This is a blog. This is not a diary. This is a stained glass view into the life and mind of a person who is bipolar.
There is a book I want to recommend to anyone struggling to understand me called, “An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness” by Kat Redfiled Jamison. Its a detailed account of a psychologist dealing with being Bipolar before it even had its official name (was called manic-depressive). It’s powerful. It’s triggering. It’s painful to uncover the depths of what I have been feeling my whole life, all the while assuming I was a monster or a fragile piece of china. But I’m NOT fragile. I’m NOT a monster. I’m just different. I ALSO made a mistake in my last blog by calling it bipolar disorder. Months ago, in my personal journal I wrote this to myself.
“I am a human. I am a different human. I am bipolar. That is not a disorder.
From this point forward in my writing I will never refer to it as a disorder again.”
My moods are dramatic, my lows are low my highs are high. I’m frantic, obsessive, distracted and driven when I’m hypomanic. I vibrate, my hands shake, I speak really fast. I have had a couple manic episodes in my life, which I don’t feel comfortable sharing. I love this side of myself, as chaotic as I can be. My creativity flows and I blossom in the sun, basking in the beauty of what the world is. I’m charismatic and confident and the world is my oyster, my dreams are my air balloon that floats me up above the boring world below me. In these times, I believe I am magical, and powerful, and unstoppable.
The other half of me is the depression which rolls in like a storm. The heaviness of the blanket of sadness can be unbearable at times. I go deep into my head and it takes a lot to get me out. I lack energy and enthusiasm. Life, which is already fatally challenging, becomes that much harder, and the work it would take to achieve all those things I dream about when I’m on a high, seems impossible. However, this is the place I find my inspiration. This is the place I connect to the writer in my heart and my best work comes from the scary dark depths of my mind. I’ve always like sad things. I cry a lot, and love to do so. Sad movies, sad songs, tragedy. I gorge myself on it. Symptoms of my mental illness seem to really come to the surface at this time for me. That’s why I want to hide away, disconnect, run to my fantasy and escape. But I always come back from black. I always dig myself out, month after month.
Important leaders in my life during my teenage years, when my mental illness was first beginning to show, couldn’t recognize that I was different. No, they branded me as a sinner. God needed to save me from myself and release my mind from the talons of satan. Um, NO! There is nothing wrong with me. My brain is not a sin. I didn’t form it, I didn’t make it, this part of me was passed on through generations of mental illness. Sometimes my brain gets really sick. Sickness is not a sin.
When I finally released myself from the control of religion over my free flying mind, I felt different. For years I beat myself up with the same old religious rhetoric. Asking God to save me, free these obsessions and addictions. Fear started to ruminate in my mind, the real talons of satan was the fear I’d go to hell for just being me. I know now, that there is no god. My brain is a chemical cauldron and I’m the witch stirring the pot adding in the frogs breath and deadly night shade. I’m the one who puts the bad or good things into me. There is no god there is no satan.
In my early years of being bipolar, I asked my leaders how to handle my brain which i knew was different. I responded to the suicidal alter call monthly. But I’d spend hours a night painting, and writing music, and dreaming. Leaders were concerned, a lot probably thought I was faking or dramatizing my life, but the truth was my moods were rapidly fluctuating because of the hormones floating around in my head during puberty! I am bipolar, I don’t handle stress well, my hormones affect my sleep and my sleep effects my oceanic moods. All I can do is learn to sail into the tempest.
I choose not to medicate. Despite my fears of loosing my creativity and imagination, I have seen close friends, dealing with the same illnesses, change after medication which sends me looking for alternate care.
Bipolar isn’t necessarily something to medicate, unless it cannot be managed. I need physical exercise, I need time outside, I need a good diet and sleep, I need time alone, I need an outlet. All those things had been checked off except the last one. But writing always has been my outlet, despite the times I neglected it, it called me. My mind is so much quieter now that I have my thoughts out of my head and into my writing. And why not post it! I’m not the only bipolar person, and I’m tired of hearing people talk about themselves like they are broken. It looks me seven years to come to terms with myself, thanks for all the hard distracting work religion gave me to do, but I’m ok. If I’m writing I’m ok!
Church told me made me believe I shouldn’t be talking about the scary stuff that happens inside of me. Pray, pray, pray. Don’t be the woman who unloads all her drama in the group prayer. Don’t be a stumbling block to anyone else. Don’t tear people down with your negativity. My parents didn’t want to talk about it with me. My teachers didn’t want to talk about it with me.
The people in my life are making me feel the same way, now. Don’t post this stuff on the internet, go to professional. It’s too scary, too triggering, too vulnerable, too honest. Yeah maybe, but writing feels a lot better than therapy, I’ll let you what. And running feels a lot better than Wellbutrin.
I’m not sorry if this offends you. My brain is pretty fucking offensive. But this is my outlet for now and I’m going to fucking talk about it.