Smokescreen

Sometimes I don’t take my meds to make sure I’m still crazy.

My conclusion? I’m still crazy.

I go through ups and downs as far as believing that my medication works. While I am steadfast in my opinion they they are not currently as effective as they should be, I often have trouble recognising that I need them. Today is a good day, and I know that being medicated is good for me (I’m currently at my doctor’s office to get refills). The past few days, however, were not good days – partially because I was in an emotional slump, and partially because I wasn’t taking my medication.
I remember when I was younger I knew a lady who was bipolar. She would go for months of being fine, mood steady, and then all of a sudden she would go off of her medication and ‘fall off the deep end’. I talked to my mom about it on several occasions, and she told me that this lady was convinced that she was better and didn’t need the medication anymore. Being my genius teenaged self, I judged her. How could she think she was better? Being crazy doesn’t just go away. How stupid was she to think that she could be cured? Did she not see the pattern of her life?
Now, as a mentally ill adult, I’ve learned a few things. Most importantly being not to judge anyone based on their illness. I have also learned that the odds are that she didn’t feel ‘better’ or ‘cured’, she probably felt stagnant. That her medication wasn’t doing what it was supposed to anymore. Anti-psychotics and the like are a very expensive habit to keep up, if she felt that they weren’t helping, why bother shelling out fistfuls of cash to not feel any different?

I am living the same cycle as her, and I have become increasingly aware of the mind games that I try to play with myself. The darkness there inside of me convinces my rational brain that nothing will make me better. This is as good as it gets for me, and no amount of pills will make me feel like I’m a proper, functioning, being.
This is NOT the case.
Today my rational self is winning the argument against the darkness, and I know that punishing myself by going through withdrawals to see if I can feel a difference is harmful to my body and my mind. It’s a very frustrating divide to be caught in, one half of me knowing that I need medical care, and the other half telling me that I’ll be crazy no matter what, so I should just blow the money on something fun.
Withdrawals are not fun. Full on withdrawals are not a place I make it to very often, but when I do, that’s when my demons really start to surface. I am angry, I am irrational, I am impulsive. I shake, sweat, vomit, my vision is blurred, my bones hurt. When I am in the midst of it, these symptoms are a reminder that I am alive, that I CAN feel, and that I DO need medical intervention. Now that I have completed the cycle I will go for a few months of diligently taking my prescriptions, until I again become stagnant, and the demons re-enter the ring.
I wish that by knowing that this happens that I could avoid it, but I can’t.

That’s the beauty of this type of illness – it allows you to see both sides but prohibits your ability to control anything.

I am excited to be the medicated me again. If my doctor ever shows up.

Problem Queen

Today my kids didn’t eat lunch until 3 pm. They had some snacks, and quietly watched TV for most of the day. They played with toys, polished off a jar of pickles, painted each others nails, and behaved very nicely, because they know that today ‘mommy isn’t feeling well’. 

Some days the best I can offer is being alive. 

Sadly for my daughters, they know these days too well. It usually starts with me not sleeping the night before (in spite of being heavily medicated), and by the time they wake up I magically lose the ability to stay awake. I fall asleep on the couch, and every once and a while I will wake up to hear my oldest daughter telling the little one to ‘leave mommy alone, she needs her rest’. Hearing those words come out of her mouth causes me extreme anxiety and sadness, which leads to more sleep. It’s a cycle. My daughter’s are experiencing something that I don’t believe any child should, and even though I know that they aren’t the only one’s who have a mentally ill parent, I still feel like my failure is bigger than anyone else. 

My oldest daughter has a lot of pressure put on her to help me, and on my good days I make it my mission to make it up to her. She didn’t ask to be born to an unstable mother, and she certainly didn’t ask to be a babysitter while her unstable mother is passed out. Soon school will start for her (if the strike action ever ends) and she will be free to act like a little girl should. Play with her friends, not worry about getting her chores done, be free from the restraints that I put on her at home. My little one is also starting school, and I’m hoping that some time away from me will do her some good, although I have an irrational fear of her leaving. This past week’s anxiety has been caused by the knowledge that two of my children are going to school, and I am terrified of being alone. Granted, I will only be alone for about a month (baby H is due in 5 weeks), but having my daughters out of eyesight is something that I have a lot of trouble dealing with. I don’t want them to resent me, but I don’t want them to realise that they are better off without me, either. Instead of making the most of the time that I have with them, I shut down. My bones feel like paper, I can’t keep my eyes open until they go to bed. I don’t feel that the medication I’m taking is working anymore, which also adds to the anxiety. I’ve asked my doctor if we could make changes, but he doesn’t want to do anything new until the baby is born. Until then, everyone has to suffer from the consequences of having a crazy mother. 

The one bonus out of all of this is that my children’s father is very attentive to them. When he comes home from work instead of complaining that I haven’t done anything, he just does. He gets supper ready if I can’t, he bathes our kids and tucks them in with a story every night. He pays them the attention that I currently cannot. They adore him, and the days when he can’t come home from work are devastating for them. He is a caregiver to all of us, and I worry that sooner than later he will see that I am no longer an asset to this family, and that if he’s going to consistently pick up the slack for me, what’s the point of having me? 

My meds don’t work. I hate leaving the house. The light coming in through my curtains is too much, and I get headaches from how bright it is. My daughter always tries to keep them shut for me, Tonight, to make up for not being attentive today, I am going to order take away and rent a movie on the TV that we can snuggle up to. She wants to make us all cocoa, so of course I said yes. I’m hoping that these small times amount to memories of me trying, even if it didn’t seem like much at the time. I hope that as they get older they understand that I have never been intentionally lazy, and that my lack of involvement has never had anything to do with them. They are the only reason that I am still alive, and every day that I can’t prove that to them is devastating. Today is one of those days.

