Thursday, May 29, 2008

Guess what was wrong with the wood splitter?

Remember last night when DH was so upset because he worked on the wood splitter, worked on it some more, and he was almost suicidal because he couldn't get it to start?

Well, he brought the entire wood splitter in to the guy in town today who does the small engine stuff, thinking it was something very tough to figure out and probably expensive too. The first thing the guy said to DH was, "Why do you have the throttle set so low?" DH said, "I turned it all the way up and it still didn't work." Small engine guy says "Well, it looks like you turned it the wrong way." They then turned the throttle the right way and the wood splitter roared to life.

So much stress was put towards this 5-second fix, it might be funny in a year or two, but right now all I can do is sigh.

Now we are ten.

Well, it's been about 7 months now. Bubba Meow and Freckle Meow came to live with us before winter started. Of course they got their medical care right away, but, since I was hoping desperately to find them homes, I kept them out of the "general population" and they lived in our heated porch. I have asked everyone I know, but, alas, most of them have already broken down and taken in a kitty or two from me/us, and weren't very anxious to add to their families.

The story actually starts with Ninja kitty. One day, DH, who claims that I am the one who is a "stray cat magnet", came home from an appointment and said, "There's a cat sitting on the side of the road. I've never seen it before. It was there when I left for the appointment, and it's still there in the exact same place. I'm wondering if it's ok." I said something like "well, that is kind of strange, isn't it?" (We have two neighbors. One neighbor owns exactly two cats. This one wasn't one of those. The other neighbor shoots cats, so we are pretty sure it wasn't his either.) I made no effort to investigate said cat (I was hoping it would go back to wherever it came from) but DH said, "I'm really worried. Maybe you should go down and just check on it." So, I did. A long-haired bag of bones, the kitty dove into the can of cat food I had brought, and was so adamant about eating it, he hissed at me when I tried to take it away....so I picked up cat, still eating the food, and brought them both home (cat and food, that is). Since DH's mother had just lost her cat, I was sure she would want this one. But then she started having health problems and still hasn't decided if she wants a cat or not. So there was Ninja kitty, joining the household. Apparently someone had dropped him off on our road.

But wait!! There's more!!! Because apparently, whoever dropped off Ninja, also dropped off his twin brother, who found his way to our place a couple of weeks later. He is a big cat, he looks like a bruiser, so we named him Bubba. Around that same time, DH found a tiny kitten in our driveway. Freckle.

After Ninja arrived, though, I had decided that enough was enough. Bubba and Freckle were going to have to find homes. A "friend" of mine at work, who volunteers for a no-klll shelter said that her shelter would be happy to take them in about a week or two. During that time I opted to get them shots and fixed just to make them even more marketable....and then my "friend" kind of started to avoid me when I tried to find out the "lowdown" on the kitty situation. I tried a bunch of other people. I put an ad up on the bulletin board in town, and nothing. Cats are a dime a dozen where we live, and not valuable. So Bubba and Freckle spent the winter in the heated porch, hoping that someone would stop by our house and ask if we had any kitties for them to love....nobody came :-(

Every once in a while it would strike me that despite my best efforts to stop the insanity at eight cats, we now had ten. Even if two of them lived in the porch, I was still buying the cat food and litter for them and cleaning up after them, too. It started to become obvious, it had to be done. And this week Bubba and Freckle joined the family as full-fledged members. Both of them have done nothing but purr since then, and on occasion, they look kind of surprised when one of the long-time feline owners of the house don't seem so happy. But all in all, I guess the transition went fine. I love them all. And I am thinking that since this past winter was much colder than the previous two, that maybe there won't be so many kittens (it's my understanding that kittens don't get conceived when it's super cold out) that turn into cats that end up in my yard needing a place to stay.

I'll keep you posted. Pictures may come soon, if I remember....

My painful realization for the day

As much as I might hope and plan, he's not ready for work yet.

He's been doing so well, and he's so determined to get back to where he used to be. But he's still "blowing off" his appointments with his therapist, and the Jobs Program lady, too. My rational self goes "how on earth could you or anyone expect him to be able to hold down a job for more than a few days if he can't even get up for an appointment?"

And I can fend those thoughts off by telling them, "Yeah, but if it was something on a regular schedule, something predictable, he could do it, probably."

And then today.

He and Jim went and got a bunch of firewood from the woods behind our house. Since it's looking like propane is going to be extremely pricey, the more firewood we can come up with now, the better. And since we have the wood at no cost, we might as well make use of it. Some of the logs were just massive, from a huge old tree that got struck by lightning, it was almost 4 feet in diameter....very sad that it had to die after what I would presume to be a very long, lightning-free life....but...so the wood came back up to our yard, and it was basically impossible to split with an axe. Not to mention that we didn't want to aggravate DH's back problem, if it has any physical sources whatsoever. "Luckily", we have an old wood splitter. Two years ago, DH was able to get it going, and split all of our wood without straining at all. It was fun to use it. Last year, he didn't get any firewood for us at all, he was too sick. We relied on what was left from the year before, and now every last log of that is gone. The splitter didn't even get dusted off.

