Friday, October 31, 2008

Win VS. Victory...

Happy Halloween to All. I received a lot of responses to my last post concerning Bipolar people and their loved ones. I was amazed at the people that live with bipolar people and chose to simply pretend that the disorder did not exist. They felt it was simply an act or that their loved one/friend was just looking for some attention. As they read and saw so many similarities in what I was talking about and their person, they began to think that maybe the issue were real. Sadly, one even spoke of their loved one not being taken serious for too long. They lost the battle with life and left a family wondering what they had missed. I took some time and tried to comfort them as best as I knew how. Sometimes,comfort is a long time coming and a hard fought win.
I sit here today and wonder how many bipolar people have been left sitting in a store as the battled to gather their thoughts and find their way to the front door. Too many to really want to know I am sure. I have a young lady that has been my daughters best friend forever I think. She is as much a daughter to me as my own two are. I would do anything for her that I would for my two. She too is Bipolar and suffers many of the same things that I do. We think the same thoughts and battle the same daily wars. Together, we make it through each battle, sharing our thoughts and feelings. But since we will fight the same issues again, we are not yet victorious. As long as we walk through fires and feel some days that life isn't where we want to be anymore, we fight without triumph. And yes, we Do have those days.
Not every battle that is gotten through is a win. But each is still a victory. That may sound strange but there is a difference in winning an being victorious to me. This is the dictionaries take on the word. {{Being the winner in a contest, struggle, war etc; Of, or expressing a sense of victory or triumph}} It says being a winner of and yet sometimes we can win but not be victorious. This applies whether we are bipolar or not and I understand that but to walk in my world a few moments, perhaps you will understand. There are so many times when I have made it through the day, I have won the right to see tomorrow. But was I victorious? If I know that tomorrow will begin anew, with the same issue I just battled does not leave me feeling victorious.
As I spoke to this person concerning her lost loved one, I thought about this. She said that after she read the blog, she felt that she understood more of what had been signs of the coming tragedy. She said it comforted her in a way to finally see that She was not personally responsible for the loss. But why did she not feel totally released from this issue, she asked? That's when it hit me that we can WIN a battle without being victorious in the War. I explained that she had won a great battle but that she had not yet forgiven herself for feeling as if she had missed something. That would be her victory. She understood.
One more way to look at it is this. When a country or a people go to do battle, they often win but not always are they victorious. The saying "we live to fight another day" is the personification of my life. Sometimes they would beat the enemy back but they knew they would fight again the next day or the next week. A win but not a victory.
Each day that I wake to see another day is a win. Each night I lay down my head to sleep is a win. The day that I do not want to leave, when the time comes, IF that time ever does come for me, that I do not wake and need to write down all the reasons I can think of to stay another day, then I will call it a Victory...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Escape... do we really ever do that!?

Escape... A word with so many meanings. To get away seen or unseen is just one. Sometimes we seek to escape from the world around us. As I sit here and ponder the latest Low I "escaped" from, I wonder how far it is that I have escaped. I think about those around me and whether they too have sought to escape. Not from their surrounding world but from me. The issues I deal with I know they too must deal with. The Low lasted for a very long time this round. It took me places I really do Not like going.
And then I think about why it is that I write these things in my blog. I write them for two reasons. One reason is that the writing is therapy for my heart and mind. It allows me to flush some of the things that awaken me in the night from my mind. It creates for me an avenue to release some guilt or pain or heartache that plagues my soul. To perhaps start fresh... a new day, and to escape from yesterdays failures or hurts that I may have caused someone that loves me.
I also write here to help others maybe understand the world of a Bipolar. It may be someone that is Bipolar or a loved one that deals with a bipolar person. I hope to open some eyes to the world that we live in everyday by telling about my own personal life. Understanding that Bipolar does not only effect those that are diagnosed but it has very often the same or more issues for the loved ones that give us a "safe" place to hide.
I was terribly disturbed at a recent Law and Order SVU that was on T.V. this week. It opened by portraying one of the detectives daughters as "flipping out." It showed her becoming horribly violent and trashing everything around her. She stole a necklace worth a lot of money and hit and punched her way past her father. I am not here to say that there are sometimes extreme occurrences from being Bipolar. I know that there truly are. I also know that every bipolar person reacts differently in some way. We are all the same and yet very unique in our own way. What truly bothered me about the show was that they never really got around to showing that we also live quite "normally" an are NOT always the violent ones in this world. The sole portrayal of only one side of the disorder is wrong and it leaves those that do NOT know about the disorder thinking that ANYONE that is Bipolar is a "bomb" waiting to explode.
There are so many people that do not understand what it is to be bipolar and their only source of information is what they see on T.V. I hope somehow to give people a better insight to being and living with bipolar, for both the bipolar person and those around them. Even members of my own family that see me each and every day sometimes question what it is and whether it really does exist. I know that it is sometimes frightening to think of a loved one or friend having this or any other mental disorder. For my family, the also have the issue of my tourettes to deal with. Even I feel sorry for them.;)
Have I "escaped" it if I am sitting here right now writing to you about it? Do I really ever "escape" it or do I just step back away from it for a time? I wonder... I think that maybe I really just hide for a while. I don't know that aside of meds, which my mind simply does not allow me to take, there truly may not be an "escape."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Things I know about "Remembering"

