depression


       I am sitting here listening to nothing but the hum of the modem next to me. The dog is sleeping and Mark has just said he was going to bed. I am tired, yet not feeling like I can get to bed quite yet. These last 4 months have been anything but easy for me or for Mark either. He has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder for a long time. I am trying to pinpoint the actual diagnosis and I think it was around 2004. Before the diagnosis, there were times of extreme energy, and extreme “insight”, extreme anger, enlightening, followed by significant depression and paranoia sometimes on both sides of the spectrum.

  After the diagnosis, as we looked in the rearview mirror of our life, we realized that the times of behaviors that were not his normal self-were most likely  cycling through mania or depressions, and we could pretty much pinpoint the cycling was once every 4-5 yrs, and through the years it became more frequent, cyclical and seemed to be certain months/seasons each year.  After the diagnosis and medical treatment, 3 hospitalizations, and after trying a few types of medications, the docs for the meds that worked for him. Meds that helped to control the highs from getting too high and the lows from getting too low.

Well, this last manic episode, the current one, has been going on for 4 months, and it has been probably the most fluctuating, and high energy one yet. There have been quick decisions, fast changes, to the point that from one moment to the next it can feel like the direction changed  360 degrees. Now I am not saying the changes (as I step back and look are bad, )they are just rapid, and for a non-manic person, it is really exhausting.  I am doing my best to keep up with the latest changes, and I think when everything settles down, we won’t regret the changes, but he will be looking at it like he ran a 1000 mile marathon, and with his disabilities, that would be an impossible feat.      (20180314_193806.jpg  This photo represents the speed and number of thoughts and changes these last 4 months have been like )

Everything he has done, he has learned, he has made happen has been with the best of intention. To secure our future, our kids future, and their kids future. It has been 4 months of very little sleep, learning about how investing works, evaluating and adjusting our vehicle situation, thinking about where we live and where we may want to live in years to come, reaching out to family he had not spoken to in a very long time, realizing life is precious, and analyzing every nook and cranny of our life. He has not meant to, but cannot stop talking at times, assuming how an interaction will go that has not yet happened and having conversations with that person before the event even materializes ( if it ever will)

So that is why I am here typing,  the silence right now is priceless. I love him to pieces, and I am sure he has no idea how many words he can say in a short period of time, or how all the things that make sense to him, are hard to process for me, as his mouth cannot keep up with his mind or his thoughts. I read an article on being in a marriage with a Bipolar spouse, and one of the things mentioned is to deep breathe, well I have been a deep breather for a long time, but I have taken it to new levels, my lungs have got to be the clearest they have ever been.  All of the symptoms mentioned he has displayed, and FINALLY, I feel we are starting to calm the symptoms down. It has got to do a number on his body, the non stop everything, the emotions from ecstatic to such anger and rage, the lack of sleep, the continuing fast pace of his brain, and feeling like he is in a fog at times, that all has to take a toll on one’s body.

  HE tries frequently to take off for a bit to give me a break, and even though it is nice he does that, the mania can contribute to more new ideas, more changes. He will take his kindle and cell phone and head off to the library, or Dunkin Donuts and work on things he is doing there.

His doctor just doubled his one medication, and that is slowly working so he can sleep through the night. Last night was the first night he slept more than 2-3 hrs. Yeah, I think he actually slept for 7 hrs last night. I too was sleeping, as it has been a ride and a half. He said he does not feel as scattered or spinning as he has been. He tries to appreciate my needs during the day, but it is not easy for him.    I have learned many times over that Bipolar is not able to be managed without professional care. That med management or therapy might each work, but for the best care, you need both. The therapist should be one who understands bipolar disorder and also how it affects people in different phases of their life. As a person ages, the disorder takes on different characteristics, at least that is what I am witnessing.

 The internet is such a wealth of information, and there are forums and support groups for anything you can think of, BUT I do feel the internet can also be a trigger for the mania to be refed as it is trying to slow down. There is so much coming at us from all kinds of areas, it can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

So as I sit here in silence, I am thankful he can sleep, I am spending some time praying, talking to God, I am trying to gather my thoughts and I am thankful for all the positive things that have happened and also thankful for the support of our family members who have been there through all of this. It has not been easy, not for me, or for him. Thank God for our children, for our grandkids, for his mom, for our children’s spouses, for our friends who understand and for our church.

