The Adventures of Bipolar Girl

Comfort for the Neurotic in All of Us

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Speak No Evil

Two weeks ago I went for a walk with a friend. Now that I have high blood pressure and heart issues I need to start exercising whether I want to or not. I strapped on my shoes and met my friend. We haven’t know each other long, but I like her. I expected the walk to last half an hour and then I’d be done. I didn’t expect to get into a conversation about my Bipolar and my Christian walk and how I’m doing thing wrong. I didn’t expect to start crying right there in the middle of the park. Two weeks later I didn’t expect that her words would still hurt and anger me.

She meant well. People (especially well meaning Christians) always mean well when they look at my life and my depression and decide that they could “fix” me if only I would follow their advice. I struggled to defend myself, but I couldn’t make her understand. It’s not like I haven’t reached the ripe old age of 47 without trying all the things that people have suggested to me over the last 20 years. Unfortunately, I have had to stoop down and pick up the pieces of my life when those things failed.

I have fought long and hard to get to where I am in life and in my faith. I don’t need well-meaning guilt trips. I told my well-meaning friend that given all the things that have happened to me in my life I should hate God. But I don’t. I love Jesus. Without him I wouldn’t have a life. I can be double minded and wishy washy in my faith because of the bipolar… but at the end of the day, I am still sold out for Jesus. I like this new friend, but I don’t think I’ll be walking with her anymore. Her words hurt me and I can’t stop having imaginary conversations in my head where I tell her how I really feel about what she said. I ask for advice from people who really know me and have known me for years. All others I ask to pray. Their prayers will help me more than their advice ever could.

I read something online a while back. It’s not about Bipolar, but it could be. It’s written by a mother of autistic children who gets hurtful comments from well-meaning people. So much of what she said resonated with me because I’ve been through it.  I choose to share her post now. It’s long, but it’s worth a read.

When Well-Intentioned Comments About My Children With Autism Hurt the Most

Crystal Cook Aug 12, 2015

I have two children, now adults, on the autism spectrum. They are amazing and wonderful, smart and sweet, but they are different. That’s OK with me, and it’s OK with them. Most of the time, the outside world doesn’t get to us, but now and then, it does.

I’ve encountered many different types of people on our journey through life with autism. Some are supportive and accepting, some are cruel (intentionally or not) and then there are those seemingly well-meaning people who unintentionally fall somewhere in between.

Those are the ones who can sometimes hurt us the most. They can be loving friends, family or complete strangers. It doesn’t matter who they are; what does matter is what they say.

Please do not tell me you understand. You do not. There is no way you could.

Please do not tell me your typical child does the same things. Trust me, there is no comparison.

Please do not tell me it’s just a “boy thing.”

Please do not tell me it’s a phase or they will grow out of it. It’s not and they will not.

Please do not tell me I need to discipline more. Discipline does not “cure” autism.

Please do not look at me or my children with pity. We do not need it, nor do we want it.

Please do not ask me if I wish they were different. I don’t.

Please do not give me advice unless you walk the same walk we do.

Please do not tell me what worked for your child unless your child happens to be autistic.

Please do not tell me they do not “look autistic.” That is ridiculous.

Please do not tell me they do not “act autistic.” People on the autism spectrum don’t all act the same.

Please do not say things like, “If that was my kid, I would…”

Please do not accuse me of letting them get away with things. I certainly do not.

Please do not ask me what I did or did not do during my pregnancy. That has nothing to do with it.

There are more, but I think you get the point. I hope so. I spend every minute of my life trying to teach my children coping skills, daily living and social skills. So sometimes you will see them like they are any other young person their age, and other times you will see them in all their autistic glory.

I discipline my children, maybe not the same way you do, but I do. Everything is a teaching moment, and there’s a difference between discipline and punishment. You do not punish a toddler when he falls as he is learning to take his first steps; you help by teaching him how to pick himself up and try again.

When someone asks if I would change them if I could, it infuriates me. Would you change your child? The fact is, personally, I wouldn’t, and the fact is, I can’t, so why ask such a silly question? I believe God, in his infinite wisdom, gave me these amazing children as they are, and I accept and love and cherish them without question. The first time this was asked of me it broke my heart. From the moment I laid eyes on them, the moment I realized they were different and every moment since, the thought has never crossed my mind that I would want them any other way.

What you say and how you say it leaves a mark, an impact on the very heart and soul of me, of every parent with children with special needs. I know it’s impossible to put yourself in our shoes, to imagine what life is like, but if you could just stop and think about how you would feel if someone gave you a backhanded compliment, belittled you or judged you for something they do not truly understand, you might choose your words with a bit more care.

