Tuesday, November 14, 2006


It's been a rough couple of days around here. I won't, at present, write another stultifying chapter of the horse-choking tome, "Living With Bipolar Disorder," but suffice it to say that Alex could use your prayers and kind thoughts. We may or may not be drifting into that wonderland known clinically as "mixed states," which pretty much means that you're depressed AND hypomanic/manic at the SAME TIME. Sound like fun? No? Well, you're right, it isn't. And on top of that, his bronchitis that became pneumonia is back, in bronchitis form for now. So he ain't doin' so great.

My anxiety level goes up when he's not doing well, and we just try hard to protect Bella from all of it. She's an awfully sunshiney kid, so I hope that means we're succeeding, at least to some extent. For Pete's sake, it thunderstormed tonight, which meant we had to dose the DOG with Klonopin. Thankfully we only have the one with severe storm phobia. We're a psychiatrically well-versed household.

In big news today, besides visiting the doctor, we grocery shopped and picked out a Christmas tree. Isabella is BESIDE herself about Christmas already, asking daily, "IS IT CHRISTMAS?" She's also reached the age where she declares that she "wants" every single toy she sees on T.V. or in a magazine or catalog. When she pointed out the miniature, operable Barbie's Escalade the other day, I got to pull out one of my mother's old chestnuts, and I'm happy to report that it works JUST as well on her as it did on my sister and I back in the good ol' days. She showed me the picture in the catalog, and said, "MOMMY! I want THIS!" I put on my best Voice That Sounds The Way I Remember My Mother's Sounding, and said, "You do? Well. You know, you just MIGHT be able to get that for Christmas. But I can tell you for sure, that if you did, it would be your only gift, because it would be such an expensive gift. Is that what you'd like?" I let her mull that over for a moment, and then added, "Would you like to have this electric car, and NOTHING ELSE, or do you think you'd rather have several smaller gifts?"

"I want SEVERAL." That's my girl. (Later, when we were alone and I admitted that I'd played a hand from my mother's deck, Alex asked me, "You'd have totally gone for the Escalade, though, wouldn't you?" To which I had to answer, "Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And then I'd have been sitting there in my electric car wishing I had more presents to open.") I was the "one big gift" kid, whereas my sister was the "lots of packages" kid. It was a good working system. Our gifts were always equal in value, but we often had the choice of how we wanted that gift allowance distributed. The same rule went for shopping for clothes, which meant I usually wound up with one or two top-dollar outfits, while my sister milked that clothing allowance for maximum clothing-changes. I've learned since then.

We went with an artificial, pre-lit tree--a Frasier Fir--for our new home, too. Which is odd, since Alex and I have both always been firmly in the "real tree" camp on this issue. But when it came right down to it, "PRE-LIT" won out over just about every other consideration...plus the fact that we like to have a tree up from just before Thanksgiving to at least January 6th, and we know the fake one will last. It's really pretty, and has something like 1300 lights on it. That WE don't have to string.

All I really have left to report on from today is our fascinating grocery-shopping trip. I'm still playing that coupon game hard, and holding steady at an average of just over 50% savings. Today's receipt reflected a 40% savings, BUT, that was including a new $20 hardback book, a $10 Southern Living Recipe Collection, and at least $20-worth of non-sale items that I just wanted, like Sweet Acidophilus milk (it just SOUNDS yummy, no?) and Activia yogurt, to try to put some good flora back into my gut. Anyway, I still got a rush when I saw, on my receipt, "You saved $97 today." Yup. Nearly a hundred bucks' worth of free food always lightens my mood.

But the funniest thing that happened at the grocery store was when we checked out, and the sweet lady running the register first let Bella stand in the cart and hand her the groceries, and then lifted her down and let her scan everything, including the coupons. We were tired and wanting to get home, but the way it delighted her made us hold our tongues and be patient. And seriously? After just a few items, she knew exactly how to look for the bar codes and run them across the sensor, listening for the beep, and then sending the items down the conveyor belt to the bagger. It was cute, and I can prove it, via Alex's cell-phone camera:

Now I know where to send her as soon as she's old enough to pull down a paycheck. And that fruit punch is Daddy's.


  1. Just a doggie aside, in case the Klonopin doesn't always work well - our German Shepherd takes Xanax for her thunderstorms. We are also well-versed in medications, only ours veer more toward pain & anti-anxiety. :)

    Good luck to you guys, all of you.

  2. Are all us bloggers bipolar AND on the down swing right now? That can't be healthy to have all our moods heading south at the same time. We're likely to tear the fabric of time.

    Don't you just love it when you find your parents words coming out of your mouth? My 22 year old is already there herself she says.

    It goes back to the old saying that there really is nothing new under the sun.

