#Blogtober20 – Prompt #1

I just learned about #blogtober20 today and since I love movements like this, I decided to partake in the matter. So for those who don’t know, blogtober is a blog post per day following a prompt from the website listed above. This mission starts and ends October 1st to October 31st. I do realize it is now October 2nd, but I will do a double post today, one with yesterday’s prompt and a separate post for today’s prompt.

October 1: This is Me #blogtober20

This prompt is pretty self explanatory; it’s all about me, the bipolar girl behind the screen, behind the blog. So let’s begin!

I, Danielle Janice Ahl was born on February 6, 1998 in Vancouver, Washington. I don’t remember this day so I can’t say much about it. Ha! All I know is that I was healthy and always happy. I lived in a small town called La Center, which is about twenty minutes North of Portland, Oregon. I was the youngest of two daughters to my parents, Dennis and Claire. I grew up in a pretty normal household in the middle of a suburban neighborhood.

My first memory was when I was three years old and I recently found out that my father, sister, and I dropped my mother off at a rehab facility. All I remember from that day was looking out the rearview window and crying for my mom, saying I wanted her and I missed her. She had always struggled with severe alcoholism, but that fact was not made known to me until I was about 12 years old.

After she went to rehab, my mother stayed sober for almost ten years, so from ages 3 to 12. I had a pretty good childhood. Probably more spoiled than most, but it was good. Every Christmas, my sister and I got everything that we wanted. I did exceptionally well in school. I had neighborhood friends that I would play with everyday after school, throughout the weekends, and during the summer.

When I was 8 years old, my dad got transferred to Poulsbo, Washington for work. Poulsbo is about 3.5 hours North of La Center and Poulsbo is West of the Puget Sound, across from Seattle. They bought a house 20 minutes North of where my dad worked, it was a beautiful new build, 3 bedrooms 2.5 bathrooms, 2,000 square feet. I finally got my own bedroom, which was exciting.

The rest of my childhood was good. I did well in school and gained some close friends after the move. When I turned 12, my mother began to drink again and my father worked a lot so I was faced with dealing with my mom when she was belligerent. My sister was around, but she would hide out in her room and would avoid my mother.

When I was 12, I caught my mother cheating on my father in my father’s house with a Mexican man. I sat on the stairs and watched them fool around because I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought about waking up my dad in order to show him the bad news, but then I figured it was none of my business. I was hungry, hence why I was trying to go downstairs, but I quickly lost my appetite and then I went back to my room and cried myself to sleep.

When I was 14, my mom got her first DUI. That didn’t stop her drinking nor her paranoia. She went to rehab on my 16th birthday and I spent my birthday visiting her despite my wishes to spend my birthday as far away from her as possible. The rehab didn’t help her keep sober, I don’t think she even got a 90 day sobriety coin after she got out of rehab.

As an escape, I did debate and speech all four years of high school. I became a varsity debater as a freshman in high school and triple lettered by age 15. I was very involved in my church’s youth group and was baptized on September 15, 2013 in Puget Sound. I reconnected to God and it gave me hope in dealing with my mother and then debate stimulated my mind and my intellect.

I started my first job as a courtesy clerk at a grocery store on September 6th of 2014. I was 16.5 years old and it was great to have an outlet from school and I got to make some decent money so I was very proud of who I was becoming and proud to work there.

A big turning point in our family is when my nana, my mom’s mother, passed away March 31, 2015. It destroyed my mom, she had been sober during the week and a half that she spent in the hospital with my nana, and Alex, my sister spent I think 4 days with her before she passed. I was only able to go to Portland for one day to see my nana in the hospital and I brought her strawberry ice cream because that was her favorite. Apparently she couldn’t eat any of it but it was a nice gesture. My dad called me when I went back to school and said that she had passed and it was really heartbreaking. She was the first of any family members to pass away in my lifetime and although I wasn’t very close to her, seeing my family’s reaction was difficult.

Later that year, I struggled with a severe bladder and kidney infection. I ended up needing exploratory surgery to try to figure out why I was in so much pain. They decided to take out my appendix, just in case. It was my appendix, in addition to the kidney infection, that was causing the issue. My appendix nearly ruptured and nobody could tell or see it because of the kidney infection. So they removed the nearly ruptured appendix and I had a three month long recovery.

This was when I started showing signs of bipolar disorder. I was with a very toxic boyfriend at the time and I was crying all day everyday, not normal behavior by any means. I didn’t know what to do, so I went to my therapist that I have had for four years at that point and she said my symptoms and mood swings were cohesive with a bipolar diagnosis.