 

Driving According to Bipolar Girl

I spend way too much time reading all those stories in the news about people being overcome by road rage and doing the totally unthinkable. There was a guy in SF back when I lived there who got so mad at airport traffic that he pulled up alongside a woman, grabbed her dog from the front seat, and then hurled it to its death by throwing it into oncoming traffic. The entire Bay Area was collectively appalled. The guy was eventually caught and, while he wasn’t put up under the jail as some folks wanted, he did serve time for being a slave to his anger. Or what about the guy who got mad when another car passed him… and shot through the window killing the mother of two inside? I don’t think they ever caught that guy. And the most recent one? It happened a few weeks ago. A woman flipped a guy off for cutting her off and he shot her in the head. Just like that. Shot her in the head while she was driving. It could have caused a chain reaction of fatalities that day.

I always angrily wonder who does this kind of stuff? Who carries guns in their cars and why are they angry enough to shoot someone for some petty traffic offense. I tend to feel morally superior as I pose these questions. Our world is so much more angry now and it’s not just on the road. It wasn’t like this growing up. I wasn’t afraid to drive. Now? I’m afraid to drive because of all the angry drivers on the road. I hate driving. I only drive when I have to — like to work, or grocery shopping… but beyond that I stay off the road. Mostly because driving scares me now…I always feel like I’m going to die in some fiery crash every time I get behind the wheel… but also because I suffer from road rage. I have anger issues in general, but driving can bring out the absolute worst in me. I hate who I become when I’m behind the wheel. Most people laugh it off when I tell then and they don’t believe me. I’ve had a few students work for me on the weekends and they’ve been in my passenger seat. They’ve seen it and find it funny since it doesn’t sync up with my classroom personality, but me? I hate it. It’s nowhere near WWJD and isn’t even close to what Jesus would have me do.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecc. 7:8-9

This verse has resonated with me for years because I am easily provoked. I’ve always been rather passive aggressive, so my anger was able to fester for years. And while I’m far from throwing an unsuspecting toy poodle into oncoming traffic, I don’t like the woman I see in the rear view mirror.

I was coming home from work when I glanced up and saw a woman tailgating me. Since there was clearly two other cars in front of me, I wondered what was her damage. I wanted to club her like a seal on the beach. The woman who was tailgating me so closely I could see her horrid face quite clearly. I tried tapping my breaks. That only made her follower closer than I thought possible. I  started yelling and reaching for my gun in the glove box. I don’t actually have a gun in the glove box, but she didn’t know that. This trick has worked hysterically in the past and caused tailgaters to give my car a wide berth. Black woman reaching for the glove box? Surely, there must be a gun in there. I was so angry that I was shaking and for a split second I wished there was a gun in there. I wanted to hurt her. I wanted to pull my car over and beat the crap out of her. Coward that I am, I wouldn’t have done any such thing,  but in my mind I would have and in God’s eye, that’s enough. I’d crossed the bridge of anger into the seriously shaky ground of being a fool.

What’s worse, I was too foolish to see how ugly I must look to him and how anger (all anger) shares the same bitter root. But God… I felt justified. Her actions could have caused an accident. She probably wasn’t insured. More than likely she beat her kids. I would be doing a public service by kicking her teeth in.

Fool.

I drove home the rest of the way angry. I was telling God that I wasn’t repentant and I didn’t forgive her.

Fool.

In fact, I hated her. I hated all people. Ok. Maybe not all people… just the a**holes. Yes, I curse when I’m talking to God. He knows what’s on my mind. Why lie about it. Down with people. I’m better off all alone. I hate driving and couldn’t wait to get home to the Bipolar Bubble.

Fool.

It wasn’t until I got home, had dinner, and had a chance to decompress that I saw how truly ugly my anger was. I hate that part of me. People poo-poo anger until it causes road rage incidents;  deranged gunmen to go on shooting sprees in public places; and angry zealots to fly planes into towers. Anger, even small scale anger, is dangerous if left unchecked. God was trying to check me and I wouldn’t let him. My anger ruined an otherwise perfect day.

Fool.

