If Only There Were Cell Phones in Heaven

For my Gram...

If only there were cell phones in heaven, this would not be so cruel.
I could still call you with all my secrets, and you could still help me think things through.
I’ve never told you a lie in my life—at times I bet you wish I had.
If only there were cell phones in heaven, I could still confide in you, no matter how good or how bad

If only there were cell phones in heaven, I could hear your voice forever.
And you could hear my strength and courage, because with patience and time my broken heart will get better.
After all, you taught me I always make it through
And as usual you are right, I somehow always do.

You should know I believe in angels, so I expect nonetheless. 
Watch over me, will you? This is what you do best.  

Since there are no cell phones in heaven, I promise you this now,
I will take care of Pop in every way that I know how.
So please do not be scared, Pop will be in amazing hands.
You need not feel guilty either, we have no control over God’s plans.

There are no cell phones in heaven, so I must tell you this as much as I can,
I love you, I love you, I love you…
And refuse to see this as the end.
No distance between us has ever torn us apart.  
And I believe we will always be connected, from the bottom of my heart. 
So I love you, I love you, I love you


…Until we meet again.

Love,

Me

Fat is Not a Feeling: Open Letter to Myself

Dear Shannon,

The scale does not know you, not like I do. And if it did it would say, “STOP STEPPING ON ME”. And no, not because you are too heavy for the scale, so don’t go there…

Fat is not a feeling and should not dictate whether you want to live. That is utterly ridiculous. No one cares about how you look, except you. Really and truly, your loved ones want to see you happy, not skinny. If it was an actual choice they could make on your behalf, they would all vote for happy. Trust me. 

When your husband holds you tight and tells you how beautiful he thinks you are—believe him. Trust his words over your distorted thoughts. 

Yes, you are not at the weight you want to be…But, have you ever been?

You have tried starvation once before, how did that go? I seem to remember you were down to 100lbs and still believed you were fat and despicable. You tortured yourself every day no matter what the scale said.

Don’t you remember that time of your life? I know you remember your families’ tears wishing for you to get better. Knowing that you hurt them hurt you more than anything, and it haunts you still today. In fact, you always tell yourself you wish you could take back those years in a heartbeat. So I know you never want that again. 

You have to stop spending your hours making grandiose plans to lose 70lbs—you will just fail. And aside from despising how you look, you despise failing. So stop setting yourself up! Life’s a bitch as it is. 

Bottom line: You are fooling yourself to think that losing weight will make you happy. It never did ad it never will. I told you before—fat is not a feeling which means: SKINNY IS NOT ONE EITHER.

Your mind believes what you tell it, Shannon—so tell it the truth.

Love,

Me

An Imagination That Can't Be Treated

Hi there. If you are reading this please know everything written is coming from my brain—which means these thoughts are all real to me, but likely unrealistic or potentially disturbing to “normal” people. I consider a “normal” person anyone that advises me not to act on everything I think and feel. How annoying is that? They must be the crazy ones, not me!

Everything my mind conjures up seems so brilliant in that moment. My feelings seem appropriate and valid in my head. How dare someone else tell me otherwise? But, alas, these nut jobs do deserve credit as they have kept me alive, stood by my side, taught me to be strong, and there is a special place in my heart and mind that loves and appreciates them more than words can say. So, thank you crazy people—stay nuts.

Make no mistake, I despise these crazies all the time especially when they are right in matters that concern my mental health. For example, when they suggest I engage in things like physical activities, taking medication, or meditation to “calm down”. Seriously? This is how I know they are not normal. When I passionately rant and rave about my brilliant racing thoughts and ideas—these are quite literally the worst three suggestions in the world. Even if I were to admit they work, which I will not, they are still awful and terrible and should be banned as suggestions to me effective immediately.

