4.25.2011

Could you or someone you love be living with bi-polar/depression?

It's easiest to write when I'm at a high or a low with my depression/bipolar symptoms, because thoughts are more easily distinguishable and words are easier to come by.

When I'm at a low, characteristics that I notice are:
-Lack of ability to make eye contact
-Feeling panicky or scared of social situations
-Lack of will to communicate with others
-Feeling down (obviously, I suppose)
-Negative thoughts including:
-Feelings of worthlessness
-Suicidal thoughts out of no where
-Unexplained guilty feelings
-Loss of motivation to do seemingly 'fun' activities
-Unable to connect
-Not wanting to leave the house, but feeling trapped when I stay
-Unable to make phone calls
-Feeling unable to be alone, but not wanting to be with other people
-A feeling of dread in the pit of the stomach
-Unable to express feelings verbally in a healthy way
-No self worth/confidence or very little
-Lack of motivation or feeling 'out of control'
-Possible extreme negative emotions/outbursts including throwing 'fits' if things are not going my way (throwing a project I've been working on or shouting irrationally)

Mine is rather manic though- as I can go from feeling this way (above) to feeling a very fleeting 'high' within a few minutes/hours back to the low again.

Symptoms of a 'high':
-Playfulness
-Feeling content and like I have a handle on things
-Planning on doing lots of different fun activities without organization or planning
-Feeling lovey dovey and finding communication less inhibited
-Not remembering 'lows' or the feelings associated
-Ability to organize thoughts better and less likely to have outbursts of anger
-Unable to process other's negative feelings or emotions without falling out of the high stage
-Unable to deal with other's 'downs' or passive emotions


Although lows are dangerous, high's can be even more difficult to deal with, since any amount of harshness or negativity can almost IMMEDIATELY throw me into a low outburst/temper. It's hard on my husband when I am in a high moment because he has to be careful what he says as I can so easily take things the wrong way- dramatically.

Finally, there is a medium.

It is a mixture of both high and lows, but not as dramatic. It's easier to deal with positive and negative emotions from others, organizing thoughts is practically simple, and it's a lot less worrisome for those around me. I feel the ability to communicate well, to socialize, to deal with challenges and to express myself without shouting or shutting down.

Both highs and lows come with an extreme need to artistically express myself. This could involve painting/writing/crafting or even having a nature adventure. When I am at a medium I almost do not have any or very little artistic needs- because I can express myself healthily.

For some, having a high or low can be much more dangerous for expressing themselves. People can feel the need to steal things, to build things, to use abilities/gifts (ALMOST COMPULSIVELY), lie, self-harm (cutting-burning-even smoking and drinking might fit into the self harm category), drink excessively, smoke (when they don't normally), pinch skin, punch walls, hurt things/people, scream, run away, do drugs to compensate for the emotional turmoil bi-polar feelings cause, say extremely rude/hurtful things, or anything that doesn't seem to be characteristic of them or how they were raised.

Bi-polar depression is almost impossible to process as a teenager. Most people with it are not diagnosed in time to learn to cope with it naturally or to fight off the highs/lows with their mind (it is possible to think your way around some of the symptoms and outbursts involved). A lot of times parents have not heard or seen bi-polar depression and they don't know what to say, which can lead to even worse issues for the parents/child to deal with.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to ask questions or post comments. Currently I am unmedicated and dealing pretty well with the high's and lows through prayer, exercise, journaling, and having a great support system.

*If you think your loved one has bi-polar depression, it's important to know that you are not alone in dealing with this- and there are many resources to help.

*Being Bi-polar, even manic- is not an excuse for abuse, and if you are being physically abused by someone with this mental disease you need to get away from the situation until they are able to recognize their problem and get the help they need. You cannot help them if you are being a victim of their abuse- you only enable them to continue coping negatively with the emotions they are dealing with.

*If you are worried that you might have bi-polar depression, manic or otherwise, you need to seek a doctor's help as soon as you can- it is a serious mental issue that you MAY need to be medicated for to deal with.

