School Daze

In school I was always unpopular. From first grade to high school I was subject of taunts and rumors.In fourth grade I was hated because someone spread a rumor about me. They spread a rumor that I had spread a rumor about two kids that were going steady. I made the comment " who knows what goes on behind closed doors" but I didn't spread it around the school, this other girl did that. So when I was asked if I'd said that I said yes. I was accused of spreading a rumor when I didn't spread one at all. The whole school hated me for it. I just went to school and endured it. Fifth grade and sixth grade were bad as far as taunting went. I had to endure daily taunting from kids in my class. The teachers just let it happen. They didn't try to address it or stop it. That really made me angry because it was disruptive to the class.

I didn't have the money to buy the right clothes and have the right hair style to be popular in high school. I joined JROTC to avoid gym class. I was not popular in JROTC. I was clumsy and overweight. In my senior year I did o.k. in school. I looked forward to going to college. In college I was in ROTC for my freshman year. I was out of shape and unpopular. People really hated me in ROTC. I quit after a year of that.

I joined the Denver Church of Christ and got really involved in the campus ministry. I had started to display symptoms of my Bipolar Disorder. Eventually I had to drop out of college. After four years in college I had no work experience. I was also suffering from severe depression. I was having trouble keeping a job when a severe bout depression hit and I burned my apartment down. I spent two weeks in jail and eventually got probation for two years for arson. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder after a bad reaction to an anti-depressant.

I just don't know why I endured such unpopularity in school. I was overweight most of my childhood. I didn't play sports so I was out of shape physically. I was poor growing up and didn't have the right clothes and hairstyle. Kids just made fun of me naturally. I just got used to being hated for no reason. My self-esteem was pretty low throughout my childhood. I was pretty quiet in my teen years. I still made enemies, though. I didn't do anything to deserve being picked on. I was just used to being unpopular by high school. I kept going to school because I enjoyed learning. When I was fifteen I was severely depressed and almost flunked out of high school. My mother did nothing about this. I don't even think she knew.

I spent my childhood and teen years very lonely. I would do alot of reading,t.v. and movie watching. I would say my hobby was watching movies and reading books. I didn't have a car so I couldn't go clubbing. I basically spent time by myself. I was very inept socially. I had no social skills. Joining the church really made me feel better about myself. I learned how to interact with people. I became devoted to the church and the campus ministry. When I became depressed and was diagnosed I left the church because they didn't understand my illness. I returned to the church after two years because I missed the relationships.

Being taunted and unpopular in school set me up for being in the church. I was love bombed and that was very overwhelming for me. I actually thought they cared about me. Right after I was baptised,however,I realised that I was no more than a statistic. I stayed in the church 20 years because I wanted to please God and I wanted to belong to a group of people. I hated being alone and being in the church meant that I was always a part of something. I loved the feeling of belonging I had in being in the church.

Being out of the church has been hard because that lonely feeling I had when I was a kid has come back. I hate going places by myself because I feel so alone. I feel anxiety when I go out because I'm afraid something will happen to me. I hate that solitary feeling I get when I am alone. It's scary and distastful. Being on Facebook helps my loneliness because at least people read your stuff and care about what you are doing.

Riding the Wave

It's been sixteen years since I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I had symptoms far earlier than that. I remember having depressed symptoms when I was nine years old. I was sad,depressed,unable to concentrate,not taking care of myself, and being introverted. It lasted about six months. My mother thought I was being rebellious and lazy and didn't think to take me to the doctor. When I was fifteen years old I was so depressed I almost flunked out of High School. Somehow my mother didn't even notice. My sister was also dealing with Bipolar illness during this time so maybe she was to overwhelmed to notice.

I have been depressed in 1977, 1983-4,1989, 1991-2,1998,2005-2009. I had manic episodes in 1992,1999 and 2004. I have been hypomanic in 1990, 1994, and 2002. I have been on Lithium, Tagertol, Depakote, Haldol, Risperedol,Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Paxil, Prozac, and Disiprimine. I have been hospitalized only twice for mania other times I was in the emergency room. I am currently on Haldol and Lithium and have been for five years.

I was watching a movie about surfing and I realized that having Bipolar Disorder is very much like riding an ocean wave. You may see it coming but you can't control it once you are on it. You just have to stay on your surfboard and keep from falling off it. I have been trying to stay on my board this whole time. There were times when I fell off the board but I got right back on it. Over the years I have learned the importance of staying alive and healthy.

