If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

I am tortured. Where to start? Today, I read some of my hospital records from SASH (San Antonio State Hospital). It’s an insane asylum. Except, we do not call them that anymore. It’s just SASH.

The reading is somber. I cried. I cried because that’s not me. I don’t remember. I don’t know.

Why would I go down this rabbit hole? I didn’t intentionally. I accidently came across it in a folder dedicated to mental illness recovery.

This folder holds information on a Wellness Recovery Action Plan®, or WRAP ®. This is the brain child of Ms. Mary Ellen Copeland. I first heard the name through my small town psychiatrist in the very beginning. At the time all I did was do a brief internet search on her and I moved on quickly. I wasn’t much into taking charge of my health back then. Then, I ended up in SASH. And, I was given the folder. Over a year later, I am just now seriously giving it attention.

WRAP ® and Ms. Mary Ellen Copeland have plans, one specifically called a Daily Maintenance Plan. Sound familiar? That caught my attention too because I have naturally instinctively developed a Daily Maintenance List that I sometimes call a Daily Maintenance Plan. Her plan is detailed. A life saver (literally). Mine is crude and is only helpful to me.

I have simply a list of the most basic of things I have to do in a day. I mean. THE MOST BASIC.

http://crazyinparis.com/2014/03/03/daily-maintenance-plan/

I can’t stress enough how I am in the elementary stage of this recovery (despite being released from SASH over a year ago). For me, this has definitely been a slow . . . very slow . . . recovery.

Yesterday, I was in a fog (recovering from my weekend “non medication” bender). My daily maintenance list/plan gave me something to focus on. I needed that focus. I needed to be told what to do. My brain is not automatic anymore. So, I walked Ginger. Brushed my teeth. Got coffee. Each time looking at the list (the things I do every day) for the next step. Every minute I was thankful I didn’t have a job to do. As I robot’ed through the day, I was so thankful, so very thankful, I had this day to myself.

Today, I’m better. And, I decided the events of the last few days will never do. I reaffirmed my post-SASH commitment to take my medication. I cracked open my WRAP® folder. I cried over my hospital records but moved on. I looked at the handouts that describe the WRAP® program.

I got overwhelmed. The handout isn’t even the book. Or the website. Just the presentation slides from a SASH doctor on the WRAP® program.

I have some homework to do. I’m heading to the library to make copies of this simplified 2 page front and back handout. I want to sit down and read it. Absorb it. Then, make notes on the copy. Lastly, I need to truthfully answer the questions asked.

I already know have to document more. Organize more. Strategize more. So far, me and mine have been flying by the seat of our pants on this.

That’s no plan.

I’m going to make us a plan!

A Shaky Awesome Cup of Mental Dysfunction

Admittedly, I didn’t take my medication Saturday night. I honestly thought it would result in a great day Sunday but I bombed miserably. It wasn’t a full blown psychotic episode but it could have been if I didn’t call my mom and her race over to throw one of my anti-anxiety pills down my throat. There was a time when my freak out would have freaked my mom out but now she does not bat an eyelash. God bless that woman.

I’m still recovering from the aftershocks of one day off my medication. I thank God I didn’t have to report to a Monday morning of work.

Like a horse long beaten dead, I repeat in my mind, “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I hold it together?” Now, even the smallest disappointment. The smallest clinch in the matrix. Sends me into a mental tailspin. I can’t control it. I honestly cannot control myself. I cannot just “get it together.”

A small glimpse into my life on Sunday would have shown me literally shaking just to make a cup of tea. I thought, “I just need to take deep breaths and make myself an awesome cup of tea. An awesome cup of tea and deep breaths will make this bearable.” But, no wholesome homeopathic remedy can stop this mental train.

My only hope is prescription medication. It’s that serious. But, the medication is a roller coaster. Try this one. Now try that one. Up the dosage. Lower the dosage. In the beginning, I was optimistic when the therapist said there were so many “things” we could try. Now, that scares me.

We are playing games with MY MIND. And, why isn’t working on its own anymore! And, why was the drug that was working (keeping me stable) why isn’t that working anymore!

Why am I wreck? I might understand better if it was always this way but it wasn’t. I functioned fine before my mid-30’s. Ok, maybe I was a little eccentric but definitely not on the wacko radar.

Now, I honestly feel like someone took a baseball bat to the back of my knees. At the same time, a rubber band just snapped in my mind. And, it just keeps snapping. It hasn’t stopped.

Could not taking a medication I’ve been taking faithfully for one year just for one night cause me such upheaval? Or is this a bigger problem? I honestly don’t know but when I see the doctor this week, I’m just going to be honest. That’s the best I got. “This is what I did. This is what happened. And, I think, in my uneducated opinion, that we need a different anti-depressant and a higher dose of anxiety medication. Maybe we have to do something with this mood stabilizer because I don’t think that’s doing its job either. But, then the combination of these particular medications do allow me to get a peaceful night of sleep so I am wary of letting them go.”

Anyway, for right now, I am back to being faithful to my current medication regiment, which resulted in a wonderful night of uninterrupted rest and hobbling around my very simple daily maintenance list today.

http://crazyinparis.com/2014/03/03/daily-maintenance-plan/

How Weight Watchers Works

Everything you eat has a “point” except for fresh fruits and vegetables. The latter being on the house.

You get X amount of points a day and some extra for the week. You get extra for exercising too!

You “track” the amount of points you consume

Here’s how it really changes you. When you keep track of what you eat, accountability kicks in.  You really start paying attention. No more mindless eating.

Last night, it hit home for me.

MOVIE NIGHT~ A Winter’s Tale, which was good, by the way. Not what I expected. Bonus: Will Smith is in it.

Normally for movie night, I would have:

  • A box of Raisinets
  • A  soda
  • A giant bowl of mega butter movie theater popcorn with that chemical movie butter on top

Weight Watchers turned movie night into:

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  • A respectable bowl of a 100 calories of fat free popcorn
  • A portioned amount of Weight Watchers dark chocolates
  • Water

I also had Weight Watchers chicken strips and French fries for dinner. All within my allotted budget and not bad at all.

That’s how it works. You start making better choices (and become healthier) by becoming a measuring weighing point counting fiend.

I can’t write long because I’m in a great hurry.  I started reading Good Omens and it is hilariously written.  I am loving it.  Thank you, Mr. Jeezusgut.

It’s cold weather (perfect for reading) and deer season here. My stepdad just got a deer this morning. In fact, he called to ask me to come over to help clean it. I was like, “Sure thing, boss man.” Hung up and I’m still planted here. I guess after I finish this I’ll get dressed and go help. It’s not my favorite thing.

I’ve been doing good. One of my nutrition nut friends recommended some B12 mouth spray from her favorite Dr. Mercola (she was like, “You haven’t heard of Dr. Mercola?!?!”) and I gotta say, it has given me a little bit of an energy boost.

Everyday, I’ve been getting in my walk and putting a smiley face sticker on the calendar. This past week I went back to Weight Watchers. I know how to lose weight and all the principles. It’s not rocket science, right? Move your ass and cut out the junk. ooookkkkkkkkk. Well, I needed the extra help this go around.

So, every Thursday evening, you’ll find me at this small town’s Chamber of Commerce publicly weighing myself and sitting around with a bunch of really fat people talking about how we lost our 1 pound this week. At my first meeting, I wanted to punch this woman in the face. She brought pumpkin muffins and starting being forceful about people taking one. I stood my ground and had to tell the old bitty several times to elf off (in a polite way, of course).

Who brings baked goods to a Weight Watchers meeting and doesn’t even bother to calculate the points? One woman whispered, “I really don’t want this but I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” And, I said, “Lady, she’s a food pusher. I got no sympathy for that kind of person.” I am determined to get down to my fighting weight and turn this group around. It’s the same group that was there in February shortly before I quit and I promise they look the same as when I left them 6 months ago. So, I’ll be surprised if I get any help or inspiration from this bunch.

The apartment gets more and more fabulous. On the inside. Other than my apartment in Fort Myers Florida, this has to be the nicest apartment I’ve had. Go figure subsidized housing. On the outside, it’s just a bunch of degenerates. They ask for rides. They ask for money. They are rude. I’ve contemplated putting up a DO NOT DISTURB sign. But, instead I took down my door wreath so I can see out the door clearly and I will not be opening my door to just anybody. Hopefully, the loser zombies will get the hint. Now, it’s not all bad. I do have a couple very charming ladies that I’ve grown attached. Ms. Betty, Ms. Sara and Ms. Josephine. All about 80 years old. And, just the cutest group. They sit on each other’s porches smoking away talking about crochet and working at the telephone company. I’ve become an honorary member.

Yesterday, we loaded up their canes and walking buggies and went yard sailing. And, I loved it! I love a good yard sale day. I ended up getting some high end ramekins (little baking dishes) for a $.25 the whole set. A brand new three hole punch for $.50 (still in the box). And, a couple of very cute plus size outfits for $.25 a piece.

To top it off, we each got a pair of brand new leg warmers so we’ll be a bunch of matching “Flash Dance” Twinkies. They bought a bunch of knick knacks. I know from my own grandmother that old ladies love some what-nots.

My doggy is perfectly charming and doing well. She has developed a nasty habit of taking my clothes out of the hamper and shredding them. She does this when I am away so she has some time for the illegal operation. That’s in addition to her love of trash can knocking. I came home one day to colorful stripes of cloth mixed in with trash all over the apartment. I was shocked and so mad. Now, if I want to keep my clothes I have to make sure everything is in the closet with the door shut. Trash cans are all locked up as well. Pets are so crazy!

