The power of unconditional love

Love has many facades and could be expressed in so many ways. In the name of love you we do so many great things and we also commit so many mistakes. When do you know you are truly loved? When do you know you are in love?

I learned the meaning of unconditional love with my father. He is the one who taught me what it is, not by saying anything in particular, but by doing, during my 40 years of being his daughter.

You know as much as I do that we don’t choose to which family we are born to. In fact, I would not want it any differently. I would do it over and over again, with all the bad and ugly – just to meet my father.

So you guessed it. Today’s post is about him. It is his birthday, and beyond any gift I want him to read my words ‘ I love you and thank you for being who you are. You are perfection’.

The power of unconditional love that my father bestowed upon me meant a whole more than just feeling good about myself. It meant a whole circle of positivity and love.

It meant that I saw the world inherently as a good place. His way of doing with me and with everyone else taught me to try, at least try, and be less judgmental. He showed me what it is to always put myself in the other person’s shoes and to throw no stones.

Giving has no end when you know him. His generosity is not just with gifts and financial support. It is with words, time and dedication. One of his famous sayings to me when I was little was ‘I am next to you as much as you want me to be’.

His radiation of calmness day in day out has enabled me to be his friend and he became my confidant. There is nothing I cannot tell him. But that is not the point. The thing is he will never judge me, or anyone else for that matter. He has the power of unconditional love. When you are at your lowest you will still feel human and capable of good when you are beside him.

Perhaps one of the aspects that marks me the most about my father, is how he really cares about the development of others around him. He spared and spares no occasion to find a way to send a message across subtly. He would take you for walks for hours and tell you tales ranging from Ancient Greek mythology, passing through psychology, history of religion, to modern physics. He will talk to you about yogis and sufis; scientists and prophets; the self and organic horticulture. But he will talk a little bit more about non-duality, and you will get confused, and you will feel your mind stretching like you were doing algebra. But all along you will be mesmerized and you will never want him to stop.

In the power of his unconditional love I was able to come to terms with many wounds in my childhood and beyond. This would never have been possible without his patience and ability to listen, to forgive and help me forgive myself.

In the power of his unconditional love I am learning to become a parent, and a person. I also learned one of the most important lessons of all: to love and respect myself.

Because of all his love I was able to depend on him many many days and nights during my illness and and also during my wellness.

I wish you a year filled with joy and peace of mind. Always young at heart and going strong! Happy birthday ❤️

Raw on hypomania

3:15 Am, four Xanax later, one hour on SoundCloud, about 15 cigarettes, two herbal teas, some half pack of almond thins, an Instagram and a blog post published, and as sleepless as a toddler who just won’t nap.

I wake up nightly between 2 and 4 AM. It is a killer, but it is the period I feel the most creative- unstable but creative.

I can almost smell coffee, its rich and dark brewing aroma inviting me to take a cup. Just a sip. I can also see this gin tonic fresh and calling my name. I don’t want to eat, I want to binge drink! Isn’t that a word ? It is now.

I cannot have coffee or gin as a matter of fact. Doctor’s orders. No stimulation. None. No sports. Mot even hot yogaZ Not that I was your athlete or alcoholic. But still, breaking a sweat, sipping a nice drink…

If I had hold of a car now, if I knew how to drive on the “wrong side of the road” here in London, I would have gone for a cruise. The type of ride you have when you are what 19? Windows rolled down, music loud, singing along, no care in this world.

But am in my pjs, sneaking out in the cold to smoke yo my cigarette with my yogi tea and slippers with my toes freezing like a good girl.

No make up tonight. No tight dress and high heels; first no freakin tight dress would fit now and no heels in the suitcase.

But what is a woman without day dreaming? I have lipstick. I can do lipstick at 3 am or full make up if I want to.

But now the ride is coming to an end. SoundCloud is asking me “how deep is your love?” And am like you have no idea how deep is my love. My eyes are opened and I have devotion and it is bigger than the ocean.

I am making sense, don’t give me this look. Am in Ibiza but in primrose hill and that is totally fine.

Am managing my hypomania which was just suicidal ideation about 5 hours ago. Screw that, I want to be by the beach. Close my eyes, walk on the sand. I am in control of my emotions or not. I can run or swear. Heart rate is my affair. I stimulate and get stimulated as much as I need or wish or both.

Honestly. This is my first hypomanic post. Raw, unedited by my subconscious who wants me to look wise and smart. I just want to party… was it all a dream ? Back to my herbal tea

Please no excuses

Live whitest you can

TBC

You must know

Know that I love you since before I was born

Know that I loved you since before you were born

Know that you are my every reason for being

Know that I want to leave to set you free

I try and I fail and I try again and I fail and fall harder

Maybe this time it will work

I don’t want to hurt myself

I don’t want to hurt myself. I do not want to end up in an emergency room.

My only weapon is my writing.

I have to fight myself as much as I have to fight the system. What on earth am I supposed to do not to end up in an emergency room? How can I control my impulses?

Could my pain make my heart explode? Is this physically possible? Will I let my children see me this way? What does the system offer to those in my position? Waiting and some more…

I wish I could feel numb like the last 48 hours. Today it hurts like an open wound. Will I keep on bleeding endlessly? will I hold this scream till the end of time? Will my tears ever dry? What can I do to protect my children from me? Leave? Go where? Die? They will be motherless just like me.

I have given all my strength in this fight. There is nothing left in me, not even pride. All what I ask is for is that it be quick. This separation that is tearing me apart, could it happen in the blink of an eye?

I am rambling, scared like a lost child in a forest. How can I be a mother when I am like that? God, if you exist help me… and if you don’t, then let me be…

4 reasons Why you should avoid going to CAC 6 in France

Yes I know I am sick as a dog, but if you read me out, you will understandably know why I hate this institution.

1- You might be refused help: I went with my own packed bag to the CAC* of the 6th arrondissement in Paris (emergency psychiatric center). I was seeking help, and mostly protection. I was refused by a psychiatric nurse CATHERINE – she told me to rely on my inner resources (smiley face) while I have suicidal thoughts )gesture with third finger and black dark pitch black ideas.

2- Mistreatment, under-treatment or non-treatment could be a nuisance: Next day, it started. I had my headphones on most all of the time to avoid any contact with the staff. I think it was the smartest thing I did. Next day, unfortunately there was still again no place at the private clinic to which I would be transferred to, so confrontation was a little less possible.

3- Spare yourself from unnecessary anger: Small things, like you cannot get access to your phone at 8:55 but at 9:00. That I have no visitation rights except for one hour. Small things like forcing you to take an ambulance to the other clinic while they have absolutely no right to do so. Small things that I could go home and have a proper shower (wearing same socks for two nights). Small things, like going home to pack my bags and kiss my children goodbye.

4- Food sucks: Just kidding, but unfortunately true!

Admission to CAC meant that I used my mind – a ruse – I managed to get admitted by waiting for the next shift of nurses to arrive, angels like FABIEN, MARTINE and BENJAMIN. They let me in, gave me something to sleep. I felt sad to be away again, but nothing weird – just the fact that I was not able to leave my husband and be away from home.

For a full review click here

*CAC: They are part of the 5 psychiatric institutions in Paris. They provide a hotline and psychiatric consultations. They welcome, treat, or offer short time hospitalization, but do not take charge of hospitalization without consent….Ils font partie de l’offre de soins des 5 établissements psychiatriques de Paris. Ils assurent une permanence téléphonique et des consultations psychiatriques. Ils accueillent, soignent, orientent ou hospitalisent pour une durée brève, mais ne prennent pas en charge les hospitalisations sans consentement.

The story of my insanity

Today I decided to share with you how it all started. I do not know why I feel the need to tell you this very personal story. I got a tattoo recently saying “Busco Me”, which is a Spanish title to a song that I absolutely love.

The song is totally bipolar, though my tattoo does not make sense in Spanish grammatically speaking, I chose the name of the song: I am searching for myself. I have been trying to avoid this subject while doing nothing else but soul searching for the last ten if not twenty years.

I have to talk to you about psychology to get to my the essence if my bipolarity, my insanity, my story. I chose to be a psychologist after the death of my mother at the age of 16. It was the only logical thing to do. Well, probably there were other logical things to do at the time. But for me to it was a calling.

