ANNIE OAKLEY I’M NOT

Mental Health/Suicide/Gun Control
by – Sheri de Grom

Logo for those of us dedicating much of our lives toward advocacy on behalf of the mentally ill.

Logo for those of us dedicating much of our lives toward advocacy on behalf of the mentally ill.

Compiled from journal notes, April 27 – July 1, 1996, Washington, DC

I’d admitted Tom to another mental health unit in a new Virginia hospital. I had no choice after I discovered him with a gun in his lap. (You may read that post here).

Did I dare hope this hospital’s treatments would be superior to all the others? I would never give up on obtaining the best professional help for Tom.

I hadn’t wanted to go into the office yesterday but it wouldn’t have been fair to my staff to stay home. Our team had an exhausting roster of hot spots requiring investigation. I had to go to the office. If I looked into my soul, all I wanted was the friendship of Jack Daniel’s.

When I arrived at the office I tried to appear calm. But, Ted, my deputy, took one look at me and asked, “How can I help?”

Uncertainty and fear accompanied me everywhere. I should have been ready for this, something, anything—why God—why haven’t I learned yet how to cope with one mental illness hurdle after another?

My meetings and staff reports proceeded as planned. I rushed from building to building at

Walter Reed Army Medical Center Before Moving To Bethesda, MD.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center Before Moving To Bethesda, MD.

the largest Army Medical Center in the United States. As the director of a large division, at the pinnacle of my career, nothing had significance or held my interest.

I despaired, frozen in fear and sadness. I did not want to see or talk with anyone, go anywhere or do anything. Hiding in my office was out of the question. Policy meetings, once exciting, now seemed tedious. My life became pointless. I wanted Tom and I to live happily ever after.

I was furious when Tom’s mother gave him his father’s guns. She even provided ammunition. What could be worse? Why didn’t she just give him permission to shoot himself? My stomach muscles tightened at her complete denial of Tom’s frail existence. I rationalized that she didn’t know what she was doing.

The guns became my nightmare. Tom, with his logical intellect, would debate which gun would be the most accurate for killing himself. I had to dispose of the guns immediately, but didn’t know how. The weapons were not registered in Tom’s home state and they could not be registered in DC.

Two months into Tom’s hospitalization, his psychiatrist told me, “Destroy the guns,” Dr. Frank continued, “I can’t release Tom to day treatment until the guns are gone.”

Early one morning, two months after I’d admitted Tom to the hospital for having the pistol in his lap (you may read that blog here), I openly carried the shotguns and handguns from our home. They included: a German Luger, a pair of matching Ivory-Handled Revolvers, another Ivory-Handled Colt 36, other guns from the 1920s and 30s as well as 4 double-barreled shotguns.

It was late spring, but in my heart, there was nothing but winter ice for the task before me. The cold steel of the guns felt like white-hot coals against my skin. Repulsed, I threw the weapons with their ammunition into the trunk of my car and drove to work.

I never thought about what might happen if anyone saw me with the guns or if I were involved in an accident in the DC beltway traffic. It never entered my mind that my car might be pulled over for a random search at the military installation where I worked. The only thing on my mind was getting rid of those guns.

I moved in a stupor throughout my day at work, knowing I would visit Tom at the hospital on the way home. I was keenly aware that before I got there, I must somehow dispose of my deadly cargo. I panicked; there was nowhere in metropolitan DC to ship the guns from. Once again, I could not share my secret plight with anyone. I was on first and I accepted my responsibility.

Nine p.m. approached as I neared the last possible shipment site before arriving home. I found one parking space in the center of a strip mall that advertised a UPS.

I hadn’t covered the guns, or purchased shipping materials or anything else that I might need. I couldn’t face planning for disposing guns I had never wanted in our home. I had to send the guns far away, anywhere.

I’d never planned to perform an ‘Annie Oakley.’ I walked with confidence, twice, through the cold night air toward the store, with the deadly steel in my arms.

It’s a miracle I wasn’t attacked that night. I still wonder why no security guards approached me or why the UPS clerk hadn’t pushed the panic button beneath the counter when he saw me.

The clerk said, the guns could be shipped if they weren’t loaded.

I don’t have a clue. I signed a certificate verifying the weapons were unloaded, paid $390 and sent the toxic package back to Tom’s mother. I had no intention of buying insurance for safe delivery. I called his mother and told her the guns were being shipped. I doubt she ever understood why her only child couldn’t possess guns.