Well, I’m back to Good Omens . . . Peace

Walk first, then run

Deep apartment cleaning scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday at the latest. If I had the money, I would hire a cleaning lady. It’s amazing how fast things go downhill.  Right now, I have a maze of papers, boxes, cardigans, and shoes weaving through the apartment. The kitchen looks like dirty dishes exploded and are multiplying rapidly.  The place smells like old Chinese. But, it’s just me and I am not expecting any visitors.  It’s easy to let things go.

Even when I was my manic self, I wasn’t much of a housekeeper. I’ve always been a slob.  There are so many better things to do than clean.  Like read.  Even knit. Watch television. Go for a walk. Now, that I think about it that is usually what I do.  Just say away from the mess. I used to go walking or for a run. I’d go anywhere to avoid cleaning.  That’s right. Cleaning is low on my list.  Weirdly enough, I will let it get so bad that I enjoy putting on some rubber gloves, loading up trash bags, and spraying the whole place down with cleaning chemicals.  Then, start all over with messing it up.  Don’t get me started on laundry. I will go buy new clothes not to have to do laundry.  It’s bad. My apartment has a once a month inspection where they check the fire extinguisher, fix things, etc.  You can guarantee the day before I’ll be busting hump to cover up my piggy-ness.

In other news, I’ve walked four (4) days in a row! I am now up to 2 miles and it feels good. I missed putting on my tunes and hitting the pavement. I’d love to run but I’m too big for that but the walking has done me good already. Yesterday, just walking the two miles had me huffing and puffing with my face all red.

I am still watching my diet but then I did have Chinese last night. I love love Chinese food and this little redneck town has the best fast food Chinese takeout joint I’ve encountered yet . I’ve recognized that I will have to stay away. I still have some leftover Nutrisystem dinners and a new month’s supply of lunches and snacks. Then, I am done with that.  I can’t see myself going on it again.  Too processed.  It upsets my digestion.  Really bad.  It’s just not natural.

I see my psychiatrist in a little less than a month and I’m going to tell him I want to keep things like this for a bit. It’s not perfect but what I want doesn’t exist.  I want my manic state back without turning into a psycho.  These medications I am on now just keep me so down.  Not depressed but numb.  I feel like I am living in a fog.  I have to force myself to do every little thing.  I have no energy but I recognize part of it is being obese.  I’ve just been half ass’ing it but I am starting to get a little jazzed up about conquering this weight and then see where I am at energy and attitude wise.  If I get back into running, I know I’ll feel better.  If I am my normal weight, I know I’ll feel better.  So, we’ll just have to see.  I just can’t honestly look my doctors in the eye and tell them I’ve done everything I can for my health and then expect them to cure everything. It’s just not right. There is so much that I could be doing to reclaim my life.

First, I have to continue my walking every day or do an exercise video if weather not permitting the walk. I have them but I have never actually done one. Second, drink my water. The least I can do is flush out some toxins.  Third, eat whole nutritious foods.  Get rid of the junk.  I’ll probably go back to Weight Watchers. It really is a good program.  I am always stunned when I figure out the points I get and the points my foods are.  No wonder I am fat! It really is an eye opener. In fact, I am going to join right now and get to counting.

By the way, this article inspired me to start walking.

Google “My Fitspiration is family”

It’s an article from the Health website called “Weight Loss Before-And-After: “My Fitspiration is family”

One of my doctors told me to join Weight Watchers and this girl lost her weight with it as well.  Everywhere I turn, there are signs to WW.  But, I especially like this article because she became a runner and her power ballad is “Defying Gravity” from  Wicked.

It reminds me of myself.  When I first started running,  I couldn’t believe how far I could go. Then, I ran a marathon.  I want to get back to that girl so I framed a picture of my marathon finish and put by my bed.

That’s me!

Marathon

If I did it once, I can do it again.

Book Diving

Yesterday, I did my favorite thing in the whole wide world. Book diving.  I started out at the brand new warehouse location of my favorite used book store, The Thrifty Peanut. Then, I hit the Goodwill.

My modest stash:

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  • The author of Twilight Stephanie Myer’s The Host
  • Linda Howard (trashy romance writer but so good!) Now You see Her
  • Emily Giffin Something Borrowed
  • Nicholas Sparks Nights in Rodanthe (this has been added to the nightstand rotation due to someone else recommending)
  • Jennifer Greene Blame It on Chocolate
  • Cecelia Ahern P.S. I love you

Arriving in the mail today was Bethenny’s Yoga Workout collection. I love her so much. I’m hoping it motivates me to some physical activity.

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I also went to the library to see what they had and came away with newest book by my favorite author, Ms. Amanda Quick. She write under many names but this is her historical romance pen. I just love it! I’ve been eating these book up since I was a kid. Everything stops when I get her book.

