Sunday, February 23, 2014

Musings about my Broken Goals. . .

So I guess I'm pretty average.  It turns out that almost everybody starts out all happy and motivated in January and then in February we all give up and go back to our pre-December selves.  Click here to read more about that . . .

Now the article, if you don't really want to read it yourself, basically says that 40% of Americans set New Year's goals.  But only 8% achieve them.

Wow.  There goes a bunch of my guilt.  Yay!

So what gives?

Lots of us aim too high;  and we are vague. 

I want to lose weight and feel better!

Well, okay.  I get that.

But I thought I had an achievable goal.  Get up earlier every day!  How hard is that?

It turns out it is kind of hard.  Here's why.

1.  My husband likes to stay up late.
2.  My 2 year old likes to get up at the same time I do and that ruins the whole point of getting up earlier.  ( Quiet time for mom to read her Bible and Pray and Blog.)
3.  Nobody else cares if I stay in bed or not.
4.  I like my warm bed a lot.  It is SOOOO cold right now.
5.  We all got sick and it is really hard to get up early when your body is screaming for "More Sleep!  More Sleep!"

So now I am re-thinking this goal.

Perhaps I need to go through each one of those five points and refute them. . . numbers 3, 4 & 5 are going to be the hardest ones because if I WANT to achieve this badly enough, if I believe it is a worthy enough goal, I can combat 1 & 2 much more easily . . . I wonder how many people stop their New Year's resolutions and then restart them?  Do I really NEED to get up really early right now?  Is there a different goal I should be pursuing?

I do not want this to be a year of goals set and then not accomplished at my house.  So I did good in January but not in February.  March is right around the corner.  I think I'll get Hubby to sit down with me and do some talking about goals with him . . .after all, he is my better half and he knows what looks good on me . . .habits included!  Here are some goals that CNN suggested.  Seems to make sense.  Click here to read more.

How are you doing out there with your goals?  Your choices in habits?

It's worth thinking about.  :)

~ Jennifer

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Writing Rubbish

So if you've visited this blog before you may have noticed that there for a bit I was writing almost daily.

And then I stopped;  I had a good reason.  My two year old decided that she'd get up when I got up and it shot my entire blogging time slot to pieces.

Also, I read somewhere  that almost everybody thinks the same things over and over, like 80 percent of your thoughts are the same thoughts you had yesterday!

I did not want to write the same things over and over everyday because that would mean you, the reader, would be getting a rubbish experience.

I will hopefully be able to remedy these two problems.  If not, I may have to kiss this blog goodbye, which would be a shame as I do enjoy it.

~ Jennifer

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentines Day with Kids

*  Do Valentines with your Hubby on a night that isn't Valentines if you want to eat out!  Better seating :)

* Candlelight Dinner with the Kids on Valentines Day.  I used my good tablecloth this year and decorations from the Dollar Store.  Super cute and  Dh and I told stories about some of the fun stuff we did with our families when we were kids.

* Draw a bath for your kiddo/kiddos ( if they are still little enough that they bathe together);  I did this for my third kiddo who is old enough to use my fancy lotions and scrubs without abusing them and she loved it.

* Breakfast in bed!  So fun to have a tray brought to you!

*  Make a piece of toast and "glue" a second heart shaped piece of toast to the top of  it with Peanut Butter or Nutella

* Heart shaped foods ( pizza!) for dinner or an all red theme

* Make fourteen paper hearts and write attributes that you love about your kiddos on them.  Stick to their bedroom doors to find that morning!

Remember that it is about making people feel loved,not about spending money.  And maybe stay off of Facebook that day if all the posts about what people got or are doing get to you!

Happy Valentines Day!

~ Jennifer

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Mom's Review of World War Z

I was against this movie as soon as I heard the word "zombie."

I haven't like horror movies since I was a teenager and I spent the night at my friends's house and endured Chuckie.


Hubby knows that I won't do horror and so he didn't ask me to watch World War Z with him.

