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Today’s story is written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Tiffany has shared regular stories on my site since February 2015. The purpose of her writing is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness, and serves as a gentle reminder for all of us to continually press forward towards mental health and wholeness. If you’d like to read the stories I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the stories she’s shared on this site, check out Tiffany’s Story. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.

I’ve heard that sometimes a person needs to change their environment in order to grow. For me, that was my trip out to Washington to visit my sister and her family. When I returned, a few people told me how much I had changed. I was much more aware of what I wanted from life. I was no longer searching for the missing pieces of me, wondering if my life was complete. I realized that I was in the environment I needed and wanted to be in, here in Minnesota.

My sister moved to Seattle around Christmas. Her husband got a job there. I dealt with some severe emotions when I found out she was moving. When she finally moved, I dealt with slight sadness.

We booked our plane tickets to visit my sister and her family a few months before we actually went there on July 4th. I paid for our three tickets with money I got back from rent rebate. My mom was also with us on our awesome vacation. She had Delta Airlines gift cards from her surprise gift opening last Christmas. My mom and I also had a garage sale to get spending money for our Seattle trip. I was SO excited for my kids to go on this trip with me, especially the plane! The kids were asked if they wanted to go in the cockpit of the plane. What an awesome experience for first-time flyers! My sister and her son, Cooper, were at the airport to pick us up. We were all so happy.

We arrived in Seattle close to fireworks time. I was tired and wanted to stay at my sister’s house. My sister’s husband, Seth, and their son, Cooper, stayed at the house with me. My sister, mom and the rest of the kids went to a 4th of July celebration. Seth, Cooper and I did fireworks outside. Seth and Cooper got some pretty cool ones! We laughed and had an awesome time. The rest of the kids came back with pure excitement, showing us their glow sticks and telling us stories.

My sister had her shoes on and was ready to show us an adventure every day. My sister and I have a relationship that can’t be broken. She tells me how she feels when needed. I use her words as a way to grow! I feel that my sister is a very strong person! She knows just what to do, in my eyes. We went to a beautiful beach with the kids one day. I really noticed my panic attacks when my kids were near water. I was screaming for them to stay near the shore. I would have bought life jackets for the kids if I would have known how my panic attacks would affect me. One of my fears is screaming and having nobody hear me. That day at the beach, I was screaming most of the day. My sister sat with my mom and they tried to calm me down. “But my kids are out there in the water!” “Everything is fine, Tiff. Calm down,” my sister said to me. She was right, nothing happened. I always try to be safe, but maybe too safe?

I was very thankful that my mom came with us on our trip to Seattle! She helped us on the way there and back by helping watch the kids and getting us on the right planes. Large crowds and too much stimulus affect my family. My mom helped take away that stress by staying calm and leading us in the right direction. My mom and I tend to argue at times, but we got along great the entire vacation! My mom rationed the money I had along. She also made some very delicious meals for us to eat while we were there. During our adventures in Seattle, she helped make sure the kids were always near us. She also proved that anything can be accomplished, no matter what age you are. She hiked and was willing to experience any adventure my sister had planned. I love my mom so much, and I’m happy she was our travel buddy!

My brother-in-law, Seth, works for T-Mobile. I feel so awesome hanging out with him because he is so cool! He is battling cancer right now. We had an awesome couple weeks together, and we really did not think of the cancer at all. Seth was working a lot while we were there, but we did see him on a couple weekend days. My sister and Seth love to landscape. They took some time to pick out what they needed and had the best time planting and replanting together. They were so ZEN and so loving the moments together. We chilled outside while they worked on the yard work. A memory and time I will cherish forever!

My son, Xander, watched my nephew, Cooper, play basketball a lot when we were in Seattle. Xander finally mastered dribbling a basketball. Cooper took Xander to the park a few times to practice. Xander looks up to Cooper so much and talks about him often. Cooper has a mini fridge in his room, filled with drinks, including numerous flavors of Mountain Dew. I asked him if I could have one. Occasional Mountain Dews make me very happy. I did not drink all of them, but I had a couple more during our vacation. One night I couldn’t sleep and noticed that Cooper was awake. I told him I was worried about his dad. Cooper gave me some sleeping tips and they worked. It’s the little things that we’ll always remember!

