Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It takes a Village!

Me in the middle of my worst manic episode just after having Allison

This is a tough topic for me to talk about. It will be my next book someday. I just wanted to share a few thoughts have how difficult it is to be a mother with bipolar disorder and how high the risk is. It is A HUGE RISK. So not joking there. I wish I could tell you all that it was no big deal and everything was a breeze. But it wasn't. It was just the opposite in every way. Our huge blessing though that Allison was a health easy baby girl and that in itself was just wonderful. As for me, I lost my brain entirely within 4 days of having Allie. I didn't know that my family was alive, sometimes I didn't know that I had a child, I stared at the wall day in and day out for months (sometimes I knew what has happening other times totally checked out). The paranoia was extreme. So bad that I don't want to give you all the details...that would take like 200pages! But what I would like to say in short is that it does take a village to raise a child weather you are a normal mom or a mom with a mental illness. I posted part of my village below. Without them all who knows what could have happened. When you are that ill there is no way you can feed a baby and take care of them properly when you don't even know how to put clothes on yourself. My daughter has been asking for a baby sister lately which is hard. I know I can't have another ~ maybe just maybe adoption but we will wait and see what I can handle. It is hard for me to be around moms with 2 or 3 kiddos. It was something I always wanted. But you know I am so so so blessed to be able to have Allison. I did get my brain to come back slowly but I have paid the price with gaining huge anxiety that I had never had before. I hope to someday get rid of it. No matter what though having Allie is the best decision Matt and I ever made and I would go through the hell all over again if asked. My heart goes out to all the mothers out there that have children and deal with any form of mental illness. Blessings,
Just before I went crazy for 9 long months
Father-in-law Jim helps out

Best Friend ~ Carrie takes a nap with Alliecakes 
My sister Amy came to the house a lot to help 

Donna giving her love and support to baby and us

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Complete Relaxation Is!

Kauai ~ The view from our room

So today as I drove home in the cold dank fog my mind began to wander to a relaxing place.  I immediately went to Hawaii.  You can't be cold and miserable in Hawaii!  So I pictured myself laying in the sand taking in the warmth and cooling off in the perfect water temperature of the salty ocean.  Awesome.  The last time I was in this amazing place was four years ago.  Allison was about one at the time.  The way we got there brings a wild tale in itself.  We didn't just decide to go on a vacation and drop a ton of money to get there!  My mother-in-law a year before was in a plane crash.  Donna is a pilot.  She was not flying her plane the day of her accident.  She was on her way to Monterrey to pick up her plane that was being repaired.  The pilot of the small plane she was a passenger in ran out of gas of all things.  He had old gauges that didn't read right.  They ran out of gas just a few miles short of the airport.  The crashed into a golf coarse and rolled down the fairway.  By the grace of God Donna survived.  She had to be pulled out of the wreckage with the jaws of life.   The crash happened just a couple of weeks before her first grandchild was born.  It was a horrifying thing to happen.  Our family was shocked and relieved all at the same time.  When Matt and I went to the hospital to see her it looked like somebody had taken a baseball bat to her entire body.  She didn't complain but gave thanks to God.  She has amazing faith and courage.  Within the year she was back in her own plane flying patients to hospital appointments.  She does this a lot!  All out of the goodness of her heart to help others less fortunate. A couple of years later she decided we were going to go on a fun trip to enjoy living!  She took my brother and sister-in-law to Europe on the Concordia (the one that just sank in Italy) and then took Matt, Allie, and I off to Kauai.  We had an amazing time.  PURE RELAXATION in every way!  We went to the beach daily, ate fresh fruit, did some hikes, jumped off a waterfall into a lagoon (Donna went off a rope swing...she is much more brave with adventure than me)!  So yes today is COLD but than I think of Hawaii.  There are warmer days ahead.  Life is a journey isn't it.  One has to go through hard days to get to the good ones.  When I have those great days I soak them up!  Have a warm thought for me today. 