I have hope for tomorrow. Whenever I slip beneath the waves of depression I force myself to think for tomorrow. So maybe to today is a write-off, but I will work that much harder to make tomorrow a day to remember. It doesn’t always work – there are a lot of days that I don’t win the battle; but as long as I continue to wake up I believe that I am winning the war. My biggest hope for my children is that they learn tolerance and patience for people who are ill. No matter the illness, everyone needs care and understanding. By growing up with a mother who is open about mental illness, maybe they will feel more inclined to be kind to everyone, to be caring women who work hard to look after everyone and offer non-judgmental friendship to all. They are beautiful little girls, and I know that even though some days I am just alive, I am helping them to become wonderful women. 

Soon I will have my third (and final) daughter, and even though I have discussed how certain medications interact with pregnancy with my doctor, I am still terrified that my emotional state has damaged her before she’s had the chance to be damaged by me outside of the uterus. Only time will tell what is in store for any of my girls, but I know that the little one will be well taken care of by the big ones. They love her so much already. When I think about these things I get so angry at myself, why aren’t they enough to get off of my ass and do something? They are, of course they are. Some days I am not as strong as my demons are. It’s a cycle. 

It’s not too late to make up for today – writing this was a start. I have to sit upright to be at the computer. I am going to make a blanket and pillow nest with my girls and finally give in to watching Frozen. It is the actual, very least that I can do. 

I’m totally interesting, right!?

With any relocation comes introductions, and at the old blog site I never really introduced myself in the first place! It’s a comfort-zone thing for me, I don’t like wearing name tags or having to tell strangers what colour my toothbrush is, team-building is the bane of my existence. However, in the spirit of making positive changes, I will tell you about me as best I can in the hopes that you will be interested enough to come back for future posts! Be gentle with me, I’m nervous…

  • My name is Cheantelle, my toothbrush is green, and I live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. (deep breath) 
  • I am a mother to three daughters, L (6), P (3), and H (due in October). For privacy’s sake, I will never refer to them by their whole names. I am constantly on the border of being a good mom and being a full-blown helicopter parent. I try not to be too crazy, but sometimes it can’t be avoided! (My husband says it can)
  • I have been with my husband since 2005, and we’ve decided to round it off to an even 10 years before we decide if we should lease newer models. 
  • I am a Navy wife!
  • I live with Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, Anxiety, and insomnia. I have also been classified as a psychopath. Not the Patrick Bateman kind, I’m pretty boring in that department. Mental health education and awareness are very important to me, and I will spend a lot of time blogging about various topics that live under that umbrella. 
  • I also live with my giant-breed dog called Murphy! He’s a pure bred Newfoundlander with smelly breath, a snoring problem, and a giant heart. Sometimes I let him sit on the couch with me when no one else is home.
  • I love cooking, baking, CFL football, classic literature, and world history. 
  • I have two university degrees, Art History (Minor: Latin), and Political Economy (Minor: Labour Studies). I also have diplomas in Accounting, Archaeology, and French History. I am a permanent student (obviously) and also attended Nursing school, although I realised I was too crazy to be a nurse, so I don’t practice. 
  • I never officially graduated high school. (High school equivalent and diplomas were all achieved online). 
  • I speak English and French fluently, and am working on German.
  • In 2012 I died from an infection that I ignored, thankfully my death occurred at the hospital, and a wonderful doctor called Simon restarted my heart. This and the events surrounding it are what caused PTSD and worsened my general mental health.
  • I have more tattoos than I can count! I regret none of them. 
  • I LOVE Star Trek, Doctor Who, Firefly, Sherlock, and Hannibal. I don’t feel like a fangirl, but I probably am one. 
  • I collect high heels and fancy makeup, but I hardly wear either of them.
  • I play the bagpipes.
  • My life-long goal has always been to have an article published in Vanity Fair. 

I feel like that’s a pretty solid introduction, don’t you? If I’ve left anything out, or you have any questions as you get to know me, I will answer all of them. My heart and mind can go to some pretty dark places sometimes, and keeping a blog helps me to keep a good perspective on what is real and what is being caused by my mental illness. I hope that involving myself in this bigger blogging community will introduce me to more people eager to discuss mental illness, as well as help me to add to my knowledge base on various subjects. 

Now let’s get out there and all be excellent to each other! 

CJ

 

When To Hug Someone: Life’s Greatest Mystery

You Monsters Are People.

Knowing when to hug someone is a question that has plagued humanity since its very inception. Confounded cave-people deduced how to trap and eat their monkey brethren right away but would have to wait thousands of years before even the most basic hugging etiquette could be established. Misplaced hugs have torn apart families, ruined lives and even caused wars (probably World War I). Despite thousands of years of struggling with hug protocol, scientists have yet to unlock its deepest most powerful mysteries.

There was a period in my life where I had friends and then hugged them until we were all so tired from embracing that we had to take lengthy naps. They were like platonic orgies. It was a perfect world where everything made sense and nobody felt bad about themselves or each other. We drank, talked and warmly embraced each other deep into the morning hours. Through perseverance and…

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I’m moving!

TheSageMum is packing up!

I’m relocating my blog to WordPress, where I eventually plan to own my own domain name. I will continue to post to Blogspot as well as WordPress for a few more weeks, until everyone gets used to the change! You can still find me (for now) at: thesagemum.blogspot.com

Thanks in advance for everyone’s support! I’m looking forward to bigger and better things for my blog, and I think that this will be a good start!

 

CJ