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Showing posts from 2013

Looking back: 2012 and Pre-Hospital.

(For the first time, I'm sharing more intimate details about my life before I went into the psychiatric ward. Please take into account that this is hard for me to write about and it's taking every ounce of strength I have to revisit this difficult time of my life. Thank you.)

Before I get to the big "blogathon" later this month, I'd like to take some time to look back on the year leading up to my hospital stay: 2012 in review.

It was a mixed up, crazy year full of highs and lows.

I don't remember much about the beginning of the year, except that I was sad. A lot. During the spring semester of my sophomore year, my brother was still in Abilene and he took care of me often. I wasn't in Sing Song that year, and it was killer. I was so lonely while everyone was rehearsing all the time. In February I caught a break when Seekers of the Word Drama Ministry decided to hold auditions. I had always wanted to be part of the group and since I wasn't very active …

Bittersweet Anniversaries.

I have two big anniversaries coming up. I cannot decide how I feel about them yet...bittersweet, I suppose. The first one is December 28th--the anniversary of when I went into the hospital. The second is January 14th--when I got out of the hospital. I'm going to do a blog-a-thon during the 18 days in between in which I write letters to people who have greatly influenced my life in the past year. I'll also be doing some writing for my book. I need to get my ideas and memories out of my head while they're still relatively fresh. So be looking for all of that coming up!

Anyway, back to what this post is about...my anniversaries. I'm a very date-oriented person. I am good at remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and not-so-happy occasions like tragedies and deaths. So, December 28th and January 14th are forever cemented in my mind, as well as the 18 days in between. Like I said before, I'm not sure how to feel about them since this only marks one year. I'm not exac…

Glimpses of Heaven.

I didn't get to say this tonight because we ran out of time, but it hit me right in the heart tonight.

Tonight we had our last Seeker practice of the semester. Last practices each semester are special because they include awards, Web of Love, and Hot Seat. They're my favorite things, but I always forget until last practice rolls around each semester.

First, Web of Love. This involves a ball of yarn and saying encouraging things about each other. You throw the ball of yarn to the person you'd like to talk about and then they hold on to the yarn and throw the ball to someone else. Eventually there's an intricate web formed which shows the ways we are all connected. Why we don't do things like this more often or say what we really feel or mean is a mystery to me, but I guess that's part of what makes it so special. Many of us cried tonight during Web of Love, because we love each other that much and because we're saying goodbye to one of our beloved members: M…

21 Lessons for 21 Years.

I'm almost 22! Just 5 more days until my birthday. And since I wasn't able to do my usual "year in review" post, I'm doing it now. Here are 21 life lessons I've learned this year. They're in no particular order, but we'll start with 21 and go backwards:

21. Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball, but even if you "strike out," it doesn't have to mean the game is over.
20. You can make friends in the most surprising places if you look for them.
19. Puppies take a lot of work to raise properly. It's like having a baby, except you can leave it in a cage.
18. You're only as good as you think you are.
17. Medicine is a good thing.
16. There is strength in letting your weaknesses show.
15. We live in a broken world, but there are a lot of good people in it.
14. The power of prayer is tremendous.
13. God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.
12. Singleness is a good thing--a gift.
11. Trusting God's timing is hard …

One Good Dog.

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For my 5th birthday, I got the best present I could dream of: a puppy! A dachshund to be exact. She was black and tan, short-haired, and we named her Missy after a dog in a movie I liked. We had sweet Missy for sixteen years and 11 months. She was just short of her 17th birthday in August when we had to have her put down in July.

What is it about dogs that is so special? I can tell you that. My favorite quote from the movie "Marley and Me" is this one, the last line of the movie:

"A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water-logged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?"

On Tuesday, July 9th, the day finally came for my dog Missy to be put down. We all knew it was time. There …

Happy Birthday, Big Brother!

Dear Garrett,

I tried to think of what I wanted to say to you on your birthday, but I couldn't come up with anything particularly inspirational or witty. I just wanted you to know how much I care about you. You truly are a very good brother and always have been, ever since I came home from the hospital. We've had a few fights and sibling rivalries over the years, but overall we've just been friends more than siblings. It's a special kind of friendship--best friends, who share so much because we grew up together. I treasure your friendship so very much and I value your advice, opinion, and your protection when it comes to anyone who might bother me. You've always been there to take care of me, and you're good at it. I'll especially never forget how sweet you were to me during my terrible sophomore year of college and how you took care of me during that year you had between undergrad and medical school.

