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Life grief


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I am sorry for the losses of those members who have made the other posts in this area. I certainly have experienced my own losses, most recently was my dear uncle's passing this summer.

But what is on my mind today is grief about issues in my life. In general my grief is for all the lost moments in my life when my bipolarism and other issues overrode what could have been special times. Especially this pertains to my children. There has been so much of their lives that I have not been "available" and I have sorrow, sometimes deep sorrow, about this.

More specifically today I am beginning the grieving process over my new diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I think in my core I knew something was different about me but I never really understood what and why, often attributing it to life issues like growing up in an alcoholic family or my divorce, for example.

I guess they are interrelated in that because of my life experiences, be it events, time spans or my disorder(s), I have had these periods of loss that maybe normal people don't experience on such a profound level. By the way, what is normal???? I am sure many have asked that before me.

But again, during this acute phase of identification for me I am spending time with retrospection and can identify some periods that were glaringly notable for bipolar traits. I have some anger as well as no prior health care providers identified this in me and maybe, just maybe, if it would have been found and treated sooner I might NOT have inflicted so much hurt in my life or turned so many people away or missed out on knowing people that tried to touch my life...

Anyone have any words of wisdom????

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I do understand what you're feeling. I, too, have grief and anger over what I refer to as my "lost life." I also have anger and grief over the parts of my son's childhood that were lost to hospital stays and testing. Sometimes I wonder if its rational to feel this way. I still don't know if its rational, but its real. Very real! I go through periods of mourning- especially when my son is sick again- but I realize pretty quickly that mourning gets me nowhere. Instead, I have to find ways to be available to my children, to care for their daily needs and, when necessary, their medical needs.

It is very hard for me to be happy for other people who are accomplishing all of the things I planned and have not accomplished because of my illness. When a friend moves into their "dream home" I spend days in the dark crying because I have lost my home and live in a shoebox. I have a Facebook page but do not add anybody from my "prior life" because I am too embarassed for them to learn what has become of my life. I had a lot of potential in HS, college and even in law school. I have lost that. I wonder if I may regain it one day but, for now, it is lost. I am too ashamed for others to know that I am not the success I was supposed to be.

And, yes, I totally understand that feeling of being unavailable to my children. I feel like that when I am so depressed I can't get out of bed for days at a time. When I hear them foraging for food. I have learned to keep microwaveable food available at all times so that, if and when I fall again, they can at least eat as they can prepare their own food in the microwave. Its not a great solution but, until I find a way to fight through the darkest moments to get up and cook, it has to work. BUT, when I am better and not so down, I spend ALL of my time showering them with love, affection and attention. I visit them at school, I make them special meals, we have movie nights together snuggled up in the bed. I pray that, in some small way, it makes up for the days I am not available. I also try to give them lots of experiences but, due to my anxiety issues, it is difficult to do sometimes. My kids are well aware of my anxiety and are generally very forgiving in my need to run away from public places or avoid them in some cases. They know my phobias and try to protect me from them. I hate that they have to take on that role, but I appreciate so much that they do.

Are your children aware of your illness? What do they understand about it. I have found that, for us, giving them a basic understanding of what I deal with has helped them tremendously. They no longer get scared because of my reactions. I don't use words like "depression" or "panic attacks" because it is too much for them. But, they know mommy gets "stressed out," or "anxious." They know I get "tired" (depressed) and need time alone. I don't have many words of wisdom, but I would suggest opening some dialogue with your children about your diagnosis and getting their input. How old are your kids? Definitely keep things on their level. I only recently starting using the term "anxiety" because my kids were too young to understand before. They are now 9 and 7 but they are very mature and very bright so they understand a lot.

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Thank you for identifying with me and helping to validate the reality of my situation. I empathize and sympathized about your home. I am 4 payments behind on my mortgage. I am terrible with money and impulsivity is one of my problems related to that. Also I have trust issues and haven't been trusting of my husband to care for the stuff properly either. Mostly that comes from him being disabled x5 years and I was the bread winner and when he was working he wasn't always a participating contributor to the finances...but I am now in full recognition of my irresponsibility with money, we are working on getting back together and when we do I will make it one of my goals to trust him...Sometimes my bills are just behind because I have the $$$ in the bank but it is too overwhelming to sit down and deal with it all - current bills, let alone the past due old debt.

I plan to call the mortgage company Monday and see if I can work something out now that I am on short-term disablity. I at least hope it will be short term.

That is another area i have grief over is the $ I have wasted I could have spent more wisely or invested. i mean it's not like I was ever rich but as my income has grown after I went back and got my RN, much of it has been wittled away.

Grief also that I have not accomplished professionally what I had wanted. >20 yrs ago I wanted to go to med school, I settled for vocational nursing school for various reasons and have loved working in the field - I know that is what i am supposed to do. THen in'96 went back and got my RN in '98. I have had some great jobs but aweful work environments and am very sad they didn't work out. Probably alot of it was me in the mix but also in retrospect I know that a couple of them were very toxic environments. Most recently (last few years ) was to go on and get my MSN and be a nurse practioner. They are very needed in this rural area. but my fears of commitment (to the process and dedication it takes - I get tired just thinking about it) and the $$$$ have kept me from attempting...maybe someday. But right now I have to seriously concentrate on getting well or at least better so than I can become functional enough to work.

Maybe when my husband graduates in the spring, if he can get decent health coverage, I can knock back to part time and that would help take some of the pressure off and perhaps I could start taking some classes.

we will see...one day at a time and right now it is today.

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