Last night my daughter came to me with a question. A question that surprised me as much as made me step back for a minute. It has been 2 years and 9 months since the Love of my life went to be with Our Father God. There are days it seems like forever ago and nights that it seems like only yesterday. This will probably be the same forever I would think. In that time I have battled with loving another for so many reasons. I ran from love as if it were a huge sin against everything I believed in. Did I deserve to love again when I had lost my way with Sheila once? Could I love again the same way as I have loved this precious lady for 26 years? Was I even allowed to have a second love when the first love was more beautiful than any man ever deserved to know... I anchored these thoughts in my mind for the past nearly 3 years.
Answers to these questions? I answered some of them in my own heart.Some were answered by Sheila her self. I am sure here are those that do not believe that those that we love revisit us after they are in heaven. I will not argue that issue here, today. I know in my hart that they do and that Sheila has visited me so many times in the past few years. Sometimes simply for comfort and other times she came to help me find the answers to questions that wracked my mind and infiltrated my dreams in the night. Thoughts that would leave me sometimes asking the very same question that Shannon presented to me. My heart cried all night pondering her words. Trying to answer my questions as best as I could. The deserving love I guess I am still pondering. Loving the same way was and will never happen again. I don't think you ever love the same because the person you are now with is not the same as your first love. Being allowed to love again I guess could be looked at several ways.
But before I get too far ahead, you must be wondering what the question was that Shannon asked me that started all of this today. Crying, she asked me if by choosing to love again, did it mean I was forgetting My Sheila. Would I now have a new life and new family? Would everything change forever? My answer was not hard to find. First off, our lives were forever changed the day that Sheila went to heaven. Nothing would ever be the same and nothing would ever feel like it did when Sheila was alive here. I told her that my decision to love again would never mean that I have nor make me forget her mother. I explained that I simply did not want to be alone for the rest of life on earth. I explained that she and her sister would always be my closest of heart as they are a part of their mother and the woman I have loved I am sure forever. The woman I am with will become an extension of my already beautiful family. I tried with all of my heart to show her that Sheila was never going to be less to me nor ever be replaced in my heart. Her places in my memory were solid and forever and would last until I died.
Being allowed to love again???? I don't know the answer to that question yet. I have cried a million tears today asking the question over and over. I only know that I will remember My Sheila long past when the last stars go out in the sky. I will laugh at the things we did together. I will remember our first walk in the rain. I will relive watching our daughters being born and watching them grow. Never will I forget the feeling inside of me when I saw Sheila walking down the aisle in her wedding dress. Absolutely the most beautiful bride any man was gifted to have been standing at the alter, waiting for her hand to be placed in his. Every moment she and I spent together was and is still a gift to me. My choice to love another will take none of that away.
Is it right for me to love again? To love someone until I leave this earth and join my Love in Heaven? Is it o.k. to give my heart, the part that Sheila does not hold, to another? Is it really better to spend the rest of my life giving pieces of myself to ladies, only to know that I will push them away if I think we are getting to close? Better to have one night stands than to truly love someone? Perhaps if it means less pain for my daughters... I am still working on this in my heart and in my head. Always, Darrel

Monday, October 6, 2008

Where do the years go???

