Illness is hard

I try to be positive on my site, but I’m going to vent for a moment.

I’m more stable now then I have been in many years. An accurate diagnosis can be a glorious thing. But, with that hunt for an accurate diagnosis came more medication changes and trials/ errors than I can even remember. Psych meds, more than half the time, cause weight gain. As someone with an eating disorder, it’s hard to accept the 90 pound weight gain in exchange for mental stability. I hate my body and everything about how I look. I avoid reunions and hanging out with friends because I’m so embarrassed of how I look. But, at the same time, I’m less of a burden on these people now that I’m mentally stable and not in and out of the psych ward every couple months.

I still have mood shifts, they just aren’t as frequent. Bipolar II is a wicked thing to have. I’m horribly depressed and unable to function some days, then the next thing you know I’m bouncing off the walls, on a cleaning and shopping spree and then comes the dreaded crash. It’s awful. I never know when I wake up (or even throughout the course of a single day) which mood will come next. I have a hard time planning events for too many days ahead because I never know what my mood will be. Will I be bedridden and paralyzed by fear and anxiety? Will I be manic? Will I be “normal”?

The depression brings such intense anxiety that I literally can’t function. I’ll spend all day in bed attempting to hide from my mind. (If only that worked!) My mind whirls relentlessly, convincing me that I’m worthless, a pain in the butt, better off dead, etc. It’s exhausting and, no doubt, frustrating to not only me, but all those who deal with me.

My latest medicine combo, along with twice monthly electroconvulsive therapy treatments, has me more stable than I have been in years and I’m grateful for it. But, medicine is not a cure. It simply helps to manage the conditions that are present. I’ll be on these meds the rest of my life. I’ll most likely have my brain zapped for many more years to come. All this to just survive.

I write, speak and do a lot to help spread awareness about these diseases that a lot of people think are made-up, not real or attention seeking. It has sort of turned into my life mission. I’m sure I will always struggle. It’s a terrible inconvenience, no doubt. I can admit that right now I’m struggling. I’m in the throws of an ugly depression and I’m just writing to vent about how much it sucks.

Hopefully one day I’ll see not only my own value, but also that maybe this life isn’t so bad after all. I’ve spent six years in search of an accurate diagnosis and I finally have one. I had spent a lifetime feeling anxious and depressed one minute and manic the next and so it’s nice to feel “better”, but it’s hard to grasp that, short of a divine intervention, “better” is my new normal… even if it sucks (albeit, sucks less than before).

Friends, be kind to one another. Show compassion and grace. Accept others for who they are.

Much Love,

~Lindsay

This entry was posted on April 27, 2017.

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

My name is Lindsay Alyson Ensor. There are a few things I need you to know about me. I am a real, live person. A real person with a real life.

I am a mom, wife, sister, and friend.

I am also a writer, speaker, and advocate for what I believe in.

I am a child of God. I am a warrior. I am a survivor.

I suffer from arthritis and a disease known as Ankylosing Spondylitis that leaves me in chronic physical pain taking chemotherapy drugs to fight its progression.

I am mentally ill. I have anxiety. I have depression. I have bipolar II disorder. I am fighting to gain remission from what has been a lifelong battle with bulimia. I am recovering from addiction to opioids and self harm. I am finally at a point in my life where I want to live and I am not actively seeking a way to die or harm myself in some way.

I am a fighter. I stand up for and fight for the wellbeing of my chronically ill child. I am his advocate.

I stand up for mental health issues. I share my story.

I may not have it all together. I may not have a huge house or a fancy car. But what I DO have is love. I have HOPE. I have faith. I have the drive in me to help others gain knowledge about illnesses so that they best know how to help themselves and/or others.

So, Reader, what I want you to know is this: There is HOPE, there is HEALING, and there is LOVE. I am real.

I will not be silent.

Love,

Me

 

 

~Lindsay

This entry was posted on March 5, 2017.

Working…

… on a new look!

Stay tuned and please be patient with our mess!

~Lindsay

This entry was posted on January 29, 2017.

My Mission

If I look like a fool to millions but help one, then it is all worth it.

 

I think it’s super easy right now to get caught up in the emotion, the frustration and the inner thoughts we all have of what is happening around us. But please, don’t forget to focus on YOUR mission; what YOU are here to do. If you feel called to a greater cause or good, please don’t hold back in your pursuits of that- whatever it may be. Remember that we are here to love, help and embrace those around us.

My mission and purpose is to serve others and advocate for mental health awareness of all kinds. My story isn’t always easy to hear or acknowledge, but I share it because I am not here for accolades or praise. I’m here on this earth to fulfill a greater calling. The quote listed above helps me remember to stay focused, even on the hardest of days when I feel like I’m being judged, shunned or looked at as if I am nothing but a fool.

Be kind to one another today. Love someone. You never know who is fighting the hardest of battles today.

~Lindsay

This entry was posted on January 29, 2017.

Midlife

Picture

~Lindsay

This entry was posted on December 29, 2016.

It is well with my soul

~Lindsay

This entry was posted on December 29, 2016.

Crushing Heartache

Learning the hard way right now to put my faith into action.

God’s got a plan.

My children, are just on loan to me until that plan is fulfilled.

Whether it’s now or years down the road, we have no choice but to cling to that.

Mason has been in the hospital, diagnoses added, questions unanswered. My heart feels like it is being ripped out. But I’m a faith-seeker. Trying to cling to hope.

~Lindsay

This entry was posted on December 29, 2016.

