flying home with a sinking feeling


I’m so tearful. I’m embarrassed sitting here at the gate waiting for a plane that will take me away.

I cannot even begin thinking, much less speaking, about returning to SO MUCH UNCERTAINTY…without eyes brimming and overflowing. People sitting around me must think somebody has died unexpectedly and that I am suddenly grief-stricken.

Numb. Anxious. Dread at leaving such comfort that only family and childhood home can offer. But I am NOT AFRAID. As soon as I can reach the loving arms of the friends and my C of G lifegroup family, I will be okay. It’s strange to have such a longing for this group of uplifting, prayerful humans.

Today’s scripture, Hebrews 11:6, from my Daily Bible app, was powerful and a reminder to allow God total access.

On the plane, I carefully plotted out a depression rescue plan. Thanks to the friends who understand my bipolarity, I was able to verbalize my fear of self-isolation. I’m sinking and need their support. I do NOT want to wallow in the self-pity that followed me home. I’m afraid about not being able to get out of bed properly tomorrow morning.

I don’t want to drown.

sinking feeling

a pursuit of inner peace — without it my disorder would have me in its grasp


I’ve been toying with the idea of whether or not I have inner peace. It’s elusive when I concentrate on practicing it, and I’m beginning to think that pursuit of it isn’t the goal…HAVING it is. There are steps I can take to prepare my mind to accept and embrace it though.

Here’s what I thought it was:

Nice house; nice things, outwardly happy family; my needs—more than met, wants—either satisfied or within reach. Nice picture, isn’t it? Looks complete. But why, in the face of all these things, was I still searching for it. The happy image was complete, but instead of inner peace, I was living with a tortured mind.

The financial security didn’t cure my restless heart. My husband’s importance at work was impressive to many, but it wasn’t the key to contentment.

My attempt at possessing exquisite external beauty (physical or environmental) didn’t counter the ugliness of internal unrest. Nothing in the outside world could stabilize my turmoil. Not even drinking or the substance abuse I used as a means of grabbing hold of that elusive anesthetized synthetic peace.

I think I’ve figured out three things that are starting to unburden and subsequently strengthen my inner realm. I think they’re essential and I’m trying to cultivate them: solitude, attitude and gratitude.

SOLITUDE—Of late, the solitude I’ve experienced, due to of a number of factors, has brought me peace. If I’m afraid to just be…with just me, it might mean I have a lot of emotional turbulence to navigate.

I have dedicated a timespace for solitude because I’m finding it’s one of the most important routes to inner peace. If I can sift through distractions, self-deception, noise of the outer world before finding stillness, I just might encounter the perfect place to converse with God. It’s hard, but I am fine-tuning myself to get past the static caused by the right side of the pole.

Even five minutes alone could send some people into a tailspin. When they can’t find the company of others, they try to throw themselves into some other activity. I am learning to appreciate the stillness of occasional seclusion, but I have to be vigilant that it doesn’t become an emerging symptom of the left side of my disorder.

Surpassing chaos allows majesty of the Spirit to be released. My intuition sharpens. My creativity increases. Harmony resounds.

ATTITUDE—I find that two people who endure similar hardships have dissimilar outcomes. One person, whether or not he or she comes out on top, is not devastated by the experience. The other is. The difference is in how the hardships are perceived.

Much of what happens to me is neutral in nature. I’m the one attaching personal meaning to events. Undoubtedly, some of my situations are intensely difficult, but I have the choice to either gain wisdom from them or wallow in the pain.

GRATITUDE—It is half of the conversation I have with God. If I’m not involved in the dialogue…it means I either have a sense of entitlement or a sense of insignificance – both of which are characteristics of ego, and I’m constantly battling that.

I want spiritual equilibrium. I know these essentials influence my experience of the world and its inhabitants. Without them…all outward action is futile. Without them…my disorder would have me in its grasp. With them…I allow God to be in control. I allow his Son to intercede on my behalf. I can easier decree healing.


Sometimes the house is dirtier…

Six days stuck to my bed resulted in a 4-hour wait for a med-check at Urgent Psychiatric Care (UPC) in downtown Phoenix. I initially resumed the same idiocy of pretending I was sick instead of admitting I was in a downturn. In my defense, at least it only took 6 days for me to seek help…so something must be working.

The provider who saw me, after a psychotic-patient-filled waiting room adventure (happily I was not one of them), shared with me her brilliant observation about the clean-house theory. She told me that, even under medication, there will be good days and bad days…“Sometimes the house is dirtier, sometimes it’s cleaner”…her pearl of wisdom.

clean house

She also offered me what she said has become a psychiatric diagnosis term: leaden paralysis. I concur. It’s the exact feeling after a journey to the left pole…where I get stuck. LEADEN PARALYSIS. After a hasty Google search, the description does appear to be in use among the Bipolar Disorder community. Validation.

Not that it makes me feel any better.

An increase in Wellbutrin was what the doctor ordered. I am weary of medication adjustments. I hope it is going to be an improvement. I do not enjoy despair, hopelessness, tears for no reason. I describe this event as “magnetic magnification” (MY pearl of wisdom): while my depression is mostly not event-specific, it does seem to attract and exaggerate the rest of my struggles: jobless, loneliness, penniless, hopeless, useless.

My next trip to the right pole…I hope my fingers could keep up with my thoughts so I can give you a glimpse into how wonderfully creative I think my brain can be.

For now, my dull attempt at self-deprecation will have to suffice.


