Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fruit Salad Post

I'm just gonna go for it and throw in a handful of the thoughts and feelings that are with me today and let this post turn into whatever it is meant to become!

A) I really appreciated this blog post and how it helped simplify and validate my disorder while also providing some concrete tools for improving communication with others. I don't get to talk with people in this fashion about bipolar II very often but it's something that I would like to feel confident talking about if ever I got the chance.

*I was concerned about the comments she made about bipolar being highly genetic and the 50% stat she threw down, but the hubster has reassured me that it is more complex and less stark/severe than that and that I shouldn't feel like Baby Bananaface is a timebomb or that I've poisoned him... he found some other statistics that were more realistic and thankfully, reassuring. That said I am not an expert on this so I can't clarify what the "truth" is, I just don't want anybody freaking out like I did!

B) I've been having a lot of feelings about my aunt's passing and my relationship with my cousin and some of that involves feeling grief but also shameful or fearful or upset about the distance that has evolved between me and my cousin and my sorta-uncle (I don't call him "Uncle __" I just call him "__" and they weren't officially married til later in their relationship so... it's confusing but I like the guy). 

Part of the reason that distance evolved was because of my postpartum depression and the fact that I was in the hospital while my aunt was in a different hospital dying. She had had cancer for months prior to that and I hadn't seen her because she was a heavy smoker and I had stopped visiting years before because it was physically uncomfortable and very emotionally painful for me to see her and "__" smoking and, in my eyes, hurting themselves. I feel like a part of me knew that a very painful end was coming and I backed away early because I just didn't know how to cope with all the feelings I was having at the time.

Since she died I've been more and more expressive about my sadness but I've felt a little odd and "on the outside" of the grief since I didn't see her during her sickness and death. It feels like my cousin and my sorta-uncle and my first family have more license to be sad than I but I think this is the mark of an invalidating family structure, a part of the ongoing battle I experience around being myself and being okay with that... 

The fact is that I was too sensitive to watch my aunt slowly kill herself and I had to get distance, I had a lot going on in my own life and my mental health issues prevented me from coping with that high stress situation and prevented me from seeing her not only while she was sick but before then too. The fact is that my experience is unique and different from everyone else's and it happens to involve grieving from a greater distance and I am thankful that I protected myself from potentially very traumatic memories surrounding her disease and death. It has made things awkward, but I really don't regret my decision to run for the hills when I did-it was the best I could do for myself and that's all I can hope for. I don't know if I'll ever regain as close a relationship with my sorta-uncle or cousin but I can't blame myself for that, I can just do my best and be me and hope for the best.

*Still sorting through this, but that splat of feelings certainly helps!

C) I have a little update related to reintroducing myself to myself (I talked about feeling like a stranger in my own life the other day and the hubbo suggested reframing my loss of self as a journey to rediscover myself, to reintroduce myself)... On Monday I was up to some good ole Hannah mischief! Here's the scoop:

The hubster had a dentist appointment to get a filling. He's been complaining about it for weeks because he hates the feeling of the needle they use to numb him up and generally isn't a fan of the dentist anyway. That morning as I was driving home from the gym I had an inspiration to make him a little encouragement card and drop it off at the dentist's so they could give it to him when he checked in. I made him a little card with a scattering of shiny red foil hearts and a grumpy Garfield cartoon and a little note and dropped it off just before the dentist's office went to lunch. 

That afternoon I could cheery text from the hubster about "running into Garfield at the dentist's" and he was so grateful for the card! I was so glad I could help him relax and also grateful I could feel like myself again. It was a wonderful moment and I'm hoping I can continue to build on the positive vibes.

D) Overall, my wellness is improved. The jitters are gone and I'm off my Latuda now (we are keeping a watchful eye out for any symptoms that may crop up related to this). I am still struggling with anxiety but I've been able to use my DBT skills to help me cope and there is a little piece of me that sidling up to the idea of thinking of a future, looking ahead, buying into life more-and that's a big deal.

I still very much feel like a work in progress (and/or a "hot mess") but I feel like I'm starting to push back against those dark, sticky ideas that I'm worthless and hopeless and while that bit of fight in me feels a little strange, it also feels a little good too. 

E) Here are this week's "Words for Wednesday" prompts provided by River:

1. energy
2. caravan
3. drop
4. whispering
5. farmer
6. tracker


1. slinging
2. risking
3. young
4. absolute
5. morsels
6. contain


"the headlights were the only illumination on the single lane road"

I didn't write anything based on the prompts but wanted to share them around in case anyone needed some inspiration! :o)

F) Bonus link for anxiety disorder related boost-ya-up/perk :o)

So there is this fruit salad post, hope it doesn't hurt yer eyes too much!


  1. Hannah, your talent for writing and expressing yourself is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing, I believe there is still (sadly) a stigma in relation to mental illness and there should not be! Thanks for your posts, and for being you. Love and hugs.

    1. Thanks Linda <3 We're still workin' on breaking that stigma down, that's for sure!

  2. LOVE your support for the hubster. Dentists scare me.
    And yay for not only the steps in the right direction, but recognising them. That is a very, very big plus.
    Hot mess? I suspect anyone who is honest has some/lots of that in their life and their head.
    And fruit salad is one of my favourite dishes.

    1. Fruit salad is good, isn't it?! Thanks for your encouragement and hugs! Sorry dentists stress you out too :(

  3. I LOVE what you did for your hubby. That's love love love ♥

    I'm continuously amazed at your writing. You are very talented. Have you ever considered pursuing this on a professional level? Perhaps a book in your future...

    Everyone grieves in different ways and everyone handles death/dying differently. It is a very emotional subject. I hope you sort it all out and find peace.

    1. Thanks Martha :o) I have thought about writing a book I just haven't been able to start, hoping to do it at some point though! And good point about grieving and how unique it is, that's very important to remember. Thank you!

  4. You are an amazing giant ball of loving energy...and I too love fruit salad. Do not judge yourself for emotions or grief...let them be...Hugs!

    1. Thanks e! Refraining from judgment is good advice and I like the image of a "giant ball of loving energy." Sounds like a sort of super villain that's actually a good guy haha Hugs!

  5. Oh, hell, life is a fruit salad. Overall, things are looking ever more positive for you and I am glad. I will just add that your grief is as valid as anyone else's. It was not your "fault" you were in a place where you could not be there as your aunt was failing. There is a place in grief where you have to forgive yourself that you could not stop it. You'll get there.
    Barbara from Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    1. Thanks Barbara :o) Grief is a process and the route is different for everyone and often a mystery! Certain days I feel like I make a big step and others feel like I'm slogging, but that's how it goes!

  6. I love reading your thoughtful and illuminating posts.

    1. I'm glad :o) Thank you for telling me this!

  7. I'm right there with ya, feeling like a work in progress. I hope that bit of fight gets more and more comfortable because you are SO VERY worth fighting for. I like your husband's idea of rediscovering yourself. I do believe I'll claim that process title for mah-self too. :)

    1. Thanks Willow :) I'm still learning to believe that I'm worth fighting for, it's a tough one for me!


Thank you for reading and commenting!

Be well, HBF