Matt swing on yes real vines!
My Happy place!
Donna and Allie enjoying a day on a boat trip.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lake Tahoe ~ What I think Heaven LOOKS Like!

Lake Tahoe ~  Heaven

There is something about Lake Tahoe that is just magical.  As I sit inside watching the rain fall today I couldn't help but think of some place that brings me so much joy.  I am not one for being in a happy place when it is wet and cold.  So when I came across these pictures today I wanted to share a few!  Matt's parents bought a second home there about 6 years ago.  It has been a place where all the family can meet up and enjoy each other over the years and take in the beauty of the Sierra Nevada's.  From snowboarding in Heavenly, sledding, ice-skating in the winter to swimming in the lake, hiking, boating, and having good quality time with the Reese's it has been such a gift Matt's parents have given us all.  This summer we are all having a huge family reunion there.  It will be good to see everyone from all over the place. Fun to catch up with relatives I have not seen in a while.  I am blessed to have Matt's family.  Yes sometimes we have our times with each other but so does everyone!  My goodness if you don't have a disagreement every once in a while there must be something wrong.  I love them all very much and to have their support 100% ~ well you can't ask more than that.  Thank You REESE'S

Me (Pregnant!) Matt, Brother-in-law Todd, Sister-in-law-Laura, Niece Cami

Just love this pic ~  Matt diving in

A hike we went on through the Aspens

My in-laws Donna and Jim and niece Cami

Remember how important your family is today! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Maybe the start of my Next Book?

Dordogne, France

Chapter 1 - Dordogne France
As I sit on my beautiful sweeping porch over looking my small piece of land outside the city I can’t help but think of my life four years ago at this very time as I watch the pollen float through like snow falling on the pine trees.  Then I was 31 years old and six months pregnant.  Mom and I were sitting on our balcony in the Southern Region of France in the town of Dordogne.  Our house was a stone house that had been there for over 400 years with the back of the house the actual cliffs as our backside wall.  It was truly a magical place.  At that time the pollen was also in season there as well.  Mom painted away while I looked with amazement across the incredible valley the swept before us.  Below was the little french town with winding streets, and villagers going to and fro to their jobs.  Then beyond that that great Dordogne river cut through with river boats that had music on them daily.   To my right there was a huge Estate.  It was very old but had an intense beauty about it.  Then off in the distance we could also see an old castle.  It was quite a special place there was no denying that.  
The only tough part of the trip is I started to get sick in my tummy again!  And that I did!  I would vomit just about every where we went.  My mom put up with me though and we did still have a great time.  Besides the vomiting I had that old fear that had started creeping up on me. 

Six Month Pregnant
The view from our rock house of the Chateau in the distance...

Friday, January 20, 2012

What makes me HAPPY!

So really what does make me happy when I really sit down and rack my little brain?  Well yes a fur coat is cool and a fancy car would be awesome...but really does that make anyone REALLY happy.  NO way it is family.  I love my family so much.  I love my husband to pieces even when he drives me crazy and my little daughter well she is the light of my life.  How blessed am I to have these two helping me daily with fighting a mental illness.  It has been a rough week for all of us.  Matt is holding down the fort the best he knows how.  Allie is joking with me like crazy to get a laugh from her mom.  She knows I don't feel good.  Children are smart.  Way smarter then we give them credit.

I thought I would share a few pictures of my happiness today because that is what came to mind.
If you are looking for structure and a routine in my blog ~ I promise you will not find it here!  Yes I will post but what ever comes to mind for the day or the moment.  I hope your day out there in the world has some happy moments ~ look for them will you.  They are there just open HAPPY pics!

Maggie Takes on the Chicken!

Hey everyone I thought I would give you an inside up and close personal view of my life.  This was one of those nights where I am trying to cook a chicken with my brain spinning like 100 miles an hour.  I have no choice but to cook because Matt and Allie are looking at me with those sad puppy begging eyes....Please FEED!  Ok so here you go...ENJOY!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Italy Inspired me Back HOME!

