Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bipolar Victims: Keep Pressing On!



*** Please watch this video, listen to the words and follow lyrics before you read this. There is not a better video that could describe the true meaning of this post! ***



Special note to my Bipolar Friends:


I was planning this last night and as I started today, I had to take a break. Lot of things happened this morning that gradually started getting me down. In the kitchen I mentioned  “in passing” what I was thinking of writing to my wife, and she said maybe you should title it “One Of Those Days - Take II.
Believe it or not, I almost did!. But I got to thinking about it more and I realized this is the perfect time to write this! I don’t think I could in fairness write this to you unless I am having one of those days myself, and explain how I have to keep going on, like it or not. I want to give you an example of how I live “The other life.”  Remember! The website address for this Blog is:
This is what it is all about my friends!


I don’t think it matters if you are suffering with bipolar and having minor episodes of depression, or bipolar I like myself with full blown attacks, it is not easy to put on the “mask” and keep going with the normal day-to-day life. The only difference is depending on the level of bipolar you are, the harder it is to pull off. Myself, there are times when I just want to give up for just one day, call it quits and completely shut myself off from everything and everyone. It is so hard!


Please remember this; IF you choose (I KNOW you did or you will not be reading this) to continue to live on this planet with millions of crazy nuts (Hint: They just have not been diagnosed yet -:) or unless you want to be in a mental hospital where they dope you so much you do not know what month it is, thus, never have the hope of getting out, you have to find a way to somehow keep going. You must! There is no other way around it. If you want to continue on with life no matter how you feel, you have to find that one secret that only you know that will help you make it through. Hey, do not for one minute think I am talking about illegal drugs or alcohol, I am talking about YOU and YOU alone achieving more than you or anyone of us will think possible: put on that mask and go on even when you think ‘I quit!’


What I want you to do, is to remember what sincere recovering alcoholic or drug addicts face. I am amazed by their courage.  I honor them for their courage and willpower. I feel for them when they ’slip’ and have to start from day one again. You ask any of them and they can tell you the exact date from years, months, and days. Every day is a battle. Usually when stress overcomes them, it is all they can do to NOT slip, but they keep repeating the date in their minds over and over.


If you read many of the earlier pages, you will get the idea of how bad I was. Nine years ago, it was greater than a 90% chance I would not be sitting at this computer writing to you today. Or, it was probably just a little lower percentage that I would probably be “Locked Up".
 
Now,  there are some blogs I have read from time to time that the writer with bipolar say they are totally cured. I am happy for them. All I know is from the experience of my family (my mom as a perfect example), research, myself, and what the doctors admit to me, Bipolar I or schizophrenia patients like myself may become remarkably better, but there is not one day that one or more symptoms  has not left me. It is always there. Like a recovering alcoholic, every single day is a battle.


Getting back to my theme here, this is what I am faced with. The last page, and this one also, I do not want to speak to anyone. If the phone rings, I will probably not answer it unless it’s a close family member. I would give almost anything in the world to turn the music up am now listening to up, crawl in bed, and lay there until night. It would not take much for a grown man to lay there and cry. My Mind wants to SHUT DOWN the rest of the day hoping tomorrow will be better. But I cannot do it. I have a job to go to, and my family depends on that income. We cannot make it without the income. I am not wealthy by a long shot so any loss of income for any amount of time and we will be.


Now, keep in mind the my feelings I just described. I know in just a little while I have to get ready and go to work. For the last 12 years I have held an extremely stressful job. During a non-stop 9 -11 hours, I will talk to over 80 customers and employees on the phone. I will have to (somewhat cheerfully) talk in person to about 20 people. Almost every single phone call requires some type of action, and most of the time, I have to make a split decision on how to react. A very poor decision could hurt the company or depending on how serious, even my lively hood. I do not want to get dressed. I sit in my room, looking at the clothes I am about to put on for sometimes up to 30 minutes. Then I start slowly getting dressed. Once I am dressed, I am a little better…until I get in the car and head into the office. I start getting depressed again. I try to concentrate on the different things I have to do every night, and though my concentration breaks many times, I picture myself handling situations that “could” come up--some really hard ones. Every day I say a little Prayer, “please help me make it.”


