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Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know I’m back here on my obscure little blog. Been a long time..

I hope you’re doing alright today…if not, please get help.

Why? Because you’re precious and you’re worth it.

Peace of Mind, Heart, Soul & Spirit
Love, Nana

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Hi Everyone!  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but I’m back..it will take me a bit of time to get everything updated, but I really missed posting my little blurbs.

Much Love, Nana xo

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“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

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I’ve got only one more day of steroid treatment. In pill form. I still have to use an inhaler. My GP is monitoring me. I have to take two puffs, twice a day, with a new inhaler, which has a higher dose of steroid than my “as needed” one. It hasn’t been this bad since 1992, when my daughter and I had an apartment right around the corner from where I’m presently living, but the steroids do take away the deep wheezing and desperate breathing. What’s one more drug. Between steroids, thyroid pills, and all my psych meds, I’m having a ball! I was one of those people you had to beg to take an aspirin. Now I keep a bottle on my night stand.

There’s so much fauna and flora, here, I have friends that are in constant battle against allergens, and living at the edge of the Pacific keeps things damp. I’ve battled pneumonia twice in my life. Had to spend a month in bed and celebrated my 13th birthday with mustard plaster on my chest. The kids in the neighborhood felt sorry for me. They pooled their allowance money and bought me a bouquet of red roses and a box of Whitman’s chocolates. I remember them standing around my bed as I read the big card they all signed. They made me feel missed and loved.

Steroids are known to do strange things. For one, I’ll be sitting down and all of a sudden, their side effects just take me by surprise… my body is still, but my insides feel like they’re scrambling all over the place. I can’t really explain it, but it’s quite disturbing. It comes and goes. Haven’t felt it yet today. And then there are fits of anger. Actually, little spurts. I just throw things, but carefully. And no dishes anymore.

A few days ago, my husband called me from the grocery store, asking if there was anything else I wanted for dinner. The scrambling inside feeling came over me, along with the realization that it was time for my afternoon dose of a steroid pill, and I just threw the phone down and told him I didn’t want to think about food and what he needed to pick up at the store. Poor guy. My daughter asked me, “Don’t they make you crabby?” Oh yes, but at least I can breathe through my nose!

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My father will be turning 96 in a few weeks. After living with us for almost three years, in 2009, he moved up north to his final residence, spending his days, in a 24/7 assisted living building, at a VA home, which is around a three hour drive from where I live.

We talk every day. He calls me from a phone in the hall. They have no private phones. It’s pretty bare bones there. I can’t get him a computer or even show him things online on my laptop when we visit except photos because only certain staff members have online access. At times, my father gets so bored, it almost drives him mad. Today, he shared some sad news. News that happens quite a bit, in the ward that he’s on. A, man, two doors down from his room passed away. In the morning. In his bed.

“You know, honey, you get to live as long as I have, and all your friends on the outside are gone. And just when I get to know this guy, and establish a real friendship, he dies. I just can’t believe it. I just talked to him yesterday, and now he’s gone.”

I spent the next hour grabbing words that would help him. All I could do was let him know that I understand. That I have friends who have died. With no warning. That I can probably count my closest living friends on one hand.

Death is something that a lot of people with mental health issues think of every day. Those with mental illness and those who are friends and loved ones. Hearing of the passing of someone I may not have known very well, or for a long time, can still be something that brings me to my knees. It’s just that way, for me. I don’t need to describe any further how it feels. Or how we process it. It’s one of the great (and hardest to accept) mysteries of the human experience.

I’m grateful that lately, when the thought of death comes,( pretty much on a daily basis) I’m able to let it sit before me for a moment so I can acknowledge it, then it moves on. Sometimes by itself, or with a little help from a power greater than myself.

Acceptance is usually the tool I use to control my sometimes desperate fear of death. In an ironic way, acceptance keeps me from slipping back into psychosis, which hasn’t come around for almost four and a half years.

My husband and I have lost a lot of friends and some family members, all in a span of a couple of years. It hurts. I grieve, and I accept. And somehow, I keep hanging on.

Peace of Mind & Love to You,
Nana

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February begins another month of a debilitating depression that has pretty much put me in such a rut, my life is quite limited in terms of what I can and cannot do, and what I want and don’t want to do. It’s a minute by minute, footstep by footstep, walk through each day. I’m dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety. It comes from a court case that’s been dragging on for almost ten months, and will hopefully be done by the end of March. For almost a whole year, my life has been a series of stops and starts, as far as anxiety goes, and I’ve become quite OCD, as well.

After my diagnosis, in 2000, I spent four and a half years in and out of court, trying to get Social Security Disability. It really was a harrowing experience. They recorded the depositions of both myself and my psychiatrist. When it came time for me, I began to have a panic attack, and they had to stop recording, which made it even worse. And it was all for naught. A truly miserable experience.

My heart goes out to anyone who has to battle the courts to receive disability benefits. It’s an awful struggle, and to anyone who has filed a claim and is going through such a hassle, I wish you all the best and hope you win!!

I feel it’s not good to hold back the negatives. By expressing them, it tends to clear up the clutter in my mind, and helps me to accept what I can’t change, get going on what I can change, and be grateful for what I have. I also think I’m doing alright with acceptance. Accepting that when it’s a dark period, it will pass, because the one constant is change. It’s what I count on. Change. Dark and light – ebb and flow.

In order to ward off psychosis, which thankfully hasn’t come around to visit in many years, I’ve learned to express myself in what I feel are more effective ways, with my family, friends, and even people I meet in public places. We all have times when we feel that we’re not noticed, appreciated, or really loved. Life isn’t a popularity contest, and now that I’ve been around a few years, I don’t spin out about it.

After spending a lot of time alone, and online, I’ve realized that I’m pretty naive in some ways. When I’m not out and about, I forget how cruel life can be, and how I need to pay more attention to being aware of things not always being what they seem. I still have a tendency to think like a child. And I’m not talking about being childlike, which, to me, is a good thing.

Just recently, I’ve come to realize that I must work to create more effective boundaries, and keep watch over myself so I don’t get too far away from my own program of care. I can’t change the world, but I can change myself.

I have friends who pass no judgement on me, especially with my mental issues. And my support group. I can’t sing their praises enough! And I have found people here, in this mental health community who have been very kind to me. And I want to thank them for communicating with me, being who they are and doing what they do, to bring about positive changes for those affected by mental illness.

Being home day in and day out is isolating and sometimes it’s very lonely. But it all depends on my attitude. If I can just break the day down, and just do one or two things, it’s o.k.. I don’t know when I’ll be out of this phase. Hopefully, by spring.

I’ve got work to do. I’ve got to sort through everything I own, look at it, figure out if I truly need it, and if not, discard or give it away. That’s been hanging over my head (because I don’t want to do it!) for months, but I’ve finally put a big dent in it and it feels good. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s become a necessary thing for me to do, if I’m going to bring about a sense of balance in my life. And I’ve got to travel lighter!

Right now, some of my family members are going through many changes, which I can’t share here. But we are all doing what we can to hold each other up and get through our issues. You do what you can and keep going.

I haven’t suffered all these years, and come this far, to want to check out, which in my case, means, sitting on the sideline and drowning in my sorrow. I feel sorrow every day. But I’m so grateful I can feel it. Because that makes me human. That makes me connect. I’ve got people who love me and I need to love them back. I know, without a doubt, that I’ve got a choice.

Today, I choose love. Today, I choose life, however difficult and heart breaking it might be. Breaking it down, just to one day.

So, I’ll be grateful, in some measure, because I don’t know how I keep coming back; to be willing to show up one more day. I truly believe there is a power greater than myself. I’m just a drop of water in the sea.

I bought a chandelier, painted my furniture white, bought new white covers for my sofa. And dammit, I’m going to put that chandelier up, sit at my table with a cup of tea, look around at my new digs, and tell myself I’m doing alright, in my shabby chicness.

Once the legal issue I’m dealing with has sorted itself out, I’ll be more at peace. It’s not the end of the world.

I’ll just roll with it.

Peace of Mind & Love,
Nana

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For the first time in months, it’s been raining. It just stopped about an hour ago. I’m beginning to wonder what’s going on in the sky. Is the weather really being manipulated? All I know is that where I live, we really need rain.

It’s been years since I remember a drought, but there’s one I remember in the 80’s that was pretty surreal. We were only allowed a certain amount of gallons every day, and it really got me to thinking about how precious water is. I can’t help but think about water a lot during my waking hours, as I take quite a bit of medication these days. When my mason jar by my bed isn’t full, I rush to the kitchen to fill it.

As a kid, I’d was either swimming in water, bathing in water, or drinking water, without a thought as to what might be in it. Now, I’m totally OCD with water. Even bottled water is something that makes me nervous. There are certain types of plastic that emit gases that are supposedly so harmful, some say they can cause cancer.

Water is life. And in order to sustain life, we need water. What’s life going to be like for my grandkid in the next twenty years? I get kind of freaked out.

The rain. I love it. I love the sound, the feeling of it on my hair and skin. The smell of the ground and the flora after a good rain. All the beautiful things that come from the earth because of it.

I think I’d better go for a walk later. The ocean is only a ten minute walk from me. Here I am thinking about water and I haven’t even gone to the beach in six weeks.

Agoraphobia has got me so bad, I don’t even want to walk out the door and enjoy what’s outside. It’s sad, but it will pass. I’ll go out again.

I remember the feeling of running outside in the summer, stretching my little arms out, lifting my head and opening up my mouth to catch a drink of water.

Water is life. And I’m pretty sure it’s going to rain again.

Peace of Mind & Love to You..

Nana

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I’ve only published 48 posts here, and I don’t think I’ve posted more than once in a day.

I’m probably drawn back to the screen because I’m having an almost out of body experience right now. I’m so uncomfortable and exhausted being sick, and I have to listen to the new next door neighbor get settled in their master bedroom, which is only inches from my own. Every bang against the wall makes my heart jump.

I’ve had it up to here (as I’ve said quite a few times by now) with living in a place that feels more like a cage than a home. It was only supposed to be six months, but it’s turned into 5 years (next month). I guess that’s what I get for not wanting to go back to Ventura county until I found a place to live, and since my grandchild asked so sweetly “Nana, can we get this one?”, what else could I do, but sign on the dotted line. My grown children would never have taken this place. They like their privacy and that’s something you don’t get here. At least not in this part of town. The only great thing about living here is the ten minute walk to the beach, which is glorious. But I can’t remember the last time I did that. Very sad.

I knew I’d want to move after a year. But what’s a year? Twelve months. And now, I’m paying for staying with my health, which is going down the tubes so fast, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get it back. I really think there is damage that can’t be repaired. My anxious mind is doing overtime.

I’m looking up at the previous paragraphs, and notice that they’ve all have started with the word “I”. That’s not good. I think that means that I’m really not doing too well.

I’m (there I go again!) just sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So, it’s time to think of the good things. Things that make me smile. It’s difficult to do, when you’re feeling lousy, but the mind can help one recover, just as much as medicine, and sometimes it’s the best remedy!

O. K. So, the next thing to do, is get out of bed, sponge bathe, dress, and get to the doctor’s, right? So simple…

Right!

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I have not been well for almost ten days. If you read my blog post, “Hotel Whatever”, I pointed out that I was at a hotel in the L.A. area, and couldn’t do much of anything, except have lunch with a good friend, because I have an upper respiratory mess going on. So, except for a three hour luncheon with my friend, I spent five days in bed in a hotel with my laptop to keep me from climbing the walls.

