Tuesday, January 19, 2016

# bipolar 2 # bipolar disorder

Reclaiming Me

Early after being diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and all the rest of the mess, I said that I would be as transparent as possible with things. One of the things that I deal with is a combination of ocd and hoarding tendencies. What does that mean? When I get really low, I surround myself with things. I'm poor as all get out so I'm not really buying much, but I also don't get rid of things. I just sit things down and leave them there. I build a protective nest/wall around myself. Then, the ocd kicks in and my brain says if you can't make it perfect right now...with every tiny project finished, you shouldn't even bother. The lower I get, the worse it gets and it doesn't take long before the house becomes a representation of the chaos that's in my head.

As if that's not bad enough, this starts a vicious cycle because as the mess builds, my mood sinks further and further because the voices in my head pipe up telling me how useless I am, what an awful mother I am, etc for letting it get this way to begin with. My mood drops, the mess grows and I get stuck in this awful cycle that feels impossible to break.

It isn't impossible though. It takes a lot ...a lot of emotional energy, a lot of physical energy, a lot of deep breathes and a lot of support... but it isn't impossible to break the cycle. It took every bit of brave that I had, but I posted before photos of my living room to a private group on Facebook. The support that I've received has kept me going on days when I just want to hide. Only a couple of people outside of that group know how I've spent my time offline. I want to share it now with all of you. Maybe it will give hope to someone who is stuck in that same cycle. I know that I'm not alone in it. When I wake up and feel like I'm useless and can't do anything, I look at these pictures and can see that it's just not true. Sometimes there's no better reminder than physical proof.

This is what my living room looked like about 10 days ago. I'd lost all control when it came to doing more than the bare minimum of living. Just looking at this room completely overwhelmed me and made me want to hide. It was Ben that had me taking that first deep breath when he asked me if I could clean the living room as his birthday present since money was so tight. It took me 5 days, but every day I chose an area, took yet another deep breath and grabbed yet another trash bag and at the end of the week, I had this waiting for them when they walked in the door:

Roger got to the door first and all I heard was "Holy shit, mom...are you some kind of wizard?" Ben got to the door and his response was "Oh my god, mom...this is amazing!" They were proud of me and seeing Roger sprawled on the floor doing homework pretty much made my weekend. That helped fuel me to work on the bathroom this week...

It's only been 2 days in there, but progress is happening. This isn't all of the bathroom in photos, but it is the areas that I've worked on so far. I'll take more tomorrow to cover the rest of the room..and maybe I'll continue to share them here.

Things have been wiped down, emptied out, organized, purged, and put back. I have an entire grocery bag full of extra bathroom things that I'll be donating to the Homeless Angels once I also collect up outgrown clothing and spare blankets to go with it.

Today was a very emotional day for some reason and I told myself that it was okay to not do anything and to just have a self love kind of day. Instead, I found myself changing over the laundry..folding the dry, hanging the wet (my dryer died), and putting in another load to wash. I told myself that was enough..then when I went into the kitchen or the bathroom, I found myself doing a bit of tidying. I needed a tote for part of the bathroom project..and realized I had one in the laundry room full of fabric I would probably never use. So, I grabbed it..after all, it's not doing much and I could relax on the couch while doing it. Three totes later, I'd purged 3 trash bags full of fabric (already posted and picked up by someone who lives locally) and only kept 1 grocery bag with some crafting things and fabric in it.

This whole thing is important. As I reclaim this house, I'm reclaiming myself and I'm reclaiming my belief that I have control in my world. I'm showing myself that I can do things. I don't have to be stuck. There will be good days and bad days, but like I said before...I'm still here and I'm still fighting...


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