Tom was dismissed from the hospital to home and day treatment for an indefinite period of time. I became afraid to sleep. What if Tom died while I was sleeping?

I felt detached, as though I were watching someone else’s life unfold. This was denial.

I now acknowledge I didn’t have the power to save Tom’s life then and never will. If he lives it will be because God wants him alive. I play a bit role in Tom’s safety. I pray, God’s will be done.

While I like to think I can save Tom’s life, it means I must sacrifice myself. This sacrifice allows me to deflect from my own issues and emotions because I always thought Tom’s pain was more intense, more agonizing, and therefore, his needs far more significant than mine.

Almost Two Decades Later – I carry on removing guns Tom continues to purchase. THERE IS NO STATE OR FEDERAL LAW PREVENTING THE SALE OF A WEAPON TO SOMEONE WHO HAS ATTEMPTED SUICIDE.

New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition

New Hampshire Firearm Safety Coalition

Our routine has been the same from state to state as my career has evolved. I can’t say how many times we’ve driven, in the middle of the night, to the emergency room because Tom has decided not to live any longer. The ER admission process has not improved (you may read my blog here about stigma in the ER). We’re separated as Tom enters the in-patient mental health ward and I hear the triple-tumbler lock swing into final position. My heart is ravaged much the way a prairie is in a raging fire. The man I love has been locked away with his torment in the psychiatric unit, alone, and I travel the edgy rails of life wondering how we arrived at this junction of our lives.

Thank you for your support. My blog has become a haven where I can express how the disease of bipolar disorder has affected our daily lives for twenty-seven years.

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About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
Aside | This entry was posted in Guns, Mental Health, Suicide and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to ANNIE OAKLEY I’M NOT

  1. 50djohnson says:

    Your blog has touched my heart deeply. Mybrother-in-law is an expoliceman. He now has lupus that is ravaging his body ,and mind and self esteem. My sister is a wreck. As I ask for your prayers I’m adding you to my prayer list. God help us.

  2. lbeth1950 says:

    I believe a lot of people would benefit from your story. I’ve been there with beloved family. It feels so hopeless when mental illness is trying to kill the one you love so dearly. Thanks for writing this.

    • Thanks for your kind response. Those of us who understand mental illness ‘get’ the issue with firearms and why we don’t want our loved ones to have possession of them. Then, there’s the masses sitting in front of the TV who don’t have a clue and believe what the NRA elects to tell them. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      • lbeth1950 says:

        I knew a depressed friend who had reached the depths and reasoned they couldn’t bear the pain another day. They came home intent on killing their parents, sister, and grandmother to spare them the pain of dealing with their own suicide, feeling everyone was in pain like they were. Providentially, the grandmother was out of town, out of reach. It saved the whole family. The planned homicide/suicide was averted, they told the family of their plan and went into therapy. Twenty years later, the person is doing well with medication and has no memory of that incident. Thank God, it didn’t end horribly as it might have. Guns were available.

  3. cindy knoke says:

    What a nightmare. This is what struck me the most, so impressed that you have gotten to this most accurate and couragous place:
    “I now acknowledge I didn’t have the power to save Tom’s life then and never will. If he lives it will be because God wants him alive. I play a bit role in Tom’s safety. I pray, God’s will be done.
    While I like to think I can save Tom’s life, it means I must sacrifice myself. This sacrifice allows me to deflect from my own issues and emotions because I always thought Tom’s pain was more intense, more agonizing, and therefore, his needs far more significant than mine.”
    You writing and your story is gripping, honest, reflective and very powerful. I hope you publish this as a book. People will be immensely helped by it~

    • Cindy – Thank you for the kind words. I always thought I would publish but time after time, agents have told me my writing is too dark and too depressing. They believe no one would buy and/or read it. I worked hard for 12 years, going to conferences to pitch, sending query letters and all the things I thought would help. Finally, I decided to start the blog with the hopes I’d be able to help others by writing truthfully about what came up in Tom’s and my life and how we handled it on a daily basis.
      I so want others to understand that yes, it’s a long and difficult journey yet, the beautiful moments encountered far out way the agony of the darkness.
      I fear we’ve entered the phase now wherein the massive amounts of psychiatric drugs prescribed for Tom over the years have literally eaten his organs until he has nothing left to protect him.
      Thank you for your support. You’ll never know how much it means. I know you’ll be honest with me.
      I finally figured out how to set your blog up as a slide show for the television and oh what a beautiful experience. I light a few candles in the bedroom, put on nice piano music and together Tom and I drift and snooze and wake and talk about our own travels. Cindy, you are with us more often than you know.