Praise the God that I love that he can love somebody with such unrepentant anger.  He’s not waiting for me to clean up my act to love me or forgive me. He knows me. Inside and out. He saw my anger erupting before I even heard the civil defense warning. Once I thought about how much he loves and forgives me, I had to forgive that woman. It wasn’t a warm fuzzy kind of forgiveness. I don’t know the woman. May never cross paths with her again. But if I don’t forgive her, I will never be free of my anger. I feel like I should buy one of those shirts that say, “I’m with Stupid” and keep it on my passenger seat to remind me that being a fool is a choice. Might only be a split second choice… but it’s still a choice. People choose to shoot other drivers; throw dogs into the road; and openly carry assault weapons into schools. I don’t want to be like that. It’s been a few months since my last real road rage incident, so I felt immune to it. Today was a rude awakening. I’ve been thinking about going back into therapy to deal with my anger issues and all my many phobias. I haven’t really wanted to, but now I think it’s time. My father didn’t raise no fool, so I need to start making different choices if I want to stop the fool in my rear view mirror from taking over.

Politicss According to Bipolar Girl

 

Politics do not exist in Bipolar World. They never have. When you’ve  spent most of your adult life trying to stay one step of suicidal episodes, what some random white guy in Washington does just doesn’t see that important. I haven’t cared because I couldn’t. This wasn’t always the case, however. Back at Berkeley before my bipolar manifested I was quite politically active. What Berkeley undergrad hasn’t participated in their fair share of marches?

Then bipolar exploded unto the scene and it was all I could do to keep my head above the waves that wouldn’t stop crashing on my mental coastline. I did crawl out of my depressed black hole long enough to cast a vote for Arnold when he ran for Governor of California, but only because I like “Terminator”… and look how that turned out. I won’t say that all people who are mentally challenged shouldn’t vote… but I sure shouldn’t have. I had no idea about the candidates or the issues because my big issue at the time was making me suicidal (again).

I used to say that I’d vote for the candidate who could come up with a cure for Bipolar.  I’ve been waiting for over 20 years and that candidate has yet to run.

You know how some people say that you should never discuss religion and politics? I tend to agree with that. I don’t try to bang people over the head with my religion so I’d appreciate it if people didn’t vilify me for having one. Yes, I was a missionary and a Christian school teacher… but I’ve always respected people’s divine right to not believe what I believe or in anything at all. But when it comes to politics, I have never talk about it partially because I’m ignorant.  I am not a bible bashing conservative, but neither am I a bleeding heart liberal. I’m a hybrid. Blame it on the bipolar. A colleague mention “Progressives” today and I had NO IDEA what she was talking about.

Where is this burst of political awareness coming from? You could say Obama. I didn’t vote in that election. I didn’t even know it happened. I was in another mental fog and the entire election was lost to me. It was only once the darkness lifted that I even knew that a black man had run and won for President of the United States. I posted about it though. I felt like I’d missed out on being a part of history. Our country had clearly come so far if it could elect a black president. Not only was his melanin level equal to my own… but maybe he would be the one to find the cure for Bipolar. Obama cares, right?

Over the Obama years snippets of news pierced the wall of the Bipolar Bubble. Things like Obamacare and ISIS and Inron managed to get in, but I had no idea what they were. Trying not to look stupid when other people are discussing politics is hard especially when your number one reason is you don’t know because you’re suicidal. I’ve lost track of the number of serious suicidal episodes I’ve had. They’ve all melded together to be a really ugly cloud that hovers over my head. But every cloud has holes and through those gaps ideas filtered in….

I actually do have views on some issues, but I’ve always hesitated to share them for fear of being judged. For example: I’m pro-Choice. Only bad Christians would support the murder of babies, right? I’m also very strongly pro Gun Control. This whole open carry thing is openly ridiculous. Death Penalty? For it. Wellfare? Reform it. Gay marriage? I support the biblical portrait of marriage… but I support anybody’s right to chose whatever lifestyle they want to as long as it’s not illegal (like polygamy). I said before that I don’t want to shove my religious views down anybody’s throat, but I expect people to show me the same tolerance. People don’t have to believe as I do… they just have to accept that fact that my beliefs are mine and protected under the Constitution. I have friends and students who are gay and I have never shared my views with them because I love them and haven’t ever wanted to hurt or offend them. I figure God can sort all of that out when he feels like it. I can’t even fix my own life. Why would I try to tell other people (more functional people) how to live theirs?

So again, I ask, why all this political musing now? Do I really need to spell it out? The Donald.

 

The man gives me the willies.

