mental illness

The difference one day makes

On Monday my fascination with stop motion video was all consuming. I barely managed to get my work finished for all the you tube videos, websites and scrawled notes I was collecting for my storyboard. The fact I didn’t actually have a storyboard or a subject in mind was a minor detail.

My mind screamed as it took flight in all angles of progression with new ideas bursting to the surface. I WAS a stop motion video. I had BECOME a stop motion video. My projects were going to be born from brilliance. I could barely contain myself for the workday to be over so my new venture could begin.

Let’s add some perspective and step back one day.

On Sunday I wanted to kill myself. I planned. I wrote something brief. Life was, and still is, unmanageable. I would have taken the step had I not been so afraid. Afraid that the follow-through would not be completely successful, or that it would be unthinkably painful. The fears we all have while chasing the desire for death. So I packed the thought away for another rainy day. I cried like a Justin Timberlake song…. cry me a river and then went in search of my Big Girl Panties. But they were in the wash. Typical. Story of my life!

So there you have it. The splendor that is Rapid Cycling. It’s exhausting trying to keep up.

Empty

My bipolar meds make my balance wonky and I’m clumsy. It was how I came to have sciatica in the first place. I fell over doing yoga. So I’m officially calling sciatica a co-morbid condition of my bipolar.

Friday was a good day. I had contacted my psychiatrist. He advised me on what I could and couldn’t take making allowance for my depression. Having had pain from my waist down to my ankle for 8 weeks, on Friday I only had pain in my lower back, the source. I could sit and walk pain free. What a joyous moment. I was healing.

But clumsy on my feet, I took a tumble on Saturday night. I tripped and to break my fall I took the full impact on my sore leg. I just lay on the kitchen floor and cried. It’s now worse than the intial pain. And of course the first thing to follow is suicidal ideation. I decided I would do it. Then I’m scared to do it. So I haven’t done it. My meagre budget battles to cover the unexpected extra expense incured by sciatica. I really don’t see the point of living like this. I work and come home. That’s all my salary allows for. And now I’m doing that in constant pain. I had hope on Friday. I lost it on Saturday. I have cried so much I actually don’t know how my body generates this incessant liquid.

I just desperately want to die. Be dead. Kill myself. Whichever way you want to say it. But don’t worry I won’t kill myself. My belief is as long as I’m talking about, I won’t do it. Its when one is depressed and stops talking about suicide, they’re serious and planning and won’t mention it because their mind is made up and don’t want to be talked out of it.

So life goes on, despite the tears and the pain and the wanting to die. I am so fucked. I love you all, but please don’t comment. I wouldn’t know what to say.

Why am I quick to jump to suicide?

I’ve noticed a trend with the way I react to challenges or problems in my life. I don’t know if it’s a bipolar thing, or a ‘me’ thing? Feel free to comment, I’d love to know I’m not the only one, uhh, I hope I’m not. Here’s the deal: when faced with a problem/challenge/change I tend to bypass logic and reason and head straight to suicide as my only solution. But death is permanent. There’s no going back once executed. It’s such a scary place to go to, so….. why do I?

My thinking goes:

PROBLEM ——–> OVERWHELMED ———> CATASTROPHIZE ———–> SUICIDE

instead of:

PROBLEM ——–> KEEP CALM ——–> FIND A SOLUTION ———> ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES

I often don’t even have a concrete intent to do it. It’s just comforting to know I have an option, an out. Kinda like having a safe word against the onslaught of the world. So while I’m wrestling with the PROBLEM, which I tend to CATASTROPHIZE , I am mired down in OVERWHELM and keep SUICIDE in my back pocket, you know, just in case…..

Anywhooo, in the meantime *sigh* I forget where I packed my nail clippers. I hate having long nails. So as Life has presented me with a PROBLEM, I’m going to KEEP CALM. As for the SOLUTION? I know exactly where the nail file is! See Life…. I win that one! *gives Life the filed-fingernail-finger*

I put the Rrrrrrr in ‘rapid cycling’

I’m giving birth to mania. I can feel it simmering beneath the surface. The key lies in the internal mind chatter. More and more chatter squirreling like mice in the attic of my brain. I can’t think straight for all the talking to myself. My lips move and perhaps, unaware, I whisper a few words of the dialogue between myself and I. You’ll catch me in an absorbed moment rolling my eyes or shaking my head; animated, some would think inebriated, deeply entwined in my own personal conversation and consternation of a slightly hypomanic mind.

