Sunday, January 18, 2015

Am I Manic?

I’m in a good place right now.  It isn’t often that I get to say that, and certainly never out loud.  When most people get up in the morning feeling good, they understand that they’re in a good mood, and never give it a second thought.  Most people never have to stop to wonder, they just know.  There’s a part of me that will always question whether or not I am heading into a manic episode, otherwise known as mania. 

I’m laughing a lot, sometimes at nonsensical things.  I’m staying up too late, walking around singing, and reminiscing about the good old days.  Quite possibly, I am in denial about a few things too.  I’m getting a lot done during the day, and I seem to have a lot of energy out of nowhere. 

Mania is defined as - mental illness marked by periods of great excitement, euphoria, delusions, and over-activity.  I know for certain a few of those apply to me at this point. So, the question remains…should I continue to question where I’m at, because inevitably there will be a crash, or do I just go with it, and enjoy the ride?  

How I wish I didn’t have to spend every day of my life interpreting my own moods, and trying to plan for the possibilities.  Yet, this is my life and like it or not, these are the cards I’ve been dealt.  It’s the crash I fear most of all.  There’s no considering if it will happen, only when and how badly.  As my thoughts begin to race, I have more and more trouble focusing on the task at hand. 

Someday perhaps very soon, I will find myself deep in the depths of despair.  I don’t mean to sound as if I am dwelling on that eventuality, but I must force myself to be realistic and prepare for the worst.  I worry the most for my husband, who has been able to reap the benefits of my heightened mood, but will also suffer the consequences of my depression.  What a tangled web this disease weaves.  Being happy but not being able to enjoy the happiness?  Well, that’s borderline ridiculous.  Sometimes being so self-aware is a curse in itself. 

Today I can safely say that while I know in my heart that I have entered a state of mania, I truly and wholeheartedly fear for my future.  I will push those feelings to the back of my mind once again, and just hope.  Sometimes that is all I have to hold onto is hope. 

I will continue to be optimistic about what 2015 holds for me, but at the same time I am guarded.  This could be one of the worst years of my life, or it could be a great year.  It simply depends on the sequence of events. I won’t attempt to predict the future.  For now, I will continue to live my life the best I know how, and try my best not to be so hard on myself.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Anger Inside Me

I am angry.  Let me say that again, I AM ANGRY.  It repeats over and over again in my brain until it consumes me.  This is the type of anger that is so fierce, it’s almost as if you can see it.  You can certainly feel it.  Carrying it around as I do every single day, it now seems like a part of me.  Like another limb.  I could sit around for days and list what I have to be angry about. 

I don’t intend on doing that.  At least, at this point and time I don’t. 

I have a struggle going on inside of my brain nearly 24 hours a day.  The part of me that is desperately trying to find sense in all of these emotions keeps attempting to tell the other part of me to stop thinking about it.  You have this or that to be grateful for.  The anger has just grown too strong.  For every positive, there are 10 negatives and the common sense is beaten down until it can’t fight anymore. 

I’ve tried to reach out, to give my feelings words, to explain myself.  This isn’t helping.  It’s not even scratching the surface.  The worst part is, for a brief moment I can tell myself, this isn’t the time of year for this.  Try to find some joy in the season.  You know what that does for me?  Makes me positively irate. For the reasons I feel this way and the people who have brought me down to their level.

I’m not a stupid person.  I understand that if you wake up every single day feeling overwhelmed with anger, you are not going to be able to make your life or anyone else’s life the least bit pleasant.  That is the dilemma I face.  I’ve been mad before, furious even.  This is so different. There is a physical pain on the inside of me that just makes me want to scream as loud as I can until it’s finally gone. 

I don’t have a therapist.  This blog is my therapist.  Even if I did see a therapist, I doubt I would receive much relief at this point.  I am too stuck in the “Yeah….but…..” stage of it all.  If you come at me with a response, no matter how logical, I am going to yeah but you to death until you give up from sheer exhaustion. 
The feelings I have now make me understand revenge.  That need that builds up inside of you.  You can’t stop thinking about the desired target, or what you’ll do once you finally stand face to face with it.  My problem is, I am pretty well convinced that my target is my life.  I could backtrack and pinpoint certain people in my life. Exacting revenge against them would surely be sweet, but that is just not the kind of person I am.  All I am saying is that I get it. I understand the desire. 

With no answers in sight and the number of questions growing by the day, I know I have to find a way out of this.  My usual “coping skills”, which are not really coping skills at all, are no longer an option for me.  As I pat myself on the back for finding the courage to not turn to the darkest place I know, I find myself once again back where I started.  If it wasn’t for this, that or the other thing, I wouldn’t even have those thoughts. 

Of all the cycles I have seen in my life, this is by far the most viciousI know that I have got to find a way to stop it.  Each time I write, I try to find a silver lining of sorts.  If not that, I attempt to come to a conclusion that could possibly help me.  This is all that I have to offer: I am aware that this anger is eating away at me, at my life, at my happiness.  I will strive to do whatever I can to simply let it go.  However painful the process will be, I know that I can make it through it. 

I would take a moment now to wish you all a happy holiday season, but I know that it won’t sound sincere.  Not in my current state of mind.  Know that while I may not be filled with joy and good tidings, I do appreciate each and every one of you that has taken the time to read even one of my posts this year.  I hope you will continue to read them, but even if you don’t return again, know that I thank you.  You are what keeps me going. 



Thursday, November 27, 2014

My First Guest Appearance on Blog Talk Radio!

This is the archive of the show that I was on last night, November 26, 2014.  I am very proud of this, and I hope you will listen and enjoy. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!  You can post a comment here, and I'll reach out.  :-)

Thank you and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Winter Blues

I think it’s time I start facing the fact that winter is here again.  I’ve never enjoyed cold weather.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been terrified of driving in the snow.  All I really feel up to doing is hiding in my house.  I know that I’ve been in a state of denial since about the middle of September. Just allowing myself to consider what is in store is actually causing a physical reaction.  I’m nauseated and very nervous.  On the cusp of a nasty panic attack. 

Approaching Thanksgiving once again, I am struck by how much I miss what used to be.  I never thought I would be in this position.  Very little family to connect with and certainly no close friends to invite over.  The only person I have even considered seeing is my dad.  I would like to invite him over, but he is in a lot of pain these days, and it might not be possible.  When he took that fall in August, I had a feeling life would change forever for all of us.

I grew up with a large family.  Four older brothers and one older sister.  Gradually, the family got larger as they married or had children.  Now, with every one of their marriages disintegrated, and a lifetime of bitterness between all of us, we will probably never spend another holiday together.  I looked forward to adding my little family to the group once Joe and I married. We are the only ones left standing.  Who would have thought?

I can’t even imagine putting up the Christmas tree this year.  I don’t know if I can do this.  Any of it.  I’m afraid.  So very scared.  I’m attempting to force my way through for the sake of my husband.  I took his family away by just my very existence.  I have lived for the moment when he opens his gifts for years.  This year, with finances not looking so good, I can’t even begin to start my online quest for a good deal.  I’m not going to lie, I am hiding all of this from everyone. 

I can’t face any more disappointed faces.  I can’t explain why “I just can’t” anymore.  I’m bored with myself and my irrational illness.  So very fed up with the various stages of uncontrollable sadness.  I know there are people out there that honestly believe that a person can just say, “I’m going to be happy” and it happens.  Maybe those people do exist, but in my world such a person is as fictitious as a unicorn or a leprechaun.  You would like to think the whimsy and wonder of such a being exists, but you’ll never see it. 

I’ve done that.  I’ve pushed the dark thoughts to the back of my mind far too many times to count.  I’ve told myself that you are going to be happy and enjoy your life starting…NOW. 

You know what happened?  Not a damn thing, because I am not one of those people. 

So, this year I guess I will just “get through” once again.  I’ll find a way because that is the only choice I have.  I can’t give up, because who knows how much time on this Earth my father has left?  I won’t give up, because the one man that means everything to me needs me to stick with it.  For those two reasons, I will make it through the winter, the holidays and the birthdays of those no longer with us.  No matter how difficult it is. 

Maybe I’ll find some joy this year.  It’s been gone for so long…maybe this year. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

There's a Name For That

Do you remember when you were a kid and you would find yourself excited about the smallest things?  The sound of the ice cream man coming up the street sent you into fits.  Forget about how over the moon you were the night before Christmas or the day of your birthday party. 

I remember just lying in my bed and dreaming of how amazing it was going to be when I got everything I asked for. 

Fast forward 30 years, and you don’t have a whole lot to be excited about anymore.  Occasionally, the idea of spending a girl’s night out or having a date night with your significant other gets your spirits up.  Mostly, you start to realize that you aren’t getting “excited” about normal things.  Instead, the feelings that you used to describe as butterflies in your stomach now come at the most inappropriate times, and don’t make you feel any type of happiness.

If you’ve been dealing with it for years, you can probably recognize that it feels an awful lot like an anxiety attack. Yet, giving it a name doesn’t give you a reason for it.  Suppose it’s Saturday, and you know Monday that you have to go see the dentist.  You hate the dentist.  He might be the nicest dentist you’ve ever met, but you’ve had more bad experiences than good with your teeth.  Suddenly, you are overcome with what can only be characterized as terror.  Your appointment isn’t even for a couple more days.  What is going on?

Well, I recently discovered something.  There’s a name for that, and it’s called Anticipatory Anxiety.  I’m willing to bet that the crippling effects of this condition have kept you away from more appointments, gatherings, and events than you can count.  So what exactly is it?  I’ve done some research, and I feel the following definition puts it all together quite well.

Anticipatory Anxiety is apprehension about an event prior to its occurrence.  For example, death, danger, or a poor evaluation by others.  Often, this is accompanied by physiological symptoms such as rapid heart rate or muscle tension.  It may also occur in Panic Disorder where an individual fears another panic attack. – Psychology Dictionary

Are you sitting there telling yourself that this all sounds very familiar?  That was the same reaction I had.  It’s difficult to determine whether this is good news or bad.  Now that there’s a name for it, shouldn’t we be able to avoid it?  Some people would lead us to believe that.  However, I’ve been through episodes where I wasn’t even thinking about anything that could lead me to these feelings, but I got them anyway. 

