Opening doors

Life has been very busy lately. The last time I posted was three months ago, although I've thought many times over the past three months about logging in and typing up a new post. The holidays came, I got wrapped up in everything, then we traveled south to visit my family and I just haven't set the time aside to blog. Shame on me. Definitely feeling guilty about it. This whole project is overwhelming sometimes when I think about my end goal: to publish a book which will be a resource to other women who live with bipolar disorder but also want children. However, when I step back and try to see it as smaller pieces, baby steps towards the bigger picture, I can jump back in. I have to remind myself that over the past few months I have taken some small steps towards moving things along, even if I haven't made any further progress on the actual page count of the draft.

I recently stumbled upon the blog of an inspiring person: meet Ashley of Lil Blue Boo. I was immediately captivated by her life story so far, her writing, her sense of humor, and most importantly, her outlook on life. Her "about me" section mentioned that she loved reading memoirs, of famous people and not famous people. So after writing and deleting four or five versions of an email, I finally just went for it and emailed her asking if she'd be open to reading what I have written so far. She wrote back within 10 minutes. I was shocked. And giddy. She said she would love to, and she'd be honored. Wow. That was so cool.

The most incredible thing about her is that she is has so many things going on in her life right now. She's in the midst of a fierce battle with cancer. She runs a super cool sewing/crafting company. And she has her own family to enjoy and take care of. But she offered to read something I wrote. I feel a little guilty about asking her to read it during the whirlwind of what is going on in her life, but I can only hope that it is a tiny little escape for her as she reads the 57 pages I sent.

I just read a post on a blog that a close friend of hers writes about how they are holding an auction to benefit her medical expenses next month. I immediately emailed the fundraising chair after I finished reading to see how I could contribute in some way. I know this will be huge, and I am excited to be a part of it. It is unreal what people can do when they put their minds to it, even if it is all online and they don't get a chance to actually meet in person. The magic of the internet amazes me sometimes. Doors open.

My daughter just turned 13 months. A few weeks ago I noticed she had this fascination with closing doors. She's a short little thing, so of course she cannot reach the door handle to open it back up once it's closed. But she doesn't seem to mind. She just walks over to the next door, with a big smile on her face, and closes it, giggling. Makes me smile every time. But in the back of my mind I couldn't help but think about how it reminded me of the last time I was in the hospital - right after I found out I was pregnant with her.

I was only 5 weeks pregnant when I suffered a manic episode brought on (as it had been the three previous times) by lack of sleep due to my excitement over finding out that we had become pregnant finally with baby #2. I remember bits and pieces from my hospital stay. One thing that I remember vividly though is opening and closing doors as I wandered around the ward in my psychotic state. I think I became even more and more confused each time I opened another one, trying desperately to figure out where I was and what the hell was going on. Until the meds finally kicked in, I was left to let the mania run its course. And man, did it. Luckily for me, the doctors all tell me that I "respond beautifully" to medication. Not that I think having to be on medication is beautiful. But whatever. I'm just glad that it brought me back to reality, and that miraculously my daughter was born healthy.

This is what it is like living with a mental illness. Yes, I manage it well and have become a model patient in that I take my meds and go see my psychiatrist and therapist at regular intervals. But I will always live with the flashbacks from my episodes and they sometimes emerge from current events in my life which are unrelated at the surface level. I guess they are just God's way of reminding me to stay on track since I am in charge of my own mental health. I've decided to adopt Ashley's mantra of "Choose Joy". She's one in a lifetime. And I am so grateful to have been impacted by her story.