Infants needing touch

Mood State- 5 Feeling Good!

 

From the moment we are born, we are comforted by our mothers warm touch, safe in her arms and feeling love for the first time.

If only… if only I had been held as a newborn would I have all the relationship issues I have today? That was the question that was burning in my brain as I woke up this morning. So much for entering the new day in a calm state of mind. Now I am hyper-focused on my birth and the lack of emotional and physical attention I had in my first few months of life most likely the cause of my trust and bonding issues I live with.

I was abandoned at birth in a Russian hospital where I spent my first four months of life, fighting to survive as a 3lb 4oz premie. I was moved to an orphanage that had one hundred children under the age of five years old with only five caretakers. About 20 of those children were infants.  Needless to say I missed the attention and physical touch that calms the brain and develops the necessary human bond of trust. These are basic things I missed – knowing I   would be picked up when crying and fed when hungry and held with love. Apparently, and according to my therapist, it has impacted me through my whole life causing havoc.

Developing bonds with friends, partners, and even my parents was challenging. I tend to keep everybody at a distance,  and only share bits of important information that one would need to know to understand me. I do not attach myself and always prepare for the worst. I am always ready for my new friend to hurt me, but as a pattern, I would usually do something to cause the friendship to end before I got hurt. I have ruined and lost a few good people because of this.  When I do make a friend I question why do they want to be my friend and what do they see in me?  Can I trust them?  Would they have my back and cherish the information I share with them? I also don’t want to be a burden to them. I know I can be a lot to handle and do talk a lot, and have energy when I shouldn’t, and especially annoying to some,  love deep conversations. I am overly caring at times, but also super mean and distant somedays. I know these behaviors can be worked on to an extent –  I’ve been made more aware of that.  Making friends is easy, but keeping them is the hard part. Getting the anxiety to clam down enough to realize I am worth their friendship and I am not a burden. To have them understand that if I am up at 3 or 4am, walking back and forth in the house, it is anxiety and to just let me be, or hold me if I allow. That brings me to my control anxiety. I have to always be in control…. but that will be for another day…

With therapy and understanding friends,

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Mood State Pyramid

There are so many days where I want to post and talk with you, but my mind is too distracted, unfocused, anxious, and or depressed.  I have been thinking, there is no reason why that should stop me from posting.  Every mood is just another part of my daily life.  As I learn more about my bipolar illness I have become familiar with the Mood State Pyramid (created by  DBSA San Diego).  This pyramid was developed to be an easy tool to track mood swings by assigning a number to a mood level.  The rating system starts at 0 -Extremely Depressed, Suicidal and goes to 10- Full Mania.  Having a general idea of how I am feeling each day helps me understand why I may get upset easier or why I wake up angry or agitated, or why on some days I can’t do anything but sleep.  My mood will control how I write, edit, and interact with you.  I am starting to be okay with each post not being consistent in writing style or attitude because depending on my mood number,  it will reflect how I am feeling that day.  So from now on I will put a number with each post.  Mental Health is something we all need to be open and talk about, so lets start here.

Forming attachments and bonds

Mood State-4 Feeling down
From the moment we are born, we are comforted by our mother’s warm touch, safe in her arms and feeling love for the first time.
If only… if only I had been held as a newborn would I have all the relationship issues I have today? That was the question that was burning in my brain as I woke up this morning. So much for entering the new day in a calm state of mind. Now I am hyper-focused on my birth and the lack of emotional and physical attention I had in my first few months of life most likely the cause of my trust and bonding issues I live with.
I was abandoned at birth in a Russian hospital where I spent my first four months of life-fighting to survive as a 3lbs 4oz premie. I was moved to an orphanage that had one hundred children under the age of five years old with only five caretakers. About 20 of those children were infants.  Needless to say I missed the attention and physical touch that calms the brain and develops the necessary human bond of trust. These are basic things I missed – knowing I   would be picked up when crying and fed when hungry and held with love . Apparently, and according to my therapist, it has impacted me through my whole life causing havoc.
Developing bonds with friends, partners, and even my parents was challenging. I tend to keep everybody at a distance,  and only share bits of important information, that one would need to know to understand me. I do not attach myself and always prepare for the worst. I am always ready for my new friend to hurt me, but as a pattern, I would usually do something to cause the friendship to end before I got hurt. I have ruined and lost a few good people, because of this.  When I do make a friend, I question why do they want to be my friend, what do they see in me?  Can I trust them?  Would they have my back and cherish the information I share with them? I also don’t want to be a burden to them. I know I can be a lot to handle and do talk a lot, and have energy when I shouldn’t, and most of all I love deep conversations. I am overly caring, but also super mean and distant somedays. I know it can be worked on to an extent. I’ve been made more aware of that.  Making friends is easy, but keeping them is the hard part. Getting the anxiety to calm down enough to realize I am worth their friendship and I am not a burden. To have them understand that if I am up at 3 or 4am, walking back and forth in the house, it is anxiety and to just let me be, or hold me if I allow. That brings me to my control anxiety. I have to always be in control…. that will be for another day…

