Addict

I’m a recovering addict. I had done drugs casually in college but really came to using them regularly afterwards. Percocets. Opiates. Oh my.

I remember taking my first one. I chewed it and chased it with vodka because I was told it would “hit harder.”

I loved how they made me feel. Such a numbing high. It felt like I was floating to space- a ride I never wanted to get off.

But the withdrawal. Oh the withdrawal. The next few days without them were torture. Like I had the flu. The night sweats were awful. I’d wake up drenched in sweat, feening for more.

I’ve been clean off opiates since 2014. I moved to Seattle and never looked back. I’d be lying if I said I gave up all my addictions all together.

One addiction I continue to feed is my insecurity. I did an Instagram “Live” yesterday. If you’re unfamiliar it’s where you can record yourself in real time for viewers to watch.

I had caught a friend, Mary Beth Fox, from notgoodenoughstuff.com. She is a licensed mental health counselor & was speaking about social media and attention seeking in adults.

I felt called out when I was watching her video. How often do we seek attention on social media? More often than I’d personally like to admit.

I previously wrote a piece, A Letter to my Insecure Self (https://farmerish.org/?s=insecure&submit=). In it I addressed the facts & myths I have created in my head about myself. Insecurities really are just myths we tell ourselves.

I wish I could say that I gathered all those “truths” and debunked my myths or personal beliefs & became a secure, confident person.

But alas I’m still a work in progress. How can we change what is already so engrained in us? I have a picture with affirmations that was given to me by a dear friend:

-You don’t have to be perfect.

-Having a bad day is okay

-Small steps are also progress

-Asking for help is strength

-People love & appreciate you

Perfection is exhausting & unattainable. It is literally so draining trying to be everything to everyone.

“I’m the great pretender.” I had whispered that in Mike’s ear the other day when he remarked how happy he was to see me in a good mood.

I am the great pretender. Pretender of someone that’s not me. Just fake it til you make it.

But in doing so maybe I can fake confidence? They say confidence is going into a room & not thinking you’re the BEST person in the room, but totally comfortable in who you are.

So fake it til I make it I guess. But til then I wont fuel the addictions. Whether it be insecurity or drugs. Because life really is too short to be spent hating yourself.

Birthday Blues

It’s Sunday and I should be excited to watch football. Instead I’m on the downside of my bipolar mood swings. It seems with every manic or happy moment, the depressive state is even stronger.

Yesterday we celebrated my sons 5th birthday party. It’s amazing how we, as people with mental illness, can mask our feelings so well outwardly. I smiled. Laughed. Tried to be as accommodating as possible. But the feeling of sadness still lingers.

I haven’t found any motivation to write lately. It’s interesting how the manic moments encourage my creativity but when I’m in a depressive state I can’t seem to find the motivation to do anything.

The laundry has piled up. The house is in disarray. This morning was the first time I couldn’t get out of bed to feed the animals. My husband was a lifesaver & after all this time understands my mood swings. He knows it can seem physically impossible for me to do things.

Without our support system of people who empathize with us, it would make our mental illness so much more dire. We already feel hopeless enough & need people who just understand.

I know this feeling of sadness won’t last forever. But it’s so hard in the moment. The guilt I feel for not being able to just enjoy my life fully overwhelms me. I know I have the best support system and the most amazing husband ever but it all still hurts so much.

Sometimes it feels like it’s not enough. We struggle everyday. It’s an uphill battle that I sometimes feel like I’m drowning. But we also know that there are brighter days ahead. Days where the happiness just envelopes us. I wish I could hold onto those moments but they never seem to last.

We need to forgive ourselves. We can’t always be strong forever. But hopefully by forgiving ourselves it’ll make it a little easier to hold onto happiness.

To my birthday boy- I love you. I’m sorry mommy is a little sad right now. But you always make my life brighter & give me a reason to just try and make it through another day.

I just need to keep trying, it’s all we can do.

My birthday boy

Pack animals

When I was first thinking of getting a pig, I just wanted one. I already had responsibilities as a wife, mom & teacher. We already had a dog. One farm animal would be just fine I thought.

