Thursday, September 15, 2005

Redefining Myself

Hello.  Hope everyone is doing well.  I am OK.

I posted a couple of entries ago that John has been sleeping 16 hours a day.  I also said this was causing me lonliness. 

You see, John and I have been doing everything together for a long time.  We have both been home together.  He is on disability and hasn't been working.  So we see a lot of each other.  I don't have a job because I am on disability too.  So I have been home with him.  This is going to be hard for me to be honest about, but I may as well mention it, because it is part of my story.  Some of you know it, and some of you don't.  I don't work because I am bipolar.  That is manic-depressive.  It is a brain chemistry illness that I am handling very well with medication and therapy.  I have journaled about the fact that I have it in my public journal.  So it is no secret.  But I haven't mentioned it much lately.  My new readers don't know I have it.  I feel shakey mentioning it, there is so much stigma involved.

At any rate, I am mentioning the bipolar to say that I have spent the majority of my time doing things with John, because I don't work.  Now that he is sleeping, I am terribly alone, and as it were, trying to "redefine myself".  I have been nothing but John's wife, John's friend, John's love, John's everything.  And I have been almost nothing for myself.  Gee, I never realized that.  My whole world revolved around him.  Not that that is a bad thing.  My world still revolves around him.

My main job in life, and rightfully so, consists of taking care of John, making sure he gets his meds (I have to wake him up to do this), cooking for and feeding him (again, I have to wake him up to feed him), hydrating him, waking him up and making sure he gets to his drs. appointments, taking care of him when he gets the flu, etc. 

But now that he is sleeping, I am trying to think about what I want to do that is just for me.  Gee, I haven't done anything just for me in a long time.  I was talking about it with my therapist yesterday, and I told her I wanted some activities that I can do while John is asleep.  Something that as he gets sicker I can still stay in the house and watch him, but have something to do.  Something I am good at.  I told her I couldn't decide what to do.  Do I want to watercolor?  Write?  Make cool jewelry?  Something I could do really well.  Then I looked at my therapist sadly and said, "But I am not any good at any of these things."  She asked me why I had to be good at doing something to do it.  She suggested I just pick something I enjoyed.  She said she goes to Pottery Barn and paints bowls when she gets stressed.  She said she was not good at it.  Then I understood her point.  I just have to find something I think is fun.  My problem is my family is SO super talented and creative that I get frustrated if I can't make a final finished project the way they can, lol.  So, anyway, I need to think about what I want to do for fun.  Any suggestions would be welcome.   

The other thing that my therapist suggested was volunteer work.  I can't earn any money or my Social Security will be taken away.  If not taken away, then at least some of my benefits will be taken away, and I will be worse off than if I had never taken a job.  So the work must be volunteer.  Also, because I still get depressed, and sometimes manic, and I have a lot of anxiety going on because of John's illness, I can only take on a commitment of a few hours a week.  Also, I can't leave John for long.  Just a couple of hours at the most.  So I am trying to find something that will fit into my schedule.

My therapist suggested a cat and dog adoption agency, and I loved the idea, but then I got to thinking, I can't bring home Parvo Virus to John.  Then someone suggested to work at an old folk's home or a hospital.  Again, too risky in the germ department.  I have no idea what I am going to do.  But surfing the net last night I found a local number to call to find volunteer activities in my area.  I am going to call today. 

I used to teach English as a Second Language.  I wonder if I could do that again.  I loved it.  But it is a big commitment.  Anyway, I will call the volunteer agency this morning and see what volunteer opportunities they have.

So, I am doing all this so I have purpose in my life.  A reason to get up in the morning besides housework.  Something to get past the lonliness.  I do have two other things I am volunteering for.  I am on a board at church.  And I just joined the local Cancer Survivor's Association Board.  Actually, the board just started and we have had two meetings so far.  It is fantastic. 

And I am also a Secular Order Carmelites Discalced.  I am a member of a religious order, one in which the members live in the world, and are allowed to be married.  OK, I will explain more about that another time, this journal entry is getting entirely too long, lol. 