First time for everything

Mood State- 8 Beginning of Mania

My hands are shaking, no time to think, I just act, 1,2,3,4,5, 1,2,3,4,5, call 911!  Hello? my friend just stopped breathing!  I could hear her gasp for air then silence.  You have to send EMS NOW!  My basic medical training kicked in and I started CPR.  Two police officers were the first to show up,  followed by EMS and the Fire department. As they flooded into her house Christina’s heart started and she began to breathe again.  Christina was annoyed, had no idea what happened and just wanted everybody out of her house but me.  She said they could take her vital signs but no hospital (and no health insurance).  It was not my choice but I would stay and look after her. We relaxed, watched movies and talked all night, she started to ask me questions about what happened. I explained there were paramedics in the house because she had stopped breathing. Her response blew me away – she said it was okay, it happens.  Say what!! No that does not just happen, not to a young, healthy, women. Unknown to me at the time was that she had a history of heart issues.  The next morning we decided to get breakfast, so we casually hop on her scooter to just go a few blocks to the supermarket. Everything was going great, wind in hair, laughs, then suddenly a car hit us from behind as we turned onto the street, and sped off.  We crashed!  I was lucky.  Witnesses said I jumped off the scooter like a ninja before it hit the ground, but Christan stayed on and hit the pavement.  I quickly got to her, and about six neighbors and a passing car all came running over to us. Christina slowly tried to get up, I gave her my hand to just sit up, and let me look at the injuries. They weren’t good, but she was conscious for now. She told everybody she was fine, and we got on the scooter and drove to her house where another friend was waiting. Given everything that had happened within the last twenty-four hours, we really wanted to take her to the Emergency Room but she refused.  I made a deal that if she was not better by 9pm I’m calling 911.  The next few hours gave me some time to process everything that had happened within the last two days and focusing my energy on her was the only way I knew how to cope at that very moment.

It is 9pm and Christina is complaining of her head hurting, Chest pain, and her lower back, than just than she lays back and doesn’t respond to me. I can not wait this out, she stopped breathing the other night. so I called 911, and told them “I have a young female, not really responsive, but conscious and breathing.” They ask, drugs, no, they ask me if sure? Yes, just hurry!

Remember this is my second night without good sleep, and constant worry, my mood is changing to fully manic and I knew if I didn’t get some quality sleep soon, it would end up with us both in an emergency. Paramedics, firemen, and police all show up, Christina finally came to, but was so confused, scared, and did not understand what happened, she thought she just took a nap. After some arguments, explaining and reassurance she agreed to go to the hospital to get checked out. Relief!! So I thought! That next moment she went crazy on the paramedics, they kept asking me what drugs she did. I said over and over she did not take drugs, and either do I. I said I swear this is not an overdose, they all didn’t believe me. Once at the hospital, the drug test came back a negative, and we both said duh! This isn’t an overdose. Christina was not having it with this nurse, named her big Bertha, and kept calling her that, big Bertha got upset and decided to call security on us, for laughing and joking. Just trying to keep my friend clam here! Laughter is the best medicine; I also did not get how I was the one in the room and had to take full responsibility for Christina’s life and safety that evening. I’m freaking. That’s a lot. So this security guard truly was no help, after assessing the situation, he just smiled, and gave a little laugh to both of us, because he knew it was ridiculous the nurse felt threatened for her safety with us. We’re both tiny women. We just wanted answers, which in the end, they failed to give us. So we head home, I do my best to stay awake, to keep her up for an hour then she can go to sleep. I am not sure how long I can stay up for but my adrenaline is flowing, so I knew I could not fall into a deep sleep. expect I did, and that is what worried me, but everything turned out great. It is crazy what our mind and body can handle during stressful situations.