I learned it's important to take care of my health. I need to eat healthy and exercise daily. I haven't been exercising but that will change. I need to make sure my thyroid and metabolism is healthy. That means eating regularly and exercising. I also need to learn to use my lightbox during the winter months so I don't get too depressed. Just getting outside in the sun does the trick but when it's too cold to go outside I need to use the lightbox.

I have learned that I am not my illness. It doesn't define who I am or make up my whole identity.I need to stop torturing myself with guilt over mistakes I have made while depressed or manic. Not being able to finish school is a huge regret of mine. I need to see that I was limited by forces I couldn't control at the time. I need to learn to forgive myself for not being the person I wanted to be. I have felt guilt over not being a good wife and Christian. I need to see that I tried my best under the circumstances.

I need to cherish the friendships and relationships I have with people and not take them for granted or assume they don't care about me. I need to make sure I keep in touch with family and friends even when I am depressed and don't feel like talking to people. If I am hypomanic I need to be low key and not get angry or irritated easily.

When I am depressed I need to make the decision that I need to stay alive. I need to seek help when I am suicidal and not be afraid to be a burden to my husband. I need to plan my days and make sure I go out even if it is for a few minutes during the day. I need to stay busy with writing and reading even when I don't feel like doing anything. I need to face reality and not avoid it by staying in bed or overeating. I need to let go of my guilt and anxiety by journaling and reading positive affirmations.

When I am hypomanic I need to seek rest and quiet. I need to pace myself and not overwhelm myself with numerous projects. I need to journal and make sure I'm not getting delusional. I need to put a moratorium on spending any money that's not in the budget. I need to check my irritability and anger and not pick fights with people in my life. I also need to make sure my anxiety does not skew reality. If I am feeling hypersexual I need to make sure I stay safe and within my relationship with my husband.

It's been difficult riding this wave of Bipolar illness. I feel that I have lost so much while trying to stay alive and healthy. I don't know how to salvage my self-esteem or how I can regain my Christian faith. I feel like the last five years have been about recovery and healing. I have often felt like I was retarded emotionaly because it seemed like I couldn't feel anything for a long time. I am finally coming to a calm place I think. I still have a long way to go but I feel much better this year than past years.

I have to be more disciplined about taking my medication. I admit that I have not been as diligent as I need to be. It's important that I take my medication so I don't have a severe depressive episode or a manic episode. I've been lucky in that I haven't needed to go to the hospital in five years. I need to keep a journal so I know when I am missing doses. I need to be more disciplined about my health.

Overall I feel I have learned that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. I know who my real friends are. I know I am loved and people do care about me. It's just been hard knowing that I could not have been able to work at all these nine years. I still don't think I can work a full time job but maybe I could work a part-time job. I just want things to be different than they have been.

Finally Recovering

It's been five years but I finally feel like I am coming out of the fog. After my manic episode in July of 2004 I felt so crippled by depression that I could barely function. It was all I could do to stay alive. I wanted nothing more than to die. I was so out of it for four years. I had so much fear and anxiety too like I was afraid that I would end up alone and homeless. We struggled financially because I couldn't work. It was hard. We are still struggling financially but don't have any big debt besides my student loans. It would be nice if I could work part time. I want to work but I don't know how to get a job with my job history. I haven't worked in nine, almost ten years. It's hard to get work with that kind of history.

I find myself writing more. I want to write books,stories,and screenplays. I just don't know where to begin as I have never written a book or a screenplay. I want to be productive and eventually make money with my writing. I just don't want to spend another five years wandering through a fog of self-pity. I want to make each day count for something. I don't want the next year to go by before I am able to do something about my life. I just want to move on with my life. I have been paralyzed emotionally from my last manic episode. I was so full of guilt and regret. I hurt my husband so much. I felt really worthless. I couldn't hold on to my religious faith and survive. I had to give it up. That was hard to do but necessary for my own sanity. I had to get of the religious treadmill I was on to keep from destroying myself.