Okay, okay, so what the hell am I getting at? After 27 years of fighting, I decided to open my mind to the idea that I am “bipolar”…

Wait…nope…I still think that sounds ridiculous. I just went back and put quotations around the big bad “b-word”. I’ll stick with the title of this book and only admit to the following:

I’m Shannon, and I am my own bipolar. I have an imagination that can’t be controlled or sedated. My mind has a great sense of humor and tricks me all the time. Medication does allow me to be a high-functioning human that can enjoy things in life, only when I decide to take it consistently (vomit). There is one big exception and that is when my archenemy strikes every month. I then become a big weepy anxious PMS bitch. My mother says, “Steer Clear!” How unbelievably not funny is that?

…Good advice to the general public though.

MOVING ON…

Right now it is 1:41pm on Thursday July 2nd, 2015 and I feel blessed to have medications, mental health professionals, and loving family and friends that have kept me alive to imagine and feel all that I do…every second of every day.

You should know I recently decided to open my mind to this whole concept of acceptance. By recent I mean yesterday morning Wednesday, July 1st while smoking a cigarette on the balcony. And then about an hour ago today, I was in Barnes and Noble looking for a book on the subject of “bipolar” and found none to my liking. That pissed me off a little. So naturally, I came home and started writing my own book. And, that’s how it goes. Taking on new projects that I have no time for is how I operate.

I’m currently in Graduate school for counseling, and normally working during the day as well. However, work is on a slight pause because three months ago I found out my husband was actively using drugs and alcohol unbeknownst to me. In fact, he even took the drugs prescribed to me that I failed to take myself. How ironic. Threw me for a loop to put it lightly. So I am in recovery working on myself in Al-Anon and very grateful for that. My husband is amazing and working his recovery too and we are just in a new chapter of life. My brain never dreamt up that whole scenario. In fact, I only brought him to the hospital because I was convinced he had a brain tumor. Dramatic, I know.

The point is that I am a busy girl with lots to do yet always dreaming up new endeavors. Did you know last week I was googling what it takes to become a foster parent? I later decided to put that on hold. The crazies advised me it wasn’t a great idea at this time. What they really mean is that it will never be a good idea, but too nice to say it. Or maybe I’m taking that personally and maybe it will happen one day? Ehhhhhh…I’ll float the idea out there again in 2016 just to see what they say and report back.

Unfortunately, I read on a chart that taking on multiple projects is a sign of the “b-word”. Crap, thanks Google.

Now, Tuesday morning I would have tried a different search engine in hopes that a different more accurate chart of “bipolar” would appear; one that did not describe my personality and behaviors. But I’m realizing, as I type, that would have been a waste of time. I have a much better idea—make my own damn chart with all the unique things about myself that only I would know. Add that to my list of endeavors—make a new chart, get Google to list that first, with a free template designed for others to complete and post. I just thought of all this in the time it took to type it. My mind works seventeen steps ahead of my fingers, at minimum. Ideas do not stop. But now I’m bored of writing and thinking about dinner so I’ll resume at some point…or maybe never…unclear.

Love,

Me

Heart-breaking Holiday Crisis

It’s Valentines Day…but this blog is about Halloween. Sorry.

Halloween is the one official holiday I refuse to celebrate and completely despise. I hate it. Unfortunately, I was born right before this tragedy of a holiday so I have traumatic memories of terrible Halloween-themed birthday parties.

You would think the birthday girl would get to go to Party City and pick out something superb and adorable. Well, not the case in my house. Party City was considered a rip off and my Dad’s closet was “just fine” to find a costume.

WHAT?!

I naturally had the WORST costumes every year…after year…after year…

Here is one of my most scarring birthday parties. As discussed above, I had the privilege of shopping in my father’s closet. So one year my parents threw me another unwarranted Halloween birthday party, costumes required.

Believe me when I tell you, I still to this day I have no idea what I was dressed up as. I’ve narrowed it to two valid options:

1.     Robber

2.     Prisoner

Wow. Those are two winning costumes right there. What little birthday girl dresses up like an ambiguous criminal?

