I have the answer – but no question.

It’s been an interesting couple of days. I’m not quite sure where I am in my recovery from bipolar. I mean, I’m definitely somewhere on the spectrum. In some respects I feel better, but in others I feel worse. I do know one thing: I feel differently than when I started… that much I know.

Perhaps I’m looking at this all wrong. Maybe recovery isn’t linear. Who said that sickness and wellness belong on a sliding scale? Maybe it’s more like a scatter-plot, where our days are spread across the spectrum randomly.

Perhaps it’s just not something to be measured. I mean, how does one even define “wellness”? Better yet, how does one define “sickness”? They’re only words meant to fit experiences into a tidy little bubble. Sane and insane are two words that confuse me. It seems that sanity can only be viewed from the outside. You can’t just waltz into sanity… or many you can. Yet, if one manages to make the walk through, then maybe he’ll reach sanity. He’ll be inside of sanity. He’ll be in sanity. Insanity… maybe insanity is just a byproduct of fully diving into sanity itself.

I forgot where I was. I think I was talking about how I feel.

I feel mixed. Tinges of anxiety, but mostly tinges. I still have issues focusing and with my memory. Maybe that’s just my personality, or co-morbid ADHD. Maybe I just don’t pay enough attention to detail. Who knows? I sure don’t, and I don’t really give a fuck anymore.

I went into this to get better – to be well. All I’ve seemed to do is flip the scales into the opposite position. Where I once felt bad, I feel good – and vice-versa. Am I better off than before? Maybe… maybe not. I have no idea. Should I be looking for a balance? Is there even a balance? There sure is a lot more medication.

I’ve fallen down and I’ve asked for help, but I’ve been overloaded with so many answers that I forgot the fucking question.

I want to get better. I want to be well, but I’ve lost the definition of wellness. All I want, all I truly want… is to just be myself.

Comfortably.

Kick in the Teeth

I’ve spent the past few days looking at inspirational quotes and the like. I’m not sure why I enjoy reading quotes, but I do enjoy it – therefore I’ll continue to read them. Anyhow, I read a quote today from Walt Disney and it really resonated with me. It reads:

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

For me, it relates to my bipolar diagnosis. I have had a sneaking suspicion of the diagnosis in my early 20’s but I stubbornly resisted it. I never truly accepted it as a possibility other than explaining to those who saw me in the throes of an anxiety attack, hypomania, or depression that I think I “might have” bipolar disorder. Even that however was rare, and I would almost proudly tote that I had anxiety and ADHD – and that’s all. Still, in the back of my mind I knew I had a family history of bipolar and the chances of me having it too increased because of this, so I didn’t think about it too much.

I’m unsure of a definitive reason as to why I wanted to not be bipolar back then, but I do have some theories and assumptions. There’s a certain stigma to bipolar, and at the time I believed that the majority of people who heard one may have bipolar would in turn treat them negatively. The term gets thrown around a lot in a colloquial manner when one gets angry quickly, or sad, etc. The phrase I hear most often “I’m a little bipolar today.” would be a perfect example. However, even with the minimization I felt as though if I were to be diagnosed, and I had to say “I’m bipolar” and mean it, that the world would view me differently. My assumption of other’s opinions about the topic is relating the disorder to someone violent, psychotic, or dangerous. I don’t know if that’s always the case, or why I held this view on the world’s reaction. Perhaps it’s how I viewed the disorder myself.

Shortly after the onset of the aforementioned symptoms , I had developed my own coping skills to deal with them. I learned the signs of an oncoming anxiety attack – and how to pull myself out of a depressive state into a functioning, if sad, emotional state. I began to play the piano more, and freestyle or improvise my own songs, emoting my emotions musically. I forced myself to walk around and interact with others during depressive states to keep my mind occupied – sitting still for too long would allow my mind to slow and the depression to takeover. Hypomania, however, I always found pleasurable – and I developed no coping skills in regards to it.

Fast forward six or seven years into my late 20’s (i.e. very recently) and my coping mechanisms began to fail me. Until this point, while my moods still swung rapidly but I could always reign them in to allow me to function, for the most part. Others would simply just describe my personality as “quirky”.

I remember the exact moment I decided I needed to finally go see a doctor about it. I was feeling fine at work, about to head to an event I was really excited for. On the drive I started getting anxious and self-concious about it. When I got to the event, where I’d ordinarily be able to reel those emotions back in, I was unable to do it. I spent the event shy, and worried that everyone was judging me. In essence where I normally would have interacted with a lot of people and earned a decent amount of business – instead was a bust.

I’ve gone on quite a tangent here, but back to the main point – I went to the doctor, was officially diagnosed and began medication, which helped. I started therapy but I resisted it and eventually stopped going to therapy altogether. This eventually lead to my breakdown – or “the kick in the teeth”. I completely lost control of my moods, and ended up on medical leave checking myself into an intensive outpatient treatment program. Which as it turns out, has so far been the best thing thats happened to me.

I’ve still got a lot to work on, but I’m no longer ashamed – and I’m learning how to take control of my mind again. I’m pretty optimistic on the future.

Note: I’m currently hypomanic – my apologies if this doesn’t make much sense. 

Ten Things Life Has Taught Me

(with no pre-thought)

  1. You can be down but you should never be out. One of the main reasons for my continued existence is my propensity to move forward. Life can, and will rip you apart, tear you down, break your heart, and rub salt in your wounds — but life is so much more than that In between the broken hearts and the salted wounds there’s beauty, and laughter. There’s joy and amazement. Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens. So, when life knocks you down, you have to move forward. Lest you spend your days walling in life’s sadness. Stand up, take a step into the sunlight and admire the raindrops on the roses, and, if there’s time — point out that kittens have whiskers. I mean, if that’s your sort of thing.
  2. Save money. Avoid debit. Debt is inevitable, and society will rate you on a scale to 850, but don’t tie this number to your self-worth.
  3. Wear condoms, lest you get a disease. One of which being babies.
  4. Be mindful of how you speak. The way in which you speak will directly impact others perceptions on the level of your intelligence. Regardless of how smart you actually are.
  5. Things could be worse. Things could always be worse. Celebrate the fact that they are not.

  6. Choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people who love you unconditionally. Don’t shy away from situational friendships, but acknowledge them as such. One day, you will be an asshole to your friends. You will hurt them, but your true friends — when the dust has settled will be there, with a broom to hero you sweep up the dust. More importantly, love these friends unconditionally in return — and buy a broom. You’re going to need it.
  7. Never let a word define you. Crazy, fat, smart, skinny, ugly, dumb, and so on… Remember, they’re only words — while you, you’re a person. You are you — and that’s pretty incredible.
  8. Anger is one of the most exhausting emotions to entertain. If you start to feel angry, take a moment to decide if what has made you angry is deserving of the amount of energy required to feel that way.
  9. If you see someone in need – help them. It doesn’t matter if you know them; it doesn’t even matter if you like them, because that’s what decent people do — when they see someone in need, they help them. A perfect world does exist; but not without each other. Don’t let your ego be the cause of another person’s continued suffering. You are better than that.
  10. Wear chapstick, because chapped lips are painful.