But after he watched it he, he said he thought that maybe we should all watch it as a family because he felt it was more like Indiana Jones than a horror movie.

So I said "Okay.  If you think it's okay for the kids."

I put my phone in the other room and I focused on this movie so I wouldn't be lost and guess what?  That was a good thing because the beginning of the movie was very important.  It let you know who the main character, Gerry ( played by Brad Pitt) was.

And I was really pleasantly surprised to find out that Gerry was a family man!  And he stayed a family man through the entire movie ( complete with wedding ring)!

His family was an ordinary family.  His wife was a "regular" person with her hair in a ponytail and his girls wanted a puppy and one of the girls had asthma and he had to talk her through an asthma attack.  This was a family that I could relate to . . .

As the movie progressed Gerry continued to do the right thing;  he became a reluctant hero who used his BRAIN, not his brawn, to fight the virus that caused ordinary people to become zombies.

It was a movie that showed my kids that the best way to live is to by loving others and laying our lives down for them.

Gerry was willing to die for his wife and kids and the movie showed that clearly.  But he was also willing to live for them.  When it came down to the wire, he showed courage.

Yay, Brad Pitt.  Good job.  And thanks for not swearing all over the place or being naked.  I don't want my kids seeing you naked.  So thank you.

Also, they made a point of making a woman a hero.  They took a young Israeli soldier and showed her risking her life to save others.

All in all, our family enjoyed it though I will admit that I left and got laundry to fold during some of the more suspenseful moments and my younger child sat by her dad and buried her face in his shoulder whenever it got too scary.  So if you are way sensitive to scary, don't watch it . . .but if you like a good thriller, you'll enjoy this one.

A quick recap of why I liked it:

1.  Family Man
2.  Brains, not Brawn
3.  Positive Portrayal of Women ( Wife was loving, realistic person;  same with the soldier.  Neither was portrayed as a sex object.)
4.  It was all about self-sacrifice for the ones we love
5.  Also, I didn't say this clearly before BUT, the enemy was not the PEOPLE who became the zombies, but the virus that made them sick.  So being a scientist was COOL in this movie.

~ Jennifer

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

On Faith and Trusting God

So from the title of this blog I'm sure you've deduced a few things about me.

One, I've been diagnosed with Bipolar II.

Two, I am a Mommy.

And three, I have faith.  Or at least I want to have faith!

I am a Christian.  I was raised in church and so I've known about God and Jesus for as long as I can remember.  I still remember my mother reading me Bible stories when I was very small.  I can still remember the picture of the princess  of Egypt taking baby Moses out of the Nile river in one of my old Bible story books.

Mom would read to me and then I'd look at the books and tell myself the stories.

I remember not understanding why everybody in the Bible seemed to have trouble trusting in God when they had problems when He obviously always fixed things.

Now that I am older and have lived a little longer I have seen that things don't always end well, at least not on this earth.  Hubby and I have been through some scary stuff ourselves and we've seen friends suffer badly.
I have been having conversations with God about this lately.

You see, I have ideas about what my life should look like.  And I don't think that my ideas . . .that the pictures in my head are unreasonable.  Healthy kids, enough money to pay our bills and spend a little on pleasures such as taking the kids to the pool, over to the National Park, etc . . .nothing fancy . . .

Enough means to go see my parents on a regular basis.  These are the things I want.  Basically, I want stability.  I want to know that everything is going to be "okay".

Some days I get that.  I get that "peace that passes all understanding."

And other days I don't.   There are days when I get up and I feel like the problems are too big.  I mean I have days when I feel like any little thing could make me either burst into tears or blow up in anger.   I usually don't do either of those things, but just feeling like I could is bad enough.  On days like the one I just described I am amazed that I can put on clothes and make-up and go out in public and auto-pilot takes over.