 One of the MANY things that have been accomplished in a very short period of time, is he signed up for a domain name and will have a website up and running hopefully in a few weeks. We need to take time to dedicate solely to that, to design the web pages and have the platform for him, for me, for others to post on and for him to share some of his thoughts, some of his experiences, some of him that is what makes him the incredible person that he is. So be watching for his blogs to start on his very own website in weeks to come.  There will be things written, that come from his mind through his hands and end up as words on the screen, things that I do not know, things that show what makes him who he is.      So thanks for reading this, thanks for your time. Say a prayer that the meds will continue to slow him down a bit so he can see the world,  so he can stop and hear things being said, so he can stop and see all the gifts God gives us every single minute, every single breath, every single day.

Until later….                                     Mrs Justa  is signing off.

 

 

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Rileys bent crate and having the boys over 11-17-12 014Have you ever just wanted to run…run and run and run?

Nowhere in particular to go, just not wanting to be where you are at.

Last week felt like that I think for everyone around me. Mark would have loved to run from himself, me, I would have loved to run from the stress of the week…and

Now that I think of it.. even Riley tried to break clean of her fears and panic…..

Rileys bent crate and having the boys over 11-17-12 001

This is Riley’s crate. She is terrified of being left in the crate, and yet she has not proven she is much nicer to the house outside of the crate. So if we had to leave for a while, we crated her….

If you look at the bottom of the crate, she bends it in by biting it, sticking her nose in it and trying to scooch out of it with the door closed and locked. This time she bent it enough in that she literally was scratching at that rug, she got the rug inside the crate and started gnawing on it, trying anything to escape from the crate. So.. the crate is folded up… Riley is on some antidepressants/ Obsessive compulsive meds to see if we can get her to overcome this panic disorder she gets when being left alone.

It really is sad to think that for some reason she is terrified of the crate. If I could find her original owners,RIley 7-19-2012 003 the ones that had to have been mean to her… well I would Have a few things to say to them. Might even smack them aside of their head!

How can people be cruel to another living being?

She is the sweetest dog, she loves to be with people, it is funny ..at night if she gets cold, she burrows under the blanket and sheet and sleeps way down at our feet. She will stay there for hrs.

She is great with the kids, she loves her stuffed animals, LOVES her food, yet deep inside her psychie— someone played with her head…. if she thinks you are angry with her..she cowers…… If you raise your voice out of emotion for anything – she thinks it is for her….

She belly crawls if she thinks she is in trouble. SO our dilemma in life is we have a dog..who hates when we leave. I have a call into the NY State dog whisperer..and we are going to see if he thinks this is something he could assist with. We also are going to try to get her into a doggie day care a couple times a week..and if there is a need for a few hrs of being watched as we try to come to a solution—than we will see if her kennel down the Oswego NY  6-11-12 003street would let her stay for a day.

So as our persistence to get to an end of her fear..

we need to STOP..and work with her.. Patience, positive reinforcement , determination, and slow down…go slow and make sure she feels comfortable along the way.

Please if you have a chance, and feel a tug in your heart… say a prayer for our little girl dog..and hope we can help her become at ease…. all the time.

Love to all….Mrs Justa alias Cindy

OK… I am trying to focus on writing and the wind is blowing so hard..I thought our furnace was malfunctioning and blowing super forced air through the vent. Our house is normally pretty quiet… do not hear wind… but tonight… holy shmolly… it is blowing big time. Just started—all of the sudden..The dog is pacing… and the wind smacking against the house.

So as I proceed..let’s hope the power and internet stay on. I was thinking about mental illness, and how many people suffer from it. Heck I look at this poor dog and see she even has a tad bit of mental illness . I had tried to tape a video of us trying to coax her in her crate..when she heard us say on the video to get in her house, she started trembling in here… oh I hope we can find things to work amd Oct 2011 055calm her down. This wind reminds me of what it is like to see a person ( or the dog !!) go through acute episodes of depression, anxiety or mania. It comes over them like a gust of wind, like huge waves… beating on their souls and emotions –like the wind is beating against the house.

