Category Archives: Divorce

Depression & Bipolar Disorder

It’s May, Mental Health Awareness Month. I thought I’d blog today because I suffer from a mental disorder and want to quickly share my trip from “normal” to needing help and back to normalcy. If you have a mental problem, you can improve your life, too.

I was 44 and experienced a break down when my oldest child left home. I had always been “Mama,” and my heart was broken. I cried so hard that I was overwhelmed and a change overcame me.

Mania was what took over. Of course, I had not idea I was in a manic state. It felt like a very good mood. I was high on life. Even when I saw that my 25 year marriage was not going to be salvaged, I was in a good mood. The mania lasted about 7 months. I lost 40 pounds in two months, was promiscuous, dabbled in weed, drank too much, spent too much, and took two pricey vacations. I also couldn’t keep a job for more than six months.

After the six months in the best moods I’d ever experienced, the tides turned.

I immediately went into a deep depression. I didn’t cook, clean, go out of my house, or do anything I used to find enjoyable. I even dropped out of college when the depression began. I just stopped going. I wanted to die every day. I prayed that God would take me in my sleep. Antidepressants were my doctor’s answer. They would lift me a little – only to quickly let me return to soul-sucking depression within a couple of weeks.

My life was in shambles for seven years! I saw therapists and counselors. I changed medical doctors several times. I sought help anywhere I could, only to find no relief.

I researched depression online all the time. I’d check out suicide rates for women my age and know I only had a short time left on earth. There were no answers for me.

Once, I texted my family that I loved them and thanked them for the help they had tried to give. Then I took off in my car to kill myself – somehow. I didn’t want to injure anyone else though. There were no answers in this endeavor. Because of a flicker of hope in me, I drove to my GYN. She was an understanding, kind, and smart woman. I got to see her right away. The receptionist evidently saw the immediate attention I needed. She sent me (and my grown son who had made it to me by then) to a local mental health hospital where they asked about sixty questions.

By the time I finished answering the questions, I was coming down from the immediacy of the suicidal emotion. I realized I wasn’t a threat to myself anymore, and the hospital let me go. The black dog depression still loomed over me, though.

Soon after, I changed physicians once again. I couldn’t give up. This time, I found the right one. She and I figured out that the mania I experienced was part of the depression and that it was Bipolar, type 2. We added a certain type of mood stabilizer (generic Abilify) to my antidepressant.

Within a week, I was elevated to a mostly normal mood each day. I could sleep again and wasn’t staying up for days in a row. We had settled my questions. I knew what was wrong and could treat the symptoms. Unfortunately, the disorder doesn’t just go away. I didn’t care. I found help and was elated!

Now, six years later and still on the same meds (they were raised in mg a bit over time) and doing very well. My kids say I’m “Mama” again. It feels good to wake up and not dread having to merely survive through another day.

So, my dears, mental health can be yours if you don’t give up on yourself. Whether you have bipolar, severe depression, or anything else, hang in there. Keep seeking help. It is out there. I am proof.

Blessings to you!

Lea

My Bipolar Life

I’ve had Bipolar Disorder since 2007. It came on like a tornado and continued twisting my life into oblivion for seven years!

It began with months of severe mania. I spent thousands of dollars on needless items, was sexually promiscuous, smoked marijuana regularly, flunked out of college, ended my 25 year marriage, and much more.

It was a time like I had never experienced. I learned what euphoria meant.

After the mania phased out, severe depression set in. I visited my doctor and was prescribed antidepressants. They worked about 20% for me but I got worse as the months and years passed.

Suicide thoughts became a daily, almost hourly, companion. It was an awful way to live. I switched antidepressants when I felt the current one wasn’t working but I hadn’t found the right doctor to help me figure out what exactly I had. I had been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and that wasn’t what I suffered from.

In a short bout of mania once, I didn’t sleep at all for three days! Yes, mania can creep into the depressive times and wreak more havoc.

After seven years of miserable living and being barely able to survive because I couldn’t hold down a job, I found the doctor who would give me my life back. She put together my symptoms and said, “Bipolar.” I added a certain mood stabilizer to my antidepressant and got immediate results.

I was back!

I not only functioned but I thrived. I remarried a wonderfully kind man, got back in school and finished my degree, and was a good mother and daughter again.

I tell you this story in hopes that if someone out there is suffering from mental illness, he or she will never stop seeking medical help. Even if you have a doctor you like, this physician may not be “the one” to solve your issues. Also, if you have a loved one who just “isn’t right,” you might be able to help.

