Chasing Butterflies

Yesterday I watched Landon chase a butterfly across the yard. I kneeled down, the cool grass tracing my toes, and just stared at him in awe of his determination to hold something that moved so fast.

He bounced this way and that, in the direction of the flying creature, following the tiny bright yellow wings with an orange burst of color in the middle, fluttering desperately to get away. While it rested here and there, he crept just close enough to touch it. But in an instant the butterfly would release and fly away again.

“Come back here, buh-fly!” he would yell with a smile on his face. “I won’t hurt you!”

And the chase would begin again as he bounced and pounced with the joy only an innocent child can project into this world. He would follow only for a little while longer until his mind wandered to the next activity.

It occured to me that I am chasing butterflies too. I am 32-years-old and still trying to figure out how to capture it. Only the butterfly I chase is happiness. Always within my grasp. Sometimes cupped between my two hands. But never easy to hold onto.

This particular depressive episode came on fast. Scary fast. I have continued to take my medicine but something is still not right. The knowing is both a comfortable and uncomfortable feeling at the same time. I can think of three things that might have caused this downspiral. I took a break from regular therapy during the stress of our move and I also began birth control. But also, May has historically been a tough month for me. I have theories as to why this is. Innocence lost in a back alley so long ago. Dirty water memories that flood my brain. But placing blame doesn’t stop from catapulting me into the depths of another hellish battle.

There is only one thing I am sure of at this point. My brain isn’t working properly. Neurons are firing terrifying messages. My anxiety is high and my mood is oh so low. I want to sleep. I want to give up because I am so tired of never feeling good enough. I am so tired of disappointing everyone.

I called my therapist two weeks ago when I noticed a big enough change. I will talk to her today and hopefully we can change the course of this painful path. I know she’ll tell me to see my psychiatrist. So I’ve already made an appointment with him as well. But he is on vacation and I cannot get in for another two weeks. I try to rationalize how short a period two weeks is. Fourteen days. But a lot can change in fourteen days. Especially when you’re dealing with bipolar disorder.

I wish I could explain to you how much I hate this feeling. The feeling that I don’t belong here even though I know I do. That’s the message my brain sends. And when it does I think, what.the.hell.brain? Why are you doing this to me again? I want to call bullshit on these messages. But bipolar disorder is convincing. Very very convincing.

It says to me . . . you’re not worthy of this life. You’re not worthy of your family. You’re not worthy of your boys.

As I hear these things, the butterfly flutters further away. I reach my hands up just like my son did, begging it to come back. The illness continues to remind me until I am forced to believe them. But I don’t want to believe them. I will do everything in my power to believe what I know is true. I am worthy of catching a butterfly. I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy.

After suffering from the age of 15, I have experienced enough depressive episodes to know that I can get through this. With the right therapy. With the right medicines. But it’s never happened this quickly. I am worried and scared.

Even after nearly eighteen years of highs and lows I still wonder why. Why can’t I be the girl who has butterflies land on her. No effort. No chase. No pain.

I am forced to accept my illness all over again. Accept the fact that, for me, the butterflies will never just land on my hand. This is my life. Chasing butterflies. For my family. For me.

beautiful painting found here

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Thank you so much for reading. I hope you know how much it means to share a little piece of my heart with you today.

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  1. says

    I am not in your shoes, nor do I deal with depressive episodes as you are. The occasional bad day, sure, but I know those are just a normal part of life. But I wanted to tell you that YOU ARE WORTHY. I have so enjoyed reading your blog, and hearing your story. It’s helped make me more understanding of some family members dealing with similar issues; it’s helped me be on the lookout for a friend who has shown signs of depression. The fact that you recognize something is not right tells me that a small part of you knows you are worthy and that small part of you is fighting for the WHOLE you. I am not expecting anything I tell you to make it all better, but I did want you to know that I am praying for you!
    Suze recently posted..10 Years

  2. says

    Oh mama, I’m praying for you. I’m so glad that you have come to a point of acute awareness and I hope that talking with your therapist brings some temporary relief as you work through this!

  3. Molly says

    You know I hate to read these blog posts- I know this is a hard struggle, a reoccuring struggle….you know that you are worthy…your brain plays theses tricks on you to make sure that you are strong enough, I sometimes hate that brain of yours….I know May is hard…but you are strong, I am glad that you are being proactive on this Mol instead of letting it get to you…maybe the meds are counter-acting with your BC- know that I am a short 45 minute drive away..know that your adorable sons and husband love and need you! I love and need you…you are my best friend…god placed you in my life for MANY reasons…I love you Mol…keep your head up.