I still deal with anxiety and fear. Sometimes I have to force myself to get out of the house. I have a fear that I will not have enough time to actually write and finish a manuscript. I'm afraid my husband will lose his job and I'll be forced to work two jobs to pay the rent. I need to let go of my anxieties and fears but it is difficult. I often make up worse-case-scenarios where I end up alone and homeless. It's hard because I have so much time on my hands. I need to remind myself that these things could happen but they probably won't. I just as well might get struck by lightning too.

I really want to be happy and enjoy my life without worrying about my future. The tough economic times we are in really inspires me to be grateful for what I do have. I need to be there for my family and friends too. I have been kind of absent emotionally. I need to be patient with myself and realize that I can't control the course of my recovery. For whatever reason it has taken five years. That wasn't in my control. I need to see that.

Reality Sucks

I have spent all my life trying to escape my reality. When I was young I would daydream, talk to God, read books, watch movies, anything to escape my present reality. I ate food to numb the reality of my own self-loathing. I slept to escape reality. I had a miserable childhood and youth. I was unpopular at school and people actually hated me. At home my mother and older sister would yell at me constantly for not doing or being something they wanted. I felt like I had no comfort anywhere. I spent alot of time by myself and developed an active fantasy life. I slept alot and watched alot of t.v. I would go to movies by myself and spend time alone away from home. Some days were unbearable but I got through it. I developed a faith in God and a love for reading the Bible. It gave me comfort that someone out there cared about me if no one else did.

Now that I don't believe in God anymore I feel really alone. It's really hard to find comfort in movies and books anymore. I know they are not real. I still have a fantasy sometimes but it doesn't give me the pleasure it used to. I'm really alone. There's no god to talk to. I find comfort in music and writing and the fact that I have friends and family who do care about me. I don't sleep much any more and my appetite for food has diminished. I just feel like I am simply enduring life until I die. Sometimes it gets unbearable. I am so full of axiety. I fear that we will end up homeless or I will have a heart attack or stroke. I feel like the minute I let go and enjoy my life something shitty happens and my reality sucks again. I worry alot that this will happen. I don't know how to let go of the anxiety and worry.

I feel a little lost now that I am an atheist. What's my purpose ? How do I live my life to the full? Who cares? I just feel so vulnerable to the adverse forces out there. People who can rob and kill you. Things that can go wrong. Circumstances that can arise that are impossible to solve. I just feel like its open season on Ellen Roberts. I want to feel inner peace like I did when I was a Christian. I want to feel loved and looked after. I miss that feeling. I miss prayer. I miss talking to God and feeling his ear lowered to my mouth. I miss feeling that angels were watching over me to guide and protect me. I feel so alone and weak.

I wish I could go back to believing in God but I can't. It's just a myth to me now. I don't know exactly why I stopped believing in God. I think it might have been a result of spiritual exhaustion. I tried so hard to follow the Bible but there were so many contradictions. Sometimes things the Bible said were wrong flew in the face of a person's very nature. I couldn't keep up. I couldn't be like Jesus no matter how hard I tried. I had flaws and I couldn't overcome them with prayer and self-discipline. I couldn't be joyous because of my depressions. It seemed like the closest to pleasing God I became was when I was manic. How crazy is that! Being manic is an illness it's a delusion. That made me realize that Christianity is a delusion. It was made to bring comfort to lonely people whose reality really sucked. The Bible was written to give an explanation for our pain and suffering. I don't know where all the rules and regulations came from. I guess that was created to give people boundaries they could follow so they could feel like they were pleasing God. But if you can't follow the rules you can't feel loved and accepted by God and people. It's a terrible cunundrum of misery and I could no longer take part in it.

Being a Christian wasn't a wast of time. I learned how to talk to people and be open with my feelings. I learned how to be self-disciplined and follow others. I learned how to build friendships and give to people and be thoughtful. I learned how to serve people without expecting anything in return. I grew up emotionally and let go of my fantasy life. I learned to focus my energy outside myself and not be self-focused. I refuse to think that my Christian life was a waste of time. I made life-long friendships that I cherish deeply.

For whatever reason I needed to be a Christian. I needed the support. I just need to find another support. Writing seems to be that support I need. Getting my stories and screenplays out and putting them in front of the public would really help me feel productive and useful. Speaking out in support of people with mental illnesses would give me a purpose.