Today, I work online as a counselor/advisor and make good money. I function well and have no more depression or mania. It’s been this way for 6 years now.

Blessings to all of you, and take care!

Lea

Step-Families – How to Deal . . .

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I’m hoping this quote is true in my case of dealing with my step-family.

Who is this Jean De La Breyere who wrote the quote anyway? It seems he was a 1600s French philosopher and moralist who was noted for his satire. So, does that make this quote some tongue-in-cheek advice? Nah, I know better. I’ve lived through difficulties that did cause amazing things to manifest.

Anyone have advice on tactfully dealing with an adult step-child who can’t get her life together? She always needs financial help, won’t work outside the home, and has divorced twice in a decade? I love this young woman. She is generous, loving, and has a wonderful sense of humor. She would give you the shirt off of her back, wake at 3 a.m. to help a friend in need, or hold your hand at a scary doctor visit. So, I’m completely confused as to what my role is in this situation.

I’ve decided to follow my mom’s and dad’s advice and step back, hush, and let my wise husband deal with his daughter during this time of her second divorce from a man who is abusive emotionally (and could be physically, if he’s been drinking). I won’t resent my husband or his decisions because that is his child. I have two grown kids of my own. How would I feel if one of them got himself or herself into that type of trouble?

Yeah, I know.

Step-parenting is hard and full of gray areas. When in doubt, I’m going to trust my intelligent and loving husband’s choices because he is smart enough to know how much is too much, I trust.

I have many readers of this blog; might you share your ways of dealing with blended families? I’d love to hear them. Comments must be approved before appearing on this post, so if you tell me you’d rather keep yours private, will do!

Thanks, and best of luck in all of our blended families. Love you guys!

rosie

New Relationship Advice

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Ever feel like you are living in a life that you didn’t plan?

Ever wonder how a spouse could hide negative traits so well for so long?

Ever wonder if you did the same type of hiding?

Women often are caught in a nasty web. They need personal fulfillment, want children, a career, and a doting husband. Guess what? Having it ALL is just not possible. That would mean perfection . . . which doesn’t exist.

Instead, we flail around – especially in our love relationships.  We hope for best, and then stick a toe in the water to test the chill factor. If the water’s warm, we go for it. If it’s tepid, we wait to see whether to step away or wade in.

If you got the warm water, and then jumped in face first, you might be regretting it before even a year’s anniversary arrives.

Please, ladies and young ladies, get to know Mr. Right before moving your pets in with him . . . before leaving your toothbrush next to his, and for god’s sake, live together long enough to realize his shortcomings!!! If I had it to do over (raising my kids), I’d not teach my kids to wait to have sex or to live with someone they loved before marriage. I would encourage it! Marriage is a huge step, and it’s expensive to reverse! So, do more than get your toe wet. Let your feet dangle in that water for the day while you chomp an apple and consider your future. There really is no rush – and if there is, get your life straight first before introducing a partner into it.

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(Welcome new subscribers! I see I’ve added about ten over the past week. Thank you for your interest. I’ll soon have a video blog on a YouTube station. I’ll print here when and where it will be).

 

Rules For Happiness . . .

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I have had an unparalleled 2015. There have been so many changes that I sometimes feel I’ve been in a dream state.

Changes I’ve experienced this past year are below. After those, are my experiences on how I gained some “real” happiness in life.

2015, January began with my being unemployed for the second month. I’d been a mortician for a year but, because of stress-related depression, had to quit the job I’d trained for extensively.

February brought the realization that I HAD to get out of a mentally abusive romantic relationship. I had to finally completely break off with this man and ended up having to get an Order of Protection from him -issued by the county court so the ex-boyfriend couldn’t get within 100 yards of me. After 4 slashed tires and numerous times I saw him stalking me, multiple texts over a short period of time, and parking in front of my house to intimidate me, I had to protect myself. We were officially over but my mind still held paranoia, fear, and anxiety over his possible presence. Changing the locks on the house just didn’t erase those feelings.                                                                                                                                  March began an unexpected chain of events that would forever change my life. A week before I celebrated my 51st birthday, I met David. It was intended as nothing but an innocuous dinner date to get me out of the house one Sunday evening. That meeting turned into a movie afterward and another date the next day. I had just broken up with a scary stalker. I was NOT looking for another serious relationship.