Also, let's take a second to brag about how proud I …

Six Months.

These have been six of the hardest months of my life. I'd like to take a moment to thank those of you who have prayed for me, been there to walk beside me, cry with me, laugh with me, and just do life with me. Coming soon, I will write a blog post dedicated to each of my dear friends and the ways they've helped me get through this time.

I've heard it takes about a year to fully deal with and accept the diagnosis of bipolar. If so, I'm halfway there! Praise God for bringing me this far!

I was upset and crying on the way to my grandma's with my mom and my brother the other day when Garrett finally said, "Haley, do you know anyone who was diagnosed as bipolar and then was immediately okay?" I of course answered "No."

It's a heavy diagnosis--something I'll most likely be dealing with in some way for the rest of my life. I'm lucky to have so many people backing me up. No, not lucky...blessed. It was no luck or mistake that God placed me w…

Honesty vs. Sanity.

Let's get something straight here: I am not crazy. Not anymore anyway. There were a couple weeks when I was not in touch with reality, and during that time I was in a hospital in the care of professionals. Was I technically "crazy?" I guess you could call it that, although it pretty much hurts me to hear myself described that way. Anyway, I am not crazy anymore. I'm getting to be more and more stable every day. My doctor said I am "doing everything right." My therapist is optimistic about my progress. I am fully expecting to return to college in 2 months and make all A's in my classes (that's the goal anyway).

But during my time in the hospital I felt called to write. I felt called to shed light on mental illness--the dark parts that don't get talked about. Did I shoot myself in the foot by being so open and honest and vulnerable? Maybe. Because now I am labelled. Whether I like it or not, people or going to judge me however they please. (That&#…

Ups & Downs. [A Documentary]

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On the off-chance that you'd be willing to watch this kind of long video, it will really help you understand bipolar disorder better.

This isn't every one's story. My story is not in this video. There are a few people I can relate to, but I've never been suicidal or made extremely destructive decisions such as drugs or alcohol. My experience has been a little more tame, I guess you could say.

But if you decide to watch this documentary in its entirety, I would truly appreciate it. I desire for more people to make the effort to understand this disorder.
Thank you.


[If the video doesn't show above, go to YouTube and search "Up/Down bipolar documentary"]




My favorite quote:

What does it feel like to be bipolar? 

"I think bipolar is like being in a boat, on an ocean...by yourself. There are other people, but they're all on their own boats doing their own thing. But you're in this boat in this ocean and in one hand you hold the chain to an anchor …

Laughter and Tears: Saying Goodbye to The Office

If you know me, you probably know I love The Office. I quote it pretty much daily, in some form or another. I have every season on DVD, I have the trivia board game, and I've never missed an episode. In fact, I can truly say I've seen every single episode between 2-30ish times, with the exception of tonight's finale...but I'll watch it again soon.

I started watching The Office in 7th grade. Garrett got it on DVD for Christmas, and we didn't know much about the show. I remember the moment I knew I loved this show's quirky style and sense of humor...we were in the car on the way to our Christmas Day family reunion and were trying to finish Season 1's short 6 episodes. Episode 4, at the very end, there's this great moment where Jim pulls a prank on Dwight. When it happened, Garrett and I looked at each other, laughing hysterically. And it was like we knew: this is our new favorite, and maybe all-time favorite show. Even then, we knew.

There was no turning …

Let's Talk About Counseling!

I remembered a couple days ago an important part of mental illness that I  haven't discussed on my blog yet: treatment! Counseling! Therapy! Whatever you want to call it, there's a stigma around it. There's just this sense among the general population that if you need therapy you must be weak or crazy or both.

Well...here's the deal. Maybe I am both! Without Jesus, I am weak. Without my meds, I am crazy. But neither are because I go to counseling.

Let me tell you something: going to counseling--for any reason--is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.

Myth: Going to counseling means you are weak.
Truth: Going to counseling (therapy) means you are strong. It takes a lot more strength to ask for help and get the help you need and work through your problems than it does to hide from your problems.

