with no hand to squeeze and
let out a little of what I’ve received. I have no way to give back.
How this topic relates to Christian living: Psalm 6:6 "I am weary with my groaning; all the night I make my bed to swim, I water my couch with my tears."
The symptoms of bipolar depression addressed in this post include: *Sad, unhappy, blue, or irritable mood *Unexplained crying spells *Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Written April 18, 2016
Hours after my morning blues, I could still sense the sobs that had wracked my chest, feel the limpness of the eyelids that had experienced the flow of tears. Nothing was really wrong - just the usual discouragement and disappointment I often felt while fighting off depression. I was pregnant, so I was determined not to add any antidepressants to my necessary mood stabilizer, especially now in the third trimester.
But I had taken antidepressants in the past - lots of them - and tried a variety of mood stablilizers as well, none of which worked so effectively with as few side effects as my current medication, my old standby.
On the top shelf of my kitchen cabinet, for nearly a year, rested pills and more pills - prescription meds I was no longer taking. Most of them were psychiatric remedies, with which I'd had varying success and failure. It was past time for me to get rid of them, and I finally thought I knew the simplest way to do that.
"Oh, The gate's open," I said, as our little group of me, my dad, and my 3-year-old daughter were taking a walk. "It's usually shut and locked. I wonder . . . Papa, I think I want to go back to the house and bring the medicines I need to discard. I asked the psychiatrist what to do with them, and he said I could dissolve them in water and pour them out in place that wasn't too near a source of drinking water. I was thinking that the field through that gate would be the best place nearby. But it's usually locked up. So I think I'll bring the water and the meds now. Could you stay here with Little Girl till I get back?"
Papa agreed, and I set my plan into motion. While I sat on a dilapidated bench by the community football field and popped pills into a pitcher of water, I contemplated. I thought about how relieved I felt to be freed from the fear that the meds could never be childproofed enough, and how thankful I was that Little Girl never had been the type of child who is "always getting into things."
I thought about how good it was that the temptation to down all those pills in an attempt to end my own life would now be impossible to carry out. Even though temptation of that sort seldom broke through to me, I had at different times in my life gotten - if not the actual desire for suicide - certainly the thoughts that suicide was an interesting option.
I was getting those thoughts now. What if, instead of pouring out the pitcher filled with a three weeks' supply of five different meds, I quickly swallowed the whole thing, then and there? Would I survive? What would happen next? How would my family cope with my loss?
My family . . . They all loved me. It was for their sakes that I could never think of suicide as the best - the right - the appropriate response to my emotional pain. Suicide, I knew, would be the most unloving choice I could possibly make - particularly right now, when I would take my unborn little son with me, away from the daddy, big sister, and grandparents who were looking forward to meeting him.
No, suicide was a fool's decision, especially for one who had as many blessings and privileges as I did. I strolled across the field, casually pouring out the efforts of psychiatrists and scientists who had made possible for me a less disturbed brain, though sometimes in connection with a disturbing roster of side effects.
Meanwhile, Little Girl and Papa had been climbing dust-coated bleachers alongside the deserted field.
"Papa, I think I just poured antidepressants into an ant hill. There's going to be some hyper ants out there."
"They'll die happy!" Papa tossed back.
Suddenly, the irony struck me. Compared to God, I was as tiny as any ant seemed to me. Yet there was this vital difference: while to me, ants were insignificant, God's Word proved that I had great importance in God's eyes.
I could carelessly cause the misfortune and demise of an unknown number of ants, and laugh about it. But God could see His human being instigate their own demise as the just retribution for disobedience - and He had clearly warned Adam - and He still cared. He cared so much, in fact, that He provided for our rescue by promising a Savior's death and resurrection on our behalf - on MY behalf. I was not an ant, to be laughed at and left to die by drowning / poisoning. I could walk away from that ant hill with no remorse for my carelessness knowing that ants don't livelong anyway. Whether those ants got dunked and dosed had no bearing on the SMALL scheme of things, let alone the grand scheme. Neither should my existence, from God's perspective. Yet it does. How this topic relates to Christian living: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29-31).
At first, I didn't want to expand this blog to include the topic of bipolar disorder. I didn't. But I can't put it off any longer. A few months ago, I asked for prayer at church for God to guide me in my writing goals. I began contemplating starting a blog that would describe my personal experiences with depression, mania, and psychosis. How awful. Why would I want to dwell on my worst problems by telling the world about them?
I guess the answer is because other people, specifically other Christians, have those problems too. And a lot of us feel very alone . . . ashamed . . . disappointed with our lives . . . and especially, just plain confused.
I've been diplomatic about sharing my struggles with bipolar disorder till now. When I do talk about these issues, I purposely present them frankly and openly, but I choose my listeners carefully. Now I'm going to be transparent with "the public" - whoever takes the time to browse my blog here - and see what happens.
I need to do this because it's a calling God has laid on my heart, and because I want to fill a void. I hear so few voices even talking about bipolar disorder in the Christian community, and those I do hear seem to be voices saying: "too late," "yeah, right," "oh, brother," and "what a shame."
I want to be the voice that says:
"It's real, and it's out of your control."
"It's scary, and you'll need to have courage."
"It's okay, because you're still loved."
"You can't do it, but God can."
Let me share a verse that continually encourages me. It's found in Revelation 3:8, and the One speaking to the church is "he that is holy, he that is true" - a description of no other than Jesus Christ. Here's the verse:
"I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."
This verse has great meaning for me because I'd rather be identified as having "a little strength" than by having a lot of weakness, which is what it feels like, most days. I want always to be faithful to the Word of God and the Name of Jesus Christ - to believe heartily in both and to live up to the challenge of being associated with them by my identity as a Christian. I like to realize that no matter what I can't do - no matter what doors are shut to me - God's direction in my life will always be revealed by open doors.
That's why I encourage myself not to stand outside the closed doors, whining and banging on those doors until I make myself miserable. Instead, I try to turn the handles of other doors until one suddenly swings open, like the door to the expansion of this blog beyond the limits of Asperger's traits. I think I'm ready to walk through.
My blog has a new title, and I will be branching out into other health-related topics with which I (unfortunately) have a personal stake in.
Aside from Asperger's Syndrome and Sensory Integration Dysfunction (See Solutions for Sensory Integration Dysfunction), I also deal with two chronic illnesses: bipolar disorder and fibromyalgia. Both of these illnesses are diagnosed by filling out questionnaires and looking for a certain number of symptoms over a certain period of time.
Although I had been telling multiple doctors of my symptoms since 2002, none of them even mentioned the word fibromyalgia to me. I ultimately diagnosed myself with fibromyalgia in 2008 through reading checklists of common symptoms. Then I went to the rheumatologist (specialist in pain treatments), and sure enough, received the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I gradually learned that doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists can do little to help with my fibromyalgia pain, What relief I can get is temporary and not completely effective. My pain is nearly constant and travels from place to place in my body, so that I never had "good days" and "bad days," but "good hours" and "bad hours."
Similarly, though my first manic experience was in 1996, and my first depression in 1997, a diagnosis was not reached until 2000 when I was seeing a psychiatrist for help. My mania has twice in my life reached the point of psychosis, which means that I temporarily lost touch with reality, or in other words, "went bonkers." Thankfully, I recovered within a few weeks each time.
For my bipolar disorder, I currently take an anti-psychotic mood-stabilizing medication called Zyprexa (generic name olanzapine). I see a nurse practitioner who prescribes these medicines every three months, or sooner if my symptoms change.
I would like to provide symptom checklists here on the Descriptions page, in case any of my readers experience these same symptoms and can consult doctors for a diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment.