Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

Pure Rage February 5, 2013

J is at therapy right now. She has bounced so much lately between mania and depression, I am afraid he will change her meds again.  The mania can sometimes be aggressive anger in the form of a sharp tongue and aggressive mannerism that she usually does not show. A few times in the last week her mania has been rage. There is no other word for it. Pure, on the edge, rage. And it really scares me.

I’m scared for her, not for me. I’ve never had her hurt me or even try to. I’m more worried that she will turn it on some total stranger or someone at work. Not that I think she is a danger; not at all. J has always swallowed her anger, or turned it inward. But the rage she feels now comes out of nowhere and is usually very out of proportion to what it should be. For example, she stopped at the store to buy chap-stick.  She couldn’t find her favorite kind, so she asked the clerk. When the clerk told her they were out, she was filled with rage and had to turn and walk out of the store. She couldn’t even speak she was so enraged. Now that the anger is coming out more, I hope the therapist works with her on how to express anger in a healthy way.

 

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I Knew, the Way a Mother Knows January 30, 2013

It’s back. Out of the blue, for no reason, it’s back. What is “it”?, you ask? The bipolar demon my daughter fights every day.

We had a good run. It has been a nice couple of weeks. J attempted suicide right before Christmas and struggled her way through the holidays. She began intensive therapy in January, and that seemed to help some. From the second week of January until about a week ago, things were as even and normal as we have around here. I began to notice some mania last week…nothing over the top, but clear indicators.  We talked about it, she agreed and saw the signs. She even began making really good choice to counteract the mania, such as going to bed on time, eating better, exercising, and of course, taking her meds. None of it was enough.

When I found out J got her nose pierced after telling me she was going out for coffee, I knew. Deep in my heart, the way a mother knows, I knew.

She refilled the Xanax prescription, but gave it to me.  I keep the bottle hidden but give them to her when she needs help with her high levels of anxiety. She started having panic attacks yesterday. No reason, you know, that’s how those sneaky little devils are…they come out of nowhere and bite you in the ass. Today was even worse; she was at work and had multiple panic attacks,  a severe migraine, a crying jag that she couldn’t shake, and an inability to maintain. I called hubs and had him bring her some Xanax to get her through the day. Coming home was not an option for her today, so she stuck it out.

She is now asleep. I’m pretty sure that bitch Depression has her in its nasty grip. We are back on the roller coaster ride again.

 

Betty Sue and the Explosion of Colors: A Bipolar Fairy Tale January 13, 2013

Once upon a time there lived a little girl named Betty Sue. Betty Sue lived in a small village in the Kingdom of Nomia with her mother and father. Her parents ran a small shop on the corner of King Street and Prince Way. There they made an honest and decent living selling milk, hand-woven cloth, peacock feathers, and other necessities of life.

Betty Sue was a lucky girl. Her parents loved her and gave her all the things a young girl desired. She had her own bedroom decorated in black and white zebra stripes with accents of pink and green. She wore the latest fashionable clothing. Betty Sue even had her very own unicorn with a sparkly pink horn! Betty Sue’s parents doted on her and made sure she had all she would ever need.

Betty Sue was incredibly happy and energetic.  She excelled in her studies (she did very well in Dragons 101), she dominated in jousting, sang like an angel, delighted in eating a hearty meal, and glided through life with seemingly little effort. Most importantly, when Betty Sue looked at the world with her big green eyes, she saw the world in an exciting and vivid explosion of color that no one else seemed to see. It was amazing, exciting and beautiful!

Those times were the happiest of her life, but for some unknown reason, she suddenly changed. Betty Sue felt dull inside. The beautiful, colorful world around her suddenly turned to gray. The delight she usually felt in her accomplishments sputtered until -POOF- it was gone. She lost her appetite. All she wanted to do was sleep and let the dull, gray world go by without her.

Her parents were naturally concerned. They took Betty Sue to the family doctor. He checked her temperature and looked at her tonsils. After much muttering about, he declared she was fine. The doctor was a good man, but thought Betty Sue was just being a dramatic little girl to get attention. He informed her parents that she needed more of their time and she would be back to normal.

Betty Sue went home with her parents that day and nothing changed. Her parents gave her even more attention than before, but Betty Sue did not care. Her dad bought her a rainbow, but all Betty Sue could see were dull shades of gray. Her mom created a fairy garden for her, where they could work side by side and grow toadstool houses for all kinds of fairies and pixies, but Betty Sue would not even come out to see it.

After a few more days, Betty Sue started feeling better. The colors came back into the world, just as bright and vivid as before. She came out of her dungeon for the first time in days. Betty Sue joined her parents at the dining hall table and enjoyed eating mush again. Back to school she went, showing delight in all that she did, just as before. Her parents were happy to see the doctor was correct and all she needed was a little more attention.

However, it wasn’t long before it happened again. Everyone who knew Betty Sue became puzzled by her bizarre behavior. This girl had it all; why did she seem so sad all of a sudden? Her parents were even more concerned than before. This time, they took her to the Wise Woman.

The Wise Woman lived on the outskirts of the Kingdom. She was considered a witch of sorts, but not a bad one. Still, she was a little scary to the people in the village, so they left her alone unless they needed her. She lived in a little cottage surrounded by a strange garden. Most people in the Kingdom had gardens, but none like the Wise Woman’s. Her garden consisted of unknown trees, bushes, and herbs. Some glowed with an eerie blue or yellow glow; others looked as if they watched and followed your movements as you passed by. It was said that she used these strange plants in her magical potions. These potions could cure the ills that all others could not. For that reason, Betty Sue’s parents took her there one afternoon.

