Pink & Blue Mummyland

Pink and blue parenting through pink and blue moods….

Scared of the Sun

This post is related to my previous post Fear of the Fog. I realise that the titles may now come across as slightly cheesy, but what can I say – I’m an alliteration junkie (please comment below with other words for ‘junkie’ that start with ‘a’…)

This past weekend I have had the joy of going away on our church’s women’s weekend. We had 70 women all in one place, being challenged by some amazing talks and taking part in some inspiring worship.

I also managed to have some relaxed and elongated time with my best friends, Beauty ICE and Lawyer ICE. Our normal prayer times are odd hours, grabbed from between jobs and school runs, so it was lovely to have some proper conversations, intense sharing, and laid back company with colouring books, knitting, and large bars of Galaxy chocolate.

On the Saturday, Beauty ICE and I went for a walk around the grounds of the conference centre, chatting and reminiscing. During our last women’s weekend away I was in the middle of a full blown nervous breakdown as I swung quickly and wildly from hypomania to depression. Beauty ICE (who from now on I’m just going to refer to as Natalya because it’s easy and there’s now no reason not to) was the person who bore the brunt of supporting me at that point, and I can categorically state that I was not fun to be with. My brain had suddenly swung into a major low before getting over the high – the result was all the negative self talk that comes with depression, but at four times the speed. It was hideous.

So this time, I had huge reason to be thankful for my stable state of mind. We walked, thanked God for the change, and had fun whilst we walked. We laughed and we yelled and we let our hair down with gay abandon, and arrived for dinner rosy cheeked and giggly, ready to eat, drink (juice) and be merry. For the first time in a long time I felt more than ok – I felt good.

But bipolar is never far away. I can never forget that it’s there, and it’s still not been long enough for me to relax and let my guard down. By the time we got to the evening meeting I was in panic mode. What if this was hypomania? Playing on swings, running through puddles and throwing snowballs isn’t exactly normal behaviour for me, and I didn’t even notice. The more I thought about it, the more frightened I became. I was on the verge of phoning every medic I knew just to check whether I should be doubling my medication, getting to A&E, checking myself in somewhere. Somewhere along the line, bipolar stole the fun.

Fortunately, sitting between my ICE ladies is the safest place to be. I can stress, I can cry, I can talk about the same things over and over again, and they never get stressed out about “what it might mean”. By the end of the session I was fine, and headed off to the team quiz in my normal, fiercely competitive way.

But it never goes. I like to think that one day I’ll be able to stop that level of overreaction and get to the stage where I can enjoy the good days and sit through the bad days without panic of relapse. But there is a fine line between self-awareness and paranoia, and whilst the former is sensible and necessary for continued health, the latter steals the joy, reminding me that I will never be normal again.

This post doesn’t have quite the happy ending I’d hoped, but it’s real. I’m coming to terms with the idea that this is what life is like now.

scared by the sun

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Let’s talk about health, baby…

I have something to say, and it isn’t easy. It’s about my health, and although I know that being unwell just happens sometimes, I feel so guilty and self-conscious about it. It’s hard for me to say, but I trust you, and I think it would be better for our friendship if you know. But please, keep it to yourself if you can. I’m not sure I’m ready for everyone to know yet.

The thing is, I have high cholesterol. Don’t overreact – I know it’s a bit of a shock, but I’ll explain it all…

My hyperlipidaemia (high blood fats) is a hereditary condition, and requires me to take two different medications to keep it under control: statins to reduce the bad fats, and high dose fish oils to increase the good fats. I will probably have to be on meds for life.

It was discovered quite by accident in a routine set of blood tests. I don’t tell many people about it because I’m worried about being judged. I don’t want people to look at me and only see the high cholesterol and forget about the person I am despite that. I’ve had people telling me that everyone has cholesterol issues sometimes, and I should just think more positively or pull myself together. People have also told me I need to think about what effect my cholesterol is having on my children – won’t they end up damaged?

Funnily enough, it can be especially hard with church friends, because some of them think I should be able to manage my cholesterol without medication, that I should just have more faith and more prayer support – maybe even exorcise my cholesterol. My doctor says that’s not the case, but I still worry about sharing my cholesterol levels and treatment with people I don’t know well. Although I’ve got used to the idea that this is an illness I will probably suffer from for the rest of my life, I worry a lot that other people won’t see it the same way, so I keep it to myself most of the time.

Sounds bonkers, doesn’t it?

Take out the ‘high cholesterol’ and place it with ‘bipolar’.

I wonder how ridiculous it sounds now…..

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