Thoughts rolling thick and fast, I turn in one spot because I’m pulled this way and that between one suggestion and another, one thought, a new idea, a reminder, an alternative, questions and wonderings all in the space of one second. Or I can’t sit still, bouncing from room to room, forgetting then remembering, thoughts scrambled and unruly – don’t forget to fax the medical aid a copy of your text before the prescription then send …… a jumble of nonsense *rolls eyes, shakes head*

On and on it goes until I have to yelling out STOP! For the love of god just stop! Go have a cigarette, clear your mind, figure out a plan.

*has cigarette*

*has another cigarette ‘cos contemplating important universal stuff*

*has an idea*

*grabs laptop*

*goes to bed at 2am with craft glue stuck in her hair* ……I know! WTF!…. *rolls eyes, shakes head*

Change is a strange creature in the life of a rapid cycling bipolar. Tuesday morning I set a date for my suicide, but I had the courage to change my mind, and here I am two days later with a hypomanic-induced spring in my step. Change is consistent. Change is reliable. And when it comes, it changes everything.

Stuck

I am depressed. There’s no concealing the fact. Within the space of one week, Ulla’s suicide coincided with my move and an ugly incident with my father. Its been a difficult time. So that’s where I’m at. I’m not suicidal, but personally, it feel as if Ulla’s death has sealed my own fate, somewhere down the line in the future. My father hates me, Ulla’s dead and I’m having a difficult time moving on and embracing life and all that.

Blahpolar

My friend has gone and I don’t know what to do, what I should have or could have done.  I know the logic – there was nothing I could do.  But it remains that I am, as we all are, left with survivors guilt and the broken heart of the ones left behind.  I understand, respect and support her decision.  She has fulfilled the ultimate act of self-care, and removed herself from this nightmare of a world where she endurde a daily, torturous struggle against which there is no cure.  Now she has peace and joy and can laugh again.

Her path ran parallel to that of my mother’s – med resistant, ECT, suicide.  So much loss, blame and anger lies at the feet of bipolar and the medical community who prove time and time again to be inept in treating this illness.  Making money off our desperation.

Blahpolar had an immense effect on my life.  I doubt she even realised how much.  She walked beside me on my own journey even as she carried the weight of her own demons.  She said two words that redefined my life – you matter.  Two simple words that changed my life.  And now, I am at a loss for words.  Because she mattered to me, and to you and to us.  Words escape me.  All I have are tears.

I am still waiting for someone to contact me and tell me this was all a big mistake.  That it’s not true.  But it is true and her death has shifted my world slightly off axis. And I know that it will never turn quite the same again.

I won’t be joining you all on the 10 Sept.  It’s not because  I didn’t love her.  Its because I loved her that I can’t participate.  I will be taking my grief into isolation.  To be completely honest, I’m not sure I will return to blogging.  We all make such deep connections here, there is so much support and friendship and advocacy.  But despite the wonders of technology, we are still left alone and helpless in the face of bipolar.  I don’t know if I want to be vulnerable to anymore loss.  I just….. I don’t know what to say.

This was one of her favourite songs….. (PS – can someone please tell me what has happened to her dog?  Please I have to know)

Like mother like daughter

they wanted a child

for a very long while

I took nine years to make

so I was no mistake

but this little girly

arrived too early

I wasn’t quite due

and it was all too new

and frightened she withdrew

nurses called it ‘the baby blues’

but that’s not true

it was the start

of her slow depart

from this reality

to her own private sanctuary

a world only she knew

and one for which there was no cure

I thought I had made her ill

but now I take the same pills

and slowly depart

down my own personal path

genetically linked

its hard not to think

I will follow her flight

and descend to the light

Driving me crazy

There are two phrases that are increasing being used in my interaction with ordinary folk. And I’m starting to take offense. These are:

-We’re all crazy in our own way
-Nooooo, don’t think like that, we all feel…. [insert emotion/bipolar symptom]

We’re all crazy in our own way
Firstly, who mentioned ‘crazy’? Not me. But if we’re gonna go there I’ll take you there. Stop! And shut your mouth. You don’t know crazy. You don’t understand crazy. And you certainly don’t know my crazy. If you knew my crazy, you be lying on the floor in the corner curled up in the foetal postion crying for your mummsie.

I agree we can all be unconventional or unique in our own way -. individuals, eccentric, odd, strange or peculiar. But that by no means entitles you to take my crazy and assume to call it your own with reckless disregard. Don’t insult my intelligence. You have to earn this crazy the hard way like the rest of us have had to do – you have to be born with it, and then live with it EVERY . SINGLE . DAY.

My crazy comes at a costly price – my sanity. It makes me mentally and physically ill; there’s the daily swimming against the tide of shifting moods, symptoms and medication side effects; I’m the target of cruel jokes, ridiculed and ostracized; I’m judged to a different standard, seemingly a higher standard than the rest of you just to prove my worthiness; this illness carries a huge financial burden and it wages war against any type of relationship. My crazy is not an excuse for my behaviour. I own my crazy. I treat it and manage it and hold myself accountable.