The Wise Woman took one look into Betty Sue’s dull, flat eyes and knew she could help, but also knew it came with a price. She explained to Betty Sue’s parents that she could help, but what it would cost. They did not care as long as Betty Sue could be normal again. Muttering and shuffling her feet, she motioned for Betty Sue to follow her into the cottage. Inside, she pulled various jars from a shelf and dumped the contents into a large boiling cauldron. She stirred it exactly three times, then scooped a spoonful out and poured it into a wooden bowl.

“Drink!” she whispered. Betty Sue gazed with uncaring eyes and did as she was told. The liquid seemed to disappear on her tongue and tasted faintly of silver. Betty Sue looked down at the floor. As usual, everything around her was gray. Suddenly, she felt a tingling in her toes. She lifted up her skirt to see what was happening and she watched, with amazement, as her toes filled with color. She could see the sparkle of her toe polish. Betty Sue watched as the color began to slowly fill in all around her. It was like watching a child color the world. She danced and clapped her hands together with delight as her world became colorful once again.

Her parents cried with relief. They paid the Wise Woman and went merrily on their way. All the way home, Betty Sue marveled at the beauty of the Kingdom.

Betty Sue never saw gray again. But, just as the Wise Woman had explained, she never saw the explosion of colors she once saw. She saw the ordinary colors that everyone else saw. Betty Sue never again sang like an angel; she just sang like any ordinary girl. She enjoyed eating, but did not find the pleasure she once knew. Betty Sue lost the gray, but she lost the brightest colors, too.

One afternoon after her studies, Betty Sue ventured to the edge of the Kingdom. She saw the cottage in the distance and hastened her footsteps. As she approached the gate leading into the curious garden, Betty Sue saw the Wise Woman standing on the porch watching her. The Wise Woman whispered, “I knew you’d be back.” Then she turned and shuffled inside. Betty Sue quickly raced up the path and followed her. Without saying a word, the Wise Woman held out a cup filled with an oily liquid. Betty Sue gulped it down. This time it tasted sweet and sticky like a summer day. Her eyes thanked the Wise Woman and she left without a word.

Betty Sue was delighted to see explosions of colors in the Kingdom again. But she also knew that with the colors came the gray. Betty Sue decided, on that very day, that she would rather be herself, both colorful and gray. She knew the gray days would make the colorful days even better. She walked back toward the village and lived (mostly) happily ever after.

Color your World

Color your World (Photo credit: Michelle Brea)

 

The Breakup and Breakdown July 7, 2012

It’s bad. It’s real bad. My daughter, J and her boyfriend broke up, got back together, and broke up again. She seemed fine at first; we came to the lake, some of her friends came and joined us, and we all had a great time. She rode back home with her friends yesterday. Now, the bipolar depression is kicking her with a vengeance. I am, once again, at a loss. Do I go home? If so, what do I do? I tried to get her to come back up here but she will not do it. Now I am feeling panicked and anxious. I love her but feel like I am drowning myself, then I have to also carry her. I don’t know how many more of these ups and downs I can survive.
My daughter is 25. Will she ever be alright without me? Will I survive myself?

 

J and Bipolar Betty June 22, 2012

English: Street art

English: Street art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When J was a little girl  the thought of monsters under her bed and in her closet frightened her. Night after night, I would check for monsters and reassure her that her room was clear. We sprayed “anti-monster” spray and sang a special “anti-monster” song. Eventually, she outgrew her fear of monsters under the bed and moved on to other worries.

Not once did I tell her there were no such things as monsters. When I was a little girl, the thought of monsters also frightened me. My mother laughed, told me that I was silly, and put me in the bed. I still remember the crippling fear of laying there, waiting, knowing that at any minute I would be gobbled up. My mother had no patience for silliness and lost the ability to see through a child’s eyes long ago.

The monster from under the bed now lives inside J’s head. The monster we call Bipolar Betty rages inside, sometimes crippling her. This monster has almost taken J from me; she has attempted suicide at least 5 times. This monster, when manic, spends enough money to turn this economy around single-handedly. This monster, when not controlled by the proper medicine, is slowly dimming the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes.

I write about J on here a lot, but usually just the bipolar side of her. I really wish you could all meet her because she is such a special young lady. She has a biting, quick wit and often has everyone around her laughing uncontrollably. She is a defender of the hurt, the young, and the  underdog.  J has a very special gift of working with troubled children. These children, ages 5-7, have been badly damaged by life and physically act out in rage by throwing desks, biting, kicking and punching. Somehow, my daughter calms them and actually gets them to sit in a seat and learn! She amazes me with her gifts.

I write about her bipolar as ‘Bipolar Betty’ because it is, to me, separate from who my daughter really is. I am angry at Bipolar Betty but not angry at J. It helps me to distinguish between the reckless, stupid things she does when her medicine is not working and the normal stupid choices a 25-year-old makes.

J and her boyfriend broke up yesterday, during the same week her doctor changed her medication. Bipolar Betty’s depressed side has taken over my daughter again. She hasn’t been this low in a long time and it scares me. There is a fine line with depression in a bipolar person. Anyone who has broken up with someone you care about knows how low it can make you feel. That is normal. But with bipolar, this normal low can quickly become life-threatening. It can also last for weeks or months. The last time she was really low her doctor gave her medicine to knock her up into a manic state. I understand this was to keep her from harming herself, but all this chemically induced up and down crap CANNOT be good for her!

So, here I am today, holding on. Bipolar Betty is back, and it’s going to be a long, rough ride.