Tag Archives: boundaries

“What are you here for?”

I was early for Celebrate Recovery. I was the only one here until another woman joined me. She was probably in her fifties (I almost never guess ages right, so go figure.) We talked a lot – that intense form of conversation that only takes place before and after recovery meetings. The last question she asked me was this, “What are you here for?”

The week before a addict new to the group, tried to hand her sign off sheet to me. I told her I was an inmate. She didn’t openly scowl at me, but I got that look. I have drank a bottle of whiskey, only to black out and wake up to throw up, I’ve woken up in places I didn’t lay down, and I came to work too drunk to drive. Still, I only look about five years older than my actual age. I lost all that weight and that gave me wrinkles and bags under my eyes. Most of the other women, especially the ones with light skin like mine, all look like their life has been sucked out of them. If I look 5 years older, they look 15 years older than their chronological age.

I passed as staff in the hospital, during both of my stays. One of the women in her fifties had been in and out of the hospital a lot. She and I spent quite a lot of time together when she started giving me quizzical looks. People like you aren’t usually in here.

The almost blind woman I guided from her room to her meal asked how long I had been there. The cab driverl who rescued me from the car that wouldn’t stop, asked me what department I worked in.

I have been so pleased every-time that happened. I am a fresh, freckled face girl who is in her late thirties. I don’t know how long this will go on. If I am misidentified all the way through my life, because I have an invisible disabilities, will I never be who I truly am.

I have heard so many times that your illness, your relationships and your surroundings don’t make you who you are. You are something and someone else more and that is the greatest thing you will ever be and that thing is both a child of God and a member of His family. If this is who I am, all the other illnesses and clothes and debts are window dressing.

And yet they do not leave. If I dropped bipolar from my answering message “Hi, This is Malakoa,” “vs This is the Bipolar Malakoa.” I wouldn’t stop having this illness. My brain will not reshuffle.

My husband needs the computer.


Hugs? Goals?

I officially hate hugs. But just like many official things, that is not true as good portion of the time.

I have a non-hug friend that I hug when she is not having a good day. She is older than me and is just learning about managing moods with the help of the American Pharmacological Companies. She doesn’t cry a whole lot – I couldn’t really be close friends with someone who did, but I do not mind her hug. If you’re reading this, you can know I don’t mind you and your hugs.

I hate it when people come up to me and say, “You look like you need a hug.” My response? “You look like you need to swim with the fishes with cement slippahs.” I know a woman who demands a daily hug from her boss. He complies, but he is like me – stiff, and unwanted touch only makes us stiffer. Once I was sobbing, pregnant and overwrought. Same person took me, grabbed me and said “you’ll be alright.” This offended me when it happened eight years ago, and although I forgive her – she is good friends with my husband – I still taste the bile.

I spend a lot of time with paper these days. I started out scrapbooking, and although I have not abandoned it I’m working on cards and expanding work further. I like paper. I am earning some money from it. I am not a super talented paper-crafter or visual artists. I have taken classes and learned a ton, but there is no special talent bestowed upon me. I want to hop back on the blogger bandwagon. I would be doing well if I worked on my book. I’ve told my new therapist three separate times how my old therapist recommended that I set my writing goal to one sentence a day. I think that was the most offensive thing any one ever told me. Although the bile remains, I know now that most of her bipolar clients probably would have a lot of trouble writing a sentence. My new therapist says I do better than most of her patients. I don’t lie on the couch watching t.v. all day like many of them. Sometimes I do just that – I eat cheetos and chocolate and drink ice tea, but that is once every three months or so. It makes me happy to hear I am in good shape. Perhaps that is the problem with my old therapist and me. She was dealing with acutely disabled patients and I have only been described as such once. That was back in my homicidal/suicidal days. I got the right meds and those thoughts went away. I still have ups and downs, but they are not as down as I would ever need to be for one sentence to be a reasonable goal. I wrote her a “why I’m not going to see you anymore” letter but need to write it on something other than butterfly stationary. I have impulse control sometimes. I exercise poor judgment.

But I can do that while writing more than a sentence a day. Not this sentence:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it ws the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.”


The thing about prescription medication

I’ve been off kilter lately so I’ve had quite a few conversations with myself. When things get intense, we talk about tough stuff, like prescription medication. Whitney probably died because of some trouble with her prescription medication, and we know Michael did. Ya know what? I was right there with them. My doctor specifically said the only reason I didn’t go was because it, “wasn’t (my) time”.

Months later I recognize that it’s like I’ve gone through a dangerous initiation. Let’s say I did take the “I” tablets three times a day and the “I” pills twice. (That would be three times the prescribed dose) Top it off with some “A” or a glass of wine and that would be it. If there was an investigation they wouldn’t be able to tell if it was a suicide or a homicide. If I were famous there would be a great outcry against psychiatry and psychiatrists in general, even if the problem lies with me. Do I need to be less responsible for myself? Is it possible for me to be more?