Lake Como                                                                  Venice  

While traveling through Italy just a little over a year ago I can't help how much that trip made me see everything in a different light.  My mother traveled there years ago and the same thing happened to her.  When she got home she put in 600 olive trees, painted oil paintings like mad, and put in a vineyard.  Now I can't obviously do all of that!  But I was able to have my own mini olive orchard ~ 12 trees and put in 60 grapes (Barbera and Mourvedre) and then painted my house a terracotta color!  So to the left is the first little crop of olives I got and below is my new house color!  It is good to see how other people live all over the world.  It gives us new ideas and think outside the box.  If you ever have the chance go to Italy and see for yourself!

Oh yeah did I mention we saw George in Lake Como ~  Right.


What My mom did when I went crazy at 19 ~

La Jolla, Ca
My mom painting in the town of Doma, France

Venice, Italy

A pic of my mom in Lake Como - Thinking of her next painting...

Venice Italy

I wanted to show some of my mom's work because it is so incredible.   She graduated  English and Art but never got into her art seriously until I got sick with Bipolar Disorder.  When everything she knew was falling apart she somehow was able to have an outlet.  She got her old brushes out, bought some new paints, rented a tiny studio and started in.  I know she was scared to death but it gave purpose to her life again and a place she could go so the stress and worry would not consume her.  As I began to get well she was able to spend more time painting.  Over the years she go so good that she went through many studios, got into lots of gallery's, and her work started paying her way for her travel.  I have some amazing pieces she has given me over the years.  Matt's Uncle commented over Christmas...."What is this an art gallery in here!?"  Anyway look at all the good my mother did out of a tough situation that just happened.  She not only paints now but runs an olive oil company, a vineyard, her own meat co., spices, and blackberry jam that is the best!  There is always good that comes out of a life altering event.  You just have to dig down deep and figure out what that may be.  I love my mom....oh did I mention she is a writer throughout my book Runaway Mind.  

Just for Fun!

The fountain I built in my back yard ~ A great place for kiddos

An old window from my house I used for decor in my office with my Italy pics.
I love sand dollars ~  just a hobby of mine

So this am I decided to share a little of what I do when I get creative.  I  had the best time building this fountain.  I still am not yet done but getting there.  I have two pumps feeding into it so I could have my creeks.  My husband also got into the project as well.  There was a lot of laughter and yelling of what and where things should go.  So worth it though.  It will be here for a while and I will always remember how much fun we had in making it!  Plus the kids can never have enough fun.  It is good to do projects.  Good for your mental health!  Trust me on this

My window project was a awesome to do.  My friend Tara helped me get the idea, helped with getting some cool knobs, ordering the pics from Costco, and it was a challenge to hang.  A lot of laughing going on that day but we got it done and Matt wasn't able to use the old window for golf practice.

My silly sand dollars are just a hobby.  When depressed I go find them and it makes me happy.  Hey what ever the heck works right!@

So today I am doing great and off to help my friend who I am so proud of.  She has started her own blog on all her projects and you know what I think it is helping her with all her own pain.

Go have a great day for me!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Friends you can count on...

Tara in Florence Italy
So earlier today I wrote my sad blog...yes because that is how I felt and looked so I thought why not let everyone see how a bad day really looks like and feels like.  My friend Tara who lives 2 miles down the street read my blog and started calling until I called back.  "Maggie come on lets go to lunch.  I got all my work done and it will be good for you to eat and get out."  I knew she was right.  I really didn't want to go but I did.  I took the help that was handed to me.  We went to a little Italian place called Momma Theresa's.  It is such great food and a got bowl of soup and good company did lift my spirits.  It was like somebody giving me a jump start.  Then I got to thinking as I picked up Allie from school.  Wow aren't friends amazing.  You really don't need many.  I have three that I can call, text, cry my eyes out to when ever I want.  They listen, they give hugs, and are there for me happy or sad.  Kelly I met through having Allie cakes in a play group when Allie was two.  Kelly has been a huge support over the years and our daughters are best friends still.  I have known her since I was 6, She is in my book and a writer in it as well if you have read your copy yet of Runaway Mind!  She has given me grace when you would think there was none left to give.  Friends are incredible.  Always keep those close ones at arms reach.  They are a lifeline.  So thanks to Tara, Kelly, and Carrie today.  I love you gals.