See, here’s what almost no one realizes. With having serious bipolar for years, and my memory is fading, I have to work 3 times harder the other person. I have to keep notes on a legal pad that sits beside me all the time. Sometimes it takes up two full pages. I am involved in meetings every day with about 7 other people in the committee. They rattle of numbers, specific things that happened days ago. I sometimes remember, vaguely, but most of the time I cannot remember who did what the day before.. I make it through the meetings because the majority of the time I can glance at my notes, and assist in planning the future strategies. Then the action starts. Just recently I was told I do an awesome job. BUT what they do not realize it takes every ounce I have to make it through each day. What anyone could do in a few minutes, it takes me twice as long because of the distractions that constantly comes into my mind. By 4 hours, I am pretty much in full swing. I am almost at my game. The problem now is my mind races a hundred miles an hour and I cannot catch up. I, unlike most, have to continually quickly write down the situation I am faced with and prioritize them or I will start on one problem, switch in the middle to another, back and forth so I am not accomplishing anything. About hour 7, the stress level is getting about to get to me. Not only am I still answering the phones, sometimes 3 lines are holding all the time…(Remember I still do not want to talk to anyone) and my mind is getting very tired. I STILL have to sound somewhat fresh and polite. From then on until I shut down the computer and phones, I am about to loose it. Saturday, after a very long week of this charade, I am so mentally drained I am a zombie most of the day. My mind, even though drained, will not shut down. I take a prescribed sleeping pill for this purpose and about 35 minutes, it starts to relax, then the if finally goes into the sleep mode (like your computer).


The people I am in contact with do not see “the real me.” They will see a glimpse every now and then, and ask if everything is ok, I reply in the most normal tone I can muster “No, I’m fine. Just a little mellow today.” The only one I cannot fool (completely) is my wife. She, bless her heart, has this ability to know when I do not have the mask on. I don’t think she understand how bad I am feeling inside, but she knows I am having trouble trying to hide the real me.


So, how do I do it? I MAKE myself. Trust me, I know what you are thinking: I can’t! We will agree one  main problem here and that is, depression breads depression. It “feeds” on itself. When we seem to be at our worst times, we only want to think of the bad things. We dwell, and feed on all the failures we experienced. We do this so often, eventually that is all we remember. I have no doubt I accomplished some pretty good things over the years, but I cannot recall all of them. But I sure can tell you ALL my faults and failures! When we are at that depressed stage, and believe me mine can get all the way into darkness, I do NOT want to be happy. I WANT to be sad. I listen to sad, heartbreaking music. I do not want to do anything, I just want to be left alone, continually being more and more depressed. This my dear friends is where so many suicides come into place. Life as we know is worthless. We want out so bad we can’t help ourselves. No one will miss us. PLEASE do not believe that for a minute! I now have many more grandchildren that I love dearly. I have a cute little daughter I would not have had. I have the best wife in the world who supports me, loves me, and I don’t think she could bare it if I left that way. And so do you! I promise you with every breath I take, you affect someone. Please understand this!


Remember in one of the first couple pages I wrote describing all the symptoms I have or had of Bipolar I? In most days I don’t have all of them. Some days I have most of them, but there is not a day goes by that at least a couple are always present. But sometimes when I absolutely have to, which is very often, I have to put on the mask and hide it. Do I succeed all the time? No. And you won’t either. So what if you have a day  and you cannot force yourself  to put on the mask and live the “other life” that you need to. Don’t beat yourself up the next day. Usually with me, the other day will be a little better. And so will yours. Just keep in mind, like the alcoholic take it one day at a time. You may or may not see it this way, but I Pray everyday, and my faith always helps. We need faith that we will be ok, if we keep pressing on.


An example is I am on Facebook under "Eagle Mind." If you were to read my wall, there is a real a real good chance you could not tell who I am. I write positive things. I post cute quotes. Sometimes I put cool pictures on. I comment or “like” on a lot of friends funny comments. That is me with a mask on. The other live, in one mind.


In summery, sometimes it will not be easy. It will drain you. It will take everything you have to succeed. I know by experience. But you can make it. I hope somehow in this poorly composed special letter to you, I have helped. I hope you read this and at least give it a shot. That my friend, was my only goal. Hang in there, and keep pressing on! You will make it!


I wish you only the best, and I will saying a Prayer for all of us

4 comments:

  1. 8 years since I was diagnosed (Bi polar 1 -rapid cycling) and still taking each day, one at a time :)
    I full intend to read your blogs and find out how you cope with it all.

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  2. Thank you for the comment. I will be thinking of you when I write with the hope and prayer I will say something that might help. I like your attitude…keep hanging in there. "WE" will make it OK? Bless You. :)
    “My Mind”

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  3. Hello there! I totally can relate to this. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar, late February this year. Its still fresh and I have a hard time accepting and coping up(so does my family) Anyways, I was feeling alone and hopeless in this battle, ended up looking for social support and people who I could relate to on the net. I ended up here and was thankful to have read your post. It was really helpful (helped me realized I was not alone) I'll keep on praying for all of us to make it through.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. We help each other because I really needed this today. Bless you, we will make it together!

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