A Note – Since I submitted a complaint to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office about reckless driving by one of their officers, “sightings” of Sheriff’s vehicles by me have subsided significantly. I know they work hard and I assume not all Sheriff’s participate in this vendetta. However, there is a time where no vigilante stalking was occurring and the Sheriff’s were pretty active.  I risk riling some again, but my story needs to be told.

  • 1996 – Between 1991 until settling in Petaluma, my family moved around a lot. This had to do with my husband’s employment in Minnesota and our struggle to get back west. By the time we moved into our house in Petaluma, my daughter had been in five previous abodes (some for a month transition). We had held up rather well, but my nerves were “on the edge”. I could only go to the gas station on South Petaluma Blvd. Going anywhere else was overwhelming.
  • My son enrolled in the local school and my daughter in a coop nursery school. She had spent an inordinate amount of time with me and I knew that I had to gradually pull back and help her gain some independence. The preschool would walk the track when I was there, and I remember more than once, thinking that I wish I could walk the whole thing without the little ones.
  • The preschool was great for my inquisitive daughter, but the overbearing 4’s teacher and the Monday night parenting classes added to my sense of being overwhelmed. Over the last five years, I had had a four month miscarriage and moved 7 times. We were a strong family, but somehow I had just gotten our family settled when the stress took its toll. That seemed to be a miracle – truly.
  • 1996-1997 was a very rainy and dark winter. March was very bright and warm (I would find out that this can be a concern). One day I was talking on the phone with someone who seemed genuinely concerned about my son. Concern and compassion were evident, while in the back of my mind and by things I had said, my husband appeared to me to be just the opposite. So, the potential to step into the world of bipolar was there. It just happened to be clicked on as I was talking on the phone. It was very bizarre.
  • At that moment, for the first time ever in my 42 years, I went into a mild manic state. In fact it was diagnosed as cyclothymic disorder (a lower level of bipolar disorder). I was in this state for six weeks. I experienced all the symptoms of bipolar disorder, but at a lower level. During that time, I would go to bed at 12:00 and wake up at 4:00. I also became very attracted to the very nice man that I had been on the phone with (this is an area of bipolar that authors who write about themselves seem to kind of skirt around. That won’t help anyone who would be around someone, trying to make sense of what is going on – including parents with teens. Normal teen behavior or?). I went on a trip to Southern California for a family celebration, and not one other person knew what I was going through, which was almost all going on in my head. The one person I had acted bizarre around was the man I had become attracted to.
  • As I was coming out of this, I had enough sense to know that, even if I didn’t feel like sleeping, that little sleep could not be good. I was driving kids around. I took some sort of night time sleep aide.
  • The thing to know about me is, I was/am highly, very highly conscientious. You don’t make it to 42, be a very conscientious person and not some out of that saying, “What the hell just happened?” I talked to my family and friends about this. They’re first thought was, “Ann”??!!!! No way. Couldn’t be. I did not want to show my face to the person I acted “drunk” and off around. So, while being in a mild manic state felt great, the way I felt afterwards was scared and embarrassed. Conscientious person that I am. I talked to people and got the name of a local therapists (MFCC). My husband’s first reaction was that I had to “fix” things. No support. Just concern about my ability to bring in money in the future.
  • In the meantime, some coincidences occurred – A few I had no idea that some  were viewed as “suspicious” at the time. My counselor could not make a diagnosis, but was thinking that my problem was caused by something that can happen when someone goes through too many changes in their life. I described a “floaty” head type of problem. She recommended certain activities in order to ground myself: feeling my feet on the floor, pushing against something and some sort of physical activity. Aha! The track. I would get my chance to be on the track and maybe even run without three and four year olds to contend with. To this day, I am not sure if my being on the track was seen as a problem, but it might have been.
  • Right before I went to counseling, I wanted my kids to see where I would be. My daughter was only 4 1/2 and with all the changes, my kids needed to know where i was. The counselor was on 6th Street in Petaluma. I had taken the wrong turn and was on fifth street (I believe). Oh crud. I saw the man’s car on Sixth Street, but that was the way I needed to go, and it was one of the main cross town streets. Also, I plan the family vacations. I wanted to go back to some of the sights that we had seen when moving from Minnesota to Oregon (for a year). I remember that kind man saying something about traveling that way for a vacation, but I had made out plans and it’s a big country. Did anyone ask me why we traveled to Dinosaur National Monument or Colorado (I can’t remember if that was the Yellowstone trip or not)? I love road trips! Give me a road trip in the Southwest any day.
  • Well, I am determined to have this whole “blogging” thing take up less time. To be continued.