Day 44: May 30, 2018
I am moving my neck so much better! I took a video to show my progress. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it IS! I’m pretty excited!
Today has been good. Busy, but good! I am feeling somewhat normal again. If you didn’t know what I just went through, the slow movements, and moving like a turtle getting into my car wouldn’t seem weird at a glance. But, for those who do know what I’ve been through, those things are improvements! I was talking to a client today and 2 guys from one of my trade partners and they were asking me about my surgery, and I turned my neck to the right! I wasn’t able to do that prior to surgery, SO it was pretty exciting. So, then I turned to the left and then looked up and down. I also got to show pictures of the metal in my neck. I’m such a nerd. Could you imagine if I freaked out about stuff like that? It would be hard to be me, I guess! OR, if I was jittery or grossed out by about medical stuff, then maybe this would help change my mind. Maybe you’re jittery, queasy and uncomfortable around medical procedures, incisions, scars, deformities, etc. And, now, you’ve had a major surgery and it’s freaking you out. You can use this as an opportunity to allow yourself to just….. BREATHE. That reminds me of classic country song by Faith Hill. It’s called…. Just Breathe. Of course, the song is about Tim McGraw. It’s a really beautiful song about love and vulnerability. That brings me to Just Breathe by Pearl Jam. I mean, he’s also singing about love. I’m off track, but one of the things I find that helps me when I’m scattered is just letting my thoughts free fall. I usually have something to write with, so I can put it all down, but if you’re not into writing, you can certainly record it. I love writing. It has been one of the most helpful things I’ve known in my life. The other is singing. I consider both of those such private activities, yet, I am able to share both with the world.
ANYHOO – my mind is a little scattered tonight. It’s been a good day! I’ve enjoyed a nice evening with Jamie, and Bella. My sis, Kathey, and I got to talk about a few times. And, I got to talk with my daughter, Judy and my sister, Jordan. But, that helps me get back on track.
This rest of this post is intense. It has some uncomfortable topics. Just FYI. Life is messy.
I have a lot of scars on my body. Some from surgeries, some from childhood, and some from other events. I also have tattoos. I have a tattoo on my back scar. I had all my other tattoos before that one. The scar was still pretty noticeable in 2004 or 2005, and my lower back surgery was in 1999. So, I decided to cover it with a tattoo. It HURT LIKE DOO DOO, Ya’ll. SO, my point is, I won’t be getting a tattoo to cover the back of my neck. Although, I’d love to somehow get a tattoo there that’s ivy growing on my neck and onto my shoulders? I’ll have to think about it. I just wish there was a way for the needles to be….. NOT NEEDLES. I can see all kinds of beautiful visions in my mind, but I digress again.
My scars are part of me. I’ve been pretty good at handling what it means to have scars. After my first neck surgery, I think I worried a little about the neck scar, but once I had the surgery, it looked great. My doctor did an excellent job! I wasn’t concerned at all this time. But, I’ve noticed that some people around me are really bothered by my incisions and various scars. I don’t think they mean to be, but I’ll feel the stare and look to see an unsure face or you know, “oh no, she sees me staring, and I can’t stop looking!”. We’ve all been there, right? My scars ARE NOTHING compared to people who have really gone through something truly traumatic. My tactic is to just talk about my incisions right away, so they don’t have to be uncomfortable. It seems to help. It allows whoever it is to ask me questions, and we then have a conversation and it brings the anxiety down. The incision on the front is nothing, but the incision on the back can seem scary. Not everyone is thinking something terrible. Sometimes, they just aren’t sure how to feel, and then they feel guilty for being queasy.
There are only 2 scars on my body that I struggle with – not because of the scars – but because of the story. I’m always “deer in the headlights” when someone asks because I lie every single time. If I can get away with it, I just act like I didn’t hear them ask. I have been that ashamed of it. But, I know you’re out there, and you’re reading this, and maybe you’re saying – man, someone else is holding on to shame. This particular event happened in 2006-2007. It’s 2018, and I’m still holding on to it. I’m letting go tonight, and forgiving.
