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A Symbol of Hope ~ The Butterfly

A SYMBOL OF HOPE

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory and beauty
belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed…
We feel lucky to have seen it.

— Author Unknown

Butterflies have always been thought of by me as a symbol of great hope. This photo, which was recently posted by a new Facebook friend of mine, reminded me of that fact. With butterflies now fresh in my mind, and eager to share the butterfly as a symbol for my readers, I am including this image because I feel it best reflects the unlimited potential that is available to all of us.

This image can serve for us all as a reminder of our unlimited potential through the love and support we can give to one another each day – to the best of our ability. Reconnecting with the butterfly is one step toward reclaiming happiness. I am setting out to free myself from depression and negative thinking. I will do all that is necessary. I will do what is healthy so that like the butterfly I can gracefully maneuver my way through the rest of my days.


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Change is Painful

But What About the Agony that Results Without it?

 

 

 

“An old error is always more popular than a new truth”     –German Proverb

I often feel uncomfortable with the “new” because it causes me to reach out and expand my vision. This may at times, be painful and I don’t like the pain that comes with change.

My previous unhealthy behaviors and actions seemed cozy and gave me a curious kind of comfort and reassurance. I turned to them when I was lonely or anxious or hopeless. I was used to them and didn’t need to do much to keep on going in the same old ways. I’m feeling the need to turn to some of those old ways today, due to pressures, stress and disconnection from my family and some friends.

But today, suddenly I saw the error of my old ways. Discovery, disgrace, previous suits for damages, my partner’s incarcerations, my resultant isolation, despair, the loss of two previous partners, the contempt of our friends – are all the consequences of the coziness of those old ways. Yes, I may have awakened to find that my past behaviors ruined my life. I once again reach out to the hard process of change.

Making difficult changes is painful, but that pain is far preferable to the agony caused by the inevitable outcome of a return to the past behaviors that come from addiction and neglect of my bipolar disorder. I am reaching and embracing the new even though it is sometimes painful for a while.

Gemini ~ Naturally Bipolar and Anxious

 

I am bipolar and within the last year or so, have begun to experience severe anxiety and panic. In late December I had meltdown of incredible proportions. The extreme anxiety disorder is new for me; haunting me for a little more than a year now. Anxiety so strong, and triggered by the actions of my partner. For several years, he has promulgated a new behavior, “Babe, I’m just running up to the 7 Eleven to get some cigarettes; I’ll be back in twenty-five minutes.” As he walks out the door I always say, “Take your cell phone with you,” which he already has in hand.

That promised “twenty-five minutes” turns out to be days that he is away from home, not answering his cell phone or even calling. I refer to it as my partner “going missing.” My reaction begins with worry. Then I may happen upon something on the computer exposing the person he would be meeting and what they would be doing. A friend of mine has a husband who has nearly same behavior. She calls this type a “player” explaining that these types of men want to still run the streets, cheat on their partners or spouses. The “player” behavior is incongruent with the committed relationship my partner and I have. This friend’s advice to me was to be proud that it is me he eventually comes home to, giving me parts of himself his hookups never see. To this I say, “bullshit.”

Player my ass. My worry then turns to anger. I can’t sleep. I start calling my partner’s phone over and over. He calls it “psycho dialing.” The anger then turns to tears. I cry as I wander through the house, “What did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong.” My speech becomes so slurred and difficult to understand that it has been described as though I had a stroke. Lately, I noticed a pain in my chest along with a rapid and what I describe as “fluttering” heart. Irritability for me is a sign that I am swinging toward the maniacal part of bipolar. Then deep depression, laced with that wicked anxiety and panic. I began taking a prescribed anti-anxiety medication called Ativan. I was eating it like candy.

This most recent December meltdown grew so out of control I felt as though the only way to be free of it would come through ending my life. I have been in this cold place before and placed a call to the behavioral health crisis line associated with my health insurance. I was referred to the Maricopa County Hospital. There I was checked out and cleared medically and it was suggested I sign myself in to St. Luke’s Behavioral Health. I’ve been there before too. St. Luke’s worked for me before. Back in 2005 I nearly ended my life with a mantra in my head, “I hate my life, I hate my life.” After two months they helped me see the world differently and I left there with a new mantra, “I love my life, I love my life!” I felt safe returning there.

I worked hard over the next three weeks, finding that each time I told my story, I felt more at ease and could see the flaws in my relationship. I realize the degree of my co-dependency and made a commitment to attend CODA (a twelve step group for co-dependents). I was placed under the care of the psychiatrist who followed me last admission. He wanted to take my treatment further than I agreed to last time. In my first admission, he suggested ECT (Electro Convulsive Treatment.) I refused it then because of the loss of one’s short-term memory as a side effect of the treatment. But this time felt different to me and I agreed to begin the treatment.

Finally. Something is Changing. I’m Beginning to Feel Better!

 

 

 

Finally. Something is Changing. I’m Beginning to Feel Better!

 

In the last couple of days, I really feel as though I’m wriggling free of this constant, lingering depression that I’ve been trying to cope with. Everyone around me, close to me, has seen my mood swings, my apathetic attitude, and the inability to summon up any motivation or initiative. I’m feeling better, and that’s telling me that this round may soon be over.

 

It’s important to me though to know what I’m doing that’s helping. I know that my interactions with Christopher have been much healthier – on both our parts. He’s not overreacting to what I tell him, and he’s also trying very hard to speak more quietly and not in his usual bullying way. He’s also been more cognizant of his expressions of love to me. His words are not at all hollow sounding or out of routine, but rather filled with tenderness accompanied by his touch. Christopher has also been lightening up some more stressful moments through humor, and that has helped me as well. I really have to hand it to him for his efforts. I’m very proud of him.

 

And as for my tools that I’ve been using, I have to say that I am communicating my feelings more. Not just to Christopher, but also to Vickie, Ralph, Joel and even Deshawn. I feel I have some true allies in my little group, and I feel loved. I believe also that having had Deshawn living with us for ten days contributed to my stress, anxiety and to the depressive state I was in. I don’t feel I am capable the way I used to be with Nathan, to raise a special needs kid. It took so much out of me while he was here. I don’t feel I did a very good job either. I forgot to make sure he took his meds one morning and he had a really bad day at school. Everyday at school was pretty bad while he was here. Deshawn also started some new behaviors which we weren’t prepared for. The first was a series of a very bad temper tantrum. He also began just “taking off”. He’d get angry with either Christopher or me, and then just leave. He wouldn’t always leave through the front door either. Sometimes, he’d sneak out the patio doors and jump the privacy wall.

 

So in looking at the contributing factors that helped begin some lifting of the depression, Christopher has made some very important strides in relating with me and communicating with me much more appropriately. I was able to complete the respite for Vickie, and felt a lot of relief with Deshawn back in his own apartment. I now know not to commit to something like that, especially for such a long period of time. I’m not the same person I used to be. I have some health and emotional challenges that require me to cope a little bit differently. Finally, just having some healthy people loving me and supporting me, gives me a platform to talk about all my feelings. By talking about them my feelings don’t seem as scary and I feel as though I’m not alone.