Journal 12/25/16

As 2016 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect upon the things on the year that now lies behind us.
I faced mental illness, physical illness, illnesses and diagnoses of my children. I questioned and doubted my faith. I begged my own heart to stop beating, while deep inside wanting to be rescued by none other than my Father above. 
The days I walked down my own path instead of the one He had laid out before me.
The days I ignored God and chose to go my own way. 
The days I sat in a hospital room beside my ailing child and only THEN turned to God because all light seemed gone, when in reality His light was there all along, I just chose to shield it from my eyes as I tried to fix things on my own instead of trusting Him. 
The moments where I lay in a hospital bed praying to die and cursing God for letting me live another second beyond that which I wanted, instead of realizing the grace he had just bestowed upon my life in saving me- literally.
But now, my heart praises him for allowing me to live. For shielding my life from what should have been imminent death at my own hand. A mangled car, wrapped around a tree, while on fire where the onlookers and those in the cars following me that stopped “just happened to be” trauma nurses, a doctor and an ER nurse that pulled me safely from my attempt at death. 
I praise Him for doctors and teams of medical professionals that only He could have orchestrated to be in a single location to take care of my son and provide care and diagnoses that maybe we didn’t want, yet we accept God’s plan for Mason’s life. However hard that may be. 
My heart is thankful for another day to look my beautiful children in the eyes and say  “I Love You”. 
My heart rests in knowing that He has our lives in His hands. 
This doesn’t mean I won’t still slip and fall, struggle and possibly crumble at times. It doesn’t mean I won’t still question what His plans are for us. It doesn’t mean I won’t stray away. 
But I am a little more free as I reflect on the events of this past year. The trials, the blessings, the days when I thought all hope was lost, when in reality hope was standing in front of me waiting for me to acknowledge it. 
I pray that I choose the path that leads me forward. I pray that I can leave darkness and look to the Son. 
My prayer for 2017 is that I can tell my heart to beat again, let the shadows fall away and step into the light of grace. Yesterday is a closing door, I don’t live there anymore. I want to say goodbye to where I’ve been and tell my heart to beat again.
I pray my son’s chronic illnesses find stability in His time. I pray I choose God’s path as I fight to find my way out of addiction, out of this eating disorder, out of self mutilation, continue to fight against mental illness and the voices in my mind that tell me to escape. 
I hope and pray for these things so that I may bring God glory and so that one day when I reach his throne- on HIS time, I will hear the words: well done, my faithful servant. 
————————
~Lindsay

This entry was posted on December 29, 2016.

Depression Roller Coaster

For 5 days now, I’ve spent 85% of the day in bed, getting up when only I absolutely had to. Tuesday’s therapy session was rough, but I managed to come away from it and sit down to write for a long while about the positive and negative things that came out of that session. Overall, it was productive.

To back up a bit I’ve been suffering heavily the last few weeks (some would argue months). It’s hard to find a medication that works to stabilize my mood because the only (and I mean ONLY) ones that work give me chronic kidney stones. And not small ones that I can pass- ones that lead to surgery and stents and hospitalizations. So for a couple years now, we’ve been on this roller coaster of trying new meds for a few weeks, then having to switch because it doesn’t work, makes things worse or makes me hateful and it’s been a nightmare.

As far as the last few weeks, the question of whether I should be hospitalized has come up more than once. The police have been on my door step for a wellness check as concerned friends and family couldn’t find me after a suicide threat (that I honestly don’t at this point even remember making). I’ve been unstable, suicidal and undergoing one of the most invasive depression treatments possible. I have electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) every single Thursday. They put me to sleep, induce a seizure, give me drugs and try with all their might to correct the chemical imbalances within my brain so that I can live a normal life. Three years ago we started with the mildest form and now we have advanced to the most rigorous treatment they have- shocking both sides of my brain for at least 30 seconds each to try and stimulate chemical reactions in the brain the lessen depressive episodes. It works, but unfortunately the effects are very short lived which is why I need it every week.

That brings us to this week. Yesterday after my therapy session, I sent my therapist this email of the hope I felt I had discovered. How I felt about what he had said to me and the discussion we had had.

Then today I popped up out of bed ready to conquer the day. The laundry got done, dishes were done, the grocery store conquered, phone calls made that have been piling up, bills paid, errands run, went to the school for a meeting. I haven’t done that much in the last 3 weeks combined- let alone a single afternoon.

And then as the day ends, I realize this is a manic phase. I’ve gone from depressed, apathetic, unable to function to manic. And then I start to see the patterns. How I’ll gather some form of hope in therapy or from church or a friend after sinking to an all time low and then pop up to some level of excitement and zest for life thinking I can conquer the world. That is really very scary because I don’t know when the next crash will come. I try with all my might to take advantage of the mania, to enjoy it, to do what I know needs to be done but it’s so hard because I know the inevitable crash is coming and my heart breaks.

It doesn’t break for me, though. My family never knows what they’ll get, my therapist and treatment team have to adjust to the ups and down and rapid cycling. It’s scary, too, because I’m at times afraid of myself- afraid of the manic phases because I don’t know what the plummet will bring. Will it be mild depression or a week in the ICU from an overdose hoping to escape life.

Living with the constant unknown of ones own mood and personal wellbeing is hard. It’s exhausting. It’s frightening. And it feels burdensome.

I’m left stuck in my own head, fighting a battle that is exhausting and feeling hopeless as there is no cure and no medication that stabilizes me. Please know that bipolar disorder is not a choice, it is not something I would wish on my worst enemy and it ruins lives. I pray it doesn’t ruin mine or the lives of those I’m closest to. I’m doing the very best that I can.

 

~Lindsay

This entry was posted on April 27, 2016.