Lastly, look what I found at the Goodwill:

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An Eiffel Tower wine rack!! How stinking cute.

So yeah, I guess nothing cheers me up more than adding to my book collection and finding cute stuff at the thrift store because I am so jazzed up about my finds.

Tomorrow will be better

I’ve been in a bit of a funk, which is why the radio has been silent.

I guess if I had to pinpoint it,  it would be the news from my therapist that the nobody un-bipolar-ers. I did have hopes that it would go away.  That I would be the version of myself that I know best. The one I am most comfortable with. The gravity of being mentally ill has also hit me.  It’s a big responsibility. For me. And to my fellow human beings.

I can’t afford to be carefree.  I have to be vigilant to my disposition at all times.

And, I have to be a hostage to medication.

With little support system. Sure, I have my doctor and professional team but they are not with me on a daily basis.  My search for other bipolars has been fruitless. My therapist says not to take it to heart.  Bipolars are not social. They are difficult.  And, much of the time, they are in denial about their condition. Not everybody has the insight and ability to communicate like I do.  I can understand that.  Sometimes, I am the same introvert. But, I am just fascinated with the prospect of findings others. I will take any guidance I can get.

I am at a loss.  I want a roadmap.

I want it so bad because I want to be able to follow something that will ensure all ends well for me. Doesn’t everybody, right? But, since there is no handbook on life, there is certainly no handbook on life with mental illness.

Today was a “could hardly drag myself out of bed” day and I have been dragging cement shoes everywhere.  My limps are so heavy. My mind is numb.  I do not even care enough to despise myself or circumstance.

This is one of the unpleasant sides of bipolar.  I hope to wake up tomorrow in better spirits.

Clean Myself Up

I’ve been scarce because I am coming off a Netflix bender.

This time it was “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

It's always sunny

Now, I am moving on to the latest Neflix season of “Once Upon a Time”

Yes, my taste is all over the place.

This morning, I woke up and saw my place and thought “What a dump!” So, today is an uneventful cleaning day.

I’m scrubbing the bathroom . . .

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Making beds . . .

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Cleaning floors. And tidying up anything else . . .

The Quiet Woman

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I still read Jesus Calling every day. I have my Jesus time in the morning where I read Sarah Young books and the Bible. I enjoy it. It gives me peace and hope.

I am still thinking about one particular chapter from the September 19 Jesus Calling.

“There is a mighty battle going on for control of your mind. Heaven and earth intersect in your mind; the tugs of both spheres influence your thinking. I created you with the capacity to experience foretastes of heaven.  When you shut out the world and focus on My Presence, you can enjoy sitting with Me in heavenly realms.  This is an incredible privilege reserved for precious ones who belong to Me and seek My Face.  Your greatest strength is your desire to spend time communing with me.  As you concentrate on Me, My Spirit fills your mind with Life and Peace.”

I’m not as close to God as I should be. I don’t meditate. I haven’t spent much time communing with God. In fact, my Jesus time in the morning is all I do right now.  I tend to only pray in crisis.  However, lately, I have thanked God for my blessings and asked that he please not give me anything bad right now. I just need a moment to enjoy the stillness.

This chapter spoke to me because when I had my life, I was always running around. It was a great battle. I had a million things going on.  I stopped taking care of myself.  I stopped doing the little things that I enjoyed.

I gave up one of my greatest gifts.  That was spending time alone with my thoughts. With myself.  In total silence. No television. No Pandora. Just the hum of the air conditioner and the chirping of birds outside.

Instead, I jumped out of bed in the morning, got ready, raced to work, spent 8+ hours with people that just verbally and mentally pecking the life out of you, went to the gym, fixed dinner, and went to sleep. Repeat the next day.

What I needed was total stillness. A break from the insanity.

With a notepad next to me.

My place for this is my bedroom. It’s uncluttered. It’s dark. I lay on my comfortable bed. It’s soft and warm.

This is my quiet and happy sanctuary. A place I can block out from the rest of the world. I’ve always been this way. A lover of my bedroom.  I could stay there and not come out until someone began to worry.

I just lay there.

I just let my thoughts run.

Freely. Whatever. It doesn’t matter what I think.  Sometimes, it’s nothing. I might fall asleep.  Other times, I am processing.

It might be something worth writing in this blog.

Or, it might just be my to do list:

  •                 Clean the kitchen
  •                 Clean the frig
  •                 Take out the trash
  •                 Check the mail

I wish I could say this has helped me keep my sanity but it hasn’t. Only medication has done that. But, it might just work for someone less screwed up than me. For me, it’s just something I enjoy and I think it helps me not go off on people. It just gives me a more serene disposition. Of course, the Demons are still there.  It’s just that they get put in the notebook and aren’t running wild in my head and oops, getting loose.

A bipolar girl's journey to health & Paris