Bipolar and squirrels
This week the other book I've been reading, besides the Bible and Steven Tyler's book, is a book entitled "Loving Someone who is Bipolar." It's about a holistic treatment plan that includes medicine, therapy, and having a PLAN. That's right, a plan. One of the things I found out reading the book is that we were doing things pretty much spot on. Identifying triggers, talking, recognizing when Ginger is speaking out of bipolar and not herself, those kind of things. For example, when Ginger says, "I think God is punishing me..." the red flags go off in my head, the sirens go off, and the counselor cap goes on. There is a secret to dealing with bipolar, catch the symptom (or in this case the bipolar phrase) early. We've spent many a night identifying triggers, Ginger crying in relief that it's bipolar and not God out to get her, working through trust issues, etc. The book calls me the caretaker. At one time I was the super caretaker, I wanted to fix it. Fix it fix it fix it! Make our world a nice beautiful place where cats and dogs are friends, and we can eat all the candy we want and not get sick. Well, for those in the know about codependency, that is a classical sign of codependency. So when I finally realized I couldn't fix Ginger's bipolar, and that reasoning with someone in the throes of bipolar is like trying to explain quantum physics to a rabbit, I instead relied on prayer and asking God okay, I need You to help me here, because I have no clue. Relying on God was the best plan. I would say things and it would help Ginger get off the roller coaster. She'd ask, how did you figure that out? Um, God, because 5 minutes before I had absolutely no clue. For those that don't believe in God, that sounds foreign. They think, come on, you have to do this, get into yoga, meditate, get off the medicine and find your inner self, etc.
You see, we work hard on Ginger's stability. There are certain foods that cause triggers. Events, such as work or even words I say can spark things. If I had a dollar for every word I said that caused anxiety.....But it has done wonders to my speech! I hardly ever talk in slang anymore because of it, though I've absolutely refused to give up the word jack. You know, jacked up. Yep, my one wordy guilty pleasure. Instead of it sucks, it stinks now. Tush instead of butt, I think you get the point. I remember I went to work one time and said I had to go potty. Oh my goodness, there was alot of rolling on the floor laughing on that one! You can imagine how they are at work, F this and that. But people, amazingly at work, clean up around me, as best they can. I'm not in on the dirty jokes, or texts, or pics. I like it that way. But again, I digress, blame it on the squirrels.... One of the guys points out a girl and I just smile, wink and say, yeah, but my wife looks better, and while ya'll just get to look I get to go home to my wife tonight. Stops them in their tracks. Everyone at work knows about my wife.
As with any relationship, it takes work. Bipolar takes work. It does not go away just because you want it to. It's a disease, a brain disease, chemistry is involved, and you don't just up and go, "Well, I'm going to be better today, I don't need meds anymore." In bipolar they call that mania. It'd be like me waking up and going, you know, I'm not going to be an addict anymore! In addiction they call that relapse! We didn't ask for this stuff, it happened, and now we work to have a happily married life. And we do. I've learned to be a caretaker, but not a CONTROLLING caretaker, who has to fix everything. I listen, I talk, I counsel, and if there is something stressful I can help Ginger with I take care of it. Do I get burned out? Do I get tired and need rest at times? Absolutely. So how do I overcome such feelings? I have my down time. Let me tell you something very very divine from God. I have about 50 minutes to work and from work. I have 50 minutes of talking with God, blasting the radio if I choose, or turning the radio off. I have time to process things and have heart to heart's with God. I'm honest with God. On the way home, I get that rest, even driving, so that when I get home I'm there for my wife if it is good, or if she's had a stinky day. I've had people say, you could get a job closer, think of the money you'd save, etc. I'm so happy with where I work and the drive is like built in meditation time. If I'm feeling squirrelly, I'll take out my mix CD that has Sammy Hagar's Heavy Metal, and Kiss's Uh! All Night, and just let everything flow away and find my inner headbanger. Yeah, I get flak from some in the Christian community for my choice in music sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I listen to KVNE, I listen to the Bible Answer Man, and I even drive in silence. But certain music is my out sometimes, again, my guilty pleasure and I see nothing wrong with letting my inner headbanger out at times. As long as he doesn't try to put on spandex and put on makeup we are all good...
But as well, I talk to Ginger about it. I have stinky moments (I changed that word for you sweetie..) and Ginger can tell I'm wrestling with God. She doesn't take it to heart, she lets me wrestle. Ever wrestle with God? Do you ever win? Eventually I'll say I need to talk and behold, Ginger becomes my counselor. She's a good listener. Even counselor's and caretakers need help. But eventually I'm back to my old an goofy self, just as Ginger becomes her carefree and loving self, after we've talked, identified triggers, etc. I'm a nut and most have never seen the full impact of just how goofy I am. Quiet and reserved usually, you'd never know behind the doors of our home.
Along these lines, I stepped back from ministry a bit. I'm over the Newcomer class and that is it now. Because of work demands I can't get there early, and I was having to stay till about 9:45 to help close things up and then I'd get home and Ginger was just about asleep and we'd had no down time together. Burn out thing and having too much on my plate. I realized Ginger is my bigger priority. I enjoy CR, and I am enjoying my new, less stressful role. Now I'm not in upper leadership so I don't hear EVERYTHING that is going on. I like that. It's like watching the news, which we stopped doing months ago. Too depressing. My mood changed dramatically when I stepped down, about CR, about ministry, about God, about life. It was voluntary, I had good talks with the upper leadership about what I was going through and how I felt God was leading me. Ginger and her bipolar were top on my list. I believe, as I reflect, I was getting stuck in the performance trap again and not being able to say no. I had to realize that obedience to God is not killing yourself in ministry. After all, notice I'm blogging a little more? This blog was a type of ministry I felt God calling me to, and now, to use an Aerosmith term, I'm back in the saddle again! And as I read back on this blog I see some of the goofiness that had gone from some of my posts coming back. A wild spirit I have inside of me. As well, I realized I was waiting to write blogs so no one would miss anything. As if no one is scrolling down to see if there are more than one post....Writing posts is about sharing a piece of my life with you, letting you come along for the ride. Sometimes it is the kiddie coaster and at other times it's the Texas Giant!
Anyway, feel like I have the mojo back, like the lil rebel is back, bandanna on, long hair flying. Speaking of long hair, my hair is the longest it has ever been. I love it. Didn't realize I would, but I always cut it because everyone wanted it short, except Ginger. The big breakthrough for me is when I went to my brother's when Mom and Dad came down. I had long hair. I waited for the comments, none. The next day I wore my bandanna, and I realized, hey, I'm finally being me. Anyway, I told Ginger I was thinking of cutting it, she asked trim or off? Didn'y know and she said she supported me either way. However, when I told her trim a few days later, I could see relief. I like your long hair, she said, and there, wouldn't you know it, was that look. I call it the eye candy look, I was her eye candy and she liked what she saw. Cmon, you can't tell me we are the only couple that has those type of looks! Or maybe I'm just bold enough to admit it. Either way, I better submit this to the editor for editing. Yes, I proudly love the fact that Ginger reads through my posts before publishing. Call it what you want, but her and I, we are a team, and she has squirrels in her head just like me, a match made in heaven....
(P.S. My editor just said this was my best post ever!!!!!)