I don’t read much political stuff, but what I have read about him causes that ugly dark cloud to grow darker and more ominous. Since everybody around me is reacting so strongly to him… I guess it’s no surprise that I’ve crept out of my bubble like Punxsutawney Phil. If I don’t get a political clue and go out and vote it won’t just be nostalgic musings as in my Obama post. It will be the deep regret of a voice not heard. I don’t think The Donald is going to be good for this country. I think he’s going to tear it in two and a house divided cannot stand. He’s going to single-highhandedly piss off our enemies and allies alike and it’s going to launch WWIII. That, or he’s going to usher in the apocalypse.  Don’t get me wrong. I want Jesus to come back much as the next believer… but the carnage that Trump is going to wreak on this country is going to be epic.

I can’t sit this one out. Not everybody sees Trump as a joke he got a growing horde of followers. And if he wins a lot of folks won’t be laughing starting with Mexicans, Muslims, African Americans, gays, and anybody else who doesn’t fit the standard of The Donald’s “a merica.” He will find a way to deal with them because they must be dealt with if ame rica is to be great again. Of course, people will say that I’m just a mentally ill person rambling on about something she admittedly doesn’t know much about. I think that’s why I’m posting. I’m trying to find my political voice. Yesterday I was trying to research online because, for the first time in over 20 years, I’m going to register to vote and I have NO idea who to vote for. I don’t even know if I’m Republican or Democrat. Then there’s the whole “Black people shouldn’t be Republicans” and “Good Christians shouldn’t be democrats” that just make decision making that much harder. And don’t even get me started on “third parties.”

After looking at the political fare being offered up for our consumption, I must say I prefer to stay in the bubble and mind my own business. Crap happens when good people sit back and do nothing. I can’t not vote but I am confused. I know I’m not voting for a man who talks about himself in the third person. This world we live in has gotten a lot smaller and a lot more hostile. A vote not cast is a vote for the outcome, whether I like the outcome or not. In my Obama post I said that I should have voted for him because of my great grandmother. She was a slave. There could never have been a black president in her lifetime. Great granny wouldn’t have wanted the donald to win, either. I don’t want the donald to win. For my sake, great granny’s sake… for the sake of the entire free world… I can only hope that all the other folks who don’t normally vote will step outside their bubbles and do what needs to be done.

Why I Pray for Paris

BPG fotoI changed my Facebook profile so that a flag of Paris is over a cartoon rendition of me. A friend drew it when I was trying to publish my “book.” Look to the left: There’s my altered ego, Bipolar Girl, with her journal and pen in hand, ready to take on the world. And while some days I might feel like I can fly… God is really the wind beneath my wings and it is his hand that holds me up.

I read something that was trending on fb that made me mad. Honestly? I doesn’t take much to make me mad… but I’m working through  my anger issues. An artist penned a cartoon telling people not to “pray for Paris.” It felt like a slap in the face to me since I’d prayed in tears last night as I read the news. My first response was to pray.

I can’t get on a plane and go help Paris. Sending “music, kisses, champagne, or joy” will not heal what has been broken. I don’t even understand what the artist meant… but all the comments I read were pretty rude. There are a lot of angry non-Christians out there with axes to grind on the necks of people who pray because they care. From my own life, I know that prayers may take years to heal so I can understand how people are mad at God in the wake of yet another tragedy and don’t want to hear about prayers. But I know of no other way to address such horror. Ask me to do anything… but don’t ask me not to pray.

I started to add this with my profile/status update, but realized this particular soapbox was best pulled out in another venue. Here is what I wanted to post on fb, but chose to post here:

 

 

Why I Pray for Paris:

1. I went there in college. It’s a cool city.

2. I’m a Christian. Praying is what we do.

3. I have had a lot of bad things happen to me in my lifetime and I haven’t always seen the answers to all the prayers, but I believe, without doubt, that prayer changes things even if other people do not share my belief.

4. I believe that God cannot be blamed for the bad actions of evil men. Do we want free will or not? I hate that people are allowed to choose evil… but would a world without free will be better?

5. My new profile picture is of me. I’m a writer. I write about how God gets me through the bad times… the horrible times… the times that just don’t make sense. The hand that is holding me up is God. He has not forgotten or abandoned me. He has not forgotten or abandoned Paris. It will not stop being a city of music, kisses, champagne, love and joy.

6. I hate when evil things happen. So does God. Yet, even now, Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for Paris… and the Middle East… and Ferguson… and every other town, city, or country where evil people continue to chose evil actions.

So, I will display their flag as a show of support, but I will continue to lift up my prayers, not because it’s the only thing I can do… but because it’s the one thing I must do.