*Medications do not work for everyone, so it's important if you start taking a medication to regularly see a therapist or counselor that can keep track of your emotions with you and help you decide if it's working. Many times you will think it is not helping when those around you can see that it is making a difference in your mood/actions that you are unaware of. It's important to have a support system to help you through this.

*Not everyone will need to be medicated for bi-polar depression. There are tactics and mental exercises you can do to help yourself deal with the emotions and cope with them too. It is important to have a support system that understands your highs and lows and what you are going through- so they can recognize when you are 'not yourself'.

Thanks for reading. God bless.

4.09.2011

When Your Child Is Not Well, You Are Not Well.

I have found that truer words than this have never been spoken.

"When your child is not well, you are not well."

The toll that having a loved one sick (Parent, child, sibling) is immense. It is more than mental, which is difficult enough... It's physical. Painful. It makes you sick, whether or not you are sick. It compromises your immune system, your morale, and at some moments... Possibly even your sanity.

Going through this second pregnancy the fear is constantly there that this baby will not be completely healthy and may have struggles with eating, or breathing, like Judah had. That terrifies me, but thank goodness I have God in my life. I lay it down and give it to Him. He knows how much I can handle, far better and truer than I.

While Judah was sick, I didn't take care of myself. I didn't go to the doctor for my checkup after having a baby- which could have put me in a huge bad spot, but I didn't care. I didn't want to leave the house, I didn't want to do anything until my baby was happy, healthy. Until he was better.

I didn't take vitamins or eat healthy foods, but I focused on getting Judah to eat as much and as often as I could.

My body suffered tremendously, but until now, I really had no idea what I was doing to myself. After you have a baby, you need to replenish the supplies your body used to care for and grow the baby. Calcium, vitamins, minerals. Water. Without building these back, any pregnancy that happens will break your body down harder than the first time.

I can't believe how true it is, now that I am experiencing the second pregnancy after not replenishing the supplies I needed to. It's been far more painful, not as fun- (I'm finally feeling better though), and exhausting. I find myself needing more sleep than I did with Judah, more nutrients and far more calcium. My bones ache, my teeth even.

The point of this isn't to complain, I've gotten through the worst, and taking my vitamins and extra calcium is helping tremendously... But the point is to say.. If a parent could get so sick over their child being unwell..

How does God feel when we aren't well?

Leaning over us, wishing He could fix the problem that only we have the key to. Whispering to us how much He loves us. I bet it makes him ache- to see us go through something He wishes He could prevent.

As much as I loved Judah, to become physically ill for him to be healthy and happy... God loves us deeper and more passionately than that.

And here we are, stuck in this round of self pity.. While He wants to hold us in His harms and Kiss our heads, tell us... "I love you. I want you to be happy. Rest in My arms."

As much as I love my son.. God looks at You far more passionately and weeps over your pain.

I know He had to have wept over His Son's pain. He was helpless then too- to watch His son struggle for His last breath of human air.

Can you imagine for one moment how deeply God loves you? He would move mountains to help you, but it's you who have the power to rest in His arms. To find comfort in His words. To find peace in His love. He is helpless until you give him everything. Not just some things, not just your job or house... But your fears, your pains, your aches.

I hope this helps you in some small way. God loves you- and you are beautiful in every way.

4.03.2011

Practically pleasant in every way!

It seems like the sunny spring weather gave me a second life. I finally have felt the urge/ability to get up and get things going on a rather daily basis, which is unusual for me as of late.

On Saturday (the Second of April), we got our ultrasound done at a clinic. Nick and I were both dreaming of a girl, but we got our second boy! Slightly disappointed for a moment, but we immediately celebrated the new boy by going out and getting his 'coming home' outfit and a few cute onsies.

We were really worried that coming up with a name would be difficult, but Nick came home from work and we immediately decided on Gabriel, or little Gabe for short.

My confession on this is that I had wanted to name Judah that name, and then for his middle name we decided, but that went out the window. For some reason Nick felt really attached to Gabriel this time, so Gabe it is!

I think Gabe and Judah will be great together- and we won't be trying for our girl for at least 5 years or longer (as of right now).

The pictures and ultrasound are all available via facebook, and we are happy to share our happiness:).

God Bless
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