                                                            Me, Allie, and Carrie below
Kelly and Hailey 

Stress-Sickness-Sadness ~The Perfect Storm

WOW.... this is how awful I feel.  Bad picture I know this.  Kind of embarrassing that I am sharing this pic!  But it is the truth and I am one not to hide how I feel very well.  I could choose not to blog this week until I get better and then like magic I am looking all great, friendly, and feel fantastic.  But really, that is not the case.  I got the flu this past weekend while visiting family.  We went up to a doctor to fix a problem we had...which we are relieved in solving.  It was so stressful though my immune system crashed and then the sickness took over my body with a vengeance.  I was so grateful to get on antibiotics so quickly.  My body is now getting better but the aftermath of this has left with me with feeling like absolute CRAP.  What I mean is sadness beyond the norm where I just cry everywhere I go.  Sunglasses work for only so long then my tear drops just mess up the lenses.  You see the balance was tipped by everything going on.  When this happens either the irritation sets in or the depression finds it way into my head or like today BOTH.  It was so hard to get Allie to school.  It was my volunteer day which now seemed extra tough.  I used funny teaching methods the best I could to survive and the children were good to me.  Getting the gas was a daunting task which should be easy and the post office was like tackling the impossible.  When I got home more tears and sadness sank in.  My usual methods for fighting this are a bit tougher today since I am still physically sick too.  I don't have the energy to walk today, paint, do a project, or go out.  What I can do is rest - WOW HARD.  AND I can pray...that is easy (Thank Heavens God is available 24 seven.)  Love and Hugs to anyone having a rough day out there like me!  We need to stick together through our yucky days.  Maggie

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Psychiatrist Speech~ The Fear of Finding on ~ Fighting any situation

My Speech went great last night!  I was not quite sure how I was going to pull this one off.  Then I remembered the key to speaking and giving out information that people always love is to be myself and to speak from my heart.  My entire audience was a room full of Psychiatrist.  I threw out some funny stuff to add a little magic to the talk.  I then started to talk about the differences of a terrible mental hospital compared to a superb mental hospital.  I touched on how bedside manner is huge coming from a doctor.  Their tone of voice can  provide trust and want to make a manic person calm.  Their sincerity and interest  in your life make you want to get better. I feel that the patient will try harder in getting well when they see how much their doctor cares for one's well being.  Unfortunately I have lost my recent doctor of 8 years recently.  She is no longer in practice.  I am now shopping for a Psychiatrist myself.  It is a daunting task ahead of me.  I have to put my feelers back out there and learn to trust somebody with my brain and that I must say scares the living crap out of me.  Will they care like I want them to?  Will they fight for my medication problems when they arise?  Will they stick with me when I am in a deep dark hole and figure out how to fix me back to the land of the living?  I talked with a new friend of mine who has a son with Autism.  She told me some very good advice today.  "Maggie go with your gut!"  I think I will do just that.  Off to tackle a crisis that has happened in my family. (Not Bipolar Stuff) Headed up to Northern California to a counselor that I had when I was 19.  I will go to great distances to seek out good help.  Hoping we get the answers we need to help move on.  When something in your life just happens don't ever ignore and bury it.  Take the problem HEAD ON and tackle it with all your might...FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT....NEVER GIVE UP... and do the best you can.  Mags