hands

Where Is Hope Hiding?

Painful Circumstances

My younger brother became gravely ill less than a year after the birth of his son (who had entered the world three months early).  It was an emotional time for all…first pulling for the little one and then pulling for his daddy.

Without going into details of my brother’s illness, he fought for his health and for his life over the next five years.  He had numerous transfusions, sat on a transplant list, and had complications with multiple organs.  His body seemed to be crumbling a bit at a time.  Each time I saw him, he was thinner, becoming skeletal.  Eventually, his appearance reminded me of the haunting images of Auschwitz’s prisoners.  Eyes sunken in, arms gangly.  Remaining properly nourished was a challenge when he couldn’t keep much down.  In August 2016, I traveled to Colorado to visit him in the hospital.  I didn’t realize these few days would be the last days of conversations between us. During that week, I spent every night in his hospital room.  We talked and talked and talked: about life, about memories, about hopes for the future, about marriage, children, and family.

sickness
His final month of life; still has an appetite!

Surgery was scheduled for that week.  Not only would this procedure improve current complications, it would also bump him up on the transplant list.  Before rolling away for surgery, I leaned over and kissed his forehead.  He gave me his quirky smile that said, “You’re my weird sister,” and I chuckled.  However, I became startled when my lips met his forehead.  He had no fat on his bones, I knew, but I wasn’t expecting the feeling that I was kissing his skull.  His skin was so dry and so thin and stretched tightly across his forehead.

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Dried Roses

Mental Health & Marriage: Handle With Care

Marriage and mental health struggles don’t exactly go hand-in-hand.  

I haven’t always been sure my husband and I could overcome our challenges.  He didn’t set out to look for a wife who fights daily battles within her own mind.  Unfortunately, life has brought us here.  For better or for worse, right?  We went into this marriage believing that divorce is not an option; however, occasions emerged that cracked open that door.  We each have our own mental hardships; yet, with care and effort, we have held on.  Our first date was summer of 1994 at the Kimbell Art Museum, and today we celebrate our nineteenth year of marriage.  Yes, not the round 20, but each year deserves celebration!

Every year of marriage deserves a celebration, yet so does every day?! Click To Tweet

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Silent

Do Not Keep Silent

It has begun.

The pushback from family and friends who do not appreciate that I’ve chosen to write about mental health. That is why I will continue. People battling through each day need to know they are not alone, that others do understand and will listen without immediately trying to “fix” them. Healing is a multifarious process and is gradual. The average time bipolar 2 can go undiagnosed is six years. For me, it was ten. Following diagnosis, the process of pursuing the best path for healing begins.

The road to healing is different for everyone. Trial and error occurs with medication; treatment that works for one, may not work for another. Therapy and other lifestyle changes are slow. I can only share my personal experiences and observations. I can only share someone else’s story if we’ve come to an understanding. Don’t be so quick to silence someone because you disagree with his/her viewpoint. Don’t discredit feelings. Feelings just..are, they are not right or wrong.

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