There have been times when I feel like I’m constantly being judged by the outside world.  Especially when it comes to a particular diagnosis. I don’t want it to appear that I am just collecting conditions to use as an excuse later.  I would prefer that people consider what this situation really is.  I am trying to learn the most I can about my condition so that I can improve my quality of life.  Being honest about what is plaguing me is certainly not trying to find an excuse out of my responsibilities or my life. 

I resent anyone who would think otherwise.  If I could snap my fingers and feel “normal”, I would do it in a heartbeat.  I would hope that any of my true friends would know that.  I certainly don’t sit around deciding that I don’t want to go somewhere or do something, so that day I will pretend to be suffering a panic attack. 

What people need to know is that there is a physical as well as an emotional aspect to this horrible disease. While some of us may be better suited to control the symptoms at different times, there will be instances where we have no control over anything.  That, in itself, is what scares me the most.  Losing control over whatever tiny little bit of my life that I thought I could handle. 

Every single day is a battle.  Not every battle can be fought and won.  I long for people to understand that. 






Thursday, November 6, 2014


I’m lost.  I can’t see anything in front of me, except darkness.  The weight on my chest is unbearable and I can no longer breathe.  I’m drowning, mired in this metaphorical ocean of instability.  Most of the time, I can reach out for something to cling to.  A tiny sense of hope.  At that moment, I know that if I could just get this, this and this to follow through, everything will be OK.

Today, there is no “this” and there certainly isn’t any hope.  It’s such a simple thing, really.  A small mistake that has spread like a disease.  I’ve been awake most of the night trying to find a solution, and I am afraid I have not been successful.  For once in my life, I can’t think my way out of it. 

I’m so tired and so sad.  Why does it seem as if no matter how hard I try, I can’t get ahead of it all?  Am I having a pity party?  I don’t know.  Whose business is it, really?  If you aren’t paying my bills, or taking care of my family, I don’t care about your opinions.   I just wish I could find the strength to swim to shore, and find my way out of this mess. 

I spend so much time trying to help others so that they don’t have to follow my path, and go through these feelings of defeat, fear…failure.  I would love to be able to talk myself down from the ledge.  It’s 2:58 am, and here I’m stuck in every way.  I don’t think I can find a positive message to end this post with.  At this point in my life, nothing seems the least bit positive. 

 I have no answers to any of these questions, and for a person with control issues, that is a terrifying experience.  All I can ask is that I at least make it out of this in one piece.  I’m going to try, but whatever strength I had has long since left me. 


Be well, my friends. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting To Know Me

Rebecca Lombardo began writing as a child. In third grade, she told everyone that her dream was to be a writer. At the age of 19, she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, but continued to write poetry into her 20’s, until her illness consumed so much of her time and energy, that she just lost the will to write.

She never gave up her dream to be a writer, but the despair she felt over not being able to find the words anymore was just too much for her to take, so she gave up writing for many, many years. Sporadically, she would begin a journal, blog, or even write a poem for her beloved husband, but it was never the same again.

In the summer of 2013, Rebecca faced one of the biggest struggles of her life. After losing both her mom to lung cancer in 2008, and her brother to an accident (on her birthday) in 2011, she felt as if she was drowning. Her physical health continued to deteriorate, and the migraines that were once just a nuisance became a constant, and would sometimes last 6-7 days at a time, and were cause for countless trips to the emergency room.

Trying to pick up the pieces of her life after her mother’s death, she moved forward with running her own pet sitting business, and attempted an online multi-level marketing business. Yet, she fell apart, and there was no way she was going to come back on her own this time. She attempted to take her own life, and was hospitalized against her will in a horrible, horrible place.

When she came out, in roughly the first week in July, her PTSD, anxiety, depression, and grief were overwhelming, and she decided to begin writing again. When the words began to flow easier and easier, she decided that she would be willing to turn it into a blog so that others could see her struggle and know that it’s a vicious cycle but it can be overcome. She hoped that in addition, it would help her get past all of these horrible experiences. As her writing went on, she would receive more and more feedback from total strangers, sometimes in other countries, that would thank her for telling her story. They were grateful that because of her, they were now able to get help.

Eventually, she reached out to a couple of websites that she was fond of, and was invited to be a contributing writer on each.  When her work was finally becoming validated, she felt as if she may be able to turn her blog into a book, to try and help even more people.

At 41 years of age and happily married for nearly 13 years, Rebecca can finally say that she is on her way to reaching her dream. Not only does she hope to help people that are struggling with depression, she hopes to help them realize that you are never too old to find your voice, and make your dream happen.

Rebecca lives in a suburb in Michigan with her husband, Joseph and 5 cats. 4 of which were rescued. Her father lives a short distance away, and is going to be turning 85 this year. She has 3 brothers and 1 sister as well as several nieces and nephews.