Over the next few months – April, May – David and I were always together. We couldn’t bear to be apart. Our personalities, goals, and morals were identical. He was eight years older than I and full of humor, sincerity, generosity, and affection. I had hit the jackpot this time. Never had I known this type of relationship. We had much in common and were quite attracted to each other. We shared respect and a thankfulness to finally find someone who would be honest, faithful, and loving (among other traits). We had discussions of possible marriage in our future – which was unbelievable since we had each told the other on our first date that we’d never wish to re-marry.  Never say never. God will show you otherwise.

June was a month of seriously tossing around the idea of marriage. We had spent every day and evening together since our second date. The mutual love and dedication we felt was alien to us. We quickly developed a strong and deep bond. We were in a tornado of new feelings, changes, and complete joy. Every day, I woke to see that rugged face of the unique man who had captured my every sense.

July gave us promises and me an engagement ring. Life was among fluffy clouds, sun shining on our faces, and constant smiles.

August was a month of planning, decision-making on honeymoon options, and finding a dress for the wedding day.

September was the month of joining lives – physically and legally. I married David after knowing him a mere six months. I would never suggest such a step to a friend after knowing someone less than a year but this was an entirely different situation. All of our friends and family saw the rare bond David and I shared. We were finally happy. Really happy. October = our first Halloween together. November = our first Thanksgiving together. December = our first Christmas together

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Now, it is January of a new year. David and I have been inseparable for over nine months and are still just as in love, just as entertained by each other, and just as sure we made the only decision that made sense . . . to join our lives and share adventures that lie ahead – together.  We’ve not once considered being with any other partner. We’ve found our “other half.”

To be happy . . .  ~ Free your heart from hatred, guilt, or resentment. ~Free your mind from worries and unnecessary stress. ~Live Simply. ~ Give more. ~ Expect less

I had to let go of deep guilt I carried over breaking up my previous (and only) marriage. I finally let my long-carried stress go. I think time passing and not encountering the ex-stalker, plus feeling secure and loved by David, allowed me to finally wake up one morning, have coffee, eggs, and go right back to bed. I was exhausted physically and mentally. This lasted almost a week. I couldn’t stay vertical for long before I needed to nap or just lie down. It was my relaxation after 7 years of built up stresses over money, relationships, unsure future, fighting Major Depressive Disorder with med after med that didn’t work, and gaining sixty pounds from stress eating. The following months brought me to enjoy simplifying my life. I donated much to local charities, and I sent the larger items to auction. I love not being surrounded by nick knacks that collect dust and grab my attention.                                                                                                                             I had often volunteered to deliver meals to hungry senior citizens and to teach adults how to read and write English. David, being retired, dedicated his time volunteering to helping veterans through his local American Legion. When you give, you don’t have time to think about “self.” That is a good feeling.                                                                                                                      Finally, when I learned to expect less from surroundings, pets, and people, I began feeling satisfied with this imperfect life. If we all do the best we can with what we have to offer, that is enough.

May your 2016 be full of happiness . . .

 

 

 

 

Proposed to – While I’m Married?

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When people say that life is unpredictable, they’re correct. When they say it’s ironic, they’re also right. I’m living proof that the strangest things can and do happen at the oddest times.

After my divorce (from a very long marriage), I was single for several years before meeting Thomas. We “met” on a singles site and spoke on the phone. He was a newspaper editor who looked adorably like an old hippie. I loved his sense of humor, too. So, we decided to meet for dinner. As soon as I saw him, my knees went weak. I’d never been so attracted to a man before. This 48 year old woman felt 16 again.

Thomas and I sat in a booth and had salads, iced tea, and fun appetizers. We had witty exchanges, conversed about a wide variety of topics, and discussed our mutual love of the written word. I admired everything about this man. Pouty lips under a salt and pepper mustache and goatee, deep brown eyes, shoulder-length, gray hair. I swear, I stared at the man all night. His intelligence mixed with humor then topped with handsome looks sealed the deal. This was the man I wanted. Now, to figure out if he was interested in me!

We parted ways after a half hug (yes, I was disappointed). He didn’t call for another date – only texted saying he had enjoyed my company and thought I was a delightful lady.

For a year, he was all I could think of but I carried on with my life. We were Facebook friends, so I saw his posts and kept up with his family now and then. One day, he texted me and asked if I’d like to meet for another meal. I melted . . . of course I would! We had a nice lunch but I could tell that he still didn’t feel anything for me more than friendship. It broke my heart all over again. We parted as friends. Again.

