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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bipolar Relationship

When you are in a relationship with someone who is bipolar the feelings of being overwhelmed can be so intense.  There are those happy times when everything is good.  Or, so it seems.  You try to always look on the good side, the happy things.

These past couple weeks have been a real eye opener for me.  Everything depends on me.  It felt like it did before, but now, it's even more so.  When Tony was around, I could talk to him.  He may not always understand, and he always had that twist that everything was fine and would work out.  But, he's not here.  I can talk to him once a day for 15 minutes on the phone.  During that time, he doesn't want to hear the bad or that I can't make it here.  He only wants to hear how I will be sitting here waiting for him.  That I will take every penny I can find and give it to rent so that maybe we will have a place to live in another couple months.
My logical brain is screaming.  NO!!!!  If I put every cent I can into rent, then maybe, just maybe there will be enough.  That is if I can sell all these lizards, and somehow potty train a 2 year old (including night-time), oh, and that we don't need anything like toilet paper.

Still, I am supposed to clean up this house, pack up everything I can, sell everything I can, take care of the kids, all the while being the good other half and keeping up the smiling face.  Oh, don't forget to make calls, figure out what's going on with everything, and do all this alone.

Ah, I'm sure you are now thinking, why doesn't she just leave?  Why did she stay so long?  That's hard to answer all the time.  Perhaps I have a dependent personality.  I don't know.  Maybe my rose colored glasses got painted over instead of just tinted.  But, Tony is a loving father to the children.  I believe in keeping family together if at all possible.  I have a strong conviction that mental illness is not so much different from medical illness.  You wouldn't leave someone because they were medically sick?  Is it wrong to leave them because they are mentally ill?

I don't have the strength or energy to take care of him, and our family, and I failed miserably at trying to do it.   I feel that I am the one who failed because I couldn't catch all the manic episodes.  I cannot blame him for being bipolar.  Still, I couldn't make him take his meds all the time or follow-up with the doctors he needed to.  I couldn't control him finding ways to spend money on things we didn't need.  I couldn't help but want to believe that I could trust him to tell me the truth always.  Too bad, bipolar can be so delusional.

Unfortunately, the delusions of someone who is bipolar can effect everyone around them.  You will want to believe them, and that it is reality.  Instead, you can't.  I do love Tony with all my heart.  But, my mind knows I cannot trust the bipolar.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bipolar Consquences

Those who know me know that I consider mental health issues the same as someone may consider any other medical issue.  Still, there are consequences.  Even with medical issues, if you do something you shouldn't there are consequences.  The same goes for mental health problems.  Bipolar is not a free pass, the price must be paid for actions and inactions.  And, sometimes that price is steep.

Often my experience has been that the consequences are bad credit, no money left in accounts, and constant battles over priorities.  The consequences go far beyond that though.  They lead to loved ones having feelings of being overwhelmed.  And, sometimes, that very overwhelming feeling forces loved ones to have to face decisions that they don't want to make.

I love my Tony, my other half.  That is not in dispute.  He is a good man and a loving father.  He is also bipolar.  He has abrupt mood swings, and is a spendthrift.  He doesn't think about what he's spending.  And, all too often, there is nothing to show for the money that disappears.  There is always a way in his mind to pay for the necessities.  

Consequences have a way of catching up on a person.  Today, Tony, is in jail.  Yikes!  Did she just say that?  Yes, I did.  Several years ago, Tony got himself in trouble.  I'm not going to go into what happened, that is not for me to say, needless to say, he received probation and was sent on his merry way.  He just had to follow the probation guidelines and everything would be okay.  The probation should have been over years ago.  I thought it was.  He told me it was.  He even had been pulled over for speeding and everything was okay.  Or, so I thought.  Tony forgot that he didn't follow the requirements of his probation, and the results are he had to go spend some time in the county jail.  Not a good place for anyone.   Let's add to that he let his prescription lapse and hasn't seen his doctor lately so he is without his medication.

Now, our family has to pay the price.  The price is high.  Not only are we without Tony, who watched the kids so that I could work, but it turns out that he had just begun another manic episode.  This incident actually helped catch the episode so some of it can be taken care of and damage mitigated.  But, not all the damage can be undone.  Ahhhh... those pesky consequences again.

I am about to start on a journey to try to stop further damage and try (once again) to put some more structures in place to prevent damage in the future.  In the meantime, I have to determine what I need to do to keep the family safe and sound.  To keep us healthy and happy.  It's not easy to sit and wonder what to do, or even how to do it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Job Hunt, Depression and Bipolar

I'm depressed. It took me a bit to realize it. It's situational depression and I understand that. I need a job. I need to be able to support my family. I want to work, but I don't want to do it anymore.