My niece, Elsa, and I have become very close over the years. Elsa came into my life at a bad time. I was in my horrible days of drugs, alcohol and mental health issues Elsa’s first five years of life. I always wonder why I don’t recall the younger days of Elsa growing up. I was stuck in addiction and mental health issues. I was a mess! Yet, I still kinda am a bit! LOL! I love hanging out with Elsa, talking, shopping and exploring. One of my goals for the trip was to spend plenty of quality time with Elsa. We walked downtown where my sister lives and it is surrounded by mountains. I really liked it! Elsa and I went shopping a bit and sat at the coffee shop drinking coffee. Elsa’s drink tasted a bit too much like coffee, so she gave it to me. We also explored the stores, and she had someone tell her about tarot cards. There was also a shop that had a meditation class I wanted to go to, but I came at the wrong time. When we went out downtown, a few people knew Elsa and said hi. She is just a sassy, lovable soul. She is nice to almost everyone and doesn’t judge others. She has this sense of understanding that is beyond her years! My time with Elsa during the trip was amazing.

My family means the world to me. Every single one of them! My niece, Maisie, is in first grade now. Before she moved to Seattle, I always felt she was skeptical or scared of me. I had not seen her for more than six months. The way she looked at me during the trip was full of confidence and love. Maisie’s elementary school is pretty close to their house, so we went and played there a few times. The girls are awesome on the monkey bars! Mountains surrounding us! Looking at pretty flowers all the way there and back. So beautiful! Maisie adores my daughter, Raegan. Those two had a blast during the entire trip!

I’ve always enjoyed my time alone, and I’ve always enjoyed walking around downtown. My sister’s family lives in a town I wanted to explore, so I went downtown a few times. One time, I went to the local bar and hung out with the locals. I was not drinking alcoholic drinks. I even had one guy and girl ask me to work as a bartender for them. Made me feel pretty good! After I finished exploring, I called my sister and her husband to pick me up. I told my sister that there was a cute guy in the bar that I wanted to observe. Seth said, “You should’ve stayed.” I love his sense of humor. We laughed and all was good. We went home and had a delicious meal that my mom made.

One day when nothing was planned, my sister found a farm with a small amusement park to go to. I was NOT in the mood to do much that day, but I felt obligated. Sometimes I just need my space away from everything. My sister suggested I take the day off. Little did I know that the kids would have one of their best days of the trip. My mom and sister seemed okay with me taking the day off, and they’ve known I’ve done that in the past. It’s just a bit tougher with my sister living far away. I enjoyed time by myself. I looked around and learned about my sister’s new town. I relaxed and drank a lot of coffee. Later that day, I made it home safe to their house. That night, my sister did a mini photo shoot with me and my kids. My niece, Elsa, did my hair and made me feel beautiful. My sister picked out a park and a wall with a mural on it for our pictures. True beauty came out in those pictures. Sometimes my sister and I know each other more than we admit!

I was surprised that none, if any, fights broke out with anyone during our trip, with the exception of me freaking out most days. Maybe some people just kinda know what to expect from me, and they’re okay accepting me like that?

Before we took our trip to Washington, I had a longing to go back to Venice Beach someday. Maybe I needed a change in my life’s direction? In Seattle, I saw homeless people and performers on the streets. I kinda just walked by and thought “awww,” and that was that. I’ve always been intrigued by what happens on the streets, but this time, I just wasn’t in the middle of it.

When thoughts of our trip to Seattle come to my mind, I think of the memories I shared and so many more! Everyday I would just stand in my sister’s neighborhood with awe. Mountains surrounding me! I kinda felt like spinning around with my eyes closed, then opening them! I watched homes being built in their neighborhood and thought about my life being built too! I’m no longer the person I used to be and this trip made me realize that!