So those are some of the new ways in which I want to define myself, but I need to think about the specifics.  I am kind of excited about volunteering, perhaps meeting a new girlfriend to go to lunch with, and maybe learning a new hobby.  I haven't done anything new in a long time.  Maybe I will have some fun. 

Hoping you all have some fun in your life also, Krissy :)


  1. What about knitting? My wife does that! loves it!

  2. how about a book club? or bible study? we are having a bible study this sat i am doing it not sure on what yet lol guess i better find something soon praying for you


  3. Krissy,
    I fought with this same thing.  I wanted something to do.  Something that would define me.  Something that would be mine.  Pray about it my friend.  And, the answer will come to you.  And, I am sure you know that the answer may not be something you ever thought about.  I will pray for you to get an answer as well.  Love bunches LuAnne

  4. or latch hook that is so much fun to make rugs or pillows or wall hangings


  5. Sweetie,
    My two oldest children have bi-polar, ages 16 and 13. And I beleive my wife has it, but she wont go get tested for it. She feels there is nothing wrong with her, but those of us who have to live with her know there is.
    My youngest one has Autism. So as you can see I am no stranger to mental illnesses, psyciatrists, medicines, etc.
    My personal beleif is that we have some sort of dysfunction in one way or another. No one is blessed with 100% saneness.
    Those who do not understand or wish to make fun of those who have these dysfunctions are narrow minded idiots. They do not deserve the pleasure of your company. If someone choses to avoid you or not get to know you because you are bi-polar ??  Then they are spineless and dont deserve the chance to be your freind. You are a wonderful person. Its Their Loss....................

  6. I can understand how you feel.. being a mother and a wife who doesn't work but primarly stays home and takes care of the family.  We tend to let our lives be defined as the caregivers, wife, mother, housekeeper.. but we are so much more than that and need to remember how God sees us when we get down.

    If you love reading get to the library and load up on some books to read in your quiet times.  Or if you love to write (I know you do lol or why keep a journal) the National Novel Writing Month contest is coming up.  I did it last year and it was a whirlwind of fun.. check the site out and see if it is something you may want to do.  LOL anyone can write a book in a month.. doesnt have to be perfect.. just do it.

  7. AND P.S.  If you are ever board and need some one to chat with.. see if I am online and IM me. " )

  8. TBADT,  I like what your therapist said about not having to be good at something to try it.  You will probably be pleasantly surprised to find that as you try something you WILL  be good at it - VERY GOOD!!!  I found that I was good at painting and jewelry making and such after I tried it.  Just do it!  Go get modeling clay or beads and just play!!!  God to Michael's by Wegman's and pick up some projects!!  I will go with you if you want me to!  I will help you with some ideas on volunteering.  Did Catholic Charities help you with any ideas?  I am excited for you, love!! xox

  9. Krissy, you do not have to be good at things to give them a go.  I would suggest, drawing, needlework of some king, rug-making, knitting even playing online games.  Whatever you need to do you will find it, hand it to God, it will come to you.

  10. Morning Krissy - I like your therapist she has some good sound advice to hand out - Something will turn up for you to do - As someone else said hand it over to God...He always come to your aid....It is very small minded people who put a stigma on any illness. I cannot tolerate that....And am glad though you are thinking about yourself and looking at Krissy as a person in her own right..Good luck with what ever venture you try....Ally

  11. Hi thoughts and prayers are still with you and John...always thinking about the two of you.  I am going to give knitting a shot...tried a little, loved it but now have to decide to actually keep it up.  To me is was so relaxing and rewarding too.  Make john something...I bet he would love it!  My hugs go to you...

  12. Hey Krissy, I agree you need to find a hobby, ever try scrap booking? It's fun and a cool way to save memories. Or get a puppy, that will keep you busy LOL. I know it must be hard for you being a full time caregiver  and being so loney plus bipolar on top of it all. Know I'll be praying for you both. I'm here if you ever want to talk ok


  13. Is there something that your church could find for you? Though I realise  you can`t leave John alone for long, the teaching sounds an excellent idea and I would have thought you could do hours to suit.  Have you thought about writing?

