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Cinderella isn’t dressed in yellow. She’s dressed in black. And she’s depressed, in pain, ill and exhausted but still getting the damn job done. She’s on mood stabilizers that don’t help nearly as much now that she quit smoking cigarettes. She doesn’t live with step relatives but blood and her dad isn’t dead but he’s not there. Her time doesn’t belong to her and if she attempts to steal any of it she is punished for being selfish. When she asks for help there’s always a price to be paid. Prince Charming brings her home (back to the house) at midnight when she can get a sitter. She sleeps a lot or not at all. She forgets to eat. She’s dying and she doesn’t even care anymore. All they think is, how selfish what about me?
This is what depression looks like:
So, apparently. This is what depression looks like. We put makeup on so we can feel normal, look normal and maybe to fake it. Maybe it’s so the people in our lives will stop asking if we are okay because no, we are not okay. Maybe we don’t wan’t the shame and guilt of feeling how we feel. Maybe we are just too damn depressed to have another conversation about it. Today I am not okay and that is okay. Just maybe, tomorrow I will be and that smile might be real. If it’s not? I suppose you might not really be able to tell because we live in a world where those who carry the burden of a mental illness feel like a burden. It’s not just the words people say it’s their actions time and time again. Actions which do not say, “I understand you are suffering.” Rather say, “When will this end this time so the ‘real you’ will be back” (For them.) The longer someones struggle is with their disorder, the longer they suffer. The less patient I find people to be. It’s a sad world I find us to be in. Where those who always have the kindest of hearts are often the most broken.
Much love to you all, be kind to one another. Keep fighting through the darkness and know you are worth fighting for, your life is worth fighting for. The good days are worth it. Don’t give up.
I’m sharing this again because for me, it’s important to share my struggles. In hopes that other’s will see there is still reason for hope. I still have bad days. Hard days. Now, my good days are filled with so much love and joy and kindness, it truly makes these bad days easier to survive. I’m still that girl and I always will be. That’s the nature of my disorder, but I am so much more than that and now I can see that.
Here is an entry from my private journal. Honestly it’s on the lighter side, not sure what that says about my inner struggles.
I feel as if I’m floating through a sea of shadows. My mind is as tired as my body. I try to find the lighter side of things but the irritation of doing so is nauseating. I dream sometimes of a little house with an ocean view on a private beach where my mind can finally relax and I can enjoy my time here in this world. I dream of a body I feel comfortable in with no self loathing. Sadly, all of these things aren’t real and they leave me longing until I break down from the loss of something I never even had. As I cycle through waves of yet another bipolar episode I reach acceptance if only for a short period of time. Acceptance for who I am, baggage and all. For who I’m not and never will be. Allowing myself to dream even if it will never come to pass. I float between angry, depressed and a calmness I refer as the calm before the next storm. I wonder if I have the right to want more for myself. I try to be thankful for those moments of eerie calmness and quiet contemplation. It’s always so difficult to do so as I know if I wait a few hours, a day, days even I’ll be back to singing the blues and crying myself to sleep. My wonderland is a wasteland for broken souls. Once again the calmness before the storm settles on my skin like an itch I just can’t scratch. I will always continue to fight this nearing episode with what little strength I have. The air is crisp and inviting me to soak up the sun. As if the darkness wasn’t calling out to me. It’s moments like this I crave to be alone, yet a piece of me reaches out to those I love for comfort, for acceptance. The things I love to do hold less meaning in times like this. A hollowness erupts inside of me, taunting my rage and sadness. There’s no real rhyme or reason to feel this way. I know my life is far from horrible. Like a warm blanket the darkness comforts me as it usually does, inviting me to let go and cry about everything and nothing at all. The sad truth for me is, this battle is everlasting. Light may win today but as a new day dawns the fight starts over. I sit in shambles of a former version of myself. Oddly with hope that it will all be over soon and I will yet again bask in the light and enjoy a fragment of this life. How have I become such a jaded and cynical creature? I sigh deeply and prepare for another drop into sadness and utter grief. As if each time a piece of me dies I must mourn the loss. With shock plastered across me I can admit I am far better now with these modern poisons than many moons ago when I laid adrift in my depressing solitude. I accept this fate as much as I fight it. Always hiding this enormous side of myself from everyone. Knowing they couldn’t take it, knowing I couldn’t take that look upon their face or their response as heartfelt as they meant it to be. It feels as if I am living two lives all of the time. Except once in a while, like a full moon, where both sides of me collide and the true version of what I’ve become comes into full view. I don’t always hate her, the girl looking back at me. Though her voice is like poison in my mind. I would never wish this inner struggle on a single soul, it is far to cruel. Yet the calmness washes over me carrying a wicked grin. Even it sees what comes next. It feels pleasure with a nearing episode and yet it feels sorry for me too. I stare into the dark night’s sky wishing this episode would pass me by for once. So hopeful in my suffering. Now that is blind faith. Ridiculous as any other. I am but a shadow dancing through my life. And to be whole is but a dream.