Stop Worrying About “What Comes Next”

I have spent too much of my life fretting the past and fearing the future. The past, with it’s hobgoblins, always had the power to rob me of all joy. The laundry list of wrongs that I’d suffered or the relationships that had failed me continually flapped in my mind like wet laundry on a line hitting me smack in the face. And the future? Why anticipate the future when you can fear it every minute of every day … so much so that you miss out on actually living in today because whatever wrong is awaiting you tomorrow will surely suck the joy right of you. Sandwiched in between the fears of past and future I exist. I don’t live the abundant life that God promised. Jesus died on a cross for something that I’m too afraid to collect on.

A bill came from the emergency room today. They aren’t afraid to collect on what’s owed. My first response when I saw it was anger. I thought I paid the hospital right before the let me leave. I realized immediately that my anger was disproportionate to the “offense.” Plus it wasn’t really an offense. My doctor’s office had run some tests and I was have some really gnarly symptoms. They called and told me to go to the emergency room. It’s actually a long and funny story (now)… I wasn’t laughing then… but it is in the past. I need to let it go — or maybe hold on to the lessons learned and let everything else go.

The first thing they did was hook me up to an EKG to see if I was having a heart attack. I’m 47 years old, surely too young for that. I wasn’t even having stabbing chest pains. But when you consider that I’m overweight. I habitually ate McDonald’s four nights a week; never got any real exercise; and work a really stressful job I can now see why they thought I might be having a heart attack. My blood pressure was through the roof too. Turns out I was having an allergic reaction to one of the high blood pressure meds. It reacted with my lithium and elevated the levels. The emergency room doctor kept asking me if I’d taken a deliberate overdose of my lithium. It was all so surreal. It was NOT how I planned to spend my Sunday night and the whole thing was stressful. I ended up out of work for a week. I wasn’t in the hospital (PRAISE GOD) but I couldn’t drive and I was still having a lot of the side effects. I was a wake up call. Proof positive that my suicidal episodes are a lie. I didn’t want to die that night because I have never really wanted to die.

Now that all of this is clearly in my rear view mirror what have I learned? The body that God gave me… the one that is so wonderfully and fearfully made is in need of an overhaul. God didn’t give me a body and a life so that I could abuse it and neglect it. I’ve known for a while that I needed to make changes, I just haven’t known how. I’ve taken some steps to address my diet, my weight, and my level of activity. I do not know what is going to come next. I know that I don’t want to let the “silent killer” wipe me out. All these years struggling with suicidal ideation I had no idea I was slowly killing myself by lifestyle choices that I was making. My spiritual house needs an overhaul too. I know that I need to put Jesus at the center of my life but I honestly don’t know how. I did all the right Christianese things. I prayed; went to church; served as a missionary; taught in Christian schools and a whole bunch more stuff. And yet I still ended up where I am now: existing instead of living. The one reassuring thing is that if I seek Jesus… no matter how small the steps he promises to be found. I will find him again. He sees my efforts and I doubt he’d bash me over the head for making such small changes. Besides, it’s only small changes until I can make big ones.

What Next?

Lately, my life has been rather surreal. New medication for high blood pressure sent me on a weird trip… and not the good kind of weird. Without consulting my doctor I diagnosed that I needed to go off it and it’s only a few weeks later that I can see the wisdom of my doctoring skills. It got worse before it got better and I was whining to the ninth level of heaven hoping to get relief from the physical symptoms. I used to have a high tolerance for pain/discomfort, but that last stint in the hospital cured me of that. The fear of having to go back into the hospital makes every little ache and pain seem that much worse. Then, stress kicked in to make everything that much worse and my mental health started to degrade.

I cracked at work last week.

I think this is the second time in the past year that I’ve cracked at work. Damn. I used to pride myself on looking and acting normal at least at work. I haven’t gone postal or anything… but I am ashamed that I couldn’t hold it together last week enough to do my job. I wanted to leave work because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to teach but because so many other people were out sick there were no subs. My boss couldn’t really let me go because my students would have nobody. He said I could show movies all day which I did. The only movies I have besides “Godzilla” and “Scooby Doo” are Christian movies and that’s what they voted on watching.

Aside from their entitled grumblings, my students were ok and the day progressed and I got through it, but I drove home and stayed there. I didn’t leave my house for two days. I slept some. I tried to eat healthier some. I read my bible and prayed some. I tried to just be still because when I’m not still… it’s impossible for me to see God.

At first, all I could see were my feet and my ankles. The meds made them swell. More precisely, my legs and angles. As I looked anxiously at my swollen legs and ankles I thought about how my mom had both her legs amputated because of complications with her diabetes and other health problems. I kept thinking that I look just like her and have a number of the same health problems and how I was going to have both my legs amputated. See what I mean about surreal?