I say "Hi" and "How are you?" and I function pretty well, I think.  I hope.  But when I get home I sigh a deep breath because I made it through because on days like those I pray over every little thing: that the annoying lock on my car will please cooperate.  That the light will just turn green and let me go.  Silly, silly things.  I don't know if "normal" people feel that way or not.  I don't know how much of this is just hormones and part of being a woman or how much of it is being someone who has bipolar OR how much of it is spiritual warfare.  I just don't know.

All I know is that I do my best to combat my physical problems by taking care of myself:  proper sleep, proper food, exercise and my meds.

And I also know that I have to take care of myself spiritually.  No one is going to force me to open my Bible everyday.  No one will sit me in a corner and say "Now write out a prayer.  Do it."  No one makes me turn towards God when I am afraid.

But if I do crack open my Bible when I am afraid . . .guess what happens?  Not every time ( I have had very discouraging times when I tried for a connection with God and nothing happened) but sometimes words  and concepts leap off of the page and comfort me.  

Today's words might comfort you, too.  Now, these are actually not Bible verses but they were in my Bible notes ( Women of Faith Bible, year 2000, page 564)

Build a little fence of trust
Around today;
Fill the space with loving work,
And therein stay;
Look not through the sheltering bars
Upon to-morrow;
God will help thee bear what comes
Of joy or sorrow.

-Mary Frances Butts

Now how about that?  A little fence of trust around today.  And fill the space with loving work.

That is exactly what God calls me to, and you, everyday.  We aren't supposed to spend all day thinking about six months from now or a year from now when something that we might not enjoy MAY or MAY NOT occur.
I have been reading in I Kings 19 about Elijah and how alone he felt and how God came to him as a "still, small voice".  Elijah was ready to die.  He wanted to die.  Life was too hard.  And yet God came to him, comforted him and showed him that he still had purpose for him and also, that he was not alone.  Because besides Elijah there were seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal, the false god.

I have to remember that God will come to me, too, when I am wretched and at the end of my rope.  But He doesn't want me to get to that spot.  He wants me to, invites me to trust Him.  To do my day to day duties and leave the problem solving up to Him.  I am to dialogue with Him so I know what's going on . . .yes . . .but I am not to dialogue with Him in such a way that I am telling Him exactly what to do . . .prayer is not to be me telling God how to run my life.

Sometimes it needs to be me just coming to say . . ."Hey, here I am.  Thank you for being You and taking care of me;  and I'm scared and could You just comfort me a little?  Remind me of how things aren't so bad and how stuff turned out really well in the past, actually?  Thank You.  Thank You."

And the days when I take it all and dump it in His lap, those are the days that turn into the stretches where I am more than okay and the dishes get done and the laundry gets done and the kids keep thriving.  And it all starts with a choice to turn to Him.

~ Jennifer

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Observations about Toddlers

tod•dler (ˈtɒd lər) 

a person who toddles, esp. a young child learning to walk.

 That is the definition for toddler.  Don't believe me?  Click here!

Well, I thought I had a toddler . . .but perhaps I have a youngster instead.  :)  Anyway, she just turned two not very long ago and I have been making some random observations about my toddler.

I wonder if any of these seem familiar to you if you love a toddler, too.

1.  If I have to drop her off at church nursery or somewhere else,  my toddler is always the most adorable child in the room.

2.  My child loves to be unsupervised in the other room.  Often she will sneak away and I will find her gleefully enjoying the finer things that belong to her dad, mom and siblings.  Which brings me to point number 3.

3.  My toddler LOVES anything with a screen and/or buttons.  TV remotes ( Aaaahhhh!  If I throw them hard enough, the batteries will fly out, too!), iPhones, iPads, laptops . . .all of these sorts of things make her eyes go big and resemble those cartoon characters of yester-year that would be hypnotized and rendered immobile for hours at a time.

4.  But I love it when I see my older kids learning to interact with her.  I'm not sure anything melts my heart quite as much as the light-bulb moment that went off yesterday when big brother realized that he could make her laugh and laugh just by making silly faces and moving his head back and forth so fast that his cheeks wobbled.

