Alone In Our Thoughts.

Unfortunately, having a mood disorder can and will cause you to feel alone sometimes.  Make yourself happy first.  Take care of yourself, eat well, sleep well etc, as much as you can, I know it’s easier said than done, ESPECIALLY mid episodes, but the older I’m getting, the easier it has been, and I accept me for me.

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I do still notice how loved ones say that they understand, but there have been times in the past when I used to just hide and isolate myself and cry so no one would hear me.  Later on, they’d finally ask me the question, we the mentally ill folks all hate “What’s wrong…”  (face palm)

Accept that no one can see the chemical imbalance that is happening in your brain.

That is all.

The Impossible Explanation Of Being Bipolar.

MODERAT

I want to take a moment to try to explain Bipolar Disorder.  This is what the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says:

“Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.”

“There are four basic types of bipolar disorder; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely “up,” elated, and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very sad, “down,” or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.”

Here is a list of manic and depressive episode signs and symptoms also provided by NIMH:

People having a manic episode may: People having a depressive episode may:
Feel very “up,” “high,” or elated

Have a lot of energy

Have increased activity levels

Feel “jumpy” or “wired”

Have trouble sleeping

Become more active than usual

Talk really fast about a lot of different things

Be agitated, irritable, or “touchy”

Feel like their thoughts are going very fast

Think they can do a lot of things at once

Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex

Feel very sad, down, empty, or hopeless

Have very little energy

Have decreased activity levels

Have trouble sleeping, they may sleep too little or too much

Feel like they can’t enjoy anything

Feel worried and empty

Have trouble concentrating

Forget things a lot

Eat too much or too little

Feel tired or “slowed down”

Think about death or suicide

Now, here is where things get complicated.  There is also mixed cycling which is a combination if the two, being depressed and manic at the same time, and  then there is hypomania.  Hypomania is what I would like to call the calm before the storm.  This is what falls between the full-blown manic and depressive episodes.  In this state nothing feels too extreme and there’s a weird sense of normality, but I don’t really know what feeling normal is so I just roll with it.  I’m not hostile, angry or sad.  I’m also not that excited, elated or hyper focused on anything.  This is when my mood is kind of stable and I can actually function without any mood setbacks, when I can organize my life and get important tasks done.  There is no timeframe of hypomania though, that’s what sucks about it, it could last from a few days to maybe a week and some change.  It’s different for everyone.

Then boom.  Another one.  Usually I’m always praying for good ole mania, but unfortunately it’s the luck of the draw.  I prefer mania because at least I feel great, things are awesome and wonderful and beautiful and oh look what’s that over there?  Now I can’t sleep, but who needs sleep when you have so much to do and so many random thoughts and ideas in your head? I’m going to have fun and complete so many tasks!

People need to sleep…BUT when you’re Bipolar, sometimes you can’t no matter how much you know you need to and no matter how hard you try.  It’s chemical.  My brain is on overdrive.  I’ve stayed up for days at a time.  This is when depression starts to set in.

I.  Hate.  Being.  Depressed.  It sucks not being able to get out of bed.  It’s hard to take a shower, sometimes I won’t.  I either eat too much, too little or not at all.  I completely shut down from the world and my loved ones.  I don’t want to do anything.  Nothing is fun.  I stare at the wall for a long time.  I get mad at myself for being depressed and then I cry and cry and cry.  When I’m depressed I get really defensive about everything.  I used to be suicidal and have suicidal ideation before I got on the right cocktail of medications.  Sometimes I still feel hopeless when I’m depressed, but I would never take my life now really knowing how selfish that would be.

I am still loved and I have to remember that.

That’s what the mania and depression episodes feel like to me, but like I said, it’s different for everyone.  Sometimes other mental issues come into play.

“Anxiety and ADHD: Anxiety disorders and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often diagnosed among people with bipolar disorder.

Substance Abuse: People with bipolar disorder may also misuse alcohol or drugs, have relationship problems, or perform poorly in school or at work. Family, friends and people experiencing symptoms may not recognize these problems as signs of a major mental illness such as bipolar disorder.”

Well, I have ADHD and horrible anxiety and I also have struggled with substance abuse.  So I have to take more medicine for my inability to focus and more medicine to curb my anxiety.  Substance abuse isn’t an issue anymore because I’m clean now and I know that even a couple of drinks will cause issues with my meds and my treatment.

So this is Bipolar disorder in a nutshell.  It sucks the life out of me.  It is absolutely exhausting…But I still live every day and I do the best I can with what I’ve got.  Even I didn’t grasp this shit in the beginning!  It has taken me years to pinpoint the signs and triggers.  It has taken me years to stay sober.  It has taken me years to believe that even though this sucks, I don’t have to suck!

This is a lifelong illness and a daily struggle.  I’ve applied for disability because of it and got denied because they said I could still work a minimum wage job, and I got so offended.  Social security basically told me to suck it up and work for practically no pay…..live with this disorder and be poor and even more depressed?  I said NO GOVERNMENT.  I went to college I am better than this.  I am smart, educated, artistic, funny and a good person.

I’ve said it before, being mentally ill has made me try harder than most “normal people” I know for a fact that I’m not lazy.  I’m just “crazy”

The Blame Game.