Anxiety is a tough disorder, so is depression and mania. They all are real, and when they hit, the person going through it usually recognizes the problem and becomes more symptomatic realizing they can not stop it. It is like watching a person be a prisoner in their own body. I have taken care of patients and have been personally exposed to individuals who suffer from all of some of these illnesses. And there is nothing I can do to help when a full blown attack happens.

Oh I can try to stay calm, I can look for the sun ray through the dark cloud… but I feel inadequate, because I can not help to make to acute episodes subside. I can recognize when they are about to happen. But depending on the level of intensity they have..they can be like a tornado—taking down anything in their path.

For Riley… in the crate..when anxiety hits… NOTHING I can say or do will stop her from panting, trembling and bending the cage.

It is so opposite of her when she is not having an anxiety episode.

When I watch Mark deal with his high levels of anxiety, depression , mania—man again it hurts to watch, because there can be a path of destruction… he said the other day that it wears him out.. wears him down.

People I have met in life who have had similar disorders..they too felt at times that they were losing a grip at times.

So as the night hours begin to pass…africam 1-24-2012 011 I want to send a cyber hug out to all who suffer from mental illness…and to all who know someone with mental illness. Support them, never ever give up on them, and know that when an acute episode happens..that is when they need you most.

I learned a long time ago… that when an acute episode happens..that is when you find out who your friends are… and also who are not your friends .

I love you Mark… through your highs and your lows… you are a good man… a man passionate about your beliefs…. –It is a ride sometime s!!.

Love to all, Mrs justa alias Cindy…..

I gotta tell ya, this is now rolling into my least favorite time of the year. The best thing that happened this time of year was my niece and sister were born. But I am reminded every year of the pain too.

I can not help by go back to  1963

100_002710 years old is  supposed to be a time in our lives where the road to adolescence is being paved and laid down… where Barbie dolls and Roller skates are changing to 10 speed bikes and sleep overs. When it is still okay to get tucked in at night, and you want to be brave and not have the night light on…when you knew pretty soon you no longer could sit on dads lap very comfortably, where the dreams of becoming a teenager seemed to be coming more real.

Yes… a time when life begins to change…and for me.. it changed all right.

It changed for our whole family. I’ve written about it before… and yet it all surfaces again..each year. My dad had one into the hospital –he  went in on my 10th birthday with a heart attack.

My mom was VERY pregnant and she would drive to the hospital every evening with the 5 kids in the car, she would leave us in the lobby at the hospital, and she would go up and visit him.
We were not allowed to go up there. So volunteer women would take moments to stay with us in the lobby. They brought us paper to draw on, tried to distract our worried thoughts, my sister was 11, me 10.. the next in line were my brothers 5 and 6 and my sister 2. Night after night –we would wait for mom to come down….and she would drive us home. She was due on Halloween night.  But that night came and went,… and still no baby. On November 1st… dad actually waved to us in the lawn of the hospital from way up on his hospital; floor. He looked like a small image way up there, but knowing the moving image was dad was so warming..so comforting. I remember waving so hard my whole body was twisting..I thought my arm was going to pop off…..

Than on 11-2- we went in and mom came back down after visiting and said we could go up and see  him… he was coming home in the morning… We loaded in the elevator, anxious with joy… gitty..giggling in the elevator.. the laughter kind of echoing… I remember the volunteers who had now gotten to know us pretty well..they had tears welling in their eyes as they saw our smiles…. up we went… the door opened… a wheel chair around the corner and dad was there… there was a window that the chair was put by..it overlooked the city… each kid got to go to him, sit on his lap, hug him, tell him what ever came to mind…. laughter..I remember laughter… …and than the next. I waited in the back ground.. I wanted to be last… I remember the feeling of the strength of his hands as he held me on his lap… he had Old Spice on…I  remember the smell. I remember the secure feeling… a feeling of safety..as he hugged me , kissed me…. and said I will see you in the morning…

The ride home was like floating on a cloud… the anticipation of morning and daddy coming home was more excitement than I have had since than…