I can’t saw that I heard the audible voice of God in those two days, but I was as still as I know how to be. One funny thing that happened in all of this? My computer died. Not totally dead dead… but dead enough so that I couldn’t use it.  And that I was available to get a text on my phone from a friend who is not in the same time zone.  My phone is never on and I never call anybody… but that night I needed to talk to her. I haven’t talked to her in over a year. She said she wanted to pray with me and wouldn’t ask questions. It was exactly what I needed and after we prayed she pointed out that if my laptop had been working we wouldn’t have had that conversation. She was right.

We said our goodbyes and then I used the phone I never used to google possible solutions to my laptop problem. It took a little time, but I found a solution and it was a quick fix. My computer was up and running in less than ten minutes.  Audible voice of God? Not hardly… but he sure got my attention.

Two days later I went back to work. I was still a bit ill, but I could handle work. My legs and ankles weren’t swollen or burning anymore and most of the side effects had subsided. I could drive without fear of plowing into oncoming traffic so I got to work early as is my custom. I expected to see cane spiders in my room after two days of it being closed up. I did not expect to see a swarm of bees in my room. Hundreds of dead bees were on the floor. I’ve experienced this one other time, so I wasn’t freaked out. All the live bees clumped up and swarming my window was another thing! Can’t recall if I screamed or not, but I did back out really fast. My class had to be relocated for the day. There’s only two bee guys on the island who can remove them. Evidently, there’s a hive in the walls and they’re going to have to break into the wall to find it. Surreal?  I thought so… until I found out that Hurricane Guillermo might be headed this way.

Doing anything other than being still would be stupid at this point.

Unemotional Non-Rant

The other day
I had a long blog ready to post
and then accidentally deleted it.

I would have typed it again
over the weekend but I couldn’t
scrounge up enough energy.

Father’s day had descended.
I’m past hating FD.
I did not have any emotional
Meltdowns.

But it’s hard to get all worked up
over this holiday.
My bio dad tried to kill me when I was eight.
He died before I hit puberty and I never
got closure with him until I became a Christian.

My stepfather sold porn at the swap meet.
I was exposed to his stash and developed
an addiction to porn that lasted well into my adult life.
And…the only time I ever remember being hit in my life,
my stepfather picked me up by my feet and hit me
with a broken kite stick that belonged to his daughter.
I had to go through years of therapy to work through
all of that.

I do not have any warm fuzzy daddy memories.
And as broken as I am, I’m pretty much given
up on the notion of getting married and having a
happy family of my own…
and they hysterectomy took care of
kids…

So FD is an empty holiday for me.

I love God
and I know he is my heavenly Father…
but it’s not the same.
I would give my left eye for a
good relationship with either of my fathers.
I’m not joking.
I say “left” eye because I’ve got major vision problems
in that eye and I’d be ok with out it.

I know God loves me and will never forsake me…
but yesterday was just another empty holiday
where I had reminders all around me of what
I didn’t have growing up
and what I don’t have now.

I avoided Facebook like the plague.
All the happy families and the posts
about how special so and so’s dad is…
or how you should repost something if you had a great dad.
What about the people who don’t have that?
It used to be like a knife in the heart for me.
Last year’s Father’s Day was when I just stopped
going to church.
I couldn’t take it anymore.

The shining light in all of this?

I had a totally horrible morning at work today.
The last such morning sent me falling
down the Bipolar Staircase and I didn’t rebound
for two full days.
My horrible day was followed by a visit
to the OB/GYN.
I thought the hysterectomy took care of that…
evidently, I was wrong.
Sitting in that waiting room surrounded
by all those pregnant women added insult
to injury. They are large with life…
Me? I’m just large.
The nurse checked my blood pressure–

it’s higher than before I went on the medication
my job may literally be the death of me.

So… for all intents and purposes, I should be
a basket case tonight.
I should be wallowing and whining
and standing at the top of the staircase
ready to do a nose dive.
Only thing is, I’m not.
I’m stressed and frustrated about today…
but I’m ok.

My bio-dad and stepfather might have screwed
me over in ways they could never have imagined…
but my heavenly Father sees me and knows me.
He knows when I’ve had enough and can’t take anymore.
His arms cannot physically hold me
and I don’t have photos to post on social media…

but he was very much with me today
and his arms were outstretched to catch me.
It isn’t the same…
but it’s enough for now.

:)

Today was a good day.
One of those days that
I’m happy I live on an island.
It was beautiful
and it reminded me
of how awesome
God is.

