Isolation

Sometimes, those of us with mental illness don’t see ourselves very clearly. Let me rephrase that…we don’t see the positive attributes we have with any clarity.  I am one of the worst examples of this. The voice in my head tells me that I am useless, worthless, stupid, foolish, selfish, rude, ugly…….etc. If it is negative, I have thought it of myself and sometimes still do. As a result of these thoughts, I react by hiding. Those who know me and love me or whom I know and love have all experienced this at one point or another.
I had a wonderful group of friends in High School in Mesa Arizona 25 years ago. I felt unworthy of their love. I ran away to New Jersey and hid from them. Not for any rational reason, there was none. I loved a boy when I was 16, who loved me back. He was incredible, and I didn’t feel worthy of him so I lied and hurt him and pushed him away and hid. Not because I only thought of him as a friend, I was hiding. I repeated this behavior multiple times with friends in New Jersey, Virginia,and Texas as well. I married a man who reinforced all the negative, irrational thoughts in my head.  He reinforced the voice in my head. We had a son together. He cheated repeatedly and blamed me privately and publicly, further reinforcing that I was worthless and foolish…
Eventually I married again. I only let him in because I had WONDEFUL friends who drowned out the voices in my head. After 10 years I tried to push John away. I really wasn’t worthy of his love or anyone’s. He didn’t let me. He followed me through my negative internal voice, prison, mental illness, addiction and generally speaking hell. He was the first person in my life to not let me hide.
Low self esteem is not the issue. I know I can do things well. I know I speak well, put myself together well, work well etc… I know I can. But there is the voice of Bipolar Disorder in my head telling me I am unworthy, stupid, ……
So I hide. And I hurt those who have protected and loved me. I deny them and run away. I am not proud of this, but I am finally self aware enough to see it. I am learning not to hide. Maybe I can stop living in self imposed isolation.

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Been a while

In the last month, we have moved. I also turned 45 and am coming up on the last day of my 7 year sentence on September 26. Needless to say, I am exhausted.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. Cora Lee

Dreamt last night…..

That my career was in jeopardy because of a lie. Woke up a little frazzled afterward.
I didn’t find true passion in my work until I was almost 40 years old. Now I feel like the ground has dropped out from under me if I dream that I’ve lost it.
Whoever said “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”, sure knew what they were at.
Of the actual regrets¬† I have, (and there aren’t that many) being too afraid to go to Cosmo school in High School tops the list.
Part of this disease is the irrational self talk that plagues the mind. For me, that inner voice always says “you aren’t smart enough, or good enough, or enough period.” And for many years I believed that voice. I believed that irrational inner voice. I believed because I didn’t know it was IRRATIONAL.
Would it have changed the trajectory of my life to be doing what I love? Maybe so, and maybe no. But, I have found that passion and fortunately it is something I have a gift for.

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Been a wild ride

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My youngest son. He is one of the three true loves of my life. He doesn’t know that he is also one of the earthly examples I look to. He is one of the most Christ like people I have ever known. I am telling you this because this disease, bipolar disorder, has been my constant companion through his entire life.  He has watched me struggle for years.  But he has become such an incredible man. He knows of my ups and downs.  He knows of my inability to believe in white knuckle sobriety but in true and everlasting freedom from addiction by ever turning my heart and will to a higher power.  He knows of my everlasting fight to be mentally well. And he thrives.
My point is this; I thought my whole life that I was defective.  I know now that I am sick and getting well. I will fight this battle my whole life but I will still be sick and getting well. Never useless or defective.  I am. And I have been his mother first and foremost.  And he has known me as such. Not defective, not useless, but his mother.. who struggles and makes mistakes and loves him. And that has kept me whole.

Time …….

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Evelyn’s first bath.

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Abby, Joe and Evelyn Cunningham

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Abby and Evelyn

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Abby and Caleb

Abigail and Joe welcomed their beautiful perfect daughter Evelyn Ashton into our lives this morning. They’re so filled with joy.
It reminded me of a time 20 years ago when the first real love of my life entered my world and quickly took it over. Corom is 20 years old and becoming a man day by day but I remember those first perfect hours with him like they just happened yesterday. He thinks he is a disappointment to me and he doesn’t know that he could never be that. Every moment that I have with him is heaven.
This disease of bi-polar disorder can rob me of those moments. It can tell me that it really doesn’t matter or that he really doesn’t need me. It is an insidious liar. And sometimes those lies are so overwhelming that they drown out all the other positive truths in my life.
Today I can hear the truth because of the right medication, good counseling and great support. And today the truth is that our children, no matter how young or old need me. I matter and if I weren’t here for them there would be a gaping hole in their lives.

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The Cunninghams.

Almost over

So I know I said I was going to take a few days off but…. I met with my Parole officer this morning. On September 26 my case with the State of Missouri expires.¬† I will truly be free for the first time in 7 years. It’s hard to believe that it is almost over. I remember standing in front of the judge for sentencing and knowing I had destroyed my children’s lives as well as my husband’s. I had no idea we would survive and thrive to be better and stronger through adversity.
Thanks,
Cora

Day off

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Day off from work. Slept last night. Back is still a wreck. Tired. So tired.
Thanks for all the feedback. I won’t post every day so I’m taking a few days off.
Thanks,
Cora