Pen Pal Service for mental health survivors

Hi there…I offer a Pen Pal service to those of you who need to chat with someone who understands you, if your lonely with your illness, or if you just need a friend.

All you have to do is email me the following information, and I will be updating you with the progress of matching you up.

1.) Email me the following information at : fightingbipolardepression@yahoo.com

2.) Your name and age

3.)your diagnosis, or if you just need a friend

4.)tell me if you want a Pen Pal via email or your physical address

5.) Your email or physical address.

6.)any other background information you feel comfortable sharing.

Hope this will help.

First PTSD (Post traumatic Stress Disorder)

As you can read in MY STORY I have lived a very manic lifestyle in my teens and early twenties, which Bipolar manic episodes can allow myself to be in dangerous situations, or make irrational decisions (along with a long list of other symptoms) so I’ve suffered from four PTSD Episodes during my past, which I will describe in later posts, but now I am going to describe my first traumatic experience that happened when I was 13 that led to years of PTSD.  This experience is not a result of my bipolar disorder, it is just something that happened.

Threatening, deeply hurtful, or very upsetting experiences that leave you feeling helpless or hopelessness will trigger a fight, flight, or freeze response, which is your nervous systems reaction to danger.  Normally you recover in a few days or weeks, but when you don’t you may be suffering from PTSD.

I can remember that Thanksgiving break when I was 13 like it was yesterday.  My mom and dad divorced when I was 2 years old.  My oldest sister and I visited every other weekend and holidays all those years until this particular weekend.  My dad was supposed to pick my sister and I the Wednesday  before Thanksgiving, he was to take us out of town to see my favorite grandma, we called her Grandma Shelby Shelbina, her pet name for me was”little bit,” and my sisters was “sunshine.” We could hardly wait to go.  But Wednesday came and went with no showing of my dad.  We called his house so many times I couldn’t even count (this was before cell phone days.)  My mom called hospitals without any results.  My mom decided we would just go to my step dads’ moms’ house with them and my two younger half sisters.  The day turned to night still with no answers, I do not know how sleep found me but it did.  I wake up the next day, Thanksgiving day with a sinking feeling of dread I could not get rid of.  But we had to bring our packed bags and head off to My Step Grandma’s house, hoping he just forgot and we would still get to be with him.  I had to act happy and not worried some to not be a downer.  While there my mom and Step Dad decided to take a ride over to my Dads’ house.  While they were there they found the door unlocked (which is highly unlike him) my mom remembered he always kept a gun under his bed, it was not there.  Still with no other evidence to what was going on, they returned to give us the update.  At this point I am just angry at him for not only ruining my Thanksgiving, but forgetting about me all together.  We all returned home after a long day, as the night before sleep still found me even with all the worry and anger.  I was shaken awake with the news that they found my dad, he was at St. Johns Hospital in surgery after shooting himself in the head.  I screamed, I cried, I shook uncontrollable all the way to the hospital.  After all night in the waiting room a surgeon finally came into say he did all he could, the bullet entered into his left temple, spiraled all across his frontal lobe, to the right side of his brain, finally lodging into the back part of his brain.  He explained to us that he is on life support and probably doesn’t have much time left, and we should go be by his side.  I walked in his room seeing things that still haunt my dreams.  His head was the size of a basketball with bandages everywhere, his eyes were swollen shut the size of softballs.  His face was black and blue.  Well hours turned into days, then weeks.  He survived it.  My prayers and please were answered.  After numerous surgeries to try and repair some damage, multiple skin graphs, every type of physical therapy you can imagine, my dad only returned to us with the mentality of a 10 year old boy.  He lost all his short term memory (especially any facts of the attempted suicide.)

We did get information from the police report and the officers on scene.  My dad left work early that Wednesday, went home and retrieved his 22, went to a car rental place, rented a car, bought another gun, bought a tape recorder and rented a room at the Holiday Inn at Six Flags in Eureka.  The housekeeping staff heard the shot and called 911.  He was resuscitated on scene then airlifted to the best head trauma Hospital in the area.  EMS reported that after resuscitation he said mine and my sister name before loosing consciousness again.

After a year in the hospital, then a rehab facility my Grandma Shelbina took him to his house to care for him.  My sister and I still continued to visit for a while.  But my anger and resentment took over my every thought, I made the regretting decision to see him less and less…It hurt soooooooo much what he did, and what remained of the father I once knew.  My grandma eventually sold his house and moved him in her house in the small town of Shelbina.  I spent two weeks with them that summer before high-school, but never returned.  I received many threatening phone calls at how selfish I was, and if I didn’t visit more I would be written out of their will.  I still was so messed up in the head I never returned.