Was I actively robbing banks or already serving my sentence? I could not tell you. No one at the party could tell you. But as I sat on the front stoop greeting all my friends, I certainly got asked this entirely legit question:

Friends: “What are you supposed to be, Shannon?

Me: “I don’t know, maybe a robber or something (sigh)...thanks for coming to my party”

Friends: “Oh, (awkward silence) Happy Birthday. Can you guess what I am?!”

Based on their clearly defined costumes, there was no guess needed. I could easily reply with an accurate answer, such as: Power Ranger, Princess, Ballerina, Cookie Monster, Witch, Ghost…

And then for a few hours, I sat around at my own birthday party, in my own home, watching adorable princess angel ballerina friends wave sparkling wands around.

It was torture.

The only reason I even went trick or treating was because my Dad had me and my siblings compete for who scored the most candy. I won every year. But don’t ask my brother, he will tell you something different and it will just be too confusing for you.

In all seriousness, my only good memory of Halloween is counting candy out of a pillow case at the end of the night. But then I got too afraid to actually eat any of it. Clearly our long time friendly neighbors poisoned it. I saw it happen to other kids on TV. Don’t have to warn me twice.

How about I change it up next year? I will celebrate my birthday on a nude beach wearing my real birthday suit, sipping hundreds of virgin Pina-coladas. BAM. Yearly seasonal crisis solved.

My parents will be so proud!

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day! Back to celebrating love…<3

Open Letter From a Recovering Wife

After reading An Open Letter From an Addict, I took the liberty of writing a letter back early on in my own recovery. Yes, MY recovery. After finding out my husband was actively using for years, I was devastated. How could I not know? What was I thinking this whole time?

It was eventually suggested to me to go to Al-Anon. What the heck? I did not have time for that crap. Why should I go to a 12-step program when everything is HIS fault, right?!

WRONG.

Very, very wrong!

Even though I had no idea my husband was actively using drugs, I had become sick and insane without knowing it. I needed to take time and deal with ME, not him! And now, I make sure I make the time to take care of myself which is the best thing I can do.

If you are affected by the family disease of addiction—I encourage you to reach out and find help. There is no shame in reaching out—only hope.

No family immune to addiction...but recovery is possible. So here's my voice as a bipolar wife now living with a recovering addict:

Dear Addict,

I write this letter with gratitude because through uncovering your addiction I found Al-Anon—a recovery program that in little over 4 months has changed my life every moment I work the program. Al-Anon is a lifestyle for me and as of today I will write exactly what that means…

Do accept I am intelligent enough to fully understand and firmly believe you have a disease. You may have “fooled” me once, but know I have embraced Step 1 and my powerlessness over your choices make it impossible for you to fool me again.

Don’t expect perfection. I am a human with defects just as you are, but do know I am well aware of when I put Al-Anon into practice and when I don’t. You need not analyze my recovery process or judge it because you, my dear addict, are powerless over me too.

Know that you are no longer my top priority but I love you no less than I did before. However, I now need to love God and myself first.

Understand that loving others and serving others outside of you is not a punishment or reflection of resentment—it is a form of respect for myself, for us as a couple, and for the family disease of addiction.

I keep my promises and please respect my promises because they are not empty threats. My recovery is based around me and my Higher Power and the boundaries I set have only healthy interests in mind.

While I did not cause your disease, can’t cure your disease, or control it—I refuse to fuel it.

Through loving you I have a deeper love and respect for myself and my faith.

So I choose faith over fear

I choose health instead of habitual harm

I choose responsibility not reactivity

I choose serenity not insanity--- and have faith in this possibility.

My prayers, compassion, and unconditional love for you will never cease. Wherever life takes us, whatever God has in store for us—I trust that path.

I trust I can’t trust you and there is no blame or resentment in that fact. It is a fact and a symptom of addiction I simply have no control over.

I did feel broken but today I feel restored. God and Al-Anon have allowed me to build a much stronger self than I ever imagined.

With love and gratitude and respect,

Your wife in recovery

*Please note, this letter is my own and unrelated to any AlAnon approved literature.