This is a blog about my journey with bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed spring of 2011 and was admitted into a mental health hospital a month before my wedding. I struggled greatly for the next year and a half going on and off meds, experimenting with different forms of therapy and was readmitted to the hospital at the end of 2012. Since then I have been learning how to re-live my life. Seeing a wise, supportive, kind therapist once a week and emerging myself into Dialectical Behavioural Therapy are 2 of many ways that are helping me recover. I have found deep comfort and much strength in mindfulness practices, taught to me from DBT.

This blog is my way of allowing you to see into the life of someone who suffers from bipolar, depression and extreme anxiety. I want to own my story, and help defeat the stigma. I hope you find some comfort in knowing you are not alone, or learn more about mental illness through the writings of my blog.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Dare I say this is a gift?!

Day 2

What did I do today?
-Despite my sleeping pill last night, I was up every hour/half hour, and never got into a deep sleep
-Felt very tired most of the morning and very unmotivated
-Jenny came to visit me and brought me an americano from jonny's java and that hit the spot! We puzzled and talked and just sat in quiet. It was really helpful for me to have her here
-Ryan came after supper (he had been running my craft sale booth all day) and brought some games and cookies (although we didnt play any games or eat many cookies) because I was pretty sad and discouraged (I didnt do as well in the craft sale as I had hoped)

How have I been feeling?
I've actually been feeling pretty good. Last night I didn't have an episode and I haven't today either. When I was here in 2011 the same thing happened. I never had an episode the entire time I was here. I was talking to my nurse about that yesterday. It's almost frustrating that I dont have episodes here because it makes me feel like I'm here for no reason. She said that it's actually quite common for someone to come into hospital and be relieved of major depression/suicidal thoughts and stuff because I'm in a safe place with no temptations to hurt myself. That, and I'm not comfortable enough here to "show my true colours".
Talking with Jenny today helped me realize that maybe I should stay here at least for a little while, and I was able to understand why, but I still don't WANT to, and I still haven't decided if I will go home on Monday or not.

My nurse also asked me if I had any goals to work towards upon discharge. If I could leave here completely healthy what would that look like?
I wasn't sure, as I just wanted to leave asap and didn't care about any goals. But upon more prodding, I was able to say I would want to leave here in control of my emotions. (at this point i had been crying for half an hour straight, very tense body, very anxious). To me, being in control of my emotions meant not having any episodes (defined my outrage, yelling, rolling around the floor sobbing, not being able to communicate etc). But she suggested that being in control of my emotions also meant not crying all the time and having my anxiety under control. WHAT?! That's possible?! It made me realize how long I've been living in depression. It's become my normal. I can live a life where I find CONSISTENT enjoyment in activities and be able to go uptown without anxiety? She said, the fact that I wasn't even able to BELIEVE I could have a life like that was the very depth of depression. Hopeless.

My situation tells me things are hopeless. But I do not feel hopeless. My situation tells me that I should feel like a failure. But I do not feel like a failure. My situation tells me that I should feel like I'm being punished. But I do not feel like I am being punished.
In fact, I feel hope-FULL. Yes, my heart aches sometimes, wrenching in pain, but I can see God moving in all this. I would have NEVER been able to say that last time I was here. Growth.
I've been reading this little book called "On Christian Contemplation" by Thomas Merton. It's basically a bunch of little paragraphs and quotes by Merton from various books of his throughout the years.
Contemplative prayer has been so helpful for me. I have my own little beef/doubts about prayer in general (more on that another time), but with contemplative prayer, I feel so relaxed, so peaceful. I feel like I am ENOUGH in my broken-ness. I feel like God is NEAR.

"Prayer and love are really learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and your heart turns to stone. If you have never had any distractions you don't know how to pray. For the secret of prayer is a hunger for God and for the vision of God, a hunger that lies far deeper than the level of language or affection. And a man whose memory and imagination are persecuting him with a crowd of useless or even evil thoughts and images may sometimes be forced to pray far better, in the depths of his murdered heart, than one whose mind is swimming with clear concepts and brilliant purposes and easy acts of love" Thomas Merton

Reading this makes me feel greatful (DARE I SAY THAT?!) for what is happening to me right now. I am suffering so bad, it is allowing me to access depths of Jesus I wouldn't be able to access if I wasn't in pain! Dare I say this is a gift?! oooooo controversy.

I just want to say THANK YOU for reading this. It is really therapeutic for me to write this blog, knowing that my friends and family are backing me up. I think that's one big difference of being here this time around. Last time, it was all "hush hush richelle's in eden, nobody can know" and now I don't give a rats ass who knows i'm in here! Your continued support means a lot to me, and I would love visitors! I think we will be getting a bit of a visitor system into place soon, but if you want to visit me, please just facebook message/email me, as I can have internet most of the time.

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