Life is too short to let it fly by while you are laying in bed trying to escape reality. If my reality sucks I have the power to change it. I did that when I joined the ICOC. I wanted a relationship with God and best friends. I had that. I still have the best friends and family who care for me. I need to change how I perceive reality. I need to get to the point where I am glad to face my reality no matter how challenging. This is difficult to do. I often have a skewed view of reality that keeps me from enjoying life.

I want to enjoy my life. I want to live longer than I expect to live. People's lives are cut short everyday. I think I need to more grateful for my life even with the shitty parts. I survived the hard parts of my life with support of friends and family. Friends and family will always be there. I need to stop taking these relationships for granted. I need to stop taking my life for granted.
I need to be patient with myself and teach myself to write well and powerfully. I need to build my own reality. A reality that I enjoy existing in. A reality where I can feel good about myself and what I am doing.

The Last Nine Years

In May of 2000 I quit my job because I couldn't function at work anymore. I was taking Haldol and another medication for my Bipolar and it was making me very sleepy. I thought I could get on disability after a year. In 2001 I applied for disability but was denied. I tried to look for work but couldn't find anything.

In 2002 I went to school at CU Denver. I thought I could try to finish my degree. I went to school for a year. I remember being on medication and going to a mental health center that was down the street from where we lived. My husband got laid off and tried looking for work. He was out of work for 18 months. We couldn't afford medication so I wasn't on anything during 2003. I went to a therapist during 2002-2003. In July of 2004 I had a manic episode. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. I got out of the hospital and was on meds for a while. Then in November of 2004 I went to the hospital for a week. I was put on Lithium and Haldol. We had no insurance so I was seeing a psychiatrist out of pocket. I saw Dr. Bell for about six months and then she referred me to a program out of Porter Hospital that was cheap. We lost our house in 2003. Howard worked for RTD and then he worked driving airport shuttles at night. Howard got a job working in appliance repair. We lived in a friend's apartment for a year and half then moved out of there to a cheaper apartment in Glendale. That was September 2005. Howard quit his job at Action Appliance in 2006 and got a job at the Curtis Hotel in January 2007. In February 2007 Howard and I left our church that we'd been attending for 20 years.

In 2002 I applied for disability again but was denied again. I tried working at home but I couldn't do it. It was too hard. I only worked for a week then I had to quit. In 2003 to 2006 I was extremely depressed. After my manic episode I couldn't sleep at night. I still can't sleep at night. I don't remember much of 2006 through 2008. I don't recall how I spent my days. In 2005 I remember sleeping at night. In 2006 through 2008 I think I slept during the day mostly if at all. This past year I have been sleeping during the early morning hours or in the afternoon. I only sleep for 2 to 4 hours a day but I don't feel sleep deprived. I've been on lithium and Haldol since 2005. In 2006 I applied for disability again and got denied again. In 2008 I tried looking for work but couldn't find anything. In 2008 my mood improved and I tried to write.

The past nine years have been a struggle to stay out of the hospital and alive. Howard has not dealt very well with the stress of been the sole bread winner. It's hard living on one income because we can't keep a savings and we don't have a car. I'm am worried about Howard losing his job in a bad economy. If he died I would end up on the street. We can't afford to maintain a life-insurance policy. My weird sleeping habits prohibits me from finding work. I could probably work part-time but full time work would be impossible. I have tried to change my sleeping habits so that I could work full time but it's impossible. Sleep aids don't work on me. I can't afford to see the proper doctors to figure out what's wrong with me. I could sleep fine before my manic episode. It seems that my brain has been re-wired or something.

I have spent half of the last nine years depressed and barely functional. I feel extremely guilty because I haven't been able to work. I feel better lately and I could probably work a part time job. I need to do something to help our financial situation. I feel helpless sometimes because my sleep habits are crazy. I don't know how I could handle it if I tried to work a job even part-time. I wish I could write professionaly but I don't know if I have enough talent. I also feel as if I am being forced to write for a living. I think that's why I put it off so much. I feel like I have to come up with an Oscar winning screenplay or a bestselling book or something.

I just need to put the last nine years into some kind of perspective. I feel that I have spent it dealing with and recovering from my illness. I need to get rid of the guilt I feel for not being able to finish school or work a full time job. It's really hard to feel good about myself when I haven't been very productive. I have to stop punishing myself for having a disability that keeps me from doing the things that I want to do.