  4. Sending peace and comfort to you and Tom. Holding out hope for a break in the chaos.

    • So nice to see you here. Come on in and let’s have a cup of coffee and we’ll try to make sense of why Tom’s had seven different doctors misdiagnose what’s going on with him since September 22. We finally have 1 we think we can work with but it’s going to be a long haul. His physical body is worn out from all of the medications prescribed over the years.

  5. Hi Sheri- Just as an aside, I neglected to mention how much I like your (recently) new avatar. What a wonderful dog, and the photo radiates warmth. Keep up the good work; the world needs to be aware of the information you provide.

  6. mihrank says:

    Dear Sherri – I ask God you give you strength and health to take care Tom. I feel with you each moment, how hard it could be, You are doing such important work!! Keep up!!

    • Thank you, Mihran. I’ll be fighting bureaucracy in 2015. I’d like to say it’s going to be easy but you and I both know it will be an uphill battle. Thankfully, I have the legislative experience behind me and I’m ready for a hard fight.
      Tom’s illness has progressed to a purely medical one from all the medications he was inappropriately given for well over 20 years. We pray we’ve found another new doctor who seems honestly concerned about what’s been going on that keeps him bed-ridden most of the time.
      We have hope. In the meantime, we continue to listen to much of your music. I often peek in on Tom and he may me asleep but your music is still playing and I know your music transported him away from his pain so that he might sleep for an hour or two.
      We thank you for sharing your beautiful music, Mihran.

  7. Simona says:

    HAPPY SUNDAY 🙂

  8. bjsscribbles says:

    That is such and enthralling personal plight. You are a courageous woman. Full of loyalty to your husbands plight. Brilliant

    • B.J. – I decided 2015 was the year I really had to let go and mine my journals for the whole truth about living with someone that’s bipolar. My unconditional love for Tom and his for me is the strong tie that keeps us together when times are tough. I’m a firm believer that if every bipolar individual had one person who loved them enough, we wouldn’t have so many of the problems we see in today’s world.
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I always appreciate your visits and your insight to whatever it is that I blog about. Sincerely, Sheri

  9. What you are doing is vitally important, Sheri. You have a perspective and a “voice” unlike any other. You continue to raise critical issues in the way our government and the medical profession deal with mental illness.

  10. Oh my, Sheri. This is so raw and real. It’s heartening to know what you’ve done all these years to keep Tom safe and alive. He is truly the love of your life. And here it is – your birthday! I hope it’s a peaceful and calm one. Hugs, Mary

    • Hi Mary, Yep, it’s my birthday and it’s been a great day. I spent most of the afternoon with friends calling with birthday greetings and what time I wasn’t on the phone, I spent browsing on http://www.fixit.com. They are my favorite shopping site – I simply looked around today but it’s amazing the bargains they throw out. It’s definitely a place where one could overdo it without realizing that’s exactly what they had done.
      Yes, you are so right, Tom is the love of my life. He pulled of what I thought was the impossible for my birthday and he still won’t fess up. Thank you for stopping in to read with me. BTW, your calendar has found a home where we both see it several times a day. As you said, we can use all the Zen in our lives that we can get!

  11. Sheri, I have been missing on the blog-circuit for some time now. And I am warmed by your devotion and caring … to share your journey with Tom and to bring us a new insight not only on mental health,but on care-giving.

    The damage that is done to so many out there by prescription drugs is staggering, the results devastating to them and their families. By bringing us this story and sharing your struggle, you not only help others avoid this from happening, you also give comfort to others who are doing battle.

    Glad to read you again, my dear friend 🙂

    • Florence – It’s so nice to see you again, and yes, I’ve missed you. I was gone much longer than anticipated. As I’ve told others, 2015 is my year to do battle with gun legislation along with my mental health care advocacy. The prescription drugs given so freely must be reigned in for they are as deadly as any other component of bipolar disorder.
      The media has done a grave injustice to those with a mental illness when it comes to gun control. If we listened to the media, everyone would believe a mental disorder automatically led to murder and mayhem and we both know that’s not true.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It means the world to me.