Today, it’s getting worse. Antibiotics failed. Prescription cough syrup only goes so far, and I had a horrible asthma attack about an hour and a half ago. If I use my inhaler too much, it can exacerbate the problem, so I held off on using it this morning, as I struggled to breathe.

My immune system is almost non-existent. Anyone who has severe asthma will understand how frightening it is to be in the throes of a full-on, brutal attack. Every breath is a struggle. You feel as if someone is sitting on your chest. You can hardly talk, and when you do, the terrible wheezing comes out which scares you even more.

Most people who have asthma are aware that an asthma attack can be fatal. That factor alone sent me into a mild panic. I drank almost three cups of black coffee to open up my bronchial tubes, so I’m really amped up right now. My body is exhausted but my brain is swimming in caffeine.

Today, as I was reading about asthma, I noticed an ad for a medication that states (at the top,not below in print you’d need a telescope to see) all the great things it does for your asthma, but it also warns that taking the medication can lead to death.

It’s awful. Just as I wouldn’t wish a mental illness on anyone, I wouldn’t wish asthma either

Off to the doc’s at 1:00PM.

Monday, Monday.

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There’s a new dog in town. Actually, the new dog shares a common wall with me. I don’t remember if I mentioned that there are thirty units in our complex. We have townhouses, studios, as well as one and two bedroom flats.

I will be short with this post, because I have to pack for the 360 mile drive to L.A. My husband is recording and gigging in Hollywood, and we’re staying for six nights, in Agoura, where we used to live.

Where was I? Oh, yes..the new dog. The new dog and I haven’t met yet. My husband describes him as a big, chunky, white lab. He has a very hearty bark. I’ve heard it all day long, as his mom & dad move in. They also have a baby. And that baby has great lungs. The dog’s barking and the baby’s crying, as I write. I can just imagine the evenings around here. The sounds coming through the walls, especially as I try to wind down in my bedroom. I wonder if the new dog’s barking is bugging the pit bull yet. I’m glad I can go downstairs without crossing the threshold of their respective abodes.

Before I sign off, I want to acknowledge that I’m at the end of my rope with all the dogs here, in this space that has too many people, as well as too many dogs! If you read one of my previous blogs about Chamber, the pit bull, you’ll know where I’m coming from.

As my fear of being accosted on the concrete staircase leading to my front door escalates, and our new “other side of the wall” neighbor, whose name my husband forgets, gets used to his new surroundings, I’m very happy to be driving 360 miles to L.A. tomorrow. We’ll be staying in a hotel that feels like a second home to me, near our former residence in Ventura county. AND THERE WILL BE NO BIG DOGS FOR ME TO FREAK OUT ABOUT!

I’LL STATE AGAIN..I love all animals, but I need a vacation from canines. Six days will be just fine.

But my little Sammie? My precious cha-weiner? My heart is breaking for having to leave her with a friend!

So, I guess I’m Happy/Sad right now. Bipolar 1. Generalized Anxiety. Agoraphobia. What more can I say?

Thank God for my mood stabilizer and my anxiety meds!

Peace of Mind & Love to You,

Nana

My Goal

Through blogging, I want to share my story, life experiences & give hope to others struggling with mental health issues & the stigma that goes with it.

Although diagnosed late in life, and with many challenges through the years, I'm finally living life fully and gratefully, with my grandchild, family & friends! I hope to make some new friends here.

 

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Resources

Feeling suicidal? Please dial 911 or contact the following:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline toll free:
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Veteran's Suicide Prevention Hotline:
1-800-273-8255

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Psych Central
Mayo Clinic
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Disclaimer

Information presented on this blog is not a substitution for professional medical care and a treatment program. If you or a loved one has bipolar disorder or any other mental illness or mental health issue, please immediately seek the services and advise of a medical doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment.