Monday, November 3, 2014

Death with dignity: Why isn't this available for all?

It seems like Brittany Maynard sure got a lot of attention the last few weeks of her life. I think she did a lot of good for creating awareness of the Death With Dignity Act, and with any luck, hopefully her work in this area will not be forgotten. I would love to see more states have laws in place to give people who are terminally ill the right to choose how they will end their mortal existence. Although the debate between whether this is going against the will of God or not is a great discussion, it's not the focus of my blog today.

Being told that your existence is now numbered by days, weeks, or maybe only months, and knowing that each day will only get worse is a mind blowing message to receive. Is this similar to what people with severe mental illness go through? I think in some cases it does.

People living with mental illness struggle with severe limitations on their quality of life as well. Nearly half of all bipolar patients are treatment resistant for either mania or depression. Twenty percent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder will take their own life at some point. Not in a peaceful, harmonic way, with their family and friends by their side and supporting their decision, but usually in a time of chaos, when everyone they love has given up on them and turned their backs on them. They leave behind a trail of unanswered questions and lasting regrets for the survivors.Why can't this be different?

I myself have treatment resistant bipolar disorder. I've written about the dark days of my life where nothing had meaning, and the world just saw me as something to spit at. Yes, I was emotionally unstable, and no-one in their right mind would have given me the option to peacefully end my life at that time. In fact, I had been court committed, and I was legally forced to take medication (even if didn't work) to try and keep me existing, because what I was doing sure wasn't living. But my existence was meaningless. I was nothing but a burden on those who tried to care for me, I was a burden on the system, I was a burden on the hospitals that had to work with me. This particular story has a happier ending. There was a medication that came out a few years ago, and my doctor suggested I try it. An almost magical transformation occurred, this medication actually made a difference! I started to actually live. It's been nearly 2 years that I've been out of the hospital and been a stable, productive member of society.

Unfortunately for many people living with MI, their stories don't have a happy ending. They are homeless. They are drug addicts. They have no support system to speak of. Their families have written them off. They are in jails and prisons for crimes they committed while not receiving treatment, or while receiving treatment that wasn't working for them. They are shuffled through the system and lost among the thousands of other people that understaffed and underfunded mental health providers are working with.

Many of these people are not stupid. They are just as intelligent as you or I. They are just as capable of making an informed decision about their bodies as Brittany Maynard was. I feel that if you live a life of seemingly unending agony, where every day is so emotionally taxing that you pray for an end to it all, you should be able to sit down with a doctor and discuss options as to whether or not you should have to continue this way.

I feel that I should clarify something here. I'm not talking about people who have unipolar depression and feel so hopeless that they attempt to take their lives, but with the help of counseling and the right medications (if needed) go on to live productive lives. I'm not talking about people who have bipolar or schizophrenia who are able to take medication and can function in society. I'm talking about the poor souls who want nothing more than to live their lives, but due to incompatibility with medications or other circumstances, there seems to be no help for them.

Brittany Maynard didn't want to die. She would have preferred nothing more than to continue life with her husband, perhaps having children one day and watching them grow up. Instead, she was diagnosed with a cancer so deadly that she was given only 6 more months to live. She chose to end her life peacefully, rather than becoming a shell of her former self as the disease took over her body. Doesn't someone with a severe MI deserve the same? Why should they be forced to watch their lives be destroyed by a disease, and not be able to make the same choice Brittany Maynard did, to die with dignity?

I know my opinion on this matter is unpopular. I'm okay with that. I know some will say, "Well you stuck through and finally found the right thing to work!". I didn't stick with it. I tried mulitple times to end my own life because the suffering was so intense. It took YEARS for things to change. Years where I had no real life to speak of. There are people right now who have been suffering for years as well, with no hope in sight that they will ever improve. Why should they be forced to continue to suffer simply because the illness they have is of the brain, and not because of another organ?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I hate being a SAHM: A story in progress.

So I've been feeling kind of down this week. I went and saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show last weekend with my sister, and it was one of the most astounding times of my life. I had so much fun, and was practically drunk off the energy and excitement of being at the theatre to see it. It took us 10 years to make the trip to see it, and it was something to cross off my bucket list.



It's made being home and not going out this week seem even duller and more unbearable than usual. It's hard to get back into the swing of things when all you can think of is Frank-N-Furter telling you to "Don't dream it, be it.", and just wanting to dance the Time Warp one more time.

Even with all that, I came to an amazing conclusion yesterday. If I can internalize this thought and own it, I think I'll have transformed my life.

I hate being a stay-at-home mum. There. I've said it. (Spoiler alert, this isn't the transformative thought.) I've never had a job where I felt so devalued and under-appreciated in all my life. I hate the drudgery, the same boring things over and over every single day. Nothing changes, I never have anything interesting to talk about, and instead of embracing this lifestyle, I cringe from it. I spend way too much time online avoiding my real life because I'd rather be doing literally anything else than cleaning and tending the kids.



I say that now, but it's something I'd never admitted out loud until just recently.