About 18 months later, Thomas contacted me and wanted to go out. I hadn’t forgotten him. Not at all. I’d kept up with him on social media. I still got butterflies when he commented on my posts or “liked” my status’. I just knew THIS time, he had realized what he had been missing. We arranged a date and saw a movie and ate burgers. Thomas seemed interested this time. We kissed, hugged, and even got more serious physically. I was more in love than ever, and he seemed to be following my lead, finally, although slowly. After about 4 dates, it fizzled, and he stopped calling. Said he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship after all.

I was sick of being pulled and pushed away multiple times. My heart could take no more. I began dating others. No one special and nothing serious. Just lunches and coffee dates. That is, until I met my current husband. Yes, I married someone else. Joe was a wonderfully kind, funny, generous man who was almost a decade older than I. We got along famously. We were a pair made to enjoy each other’s company. Within 6 months, we married and have been happy since (3 months later. Ha!)..

Well, last week, out of the blue, Thomas contacted me – telling me he hasn’t stopped thinking about me, loves me, wants to spend time with me, remembers how well we got along, how we laughed and had good times. He said he wanted me to be his wife.

I asked him if he realized I was already married. He said he did but couldn’t hold back from telling me how he felt any longer. I guess in case I wasn’t happy in the marriage I had just entered?

Thomas’ words were ones I had longed to hear for the last, long three years of my life. I’d have cried with happiness to have heard them from his mouth. Dream come true. But that day, on the phone, they were swords in my side. I cried, was angry, couldn’t believe his nerve to say these things to me NOW . . . knowing full well that I still had love for him and would be confused and frustrated. It wasn’t a fair thing to do at all. What do people say? All is fair in love and war? I think that is an awful statement.

No, I didn’t leave my husband for Thomas. Today, we wrapped Christmas gifts and planned what to cook for dinner. We played with the kitten, watched a Christmas movie, and snuggled before bed. Joe is a good man. He sneaks gazes at me when he thinks I’m not noticing and then tells me I’m beautiful. He sees some of his friends “eyeing” me and says he’s proud to have a pretty wife. He makes me feel beautiful. He even likes my sub-par cooking. 😉

For the Thomas’ out there, pay attention to the magnificent women who cross your path! They won’t stay there for long. A man of taste and character will grab her and marry her and treat her like a princess.

For the Joes out there, if you find yourself alone at present, keep your heads up, Ms Right IS out there and she is waiting to find you.

I wish you healthy, happy relationships and lots of love and affection!

Happy Holidays, my readers and friends!

Will Your Marriage Survive Menopause?

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The following article is by blogger, Staness Jonekos, on the healthywomen.org site. See link at bottom of article.

Over 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s or 60s — the menopause years — according to a recent survey conducted by AARP Magazine. Why are women running away from marriage?

I wasn’t even married when I slammed into menopause months before my wedding day at the age of 47. Despite being completely in love, I almost ran away and my fiance almost married bridezella!

Experts say the number one reason for divorce is lack of communication. My response from the ladies corner, “When everything you know to be normal is being kidnapped by changing hormones, communication may be last on the list. Throw in lifestyle changes, health and aging issues, and you are left in a small evaporating puddle of low self-esteem feeling hopeless.”

Many men blame lack of sex as the leading reason for midlife divorce. But is it? AARP poled 1,682 adults ages 45 and older on the importance of sex. Two-thirds of men (66 percent) and about half of women (48 percent) agreed that a satisfying sex life was important to their quality of life. That is only an 18 percent difference. So is it lack of sex, or a breakdown in communication chasing the women away?

Navigating a course in uncharted territory can test any relationship emotionally and sexually. It can also bring a couple closer — it did for me.

Purchasing midlife marriage insurance can help combat the unforeseen hazards during the menopause transition. How do you qualify for this love insurance? The first step is to understand how menopause can affect your love life.

Ladies first.

Menopause is a life transition that can affect you physically and emotionally. Your body is experiencing fluctuating hormones that can cause hot flashes, night sweats, itchy skin, migraine headaches, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. Eighty percent of women will experience uncomfortable symptoms, and the majority struggle with midlife weight gain.

Many women feel unattractive going through so many uninvited changes. Some suffer from exhaustion, depression and moodiness leaving them feeling isolated and confused.

During menopause a woman’s brain also goes through changes. Dr. Louann Brizendine (author of The Female Brain) says, “The mommy brain unplugs. Menopause means the end of the hormones that have boosted communication circuits, emotion circuits, the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflict at all costs.”
There are additional factors on top of fluctuating hormones that may contribute to a lack of communication and interest in sex.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover and leading menopause expert, informed me, “If a woman is taking medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, contraceptive drugs, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or medications for blood pressure, this can also decrease sexual desire.”