I was so insecure and heartbroken by his actions I believed that if I wasn’t good enough for my own dad not to shoot himself, then I will never be worth anything to anyone.  I let his actions help contribute to my manic dangerous drug and sex filled lifestyle to try to find someone to love me.

I was never able to celebrate Thanksgiving until I was older, I panicked and sobbed at any movie or book that talked about parents killing themselves.

I was traumatized by my dad.  I suffered the effects until the day my first child was born.  I was then able to make peace that his attempt had nothing to do with me.  He suffered from a mental illness.  And yes, thank you, so do I now.

My dad is now in a psychiatric hospital in Hannibal and I have forgiven him, and try to visit every couple of months.

Some symptoms of PTSD:

Guilt, Shame or self blame

Substance abuse

Feelings of mistrust and betrayal

Depression and hopelessNess

Suicidal thoughts and hopelessness

Acting out

Physical aches and pains.

 

Yes…I suffered for years with every SINGLE one of those listed.

 

I would love your thoughts or comments.

Day 2 of my fight against bipolar depression

Good morning, every night I go to bed with the last thought of: Which Bipolar am I going to wake up with tomorrow: Manic, Hypo manic, or Depression?  Good news is today I am well, great almost, which experts will describe as Hypo manic.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition where people experience extreme highs, called mania, and INTENSE periods of sadness, called depression.  These phases are called episodes.  These episodes can shift rapidly.  Undiagnosed symptoms can interfere with school, work, and relationships.

When someone is experiencing the highs they feel overly excited and energized… or could be said “feeling on top of the world.”  Some people experience hypo mania, it is a less severe form of mania, examples: extremely friendly, out going, very productive, and feeling incredibly good.  ( I bounce back and forth from hypo mania and depression, with few episodes of mania thrown in.)  In hypo mania people feel like they are getting better and rarely seek help…this is what took me so long to seek treatment.

Symptoms of mania include:

Racing thoughts, high self esteem, talking quickly, not sleeping much, trouble concentrating, extreme forgetfulness, poor judgement, risky behaviors like drugs, stealing money or things, spending a lot of money, sex with strangers, skipping school or work.

The lows (or depression) can be extremely debilitating.  Symptoms include:

Extreme sadness, guilt, or hopelessness, low self esteem, extreme exhaustion or feeling full of lead, loss of interest in activities used to enjoy, basic household needs seem impossible, hygiene feels impossible, extreme forgetfulness of the past or recent thoughts or moments, chronic physical pain without illness, sometimes even leaving the house seems impossible …basically desires, motivation, and self worth DISAPPEAR.

Bipolar II (my diagnosis) ratio of mania to depression is 40 to 1.   (UNBELIEVABLE isn’t it?

So basically UP ME..gets everything done, is happy, and enjoys life…….while DOWN ME..wakes up with negative thoughts, feels glued to bed or couch, everything from chores to hygeine feels impossible, I  dislike everything, my body feels so heavy like it is full of lead, and from the moment my eyes open I only look forward to bedtime.

With my daily routine, group therapy, psychiatrist, and watching out for my triggers is my plan of attack for this disease.

So again today I am great, I’m talking on the phone, and getting things done.  HOORAY!!!

 

“10 Things To Tell Myself Everyday!”

“10 Things To Tell Myself Everyday!”

1.) I am fighting hard for the things I want most.

  • The longer I wait for something, the more I will appreciate it when it finally arrives.

  • Most great things DO NOT come easy.  But they are worth waiting and FIGHTING for.

 

2.) I am taking action NOW!!!

  • Many great things can be done in a day, if I don’t …. ALWAYS make that day tomorrow.

 

3.) I am focusing on the NEXT positive step.

  • The future holds nothing but endless potential.

  • There are FAR BETTER things ahead… than anything I  leave behind.

 

4.) I am PROUD to wear my truth.

  • How I SEE MYSELF means everything.

  • To be beautiful means to live confidently in MY OWN skin.

 

5.) I have a lot to smile about

  • Happiness IS NOT a result of getting something I do not have, but rather recognizing and APPRECIATING WHAT I DO HAVE.