Win a copy of my book to celebrate the 4 year anniversary of my first novel, Finding Alice!
I can’t believe it has been 4 years since I first published Finding Alice! In a few short months the original first edition of Finding Alice will be pulled from the shelves and replaced with the newly edited version. For now, let’s just remember how far Alice has come. Honestly, how far I have come for that matter. Here’s a little giveaway in honor of Alice. Sometimes, I think I knew her better than I ever knew myself.
We all know potty training can be a nightmare. There are memes floating around much like this one that we have all seen our friends and family posting on social media.
We all hear about how much better all lives involved, will be once our little one’s are potty trained. Potty training isn’t easy. Potty training an autistic child is an extremely difficult job. You can do this! Your child can do this! I decided to share what is working for me and my son in hopes it may help someone else.
Now, let me state that I am currently still potty training my 5 year old autistic son. This will be our third attempt. I’m happy to say we are making so much more progress this time! For many reasons, he is more ready this time around, so am I and I did countless hours of research to figure out ways to make it easier on not only him but on myself. Parent’s of children on the spectrum have all heard hundreds of times how no two kids with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are alike. Trying an approach that works for someone else’s kid may not work for yours. So, keep that in mind. Do your research, decide on what techniques you want to try. Try them and if one doesn’t work don’t be afraid to tweak your potty training program but most importantly once you commit to a regimen, do not quit. I know for my son he is all about his routine’s and isn’t a fan of me changing them up. So he argues with me when we do, but eventually he accepts that this is a part of his routine and we begin to make progress.
When your child begins to show signs they are wet with gestures or by removing wet or soiled diaper, this is a perfect time to begin potty training. My son is non-verbal so we use a pecs board or a board in the center room in the house with images he can hand me to request something. As we potty train, we hand over hand grab the picture and help him hand it to me and then go to the bathroom. (Until he learns to do it on his own.) So he has a clear understanding this is how to ask to use the bathroom. He has asked a few times to use the bathroom but we are in the beginning stages of potty training so I am prompted more than he is asking. This the universal picture that we use, as does his ASD preschool teacher, ABA therapists, etc.
This one worked really well. No mark and he would sometimes sit for up to 20 minutes with no complaint but he is a boy and the shield just wasn’t quite high enough.
The one that is the winner in our house is the thomas the engine one. The shield in the front is the tallest I’ve found. You can buy it from amazon, here.
The truth. Something we all seek yet sometimes it’s more than we can bare. Here’s my truth, or I should say, truths. I am 31 years old. I’m a single mother of an amazing little boy. I have a strong support system so that I can go out into the world and do the things I love to do. Wether it be; writing novels, acting, cooking or whatever else my fingers outstretch to grab onto. When I was a teenager my dentist told me he suspected I had TMJ. Around the same time my doctor told me my gallbladder was bad, but if I ate healthy and stayed away from fatty foods I would be able to manage it well without surgery. My “female zone” doctor aka the gyno, told me she believed I had endometriosis. All the while I found myself in a dark place in my mind wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I went on for many years before my most difficult diagnosis was reached. Bipolar type 1. Here I am staring at those words on my screen and for the first time in God knows how long, it doesn’t make me angry. Over the years many more diagnoses appeared. Bipolar disorder type 1-rapid cycling, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, eczema, ADHD, severe acid reflux, abnormal mens. cycle, PCOS, IBS and hypothyroidism. (I honestly could have missed something here.) I was also told I could never have children. You can imagine my surprise when an ER doctor told me I was pregnant. Every single thing a doctor has told me I have, comes with its own list of symptoms. Every medication I take to rectify these things comes with their own side effects. Such as my mood stabilizer (lithium) caused my hypothyroidism and it is a permanent condition. I once had a doctor tell me if she didn’t see my age on the chart she would have assumed I was 40-50 years old. I was in my mid 20’s at the time. That was not a good sign. After searching high and low and trying things that didn’t work, with help I’ve found supplements that help with a huge amount of my issues and I am grateful I found them.