5.  It's hard being the grown-ups at times.  Toddlers like to things to be just so and they will melt down in the grocery store if you are out during nap time.  They will poop at the most inconvenient times and tell people things that will turn your face three different shades of red.  But that's okay because they are learning.

6.  And speaking of learning . . .I'm pretty convinced that this age is all about learning.  She's learning independent play.  She's learning manners.  She's learning to come when I call her, to stop when she's told to stop. . .she's learning to love books and learning to sit still when Mom combs her hair . . .

It's the best of times and the worst of times and I am lucky to be a part of it.

~ Jennifer

Monday, February 10, 2014

On Gratitude

Confession:  I found myself in a really bad mood this morning.  I was reminded of some circumstances that make me angry and after spending some time thinking about them, I am tired of that and I want to think about what I am thankful for so . . .

Today I am thankful for:

1.  My Husband.  He is out in the cold and the snow working so our family can keep body and soul together.
2.  The moisture from the snow because it will make things beautiful in the spring.
3.  A garage so that Hubby can park inside and his truck will start.  When he parked on the curb the truck wouldn't start.
4.  My son who was up before I was and had his Bible out.
5.  My house which has a storage area so I can put things away and not look at clutter all day and rooms for three of our four kids.  They love having their own space after sharing for many years.
6.  My daughter's Sunday School teacher who makes Sunday's a special day for her.
7.  The friends I have who listen to what I have to say and encourage me.
8.  The way my oldest daughter expresses gratitude for the things her dad and I do to help her reach her goals.
9.  The way the kids will surprise me by doing things like cleaning their rooms without being told that they have to clean them or the way my son cleaned off the kitchen counters one night before bed without me asking him to clean them off.
10.  I am thankful for God who calms me when I am angry because life is unfair and not beautiful all the time.
11.  I am thankful for friends who stopped by with a basket of goodies for us last week.  I was thankful when they came by but when we found out that Hubby's paycheck was going to be delayed I was doubly thankful.
12.  I am thankful that the kids love to hang out with their family.  We sat around and played games last week and they all seemed to really enjoy it.
13.  I am thankful that my husband will cook for us . . .I started a batch of potato bread dough last week and he took over and deep-fried up quite a bit of it.  He also made a dip out of sour cream, cream cheese and garlic salt that we ate with it.  That was our supper and it was so good.  We just stood around the island in the kitchen and inhaled it.  Yummy!  Last night he made fried rice for us and again, we just inhaled it because it was so good.  His style of cooking is different than mine and it is a treat when he cooks for us.
14.  I am thankful that my third child motivates me to exercise even when I have no desire to get moving!
15.  I am thankful for good memories, even though I tend to gravitate towards the negative ones.
16.  I am thankful for a new day, a clean canvas, if you will.
17.  And just for all the things I take for granted every day . . .even if my things are old and worn, I HAVE those things.  Some people don't have multiple pairs of shoes or jeans.  They just don't.  I am thankful, even if my stuff isn't as cool as some of the stuff I see on other people.  That's okay.  It works.  :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Rant on Being Responsible

The whole point of being an adult is that you are now a "responsible" individual.

You are responsible to figure out how to make enough money to live.

If you do something illegal, you are held accountable.

If you reproduce, guess what?  YOU are responsible for that new life.

And I believe you are responsible to society, too.  You should be a good example to the small people around them so that when they grow up THEY, too, are responsible adults.

Today I was looking through my Facebook account when a picture of a cartoon girl taking her shirt off popped up.  The bottoms of her breasts were clearly visible, not the nipples, but the bare bottoms and it was obvious that she wasn't wearing any panties even though no pubic hair or anything below that was showing.

It really made me angry because the "man" who liked that drawing made it show up not just on my feed but also on my kids feed.  Not cool.