My mother had psychiatric problems, if not at least psychological ones. She was a heavy drinker – an alcoholic. I was always ashamed of talking about this. It was my secret, our secret. I discovered recently that it is not the case. I cannot be hiding behind a thick curtain hoping to see the light. This was the reason I left psychology behind 10 years ago. I decided that the past is useless, the future is unknown and the now is what only matters.

Yes, this is a good mantra, yes it is indeed. But do not forget that the past that you have lived, makes the now you live. I had tried long and hard to escape rom this catch 22. Why I kept asking myself, why do I give so much importance to my childhood since my mother died 21 years ago? Please I am 37. I have a husband, 2 kids, travelled and lived in over 7 countries. I speak 4 languages, I have more diplomas than I will ever use.

I can pack and unpack a house in 24 hours almost on my own. I know how to change diapers, while having a glass of wine, talking on the phone, and making sure the food am cooking does not get burned. I help my husband make difficult decisions. I am a source of happiness for many people around me. I always encourage, always ask people to believe in themselves and that they are born for a reason, which might not be clear now, but surely will be. I am your typical cuddly dog, faithful, yet strong, playful yet with clear boundaries.

You get my point. I am polyvalente. I can do many things, and do them well. My husband says I must be German, though my only relationship with it is a goof friend of mine born on the same day as me. Why am I looking for the past? Why is it haunting me?

I will not tell you all at once, it will be too long. I want to keep you interested. It might turn out to a book this soul searching experiment. It might also be thrown to trash, but it wont be Eat, Love and Pray or whatever it was called. Sorry, not my type. Who cares anyways? The pleasure is in the journey not the destination. Do we need to argue this too?

TBC

Helpful resources in France:

Enfants -Adultes D’alcooliques: Dedicated to the topic. But it also has a few good specific articles in french about how to deal with certain situations.

Al-Anon/ Alateen France: Since the 50’s in the USA and early 60’s in France, this association helps families and friends of alcoholics. Good tip they have sessions in English and Spanish for families of alcoholics.

Information elsewhere:

Adult Children of Alcoholics: An association that is in the US helping the same population through different resources.

Children of Alcoholics: Very interesting resource speaking about how this specific population is at risk of addiction and offers pathways for prevention and treatment. They even have rehabilitation centers! Of course, you guesses well. This is indeed in the United States.

Feel free to add resources that you personally found useful yourself in the comment section….

Leaving the clinic today

Well, I’m quite excited about today. You see, today I leave behind 41 long days of hospitalization. I have been waiting for this day for so long, it seems almost a dream come true.

Yet, I am afraid or rather apprehensive that today I leave the cocoon and safety of the hospital. I know I want nothing more than being with my family, with my husband, with my beautiful children, my ever so giving father and my loving mother in law.

My apprehension comes more from expectations outside. I need to get back to my role as a mother. My children miss me, but I miss them even more. I know that my husband is waiting for me patiently. I also know that my immediate family would like to have the house come back to normal, this was mainly my duty – I am a stay at home mother…

I also know that everyone understands my condition. They understand that now I am in a state of convalescence.

So since the last few entries that I posted on the blog, I like to leave you with some tips and tricks which I hope might be useful should you find yourself in a similar situation.

Here it goes…

Don’t get too comfortable in your hospital stay: I think from my experience you have to know that everything is temporary. Getting used to the safety of the clinic is not something that you should really get used to. What I mean is you always have to know that there is a real world waiting for you outside. This real world is where you will spend the rest of your days. Please know that no matter how long the hospitalization is you will eventually get around and you have to be ready. This is basically a primary psychological preparation.

Prepare your exit so that it easiest for everyone: Knowing that you’re not going to be at your full capacity once you are out makes expectations more real. You will need help. I am speaking as a mother of two beautiful children who require plenty of energy; energy that I do not have right now. Even if your budget is limited try to find help through family, maybe hiring a cleaner or a nanny, or maybe even relying on some good friends. Basic tasks could be haunting In the beginning, and I am certain that people around would be willing to land you a hand.

Continue seeing your therapists and psychiatrist: I cannot stress the importance of this. Professional support outside of the safety of the clinic is essential for your well-being. You will adjust your medication according to the development of your case. You also should make sure that your therapist is there for you, ensuring that you are on the road to healing.