Why am I talking about all of the things “wrong” with me? Truth. My truth. The truth that no matter how many disorders they slap on my chart, they do not define me. They do not own me. I can only take care of myself the best I can and hope for a little compassion on days it’s hard to get out of bed. Having these issues has in part shaped me into who I am. I know from my mental disorders aka invisible illnesses, that you never know what someone else is going through. It’s possible that day at the grocery store where a stranger was rude in passing, it was just their “hard day” and who am I to judge? As if I haven’t experienced such a day. Sadly, for a very long time those were all of my days for weeks at a time. On the other side of that I do get very frustrated with the human race. Why is it I have all these things pulling me down and I can still offer a smile in passing, or a hello? Just be kind. You don’t have to agree with another’s POV and sometimes they are wrong but you can still treat them with respect.
Depression with or without the bipolar component is no joke. Seriously. It sucks. It drags you down by your ankle’s and holds you under water. You may feel like you’re drowning but it just won’t seem to end and you want it to desperately. I will tell you from experience, “Why can’t you just be happy” is the biggest asshole move you can make when talking to someone who suffers from it. We do suffer. That’s why all the books I write are very dark. To me, it has its own identity living inside of me. I call it the darkness. Similar to Dexter’s dark passenger I suppose, except I’m not a murderer! I don’t know if labeling it is healthy or not I just know it works for me. I know as quickly as it arrived and as short or long as it stays it will eventually go away. Truth. people who suffer from bipolar disorder will relapse. Period. With proper treatment (medication and therapy usually) it can become less often and not as severe. I’m proud to say that after 4 years of treatment that is true. I also know a lot of my creative talents are strongly linked to me being bipolar, so I suppose I wouldn’t want it gone completely. Getting used to it being less frequent was actually difficult. I know what you’re thinking, why on earth would she want to be depressed? That is not what I’m saying. Since I don’t have any other option, I’m glad I can use it for good. To help like-minded people. To use it and what I’ve gone through having it, in my work and be able to share how strongly I feel emotion. Rage, sadness, love. Everything is intensified during a swing in the cycle. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder know the one plus side to it is mania (at least for us.) It’s dangerous and can cause major issues but it’s almost like a high and once you’ve tasted it it’s hard to let it go. I could go on for days about being bipolar but I won’t. If you want an insider view, I did write a book of quotes that I published in May 2015 called, Ramblings From an Unusual Mind. All of the interior images were taken by me and all of the quotes are original by me from my personal journal I write in when I’m suffering from depression. It’s raw and honest and I decided to share it for two reasons. One, so that other’s like me may find comfort that they are not alone. Two, so that those who know someone who suffers from depression can see from an inside perspective what that truly feels like. There no longer is a reason for me to feel ashamed about how I feel. Especially when it is caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain.
When my son was only 1 month old he had to have emergency surgery for pyloric stenosis. I was a new mom, single and at the time not in therapy or medicated. It was brutal. He had surgery on Thanksgiving Day. To any parent having to watch your child go through something like that and feeling helpless is absolute torture. When my son was diagnosed with autism between 1 or 2 years old, my world came down hard. I was not taking very good care of myself, being I was 100% focused on my son and my well being was the last thing on my mind. I don’t regret that now but I am glad I’ve found balance to take care of both of us. I wouldn’t say I was shocked when they told me but I was definitely in denial for a little while. I now find it to be a blessing. He is the happiest kid I have ever seen and as we learn new ways to communicate the more excited and happy we both become. Truth. My bipolar swings were ruthless during that first year after his diagnosis. I finally broke down to the point that I said I needed help. How was I strong enough to do that for myself after living with it all of these years? There’s only one answer, my son. I wanted to be a stable force in his life. Not the bat shit crazy mom everyone wondered why she was aloud to have a kid in the first place. Any parents to a child knows it’s not all rainbows and butterfly’s when raising a kid. Parent’s of autistic children know that a meltdown from their child is like a major war being waged as opposed to a battle. There are days my darkness comes back and I fight it as long as I can while it tries to consume me. Reminding myself that I can get through this for myself and for my son. My loved ones stay strong for me which is a huge reason I am doing so well. Having a strong support system of family or friends or a combination of the both is vital in my opinion. Then there are those moments where I think I can’t pull myself out and then my son laughs this belly laugh and then I’m laughing and sometimes that’s all it takes to pull me up out of that damn water. I had no idea when I was pregnant that my son would be the one to save me.