I am trying my level best to raise my kids to "guard" their hearts.  I expect them to see/hear stupid stuff from their peers and I have tried to talk to them about that.  But I do not want them to see/hear it from the adults in their lives.  Those people should know better or I should do a better job of who my kids are around.   Why does my 13 year old boy need to see that and get it stuck in his head?  He can't have sex right now.  He doesn't need a almost forty year old man putting that stuff out there for him to see.

Possible Trigger to follow:

Everybody has their "soap" boxes.  One of mine is pornography.  This is because one of my best friends married a guy who was addicted to pornography  ( she didn't know he had this problem when they got married and to be honest he probably didn't think he was that big of a deal, either) . . .but it was a REALLY big deal.

And then another kid I knew got addicted and that was a big ugly deal.

And just yesterday I read about an eight year old girl who was raped by her 13 year old brother who was exposed to pornography at a friends house.  He thought that his sister would be a good person to try what he'd seen out on because she was smaller than him and couldn't fight back and because she was young and probably wouldn't really remember it anyway.  Sickening.

So this is why I get so angry about people treating something like this like it is nothing.  Because it is, actually a very big something.

~ Jennifer

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Exercising with Kids

First, let me just say that my favorite way to exercise with my kids is by going outside and doing things like horseback riding, hiking and swimming.

That said, I don't own a horse and only get to do that when we're lucky enough to visit family with horses AND it is so terribly cold here right now that hiking is out of the question . . .swimming would be lovely but again, terribly cold here and not practical at all.

So what's a Momma to do?

This is what we've been doing lately since we are stuck in the house.

We set the timer for five minutes and during those five minutes we stretch.

Next we set the timer for ten minutes and we go downstairs and run around the basement, back and forth until we've run back and forth 10 times.

Then the girls hold my feet and I do fifteen sit-ups.  This is an improvement from the ten sit-ups that I originally struggled with!  Then I hold my daughter's feet and she does her 25 sit-ups.

Next we do jumping jacks and after that we run stairs . . .by this time we are feeling a little winded.

Just to mix it up we've been researching other things to do and I like the idea of jump ropes.

It seems like everyday we come up with something new.  Today our toddler brought us a stuffed animal and we invented a game where  we threw the toy back and forth, but we had to jump either before or during the throw.

Really, a lot of exercising with kids is trying to make it fun and change things up.

My daughter really likes competing, either against me or herself.  She broke her sit-up record today and will probably add another one or more on tomorrow.

Another thing that makes me really smile is a page that I stumbled on the day before yesterday.  The author of this blog found 45 days worth of free exercise videos and so E and I tried the first one yesterday.  We didn't do the whole thing but it was fun to do something that I felt like I could do in the privacy of my home that I wouldn't want to do anywhere else because I'm quite sure I wasn't doing it nearly as fluidly as the leader!  And since my navel isn't all flat and glittery . . .well, that also made me really glad I was doing this in the privacy of my home . . .still quite nice to have someone telling me what to do instead of me trying to come up with moves on my own!

Click on  THIS!! to see what I'm talking about.

If I come up with more great ideas I'll be sure to let you know.

Now that's it for this entry.  I hope you and your kiddos like moving together, too.  It's so good for everybody!

~ Jennifer

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Getting Back in the Groove ( Hopefully!)

If you want to see your plans derailed, invest in a toddler.

This morning I set my alarm so I'd get up early.  But I had this little girl snuggled up beside me and I could not get out of bed without her waking up all the way . . .so I told myself that as soon as she went back to sleep I'd get up.  Because, after all, getting up with a crabby toddler would completely defeat the purpose of a nice, quiet time to read my Bible, pray and blog.

I got a much later start to my day than I'd planned!  I'm having to choose not to get angry, panicky, etc.  I don't know what it is about my personality but I really enjoy being able to make lists, do what is on the list and cross it off and I can get really annoyed when someone gets in the way of my lists.

And that someone these days is my toddler.  My toddler is the Queen of Interruptions.  She is super cute, though and that does count for something.  This morning after I got her back to sleep I fell asleep, too.