  12. My heart bleeds for you. I have depression and Bipolar in some of my family. But I’ve tried and can not lead a horse to water and make it drink. I seemed to have been made the scape goat and I’m to blame that these individuals are depressed.

    I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. But it’s constantly on my mind.

  13. huntmode says:

    Sheri, I’ve read this and the earlier one you linked to. I salute your willingness to lay it all out on the line for us and for all those who deal with this disease – both those who have it and those who are care givers or suffer collateral damage or both. I am so glad for you that you wrote equally of the good times with Tom, as this remains a beacon of light for you both. I am here, as are all your readers and we are listening. xxoo HuntMode

    • Huntie – Thanks for reading with me and commenting. Yes, 2015 is the year I have dragons to slay. I plan to pull from my journals (but certainly not the majority of my blogs) as I want the raw emotion that comes with bipolar disorder and how it’s been for me, the wife and lover. You’re aware our energies are pouring into Tom’s physical issues as the years progress but considering the doctors told me in Dec of 1987 that he wouldn’t live through the following year, I’d say together, we’ve done a darn good job.
      I’ll be talking with you soon.

  14. It’s always so touching and moving to read your posts, Sheri. The way you describe leaving Tom in the mental hospital rings bells in my mind, of course – the memories of the times my young daughter has had to enter the psych wards. Talk about a depressing “knell” that you feel in your heart and hear in your ears.
    I look forward to your stories – always.

    • Patti – Yes, hearing that tumbler click into place never gets easier and trying to get our minds to accept that those we love will be treated with love and respect is more than tough. It takes far more courage than we ever knew we had to turn around and walk down that long empty hallway where there are no smiles or pretty paintings in pastel colors on the walls. Leaving the hospital and heading to the parking lot is equally difficult. I’ve sat on the curb and cried more than once while praying, God’s will be done.
      It’s always been a middle of the night admission for us, unless it was a direct admit, and I know you must have those same wrung out feelings that I had each time Tom was admitted.
      Thankfully, Tom has been admission free (with the exception of his physical illnesses) since 2005 when we found his present psychiatrist. I’d love to move us on to the west coast but we cannot leave Tom’s current psychiatrist!
      I won’t tell you those emergency admissions get easier for they never did for me. I felt each one taking a piece of my soul. Thanks for reading with me, Patti. I always look forward to your comments. Love, Sheri

      • Well, my daughter was just admitted through the ER last night or should I say this morning (!) and is at a psych holding facility for evaluation since 3:30 a.m. today. I just spoke with the nurse and she’ll be moved for the 51/50 stay which of course means I won’t have her here with me for the next 3 days. Right now I’m feeling rather dead and dull about it, I know it’s my mind and body’s way of trying not to freak out – again. She’s been fine since October of last year so this is rather discouraging and disappointing for her and for us. She’ll be fine, I know, but she just didn’t feel safe here because if I fell asleep on “suicide watch” she thought she might run away and/or hurt herself. It is a hard road for teens these days and I would NOT change places with her, growing up in these times. It’s too hard. Anyway, this is turning out to be all about me. I want to thank you for your post, Sheri, and one of the biggest reasons is because we can all take this stuff “out of the closet” and talk about it here, safely. I think of you and Tom often and I am so glad you found a good psychiatrist for him. That is SO very important.
        Much love,
        Patti

        • My heart is with you and your daughter. I know this is terrible time for you. I remember how difficult it was for me to accept my brother’s problems. You and Sheri always bring us all to the true heart of the matter. Love you 🙂

        • Patti – I’m stretching my arms all the way to the coast to give you a warm hug. I could spew a thousand dribbles but none of them would make you feel better. Please know that I care deeply for you and about your daughter. You are in one of those really tough places where you have no choice but to trust the system and I so remember what that’s like. I applaud you for being willing to ‘talk’ about your feelings here. I’m never more than a phone call away from you.
          Never worry about a comment being ‘about you.’ That’s what I want from my blogs. I want to give a forum to others where they feel safe and know they are not alone. Where they’ll find others that have been through the same situation you’ve been through.
          Do you have a support group? I never recommend trying to get through caring for someone alone. It’s too much for you.
          Take care, Patti, and know I’m here and that I care. Sheri

  15. That is an amazing loophole in the law. Of all the people who shouldn’t own guns, people with no fear of death should be near the top.