I guess my point to this entire thing is this, just because it feels like a curse it doesn’t mean there isn’t some sort of silver lining or gift from it. Anyone could look at me at the corner coffee shop I like to write at and never know I have suffered, I do suffer, from a long list of things. Just because you can’t see it or feel it does not mean it isn’t there hiding under the skin. Treat each other kindly. Treat each other in a way that makes you proud of yourself. Actually, treat other kindly because your own child is watching you. You show them what is right and wrong and what you can get away with when no one is looking. Let’s raise our kids the right way. Take care of yourself, you deserve it. Also, you’d be amazed at how much a friendly hello, a smile, or a honest compliment to a stranger can change their attitude for the entire rest of the day. Hell, it does for me.
Remember, Simba… just kidding. Remember, you are not alone. I am not alone. Say it with me.
Ramblings from an Unusual Mind,
Is my new book, it releases for kindle on May 7th, 2015. It is now available for pre-order. Can’t wait that long? The paperback is currently available via amazon.com and if you can swing, I recommend the paperback as the images in color are much more pleasing to the eye. The price is higher than I would have preferred for print but the cost of printing the images in color ended up a lot higher than original quoted. The images and all of the quotes and poetry in the interior of the book are all original works by me. The cover was done by Russ Turner Photography. He is amazing and has done all of my covers from the Alice Clark Series, including this one and I am beyond grateful!
What you can expect:
All of the quotes and poetry are from my personal journal I only write in during a depressive episode caused by my bipolar disorder. They are dark and above all honest to what it feels like for me during these trying times of my life. The images I took myself and paired them with what I felt was the appropriate piece. I chose to do this project for many reasons. Having any of my work out their to be loved or criticized, is scary but I wanted those out there who feel as I do to know they are not alone. For those who don’t feel as I do, I hope they may find some insight as to what it is people like me go through. Everything can be going great in my life and these episodes will still happen. So, to those who are like me, always keep fighting. As Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) says. And FYI, he is running a great campaign for awareness and support
for those who suffer from depression, etc. https://represent.com/jaredjensen is the current campaign.
So a big thank you for taking the time to check out my blog and any of my work. Live. Love. Read.
I haven’t been able to write. No time, no will to. I’ve felt quite well the past few months. Spent some time on my own which is not exactly possible in my situation. Maybe it’s the years of therapy or a perfect pharmaceutical cocktail, but i’ve been feeling good. Really good. It’s bizarre and terrifying as one knows relapse is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’. The trouble here is i’m incredibly frustrated with myself for not being able to write at all or at least in the few moments I have available to me to write. And I don’t want to. I hate that, and this feeling of loss over one of my most treasured feelings. The physical and emotional need to write, anything and everything. It just seems gone. That breaks my heart. Sure I’m better, for everyone else, to everyone else. Everyone prefers this ‘version’ of me. I know this version is the responsible choice, and I will stick to that choice knowing it is best for all parties. But, I miss feeling so intensely i’d cry. I miss reading something I wrote always as if I was reading it for the first time, as if it was my soul writing it and not my head and I could feel what those words were saying and sometimes others would read it and feel it too. I miss that. I don’t even know if it’s ever coming back. So I mourn the loss of my will. I morn the fractured heart beats. Though I am angry and upset at this my brain won’t let me feel that either. I’m just this shell of what I once was shifting different versions of myself around. Normally this would devastate me but today, I’m good…