Today’s story is written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Tiffany has shared regular stories on my site since February 2015. The purpose of her writing is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness, and serves as a gentle reminder for all of us to continually press forward towards mental health and wholeness. If you’d like to read the stories I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the stories she’s shared on this site, check out Tiffany’s Story. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.

A lot of changes have occurred over the past few months. At first, I was hesitant about some of the changes, but they are necessary for our family to move forward. I have realized that my everyday routines and habits, and changes I need and want to make, all start with me. I need to implement the changes and follow through with them.

Sometimes I feel like I’m looked down upon by people for spending so much time with my mom and dad. Sometimes I hear that they wish they had more time with their parents. Life is short! I spend time with my parents because the kids and I love them. My parents have been there for me and my kids through darkness and into the light. I like to think that we’re taking care of each other since they are getting older.

I never imagined life being this way. A single mom with many mental health diagnoses. My parents trying to help out any way they can. I live just houses away from them, so we are neighbors. My dad wanting to live his definition of the retired lifestyle. My parents holding my hand when I am down, especially my mom. They help with my children when I need time away. If I need help watching the kids when I have appointments, they help make that happen. When we have nothing to make for meals at our house, they help with food. When my house is a completely-disorganized mess, my mom comes over to help organize and clean. Overall, they support me, even when they’d probably rather be doing something else.

For years, I lived in a very dark place. I was scared that because of my decisions in life, people were going to hurt my family. I spent days alone in my mind, thinking the darkest thoughts possible, not wanting to feel completely alone. My parents brought me out of that dark place, even when I hated them for doing so. For many years, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be alive. Having kids saved my life, along with the help of my parents. My parents have accepted me for me, most of the time.

Initially my parents did not want to help discipline the kids, but that has changed over time. I am also learning discipline techniques from professionals. I utilize my parents techniques combined with the professionals’ ideas. I’d have to say that I am finally catching on to the whole discipline idea, without having to scream. That took work. When we are lonely at home, we often visit grandpa and grandma. They are our neighbors after all. I have made the decision to never get married and to stay single. My kids’ dad has no desire to be with me, so I do what I can do as a single mom. My point is that I don’t have a partner to share life with, so my parents help out with the loneliness factor. My mom usually buys my kids a couple outfits to wear every season. The clothing she selects matches. My clothing selections for the kids, not so much. When I feel defeated, they are there to help me crawl out of my hole. My parents are wonderful, and I would not exchange them, even if I had the choice!

I was told that because of my suicide attempts and overdoses, part of my brain was injured. I don’t think I’ve caught on to math concepts?! My daughter’s second grade homework can be very difficult for me to understand at times. My mom, being the teacher she is, usually helps out every weekday with my daughter’s math. I help with spelling and reading. Xander, my preschooler, enjoys doing “homework” with grandma too. They are two very smart kids who are blessed to have grandparents like they do.

My daughter, son and I spend a lot of time with my mom and dad, but they need their time alone too! My dad would like more time with my mom, which I feel he is starting to get now. That’s why we’ve been limiting our time with my mom and dad a lot over the past couple months. Ideally, I’d like for my parents to trust the decisions I make and live in some kind of peace. I do not want to be a burden to them at all. I’d like to make a number of changes moving forward with our family of three in order to become more independent from my mom and dad.

The various appointments I have to take care of my mental health concerns are separate from my relationship with my mom and dad. I see a psychiatrist, psychologist, a mental health practitioner, and I’m currently doing PTSD therapy. Those along with mental health appointments for my kids keep me busy! The people that the kids and I work with make me very happy.

As I stated earlier, I am getting better at disciplining the kids. I use techniques from both the professionals we work with and my parents. I used to scream a lot, but not anymore. Calmness at all times seems to work, along with the kids realizing that I am the parent and I have authority over them.