I honestly don’t know. It’s 8:25 and I am exhausted. I pretty much made cards all day, with a quick trip to TJ’s. A friend, who ordered a dozen, is having a lot of trouble with her gastric bypass stuff. She likes giraffes and ordered a dozen cards so I will be back on the giraffe wagon. When I last talked to a banker he asked what my occupation was. I thought about it for a minute before I told him, “artist.” This year alone I’ve been “writer” “therapist” and now “artist”. All of them sound pretty cool. I say this so as to warn you: I am not pretty cool. I’m wearing green and pink snowflake pajamas at eight o’clock on a Saturday night. I am getting a sore throat, too. But enough of all my complaining.


Why I am Not Running Away

This is a draft of a letter I am going to send to my (ex) therapist. Please leave feedback in comments.


J –
Thanks for calling me back the other day. I am sorry about the mis-communication regarding our last meeting. I hope to straighten things out a bit.

I suppose I’ll start from the end. I felt judged many times in our sessions and perhaps I should have been more forthcoming about that. Being told you did not want me to “run away” from my problem was a highly judgmental statement. I am not running away from anything, I just feel like our relationship has not been as nourishing as counselor and therapists could be. During sessions I spent a lot of time waiting for you to say something that felt New-Agey. I respect your beliefs but I do not share them and often felt proselytized. I feel that, if I have a spiritual issue I will discuss it with a pastor or even just a friend from my church. The more I thought about it I did feel offended by our last session, not for the sake of my own views, but the idea that we’re all worshiping one God and all headed to the same place. If Christians believe they are going to a place where the streets are paved with gold, they cannot have a life looking forward to reincarnation, as Hindus do. Muslims and Christians do share a similar version of heaven, but the same cannot be said of Buddhists. I think my comment about Buddhism being an atheist religion was what spurred our discussion. I should have said Buddhism is a non-theistic religion. I read recently that, for those of the Buddhist faith, there is no need for God when you have Enlightenment. This concept is not found in other belief systems. I remembering you said once that we will all return to the earth. This reminds me of Wiccan teachings, a religion I once explored. While Muslims believe something like coming from and returning to the earth, I think it is incongruous to believe in all belief systems and allow all of us to ultimately to arrive at the same place.

I often felt on edge during our times together. I didn’t (and perhaps do not) have the tools to address that, but I frequently felt uneasy during our sessions. It seemed like you were ready to try to solve things or assumed you knew things about me that (I hope) were not true. One time I came in with news about my old “enemies” who are doing quite well. Your comment, “Don’t you hate that?” was premature. Other responses felt like pat answers to, what I considered, difficult or complicated issues. I spoke about it with you then, in fact I addressed it then, but again, I didn’t feel like I could bring in issues like that.

As far as processing all of this, I have spoken at length with my husband. I do not feel it would be necessarily or valuable to spend an hour going over these things again. I hope you do not feel cheated by this. I hold nothing against you personally and wish you the best. I did often find your work to be insightful and know you are a popular, caring therapist, but ultimately I believe that we are probably better fitted to other working relationships. I wish you the best.

Malakoa.


Being Loved (G)

I got hurt and ticked off by L today. (We’re calling her LN now because we know another L.) Mostly, I was hurt. She had every right to do and say what she did, so I can’t blame her, but still. I do. I will pray and it will pass. I think she likes to put herself in a position of being taken advantage of. When the person realizes how much she is giving, she might try to extend some kind of hand or reciprocity. It is not met warmly. She will obviously be angry, but will not take herself out of the power suite. She has the upper hand, and she will keep it that way.

Like so many of my friends and family members say, in a matter of words, “It’s time to drop L.”

I am ready to do that.

I talked to good old Greenegem of Dare to DISCIPLE fame. (http://greenegem.wordpress.com/) She said, “I mean, I don’t want a friend who doesn’t love me. yk?”

Good advice and well spoken. This doesn’t mean that I have to stay away from new friends, but that I will limit my inner circle to those who actually care about me. I do know such people, after all. I have great friends that love me the most here in my city. It says in the Bible that “Love keeps no records of wrong.” I believe those real friends don’t. Even if I’m the most offensive, greedy person at all, they might say something (and I hope they do) but they won’t hold it against me. At least not for very long.

***
GIVING I
Had breakfast with another L today. Let’s call her LS. She made me a Latin American meal. I’m having her first grade son over here to do math and play in our bounce house this afternoon. She and I are just getting to know each other, but I think we’re going to be good friends. She’s funny and smart and receives as easily she gives.


They don’t grow up too fast (PG)

Small’s birthday party is tomorrow.  My dad arrives today.  I spent yesterday cleaning, mostly because I wanted a good, clean house two days in a row.  The clutter has already taken over, so I have very little to show for the two days of hard, unpleasant work.  At least the banister is clean.  The bathrooms need cleaning again.  I will work on putting things together, for the sake of my dad.