Like I’ve said, Bipolar is tough, and the scars (2 parallel to each other) on my left arm near my wrist, is just a symptom. I had black outs. I would get so irate I would black out, and wake up with injuries that I didn’t remember inflicting on myself. These 2 scars are one of those times. I was in a verbal fight with someone in my Kitchen at the time. I lived in a 3-story unit, and I hadn’t been separated long from my 2nd husband. I was in the throws of a triggered Bipolar event/seizure, and I still hadn’t sought help. Jacob was in the 7th grade, which put Judy in 3rd grade. It was SUCH a tumultuous time. During the fight, which yelling and screaming was involved, I blacked out, but before I did, I remember just wanting the yelling to stop, and the pain in my heart to stop, and then I came back to reality with a butcher knife in my hand as I’m cutting the 2nd cut. I cut to the bone in the first cut, but it wasn’t as deep with the 2nd cut because I “woke” up. If you’ve been there, then you understand. If you haven’t, but feel you’re falling, there is help. If you simply don’t understand, this means you aren’t Bipolar. But, maybe you know someone who is or you’re married or with someone who is, or you have family members who suffer. If you do, I hope this helps you understand better. Being Bipolar is tough. I don’t let it define me, and I don’t let it be an excuse for bad behavior. Regardless of what goes on, I’m responsible for my actions and words. I have uploaded the photo here. I had no idea what to do. I was bleeding everywhere. I remember Jacob coming downstairs because he had heard us yelling. I have no memory of what he said, but, the fact that he was there at that moment still devastates me to this day. The person who was with me took me to Walgreens and we got steri strips and he put my skin back together on both cuts. SO MUCH BLOOD, and so much GUILT AND SHAME. It’s still numb at those scars, and you can feel that there isn’t any meat where I cut so deep. I didn’t want to go to the ER because I was afraid they’d hold me in the psych ward because I inflicted the cuts on myself. I was absolutely mortified and terrified. But, the stigma for Bipolar and any mental illness was so monumental at the time that I just KNEW no one would help me. I’d just be judged. I couldn’t handle the thought of someone judging me, when I didn’t even understand what was happening. This was a whole new level of mental hardship for me. I hadn’t even connected that it was my Bipolar. I wasn’t even present enough to figure it out. You know what I mean. It’s the hardest thing of all time to try and figure out what’s happening, handle parenting, working full-time as Client Services for a builder, manage relationships, etc.
I’m SO SORRY if you’re going through something like this right now. It is HARD, but, you’re not alone. If I can survive 2006-2007, which were the worst years of my life, then YOU can make it. I PROMISE. You feel alone, BUT YOU’RE NOT. I was so lost. I didn’t even know what anything meant. I had a stressful job. I managed 12 employees, and 2 departments, and somehow, I managed to pull it off, until I DIDN’T. But, that’s for another day. I KNOW YOU FEEL like everything is lost, and that it couldn’t possibly get better. I know you’re saying – Jenny, you don’t know what I’m going through. But, I do. There’s so much more for me to say. Only A FEW people know the story behind my scars on my arm. But, it’s the thing I needed to let go, and I know you feel the same way about something you’ve been holding on to. It’s ok. It’s ok to be uncertain or imbalanced. It’s part of being human on every level. No one is balanced all the time. What a weight we put on our shoulders. Just be you.
See a website for Bipolar below. There are MANY, but I like this one.
I feel as if we’re moving backwards on understanding and reaching out to those with mental hardships/diseases/illness. It’s been a common theme for those who suffer. I’ve watched so many documentaries on how poorly the mentally ill have been treated throughout history. It’s atrocious. If I had been alive during the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s (an adult), I’d be living my life in a mental institution. One big difference between now and then is that we don’t institutionalize as much, but now we just IGNORE that it exists. It’s incredibly sad. My paternal grandmother was institutionalized until her death, and based on what I know of her, it sounds like Bipolar. She had a hard life, and her sadness and depression are completely understandable. My maternal great aunt was an alcoholic, which is considered a mental disease. It’s not a contest. I bring this up because I think mental illness touches ALL families on ALL sides. See the article below. I do believe we are predisposed to mental illness. It’s not a prison sentence. It just means you have to be aware of yourself. You’ll get there.
Here’s the MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU NEED TO KNOW – it’s not your fault that you were born with Bipolar, or any other correctly diagnosed mental illness/disease/disorder. I wish there was a less negative term for it.
Maybe it makes you feel better to know you’re like celebrities who have mental illnesses. It doesn’t make me feel better, but it does mean that celebrities are human, too!
I need stop and say THANK YOU to someone who no longer talks to me. Without her, I would NOT have gotten through 2006-2007. It’s simple. I’m not going to say her name because we’re not friends anymore, but if she ever reads this, she will know. She is still close to my daughter, Judy, and I’m so glad. I still miss her, and I still love her. She was my family.
Isn’t it time to start listening? Shatter the Stigma. Mend the Mind.
It’s 2018. Social media should be making things better because there is so much positive information out there. But, the opposite has happened. We seem to hate more, and be less understanding. We’re all just here trying to survive and live our lives. There are millions of us in this world. We can make a difference one person at a time.
I write these posts, and tonight, my story of my scars and I realize how incredibly lucky I am. I hope this helped someone tonight, tomorrow or the days to follow. I can finally let go of some heartache.
If you’re feeling uncertain about staying on the earth, please reconsider. i know it seems like the ONLY answer, but, the answer is sitting in the living room, kitchen, whatever other room someone is sitting that loves you. It’s your children, or parent, or significant other, your best friend – they love you, and they want you here. It’s really that simple to them, even though it seems complicated to you. Leaving only helps….. NO ONE. If you’re not here, how can you see how beautiful life can be? I know you don’t see the aftermath of your departure. But, we do. The rest of us that are left behind love you like crazy and are mad as hell. There is another alternative. LOVE. See below for hotlines, and such.
Be the One to Save a Life: