Should I Change My Book?

As I’ve grieved my father’s recent death, I’ve thought about updating my book. Not right away. Maybe I’m just trying to get my mind off his passing. Still, please help me decide.

Kitt O'Malley Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health

Here’s the thing: my blog subtitle reads “Love, Learn & Live with Bipolar Disorder,” and my book title is Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health.

Though I consider myself a mental health advocate, I write about what is happening in my life. I don’t just write about living with bipolar disorder. I have it, but it’s not the focus of my daily life.

My blog began when my father-in-law was in sepsis over four years ago. My worries over his health crisis and how it would affect my husband triggered hypomania. So, I wrote. I wrote to cope with hypomanic symptoms. To gain control over racing thoughts. To allay anxiety.

As the years passed, I’ve written about raising my son, my mother’s stroke, and my father’s dementia. Most recently, I’ve been writing about grief.

The grief takes me in waves. I’ve been crying more and more often as time passes. Still, it’s been a healthy grief. My medication, psychotherapy, family and support systems help me stay stable.

Grief can trigger worsening of mental illness and can lead to situational depression. But, so far I’ve been mourning my father’s death well, or so I think (perhaps I’m just well defended).

What you you think? When I feel up to it, should I update my book, adding content written since September 2017? Should I change the title and cover to more accurately reflect the content written? What are your thoughts? Any suggestions?

Grief is a Blessing

I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, It tastes sweet, does it not? You have caught me, grief answered, and you have ruined my business. How can I sell sorrow, when you know it's a blessing? -Rumi

March 2015 I posted this poem as we mourned the loss of my husband’s oldest brother to lung cancer. My father recently died of undiagnosed lung cancer in spite of having quit smoking decades before he died.

I share it again to remind myself that grief is a blessing. We feel it because we love.

Love Persists

There is something both beautiful and sorrowful when someone or something dies. Something spiritual lives on. Love persists and is a blessing. I do not deny the pain of grief, but believe that death is a part of life, and that grief is a part of loving. There is no way to love without experiencing grief at one time or another.

Happy Father’s Day to My Departed Father and to My Husband

Happy Fathers Day
My dad & my husband with our son.  That baby is now 6′ tall!

To My Favorite Fathers on Father’s Day

Dad, I love and miss you. I miss you SO much.

Nick, I adore you and am beyond grateful for all you do as father to our son.

Recently I pulled out photographs to remember my father on Father’s Day. Brought back fond memories and tears. Good tears. Tears of love, tears of gratitude that he had been my father and grandfather to my son. My dad was a loving and involved father and grandfather. He loved us deeply. He loved us well.

Those photos reminded me of how lucky I am to have my husband by my side. He’s a loving father and devoted husband. Since my pregnancy, he’s been a hands-on father — affectionate and involved. He adores his son. He even flexed his working hours so that I could go back to work when our son was an infant.

Thank you, Dad. I love and miss you.

Thank you, Nick. I love you.

I love you both to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond.

How I’ve Been Grieving Lately

Sisters Kayaking
My sister and me kayaking at Suttle Lake, OR

Before my father passed away, I planned to attend the Sunriver Writers’ Summit. Unfortunately, the summit followed only a month after his death, and I felt too raw to attend.

Social gatherings overwhelm and exhaust me and can trigger mood cycling, first hypomania as I get overstimulated and later a need to recover which looks like depression.

Now’s not the time. Now’s the time to spend with family. Visiting my mother and taking her out to lunch, which she enjoys. Seeing my sister, for we both deeply miss our father. So, instead of attending the writers’ summit, I visited Oregon with my husband and spent time with my sister and extended family.

We left our almost 18-year old son home alone, forcing him to forage a well-stocked refrigerator and freezer by himself. He managed to stay alive. Step in the right direction. (Got to encourage independent living skills before he goes out on his own.)