I had very little to no routine before I had children. I now realize that both children thrive off of routines, but I have to work on that. My discipline before was very lax because I was treating my children, especially Raegan, as a friend. With the help of professionals, I can confidentially say that my discipline with the kids is a lot better now. Sometimes my son, Xander, tells me that I’m mean and that he hates me. I have learned to just ignore that behavior. I must be doing something right? For the past year, Xander has been attending a group with children who could possibly have mental health and behavioral issues. He graduated from that group because he is doing so well. He also has an IEP in preschool, which helps get him services for being, what they say, developmentally delayed in some areas. I just had a conference with his teachers, and he is doing extremely well in most areas that he lacked in before. My daughter, Raegan, was just put on medication for ADD/ADHD. The process of getting her on a medication was thorough, but so worth it. I was hesitant about putting her on meds, but we tried everything else. The results from the medication have been wonderful so far!

I would like to make easier meals at our place so we are not interfering so much with my mom and dad’s schedule. I’d also like to have my kids make healthier choices when it comes to food and drink. Healthier choices come from me offering those options. Sometimes a cereal and toast dinner is alright with us, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. More physical time outdoors and in the fresh air is always a healthy decision. Raegan, Xander and I love being outdoors, so I can guarantee that summer is going to allow that to happen.

Overall, our family is moving forward with positive energy. My parents have done a lot for our family of three and we still have a lot of work to do, but I’m confident about us. I’m confident that the kids enjoy my easy meals just as much as grandma’s?! I feel good when we don’t have to rely on food from my mom and dad. I just have to prioritize food when I get paid each month. I could probably completely take care of my needs and the kids’ needs alone, but I have realized over the years that I am never alone. I always have someone to help. Nobody is really ever alone. I used to worry about everything, but I am beginning to feel and experience the reality of real love. Why worry when we are doing the best job we can? All I like to do is take one day at a time. We’re all really just trying to survive in the happiest way possible!


Today’s story is written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Tiffany has shared regular stories on my site since February 2015. The purpose of her writing is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness, and serves as a gentle reminder for ALL of us to continually press forward towards mental health and wholeness. If you’d like to read the stories I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the stories she’s shared on this site, check out Tiffany’s Story. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.

I’m still kinda bummed that summer is over and school has started. The fun-filled days of warmth, all-day play outside, friends, dolls, flowers, t-ball, swim lessons, pools, weddings, parks, parties, and staying up later and sleeping in. I will miss those summer days.

This year, I have a second grader and a preschooler. With both kids at school, I have some extra free time for myself. The ups and downs of this school year have pulled at my heart. I have experienced emotions I did not even realize I had anymore. This past summer was full of appointments to get both kids back on track. With hesitation, I’d like to share with you what’s going on at home and at school.

My seven-year old daughter, Raegan, can be a lot of work sometimes. After hours of observation and therapy, we were told she has conduct disorder. We were referred to people who could help out. Raegan has improved drastically. She is a perfect angel at school, but at home she went from having around six uncontrollable fits a week, down to one or two. Some weeks, she doesn’t have any fits and rages, as my dad would call them. She still, at times, wants what she wants and will cry and be out of control until she gets what she wants. In the past, I gave in more than I do now.

Raegan’s behavior has passed on to my three-year-old son, Xander, as children learn from their siblings. Xander attends preschool two mornings a week at the same elementary school that my daughter goes to. They like to look for each other throughout the day. Xander also attends a group three afternoons at a center that focuses mostly on emotions. He was just recently diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder. I hope that neither of their diagnoses are lifelong, but we are working on both kids early to fix whatever is going on. They like to keep a close eye on the kids since I’m a single mother with a chronic mental health diagnosis.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Xander has separation anxiety?! Every day that he has had school so far, I’ve had to hand him over to his teachers crying. They all give me updates on how he is doing. He usually goes in and out of crying during his time at class, but from the pictures I’ve received from his teachers, he seems to be having some good moments too. Am I putting him through too much at such a young age? That question goes through my mind every time I drop him off at school. One day I hope to be confident in the choices I am making for my children. It takes a village to raise children, and I’m utilizing all the help I can get!