So, he set out to get the wood splitter started. He worked on it yesterday, and then today he went and got some advice from a small engines guy in town, and it still won't start. And that has sent him into a tailspin. His voice is thick again, like it was before Lithium. He keeps saying "I've GOT to fix it", "I've GOT to fix it", and when I told him he didn't have to fix it tonite, he got even more depressed. I suggested that he go to sleep and wake up with a "fresh brain" to figure out the problem. I reminded him that creativity and problem-solving don't work well when you're frustrated. All he kept saying was "I've GOT to fix it." And the more he talked about it to me, the more depressed he got. He started telling me things like "I don't know anything." "I don't know why I even tried this, what was I thinking? I'm so stupid." And he wouldn't go to bed, and all he wanted to do was wallow in the fact that the job turned out to be harder than he expected, and he's having a tough time figuring out the problem.

It's sad, but this has caused me to get "straight" with my self and admit that he really isn't ready for work. If he was to get a job right now, all it would take was one day (or a few) like this, and he'd either quit or be fired, and the self-fulfilling prophecy would start over. It's suddenly very clear to me. He's better, but not better "enough". It's tough to admit.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What a difference a year or two or Lithium makes.

Every year we go to visit my uncle and aunt for a small family get-together/barbecue. It's always on the Sunday before Memorial Day. So, since the last two of these events were not yet memorialized in my blog, I'd better bring you up to speed!

Memorial Barbecue 2006: DH was very depressed. He came with us to my uncles, but after about a half hour of socializing (remember, in his normal state, DH is very funny, outgoing and social), he went and sat in the car. I thought I'd made him angry, but he just kept telling me he wasn't in the mood. Then he decided he was going to go and buy some cigarettes down the street, and he didn't come back for an hour. I think everyone there was wondering what was up. And I completely didn't know what to say. At this point, I really didn't have any idea that it was a mental illness, I just thought he was moody, judgmental, maybe he didn't like my family....?

Memorial Barbecue 2007: About two months after he was hospitalized for mental illness. DH said he felt much better, but this was a time when his drinking, spending, tattoos, prescription drug abuse (Percocet, to be exact), were out of control. At the time, I had little idea of the extent of the problems. DH was still working at this time, but had stopped paying any bills. All of his paychecks were going to the above-mentioned habits. He decided that my family didn't like him because they didn't ask him to play his guitar. He spent a lot of time sitting in the car "smoking". Then he had a panic attack and had to "go and get cigarettes" again for about an hour. DD had a tantrum because I asked her to leave Dad be for now.

Memorial Barbecue 2008: DH has been on Lithium for about three months now. DH cracked jokes, was very appropriate throughout the entire get-together, laughed, played his guitar, chatted with all of my relatives. He played with DD and the other kids, and in general was very much his old self. He teased me for taking too many napkins (that's always been a joke of ours) He didn't ask me once if (whoever) didn't like him. He didn't go and sit in the car. He did go to buy cigarettes, but when I took him off and asked if he was doing ok, he said he truly just had to go buy cigarettes, and he came back in 5 minutes. Wow.

Probably good that he was in such good spirits today, because there was a tornado only a few blocks from where we were, and the weather got pretty scary for a while. My mom was very nervous, and we had to keep going down in the basement, so that was rather hard on her. She was very glad to have it over with....No damage, though, to our house or my uncle's house, so that was good. I know a lot of other families weren't so lucky--one family lost a two year old child in the tornado. How very sad.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Well, still not perfect, of course....

DH has been getting angry with me again about money. He borrowed a bunch of money from Jim ($240.00), didn't tell me he did it, and now "needs" me to give him the money to pay Jim back. I gave him $120, of which he SAYS he gave Jim $40. I don't even believe that. That giant money-sucking black hole that is DH is still there, for sure. And then today he overslept and barely woke up in time to get DD up (it's my night to stay in the City--saves on gas and sleep time), and then he canceled one appointment and just plain didn't show up for another one, because he "overslept" until 3pm again. But when it gets to be 2am and I tell him to go to bed, he gets angry with me. So I am trying to just let him make his own mistakes, maybe he'll start to be more responsible (ha.)

If he can't manage to go to bed at a decent time, set his alarm so that he can get to a 1pm appointment, how on earth can anyone realistically expect him to get or keep a job? Of course I didn't say this to him, but I might over the weekend.

I am so excited for the weekend, because I am really truly going to have two days off from both jobs in a row. Memorial Day Monday, AND Tuesday, too. It's probably been a year since I've done that...it seems like whenever I take my vacation time from my main job, the other job ends up "shorthanded" and I end up working a LOT. So this is very pleasant. I hope the weather is nice!

Anyhow, I'm still working on Saturday and Sunday, as usual, so I won't be totally lost...I don't know what I'd do with a 5-day weekend....probably just have a 5-day fight with DH, LOL

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back pain and mental health

Just a little note: Today DH told me that he really hasn't had any back pain since he started the Lithium. And he told me that he hasn't been taking any methadone (he was taking it for his severe back pain) and he is no longer taking any muscle relaxers, and no more ibuprofen, and no more pain killers of any type. He marveled at the fact that he is no longer even putting the methadone in his pill box any more. I had always thought that there was definitely a link between his mental health and his back pain, but this really proves it to me.....I had read some things by Dr. Sarno and it was very convincing. But when DH was sick, I could never get him to realize it...another cool thing!!!

Something funny about bipolar fog and Lithium

I'm sure, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you've noticed me complaining about DH's lack of memory and inability to retain things...before all of this bipolar stuff that was not the case, but I guess it comes with the territory. One time (before Lithium) DD had been given some Christmas presents and we brought them home in the car. Then, she brought them in, and we all watched her open the presents and oohed and ahhed over what she got. Then about five minutes after we had cleaned up the wrapping paper, DH said, "DD, don't forget you've got those presents in the car." DD and I both looked at DH as if he was maybe making a joke. But no. He completely had not registered that she had just opened them, even though he had been a part of it!!!

Anyhow, earlier today we were driving over to my mom's assisted living apartment. DH stops in mid-sentence and says "WOW!!!! Look at that old house!!! It's beautiful!!!!" I thought that was kind of strange, but I just kind of said "yeah, it is!". Then about a block later he says "OH!! Look!!! There's another beautiful old house!!!" And I started laughing and told him "DH, my mom has lived here for two and a half years. This is the way we always drive to get there. Are you telling me that you've never noticed those houses before?" And he kind of realized how funny that was, and he kind of giggled and said "Well....they could've moved them in last night...." Then we had a conversation about the things that Lithium is doing for him that we never even knew were problems!!! Funny in a cool way!!!

You must be on the edge of your seats...

I really lit into him when I got home that night/morning. I told him that he's gone to the casino more times in the last three weeks than he has in the last three years put together. He started to argue with me. It was a good kind of arguing, for once, though, because "That Guy" was still gone. I was having a "regular" argument with my husband and we were both hearing each other and making sense. So after the mad was over, we decided to try to figure out why he was doing this. And he came up with the possibility that back when he was "normal" (not bipolar that we knew anyhow), he was very outgoing and had lots of friends. He could make friends with anyone at all. That was something that I always loved about him. Anyhow, he was thinking that part of the reason he is being drawn to the casino is because he misses all the people, the chit-chat, the joking....the kinds of things you say to acquaintances, you know? And I strongly told him that he could get that need met by volunteering somewhere, or, finding a job somewhere. He thought about it, and agreed with me. Then, after our talk, he was so motivated, he got up and went job hunting! And he might have found something. It sounds very promising. Supposedly they will be calling him tomorrow. I'm hopeful. He hasn't gone to the casino since.

And he's been going to bed at a decent time, too. It's made so much of a difference in his motivation and his energy, he wakes up, gets up and DOES STUFF. It's great. And the greatest part of all this is that when we were arguing, and I knew he was angry with me and I was angry with him, "That Guy" never came out at all. When he's not around (That Guy), I feel safe talking about anything and everything with DH because my real DH and I have always had that kind of relationship. It was just a couple of days ago that they upped his Lithium dose again, and it feels good.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Here I go again...

Well, I was looking for ways to not tell you this, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of this blog, so here it goes: HE'S AT THE CASINO AGAIN.

He says he only brought $4. He says he went to listen to the band, who was over with at midnight. But it's 1:15am and he hasn't called me yet like he said he would. I don't like this stuff at all. It's another way for him to spend money. I know he told me he traded in our aluminum cans today and got $25, so I imagine that he's "staying busy" with that....sigh....Things are really (in general) so much better, I just don't know why he's doing this (ok, the obvious answer is that he's still not healthy, still not right, even though he IS better...) and I am apparently powerless to get him to stop. I'm apparently going to have to have a tantrum to get my point across.

And DH told me that Jim has been acting like nothing happened. DH also said that he reminded Jim to fill out his paperwork again. I would put money on it not getting done. But Jim did elect not to go to the casino with DH, so who knows....I am sure ready for Jim to go. I think that the more he drags his feet, the more angry I am getting with him....I hope we can get him to leave before I end up being rude to him...

I really didn't want to tell you that. I wanted to tell you all the good things and forget about that. But since the bad stuff is kind of the core of this blog, it seems wrong to leave it out, LOL....anyhow, he DID get a lot done today....in addition to cashing in those cans, he got rid of a bunch of scrap snowblowers that were cluttering up the yard...and he worked on fixing the wood splitter and he did actually get out of bed.....ok, well, for him it was a good day....for a regular person, probably not all that wonderful, LOL

I guess I'll just remind myself again to "lower my expectations".

Thanks for being there.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Whoa. Just Whoa.

DH just called me. He's at the casino AGAIN. I started to get mad at him, because earlier he was telling me that he didn't have any money for cigarettes (I didn't volunteer) but anyhow, here's what DH told me:

He and Jim had a rather large disagreement. A yelling kind of disagreement. I had called the house and nobody answered, and then I called DH's cell phone, I kind of already suspected he was at the casino, because he has been wanting to go there a LOT. And I've told him that it's a bad idea, etc., but as usual, in his mind, it's not a bad idea at all, because the slot machines he plays are pretty cheap (on an average day $10 can last a couple of hours) but he doesn't have much to say when I point out that staying home is a lot cheaper. Jim keeps giving DH money for the casino, so I guess as long as he doesn't expect me to pay for it, well, whatever!

Anyhow, so I suspected he was at the casino, and I started to get kind of mad, because I had just talked to him earlier today about the fact that DD does more work in our house lately than DH and Jim put together, so he said he understood, but when I figured he was at the casino again, I started to see red. I figured that he had just said he understood so that I'd shut up. And that made me feel disrespected, but I didn't have time to voice that, because he started to "explain". Anyhow, he told me he had had an argument with Jim. I didn't believe him. He sounded so calm and matter-of-fact, I told him he was lying and what was really going on, and he told me he really did have an argument with Jim. (the calmness in his voice must be from the Lithium, maybe?)

Back a couple of years ago, Jim started "seeing" this girl who, as he told us is a "former lesbian". (I suspect that the "former" part is an exaggeration) They have never even kissed, and he calls her his girlfriend. He sends her girlfriend-type presents and talks about when he and she get married, etc., but it's all so stupid. Really. And I'm not saying that for any reason other than it is stupid. After he had been at our house a short time, he had discovered that she had cleaned out his bank accounts and run up a $5000 phone bill on his account. When he confronted her, she somehow convinced him that it was some kind of mistake. (right.) Then a month or so ago, Jim had told us that this girl wants to get married, because she is in the army and can get more money for being married. Jim was viewing it as "this is our romantic future". Even DH, as unstable as he was at the time, saw right through all this stuff. But neither of us said anything, we figured "Jim can't be that dumb, can he?"

Then apparently, tonite, Jim was telling DH that this girl (his "girlfriend") was in a 7 year relationship with a guy but never had any kind of (ahem) physical relationship with him at all. When that guy finally(!) told her that he was tired of waiting, offered to marry her or whatever, she left him. Now here is Jim, ready to marry this same person who he has never even kissed, but has emptied out his bank accounts. Then Jim revealed some other things about her, like she cuts herself. (I know a lot of people do, but in light of the other stuff, it just seems more wrong.) She never calls him, and in all the time he has been at our house she has never written to him or sent him a present at all. Are you seeing red flags here?

Anyhow, apparently DH tried to explain this to Jim (seeing as we know that people never listen when it comes to romance, it was probably not the smartest idea) and when Jim started yelling about it, DH said, "Jim, you know, we really like you, and you've been a big help, but it's time to move on..." and Jim got mad and wouldn't talk to DH after that. DH was, apparently, more upset about this at that time, so he went "for a drive and wound up at the casino". Knowing how upset he gets when he has an argument with anyone, I wasn't so mad about the casino any more, and he was really handling it well, considering.

I was really happy that he told Jim it was time to move on. I hope it doesn't ruin their friendship, but I'm starting to think that if DH or I don't tell him to leave, he is never going to, ever. So I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. Can't say I'm too upset right now.....I don't want anything bad to happen to Jim, but like I told DH, our house and Iraq aren't the only options he has. He can go and rent a little apartment and still come to our house all the time. He can get a job and just stick around. Or he can go back to Georgia, which is where he met his "girlfriend", who's in Iraq right now. Lots of options. It's all so weird.

But when I think about Jim being gone, I do get very happy. Now that things are starting to get somewhat better with DH, it would benefit all of us if DH and I were able to be a "couple" again....and that really won't happen if Jim is hanging around, especially the way he invites himself along....it makes me sad to think about the possibility of him leaving on "not so great" terms, but I am at my wits' end as to how to do it in any nicer of a way.....probably, of course, bringing it up in the middle of an argument wasn't the best way, but it did have to be said....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More Famous People with Bipolar

DH was talking with his Nurse Practitioner who prescribes his meds and she started telling him about all these famous celebrities who have bipolar. He was amazed. She referred him to this link.

Famous Bipolar People

And I was amazed too! I didn't know Sting was bipolar, or Peter Gabriel. I knew Robin Williams was, but I didn't know about Ben Stiller. And Mark Twain, too???

Very interesting stuff. When I think of what's gone on in our family this past year or two, I have to wonder what some of these celebrities went through, as well as those famous people who were bipolar before there were many effective treatments for it...sometimes I'm sad that I live in the times I do, but when it comes to mental illness, I'm very grateful, for sure!

And I think I'll add the main site to my blogroll, too, as there is a lot of information about Bipolar on there. Just figured I'd share!

Rambling To and Fro...

Well, I had a great Mother's Day, and yesterday was great, too. DH was very much his "old self" and he finally went to his appointment with the nurse practitioner who prescribes his meds. She thinks he is not yet on enough Lithium. That we are seeing big changes from what he is on, but it's not enough to get rid of most of the bad days. So on Friday, assuming his blood levels are all right, he will go from taking 600 mg Lithium twice a day to taking 900 mg Lithium twice a day. We'll see what that does...she also decided that he should keep taking the same amount of Seroquel, but instead of taking some of it in the morning, he should take most of it at bedtime. She is hoping that will a) get him on a day/night schedule more, and b) relax him enough before bed to where he can wear the CPAP, which will improve his awakeness, too.

So that was all very hopeful, and once again, if this much Lithium is this good, I'm hoping that even more will be even better....

But....and maybe this is all me this time....I have a weird feeling today. Nothing I can put my finger on, but I feel weird. DH called me, said he feels good. He got a TON of stuff done today, since he got up at 11am, and had daytime hours to get things done with....so maybe that's the Seroquel thing taking hold....who knows....anyhow, there's something in his voice that is somehow making me think that things could get "bad" again really fast. So I'm being wary. I think it kind of feels weird to have him be getting all this stuff done, as I don't know if he's manic, or if he's "back to normal." I guess time will tell....and even if there's a "bad" day, I'll just tell myself that this weekend, with the new Lithium dose, should be very good.

Oh--and he went to see his therapist, too....his therapist, I guess, lectured him about sabotaging his recovery--sleeping through appointments, etc., and also told DH that no man who can walk and breathe, even in a bad economy, could go 9 months of "trying hard" to find a job and not get one. He pretty much told DH that DH isn't trying hard enough to find a job. I agree but didn't say anything about that, because DH, in his "normal" state, would have no trouble seeing the truth in that himself. I don't need to rub salt in the wounds by pointing out that I agree.

One of the things DH did today was figure out why our riding lawn mower wasn't working (the solenoid?). He went to the house of a guy in town who repairs lawnmowers and got a solenoid, and while he was there, the guy said he has a very nice riding lawn mower for $300. Even well before this, even last fall, I had been thinking we really needed something different, as ours is ALWAYS broken, but I don't have $300. I told DH that I can't do anything until we get our "economic stimulus" check, hopefully we are supposed to get that this week. He told me that he could have Jim pay for it and I could pay him back. And I said, "NO. I AM NOT GOING TO OWE JIM ONE MORE DIME. EVERY TIME HE SPENDS MONEY ON US OR LOANS YOU MONEY OR WHATEVER GIVES HIM MORE LEEWAY TO STAY LONGER, UNTIL I CAN PAY IT BACK. I DO NOT WANT THAT AT ALL. JIM HAS TO GO. HE IS STRESSING ME OUT TO NO END. I WANT MY LIVING ROOM BACK. DD HAS ALSO POINTED OUT THAT SHE IS SICK OF HIM. NO. NO. NO. NO MORE HELP FROM JIM."

And, LOL, DH said "I understand." And I don't think I told you all, but I told DH on Monday, that if Jim is not gone by July 1, I am going to gently tell him he needs to leave. DH said he didn't think Jim would still be here by then. I told him we didn't think Jim would still be here last November. I am so sick of these weird family dynamics. DH and I were going to go for a drive together to figure out how to handle a problem with DD. And Jim just comes running up..."You're going someplace? I'll be right there!" ARGH. He is wonderful. But I get closer to losing my temper with him every day.

On the upside, we've got 3 hens sitting on eggs now...I love baby chicks, so I hope they all do good!! And I'm getting so hopeful with DH, that I've started getting excited about things that I used to enjoy, that I had really really put aside while we were in crisis. I started looking at ads for wallpaper and linoleum and other relatively cheap ways to fix up your home and I got all excited, just like I used to, back when things were normal....when I realized that it shouldn't be too long before things are more normal than ever, I got really happy.

Oh--and Mrs. Bun is still doing pretty good. She seems pretty skinny, but she's as active as ever, and her appetite is good. When we get our stimulus check, I think I'll bring her to the vet (an hour away and very expensive) just to know for sure what is going on, although, based on her age and all, I'm pretty sure I already know.

And last but not least, please say prayers for the people whose homes were destroyed by tornadoes this week, as well as for the people of Myanmar, that they can receive some of the relief that they need after the cyclone, and also for the thousands of people affected by the earthquake in China. It seems like so many people are living through devastating disasters, sometimes when you think of what they've lost, you realize what you have.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!

Well, today was Mother's Day. I didn't expect much, it's been about 2 years since I got any kind of present or a card from DH for anything, and although I had given DD $5 to go shopping, she usually spends it all on her bio mom, so I didn't expect much from her, either.

But I was in for a surprise. First of all, DH gave me a lovely card. I can't remember the wording exactly, but it said something like "I don't know how you do it, but you're amazing. If we have to go through this, I'm really glad you're here." He must have searched far and wide to find such an appropriate card. I was shocked. And he gave me a little potted plant, and then I went outside, where Jim was planting the first of three new Apple trees!!! That was really nice, too, as I knew I couldn't afford more fruit trees, but early in his stay, Jim had managed to run over my cherry tree and an apple tree, so I had pretty much given up hope on the fruit tree front....and then this!!!

And DD gave me a nice card and some scented candles....that was a surprise, too!!! With all the cats, we don't really use many candles, but I'll give them a try tomorrow just to see what they smell like....mmmm

It was a really nice day. DH was doing so well, I felt like I used to, back when things were normal. All of a sudden, things I hadn't thought of for ages seemed possible again, and I was getting excited about fixing up the house and all that, I loved to do that back when DH was healthy....I've really got to remind myself that things most certainly won't stay like this, but it's so hard to do that. I know that just as excited as I am right now, I'll be that much sad when he has the next "bad" day or days. So I really have to rein in all this excitement, I'm only setting myself up for disappointment, of course....but try to tell my heart that!!!

Oh--and lest you think I forgot my mom, well, I had asked her what she wanted to do for Mother's Day, I named off every restaurant I could think of, offered to take her to the casino, and you know what she asked for? "Well, I really like it when you cook those frozen pizzas at my apartment." So that's what we did. We sat down and had Jack's Pizzas. And I gave her a card. An all-around nice day, for sure!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Trying to get back to hopeful....

Hi everyone, I'm still here....still a little angry at the "rest of the world" for not understanding, but in my brain, I know I can't really blame them....anyhow, I had two thoughts today....that kind of made me think, and had nothing to do with bipolar at all...LOL

First, I had a dream that DD was getting married. And I woke up all panicky because I didn't know if I could wear the "Mother of the Bride" dress, or if her bio mom would be the only one who could do that (not that she would, LOL)...anyhow, it was a big deal in my dream. And it wasn't helped by the fact that bio mom has been lying to us and instructing DD to lie to us, too. DD has now been forbidden to have unsupervised visits with bio mom under any circumstances. I get so mad, and I have to remember that the bio mom's IQ is very low....that helps me not be so angry, because she doesn't think like a rational, considerate, person....

Anyhow, the other thing that struck me was this: I was looking up the phone number of a childhood friend of mine, not really sure if she'd gotten divorced or what her name might be these days, so I started to look up her parents' phone number, and it struck me that even though her parents are still in their 40's in my brain, they very well could have passed on or be very feeble by now, and it kind of freaked me out, thinking that, because in my mind, I am still 20 years old and all of my friends are, too. And my mom, despite her health problems, is not 78, she's 45. People don't age in my mind, until I start to think about things. And I realized that my friend's parents, if they are still alive, are about 75 years old now and it is hard to get my mind around that. Because nobody in my world, especially me, was ever going to get old. Getting old was some kind of disease that you got if you weren't paying attention. And I wasn't going to get that disease and neither was anyone I know. Ha Ha. Looks like my junior high way of thinking is about due for a reboot. I know you're probably thinking to yourself "how dumb is this chick, anyhow?" but I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't think about people getting old when they aren't around you every day....you know? I think about some of my grade school teachers and when I realize that most of them are probably gone now, that has the same effect on me. I know, weird....

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sometimes I feel so alone

You know, sometimes, even though I share with all of you all the ups and downs of being married to this bipolar person, I just feel like nobody truly understands at all. Today someone criticized me for working two jobs. Someone else told me that I should just leave DH and start over. Sometimes I'm tempted to do that, for sure, but as long as I know he truly loves me, and even when times are bad, I have no doubt of that, I don't think I could ever break his heart. And the money thing.

I really feel like some people that I interact with (not my friends here, but others in my life) have no idea what it is really like and every time I try to explain, I either feel like I'm making a bunch of excuses for making poor choices, or I feel guilty.

I got married, with the exact same hopes that every woman has. I married a man who had worked at the same full time job for three years. One who was kind to me and whom I trusted. We bought a house in the country, adopted a child, DH had an excellent job in law enforcement, and I had a pretty good job, too. We had enough money for "extras". DD could take karate lessons. We could go on vacation. We had no debt, not even a car payment. I was a lot less frugal in those times, and I've learned a lot since then. DH fixed up the house, made tons of repairs on things. When I'd come home from work, there'd often be something new--new flooring, new paint, new tile--he loved to surprise me and work hard, too.

And I didn't just wake up one day and "bam!" my husband was mentally ill. There were days where he wouldn't get out of bed. But I figured, heck, I have lazy days too....but when the lazy days got to be 4 or 5 in a row, I started to get worried. And I noticed little things, that you just notice but in a good relationship, you tend to accept. I noticed that suddenly, instead of having an unflappable work ethic, he was calling in sick when he wasn't. And if one of his coworkers said something to him that made him feel bad, he'd call in sick the next day. I noticed it, because in the years when we were dating, and the first years when we got married, he would have had to be on his deathbed to call in sick, and even then, he'd probably still try to go in. But then it wasn't like that. And I thought to myself, "well, people change....and he's got a stressful job, too." It wasn't until he started talking about suicide that I really understood the magnitude of the situation. He was hospitalized, and they treated him for depression. They didn't recognize the bipolar. But once he was on the antidepressants, he started to spend, spend, spend. You know all about that, I know you do. And things got worse.

And there are so many judgmental people. They say things like, "what do you do with all that money from working two jobs? You must be rich." Or "My husband and I, we built our house ourselves, and he does all the repairs, so we never had to have any debt." "Why don't you pare down your lifestyle, if you need two jobs to get by and you're married?"

I don't like to share my husband's illness with people who know me. Someday, I hope he is well enough again, and I don't want people to think that he is less of a man because of a mental illness. But I really want to say, to all of those judgmental people who have the perfect life and perfect husband, etc., "I had that too. What would you do if you woke up and suddenly your husband couldn't get out of bed?" "What would you do if you found out that there were a bunch of loans in your name that you weren't aware of?" "What would you do if your husband got a letter in the mail that said, "If you don't pay this amount within x number of days, you will be placed under arrest for writing worthless checks.?" "Would you use your credit card? Would you just give up? Or would you work two jobs and hope things get better?

I hate that people think that DH is lazy. But hey, sometimes I think he's lazy too. It's very hard for me to discern what is laziness and what is mental illness. And it is very hard for me, despite knowing intellectually that he can't, to not just want to say, "just get up and do something!" "Try to control your spending" or "cheer up--the way you are thinking doesn't make any sense!" I don't, but I really want to sometimes....so I understand how other people can think certain things, but sometimes it really gets to me that other people are so self-righteous and don't even know the whole situation....jeez...I wish this was easier....

Some days I'm just at a loss as to how to keep this up. DH is not having a good day. And he didn't bother to go to his therapy appointment today, either. I don't know how to help without him getting angry. So at this moment, after giving due consideration to all the judgmental people, and recognizing that today is a bad day for DH, I'm kind of down, too. The Lithium has done so much....I do need to remember that it isn't going to fix everything, for sure.

Mother in Law

Hi again, sorry it's been so long since I've posted--on Monday night, DH's mom came to visit. She bought DH a birthday dinner, and we cooked out on the grill. His birthday is this weekend. Then, since she had a free room at a local casino, we all went to the casino. I had $11. DH had $50 in money he got for his birthday. So we started playing these slot machines and I won $90, so that was very nice. Then we went to find DH's mom and she was already going to bed. That's very unusual for her, so we went up to her room to make sure she was ok. She said she was having more chest pains than usual (she had quintuple bypass surgery a year ago and has had some chest pain since then) and had taken some nitroglycerin for that. She told DH and I that she was almost out of pills and was a little worried. But she was pretty sure she had enough to get through the night. She was going to bed. At that point, I had my $90 and was ready to leave, but DH wanted to stay a little while longer. About 15 minutes later, his mom called him on the cell phone and she said she was short of breath. He basically told her that she was going to the hospital. She kept saying she was ok, but she did go. She'd had a heart attack. Today she learned that she had 3 100% blockages and she got 3 stents put in. She is going to be ok. But it's been rather hectic. I didn't go to the city hospital when she was transferred there. My boss just hates when people call in and ask for time off, so I will always try my best to avoid doing that if possible...and since I wasn't sure how long she was going to be there or how serious the situation really was, it seemed wise to just go to work and just come when I was called--of course, things worked out so that I didn't have to go there at all--I was there at the small local hospital with her, but when she went to the city, I didn't go there at all. I feel kind of bad about that, but nobody could tell me when she was having what tests/procedures and if I did need to take off, I wanted to make sure I had that ability....anyhow of course DH did go...I figured he'd be fine without me because his brothers would be there and his one brother had already rented a hotel room for them....I gave DH $40 and Jim gave DH $100 because he was going to be 200 miles away from us. DH was kind of mad that I wouldn't let him take my credit card. Oh well.

Then, apparently DH and his one brother were not getting along. DH had planned on sleeping in his brother's hotel room. But when he and his brother weren't getting along, he decided not to. So instead of coming home for the night (after all, 200 miles of gas is still cheaper than a hotel room), or better yet, sleeping in the hospital, which is what I've done when my mom has been ill, he decided that he was going to go to the casino again, and get a hotel room there. I knew he was stressed out, so I let it slide....at least he didn't have my credit card, right? :-)

And then he went back to the hospital, and then tonite he called to tell me he was on his way home because his mom was doing good. And about two hours later he called me from the casino again!!!!! I know everything was stressful, I really do. I am just so dismayed by this, though. And I don't know how to handle it. I gave him the money. Jim gave him the money. So if he chooses to spend it at the casino, do I have a right to say anything? (You can bet I will the next time he says he doesn't have money for cigarettes!)

And on another note, DH was gone for two nights. And I have to say, I was not bothered by that at all. In fact, I was rather relieved. After all, he was not my problem. And I must confess that it felt good to have it be that way. Even despite the good days that Lithium has brought us. I had thought that I would kind of miss him, but honestly, I didn't miss him at all. I'm kind of surprised at that. I think it will take a lot of rebuilding if we are to get back to where we used to be....sorry. Tonight I don't feel as hopeful as I have been. Everything just gets so confused and I don't know what to do.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

He thought of me.

Well, yet another of Jim's myriad of tax refunds arrived in the mail, and he and DH went to cash it. Jim apparently gave DH some money and DH put gas in his car.

But that's not all, as you can tell from the title.

DH came home with a little tub of tuna macaroni salad from the deli at the grocery store and a container of tapioca pudding (my favorite). I probably should've been dismayed because neither of those are in the budget, they're both rather expensive compared to ramen and hot dogs....but that's the first time in a year and a half that he's thought of me instead of himself. The first time in ages that he did something nice for me without sobbing to me about how I'd be better off if he was dead. The first actual deposit into his far overdrawn "love bank" in ages.

I'm getting my husband back, I think, little by little. I hope there continue to be more of these kinds of days to outweigh the bad kind....I'm finding that now that he's doing better, my frustration level with the bad days seems to be worse. I get more disgusted, more angry, more resentful. So, even knowing that the bad days seem worse now than they did before, even though logically that's not true, instead of wallowing in self pity like I tend to do, I am going to sit down, eat my "gifts" and wallow in hope.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sometimes I don't know what to think.

Well, I've been working, and today was the day DH was supposed to see both his therapist and the nurse practitioner who prescribes his meds. Since I forgot to leave the copay money with him, I told him that I would allow him to write out a check from my checkbook so that he wouldn't have to miss therapy. He said "Ok, we'll talk about that later."

Then, I must've asked him three times if he knew what time his other appointment (with the NP) was and he had no idea. But he didn't call, he just decided not to go. So when I called him at 4pm, he was in bed again. Right away I started (in my mind) doing the "oh no, here we go again," thing, and then he told me that he had forgotten that I had said he could write out a check, so he hadn't gone to therapy either. Sometimes I just feel like there's absolutely nothing I can do and I am stuck with all of this for the time being.

I can't leave, even if I wanted to, because nobody would buy our house, and if someone was that crazy, they wouldn't pay what we owe on it :-( Plus, where can you move to with 6 dogs, 10 cats, 2 bunnies and all the chickens and ducks too? At least until attrition changes the numbers, I am going to be stuck here for the time being. When I commit to an animal (or a human, I guess, LOL), it's a lifetime thing, so "getting rid of them" isn't an option.

Anyhow, those were the thoughts going through my mind, and then DH called me and he was in a good mood. Still in bed, but pretty cheerful. Three months ago, i would've killed to just have him be cheerful. So am I expecting too much when I want him to get up and be productive? I don't know. I think for the first thing, though, I really need to work on this feeling sorry for myself, Poor Carol, look at how she suffers! Ok. That's got to stop. I've always been one of those people who can't stand to listen to others complain and complain about a situation and not do anything to make things better. This is the first time ever where I've really felt like things are out of my hands, and I don't like how "things" are. And I want to complain, because although I can see light at the end of the tunnel, it's just a little pinprick of light, and it's probably like 5 years away. I know other people have marriages like this, I don't know how they do it, I really don't. Lately I've been wondering if maybe I should file bankruptcy with DH, just to get all these bills off my back. But that's silly, because I've ALWAYS paid my bills and that feels like cheating for me. But it sure would be easier....not so much work, not so much worry....but it seems like I can do this myself somehow....I know others have...

What a ramble of self-pity, huh? This isn't what I signed up for. We were going to have a nice house in the country, live happily ever after. We'd have some conflicts, but nothing some communication wouldn't fix....and then we'd die of old age. That's what I signed up for....I don't know how I got in the wrong line.