    Sandra xxxx

  14. Krissy, thanks for your openness about being bipolar; I'm sorry there is so much stigma associated with that and a lot of other mental health disorders. My daughter suffers from major depression and psychosis so I'm all too familiar about this.

    You sound like you have a wonderful therapist. Its good she's having you think about doing something for you and gives you something to perhaps look forward to or enjoy just for Krissy. Like others said in their comment and like she said, you don't have to be good at it, but just something to bring you some joy, perhaps peace, perhaps comfort and perhaps a friend like you said.

    I found myself a few years ago trying to redefine myself after being a stay at home, work at home mom, with little interests beyond the kids and hubby. I started volunteering in the nursery at church (not an option for you I know because of sicknesses) but also started attending Bible study and volunteering for Dress for Success.

    Like someone else said, pray to the Lord and He will direct you where He wants you to go.

    My thoughts and prayers for you continue.


  15. Hi Krissy,

    I've once again been doing the lurking type thing around here.  This subject is very important to me.  When I was going to the therapist, I too realized, I was living only for my children.  I had no other interests, didn't feel I did anything really well.  Not like my mom and dad anyway who were super creative and super talented in my eyes.  But, then I started looking back on some of my mom's early stained glass work and realized she wasn't either ... in the beginning.  It was something that developed with time.  She also made lots of  jewlery and sold those for a little under the table income.  Her enjoyment and relaxation was creating beautiful pieces first for herself then a few church ladies.  This was something she did while caring for my dad who was battling cancer. If nothing else, you might be able to make a few pieces and give to some of the ladies at nursing homes.  I never thought of you as without talent.  You have many, one being that you make a person feel good being around you and that my dear is an awesome talent that not many are able to preform.  I wish you the best in finding something that fullfills your need.  For me it was/is photography.  I'm not that great or good ... it's simply a love that I'm trying to make work for me.  Keeping you and John in my continued prayers.


  16. Inquiring is the first step.  You're off to a great start!

  17. Your therapist is right my dear, you don't have to be great at something to enjoy doing it.  And, if you do manage to find something that you enjoy, the chances are that you will end up being good at it anyway :o)  Lots of ideas here in your comments section, have to say, I've always fancied learning how to knit!  Or, something like cross stitch, which is easy to do once you know how, and looks very effective when it's finished and framed.  You'll find something my dear, I'm sure of it.  I hope that you find some volunteer work too, it will do you good to get out of the house, even for an hour or two.
    Sara   x

  18. Krissy you are obviously well versed in the English language, why not volunteer to teach adults literacy. It is surprising how many folks there are out there, who for some reason or another, have never learned to read and write. You would be a marvellous teacher, with your kind heart and understanding.
    Sylvia xx

  19. I have an idea of something you can do....

    what about scrapbooking? You always have such lovely photos on your scavanger hunt and you could create a decorative album for them...there are pretty much no rules to scrapbooking and each person develops their own style.  Along with scrapbooking I also make mini gift albums and books as gifts for people...I make cards why not try something crafty like that?

    To get started all you need is scissors, glue...maybe tape, pretty papers etc.....

    I do hope you find something...whatever you choose to do, it doesnt matter if you are good at it to start you practise and do it more you'll get better!