Myth: Counseling is weird or scary.
Truth: It's mostly just talking. You just talk. And in the process, you get things off your chest that were bothering you, and …

For My Campers.

Whether or not you were my camper on my hall either year, a camper in one of my MPulse groups, an MPulse camper who came to my journaling class, or just a camper who knew me as a camp counselor...this post is FOR YOU.

Dear sweet and precious campers, both current and former:

I want to explain about my life now, because I know some (or many) of you read my blog.
So, you probably know by now that I am struggling with mental health issues.
If you didn't know...well, now you know. I'm not ashamed of it, it's part of my life and my story. It's part of the story of God's continuing redemption in my life. I encourage you to read my blog and join me on my journey.

I also encourage you to claim your own story, no matter what it may be. Let God be your redemption. 
Now, read on for some advice from your former camp counselor!

The first thing I want you to know is that I'm still Haley!
I'm still the counselor and Christian that you knew and (hopefully) loved.
I'm still…

Loving Lindsey: Her Legacy.

So it's been two weeks since that awful night...the night of the wreck.

The night Lindsey's life ended.

The night she went to be with the Lord.

It was on that night that I felt like I was finally starting to get some footing; to come to grips with my diagnosis as Bipolar, because I just gone to see Silver Linings Playbook. It's a lot about Bipolar disorder and how everyone's a little bit cray. I came home from the movie full of hope and new resolve to face my illness with renewed strength and dignity. I immediately began a blog post...a video blog, actually, because I wanted people to be able to see my face as I described my disorder and my reaction to the movie.

Then, the terrible, awful moment when I happened to check Facebook at about midnight and learned about the wreck and that Lindsey Smith had been killed.

And everything came crashing down. It was like a bomb was dropped on the little house of confidence I had been building. Demolished, gone; nothing but ashes a…

Fears, Tears, and Redemption From Both.

[This is a continuation of my series on awareness of mental illness, and today I'm going to begin tackling one of the most difficult topics for me...Bipolar Disorder. I'm going to be honest and vulnerable. Please read this with as much respect and understanding as you can muster. Thanks.]

Everything feels all wrong right now.
My friend Lindsey is gone. My mental health is a daily battle. It's like I can't remember what it feels like to be normal, or to have just an average day. Or a happy day. Where have those gone?

I just can't catch a break...Satan's kicking me while I'm down, then kicking me again while he's at it.

I got some news today that I was dreading.
I'll go ahead and say it, because I need prayers about it:

I've finally been officially diagnosed with Bipolar 1.
If you don't know much about bipolar disorder, here's a quick article that may help you understand the different types of this disorder:

 "There are several types of b…

Out of Control.

Have you ever had a panic attack? It's pretty terrible. I'll attempt to describe what it feels like: Sometimes it feels like a hamster on a wheel--my mind is racing and racing, but I'm not actually going anywhere or making any kind of progress. Just running in circles.Sometimes it feels like my brain is caving in--every sound, every smell is intensified. My body temperature will rise very quickly, I'll start to feel like my skin is crawling, and I go into panic mode. Sometimes I end up screaming and throwing something out of frustration...so that's always nice for whoever's in the room! [Not.] It's like my mind suddenly becomes overwhelmed, and the simplest decision or task can throw me way off track. If I ever just suddenly burst into tears, there's a good chance I'm having a panic attack.  So what's a girl to do about these panic attacks? Since I got out of the hospital, my mind's been in an almost constant state of panic. Anything can trig…

Both Sides Now.

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So, I just got released from an extended stay in a psychiatric hospital. 
Yep. That's right. I'm one of "those" people. I can now say I've experienced what it feels like to "go crazy." Cause if what I just experienced wasn't "crazy," then I don't know what it is! And I can guess what you're thinking: "Why in the world would she go crazy and then want to tell the world about it?"
 My answer to that is complicated, but I'll try to sum it up like this:1. God has called me to write a book about this. I've heard him whisper to me deep down in my heart during dark days in the hospital: "We're going to tell the world this story, and they're going to listen."
2. If I'm going to "go crazy," might as well go ALL the way rather than just halfway, right? Might as well let the world join me in my crazy journey.


 So I'm going to write a book about it. 
The title? "Both Sides of Crazy."
Th…