Tears in my Ears

I had a bad experience trying to get a scooter repair issue rectified; it “wreck-tified”me. And in the end it was NOT rectified.

Today my optimism came to a crash landing, and instead of dealing head on with one problem, EVERYTHING was magnified to the point where I was ridiculously sobbing on my scooter ride home (this following an immensely happy, light-filled day)…sobbing while tears did that centrifugal windshield effect into my ears…blech.
I keep declaring and decreeing God’s faithfulness and promises that I can come boldly to the throne room.
Tomorrow is new.

The best way to find myself…

I was on the phone with Christine a little while ago, and though she’d probably not allow me liberty to reveal the nature of our conversation, I had to make a mental note that I seemed to be in-the-moment and able to offer her loving, logical, practical advice.

That being said, I am also aware I may be experiencing delusions of grandeur. I hope not, but only Christine and time will tell.

I think I’m still experiencing a mixed episode. Last night I couldn’t catch any of my racing thoughts. The state in which I was writing that post wouldn’t have allowed me to parent the way I was able tonight. Less tearful, but I think that’s just because I have limited my exposure to things emotional. Except for talking to my mother.

We talked about how hard it is for her to understand the nature of this condition. And I imagined Christine trying to explain something like this to me and me not understanding…and so on…and so on…tears…weeping…

So far, it has been the only tearful episode today. I will avoid and youtube for the rest of the evening.

Stacey has called on me for assistance tomorrow. What a blessing and honor to be able to help. It’s true—the best way for me to wane pitiful is to be of service to others. And to get out of myself.

Today: I felt useful.

INSOMNIA . . . why can’t it start in the morning?

09-09-12: Day One–first dose of Lamictal!

For extra fun these last three days–I’ve been experiencing symptoms of a mixed episode. I am wildly rosy and ready to take charge…and simultaneously weeping uncontrollably. And unable to sleep.

I wept while I cleaned and alphabetized the pantry.

Fought back guttural sobs as I made chicken stock and spice cake.

And then I turned on my local Public Broadcasting Station. Rick Steves was in Provence. I was not. As he chatted it up with a woman living in a stone hut…A STONE HUT (!) in Aix, I was blinded by tears that splashed from my chin onto my t-shirt. I let go. THAT was supposed to be my stone hut. Rick Steves was supposed to be chatting it up with me, the ex-patriot come to France to cook, write…and keep chickens and honeybees for goodness sake!

And now, here I am, unable to slow my thoughts or keep the ones I’m able to catch. With that mild-but-unyielding headache that comes from unrest.

I have eaten badly today. Spice Cake from a box with too many ingredients I cannot pronounce. Knowing my blood pressure is all-of-a-sudden high, had coffee. Salted my quinoa/Brussel’s sprouts/currant pilaf. Had absurdly-delicious California Benedict @ Crackers & Co. with Alexis. With potatoes.

And as it comes upon the hour of 5:30am, I bid you good day.



(or—If I’m Going To Have To Eat My Words, I Hope They’re Nourishing)


I had a successful trip to Urgent Psychiatric Care (UPC) this morning. Successful, but harrowing. Suffice it to say that The Weather Channel lies! I checked before I left the house and saw a pocket or two of light rain, but nothing in the area I was travelling. Not the case. At one point, I was driving in water that came above my ankles. I didn’t have a car in front of to observe, so I was already in it by the time I should have tried to avoid it. At 45mph, on a scooter, rain HURTS!

During my initial triage evaluation. My BP was 156/103 and my pulse was 104. After explaining my commute, they opted to re-try both after I was calmer.

An hour later: BP 153/100 pulse 89.

I’m not sure why it is so high. But I will address this serious new symptom on Thursday, at Mission of Mercy in Mesa. There they will evaluate and prescribe medication at no cost.

Back to the psych evaluation. The good news is that the medication I was on and compliant with for the longest (Lamictal) is now generic. I was prevented from staying on it in the past due to its cost. The doctor prescribed it for a month in a step-up regimen. I will see her a few days before the prescription runs out so she can increase dosage to get me to the therapeutic level, which is going to take about two months. The bad news, and I’m just trying to be forthcoming and transparent, is that even at $15 for a month of medication (as opposed to $200), I am using my last $20 to pay for it. I have a few dollars and cents in cash that I will save for scooter fuel. I put $3 in it this morning, which should last if I’m frugal.

The doctor offered to prescribe a non-addictive sleep med, but I declined. I have used a Benedryl in the past and she said that would work as well as what she could give me.

I’m averaging 4.5 to 5 hours of sleep every 30 or so hours. I’m experiencing symptoms from both ends of the bi-polar spectrum at the same time, which doesn’t happen too often — racing/creative/grandiose thoughts on one end — tearful, sad, depressed on the other, and as I said, both at the same time. The doctor I saw this morning has noted this in my chart.

On discharge, I have been requested to get on a wait-list to become a psychiatric outpatient at Desert Vista Behavioral in Mesa. The discharging doctor said it normally takes a little longer than a month to reach an established patient status, so for the time being, I am to use UPC for follow-ups and medication.

UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Alexis, my amazing friend and LifeGroup leader @ church. We’re meeting tomorrow morning for prayer. She has offered to help get my prescription. I am blessed in so many ways right now…1) I didn’t die on the way to UPC; 2) I didn’t die on the way home; 3) the medication I need is available generically; 4) I have people surrounding me who love and want to help me…Mom, Dad, Linda, Kelly, Maribeth, Alexis, Stacey and Naveen, My Creator, Lord and Savior.

My travels from one end to the other…and back.