This post pertains to Bipolar individuals and the general public as well, sometimes we need some insight.

Some people live miserably because life isn’t what they initially thought it would be like when they were still growing up.  Some people blame their setbacks on the universe and everyone they’ve been close with.  They tend to look at the wrong side of things.  They just won’t own up to taking responsibility for how their life has turned out.  They say that life just gave them a bad hand.  I say, some people just have a terrible attitude.  This can lead to lack of ambition or even setting goals.  This inevitably will lead to major depression.

The issue is that a lot of people don’t know how to turn their dreams into reality because they give up any positivity and lose sight of goal setting.  Lacking ambition due to dwelling on the past, how someone treated you or what you should or shouldn’t have done or aren’t doing will make your life feel empty; And that is as long as you let your negative thinking consume you.  People will then often find comfort in destructive behaviors and distractions at any cost  in order to avoid the misery.  This behavior will eventually make you feel worse.

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If you want to live with any purpose and ambition, realize what it is that you want.  Consider how much you want to set specific goals and why you want it.  Stop avoiding goal setting by sailing through life and blaming others for your misfortunes.  Come up with a plan so you can get unstuck and live the happy life you deserve.

ALSO

Lists.  I cannot stress enough how writing goals down will help you follow through.

Growing Up.

IMG_0006 2I was still living in Honolulu, Hawaii at the time of my diagnosis. However, everything was wonderful, I mean I lived in paradise!  I had just graduated from high school, I had my first love, I had received good grades in school, had good friends and was on my way to college.   I was on my way to college in Tampa Florida.  I grew up a military brat, so moving was normal for my family and I.  However, this was different because I would begin “adulthood” in a new city and state, knowing no one, not really sure what I even wanted to do in college, and now being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  Basically I said fuck it, lets rage, I’m ready for what the world throws me.

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The next 8 years would test me in ways a “normal” functioning adult couldn’t even imagine.  Adapting to new situations was something that I was used to.  I moved a lot, so moving to Tampa for college seemed no different, except it was.  I made friends, some that I am still friends with until this day, but I also made fake friends.  I would always choose to spend my time with these fake friends, and what I mean by that, is being self destructive with them because they lived wild, drank, partied and did drugs.  I thought this was normal.  I didn’t care that I would spend sometimes weeks away from my parent’s home so I could go party in another town, about an hour away.

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I lied, I cheated, I stole and I did not care what happened to me as long as I could always have fun.  I barely made it through college, even failing some classes and having to retake them because I honestly didn’t care then.  I didn’t graduate for me back then, I did it for my family, to avoid rejection or being kicked out of the house.

I spent the next years of my life in terrible relationships.  My relationships always started due to one night stands.  I was having promiscuous sex with too many people, it’s hard to even look  back on.  I struggled with addiction.  I was addicted to everything, not just pills, weed and alcohol.  I was addicted to relationships because they also seemed to fill some void in my life.  The people I dated right up until the healthy relationship I’m in now, were destructive and just dragged me down with them.

I didn’t connect with my family at all.  They were in denial and so was I.  I let myself completely spiral out of control.  I just stopped caring about my future and myself as a whole.

Just because I was diagnosed and taking meds didn’t mean I was taking them like I was supposed to, or not taking them at all.  On top of that, the recreational drugs and drinking wasn’t helping me either.  I had domestic disputes with a boyfriend which led me to jail for domestic battery and I also received a DUI on top of that.  I was hospitalized at least three times for attempting suicide and suicidal ideation.  A hard pill to swallow, I know.  I eventually went to rehab, twice, to get me sober.  That’s when I realized I had a serious problem, and that problem was me.

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Everything that had happened to me, everything and everyone that I blamed for my unhappiness was actually me not taking control of myself and not taking the proper steps to manage my condition.  Bipolar Disorder became real to me and I started to take it more seriously.  I talked to my dad a lot.  My dad had always been an inspiration to countless people about overcoming hardships and building the life he wanted.  He was in the Air Force for a long time, he was also a pilot because he loved to fly.  Flying was his passion.  We talked about life, setting goals, how to live each day the best you can, we even went to church together and I hate church.  I just wanted to spend time with my dad, someone I had taken for granted my whole life.  I learned a lot from him.  I learned how to be strong.

17309408_1286744918059118_7047387550793830429_nMy father died March 18th, 2016.  He was involved in a fatal plane crash with his best friend who was also a big part of our family as well.  The news was devastating.  I remember the song I was listening to in the car when my mom called me to tell me to get to the Peter O Knight Airport because something bad happened to my dad.  I didn’t know he was gone until I got there.  After this, I grieved.  Grieving is a very confusing part of life.  Grieving over my father’s sudden death was very hard for everyone in my family.  After the funerals and the everything else that comes after the loss of a loved one, the stages of grief hit me one after the other.  Anger, depression and pain consumed me.IMG_2422

I do not recognize the person I was back then.  The person I was back then was Bipolar Disorder in full force, untreated and constantly rebelled against.  Now I am a person with Bipolar Disorder that is an artist, an empath, an advocate, a sister, a daughter and most importantly someone who doesn’t allow pain to rule their life.  I am so grateful to be alive and I have myself to thank.

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