I’ve Been Quiet Lately

Quietly Taking Care. Writing & Doing Less.

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.

Grieving

Grieving -- KittOMalley.com
Geometry art created with iOrnament app.

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.

Our Beloved Dog Thumper Passed Away

Thumper
Our beloved labradoole Thumper as a puppy and full grown.

Our grief deepens with another loss. This time of our beloved labradoodle Thumper. Our newly adult son grew up with him. We got Thumper when our son was six. Thumper would’ve been twelve this month.

Unfortunately, our younger poodle Coco is showing similar symptoms. Our next door neighbor said she found eight dead rats in her backyard. Apparently, someone is poisoning rodents. Not good.

We back up to a hillside filled with rabbits and rats. Predatory animals, including mountain lions, coyotes, pet dogs and domestic cats, eat poisoned rodents and die.

Trap rodents. Don’t poison them.

Grief — Moving Forward

An Irish Toast: May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you're dead.
In Loving Memory of My Father. No Doubt He Made it through the Pearly Gates.

Wednesday my mother gave me artwork and books to remove from her room, the room she formerly shared with my father.

My sister and I grew up with this prayer prominently displayed. I will give the original to my sister to remember our father.

The Arabian horses graced the wall above my father’s desk. I plan to reframe and put them a place of honor in my home.

Green-blue rubbing of three Arabian horses
This rubbing of Arabian horses hung above my Dad’s desk

Yesterday my mother had me take my father’s clothes home with me. She is moving forward.

Dry-eyed, I hugged my mother, articulating what she can no longer say due to aphasia from her stroke. “I miss him, too, Mom. He loved us all so well. We loved him. We miss him.”

More and more lately I’ve cried, both alone and over the phone with my sister.

We are grieving.