At 11 that night mom went into labor… she called a neighbor to help her get to the hospital … a different hospital.. She called our sister in nursing school to come home and be with us… she got there… it was scary… now mom was going too…. we tried to sleep… and before 7 in the morning the phone rang… oh it must be the baby news… it was a man… He asked for my mom… I said she was not there—she was having a baby… he asked who was there… I said my sister.. she was 19… he heard her voice… he asked her if she was the oldest one there..she said yes… he hung up the phone.. We were all puzzled… I remember sitting in the corner..hugging my knees, rocking back and forth.. in a trance almost… saying in a soft mumble… “Daddies dead/…daddies dead…” I did not stop… I kept saying it… and than the phone rang again…. I remember my sister kind of yelling at me to stop saying that… It was another doctor… he apologized for the previous call..and than he said… your  father died this morning…. The death of my father when I was 10 years old , changed my life forever. …Bam… our life as we knew it was changed …. my sister called the other hospital… left a message to give to our mom who was in the delivery room…. and a miracle happened… the same moment dad died..our youngest sister was born.

And than 35years later—to the day—the time.. our mom died…in her sleep….so that is why this time of year… I like to zoom by 11-3 kind of quickly. I say happy birthday to my sister… the pain and loss I have is separate from the joy of her… but it is tough.. It does not get easy…

So as these days come closer… I find myself not looking forward to the weeks to follow…and than things get better again.

Mom, Dad . I miss you so much… and Dad.. thanks for that hug and kiss on my cheek..had I known it was the last…I would have never gotten off your lap.

Ahhh… the memories are so fresh…. Take time to let those close to you know that you love them, thank them, spend time with them…. for life comes…and life goes… We have no guarantees of anything… Love to all. Mrs Justa.. alias Cindy

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My life… I sat on the floor in the corner of this room, looking for something specific. And to my surprise I found much more than I intended to. The bottom two shelves are the photos and music of my life….

I was looking for a picture of a lady I work with. She is retiring in a couple of weeks and this photo was from when I met her, back in 1989. She oriented me to hospital nursing. She and I have had our paths cross for years on end, and then for a bit we may work in different places..but we never lost contact.. And times along the way we end up back in the same place again. She is a special lady. As I looked for this one photo I ran across my life. Things that have been pigeon holed in places in my mind.

It is funny how a photograph can bring you back to that year. It can make you remember a smell, or a breeze, or a sense of wonder . It brings back a feeling of being special, or discovering a place you had never been to before. It also can bring back a feeling of loss, or pain. It reminds you of relationships, of stages of youth, of people who have left this temporary home on earth to go to their destination. It kind of reminds us we are alive.

To relive these moments, to watch my little guy and Marks little girl grow up in photos. To  see their kids growing up… 100_3398

To realize that even thought it seems the years have flown by..those photo albums on the lower 2 shelves represent miles of life’s highway. The whale watches, the camping trips, the mini vacations Jeff and I took, the whale watches that Jeff ,Mark and I went on, the seemingly endless precious weekends that Jeff and Adrianne got to share with us, the evolving of my family from me being a baby to having all my brothers and sisters, smiles, reunions, marriages, births and deaths. All in-between sunsets and sunrises..each one different.

A100E0347nd as I soaked in the memories as they came to life.. I thought about how lucky we are to live in this country. The unrest in other parts of the world.. I wonder if these people have good memories. Have they stopped to see the beauty of the world? My heart says they have missed a lot of the soft sides of life… for they carry around such anger and hatred.

Yes … my journey through time that has been, it has  reminded me that I have been truly blessed. I thank God for that, over and over again.

I hope you have memories of your life captured somewhere. Stop and take a moment to remember. Good night all. Mrs Justa alais Cindy

100_0244This past weekend we were driving into Phoenix NY. It was Sunday and it was rather hot and humid out. As we drove towards the village there is a stretch of road with really nothing there. Overgrown edges to the road, street signs stating the speed limit is still 30 and warning folks not to park on the side of the road. And this morning something else….

an elderly woman, standing with a straight posture, holding onto the handle of a fairly good size Aqua suitcase on wheels and her purse laying on top of the suitcase. She stood at tis sign..just stood there. As Mark and I drove by her..well there was absolutely no sense why she was there. She did not look like she had been thrown out of a car, or was moving..just standing at this sing on the side of the road in a section of nothing.