Midlife stresses brought on by career change, the loss of a loved one, empty nest syndrome or caring for elderly parents can contribute to a declining libido.

Throw in aging issues and the last thing on a menopausal woman’s mind is communicating. This woman is in self-survival mode, and may be in no mood to connect or make whoopi.

If she is in an unsupported relationship while managing this collection of changes, leaving the marriage may appear like her only salvation.

Gentlemen — your turn.

How many factors listed above is your partner experiencing? It is no surprise why men are afraid of menopause. His woman is changing in front of his eyes.

Women are not alone suffering from changes. Men also have midlife challenges, both physically and emotionally. Declining testosterone can affect libido, moods and sexual performance. Generally a man’s hormones change gradually compared to the woman’s experience during menopause, so it may not be obvious to the man that he too is changing. Some of these unwelcomed changes may include midlife stress, as well as health and aging issues. If both partners are experiencing change, the relationship may be on an emotional roller coaster.

Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common, according to the National Health and Social Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.

It is no surprise that most men associate menopause with having less sex. But, it does not have to be this way. The man can actually help save a shaky midlife marriage with some handy tools to power charge the relationship. Women who have a supportive partner often have a smoother transition through menopause. When she is happy, he is happy.

Acquiring midlife marriage insurance takes action to make a difference.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Him
1. Listen to her; don’t criticize or try to fix her.
2. Go with the flow; be prepared for mood swings.
3. Be compassionate, and validate her experience (that means agree with her, don’t try to fix her).
4. Be romantic. Bring her flowers for no reason. Make her dinner. Give her a massage. Make it about HER.
5. Cuddle more. Tell her you love her and that she is beautiful. You may just get lucky. If not, do not take it personally.
6. If YOU are not in the mood, keep her company shopping, she will love the company ;)
7. Support healthy eating and exercise choices. Join her for a walk or go on a hunting expedition at the grocery store to find new healthy foods.
8. Don’t ignore her menopause symptoms. Talk about it. Ask her what she needs to feel better.
9. Offer support if she needs to visit her healthcare provider to discuss menopause symptoms, a low libido or depression.
10. If numbers one through nine fail – disappear for a while. She may be seriously cranky and need space to focus on herself.

Success depends on going through this transition as a team! Both partners must contribute to have a successful marriage.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Her
1. Track menopause symptoms and discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.
2. Make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise most days of the week. Eat nutritious meals. Watch portions.
3. Update your beauty regimen.
4. Build a support group.
5. Communicate with your partner. Don’t shut him out – let him know what you need. Understand he may be confused by your changes.
6. If you are not happy in your current relationship, discuss counseling.
7. Be receptive to creative adjustments in lovemaking activities.
8. If your libido is low and/or you are suffering from vaginal dryness, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare practitioner. There are hormone and non-hormone options available.
9. Pamper yourself.
10. Try to stay positive.

Communicate, support each other’s needs, get counseling if needed, add romance, adjust lovemaking activities, and your odds increase that your marriage will survive menopause. Being on the same team will nourish a healthy, loving relationship that can last a lifetime.

Life is constantly changing, and marriage is no different. Have real expectations, and acknowledge that your relationship goes through transitions. This will help you weather difficult times.

Midlife is an opportunity for both men and women. If you are prepared, informed and willing, your marriage can survive menopause. A loving relationship supported with good communication can strengthen your love life at any age.

This menopausal bride made it down the aisle of love. Both my partner and I said “I do” to communication and romance during menopause. We are still happily married five years later and ready to leap over the seven-year itch together.

 

 

 

www.healthywomen.org/content/blog-entry/will-your-marriage-survive-menopause

Toxins in My Tears – A Poem

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(photo from deviantart.com)

ARTICLEhttp://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/05/29/7-good-reasons-to-cry-the-healing-property-of-tears/

Maybe if I cry hard enough for long enough, I can get rid of ALL of the toxic feelings inside my chest.

Maybe that knot will go away. Just maybe the gnawing will subside.

There are toxins in our tears. Did you know that?

Tears of stress or grief . . . release toxins and bacteria.

I should be clean enough to stop the pain I carry but it hasn’t happened. How do I cry enough?  I’ve shed more than my share of tears. What IS my share?

So, I fight the inner feeling that makes me think there is no beauty in the sun on the autumn lawn or the soft music coming from my laptop.

The fall leaves don’t matter – yellow or red. Used to be my favorite season. Now, I wonder if I’ll see another autumn and realize I don’t really even care.

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I am better today. That was yesterday.

Oh, the difference a day makes.