The day got even better
when a student asked
me to pray for her.
We stood outside
on the fire stairs
outside my classroom
and looked
and the incredible
view from my
classroom
and I
couldn’t help
but give thanks.

His Eyes

So it’s the last day of my four day weekend and I got up at 5:31am. It felt crazy but it wasn’t really. This was prime driving time and I couldn’t lose my edge. I had a few cans of pork and beans, some olives, and some instant jello in the house and that didn’t bode well for the next week. Ok, I had more than this… but I needed to get food for heading back into the real world not hermit grub. I usually hire a student to go with me to do all the heavy lifting and to act as a buffer between me and the world. I can still walk relatively well… but I haven’t been able to manage my three store stock up without using the disabled scooter. WalMart, Safeway, and Costco are hard for my physically…but they also stress me out which is why I got at 5:31am. Less people to get mad at.

Unfortunately, there was some miscommunication with my student and she wouldn’t be there with me. I’d planned to go on Thursday since it was a holiday, but I chickened out. Then I planned to go on Friday, but the thought of going shopping stressed me out that I saw a movie instead. Funny Sidebar? I went to the movie to de-stress.When I got my ticket for the matinee and walked in during the previews I realized two things: a) The preview was REALLY scary and b) I was the ONLY person in the theater. Fear mode kicked in immediately. I felt sure some serial killer who stalks matinees was going to shank me before I reached the back seat. Why do I have to sit in the back seat??? Because I freak out when people sit behind me, but this time walking to the back row felt that scene in the movie where you tell the girl not to open that door. She doesn’t listen to you and gets killed. That’d look great on my tombstone: Killed by serial killer in a matinee because she had to sit in the back row.

After the movie I tried to go Safeway. I even made it through the front doors, but all of the disabled scooters were in use and the place was PACKED. Oh! The humanity… was all over the place and I couldn’t take it. I grabbed a Strawberry Crush (comfort food) and got out of there fast. Friday rolled on by, then Saturday. I started thinking that maybe I didn’t need any food. I like pork and beans. Mix ’em with a little instant Jello and you just might have something. Yeah, diarrhea or projectile vomiting.

Since neither prospect sounded good to me I found myself getting up at 5:31am on a Sunday and driving all the way into town. There was NOBODY on the road. I had it almost all to myself. I could have driven 10mph while straddling two lanes and nobody would have been around to see it. I made it to WalMart without incident. I saw a former student working there. In class he used to drive me nuts, but I was genuinely happy to see him. We talked for quite a while.

Safeway wasn’t all that busy either. I got a scooter and cruised around buying healthy stuff. Now that I’ve got high blood pressure I’m more aware of what I eat. No, not really, but maybe if I say it enough times it’ll be so. I was at the self check out rather pleased at my military precision like organization, when I couldn’t help but hear this old guy yelling at the clerk manning the self-check out stations. She was calmly trying to address his needs, but he was just getting louder and louder. I understand large scale mean like violence and wars. I don’t understand this kind of petty mean. He started cursing at her when it was clear to everyone that he was wrong. I wanted to say something to him but I was afraid. I saw this one news segment about this woman who got the crap kicked out of her because she confronted a woman in a store. Everybody  just stood around and watched. What is it they say about bad things happening because good people don’t do anything? I don’t consider myself a particularly good person. In that instant I wanted to club the guy over the head with my imaginary bat. After he left I heard her tell a coworker she was going on break. She deserved it. That’s when I felt like I had to say something. I did that “come here” thing that people do with their fingers when they want people to… come here. She bent down to hear me and I said (rough paraphrase):

If you were his wife or his daughter or any other female family member he would be angry if somebody treated them the way that he treated you. What he did was wrong, yet you handled him with grace, calm, and professionalism. I would have wanted to club the guy, but you didn’t. Every time I’ve come in here you’ve been helpful and kind and if your Manager was here right now I would tell him that he has a really awesome, professional employee.

She was visibly surprised that I would say anything. So was I. It wasn’t until later that I realized that God had answered a prayer. I’d asked him to give me his heart. I wanted to have his eyes to see the things I overlook… the people I fail to see because I’m too wrapped up whining about all of my dramas. I felt bad about not standing up to that horrid old man, but now I see differently. I didn’t need to say anything to him. His anger would have fueled my own and I just might have run him over with my scooter. No, talking to him would not have ended well. Black woman causing disturbance in Safeway? It wouldn’t have gone well, but it probably would have gone viral. I needed to talk to her because none of the other dozen or so people who stood there watching him humiliate her did. If I were her I would have wanted to cry… followed by wanting to quit. I would’ve wanted somebody to say something… anything…to care

So God gave me his eyes.