Don’t pretend to be stronger than who you really are: We get carried away, thinking that we are better, thinking there could be no harm in taking more tasks than we should. Remember, one step at a time. Do not take more on your plate. You have a long way to heal even if it doesn’t look it to others.

If you are a parenttalk to your children love them though as a mom or dad you might not have your full energy yet: You would be amazed at what can children understand. Just by maybe saying that mom or dad are yes at home, they will help little by little and take care of you slowly but surely. Ask for their patience, more important and more efficient than melt downs. I cannot stress enough the importance of one day at a time.

Routine is your best friend: My doctors told me to try and keep a routine even though it could be difficult at the beginning. For example try to wake up early and have breakfast every day at the same time. Maybe we can go to the market, pick up the stuff that you would be eating the same day. I personally find that my muscles have weakened so much over the past months. Morning walks will keep you sane and will get you into an exercise routine slowly but surely.

You need to rest: Again my doctors told me that I need to rest everyday. Even talking too much can drain you. He recommended naps but not more than 45 minutes a day.

Be patient: Rome was not built in a day. Stay in tune with your body and don’t over do it. Little by little you will find your old self emerging; or better still your improved self coming to surprise you.

Take supplements: read about taking supplements because this is very important for your overall health. Read about the importance of vitamin D, magnesium, omega-3 as well as a variety of other vitamins and minerals, they can benefit your wellbeing more than you can imagine.

Congratulate yourself: Yes, you made it! Give yourself a big pat on the back. Be grateful you made it. They wouldn’t have let you out if you were not ready. And remember, you did most of the work! Be proud for your achievements: )

TBC

New Year’s Eve at the clinic

I thought it would be with my best friends in Cairo like every year. My husband and I would be preparing the night a couple of days earlier. I would order the famous eat-till-you-die sushi platter, a grand cheese platter and a drink-if-you-can bar.

We would party till dawn and dance to songs that we love, songs that are in, songs that are so cliché that no one hears anymore. Laughter still rings in my ears from those nights. We were usually three or four couples maximum.

This year, I had no permission to spend the night out. Who cares? I am in Paris and have about 2 or 3 friends. It wouldn’t have been the same even if I could have gone out.

But this is not the point. I looked at myself in pity.. I need permission to be with my own family even if I were to spend the night in bed and sleep at 10 PM.

The lesson is, time passes and nothing can stop it. Today my eldest turns 9. I would not miss this for the world. So yes, I have a perm to go and see her. Yet, how many important events would come and go while I am locked in here? I hope not many. I am running out of patience…

TBC

A typical day at the clinic

I discovered boredom.. real boredom here at the clinic. They try, they do try to make time fly. It doesn’t. I have recreational classes; painting, relaxation, a sort of gym class that is supposed to be for muscle “awakening”, and even a sewing class. Yet, nothing really fills the time.

I decided to have a routine, boring as it might be, it still makes my days have some meaning. I wake up either by the nurses or by my breakfast tray. Coffee and an apple. I grab my coffee and go down to the terrace to smoke my first and second cigarettes of the day. I go up again shower time. I try to make it as long as possible, to pass time.

I choose my outfit, loose and mostly ugly. I put on my shoes on and go down for another smoke. I socialize. The main question is “did you sleep well”. The answers are the usual. Yes, I took my sleeping pills, or no I woke up at 3 AM, or I have been down here since 6.

I go up again. I decided to write everyday. It keeps me sane. I talk to myself, but also to a different audience – hoping to get read, to get heard. I wait for my notifications, signaling that someone somewhere read me and thought I make sense.

Now the round of psychiatrists begins. I pull the chair away from my desk and put it besides the door. He comes in, silence. I grab my red notebook with the questions of the day. I ask if I should start, and he always says yes. He mostly repeats himself. I am anxious, I am suicidal, I threw up my meals but still gain weight. No, I lie about the throwing up. Someone told me they could lock my bathroom and I have no intention to get this far in my “imprisonment”.

He says little. Let us change this, add that and reduce this. It should work within a few days to a few weeks. I write down everything he says, why I do not know. It gives me the illusion of control; maybe by knowing the names and the dosages of my meds I will be somewhat more lucid.