In only a couple of months I will be 50 years "young." I am not worried nor does that number bother me. I feel graced to be alive and take each day as a gift. I look at the pictures that surround me here today. Baby pictures and grown up pictures. My daughters both grown and living their lives. Sheila in heaven watching us each day. No matter what happened in life, good, bad or indifferent, life went on. Sometimes it continued when I decided to not.
I listen to Karen Carpenter singing to me. She sings of "yesterday once more." The oldies but the goodies. I wonder when it was that the songs I listened to as I grew up became "oldies." Forevers shot to hell by the loss of someone beautiful and real.Trying so desperately to find a new place in the world. The world has kept turning and the Sun came up and went down whether I watched it or not. How many beautiful sunrises and sunsets escaped my eyes and memories? Stolen because I allowed the to be.
Have you ever suddenly realized that the world is still turning but you seem to be in a suspended animation of sorts? You want s badly to reach out and grab hold of the spinning world. You don't or haven't for so long you aren't sure you can hold on. It is a high price to pay when you realize what you have passed up for way too long.The years have not been bad to me ever. I don't feel 50 and certainly {at the dismay of some of my family}I do not act it. I love living{mostly} and to laugh and smile and be the reason that others around me Smile.
And Love... a beautiful thing that I experienced in the most precious way for so many years. Now, discovering that Love DOES still exist in my world. It is not unattainable nor un-allowed.It is there for the taking if I would reach out and embrace it. Something beautiful and as forever as my life allows it to be.A feeling that is like no other in this world. As beautiful as a sunrise and as gentle as a sunset.No reason to miss another such beauty when it i as simple as sitting and watching it happen.
The years... I don't know for sure where they all went to. Some to growing up and learning everything the world offered to me for the learning. Some years given to serving my country, falling in love with my sweetheart for 24 years. Jobs and hospitals and 2 daughters to raise filled in many years for me. None of those escaped me and I do embrace the memory of each moment. Walks around lakes and in the forest, a forest filled with colors now of the season. Orange an lime green colors mix on a single leaf. Red wanting to be orange yet holding on to it's own color for as long as it can. Leaves falling to the ground like tiny Magic Carpets, falling slowly, the wind catching them for a moment and whisping them upward for a moment before allowing them to fall to the ground. A breeze catching the leaves already fallen, scooping them off the ground in a tiny tornado and tossing them through the air.
Well spent years of love and smiles and happiness. Songs that although they are called oldies, they are fresh and new in my soul. They ring in my ear and I smile. They don't escape my eyes nor will tonight's sunset. Today is a Good day in the diary of a bipolar who lets far too many beautiful things slip past him. Where did the years go????? They have been stored in my mind, to be retrieved when I need a warm feeling or a good cry to cleanse my heart. Do not let them get away from you.Don't let the world turn without you holding on and enjoying the ride. There is beauty to be found if you just take a moment to see and absorb it. Those years can keep rolling along. I am blessed to be here to see them pass...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The measure of a Man...

Today was again one of THOSE days for me. There seems to be a lot of those lately. I sat and thought about the phrase "A good Man." I ran through my brain the "good" men I could think of in just a minute or two. Jesus of course came to mind first. The true personification of a good man. I thought of my father. A man that taught me right from wrong. Taught me how to fight and all the reasons a man shouldn't. He taught me about God and the spiritual side of God's word, things that would one day help to keep me here on this earth when I really didn't want to be. His love and discipline took me through many fires.
What made them "good men" in my eyes? They gave so much of them selves. They love unconditionally and never asked for anything back except to be loved and treated with respect. Their hearts true and honest. Their actions a lesson in being a good person. To be remembered by their loved ones and friends, every life they touch in this world. He has a strength that simply pours out of him. You can feel it and know it is there.My father still shows these qualities and has my love and respect.
And then I looked into that imaginary mirror that reflects our inner self back at us. Not a wanna be or how we wish we were. The true Us. I thought about what might make me a good man. I thought about the times my daughters or family have seen me in my bipolar state. I remembered them seeing me crying more times than perhaps a daughter should see their father crying. Where is the strength in that? I wonder. What do they see when they look at me? Do they see a man that they can come too and know he will be there. Do they look at me and see the strength that I have down inside. Or do they see what the world sees? A man with a disorder that prevents him from doing things that a "normal" as they call it, man would be able to do. To go in to a store without worrying if he was going to freak. To walk through a crowd, proudly holding his head I just because he is who he is.
Tears flow as I write this, wanting to be someone that will be remembered for the gift of smiles and love and warmth I have tried to give without expectations of anything in return except to be remembered. Wanting so badly to be remembered as a "good man." A man that stood up when he needed to and was a strength to all around him so they knew they could lean on him if they needed to. To trust him with their secrets and their sorrows.
Does this disorder rob me of being seen as the man i truly am inside? Does it mask the true man that loves with all that he is and gives the very best of himself so that others can know smiles or happiness? To be willing to be without or do without so that others can smiles. Willing to know the sadness of anyone he meets just so that another can know happiness. I really wonder what those that are around me see? Someone too weak to fight some of the battles that have come against me from time to time. Or do they see the man that stood by his wife through some very hard times? The man that loves them soooooooo much he sometimes can not contain it. A man that cries because he isn't afraid to show his warm tender side.
Do I measure up to being a good man? I wonder... I hope that I do.

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