    • Jacqui – Thanks to the NRA, we don’t have gun laws worth the paper they are written on. Nothing of substance has changed since the early 1940s. However, not that I’ll make an impact, I’ve signed on to write White Papers and legislation for proposed administrative law that will hopefully keep some safe from themselves. I decided 2015 had to be the year I spread my advocacy work and that meant including gun legislation.
      Thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to read with me and leave a comment.

  16. Thank you for writing this from your journal notes. Suicidality and gun control are such important issues to address.

    • Kitt – Thanks for stopping by. I’ve decided there’s no way to meet the issue of suicide by gun unless someone starts doing something about it and then it hit me – if I keep waiting around – nothing is going to happen. I’ve added this issue to my advocacy for 2015 as it includes not just private individuals but Veterans as well. I know my proposal will not be met with cheers, but something must be done.
      I hope to be back into the swing of things with blogging and advocacy. I’ve been out of the loop for far longer than I intended. I do hope you are doing well. I have reading to do if I’m ever going to catch up with your blog. You are indeed a great hope for advocacy.

  17. willowdot21 says:

    I do not know what to say apart from how much I admire your staunch love and support for Tom. You have kept him alive.You deserve to to be proud of yourself. I do hope you have a good network of friends to lean on, I know when my husband was at his lowest depressed state not wating to go on I found friends support a boon.
    I do know though the worst times are fter you shut your front door on the world and you are alone. Please if you ever need to talk you can email me. Sending you love and strength! xxx

    • Thank you so much. Now that we have Tom’s new psychiatrist we found in 2005, he has been hospitalization free and his depressions are never as bad as before. He still has to fight the depressed state but it’s so much different. Most of our problems now are the many diseases attacking his body related to all the psychiatric drugs he was prescribed over the years.
      I can definitely relate to your feeling after you shut your front door. All those years, when I worked for the government, I had no one I could talk with about Tom being bipolar, with the exception of one friend. Then when my career moved us to Washington, DC, there was no one I could trust and I had 6 years when there was not one person I could tell what was happening in my private life. Those were really tough times. I had a career requiring 80 hours a week and Tom seemed to require another 80. It was tough going but I can look back on those days now and thank God for he walked with me through some very dark days and nights.

  18. I admire your tenacity and resolve, Sheri. How you have managed at all for twenty-seven years of fighting the system and fighting for proper care for Tom is unimaginable to me. Do look after yourself too. ❤ ❤ ❤

    • Tess – Thank you for your continuing support. I decided 2015 had to be the year I allowed everyone to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of bipolar disorder in our lives. When I read the words of my journal, they often cut through me the same as a serrated knife. The opposite however is when I stumble onto page after page of spending glorious days with Tom. Days of sunshine and laughter. Days of smiles and the joy of being alive and most of all, simply being together. Have a great week, Tess, and I’ll be dropping by your home to read with you. I’ve missed blogging and hope I’m actually back this time.

  19. Sheri, you’ve written another moving, beautifully articulated post which has that horror always under the surface – as was the previous piece you’d written about finding Tom with the gun. Not only a description of your life, but also a message, as always, about the realities of living with this disease and the way society makes it more difficult to do so.

    • Andrea – Thank you for your kind words. I try not to sound melodramatic when I write about experiences of living day in and day out with Tom’s disease. He is so much more than the disease itself and my desire this year is to bring a balance to my blog that will show why not only am I continuing to battle for those mental disorders but also have taken up the campaign for gun reform. Politics must come out of both before the US will make progress before we’ll have a prayer of success. Thank you for your encouragement.
      I’m enjoying reconnecting with my blogging community and hope to make it a regular part of my day again. While writing this post, I felt as though I was coming home to a group of dear friends that understood where I was coming from. I appreciate your being here. Sheri

  20. I read this, and went to the older post you linked here. I hope many people read this. This isn’t something that others will ever understand until we who don’t know, pay attention to those who do know. Thank you for sharing your, and Tom’s, story. We need better, much better, treatment, care and understanding. Like what you do.

    • Colleen – Thank you for your support my friend. It’s good to be blogging again as it helps me stay focused on what it is I believe is the focused I need to take my career. As I said to Tess above, Bipolar Disorder, is not all gloom and doom, but for someone looking for all sides of the information, I believe it’s my responsibility to allow others to know in a concise and truthful way some of the many tough emotional times Tom and I both encountered because of the disease. Thousands go through the same issues each and every day and I feel we have the advantage as I know the laws and have made it my mission to learn how to work the legal system. I’ve worked the system for Tom and I as I know how to write the legal briefs, etc. However, for individuals that have no idea where to start, I help them put a case together in order that they may present a nicely laid out case to an attorney so the attorney can more speedily file for disability and medical benefits.
      I’ll also be addressing gun control in 2015 – I’ve become ever so passionate about it. I’m not a radical but no matter how serious parents and grandparents with small children or the mentally unstable individual in the home is, guns must be removed.

      • You are welcome for any support I can give Sheri. I appreciate hearing your voice. I am no where near an expert. In the last twenty years I have worked in many situations where persons have been dealing with bipolar and the scenarios have ranged from the families having no idea it existed (including the person who suffered with it being undiagnosed!) to people who had diagnosed and refused treatment and everything and every scenario in between. And most people feeling completely ill equipped to deal with, or help themselves or their loved ones. I know only enough to know to get help. And often times, guns have played in to the equation. So I understand your passion and extreme concern. Guns absolutely must be removed.

        You have a very strong voice. People will be helped because of you.

        • You are so right in the disease of bipolar disorder being in the lives of so many and in so many shapes and forms. I’ve been fortunate in that Tom has been willing to get help and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I’ll never know why Tom thinks a gun needs to be in the house. We both grew up with guns but we both lived in rural areas as kids. Our minds hold many mysteries.
          I believe strongly that guns must not be available to those with a mental illness. The public is convinced by media that the mentally ill will use the guns to harm others but the tragedy is the bipolar patient wants a weapon to put themselves out of their misery and with distorted thinking believe they will make life easier on their family.

          • Sheri, I hope people recognize how passionate your voice is. How experienced. And understanding.

            I’ve been made aware of so many situations where people refuse treatment. So many situations where there is little, if any, understanding. And guns? You are correct, people don’t get it. The idea that they have “always been in the family” or “we’ve always had guns to hunt” or “he/she would never hurt anyone” is the only thing they will allow themselves to believe. Sadly, the distorted thinking is not always ‘just’ on the part of the person with bipolar.

            • So true, Colleen. Often the biggest enemy for the mentally ill individual is the family and/or friends. The road is tough enough without someone else throwing barbs at the mentally ill individual.
              Thank you for the kind comments. Sheri

              • You’re welcome Sheri. One of the most difficult things I hear is when someone who knows of a diagnosis says to me “I don’t know why they act this way” because I may have two minutes of a telephone conversation to try and educate someone who knows their family/friend/neighbor is diagnosed with a mental illness but they have no understanding at all of what that means. And they think someone can just “control it”. Hence….barbs and lack of understanding.

  21. Marie Abanga says:

    Dear Sherri,

    Am glad to have you posting again. I care less about the frequency. You are a wonder woman. I coincidentally did a post yesterday about ” it always seems easier to do from the outside”, and l celebrated caregivers like yourself. I feel you, empathy is all l got and sure love and best wishes. I wish there was something more l could do

    • Marie – You are an angel for being there and listening and taking in what I have to write. As I’ve said to others, 2015 is my year to not only post some of the terrible times Tom and I’ve been up against (memories from my journals) but also to blog about the wonderful times we’ve spent together and how Tom helped me often in steering me when I had questions about my own work in DC [I like to plow through when I’m passionate about something] and Tom has a way of keeping me grounded. Along with the tough experiences, there’s so many positive components to our relationship. I never thought our love could be stronger, but it is. We love the time we spend together – it can simply holding the others hand at the movies, but it’s loving and touching. I’ve had a lot to learn in the arena of mental health and my primary advise to anyone asking about learning to live with a bipolar mate, I always refer them to Kay Redfield Jamison and her book, An Unquiet Mind. As far as I’m concerned, it is indeed a classic.

  22. ksbeth says:

    i’m so sorry you are going through this. it must be incredibly hard. – beth

    • Beth – This is an excerpt from one of my journals. I’ll be doing several journal excerpts this year as it’s one of the ways I know to bring the raw emotion to the page and not water down the reality of the disease for the individual with the illness or the person that loves them. Tom’s medical issues now are physical caused almost 100% by the medications prescribed for him before we met his present psychiatrist.

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