Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

Posts tagged “marriage and mental illness

Still Married after all these years (Happy Anniversary to me and Mr.T) A fall retrospective on off grid living and parenting.

Summer has come and gone and I feel half a sense of relief and half a sense of terror.

Life in Erie Kingdom has been full of one step forward and two steps back.  Our gas generator is broken and our gravity fed water has dried up.  This means daily chores now take up far more time.  I have made the most amazing friend over the summer, I’ll call her Auntie M.  She is in her 70’s and my summer included many visits to her screened in porch for a martini while the kids watched Treehouse on her bed.  She is truly a kindred spirit.  She is also where we get all our water, and gather it in those blue culligan man water bottles.
Other than Auntie M my life has been strikingly void of women these past few months.  Quite simply we are too busy for much socializing.  I welcome these busy days where time slips by like magic, dusk coming sneakingly quick, boys sleeping like drunks.  As I become more aware of the passage of time, and the fact it isn’t slowing down any, I come out of my head more and pay attention to the present moment.  These slices of joyous life I want to save with laugh lines not memories and so have been allowing myself to just live.  The Trifecta of Terror is perfect, they are all so oblivious- These sweet little warriors, mostly of virtue (except for when they bite you in your thigh or say “Die Anyway!” idle their days away playing with bugs and dirt.  I am mostly being reemployed as referee these days.

The mornings are suddenly cold.  We can see our breath.  I’m counting down the days until the new wood stove is in.  Suddenly, the sun comes over the horizon and it is hot.  The picnic table is covered in hats, wool socks and sweaters.  Bathing suits are found.

Mr. T has been organizing and stacking lumber lately and doing some work things- but we now have pretty darn full lumber racks and our ‘turn around’ no longer is full of the movie set salvaged goods and the all the discount cedar we have.  All of this means- the propane truck could make it up, drop off and fill up a 1000lb tank.  I honestly can’t even imagine what it would be like to have electricity at this point.  We have enough electricity to grind coffee and that’s about it.  The kids don’t care though, which is interesting.  They don’t ask much for screen time (anymore- haha), don’t complain about the cold mornings (we have a campfire most mornings these days) and even the Evil Wizard (3) can spot Vega.

Public School starts for Coach Rapper on Tuesday.  I have mixed feelings about this, especially since he will be taking the school bus. However- I don’t want to take all 3 kids to the Laundomat- so to public school he goes.  Luckily Coach Rapper is deliriously happy about the whole set up and is rather excited to sit next to the older boy who taught him the word “sucker” last week.

I am terrified of the cold.  And the dark.  So I am not really sure of what is to come over the next few weeks.  The kids and I have a visit planned to visit my folks for several weeks while Mr. T builds me a bathroom/laundry room/family closet.

I’m riding it out waiting for several different appt’s to see if we can get my migraines figured out.  They are very much hormonal and this last month I had 17 migraine days.  If all goes well we will be heading out in late September, if appt’s get in the way- well who knows.

#2 just pissed his pants, and we are at the park, and it’s getting dark.  Apologies for not rereading this or editing at all!  eek!

Lastly- I love you Mr. T.  Happy Anniversary.



For Manda Gail

If you were an animal you would be a sparrow

wild and free

split tailed and tornadoing downwards

in a spiral of glory

you would know where old time wheat grows wild

in ghost farms of the rural south

content in the gabels of a composting barn

you know the weary arms of a farm woman; modern day

work undone even after all these years.

Show me your prize roses, still in bloom,

Show me your peach preserves.

You are a woman, soft and warm.

Yield to love, love is unyielding.


I may as well start at the start.

Suddenly, as I was driving my mood lifted and I felt genuinely happy, a calm happy, safe secure.

Finally. It’s been 6 days since I have felt much of anything, which was a mixed blessing. I just had a fairly major medication overhaul. The first few mornings I awoke with a weight in my heart and by late morning felt emotionally flattened which stayed for several hours. Then I was hit by how productive I felt.

Last month during my cycle I just didn’t post for 3 weeks. During those weeks, I had a darkness. Everything felt clouded with grief and my chest ached. Nothing had changed around me. Plenty of things changed inside me. I have Bipolar Mood Disorder. Which basically I have had two major depressions and one major manic period. To me, it doesn’t feel like a mood disorder- it feels like an energy disorder. Lucky? For me my moods have a bit of a schedule:

When I ovulate Severe migraines with auras. Hyper sensitive to criticism. Weepy.

A few days later- really “up” mood, go go go, edgy, snappy. I start getting OCD about this time- about whatever I happen to be into at the time. Usually in a productive way.

After a few days of high production, little sleep I fall into a darkness. I ache. I retain water. I am cold all the time. Migraine auras bring me in and out of consciousness, the pain is so intense. I have great difficulty paying attention to my surroundings. I just want to sleep. I must surely die, I think. For 3-4 days I am in agony and misery. It hits like a wave.

People tell me that I don’t seem bipolar to them.

That’s because I stay away from people I know when I am depressed. My moods change so quickly that only after 14 years of menstruation have I finally begun to chart in detail.

The last 7 years have been insane, with 5 pregnancies (two early miscarriages, which I am at peace with, but mentioning because that was a special hormonal roller coaster in and of itself) and continuous nursing. During my first miscarriage, I was just 20 and Mr. T and I were relatively new to our relationship. I went crazy. Totally bat shit crazy. I tried to use mind control to plead people to help me. I wanted to die. I felt as though I was dying. I had severe constant nausea and vertigo and completely delusional that the baby must not have died. There was some mistake. I now know I was rapid cycling and had amazingly severe migraines.