  3. (HUGS)

    I bet she'd love a self service checkout!

  4. Bella is the best helper ever!

    Tell Alex to hang in there. We are sending good wishes from here.

    BTW~~ The year my daughter was 4, she started on the "I want everything" kick before Christmas, including boys Underoos! It came to a screching halt when I advised her that Santa ( or whoever is responsible for gift-giving)allowed all children to ask for only 3 things they REALLY wanted so that all children could have enough toys to go around. She thought long and hard about those 3 things and quit asking for junk. It worked until she was 10! the only problem was, I sometimes had to move heaven and earth to get the three things she asked for!

  5. My thoughts are with you and Alex and Bella! -hugs-

  6. I like that "ask for three things" tactic, I'll have to try it this year.

  7. Wow, I guess I feel better knowing that I am not the only mixed state bipolar person. We don't all drink the same water so it must be a cosmic really bad joke. Or maybe it's caused by the volcano that erupted this week? That's it, it's in the air. Or not.

    Praying for all of us and a cocktail that works w/o hospitalization.

  8. Or you could scare your 4 yo to death and tell her what would really happen if she drove that shiny new Escalade into downtown Little Rock! (I am certain it wouldn't be too different from Memphis.)

  9. That Bella's a clever one!

    You and Alex always have my prayers.

  10. FlippyO: Good to know! How much does your GSD weigh? Delta the SP is about 45 pounds, and takes a 1mg. Klonopin.

    allen: Believe me, judging from the anecdotal evidence gathered from my support groups, it really is "universal timing." Not as far as which way the moods swing, but at least as far as when the most people are in crisis or cycling. It's a BIG swing in spring, and a lesser one in fall, generally, though some people buck the trend, and in the lower hemisphere, it's opposite to our seasons, of course.

    leslie: We're not telling her they exist. She would insist on "doing it herself."

    avalon: I like that gift theory of yours. Just one question: What if the kid does like *I* always did, and asks for NOTHING except something they can't possibly have? When I was little, it was "a pony," year after year after year. With Bella, it could easily be things we can't afford, because she sees EVERYTHING.

    dana: Thank you.

    cece: So are you!

    M. Kennedy: "I know, right?"

    anon: You are SO not the only one. Joining a group made up of other "significant others" (spouses, GFs, BFs, parents, siblings, children, etc.) of Bipolar people helped me immensely, mostly in the simple realization that I was NOT ALONE. Hearing, oh, a dozen stories that sound EXACTLY LIKE YOUR OWN in just a couple days' time will do that for you, and it's a weight off. And THANK YOU for the prayer. It's exactly what we're going for. Hospitalization's not the end of the world, but it does (for us) represent starting over again at ground zero, and it'd be nice not to have to do that.

    m'liss: The hilarious thing about the electric Escalade is that it HAS NO TOP. You know, because the kids have to sit in it. It can carry multiple kids, though. I mean, the "topless" thing worked for the electric Jeeps, because, well...JEEPS. But an Escalade? A BARBIE Escalade, no less? Not even if they were free.

    Dixie: Thanks, ma'am. And yeah, she's a "ring-tailed tooter," as my dad would say.

  11. Cutest thing I've seen all day! She's adorable and in her glory.

    Praying for you and Alex!

  12. November must be Bipolar Disease Sucks month because man are we having issues here. Up and down, up and down, crying and mania. I'm about to jump out of my skin. Give Alex a huge hug for me and tell him that I understand. I honestly do.

    Oh, Bella's package is wrapped and sitting on the sideboard waiting for me to feel well enough to get to the post office without peeing my pants. I'm a bit waterlogged this week and can't seem to get it all out.

  13. I LOVE those pictures of Bella! So adorable. :)

    Hang in there, girl!

  14. You must take Bella to the Children's Museum in Memphis if you haven't already. They have a Kroger store scaled down to miniature...it's like a midget supermarket. She'd love it.

  15. Belinda~~ You see, you ALWAYS have to add the provision that the gift-giver, in our case Santa, has to approve the 3 choices. We would send the letter to him with her 3 picks, he would send a personalized letter back telling her what a good girl she was and all was well with the world. Also, i would have quickly told her that elves cannot make horses....their workshops are not equipped to handle mucking!

  16. Whoops, just remembered to come back. Eli is 100lbs and her prescription is for four 2mg tablets, every four hours. Of course, we can't dose her more than once a day anyway, because she ends up sort of zombie-ish. She's also taken Valium. None of it is perfect, but it's usually better than unmedicated. Although, now that her hearing is going, she can often get through the 4th of July (and the 3rd, and the 5th, and whatever weekend is close to those days) without medication. But she can feel the thunderstorms, so medication it is.