I then went to a doctor that my mother was seeing for her undiagnosed schizophrenia and she put me on a buttload of supplements and gave me the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I think this was January of 2016? So I had just gotten the nerve to get out of my toxic relationship and I started to move things forward with Diego, my boss at the grocery store. The doctor also put me on an anti depressant and an anti psychotic in edition to a lot of supplements.

I graduated high school in June of 2016. As cliche as it was, I was extremely proud of myself considering the fact that I almost flunked out or dropped out because I missed so much school due to my surgery. I walked with my best friend, the first friend I made when I moved to the Seattle area. I met her in the third grade and now we were walking together in the 12th grade. It was very cathartic.

In September of 2016, I began my collegiate education at Edmonds Community College to pursue my paralegal degree. I had been wanting to become a paralegal ever since I started debate, and since it was a two year degree that my father was paying for, why not pursue it? I did four quarters straight and earned 35 credits my first year. I maintained a 3.6 GPA.

In January 2017, my mother had been sober almost 3 months and that is when she hit rock bottom. She stopped eating, drinking, and bathing. She dropped over 70 pounds and was already small in size before her massive weight loss. It was up to me to get her to a hospital because if I didn’t, she was going to die. We drove all the way to Tacoma which is 1.5 hours away and she was petrified of things that weren’t there. I remember doing homework for college in the hallway of the ER while we waited for a doctor to see my mom.

I left my dad there with my mom and had Diego pick me up around 1 a.m. because I had school the next day and I couldn’t miss class. I guess after I left they got discharged shortly after that. My mom promised the social worker that she would begin to eat and drink again. They diagnosed her with schizophrenia.

Shortly after that, she was placed on anti psychotics and mood stabilizers to help with the feeling that somebody is after her. They helped tremendously and she was able to eat, drink, and shower again, she no longer put up barriers In our home over the TV or over the electronics. To this day, my mom has not picked up any alcohol and she will have her four year sobriety date on the 14th of this month.

I went through a plethora of jobs from ages 18 to 22. One of the jobs I hated the most, but was very proud of was my time working for the government as a marine machinist mechanic. I started that job on February 5th, 2018, the day before my 20th birthday. I was living with Diego in this small rental house at the time. Shortly before I started my government job, I had cheated on Diego with a co worker of mine instead of idolizing suicide like I had been doing that evening.

On my 20th birthday, Diego found out about my infidelity which created a large argument between him and I. We didn’t break up until April or May, but then proceeded to break up and get back together approximately 14 times from then to August 28, 2020.

I was kicked out of my rental home that I was on the lease of in May 2018 and had to move back in with my parents. I was upset about moving back home, but I had no other option. I had stopped going to school by this point in order to pursue this career working for the Navy. On August 2, 2018, I broke my foot on the job. I was getting off the brow of one of the submarines when I stepped in a pothole that I didn’t see, and rolled my ankle outwards until it snapped. I collapsed to the ground.

I had found out after an MRI of my ankle was done that I had three osteochondral defects, which is medical speak for tears to the cartilage. I also had a chip fracture on the outside of my left ankle in addition to the defects.

On October 28th, 2019, I finally received surgery to correct the chip fracture and the outside osteochondral defect. I was non weight bearing for 6-8 weeks, which I did not follow diligently at all. I walked on my foot despite the pain, which caused it to heal incorrectly.

In May 2020, I was moving in to Diego’s house that he had recently bought and I had an event happen to my left foot. I couldn’t describe it any better than stepping onto that foot with all of my weight and immense pain followed. After another MRI was done, they saw some tears to the tendons and ligaments in my foot, along with the outside and medial tears to the cartilage were increasing in size. I finally got authorized for surgery on September 21st, 2020. I have yet to have my first post-operative appointment, but I am following doctor’s orders so far.

After I originally injured my foot working for the Navy, I never worked for them ever again. I went through a series of jobs that would allow me the time off for my various doctor’s appointments whether it be for my foot or for my bipolar disorder.

I worked in a psych ward working graveyard, I worked at the grocery store, I worked as a paralegal, then I was unemployed, then I worked as a medical records specialist, then I was unemployed for a while, then I worked for Home Depot, and then I went and became a debt collector, which is what I do now.

Throughout all of that, Diego and I were on and off and we both dated other people and had different experiences. He bought a house in March of 2020 which I then lived with him for almost 3 months. I haven’t spoken with him since August 28th of this year and I hope to keep it that way.

I think that sums up my existence and a lot of my story involves my family and that’s because my family comes first over everything else. But hopefully it gives ya’ll some insight on who I am as a person and what I stand for.

Much love,

Dani

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