 

6.) Make the BEST of if

  • Everything I go through Grows me.

  • Amazing things can happen when I least expect them.

 

7.) I am letting go of yesterday’s stress.

  • Leave behind the stress, the drama, and the worries.  Lay THAT DAY to rest.

  • Tomorrow is about hope, new possibilities, and the opportunity to make a better day.

 

8.) There is enough time today to do something I LOVE.

  • I will find happiness in doing the things I love.

 

9.) I am priceless in someone’s eyes.

  • focus on those who love and accept me for who I am, and shower them with the love and kindness they deserve.  Cherish the people who saw me when I was invisible to everyone else.

 

10.) It is NOT too late

  • No matter who I am, no matter what I did, no matter where I’ve come from I can ALWAYS change it and become a better version of myself.

*** This is what I read to myself twice (sometimes many) times a day to put my focus on what is important***

My Daily Routine

My Daily Routine:

Erika: Without a routine, you will fall into bad behaviors and bad thoughts that can lead you back into your depression.

  1. Get up with alarm at 4:30am and make coffee.
  2. Read “10 Things To Say To Myself Every Day”
  3. Read “Habits To Beat Bad Thoughts”
  4. Read Daily Devotional
  5. Read 15-30 minutes of New Testament
  6. Read “Depression Prayer”
  7. Make healthy breakfast for everyone
  8. Clean up breakfast mess
  9. Pick up morning mess
  10. Start and fold laundry
  11. Walk on treadmill (while reading inspirational quotes on Pinterest)
  12. Take shower and get ready for day
  13. Do activities with little one
  14. Play outside with little one
  15. Make healthy lunch
  16. Lay little one down for nap
  17. Journal ( thoughts, weight, food/water intake, quotes, blog ideas)
  18. Do specific chores for that day
  19. Do few things on “To Do List”
  20. Make healthy snacks for when big kids get home from school
  21. Read “10 Things To Say To Myself Every Day”
  22. Kids get home and eat snack
  23. Homework
  24. Do activity with kids
  25. Make dinner (kids take turn who helps)
  26. Go on family walk
  27. Everyone help cleanup from dinner
  28. Everyone do bedtime routine (showers, face, teeth, pjs)
  29. Kids reading time with mom
  30. Kids bedtime
  31. Blog

My bedtime.

** I have this printed out and put into a laminated sheet, to be able to cross off with a dry erase markers everyday.**

*** This is not intended to treat anyone’s depression, this is just my way of not getting too overwhelmed to start my day, or just waking up and giving up before I can start and choose to sit all day and think how depressed I am. ***

Re-start Day 1

My blog originally made it to day 6, but something happened to my site and everything was deleted.  I tried re-writing each day, but I could not get them to sound as authentic and meaningful as the originals, so I’m going to start fresh.  First off I’m thinking “my story” is way too dark, I read it and it sounds like I’ve never been happy.  I really did have so many good times growing up.  And since my first child I have been truly happy.  But with my last pregnancy, depression set in and I have been struggling with it ever since and she will be 3 in November.  I have a really good life, wonderful children, an amazing supportive husband.  It’s just that My depression side of my bipolar is so strong, it makes the days I have it very sad.  And as my story explains I am not going to accept my dark days anymore…I am going to do everything I can to fight this.  In my group therapy classes I have learned some very helpful coping skills that I have to follow every day as soon as I wake up (I will go into detail my next post).  Today I got up at 4:30 am as planned, I read my daily quotes and inspirations, then the little one woke up early so I had to put a stop to the rest.  I  did make a delicious hot breakfast and sent the big kids off to school.  Today my goal is to pick up, do some laundry, and work on some post ideas.  When the big Kids get home it is a “no electronics” day so we will be doing things together in other ways.  Today is not a dark day.  My new psychiatrist increased my antidepressant last Thursday after I was in a 3 day funk.  So I am keeping my fingers crossed.  The downside to the increase in medication  is that my body temperature has increased, and I am very uncomfortable outside, or places the air isn’t cool enough.  Which might not seem like that big of deal, but when you get so used to dark days and not taking care of yourself, when the good days come you look forward to putting on some makeup and doing your hair.   But due to the increased body temperature,  I sweat my makeup off and sweat  my hair to a mess, so there is no point.  I am still trying to stay positive about it, and hoping it resolves itself.  I would love to hear your comments or stories of your struggles with mental illness, or your routines to keep you on track and not getting down.