I woke up to her "Get up!  Get up, Mommy!"  She brought me a book to read to her.

Then she went and got a diaper, but as soon as her old one was off she flipped over so I couldn't put the new one on her and then jumped up and ran around the room, laughing when she finally came back and I threw a blanket on her . . .she just wanted to play.

We came out to the kitchen and got some breakfast going . . .she wasn't really interested in the REAL breakfast and wanted leftover doughnut glaze that we still haven't tossed after the Super Bowl party.  Sissy fixed her some chocolate milk in her sippy cup and she promptly spit a big puddle onto the floor for the dog to lick up.  Then she reached up and unplugged the toaster that is plugged into the side of the island.

And then it was time for me to take off her dress because it had chocolate milk on it.  Imagine that!

The funny thing is this . . .I know that I was on a roll a month ago and somehow checking off my list. So how do I get back in the groove?

I think I'll do it this way:

You see, the girls and I are sitting at the table and they are drinking tea from fancy teacups while I type.  So in a minute I'll be done with this and I will . . .

1.  Talk to them about our goals for the day.  I will explain that I want the house to look nice when Dad gets home from work tonight and that I need everyone's help.  We'll pray before we go about the day.

2.  I will have E go to her room to start on school.  I will see if I can talk Little Girl into wearing more clothes because I feel cold just looking at her!  She wants to run around in her diaper all the time and BRRRRR.  It looks SO COLD.

3.  I will look at my morning routine list and cross off the first few items! Yay!  I have already eaten breakfast, gotten dressed and done my devotions.

4.  I will set the timer for 15 minutes and turn on KLOVE and start to empty the dishwasher.   I will probably need to have Little Girl help me empty the dishwasher.  We'll need to count forks, etc.

5.  Just continue.  Continue, continue.  Switch between cleaning & intentionally interacting with the kids ( checking schoolwork, exercising with the girls, etc.)

6.  Be really happy when the list is all crossed off or the big kids get home, whichever happens first.

7.  This will be easier to do if I sign out of Facebook for the day!  Same with other social media sites, lol.

I hope you gets lots done today if that is what you need to do.  And if you need a down day, that is okay, too.  Take care of yourself!


~ Jennifer

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My "Morning Routine" Page

I have blogged before about Flylady and how much I love her.  She just makes the idea of keeping the house clean seem so matter of fact and doable!

To get a look at Flylady's morning routine, click here.

Now, if you want to look at mine,  inspired by the Flylady, here it is.

Actually this is not a "Morning Routine".  It's a

"Before the Kids Get Home from School" Routine

Dressed to Shoes
Make Bed
Empty Dishwasher
Do Laundry
Check Calendar
Dinner planned?
Drink Water, Take Vitamins
Declutter for 15 Minutes
Exercise for 15 Minutes
Dress Little Girl


Check to make sure E has done all her school for the day.
Get down on the floor with LG for a bit every day ( blocks, make believe, etc.)
Read Aloud to the girls
Somehow figure out proper devotions to do with both girls . . .

I spent some time this morning thinking about how I had been doing great with the first part of the list but awful with the second half when I did the first half.  When really, some of those things on the second part of the list are more important.

I need more energy.  I am so tired these days.  Arrghhh.  Stop drinking coffee and eating sugar, Jennifer!  You know you'd feel better!


~ Jennifer

On Perimenopause

So this past week I was feeling just awful.  As in I spent most of Saturday doing nothing even though I knew we were having people over on Sunday for the Super Bowl party and normally I'd be cleaning and prepping food like a manic.

But I HURT.  It felt like sharp, rolling pains in my abdomen.

Finally I decided to do some googling.  I have always been one of those people who found her period inconvenient, but not painful.  But in November the days before my period were a definite pain.  And in December I thought that if the pain didn't subside I should probably call my doctor and see if there was something seriously wrong.