“N’importe quoi” as the French say – nonsense.  How long do I have to stay here I ask. I get the same response – it depends and we shall take it day by day. I say ok and thank you. He asks if I want a permission to go out. I am always accompanied by a family member – not a friend. I say yes even if I will not go out. It feels good to be in control – illusion again but what can I say? Sometimes I have the luxury of spending the night at home.

Never two days on a row, it is too dangerous he says. I say ok. Whatever, I just want to see my children, sleep in my bed while hugging my husband, holding his hand and seeing him first thing in the morning. I want to hear my baby’s steps running from his room to mine in the middle of the night saying “butterfly”, and asking to sleep in the big bed. I tell him there are no butterflies in the house and resign and happily take him in my arms.

My daughter comes in later about 7 or 8 AM. She stretches her body, still with sleepy eyes and says “good morning mama”. She would then thank me for being here at home. My big baby thinks I could possibly prefer sleeping at the clinic than in her arms. She thinks I am at a medical spa. I do not ask what she imagines or thinks of this place. I would rather not know. She literally jumps over me and look into my eyes. I melt.

My father woke up long ago. He took care of the kids to give me an hour or so in bed. He lovingly makes their hot chocolate. Patience is his virtue, nothing makes him tick. The kids know it and abuse it, but his love does not make him flinch. He has unconditional love for them.

My husband is ordering breakfast online not to make me move a muscle. He is beyond loving – the man of your dreams but just for me. He plans the day, making sure the children stay busy. It is not easy because he tries hard to find not only things that would interest a 2 year old and a 9 year old at the same time. He also tries to make sure I could fit in should I wish to join. He is my rock, my angel.

My stepmother takes over and makes some order in the house. She is trying so hard to follow our old system. She gives love and security to the children – especially to my daughter. She would take her out to eat or to do something girly.

Let me not bring up how I get to say goodbye to them. It is always so painful, just like someone is slashing me in half, someone taking my soul away. I am alive because of them. Meaninglessness slowly but surely starts to settle in again…

Back to reality, back to the clinic. Lunch time is around noon, disgusting tray. I am on a diet and also vegetarian. I get almost everyday some pasta without anything on it, some green beans, and some carrots. If I am lucky some yogurt and some cheese too just to brighten my meal. Disgusting, I pick the edible and leave the rest.

Smoke after lunch and some more small talk. We talk about our illnesses, how we ended up here. Same pain but different stories. Many are bipolar like me, some are addicts, while many more have eating disorders. Ages go from 16 to probably above 65. Groups are formed by age more than illnesses. Although age and illnesses are correlated. I sometime try to nap, specially after my Valium taken at lunch time. It relaxes me and make me lose two more hours of my endless day.

I often get a permission to go out for 2 hours in the afternoon. My father or my husband come around. We run to a place where I can eat. Sometimes my husband takes me on his Vespa. I fly with him to eat out, drink something, or go and enjoy a lovely surprise he prepared. Going back brings back this nauseating feeling, especially when I kiss my visitor goodbye and see the sliding doors closing one after the other…

Dinner at 18:30, meds too. I try to bargain to get them after dinner – I generally throw it all up. This depends on the nurse. Some are real Parasians and some aren’t. Same ugly tray with same food as lunch. Cannot eat it anymore, makes me sick to see the tray despite my huger. I go down for some hot chocolate from the vending machine. Sometimes I bring some food back with me from the supermarket next door. Smoke some more, yes what else to do.

Closing down at 22:00. No more going to the terrace or to the poor common room with it’s useless babyfoot table and meeting chairs. Go up to my room, read on kindle and take the sleeping pill to drift into oblivion till the next day. Nurses check on me like three times at night. Why? No idea, maybe to know that I am still in my room. Maybe to know I am still alive. At 8:00 it starts all over again…

TBC

The real men died in war

I heard about this Asian proverb; that later says the rest are cowards.

I am not making drastic changes, by now you know I am a good old classic chicken. I am all talks and no actions….

No OD planned- partially unachievable given the circumstances. Also, it never works because I am never too serious about it….

I just want to close my eyes and find everything the way it should be. But we cannot have everything… Sacrifices are made. Pricey and painful yet essential. Tears are shed, big hugs, promises that are hard to keep. Burn out; how many can one have? Ho many can the family survive?

A chicken; back to the clinic. Dinner check, medication check, last smoke of the day check. Now waiting for the stuff that sends me to Lalaland, which is unfortunately after a whole 45 minutes. Long time it is when looking for more numbness.