This crazy of mine that you choose to be so flippant about? Its a mental illness, a mood disorder and a neurobiological disease that I was born with. Its not fun and cute and quirky. It can be fatal. Just ask my mother. Oh no wait, you can’t. See, she’s dead. She killed herself more than 20 years ago. Know what my future looks like? Possibility of dementia and a retirement plan of assisted suicide. Now, still want my ‘crazy’?

Nooooo, don’t think like that, we all feel…. [insert emotion/bipolar symptom]
No, you do not by any stretch of the imagination feel anything remotely similar to how I feel. By pure definition the word bipolar means a life of extremes. My responses and emotions are not relative to the situation. They are disproportionate and excessive. While sometime they may not be rational, at the time they are real and they take you down. You drown and suffocate under the immense weight of them. If just for one day, you could feel the limitless extent of my emotions, you would never again compare them. Why? For fear of being driven to edge of sanity. And too scared to have to go back there again.

So the moral of the story? This is an ugly illness that fights dirty. Go find something else to claim.

Hello. My name is Pieces, and I am a people-pleaser

I wish I could be that girl that swoops into the office, carefree, blowing invisible kisses in return for her birthday wishes. Who giggles coyly and goes out for drinks after work, getting tipsie, never roaring drunk. Who skips down the passage spreading rainbows and glitter moonbeans from her arse, and everyone loves her for it.

I’m not that girl. I’m that girl who lacks dress sense and common sense. The girl that is melancholy and moody on her birthday. That girl who’s comfort eating has restricted the selection of her wardrobe. That girl that doesn’t want her aging acknowledged because she has achieved nothing in her tired, insipid life.

HELLO, MY NAME IS PIECES, AND I AM A PEOPLE-PLEASER

I have spent 43 years contorting myself, denying myself, damaging myself all in an effort to please others. And the more I succeed in pleasing them, the greater their demands become. What a curse of life, for there is no life to be lived in trying to please people. It becomes a deadly cycle that brings about the death of me, the self, the individual.

I don’t exist. In pleasing others you deny yourself. You live out other’s expectations, desires, dreams and ambitions. You live a life that doesn’t belong to you. You are expected to bend and bow at their demands. You forfeit the right to your own identity, your own voice. You don’t have your own dreams or ambitions because after a lifetime of pleasing people, you don’t exist.

No matter what great self-destruction you bring about yourself in exchange for someone else’s validation, her approval, his permission; to submit or conform or comply……. to be loved…. it is never enough, never quite achieved. And if it is, the personal cost to yourself is far greater than the rewards of pleasing these people.

So for godsake, my birthday wish is simple…………… cue Diana Ross aaaaaaand……

STOP! In the name of (self) love , before you break (your) heart……Think it o-o-verrrrrrr…….

GO ON! DO THE ACTIONS. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!

 

yesterday i cried

yesterday I cried. I cried for all the loss, the loneliness, confusion, betrayal and fear. I mourned my pets, both living and dead, that I will never hold again. I wept at the cruelty of my husband. Choosing alcohol, not me, never looking back. My mother choosing death over me. My father never choosing me. I cried for the times I tried to please but brought only disappointment. For my endless failures. Wrong choices, missteps, bad decisions. My body aches with unbeaten sorrow. An unbearable misery that makes me want to claw my skin off my bones. I cry until my beath is short and my vision blurred.

The Cry By. Stèphane Berla on 500px.com

The Cry By. Stèphane Berla on 500px.com

 

Bipolar, I fucking hate you, I silently screamed. I hate that you make everything hurt so much, amplify every emotion to the point of physical pain. You give no answers. All the while feeding me with confusion, betrayal, self-doubt, isolation, anger. You’ve taken so much, how much more do you want from me? Except, maybe for me to give in? Sometimes I wonder why I try so hard. So much time, money, effort, to achieve, what exactly? Because no matter how much medication, therapy, support, its always there, tucked just below the surface, laughing at me, waiting to draw back the curtain of sanity and show the world just how crazy and different and scary I am. It revels in the judgments and the obvious whispers of you don’t belong here and you never will.

But today is yesterday’s tomorrow. It may hold hope. So I put my mask on, try to look my best and carry on with the mundane, like a programmed robot (fixed smile, robot voice “hello, I am fine. Hello, I am fine”)

ANNOUNCEMENT: This episode was brought to you courtesy of the trigger gastroenteritis. Bipolar exploits any weakness.