    Love and hugs, Amy

  20. Krissy
    I do can do a little at a time and make it as cheap or expensive as you want..homade Birthday and Christmas cards.....just try different will find something...and remember not everyone is good at everyting so give yourself some slack........repaint things in the house..lamps.and or there shades..make a photo jounal all bout you and John ho yo met memeories smells it for you and it in a you can have different you met, things you did together ect....You do need some kind of outlet......belive me it helps....Kasey

  21. Doing something with the English knowledge sounds a good idea, offering to do CV and letters, the admin side of charity work.  Painting is very relaxing.  I think the enquiring you've done is the first important step.  Something will latch on to you and you'll know this is the one for you.  You don't have to be brilliant at something to enjoy it.  If it gives you pleasure then it's worth doing and that's the main thing.  Hope you find what you look for.  ((( hugs for u and John ))) xxRache

  22. Maybe you could take a class in knitting or crocheting?  Our local craft stores have 1 hour long classes for about $10-15 once a week and you do something simple at first.  You could make scarfs for your entire family!  LOL

    I don't think you have to worry about any stigm with being bipolar.  If anyone has a problem with it they weren't worth your time then.  I have it my family too!

    Be well,

  23. What about a food bank, or even the library, reading to the younger kids.  Or maybe answering phones for some agency (Red Cross staffs volunteers for their phones, I think).  Something just s few hours a week.  I think you are very talented.  I think you can do anything you want to and you will do it well...good luck!  I should do something like this, too.  JAE

  24. How about a cat caring service, we have them in England. You could look after peoples cats in their own homes for people away on vacation. You have experience with Michael. I have a girl who comes in twice a day when I am on vacation to feed my cats and clean the litter trays out. It wouldn't take long, you could start off in your local neighbourhood, I'm sure people would appreciate having their cats looked after in their homes, most cats don't like catteries!! Hope you find something you enjoy. Jeannette.

  25. Since I am behind in reading this week, that is the one I missed about the bipolar on your quiz... :)

  26. Hobbies: I love crocheting... and I find it relaxing. The projects can be as simple as a scarf or as complicated as a sweater and everything in between! Another idea is cross stitch. I mention this one because you mentioned 'not being good' at something... well, you can't mess up cross stitch. You have a graph and cloth with holes that help you make the x's and if you can count you will end up with a pretty picture <g>... If you decide to try the cross stitch, start with one of the 'beginner' kits they have for kids.... once you have the general idea the sky's the limit!

    For a volunteer thing, have you thought about a literacy program? It's amazing the amount of children and adults who can't read..... And for someone who loves words, it is like giving them the gift of the world.. because reading opens up the world of books to them..

    Just a couple of thoughts... Good Luck! and keep us informed...

  27. I don't understand... you ARE doing something.  Your ministy, and mine, is the internet.  You do it from home.  You watch your buddy list and you IM your friends when they need you.  Your name is on their buddy lists, so they know where to find you.  You chat, you counsel.  You give them an example of a person who has challenges, and has had them, who survives.  From what I observe you are online about eighteen hours a day.  And yet, you don't think you are doing anything.  Curious.  
    Keep up the good work.

  28. Krissy dont feel pressured that you should be doing something just yet.Maybe you could make your own christmas cards from a craft kit orsomething?If you cannoot leave John for more than a couple of hours you will dashing here and there. Go for a swim at your local leisure centre maybe?Or just relax at home and read.I hope you find something that suits you.I dont mind one bit that you have bi~polar. . . its does not change that way I see you . . I think you are super !

  29. Krissy dont feel pressured that you should be doing something just yet.Maybe you could make your own christmas cards from a craft kit orsomething?

    I go along with the above comment as well.It would give you a sense that youre doing something worthwile.You can take consolation in the fact that you've got lots of freinds out here in J Land and the Internet who will help to comfort you.Please don't feel Lonely.

    My new readers don't know I have it.  I feel shakey mentioning it, there is so much stigma involved.

    Hey Krissey it aint nothing to be ashamed of.Most folk can see that and offer support.

    "But I am not any good at any of these things."  She asked me why

    You can an will get better at most things with practice.Say to yourself "I can and I will acheive this goal"

  30. Krissy I can relate to your feelings of isolation and lonliness.  What has helped me is getting outside and working in the yard and gardens.  Sometimes just a long walk helps.  But, we are all different and you will find what's right for you.  In the meantime you know you have a ton of J-Landers that are here for you.

    Hugs my friend,