Am supposed to have 24 hours plus out of the clinic tomorrow. Bipolar, I cannot decide… good for me? Bad for them? The opposite? More pressure I am sure on the family. In french they say “on fait aller”; one day at a time.

I miss everyone; but maybe seeing them would do us all no good…

Am off the grid

TBC

L’amour qui déchire

Silly to realize that your own state of mind is excluded to you. No dear, everyone has the right to be depressed, angry, or even manic.

I am in love. I am deeply in love, but my mind is getting me out of mind. How can I explain? It could look like I am taking those around me for granted. It is not the case, actually my diagnosis as one with a BPD*, I have this sacred feeling of abandonment – or the likelihood of it. I just said I burned my bridges. Nuts I am yes, but I cannot throw everything in the air. I have an out-of-this-world husband. I have two superb children, a loving father and a great deal of support when in crisis.

What I fear is that those around me get bored, tired, or simply cease to care. Now, I am here all alone, by my own doing… “He shut me down” says the song, and this was my clue to take my tail between my legs and run. I say I do not run, but this is what I do best. Apparently am a runner.

I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old. My mother did not give in to my ultimatum, so I put my belongings into my backpack and ran down the stairs. No one came after me. I had to go up those 5 flight of stairs to knock and ask to be let in – though still I think I had done nothing wrong.

I just tend to open the door and go. I think that by doing this, I gain freedom or temporary release from my problems. But it is exactly the opposite that happens. It all starts with this anguish and feeling of being misunderstood. I open the door, I hope that someone will truly say something that makes sense. Usually, this never happens. I then go down the stairs step by step… No one is running after me. Silence.. Only my footsteps can be heard. In the street I go, my heartbeat is going strong in my own ears. I hear nothing but the “BAM BAM” of my veins, as if my heart is trying to call me back to my senses and tell me that running away is by default running AWAY from my problems.

I love my family. I love nothing and no-one more than my family. In my bubble, I try to stretch out my arms to touch them. I barely reach the surface. I look out and see both our hands are tied… Their hands are tied because they do not understand me, and mine are tied because I do not understand me either….

*BPD: borderline personality disorder

When you burn your bridges

Today, now, I do not know where to go… I burned my bridges. Maybe this is not totally true, but quite. I have been interned, hospitalized, enclosed, sheltered, whatever the word you would like to use for almost what, a month?

Who is counting, and what is counting?! I lost the days, they have lost their meaning, repeat, rewind. How are you today? Small talk… You end-up talking about how 25mg of this makes you constipated.. Life boils down to medication, and medication sadly but surely becomes all you know. Days are translated into numbers, 10 drops, 50 mg in case you need it, one suppository; repeat protocol for night time

Lately, I turn out in places which I’d rather thought unlikely. The CAC*, the hospital, the CAC again, hospital again, the clinic for the crazy ones, and so on… I even forget what I say. I forget what I do. It is so powerful, you would not want to be in my place.

Phone-less, here I am looking for an internet access in this big metropolitan was easier than I think. I always wondered when I saw an internet access shop, what the heck? Everyone has internet… Well Nour, no not always. I gave my link to the world to my father before I left. It was more like an offering gesture: “here, take my weapon of knowledge. I surrender.

I might make no sense, but I burned my bridges today. I am angry as it gets. I am fearless. I am afraid. I am wrong, but I know I am right. I know what to do, yet I am clueless. I ran into this place, paid more money than I needed. I need time. I need time to know what to do, where to go, what is safe, what is risky…

I will use public phones I thought. I will calm down and call to check in, but I do not know any number by heart except mine…

I will walk to the clinic then, but I have no GPS – remember? I am in a big city without a map. A girl without a phone, is almost naked…

Yes, I am this little girl, lost in the big city. Again phone-less. No one knows where I am. I took my anti-anxiety pill, which is working now. I am more relaxed, but still very angry. This browser does not support Spotify. I want to listen to music when writing. The stupid tracks get cutoff the second they become interesting. Just like my sentences, they make no sense. I felt shaky from early morning. I smelled it in the air, something was wrong. Now I know everything is wrong…Writing is the only truth….

*Centre D’accueil et de Crises