I never knew it was possible to be this happy. Grad school has rocketed me into a new, enchanted world. Books. Reading. Discussions. Writing. New friends! HEAVEN.
I am SO thankful mental illness didn’t win. I’m so HAPPY to be alive!
It’s hard for me to believe that just one year ago I was swamped in pain. Mental illness had taken over so much of my life. I was in bed for weeks, hardly able to move. It took so much work to crawl out of that dark hole. It seemed like the darkness would never end. I didn’t want to live anymore.Read More
Things were going too well. I had just begun loving my new neighborhood. I was getting excited about grad school. All the bills were (mostly) paid. Life was feeling good.
I needed a broken shoulder to remind me that LIFE IS PAIN, HIGHNESS. ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE IS SELLING SOMETHING. Thank you, Princess Bride.Read More
Living with a serious mental illness means accepting that my brain functions differently than the brain of a neurotypical person. For example, I can’t binge-watch TV shows. Doing so loosens my grip on reality. I can’t stay up late at night. Sleep deprivation leads to paranoia and panic attacks. I have to watch my sugar and caffeine intake. I have to avoid intense conversations and intense people. Here is a list—a kind of “rule of life”—for living with bipolar.Read More
Because we got rid of so much stuff during our move, I've become something of an accidental minimalist. There's a spartan homey-ness to this new way of living, though. It’s easier to keep things tidy, for example. Clutter doesn’t accrue on open surfaces because there's no clutter for accruing. And I’m finding ways to make this new house feel like a home by focusing on one small area at a time.Read More
Two months ago we sold our home of ten years and moved to a smaller rental house in a different city. Matt is going through a career change and we had to move for his new job. But it all happened so fast—the house sold in four days, the escrow was only two weeks long, everything had to go, go, go—and I've found myself sort of stumbling around in the wake of all this change trying to find my bearings.Read More
My very best thinking often lands me in the precarious position of clinging to things I’m supposed to let go of or grasping for things that are not meant for me. Waiting is about trust, it's about taking it one day at a time and it's about learning patience. Waiting is an opportunity for me to find God in the tension of uncertainty.Read More
Apparently one of the side-effects of mood stabilizers is atheism. At least, for me. Somehow, these drugs seem to shut down the God-receptors in my brain.Read More
Lauren was a popular blogger, happily making a living on her inspirational Mommy blog. She never intended on having the affair. She never thought of herself as the kind of person who would do that. But, of course, she WAS that kind of person. She'd wasted five months of her life on a man who didn't deserve five minutes of her time. But at least she was still alive. That other woman-Mikayla-wasn't. Mikayla was dead. Sometimes Lauren didn't know which was worse: losing your life or losing your time. Maybe they were the same thing.Read More
I had a goal: make dinner. I didn’t want my family to have to eat take-out again. I wanted to make dinner. Even if it was the only thing I did all day, I just wanted to make dinner for my family. Small goals are sometimes all I can handle when I’m in a depressive bipolar fog.Read More
Ever since Katherine's death, it's almost as if someone has placed a filter over reality. I no longer see things the way I used to see them. I no longer feel things the way I used to feel them. I didn't expect this upheaval to affect my understanding of God. But it has. How do I know that what I know is true? The only answer I've found is: I don't. I don't know.Read More
The End of the World was supposed to happen last Tuesday. The only thing that’d happened was a Past Due notice landing her mailbox. She was late on rent. Late on utilities. Late on everything. Of course she was; why pay bills when the world was ending? Why check that lump in her breast?Read More
Some of my most meaningful religious experiences happened while I was manic. Which begs the question: were my religious experiences the Holy Spirit or just misfiring neurotransmitters? In other words, were those experiences real? Were they indicative of Ultimate Truth or were they simply the result of, say, an overdose of serotonin?Read More
The saints often talk about "self-forgetfulness" and I think it is an important lesson for me as I learn to live with my mental illness. The saints held everything loosely, including their own lives. The only thing to which they clung was God’s will. And even that, they realized, was not something which they could accomplish in and of themselves but only through the power of the Holy Spirit. Clinging without grasping. Holding fast without needy desperation. There is true freedom in this kind of self-forgetfulness.Read More
Initially, Abilify was a life-saver. My storm-tossed brain was now a glassy-smooth lake. No more psychosis, no more suspicions that the FBI was spying on me, no more paranoia. No more dramatic mood swings. No more mean voices in my head. Eventually, though, I began to notice that not only was I on a glassy smooth lake, but there was no wind in my sails, either. Everything—everything— was flat.Read More
When you're in constant pain or dealing with a never ending, chronic illness—it’s really hard to believe God has some grand purpose for your life.Read More
No, you don’t need a brand new RV. I know you really, really think you've become an outdoorsy person. But that's just the mania talking. How do I know this? Because the real you hates camping. You’re an indoors kind of girl. You like fuzzy socks and indoor plumbing. You like books and crocheting by the (indoor) fire. You require Netflix, a full-size bathtub and a toilet at 2am every night. Camping is not your dealy-o. Just say no to #vanlife.
I know! I know! You’re gonna become a real adventurer! You’re gonna sell everything and live out of a van like all those sexy hipsters on Instagram.
But no, you’re not. Again, that's just the mania talking.Read More
Four days after my trip to the hospital, my psychiatrist asks me if there is a triggering event that led to the downward spiral of my mental health. Basically, it all started nine months ago. The day my best friend died by suicide.Read More
The day I go mad dawns blazing hot.
The heat makes everything worse—like the fact that government agents are spying on me. It’s humbling to admit I have this illness. I would prefer to tell you that I’m actually a really super spiritual person; that my delusions of grandeur and bouts of mania mean I’m a mystic. But nope. I'm just your average, garden-variety crazy person.Read More