I’ve been quiet lately. Out of commission. Taking it easy.
This holiday season brings tough firsts. First Thanksgiving since my father died in April. First Christmas coming up. My sister and I plan to remember him and observe our family Christmas traditions. We need each other. We miss our dad.
Seasonal affective disorder hit hard, too. As the days got shorter, I cocooned, became seasonally and situationally depressed. Seasonal depression, bipolar disorder and now my grief overwhelm me at times.
Taking care of myself….mostly. Seeing my psychiatrist and psychologist. Going to a grief support group at Jewish Federation & Family Services. Reaching out and asking for help, for support, when I need it.
SO IMPORTANT that you ask for and accept help. My insight into my need for help, reaching out for it and accepting it, has KEPT ME ALIVE.
When I was 18 years old and suicidal, realizing I needed help, asking for it and accepting it made all the difference.
Grieving, not depressed. No bipolar depression. No depressive thought process. Just grief. Just a deep overwhelming feeling of loss.
I miss my father. Miss him deeply and dearly.
Going to individual therapy and taking my medications for bipolar disorder, but now may be time for additional support, time for a grief support group, preferrably one led by an excellent licensed mental health professional.
As a licensed clinician, I have a bias. I need a group leader with advanced clinical knowledge of serious mental illness like bipolar disorder, as well as grief. As someone with bipolar disorder and a history of depression, I’m at risk of complicated grief.
Not only did my father recently die, my mother is a stroke survivor living with vascular dementia. She lives in memory care, but wants me to visit more often than I can afford to emotionally.
Squeezed between generations, I cheer my newly adult son as he takes steps to overcome social anxiety and manage his migraines. Until he gets his driver’s license, I chauffeur him to and from specialists appointments.
Rather than spend all my time and energy caring for the needs of others, I must care for myself. My personal boundaries are poor. Groups overwhelm me. I take care of others, not myself. Find myself overstimulated and become mildly hypomanic. Perform, rather than sit, listen and accept help from others.
Always a been performer, love being onstage, enjoy public speaking. Now’s not the time to be the center of attention, to be right, to be smart, to solve problems, to be the hero.
My brain isn’t functioning at its best. Grief-related brain fog. Can’t concentrate. Can’t remember. Simply overwhelmed emotionally. Often, I can’t even come up with a simple word to answer a question my husband asks. Cannot make a yes or no decision.
Today I deleted emails of great content I would usually share as a mental health advocate. I leave that to others for now.
Now, I grieve. Now I cocoon. Now I draw mandalas and patterns using iOrnament. Now I do jigsaw puzzles on my iPad. Now I watch TV.
Now, I cry softly, sometimes gently sob, for the father I love and miss.