I have ten RSVPs for the birthday party, not including the parents that are coming to supervise.  (Good thing it’s only ten, I only have 14 gift bags.)  Parents that stay have a point.   It’s a pool party, and even though we have a lifeguard I’ve never bought they were a part of a safety plan.  Maybe if  I ever saw one do anything more than kick teenagers out of the kiddie pool I would feel differently.  We’re also driving to the pizzeria after our allotted swim time.  Some people don’t want their kids driving in other people’s cars.

She is going to be seven.  It seems so old.  She’s already not a baby anymore, she’s a kid.  It hasn’t gone so fast as people warned me.  I think it’s for two reasons.  #1, I practiced a lot of attachment parenting.  She slept with me most of the time and I carried her in a moby wrap while she was a baby and an ergo carrier when she got to be a toddler.  (I used that until she was too heavy for me.  It works up to 90 pounds, though.  The ergo helped a lot on cranky days.  I’d pop her in the back and she was mostly quiet and content after that.)  #2 I was right there with her most of the time.  I have the luxury and privilege of being a mostly stay  at home mom.  What ever jobs I had were only an hour/few hours a stretch.  I did take much needed breaks, she was an active, spirited child, and I ‘m not a perfect mom.  Often I was an inattentive mom.  There were days she woke up looking stretched out – as if she was two inches taller.  However, time didn’t slip by.  Some days were long, a few were short, but I mostly got to be right there, watching her grow up.

Knowing she is probably my first and last has made me parent and observe more intently.  I am sure that my friends with four, five + kids are still attentive to them, but it must be different.  I don’t choose who gets to pick the story.  I make whatever she wants for breakfast.  You can’t carry twins in an ergo.  Of course these memories are nostalgia.

Is Small spoiled?  I always saw a spoiled kid as one that didn’t accept the final word of their parents.  We were in a yogurt shop with a lot of gumball machines.  This little girl came in begging her mom for a toy from the machine.  She was yelling, asking over and over again and mom said, “no” several times.  Mom ordered the yogurt and got her change.  Then she gave the money to her daughter to let her get whatever she liked from the machine.  “No” did not mean “no”, it meant keep whining and I’ll let you do whatever you want.  I don’t want to judge her, but I am a judgmental person, and I saw that as spoiling the child.  We make every effort not to do things like this and we don’t listen to whining.

I’m not done raising Small, and I guess in some ways I never will be.  This blog is not intended to be a parenting manual, even though it may seem like it, lately.  I have a friend, T, who requested parenting information, so here you go!  If there is anything else any of you want me to write about, drop me a note or leave a comment and I will do so.


will the real Malakoa please stand up? – PG

The question was posted, “Do you blog anonymously or as “yourself”? why?”

My name is Malakoa. I write anonymously.  Malakoa is “milk” in Russian. I love the sound of that word and I love breast-feeding. I nursed Small just shy of two years and I would have done longer but I was told my milk was riddled with psychotropic medication.

My family is identified only by their first initials and, although I frequently identify friends with initials, often they are pulled from the sky. I have a few friends who read the blog, and sometimes I want to talk about them and I don’t want them to know it’s them I’m talking about.

I feel like it is necessary to write anonymously, even secretly, because of the stigma behind my illnesses. When you hear of a bipolar person it’s the jerk who molested and drowned the little boy and stuffed him in a clothes dryer. There are a myriad of bipolar folks that do extraordinary things (Winston Churchill, anyone?) but there are even more that just go to work, come home, take their meds and drop by Ross to buy 12 pairs of shoes every now and then.

ADD is one of those things people don’t really believe exist. Adults can’t have it, that’s for sure. Kids get it because of bad parenting and too much soda. Such generalizations keep me from opening up about having ADD, although it is the illness I’m the most “out” about. I tell people I’m ADD in order to explain my sometimes erratic behavior. I have yet to do so with bipolar.

OCD is last because in some ways it’s the worst. It is the most commonly joked about and probably the least understood of the three. I don’t wash my hands a million times a day. I don’t have an immaculate house that I am tortured to keep that way. I obsess upon things – boys, men, shoes, hair color, certain foods, paper crafting, friends, slights, decades old fights. My mind grips a hold of them and will not let go. I want certain things in order, but this one is not so hard for me. If there are three brushes tossed on the bathroom counter, I will line them up parallel to each other. I usually don’t step on cracks in the sidewalk. There are other things, too, but this is a PG post so I won’t talk about the graphic images, etc that attach themselves to me and will not let go.

I know by keeping all this hidden I only add to the stigma. I’m not ashamed of being bipolar or of having the other two illnesses. Some day I do hope to go public. I write speeches in my head as to what I will say and the reactions I hope I get. I think there will be a time when I am ready for that. I’m not prepared to be judged with the guise of bipolar. (Oh, she’s bipolar, we can’t trust her to do anything important.) I am willing to help people, even in real life, with anything having to do with the brain and it’s intricacies. What I am not prepared for is for people who have secretly struggled with depression their whole lives to criticize me and tell me that bipolar isn’t real – that I’m lazy and self-indulgent. Well, I can be both lazy and self-indulgent, I’m often fun and perceptive. I also have a major psychiatric illness.