So as soon as we could turn around, we did and pulled to the side of the road. I walked up to her and asked if she was okay? She smiled a rather pretty smile..and said “Oh yes dear, I am waiting for the bus to go the State Fair”  I told her the state fair bus stop is down towards the village..over the bigger bridge that goes over the river..just before the draw bridge for the Erie Canal. 100_0246She went on to tell us that she was living in her grandfathers house in Phoenix, helping to clean it out. And than she told us her grandfather was fighting in Iran. She said her father was in Afghanistan. She said she has been caring for 24 different refuges who come over to the states and spend time with her. She said she wanted the state fair bus because no other buses would be running, only the state fair one.

Mark asked her why she had her suitcase if she was going to the fair. She avoided the question 4 times and than said she was a teacher ad the suitcase was all her lecture material She used it with the refuges when they came. Her speech seemed to ramble at times, her eyes looked glassed over and empty at times. She did not want a ride and was heading to the bridge to go to the area where the bus came.

On our way passed her starting her walk, we stopped and let a Park Police know that we were concerned about her. She just did not seem totally coherent. And now… 3 days later.. I am wondering about her. Did she get on the bus? Did the police officer speak to her, maybe call for someone to come and assess her? Is she safe?

This world seems small at times.. I get so focused on what we have going on in our lives..and sometimes witnessing something like this..it makes it so apparent how the 100_0022world is massive. A person can get lost in the system, lost in the background. I believe this woman was suffering from a dementia disorder of some sort. It was almost like she was in a time in her mind 30 yrs prior. My goodness her grandfather in Iran would be in his 100s at least. People like this woman could fall , go into the river, hop on a bus and not know where she was going, …how many people in the world are going through things just like this?

She made my mind stop for a moment from worrying about what we had to do… she made me appreciate life. God bless this woman… and the man I wrote of a few posts ago..and so very many other who need strength and protection. Love to all Mrs Justa..

riley 003

Riley has a middle name of Regan..kind of has a ring to it, doesn’t it?  We saw a license plate with Regan on it..and poof—she now has a middle name.

This is day 3 of Riley and us—and well it is going okay. The first day she was super logy—but she had just had major surgery less than 24 hrs prior. Her stools were like a garden hose was spraying out of her butt..but as the days have passed..that problem has disappeared. Even when she had explosive diarrhea she did not have any accidents in the house.

She has this kinda cute whimper that she occasionally does if she feels she was left behind. It was funny this morning. We had a guy coming over at 9 to seal the driveway. Mark had gone out to talk to the guy, and Riley thought she was alone. She did this whisper whimper.. kinda like she was singing the blues..I came out of the bedroom and said” Riley..what is wrong?” Immediately she stopped and came over. I think she was embarrassed Smile

She has not given us a definite signal when she wants to go out.. one time she came to the recliner Mark was in and stared at him. I was in the kitchen doing stuff and she came in and shook her head so her license and ID tag jingled. Once she came into the kitchen and did a couple whimpers.

She is funny—If I take her for a walk—she needs to sleep for a few hrs.… if she gets up and walks around—she has to sleep for a few hrs. She reminds me of when I had surgery—for weeks I would get up and do something and need to sleep for 3 hrs.. that went on for weeks….

The crate…Riley andRiley comes home 6-29-2012 032 crate do not belong in the same county—she slept in it..but not until she whimpered and did a beagle howl… we are wondering if she spent a lot of time in a crate in her past life? The second night she whimpered and got sick… so the crate is on the not so good idea list right now.

She does not seem to be a darter when the front door is opened… Mark and I are really careful that she does not get out. I want to understand her past… but maybe I don’t. It is kinda sad—when you call her she puts her head down ( like EEORE from Winnie the POOH) and she does a belly crawl-as if to show she is afraid to come close.  Than when she gets to you, her shoulders are hunched..her head low… and she pushes against your leg… we are working to tell her she is a good girl. I wonder if they yelled at her a lot? We are looking forward to her meeting the family…and I am very thankful we ended up with her at home and not camping this weekend—we all needed time to relate… I am going to be off line for a few days… but hang in there.. I will be back on Sunday!!!. Love to all…. (and be patient…there will be more new “baby” pictures for a bit )mrs Justa alias Cindy

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