So then what's the transformation thought that I was speaking of?

It started last week, when I was visiting with my sister-in-law, and I told her how I wanted to go and finish my degree so I could teach, and help bring up the next generation of future leaders of the world. I want to be a worthwhile member of society because I certainly don't feel like I'm doing that now. She looked at me like I was crazy and asked me what on earth did I think I was doing now? I have 4 children, who's raising them if not me? That had a profound effect on me because I'd never considered my role as a mother as a teacher too. I never viewed my job here as 'real work', it was just something to be endured until I could get out of it.

On a related note, one that gets us closer to the culmination of why I'm starting to change my view, I was called to be a nursery teacher a couple months ago. I'm LDS, and in my religion many of the teachers and leaders of the local churches are volunteers, so this was something I do of my own volition. I've got to admit, I don't like small children. I don't relate well to them, I don't get along with them, and I don't feel like I make any difference in their lives. (Feeling like I make a difference in anyone's life could be a post all of it's own accord though.) I went home and cried when the bishopric asked me to serve in this calling because I was terrified I would be an epic fail and I just knew I would start to dread Sundays. I said to myself, "I come to church to get away from MY children for a couple hours, why on earth would I want to take care of 10 other children during that time?" I very hesitantly took the calling, and tentatively showed up after Sacrament to tend those little ones.

And now the point of this post. I realized yesterday that teaching nursery and being a mum aren't so different. I'm making a difference in those children's lives just by being there, being a good example, and helping lead the way for them. Being a stay at home mom might not be glamorous, or exciting, or a head turning conversation stopper, but it has worth. I have worth for doing this every day. My children need me to be there for them. They need my guidance. They need me to teach them, just as much (if not more) than those future students I want to affect one day.

It might be hard, but I CAN do this. I can keep the house clean, be a supportive wife, and I can be a better mother to my kids. I'm taking small steps to get to where I want to be. I know this will always be a work in progress, but I feel like just by acknowledging this misconception of mine, I've already made a big change. I don't clean regularly every day, but that's just one aspect I need to work on. I don't have a consistent routine with my kids right now, but that's going to change too. I don't listen as well as I could, or serve my family's needs as well as I feel I should, but once again, just another process to changing me.

I have fears about my ability to do this, but I can't let my fears keep holding me back. My therapist has told me over and over again that I'll stay where I am until my desire to change is greater than my apathy for the status quo. I think she words it a little differently, but that's the gist of it. I want this. But I'm eating this elephant one bite at a time for once. I've tried to make changes before and have always slipped up and failed. I've just given up because I've tried to change too many things at once and overwhelmed myself. I'm not doing that this time. I've got small things that I'm doing every day, and I'm taking it. One. Day. At. A. Time.



The biggest thing I'm doing at this very moment is my effing assignments I'm given in therapy. I've never even attempted to try anything outside of my sessions to change myself. I've always told myself it'll never work, so why try it? I'm only on day 5 of doing my work everyday, but I'm so proud of myself for lasting even 5 days. It's been hard, and I've had to make up a day, but I've still stuck with it. This WILL become a habit with me. I can do it. And if I can do this, then the whole world has opened itself up to me. If I can do this everyday, then I can do the dishes everyday. That can become a habit. I can do a couple loads of laundry every day. Another habit. I can have music and quiet time with my kids. BOOM! One more habit. I can cook dinner every night. Yup, another habit.  Exercising a few times a week? Uh huh, no problem. And once I've gotten all of these things down, maybe I'll be organized enough to be able to handle going back to school and running the house. My ADHD brain is terrified of that, yet excited at the same time. I'm so disorganized, and so terrible at completing things, and I've beaten myself up about it for years. I've got to find a way to make being ADHD and bipolar work for me, and not against me.

I can do hard things. I can. I will. One bite at a time.





Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I dreamed a dream...

This tears me up every time. One day I'll be brave and go for what I want in life too. And with any luck, I'll be just as big of a smashing success as she is...


Monday, October 27, 2014

Like a broken vessel...

So I've been making some changes to myself the last little while. I've been trying to do Scripture study regularly, and be a better person. The biggest thing I've been doing is listening to Conference talks about faith, and about knowing God better. Today I felt compelled to listen to this talk however, and as usual, it brought me to tears. It's such a poignant, applicable talk in today's world, and I want to share it with all of you. 

"Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee." 

That quote hits home with my so strongly because I frequently tell myself something similar all the time. I tell myself, "The night is always darkest before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming." I know it's a Batman quote, but it's helped me through some truly dark hours. It's amazing how movies can do that sometimes. 

Anywho, without further ado, here is Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk on coping in this world when you have a mental illness.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I watched the 2010 Alice in Wonderland with my kids last night, and it was great. I had 3 of them curled up in my lap and life was good. I love this movie, and I've got a strong desire to read the book now. I loved how inquisitive my kids were about everything in the show, and I love that they're still young enough to think that I have all the answers :)

For some reason this show has been on my mind a lot lately, maybe it has to do with how crazy I am, and how crazy it is, but I feel a strong kinship with this movie. I feel an even stronger connection to the quirky quotes in the book. I can handle madness, but I don't know if I can handle as much madness as in that book! That's why I haven't read it yet, lol. 