Now it's the tail end of January and so this is what I typed in "painful periods as age increases"

This is what I found:  click  here

Oh. My. Goodness.

If ever there was a reason to exercise and eat right, I think I've found it!  Holy smokes.  Who knew?

Now as for WHEN this happens, click here

Click here to see what Dr. Oz has to say about perimenopause.

And what if my period doesn't come after all this annoying pain?  Well, I found a link on that, too.  Click here

So I guess there's a lot more to aging gracefully than getting myself a red hat and purple sweater.

Add bipolar to the mix and it gets even more confusing. . .

I guess my game plan is to exercise, take fish oil, take a good multi-vitamin for women and start working on learning nutrition a little better.  That last one is hard!

Have a great day and good luck figuring this out if you are in the midst of it!

~ Jennifer

Monday, February 3, 2014

Note to Self when Sick

Perhaps the most comforting thing that I can remember when I am feeling down is this:  you are sick.   When you are sick, you aren't operating the way you want to be.

And I need to remember that it's okay to be sick and it's okay that I am not always operating the way I want to operate.

Our worth as human beings is not dependent on what we can produce.  I believe God gives us a desire to "do" things, but He doesn't love us based on how clean the house is, or how awesome our cooking skills are . . .

Again and again in the Bible we see that God has a soft spot for hurting, down and out sorts.  Just today I read about the woman who washed Jesus's feet with her tears.  She had a TERRIBLE reputation.  And yet she had love and that was what was most important.

When we are feeling terrible and maybe we don't understand why and we can't understand why we can't just make ourselves go through the motions and "feel" better . . .maybe we need to step back and realize that perhaps there is something more going on than meets the eye.

Usually with me I get through that time and I realize that I was under a lot of stress or that it was just before my period or something to that effect.  And once again I realize that it was a temporary thing, too, and not worth me beating myself up over.

It's amazing how much I CAN accomplish when I feel good . . .and amazing how little when I don't feel good.

So here's to you,  no matter if you are feeling good or not today.  I hope you are kind to yourself and remember that your worth is not in your accomplishments.

~ Jennifer

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Random observations about Mental Illness

Just a few observations about mental illness in general.

One, it is different for everybody.  Some people get irritable and violent and scare the pants off of other people.  Some people just withdraw to the point that you'd swear you'd done something to offend them ( I do that).

Two, people with mental illness are not just people with mental illness.  I don't think I can say this enough.  Mentally ill people teach, they are engineers, they are inventors.  They go to church with everyone else.  They shop in the same stores.  They have kids and they love those kids and they are soccer moms.  They are business owners and they are the nice people who reach out to us when we move into a community.  They may also be the weird guy who make everyone nervous.  That's just the truth of it.  But most people tend to think that mentally ill people are only weird guys living on disability.  Not true.

Three, mental illness is a chronic condition.  It's been eight years since I was first diagnosed with bipolar II.  I didn't want to believe the doctor when he told me I'd always live with this.  In fact, I spent a long time med-free,  believing that MAYBE he was wrong.  When I finally had another episode my new therapist kindly told me that 100 percent of mentally ill people go off of their meds at one point or another.  It's just too overwhelming to believe that this is a FOREVER thing sometimes.  Just too much.  It takes a while for it to sink in.  For me I finally decided that I'd be med compliant when my youngest baby was just a few months old and I realized that if I didn't take my meds and work at being well she would never know the same mommy that her big sisters and brother knew.

Four, mental illness is an isolating condition.  It isolates in a couple of different ways.  One, it carries a stigma and so it is hard to open up to other people and tell them about your condition.  And two, it takes a lot of energy to fight the illness sometimes and that means that while you as a person are trying to keep your head above water, you are ignoring other things . . .like friendships, like a career you might have been trying to build or a project that you'd hoped to complete.

Are there any good things about mental illness?  Maybe.  Come back, say tomorrow.  I'll think about that and see what I can come up with!