The New Year has Begun…Wonder what will change?

We are already half-way through January, and there is just so much going on. Our household is stirring with hopes and plans for the future, while we also tiptoe along, wondering how long the status quo can be maintained. I don’t know about your house, but at ours, the illness affects most things. We try to not let it be the center of attention, but making allowances all through the day and nights is the way we live. My son spends hours every night trying to reach a point where he can fall asleep. It’s almost as if he spends the entire 24 hours getting to the right point where he might be able to relax. He has been manic the last several months, so sleep was almost an absurd wish. However, for the last few weeks it appears he is entering a more depressed state. So far, he has done well to try to hold himself above the danger zone…and to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The upside is that he sleeps a bit more easily and a bit longer. If he’s not awakened, 6-8 hours is not unheard of these days…though it may take until deep into the night before it starts. During those nights during the manic months…1-3 hours was about all he could hope for…and sometimes days went by in between. So here we are. I use the quiet night hours to get my work done…so I keep an ear turned toward his end of the house and am thankful for silence. His music is his great comfort and he plays it night and day. When he is feeling a bit better, he uses his DJ gear to make special arrangements. But, tonight he is not angry…he is calm. And quiet.

I wonder what is ahead for him…will he improve as time goes by? Will THE ILLNESS become more manageable? He has improved in some ways, but it seems those ways have been relative to his beating the addictions. He is clean now and able to work with his brain. However, his brain seems to not be quite so cooperative as he is.

There is another question, too. His son is with him every other weekend. When his son is home, he seems more managed, more controlled, less ill, than at any other time. He has noticed it, too. And wonders what it is about this child that brings him such peace?

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What is the holiday season like for you?

It’s the week that leads to Christmas, and this is a great time to begin this blog. Our goal here is to provide a safe and open forum for all of us who experience bipolar disorder ourselves, or through someone we love, to talk and express and expose and wrestle and rejuvenate through our own experiences and those that are shared.    We are family and friends and have our stories to tell.   All of us have days of desperation and days of joy.   Tell us about yours…we will tell you about ours.   Let’s come together and find strength and wisdom in support.

For many, the Christmas and Hanukkah season, is a hustle-bustle time of hurried busy-ness, parties, dinners, gift wrapping and fun.  There may be  a mixture of joy and pain, love and sorrow for others..   For so many more, it is just a time of upheaval, anguish and debilitating suffering.   I grew up in a happy family setting with all the Normal Rockwell traditions.   My sister and brothers and I were dressed in red and white and we laughed and baked and sang carols and made gifts.   When I became the mother of three,  I really made effort to create that same joy for my children.   However, divorce had marred the limitless joy, and with each passing year it seemed Christmas held more painful memories.   My son was a sensitive and jubilant child….giving from his heart to all that walked into his life.   But, around the age of three…there was also a deep pain.   By the time he was 7,  his teacher’s frustration with his bouncy personality resulted in constant criticism from her…and he began to sink into a darker and darker place of shame.   By 10 years he was in anguish at times…wanting to die.   This was decades ago, and I didn’t understand I was seeing a mental illness unfold.   I thought I had a sensitive child who felt things deeply and needed support and encouragement.   However, my naive attempts to encourage him were futile.   I had never seen pain like this in a child before.

I will talk about our story more tomorrow. Tell me about yours… Peace.

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