During the first couple weeks of school, I found myself looking all over for my kids in a panic. Oh my gosh, where are my kids? Slow down. Slow down! Xander is fine, and he’ll be done with school at this time. Raegan is at school, and she’ll be home on the bus at this time. Everything is okay! Now, fifth week in, I find myself more and more aware of the places they need to be.

At the end of each day, I wait for Raegan to get off of the bus. I wait for Xander to get out of the van. I really miss them. I’m excited for them to be home. I look forward to their hugs! I look forward to their smiles as they tell me about their day, piece by piece. Everything may not be great in my life, but we are surviving. Hopefully, everyday we can get some smiles out, some happy feeling. Raegan and Xander are on a path to becoming who they are. I am so happy to be their mom on this journey!

With both of my kids at school, I’ve had blocks of time to myself. I’ve experienced good things and bad things. Many times, I have been uncertain and confused about what I should be doing with my time. I’m so used to having both kids with me most of the time. I’m still trying to figure out how I can make the best use of my time. The main emotion I have experienced with both kids gone during the day is sadness. Am I making good decisions to have them in the programs they are in? It’s very difficult to leave a crying child, yelling “MAMA!”

I’ve also experienced lack of motivation. I have lists of things I could be doing, but I end up doing nothing. One day I was so tired that I planned on taking a nap. I just laid there thinking about the kids. I felt uneasy that I was not utilizing the free time I had. Week two started and slight motivation started happening. I hung out with friends a couple times and thought of more ways to spend my time.

I have reached out to others, asking them what they thought I should do with my free time. Some people thought I should start working or volunteering, while others felt I should spend my time doing whatever makes me happy. I am not in any condition to start working. I feel that I could volunteer, as long as it’s something I enjoy doing. I thought of volunteering at the behavioral health center, because their building is located right next to my place and I spent months there when they first opened. I would really enjoy working with others who deal with mental health issues. But they gave me a “no-go” to volunteering there. They are super locked down and only let service dogs in. Another volunteer opportunity I thought of was to look into publications I could write for. Other than that, I’m still exploring ways to make the time I have off productive.

The school year has started, and if we have school-aged kids, we’re all adjusting in some way or another. The process takes time, but I feel the kids and I are adjusting well to the new school year. They are happier knowing what’s coming next. They like eating breakfast at school each day. For the most part, they are enjoying their daily routine at school. For me, there has been good, not so good and uncertainty so far. Only time will tell how the remainder of the year goes. I am hoping for fewer tears and more smiles!


Today’s story is written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Tiffany has shared regular stories on my site since February 2015. The purpose of her writing is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness, and serves as a gentle reminder for ALL of us to continually press forward towards mental health and wholeness. If you’d like to read the stories I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the stories she’s shared on this site, check out Tiffany’s Story. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.

Throughout my life, I’ve had a number of issues with focusing and staying on task. They often call that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I have that label placed on me and I don’t mind. I’m classified as having the inattentive type. I’ve had people, including my kids, tell me to slow down. I’m always looking at what’s next. That inhibits me from enjoying any given moment. I need to just breathe and enjoy the happy, peaceful times.

My mental illness conditions don’t always allow me to stay focused and on task. In the past, I quit many jobs because I was not focusing or staying on task. When I’m moving from one thought to the next, my anxiety gets extremely high. When I’m communicating with the voices in my head, I have to keep the loud, ever-changing conversations going. The voices confuse me, so I often retreat and isolate myself.

It’s important for me to keep up with my mental health so I can focus and stay on task.

I hope these stories illustrate how self-care is needed when dealing with focus and staying on task in the past, present, and looking forward to the future?!

Relationships have helped me deal with my isolating issues. I have a strong support system that I can be open and honest with. Sometimes we laugh at psycho me and that is alright.