I want to work to keep a roof over my family's head. I want to be able to enjoy things and do things again. But, I'm tired. My other half is bipolar. So, even though I have worked and worked and actually made a decent salary, the last two years of me working I didn't see the money. Bills were always behind, rent was behind, and the checking account was overdrawn so often that I stopped even looking at it. I was working, but for nothing. Well, I was working for something, to pay back the bank for all the bounces.

I am not a check bouncer. I am fanatic, but Tony, it didn't always click to. He'd think the money was there, or that we needed this or that, and the money would be gone. Then, electric would need paid, or something was needed and the card would be at it again, only this time bouncing. My bank card seemed to be made of rubber. If there was $100 in the account, it wouldn't occur to Tony that we needed to save that for the next few days until the paycheck hit. He would spend it. It became a never ending cycle. Then I was laid off. Somehow being laid off was a bit of a relief. I don't have to do it anymore. I'm not the one it all depends on. He was able to find a job to start in a few days, and I could be the one at home. I could get the house clean and organized. I could spend time with the kids that I never had been able to.

I was scared and nervous, but I was up to the challenge. Tony started work and he was happy again. He was able to do what he loved doing so much. He was Chef Tony again. I'd stay up every night until he got home from work to put his one chef jacket in the laundry. I'd wake up every morning before the kids had to be up for school and put his jacket in the dryer so it would be clean and ready for him to leave by 10:30 AM. I would spend time with him until he left for work. He didn't like me running around the house cleaning when he was home. He liked me to hang out and spend time with him. Just the two of us. Then, I'd get to work. I'd clean and sort and organize. I'd spend time with our little girl.

Then, it started. Tony's manager was fired and replaced with someone new. Tony started coming home upset. The new manager was a front of house guy and didn't understand how a kitchen worked. The new manager wanted to use powdered chicken stock that contained MSG in the vegetable soup. The new manager grabbed his butt (Tony used different language). All of this was happening at the same time as he never got paid on time. Every paycheck was at least a week late. One paycheck was $500 short.

Tony got fired. The Sunday after Thanksgiving his brakes went out on the van. He called and told them he would be late. In exchange he was fired.

We had finally been getting on track. I had cashed out my 401K to pay the back rent. I didn't have much, but it was enough to bring us to only owing the current month. My savings were all gone. My 401K was all I had left and now it was gone too. It then took nearly a month for him to get paid for his last two weeks.

I was able to do some gardening for the retired teacher across the street. Two weeks before Christmas I was paid just enough to finish paying off December's rent. I was thrilled. Utilities were paid, rent was paid, and thanks to the generosity of others and my mini endeavours, we had gift cards to buy Christmas gifts for the kids.

As soon as Tony was fired in the end of November, I had started applying for jobs. I admit it, I wasn't very proactive. I didn't apply for as many as I should have, but I was putting in an effort. I hoped that Tony would find something. I didn't want to give up being a stay at home mom. I wasn't good at it yet, but I was getting better.

We have just enough money to pay January rent, and we will be doing that as soon as the moneys clear the bank. What are we going to do for utilities, I am not sure. We should have just enough to make it through the month. After that, I don't know what will happen.

So, I am depressed. I need a job, and I want to work, but I don't want it to be for nothing. I hate bipolar. I hate the fact that it means that I feel exhausted from the mood swings and overspending. I hate the fact that it means that I feel the success or downfall of our family falls on my shoulders. I'm not bipolar but I suffer the consequences of loving someone with bipolar and wanting to keep our family together and intact.   

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tisha's Treasures

I started a new endevour this year.

I opened an online Kitsy Lane store.  It's called Tisha's Treasures.

I love jewelry and have a nice sized collection myself.  Most of my personal collection is unique or antique pieces.  I really don't wear my collection often anymore.  As I have been sorting and cleaning through my house and downsizing, I had to look through my jewelry box.  It wasn't easy.  I didn't want to get rid of a single piece, so I didn't.  I took my jewelry and put each piece in a separate plastic bag and got rid of the jewelry box completely.  I didn't want anything to get mixed up.  I keep finding more and more pieces of jewelry as I clean and sort.  I love necklaces.  I love earings.  I definitely love rings.

Most people who have seen me, are going "Huh?"  I don't recall ever seeing Tish wear much jewelry.  I admit it, I don't induldge often since becoming a mom.  This is something I am going to change this year.  I can't reason having such a collection if I never use them.

This led me on a new line of thinking.  I love jewelry, lots of people love jewelry.  I used to make some jewelry and love designing it.  I thought I might be able to share some of my passion with others.  Thus, Tisha's Treasures was created.  I decided to start with known jewelry lines through Kitsy Lane.  In the coming weeks I will be featuring some of the selections and hope everyone can enjoy with me.

Please visit my new store at Tisha's Treasures and let me know what you think.