 

Then I Am Strong

When I was in high school I wrote an essay and won an all expense paid trip to Norway. I was one of thirty Los Angles students to be chosen by Scandinavian Airlines to help celebrate their 30 anniversary traveling to and from Los Angeles. I had always dreamed of traveling the world and it looked like my dreams were coming true.

When I was at Berkley, mania convinced me to backpack across Europe. With Youth Hostel card and Eurail pass in hand, I cut a wide trail around Europe. It didn’t bother me that I was traveling alone because nobody was ever a stranger for too long. Mania makes me hyper-social and everybody  I met was a friend. I never spent a day alone on my trip. Amsterdam…Belgium…Germany…..Brussels…Austria… France… Spain…

Every dream I’d ever had about traveling the world was coming true.

After college depression convinced me to move to Maui. My life had been slowly unraveling and I needed a place to hide. I was no stranger to hiding, only this time I wanted to hide somewhere warm. I didn’t know that mania and depression would collide once I got there. The bottom fell out of my world and I was smart enough to look up as I fell. Jesus caught me and put me back on my feet. He built me up and made me feel normal for the first time in a long time. I told him that if he could love me knowing everything about me… all the horrible things that I had done… I’d follow him anywhere. So he reminded me of my dreams of traveling the world. He put me on a big white ship in Australia then had it set sail around the South Pacific. And I thought my dreams of traveling the world would never end… until the bottom fell out of the boat and I began to sink.

 

That was years ago and my dreams of traveling the world for God were shattered. Life happened and continues to happen and with it comes “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” perpetuated by outrageous people. The wounds grew into scars until I found that not only was I afraid to dream of traveling the world, I’m pretty much was afraid to leave my own home. I drive to work. I drive home. At 6am in the morning on a Saturday I will drive to get groceries… but that’s about it. When I am behind the wheel of my car this fear grips me… it wraps itself around my neck like a boa constrictor and squeezes the life out of me. And once the fear takes hold the rage swoops in to scavenge what’s left.

I grew tired of telling people that I was afraid to drive or that I had road rage. They would only say that lots of people dealt with anger issues or fear. Maybe Bipolar Girls wear those emotions differently. My fear and my anger are keeping my captive in my home. Good thing God moved me out of that critter infested place I used to live in. I’d hate to be stuck in that place when I wasn’t at work. Now? I love my home, but it’s a far cry from my dreams of traveling the world. Now I travel from my bedroom to the kitchen. I feel so weak. I feel stupid. Day three of my four day weekend is almost over and I’m going to be forced to drive again. I hate driving. The fear and the rage are going to overtake me and the peace that I’ve had these last few days will be but a dream.

Could it be that part of my problem is that I’ve been trying to figure out what I could do to combat the causes of my fear — as if I could rescue anybody. Unfortunately,  I keep giving in to the rage. I see every other driver on the road as my enemy. Seems like Maui has become a tailgater’s paradise. Men in giant pick up trucks seem to think I’m fair game. People follow me so closely that any closer and they’d be in my passenger seat. I’m not a slow driver. I’ve got the speeding tickets to prove it. There is no reason to tail me other than petty meanness….and yet it happens every day. It’s dangerous and fear is just waiting for the crash. On the highway. On winding roads. On my own block. And I tell God that I want to buy a bat. Once, I made a tailgater think that I had a gun in the glove box. You should have seen him move WAY back. I would love to say that I feel the appropriate amount of Christian remorse for that… but I don’t. I feel the hatred grip my heart every time I drive and I don’t care. I know my anger is disproportionate to the cause. I know it’s wrong, but it’s what I feel and I can’t make it go away.

I just want to live my quiet little life without all the fear and the anger. Could it be that part of my problem is that I don’t see and accept my weakness for what it is? It is an ugly reminder of my sin nature. People who know me don’t see it because I don’t feel that way towards them, so they’ve never see it. They say that I’m being too hard on myself… but I see it and God sees it. And the only one who can deal with that is God. If I’m to be made in the image of Jesus… Fear and Rage have to go. They weaken me and they weaken my faith. Yet, when I am weak… then HE is strong and the only strength I’ve ever had was in him. I found him by writing my truth no matter how ugly and petty it was. Fear and anger led me astray and I got lost. It time to start writing my truth again because I know, without doubt, that if I write it…He will find me.

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