I walked into my psychiatrist’s office the other day with so much to catch him up on. Guess what? I forgot what I was going to talk about with him! He recommended, as he always does, to make a list before my appointments for both my kids and myself. Sometimes I do that, but often I just don’t think of it. My psychiatrist offered me another way to focus on what’s going on. He suggested using mnemonics. That is making a sentence from the first letter of what I want to remember. He explained to me that repetition is the mother of learning. He wrote these strategies down for me, along with the reminder to RELAX to REMEMBER. There are often times that I’m having a conversation, and I completely forget what was being said. I have noticed that everyone does that from time to time, so I’m not alone. I just get confused because my emotions don’t match the conversations that are going on. I guess it’s alright to just say, “I forgot what we were talking about!” Focusing and staying on task is tough sometimes, but there are ways to deal with it!

I rarely get to hang out with my brother since he lives out of town, but I recently got to spend the day with him. My brother works in the mental health field and is pretty good at keeping me on task! He is the kind of guy who likes to enjoy each and every moment. That is the reason I look up to him so much. My mom dropped me and my son off at his place. We chilled for a bit while he was smoking some food for our lunch. After lunch, we went to Legoland at the Mall of America, and we let my son, Xander, go on a ride. My focus and staying on task issues were pretty good most of the time. He had to tell me a couple times, “Just chill, Tiff. You’re always moving so fast.” The next day we celebrated the one-year anniversary of my dad’s lung transplant. Pretty much right when my brother arrived at my sister’s place, I wanted to take pictures. My brother got kind of irritated and said, “Just let the moment to take pictures happen. Don’t force it!” I was focused on getting the pictures taken, and I got my way. I tend to rush life, so being with him forces me to slow down. When I am focused and staying on task, I actually enjoy moments with my brother and my family.

As you may be able to tell by my writing, it is difficult for me to stay on task. My first diagnosis when I was just out of college was ADD/ADHD. The doctor prescribed me Adderall. I was told my personality changed drastically, and I feel that drug was the start of my drug addiction. I’ve heard Adderall has been the start of many peoples’ addictions?! I had a couple huge bottles of the drug because I was not taking it as prescribed. They were stolen from an apartment I had in Minneapolis because I was hanging out with the wrong kind of people. Over the years, I have been put on numerous stimulant and non-stimulant ADD/ADHD medications. My doctors now know NOT to put me on ANY of them. I know how I abused those drugs in the past, and I don’t trust myself with any of the stimulant medications. If I could go back in time, I would have never started taking Adderall or any of the medications for focusing. Staying on task and focusing takes a lot of work, but I’m glad there are other ways to deal with those concerns.

Everyone seems to want to keep their mind sharp and active. I’ve had a few conversations with my friends about that subject. I have been told by doctors that I have brain damage from the numerous times I attempted suicide in the past. There are many times I was near death and in the Intensive Care Unit. To keep my mind active is very important. I keep a calendar for my appointments and what I need to do each day. I also enjoy writing and reading, which is important for my brain. Lately, I have found that I can’t remember much. Ask me what I did yesterday, and I can’t remember all of the time. I have found that I am enjoying each day more and am appreciating the small moments. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have attempted suicide, but I can’t always control what my mind is doing to me. Someday, I’d like to be an advocate for suicide awareness. I have personal experience with the issue and I feel like I could help others. No problem is big enough to end your life. There are ways to cope.

I am always looking for suggestions on how to improve my memory. My friends, family and doctors help me slow down because yes, sometimes I’m moving too fast. I may get lost in conversations, not be able remember, or move too fast, but I am at a happy place in my life. Working on focusing and staying on task helps me to enjoy the small moments more!


For the first time in five years of sharing words and photographs online, I’m shifting gears completely and letting someone write about me! Today’s story is written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Tiffany has shared regular stories on my site since February 2015. The purpose of her writing is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness, and to continually press forward towards mental health. If you’d like to read the stories I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the stories she’s shared on this site, check out Tiffany’s Story. Without further ado, here are Tiffany’s thoughts on me, perfectly timed for my birthday this weekend. Thank you, Tiffany.

My sister, Amy, and I may be different, but she’s one of my best friends! I always learn from her and cherish our relationship.