As with so much, Pumpkin is helping me pick out jewelry and already has a favorite.  It's even on 50% off sale.  Ah, that's my dragon.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Permanent Marker ... Oh My!

It was one of those days when you just don't seem to be able to get motivated.  I spent most of my day sitting in front of the computer viewing job postings.  The house is a mess and there is a load of laundry to be done.  So what type of highlight can such a day have?  I have two words "Permanent Marker" ... okay, a thirtd "Ani".

Ani is my little toddler.  She loves to get into anything she can.  If you aren't watching closely, she will become a hurricane through the house.  Nothing seems to be safe.  Pretty standard toddler behavior.

We had gone to the pet store to pick up crickets.  Yes, crickets for the lizards.  When we got home I put away the crickets and then looked into the living room.  Something just wasn't right.  There was an odd shadow across Ani's face and she was covering something up.  No!  Not again.  I knew what had happened.  Ani had found the only permanent marker left in the house.  She had black cheeks, black arms and hands and black legs. 

Whatever shall I do?!  First, count to ten.  That didn't work, take a few more deep breathes and don't say a word.  Internet!  Yes, that is what I will do.  There must be some way to remove this without using nail polish remover or bleach on a toddler's face.  

Baby Oil!  ... baby oil?  No way!  That could not possibly work.  Still I had to try.  I found an old rag, grabbed the baby oil and rubbed softly on her black cheek.  It worked!  Yes, it worked! 

I am so thrilled that I was able to get most of it off her face and the rest of her body.  It doesn't work completely, but it does get most of it off.  Now, we have a greased up little darling who is about to get a shower.

We will never be without baby oil in the house.  I wondered when I had children, why does everyone give baby oil to new mothers.  I thought I would never use all the baby oil I was given.  I was wrong.  Sometimes it's good to be wrong.

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Skin

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pumpkin the gaming Bearded Dragon

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It's a new year and time to start afresh.  A new year means many different things to people.  For some it is just another day on the calendar, but for many people it is something much more.  It is a day of reflection, a day to start new habits or quit old habits.

I like to take the first day of the year and think on the year that has now passed.  I wonder what the new year will bring to pass.  Last year was a huge year of transitions.  I switched jobs in May and then in September was laid off from the new job.

For me, this was probably the biggest change for the year.  I went from being the primary income for our family to being unemployed.  I became a stay at home mom and a homemaker.  Wow!  The chance of a lifetime for me.  I had always wanted to be able to stay home with the kids and I had a chance to.  It was difficult, I didn't know how to be a stay at home mom.  I had in my mind all these things.  Stay at home mom's always have clean perfect houses and kids.  They go to all the school events and are always so in touch with all the aspects of their children's lives.  They manage the house and the budget.  They are always so organized.  I admit it, I was jealous.  I knew it was a tough job, I wasn't like the stereotypical working mom who thought SAHMs had it easy.

The job of being a stay at home mom was very difficult.  I am not saying that it was tougher than being a working mom, but it was harder than I thought.  It is difficult in a different way.  When I was a working mom, I had a set schedule.  I would wake up, get ready for work, go to work, come home and do a couple hours of chores.  I still do hours of chores every day (there are five kiddos in this household), but it was very different.  I had my expectations of what I thought it should be like and I was bound and determined that was what was going to happen.

I started scrubbing and cleaning.  I wanted that perfectly clean house with the perfectly clean behaved kids.  Three months later, I'm still not satisfied that my house is as clean as I want it to be.  The first thing I noticed was all those little things that I didn't think about when I was working.  Oh well, so there is a mess under the kitchen sink, it was no big deal.  Cleaners... oh my!  I had no idea that I had several different cleaners for any job around the house.  The biggest part of my cleaning was paring down things.  I was going to use up every extra supply in the house before I bought any more.  There are a lot less extra cleaners around now.

My New Year's Resolution for 2013 had been to get rid of half of what was in the house.  I don't know if I quite did that, but I am certain I came close.  The boys took and filled the little red wagon at least once a week for a couple months with boxes that I had packed and itemized for donation to Goodwill.  The trash can was filled twice a week almost to overfull, and somethings actually overfull with trash.

Now a New Year is here.  I need to find a job and it's been difficult.  I enjoyed so much staying home and taking care of things.  It really is what I would love to do, but Tony was laid off right after Thanksgiving.  One of us needs to find a job and soon.  We are both looking but nothing seems to come about.

Here I am on New Year's Day, one of my biggest dreams ever was realized (if only for a few months), and I am at a crossroads.  What does the New Year bring?  Will I go back to work?  I don't know what kind of resolution to make this year.  There is no one set thing that needs to be completed this year, there are many.  This year, instead of a new single set resolution, perhaps I should simply resolve to keep it going, to go with the flow and do everything I can do to be the best person and mom that I can be.

Happy New Year to all!  May all your dreams and wishes come true.