  4. says

    You don’t know me, I’m just a follower of your blog. But, I know exactly what you are going through. I also have bipolar, and it is a daily struggle for me. I don’t take meds because I think I’m fine without them. Lately though I’ve been in a depressed mood a lot, and I think it’s time for me to go talk to a therapist. If you ever need someone to talk to about it all, you can email me if you would like. I’ve been through those ups and downs, I know how it feels. Just know that it will all get better, it may not feel like it right now, but in time it will.

  5. Susan says

    Just wanted to send you virtual hugs. I know that feeling that comes with recurring depressive episodes. Every time I’m surprised, even though by now i suppose I shouldn’t be. And every time, the hole feels so dark I fear I won’t ever get out. Those feeling of self-hatred…of disconnect with everything and everyone I love…it’s like nothing is as it seems. And then I remember to fight, to ask for help, to be kind to myself. And when it passes, I can’t believe I ever doubted that I could be myself again. You’re getting the help you need and taking care of yourself. You’re doing all you can – and this hell will pass. Until then, I’m here if you need an understanding ear. @learndhappiness

  6. says

    Molly, you are more than worthy! Everything you have in your life, you deserve. You have your butterflies, your two sons. Look at the joy in their lives. Their joy is your joy.

    You are worthy. You are worthy. You are worthy.

  7. says

    Molly, thank you for this beautifully written post! I really believe that you will resonate with just about everyone who is bipolar who reads this post. You captured so well the daily struggle that someone who is bipolar goes through on a daily basis. My husband is bipolar and went through a very scary sharp spiral down recently that included a week or so of hospitalization. Sometimes the illness takes over the body so suddenly that we can’t help but do anything but react. It is good to know though when you’re on that slippery slope down. I hope that the meds will help you get back on track – though sometimes the ride up can be about as shaky and scary as the ride down. I look forward to reading some more of your posts!

    Sara Anderson

  8. Kendra says

    HUGS… I appreciate you sharing this with us. My husband has bipolar and he has shared similar stories with me. I’m praying for you. Go snuggle with your boys and remember to smile.

  9. says

    Sending hugs and prayers for you & your family, Molly. I hope your therapist was able to help today. I’m sorry that your psychiatrist isn’t available for 2 weeks – that is so frustrating! I don’t suppose he has a partner you could see in the meantime?

  10. says

    I’m really very sorry you are struggling like this. I understand some of your pain and just wish I could reassure you somehow. This is such a beautiful line “Why can’t I be the girl who has butterflies land on her. No effort. No chase. No pain.” I don’t understand why we can’t all have butterflies land on us effortlessly, but I hope you won’t ever give up.

  11. Kristal says

    Hugs and prayers for you Molly. And I’m so proud to call you a friend – your honesty about what you deal with is inspiring.
    Kristal recently posted..Daredevil

  12. says

    You might *want* to call bullshit on these thoughts and be unable to right now. So I *AM* calling bullshit on them. You? Are beautiful. You are worthy. You are WORTH IT.

    Good thoughts to you.

  13. says

    I totally get where you are coming from. I actually wrote a blog about it thr other day – I feel like happiness is always out of my reach and it kills me when some people think happiness or depression is a choice.

    I wish there was something I could tell you, just know you are not alone. :)
    & I am not going to lie – it kind of makes me feel good knowing I am not alone too. :)

    Cindy recently posted..My own personal Jericho

  14. says

    I’m sorry Molly. Keep telling your brain it is lying to it and keep doing all you can to believe that you are worth it. You are a beautiful clever woman with a lot to offer and whose family love her. Keep well.
    Penbleth recently posted..Simply Friday

  15. says

    I’m not bipolar, but I do have chronic depression that I have taken medication for for most of my adult life (though not since I got pregnant last April and am now nursing). When I’m experiencing an exaggerated low, I try to remember that though I’m stuck in a fun-house mirror that distorts all of my thoughts and my perception of my life, it is ALWAYS temporary.

    I also keep in mind that normal life stressors can cause a bigger swing in me than I expect. Like a big move. Even when I’ve made a positive move that I was looking forward to (like when I got married and moved with my husband from Iowa to Denver), it has caused depression in me. Ditto the birth control pills. They affect the balance of our hormones and can tip us over the edge. So you are right-on about probable causes.

    Just try to hang in there and look into the future. Try to imagine a future self that no longer feels this way. Know – have faith – that you will get past this phase, even if it takes a while.
    Jessica recently posted..Keep or Purge – Rocking Elephant

  16. says

    Hi – visiting from BlogHer nominations. I suffer from depression and took meds through all three pregnancies. I notice diet affects my mood a lot, but I’m not always in a good place to be careful about it. I hope you find your butterflies.

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