Pigs & goats are pack animals. They are social animals who thrive off companionship. Later when I learned they needed to be in a pack, I found a friend for my one pig. I then added two goats. I went from wanting one animal to now having four. It was the best decision because now they’re a little family.

After I had my first baby, I felt so alone. I was still new to Washington and I wasn’t working. The isolation as a stay at home mom and not having friends intensified my “baby blues” I was experiencing. It later became unbearable and turned into full blown postpartum depression. Coupled with my preexisting bipolar depression thoughts of suicide had creeped into my head.

How was this possible? I just had a beautiful baby. My parents lived across the country in New Jersey but helped as much as they could. My husband has always been my rock but was working 50 hour plus a week for our family.

I realized I needed a support system. I joined local mom Facebook groups. I befriended my next door neighbor (who has become one of my dearest friends). I got out of my comfort zone & befriended people from all walks of life.

Soon my depression lifted. I was surrounded by people who loved and supported me. I began to count my blessings & not my burdens. My friends helped me realize this.

I truly believe that “your vibe attracts your tribe.” Once I realized I needed further companionship than my immediate family I began working on my vibe by cultivating real, meaningful friendships.

Friendships are the family you choose. My network is now compromised of people who are truly invested in my life. So to all my girlfriends, near & far, thank you for lifting me from the darkest place & choosing me to be your family.

My Seattle bossbabes

A wife’s perspective on being bipolar

It’s not always rainbows & butterflies it’s compromise that moves us along.

Maroon 5

It’s been one of those days. You know, the one where you wake up filled with hope that today is going to be the best day ever! I frequently wake up feeling this way. For me it’s that I’m going to change, that I won’t be filled with despair at the end of the day, that I won’t feel the weight of the sheer exhaustion of just being me.

It’s only the afternoon but I already feel defeated. This is what life is like being bipolar. My rapid cycling of feeling manic and excited then shifting to easily irritated and triggered has already reared its ugly head.

Sadly the person I take it out most on is my husband. He doesn’t deserve my manic shifts. He doesn’t deserve the outbursts that come with it. But what he doesn’t understand- I can’t help it.

I have seen psychiatrists, therapists, and checked into outpatient centers. I take my meds regularly and I have a fantastic support system of friends. My mood swings still happen and it’s taking a toll on my marriage.

All I want is for him to understand that I cannot help that I have a neurological brain disorder. My actions and emotions in the moment are out of my control.

The lack of empathy is what triggers me the most. I understand being with someone diagnosed bipolar cannot be easy. In fact, I imagine it can be heartbreaking. However, without empathy you’ll never be able to give the grace and love that people who are suffering with mental illness really need.

I hope by writing this blog it will provide a place for people to understand what it’s like. What it’s like to have no control of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and even your actions.

I want to bring awareness on a topic that’s sensitive for some. I hope people gain knowledge on bipolar disorder through my experiences- good or bad. With awareness and knowledge, empathy can be found.

My why.

Be who you are & say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter & those who matter don’t mind.

Dr. Seuss

Since I started writing a blog, or even getting a farmhouse, the main question is always WHY?

What’s my why? Hm that took me a long time to figure out. I think of it as finding your “secret sauce” of what you’re good at & enjoy, then applying it to your life. I enjoy helping & building connections with people. One of the main reasons I became a teacher.

So when it comes to my “why”, the answer is to help people who may be struggling with similar situations. I find relating to someone & knowing you’re not alone makes a whole difference in your mental health.

Mental health is a tricky topic. It’s almost shameful to admit that you’re having difficulty emotionally. I never wanted to share my experience with manic depression to the World Wide Web. I also didn’t want to open up that I had a delayed son.

But this is why I’m writing this blog. To be candid about real situations that can be uncomfortable by being raw & honest. I think it’s good to open up about mental health disorders & reduce the surrounding stigma.

No ones life is perfect. But we’re given just one and it’s what you do with it that counts.