Irma and New York City

Bright lights, tons of people, all different unfirimilar loud sounds, with no idea where you are heading next. A person with Bi-Polar, or Anexity worst nightmare, The feeling of being trapped.  Nothing was going to scare me or trigger a PTSD flashback. As I sit on the train into the city, looking out the window, remembering the last time I was here, NYC is like a playground for adults. As we approach the city, I collect my things and make my way to the exit. From the moment I stepped off the train, it was complete craziness. I had forgotten, how safe, and secure the city really is. As I make my way through Penn Station I seem military men and women placed all around the station, with guns on their backs. In between each military hero, there are at least 3 police officers grouped together, and one of them has an explosive-detecting dog. I absorb everything, My excitement to see my best friend is all I am thinking about. I find my train, and take it all the way downtown, is so populated  there is nowhere to sit, I hold my bag close to me, and my phone is my other hand. My stop approaches, and I quickly exit the subway, look around fast and find my way out of the station. If there is one thing I started to remember is that, be careful who you ask for directions, it is easy to get turned around in this city. I found myself only asking police for directions. One officer, downtown who I asked for directions offered to escort me to where I had to go, I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not, i just smiled and gave a little laugh and said thank you. Having lived in New York City, just shy of four years ago now, I was not completely clueless, I knew what ave and streets were, and what went up town, and what went down, iPhones can only help so far in a city this packed. I also learned real quickly how expensive the city really was, and it made me realize how blessed I was to of had lived there for two years, not had to hold a solid job, besides modeling, and working in nightlife. Anyways in this city, anything can happen, I had to stay sober, strong and alert. Which was not a problem because I was so nervous about really getting lost. The evening starts to approach, and I finally get to my second friend’s apartment, where I end up staying the night, unplanned. I was super excited to be shown nightlife again, but on a much smaller level, I got to wear jeans and flats!!! We found the only pool hall on the east side, only known to locals. It was packed, I closed my eyes took a deep breath, grabbed my friends hand and push our way to the back, where to pool table was. I felt safe, not crowded, and I wouldn’t get bumped into and pushed around. I laughed, danced, and drank one too many red bulls. Wired, we made our way to the next bar around 2am. This bar was my favorite, it was very laid back and hipster. As 4am approached, either of us was ready to go home, so we headed out to Brooklyn, to this underground club, it was super tiny and quietly packed. I felt in my old element, house music playing, and all the most beautiful girls around me. Yep! not going home anytime soon! I have never been more happy to be dancing in flats! Although I was making the best out of the worst situation possible, having to evacuate the state of Florida, where Irma was about to destroy. I was not ready to think about all the damage, and maybe not having a home to go back to. As my time in the city came to an end, I met up with one last friend, and attended my first hot yoga class. I loved it instantly. and can not wait to attend one back home. That is if the studio is still standing after Irma. Coming back to my aunts house, was the only anxiety I had felt since I left the island. I finally had time to think, maybe to much time. My Aunt’s house is so beautiful, set on acres of land, with chickens and alpaca’s, and children playing soccer at the school next door, it is pure serenity. I only have a few more days in New York, excitement and nervousness is all I feel, excited to get my life going again, and to see all my close friends from my hometown, who stayed through the hurricane.
Going back home is going to be unlike any return trip home I have ever had, there is so much uncertainty, but I keep telling myself, and others have told me, these are just things. During this whole time away I have been closely checking in with all my friends back home, and I am glad to know they are all safe. I think they are just as excited as I am for me to be home.

The Creativity Process

 

Taking time to be creative is so important to embrace when you are learning how to manage daily life with mental health issues.  Whether you have a Masters Degree in writing or Art or you just like to sit down and let the thoughts flow out, finding your inner voice and expressing it creatively is cathartic.   I love to paint and I love to write. The direction I go in depends on the mood of the moment (I am a rapid cycle Bipolar 1). That being said, as a result of many therapy sessions, I am getting better at being able to know where I am in the mood pyramid and plan my activities accordingly.  I also have an app on my phone that I use to take notice of my feelings and the little things that happen to me throughout the day. During the course of one day in Mania, I can experience a wide range of moods from so anxious that I am sick to my stomach too so productive I cannot keep up with my thoughts. Usually, long hours of sleep from twenty-four to forty-eight are required to reset the mood cycle. I use the emotions and feelings I have just experienced for insight into how I will express myself.  It all starts with a feeling that directs me toward writing or painting for a release.  Today I will express myself through writing and gather my thoughts and piece back information I am feeling or have felt. When I put the words on paper, they are mine and agree or disagree they are still mine. I find it empowering.

24 Hours with anxiety​

The unexplained fear, racy heart and sweaty palms, the three daily symptoms of my anxiety and panic disorder.

The room was filled with silence my mind so stressed out I feel like my heart is going to come right out of my body, my breathing becomes labored and shallow. An anxiety attack, the best way to ruin a good day. Some days they are so bad I can’t function, the littlest things set me off, unanswered texts, a friend who is late to my house, food taking too long to cook, and the most simple of all showering. Self-care is one of the hardest, my curly hair tied up in a messy bun, unbrushed for a few days, put up to dry from my shower the day before.
I grab myself a cup of coffee, take my medication, and let Bailey play outside. As I sit there, enjoying my medical joint of the morning, I think Not today Anxiety, Not Today! As it comes to the end, I call for Bailey, and we go about and start the day. My first house task, cleaning the kitchen, I look around and imminently feel over whelmed, and disorganized. Disorganization is one of my biggest triggers for a panic attack, so I try and make sense of the situation as fast as I can. As the kitchen gets under control, I am able to think of the next, daunting task, the worst of them all, the process is so stressful, and timing has to be just right. This task is laundry, which can take me up to a week or 10 days, to go through the whole process. I usually just found it easier to buy new clothes. That is another story. As the day goes on I am very aware of my daily limit on what I can do, this did not happen over night, but with great help from therapy, and self-help little progress is possible.
It is not 1 pm and I am exhausted and ready for a nap, I try to fight the sleepiness, sitting outside watching my little girl play outside, while the sun shines on my pale skin. I have had a very strong change of thought and heart about being in the sun since I was a teenager, Bronzer can do wonders! As time passes I just become more and more anxious, about what. who knows. Due to my illness, I have not be permitted to work, so I started Bipolarbree, it is more than just a blog, but a way to interact with others suffering.  I started a twitter account and Facebook accounts for all of you.

 

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