So with all that rambling, can you guess the things I'm thankful for today? I'm thankful for happy, healthy children...and the love of reading!

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.” 

“Curiouser and curiouser!” 

“The time has come
The walrus said
To talk of many things:
Of shoes- and ships-
And sealing wax-
Of cabbages and kings-
And why the sae is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings.” 

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Beware the Jabberwock...

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand,
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through!
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

-Lewis Carroll

Sometimes silliness gets stuck in your head and there's just no getting it out until you write about it. This is one of my favorite poems and it's been stuck in my head for days. Hopefully by getting it out in the open, I can stop being so obsessed with it. That's a metaphor for other issues in life, but I'm leaving it up to you, the reader, to guess what those metaphors are. :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Motivational Monday

What motivates you? I had that question asked to me a couple times over the last few days, and it's really eaten at me. My kids should motivate me, but when I get super depressed, they're not motivation enough. I think I've learned that true motivation has to come from within. Josh has been working out a lot lately, and I've not been super supportive. It's probably a good thing his motivation is internal because I've really been slacking on the external. He is a great example of internal motivating keeping you going because if all you're relying on is a cheerleader, well, there are times when that cheerleader is going to let you down.

And I think that's been my problem for a long time now. I rely on external motivation to continue doing something when all I really need is the inner cheerleader in me to keep going at it. I'm so afraid of doing something wrong though, or being inappropriate, or sticking my foot in my mouth, or any other numerous ways I can look like an idiot that I can't be my own cheerleader. Now that I've discovered that was what was holding me back, I've become determined to overcome it. I can't really live if all I'm surrounded by is fear of making a move. So I've started moving. Slowly. Carefully, like a jungle cat hunting for it's prey. I test the environment outside of my comfort zone for a little bit and then I scurry right back inside it. But, I'm staying out there a little longer each time.

I've made the goal to become more sociable and to worry less about how people perceive me. I'm working on smiling more, and being attempting to strike up a conversation with someone on occasion. I've gotten in contact with friends I've been avoiding for months and made lunch dates with them. And you know what? I feel better about myself. I like the me who has friends to talk to. I like the me that leaves the house for lunch dates. I'm taking it oh so slow, but hey, at least I'm moving in the right direction, right?

Just because I love having an excuse for showing these faces off, here are some examples of people who motivate me. These are just some pics of me with my younger kids over the weekend. When I'm doing well, how can these adorable faces NOT be motivation enough to stay strong? They're definitely motivation now, but when things get tough, I've got to find the strength from within. As do we all.

 

mekids

all3 bwliam liamolive oliveliam

 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I went and saw this the other night. I'm so glad I did! It was an incredible film and a moving experience. If you haven't seen it, you really should go. The soundtrack was amazing, I've been listening to it since I got home from the movie, lol. Like I've said before, I love music, and it really made the film for me.

Here are some of the songs from the movie, you should check one or two out when you get a moment!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NucJk8TxyRg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYzWbGq7boE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ__Mym7RvA

 

Forever of no blogging!

I've been a seriously bad girl when it comes to taking care of my blog this past few months. It's been rough though, I've had some really hard days in there, and I didn't feel like blogging. Insane, right? I love blogging, but I hate blogging when I'm super depressed or down I discovered. I try to be a cheerful upbeat person, and when my blogs can't show that person, I've got nothing.

I'm only blogging today because guilt has been nagging at me over letting my blog get all old and gray. Plus, I've got some really good stuff going on right now that I want to share. I hate bullies. Did you know that? And I won't put up with them. I even put together a PowerPoint presentation and took it to my daughter's school to talk about bullying and how you could be one to stop it. The teachers loved it so much they recommended that I show it to the 5th and 4th grades as well, and even encouraged me to show other schools. It was exhilarating and terrifying both at the same time. Part of me didn't want to go through with it because I knew it would be an epic fail, the other part of me was stoked to finally be presenting the information to the kids. The excited part of me won out, and I showed up and presented what I had, obviously, lol.

And, in other news, I had an amazing spiritual experience today and I'm sharing with you guys. I'm not one to be easily touched by the Spirit (or whatever you call it, nor do I cry easily at things, but I saw a talk given today that had me in tears, it was so beautiful. I'm Mormon, and this was in what we call General Conference. It talks about mental illness and what we can do to help and support those living with it

http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2013-10-2070-elder-jeffrey-r-holland?lang=eng

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Racing thoughts and stubborn ideas at 3 AM are never fun...some of the time.

I can't sleep for some odd reason. I woke up with the hug desire to watch Sarah Palin and Tina Fey on SNL. Also, I'm hungry. I've been searching for both episodes where Tina Fey did Sarah Palin, but I can only find the first one, and even THAT was a pain, lol. Now that I've gotten to watch it, maybe I can fix myself a sammich and get back to sleep...It's nigh on 4 AM here!