Friday, July 27, 2012

I AM Bri.

When I'm alone, I love fussing about my home; baking, organizing, planning, cleaning, etc.  It gives me a sense of peace and control over my life.  As many of you, my friends and blog readers know, having two adopted teenage boys with Aspergers syndrome along with severe emotional trauma, I need a break.  No, I need more than that - I need a blood transfusion with fine Irish Whiskey

I'm also Bipolar.  I didn't know my diagnosis until I moved to Colorado six years ago.  I knew I was quirky; I had periods of severe mood swings but I dealt with them as best I could.  I immersed myself in work and slept the rest of the ugliness away.  It wasn't until I was alone with the boys that I realized there was something terribly wrong with me.
  
Our first summer in Colorado, Eric was here with us.  He hadn't found work yet.  It was the second summer that was frightening.  I couldn't go a week without screaming, crying, being manic, or sleeping non-stop. 

What I mean by manic is by getting started on one project and then becoming re-directed on another.  For instance, I would start vacuuming the hallway, open the coat closet, and see that the jackets weren't lined up neatly.  Then I would stop vacuuming, straighten the jackets, and see that the games stored above were a mess.  I'd start pulling the games down and find cob webs in the corners of the closet, etc.  By the time Eric would come home from work, I'd have nine different projects in mid-process, and the house would be torn upside down.  At this point, the boys would be fighting, the TV was on, and everything chaotic.  Pure mania.

Thank God I had the courage and foresight to seek help. 

There are still times - even with my medication - I sink into depression or have anxiety attacks; however, my moods swings aren't nearly as bad as they once were.  I can see the depression coming.  I call them my "Deep Darks".  They'll always be a part of me because after all, Bipolar doesn't just go away.  When I start pulling out the Q-tips and getting funky with cleaning details, I'm not even aware that I'm doing it.  I've asked Eric to let me know.  Tell me gently to slow down and relax.  I'm heading into a spiral and I need to prepare myself for the dark days ahead.

I have to admit something right here and now..if you're reading this and have known me for some time, please don't question or invalidate me.  I told someone - someone I'm very close to - that I'd returned from my psychiatrist's office the other day.  She laughed at me.  She told me I didn't need to go - that there's never been anything wrong with me, that basically it's just a bunch of nonsense.  I was devastated.  How could someone who's known me my entire life invalidate me?  I was crushed.

If there was nothing wrong with me, how did I almost eat myself to death?  How did I become a morbidly obese woman at the age of 39 years old?  What prompted me to do that?  How did a fifteen year old girl weigh close to 250 pounds before she was even a junior in high school?  I needed help.  There was and there is something wrong with me.  I weighed 347 pounds before I was 40 years old.  I could not tie my own shoes.  I could not walk more than fifteen yards without breaking into a sweat.  I ate jars of cake frosting, entire loaves of french bread with sticks of butter.  Yes, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME but I'm healing myself one day at a time.   

I am beautiful.  I am strong.  I am powerful.  I am Bri.