I don’t always have control over what my mental illness is doing to me. My emotions seem to be all over the place, but medication seems to help out a lot. Many times my sister realizes what is going on without me having any clue. Sometimes I have trouble making out the point she is trying to get across, but I usually figure that out with time. Deep down I have always known that she is looking out for my best interests. Never has a disagreement or difference in opinion separated us.

One of my very good friends said something to me the other day that made complete sense. He said, “It’s like you push away the people that you are trying to reel in.” I’ve done that in many of my relationships, especially with my sister. There have been many times where I have yelled at her with tears exploding out of my eyes, to just leave, get out of here! I didn’t want her to know the honest pain I was in, nor did I understand what was going on.

When my sister and I were younger, I used to read her journals. She has always had them and still does. I learned about what was going on in her life. She’s always up to something and surprises me and others with her deep-thinking mind.

I’ve always been an annoying texter and caller to many, especially with my sister. Not once has my sister told me to stop. She may just take a while to get back to me. Sometimes she ignores my illogical thoughts, but sometimes she asks me to explain more about what’s going on.

When my sister and I communicate face-to-face, we seem to have slight disagreements. Earlier this month, she came to my garage to mark some stuff for our family garage sale. She cleaned the garage a bit so she could make room for her stuff on a clean floor. I pretty much just stood there, not knowing where to start or what to do. I eventually got some of my items marked on another day. When my sister was marking stuff, I told her I thought she and I were pretty similar. She said with a sneer, “We are all different.” I had to remember what my psychologist says about us all being unique. If we had a clone of ourselves, then maybe we’d get along perfectly with them? I have no idea! Maybe I just think my sister is cool and have always wanted to be more like her. I’m more of a free spirit, and my sister is careful and deliberate with her actions. We tend to dress different. My spirit wants me to dress more casual, and she dresses more formal than I do. If we can accept our differences, we can create great things together.

I was locked away and in a halfway house for most of my pregnancy with my daughter, Raegan, who just turned seven. I have not been in an institution since. At the end of my stay in the halfway house, I was kicked out because I was not making sense to anyone. I had been having a tough two weeks, had not slept in two nights and was manic. I really wanted to go and stay with my sister, but they would not allow me to do so. The lady in charge at the halfway house yelled at me, and told me that I thought I could get whatever I wanted. Well, sometimes we can and other times we can’t.

They brought me to the emergency room where my sister met me. I recall trying to escape and have a cigarette outside. I was locked in, and did not like that at all. My sister was sitting with me as I was being illogical, curled up on the emergency room bed. I remember only a bit of the experience because when I’m in one of my states of mind, I don’t always know what has happened. I kept hearing code blue, and thought the intercom was speaking to me. I had a slight obsession with Zach Braff from the TV show “Scrubs” after meeting him on a set in California. I thought he was in the hospital to rescue me. My sister stayed calm and collected and reassured me that everything was going to be alright. They brought me to the psych ward on a bed as I yelled at random people along the way. Cuz hey, I thought I knew them! I called my sister often while I was in the hospital, and she reassured me that I was not alone.

Neither of my pregnancies were easy. I would go into the hospital all the time to check for the heart beat. I thought something was going on all of the time. I also did not have a husband for either of my pregnancies. I would not recommend that, but I managed. Through both of my pregnancies, my sister was with me every step of the way! She ended up being my birth partner for both births. She was calm and collected and made the experiences manageable. I feel that we became closer because of those experiences.

When my dad was in the hospital for his lung transplant last summer, Amy and I handled the entire situation in different ways. My sister took care of the CaringBridge website, allowing people to know what was going on. She also took over when my mom needed time away, and was partial caregiver. I was the cheerleader and brought my kids to see my dad once in awhile. That was important because my dad wanted to see the entire family. We cheered him up! Overall, a tough situation was successfully accomplished because we worked together.

I am very grateful to my sister, Amy, that she allows me to use her website every month so I can express myself. Life is often a struggle because I judge myself so harshly. Sometimes I get confused about how to keep up with everything. My sister offers me her advice. We may be different, but we are sisters and friends. I do not know what I would do without her.


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