I was convinced deep inside that I was schizophrenic (which heck, maybe I am) and I was scared as hell. My brain was constantly moving, flipping through images like a Rolodex. Mr. T yelled and stomped his feet and was generally angry to be around.

Mr. T and I parted ways for almost a year shortly after that. I think we were both scared of how badly the whole thing went down.

I tried to find Jesus with all of my heart. I opened it all the way up. When I couldn’t find Jesus I looked for God.

I felt immense solace in communion and prayer. I went to church several times a week and to a bible study here and there.

Months later, after a 10 day silent Buddhist retreat I found atheism, which has been a comfort to me over the years.

During the Buddhist retreat I found the solace I was looking for in meditation.

I also came to terms with the fact that I would marry Mr.T, and left the retreat no longer resenting him, much. We had not spoken to one another for ages.

I didn’t even really like him. Seriously.

But I was drawn to him and I swear, we are just starting to like each other now- and it’s been 8 years. We share the same vision, and we just happen to be the person who is in the others perfect future, so I suppose we rode it out hoping we would get to where we are now, still alive and still married.

I am sharing my story upon multiple requests. I am at a place where I can write about it now. I didn’t write, journal, take may pictures, make art for most of my motherhood journey. I was just too damn tired. I don’t regret it really, because I carry it here in my heart. And there is a lot I have forgotten and would rather keep that way. I’m at a place where I don’t need to be worried about. I have a great doctor, a supportive husband, amazing parents and extended support. After 7 months of mood stabilizing meds, the cocktail still isn’t quite right. I cycle between low production and high production and feeling like I am dying and like it might possibly be the best day of my life. I’m sorta striving for the middle ground, which is a bit confusing, because there are days truly, many of them, where I feel exceptionally great, and in between I’m very good at faking it, which feels like many tiny little lacerations on my spirit. Other days I can’t get out of bed.

I’m pretty sure that pre puberty I was quirky, but not yet crazy. At 16 I went on the pill because I was having really bad cycles. Right before and during my period I had/have hot and cold flashes, aching kidney feeling, nausea, migraine auras (which I just just figured out what they were. At that time I thought everyone’s vision was like that. I frequently have had the sensation I am going blind and dark bars slide in from the side. For me auras are strobing lights, bars, boxes. A true aura of fading rainbow colours around objects. I have a strong sensation of dejavu and the feeling of watching the scene from outside of it. I frequently have a hard time telling what was reality and what was an idea or dream. I see things move out of the corner of my eye and hear buzzes, beeps and other non specific sounds. Today I swore I could hear a cat meowing loudly, but the kids swore it was quiet. I’m pretty sure most of this is migraine related, because I have some rx meds for migraines that take care of all of these symptoms.

I literally feel like I am going insane after a few days of migraines. Last month I waited 17 days of on again off again migraines until I went to the ER and begged for help. The little dissolve in your mouth discs cost $20-$60 per dose, depending on if the first ones work, or the migraine comes back 8-12 hours later. I am having a brain freeze on what it is called….Even after I have taken it, it is still extremely difficult to keep my attention focused.


Little House on the Prairie

this was my idea

harsh winter

little house on the prairie

you went along with it

I am sure to prevent

20 years of me convincing you, what a great idea

this is where my roots are

woven into thin black horizon and sparse tree

frost etched windows ache in the wind

trees more dead than asleep

took me all day to turn up the heat

never thought of it until

tea bag in hand, baby on hip

I realized I was crowding the kettle

Homeward Bound

6:48 am and today is Moving Day.  Thank you so so so much for all the help packing Brooke!  We love you!  I’ve got to take the toys and random bits out to the van, but we finished the majority of the packing yesterday.  On Saturday we ripped the carpet out of my van, since it spring thawed into a distinctive wet dog/leaky dump run smell to it.  The plan is to re-insulate/pad it with the Dance Dance   Revolution pads Mr.T insisted I order off E-Ray during the Old House We Flipped years because DDR was certainly the answer to all our Woes.  And then, cover it with dirt/coffee covered vinyl flooring likely bought from Wild Bill *the guy who has sold us all our our house furnishings and utility supplies.

I still haven’t actually spoke to Mr.T.  As far as I know he still thinks he are leaving Thursday.  I think it is a little bit funny.  It sometimes drives me nuts when we don’t talk for so long *a week this time.  I used to worry about all of the things that any wife would worry about, namely death and affairs.  Now, not so much.  I genuinely trust Mr.T and well, he has had a pretty good tack record of keeping himself alive and my brother would call if there was an emergency, and someone else if it was a double emergency.  It would surely be on the news after that, right?  So, I now deduct there is some problem on the property that I can’t do anything about from here and he hasn’t been near a phone/computer for 7 days.  And he never even calls his own Mother, so he’s not the type to call his wife or kids.

So just trust me honey baby my eyes don’t stray

My boys blow my mind every day

and I’m just staying home preparing for you

waiting for you

loving you


So, as I was saying I think it’s a little funny that Mr. T may not know we are leaving today.  We have Hotels booked for Medicine Hat and Cranbrook and then it is an easy drive to Slowmo.

Wish me luck and safe travels!

November 2010; Manic Runaway

Trying to remember the psych ward and all the rest

gives me post-post traumatic stress

I wonder: tall ferns, low moss

If you fell in love with me on the island,

a manic runaway.

See through dress and casual sex,

Bob Dylan in a bakery,

beaches & my VW

An old boyfriends mirror-

In our eyes we saw the rest of our lives.

You’re still here.