You Got Me There

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Today is the day that I come out of my shell once more, and tell you all about a subject that I believe needs more sincere attention. It is National Bipolar Awareness Day. I have some helpful infographics here for you all, and I think that Ineed to be the change I want to see in the world, so I’m going to discuss why YOU and I and EVERYONE needs to start talking about mental health.

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5.7 million Americans. “There are 321,271,372 people in the United States of America.” according to howmanyofme.com and that means that there are roughly 2% of Americans (1.77%) living with this disease. Comparatively, there are  10 times as many people who simply live with some mental illness diagnosis. Since this day is dedicated to Bipolar Disorder, I will focus thusly. (These numbers all change depending on where your sources are and who actually did the research, so keep that in mind. These are “low” estimates.)

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So what IS Bipolar Disorder?

I can promise you that it is NOT a crutch. People who live with this disorder are not seeking attention because they have very little else to do-it is a chemical imbalance in the brain.

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Sound like fun, right?

It isn’t. There are moments when you feel like you are invincible. You can go for days, live life freely. And then comes the crash-the moment when life isn’t your oyster, it’s your cage and you’re running out of oxygen. And there’s more than one kind. There are more than 2 kinds. But the 2 which everyone seems to be “familiar” with are:

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So what can we do to help?

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All in all, having a mental illness is not much different than having a physical one-because as a human, we are both the mental and the physical. You see, there are not too many people who would go to a cancer survivor and tell them to “get over themselves”, but there are plenty of people who passionately do that to someone with a mental illness. It’s time to change these stigmas and reclaim healthy lives.

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Unless

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

I’ve been stewing on this quote for a while, brought to you by the great Dr. Seuss in The Lorax. I think on it often. And lately, it just bubbles to the surface, like life is trying to teach me that lesson.

The think about getting comfortable in my skin is that I’m not comfortable. But I’m comfortable with that. I’m so depressed I can barely breathe or I’m so manic I can barely take a breath. Or, in the moments between, I’m so empty that it’s like the breath has been knocked out of me. (See a common theme here?)

What I know is that life is hard. It’s hard in general, but there are things that make it harder. Invisible illnesses, visible illnesses, being different that society deems appropriate, being unique. Life comes at you with brutal force that knocks you down, and just keeps kicking. It takes you by surprise (and not always in the nice way) and brings you to the depths of your abilities. It gives, it takes and you are left to cope.

It’s a very exciting life that keeps me guessing. I wake up and find some days that I can’t get a hold on life quite yet and I wake up some days and grab life by the reigns. Other days I feel like life has gotten away from me. But that’s why this quote comes back to me.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I’m depressed so majorly that I feel life leaving me. It doesn’t matter if I’m so apathetic that I just pass the day in a blur. It doesn’t matter if I’m so manic that I don’t sleep for a week and process everything at lightning speed.

What matters is that I always look for another day. 

The sun will rise again.

So, as I pass through the land of no feelings and into the land of (hypo)mania, I smile. Not because I’m happy, but because I know that unless I wait for another sunrise, unless I keep trying to get a handle on life, it will not get better.

I hope all you lovely folks have a beautiful day. _/|\_

I Live Alone

Dawn breaks

And my heart with it.

I close the blinds

To keep harsh rays at bay.

Time passes

And yet my feelings remain.

The hands on my watch move

Without me.

I make a cup of tea,

But my tears leak into it

I can barely put it down

My hands shake so much.

My husband comes home

But I’m far away

He asks me what’s wrong

But there are too many right answers.

The sun sets

And my problems arise

Waiting for darkness

To persecute me.

I fall asleep

Wishing to be free

But the shell that is me

Keeps me caged and alone.

I’ll See You Tomorrow

It is this day.

Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day.

Before I get into what I have to say, I want to focus on you. You who are downtrodden, broken and hurting. You who have traveled and fought and muddled your way through the vast recesses of your mind only to find darkness, fear and loneliness.

You don’t have to be alone. You aren’t alone. And you don’t have to be afraid. We are here.Brain Hands

As I sat through class today (anthropological theory) we touched on Emile Durkheim. He was one of the first people to really study suicide and the reasons why someone would take that option. The professor looked around and asked “Is it today or tomorrow?” Knowing what she was referring to, I told her it was today, voice hushed and reverent. The words which came out of her mouth next will stick with me for the rest of my life. She said:

“I’m not going to tell you it will get better. That’s bullshit. What I will tell you is that you’re not alone. That’s the truth.”

Bipolar 2

I saw a tumblr blog (I believe) which said something like:

Today my anthro professor said something kind of really beautiful: “You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world in you’, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.” I feel like a few people I know could stand to read this.

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Now, firstly, as an anthro student, I’m excited we all have professors who just “get it”.

Anyway. The people at TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) have a theme for today, which is conveniently located in my title. I want to tell you where that came from. This was taken from the email I received.

“Above all else, we choose to stay. We choose to fight the darkness and the sadness, to fight the questions and the lies and the myth of all that’s missing. We choose to stay, because we are stories still going. Because there is still some time for things to turn around, time for surprises and for change. We stay because no one else can play our part. Life is worth living. We’ll see you tomorrow.”

Bipolar 3

I know you are all carrying about your day and you’ve got a hundred thousand things on your mind. But remember this: At some point, your actions could have been the one thing making someone hold on when they felt like there was nothing left for them.

I was a freshman the first time I wanted to die. I was a little overweight, I felt the pressures of the expectations others had for me a little too greatly and I had excessive expectations for myself. But the thing is, no one told me that it was okay to be afraid and to let go of the things which were holding me back. No one told me that at the end of the day, it didn’t matter what society told me was needed from me. All I needed to hear was that I wasn’t alone: that I was loved and that there was hope. But then again, I’m not even sure I would have listened. Sometimes depression sucks that way.

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I carved the words “hope” and “love” on the insides of my forearms with razor blades. I had cut slices into my thighs. I had taken pills. The kind that when you take too many, bad things happen (like death). I took a LOT. I expected that in the end, someone would be glad that they didn’t have to clean up my blood, that they wouldn’t have to do much to make me look like I was sleeping. Inside, I was a scared little girl who had been pushed too far, had cried too much.

And then I threw up. I threw everything up and I kept on heaving. I tried and I tried to empty my stomach, empty my heart of feelings, empty myself until there was nothing left to hurt. And what I was left with was the quiet void of someone who felt a little too much and couldn’t go any further.

Into therapy I went, and if you look at the me who types here today, you can see that there are still some moments when the little empty shell pops out, waiting for a moment of your time. You can see the hurt and the pain which emptied me out all those years ago. But you can also see the me that faces my fears every single day. That pushes my boundaries and tries even when that little shell comes out. The little girl looks up at me with hope and love, kissing the scar tissue that remains on my skin.

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The thing is, no one gave me a reason to live, so I thought that that was a reason to die. But then I found out the most honest, sincere truth I’ve ever learned:

When I found no one to give me a reason, I gave myself the chance. I had to learn how to give myself love, how to open up a beacon of hope for myself.

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And here I sit, in my pajamas after a long day of class, drinking sweet tea and eating some zucchini thinking back on that dark time in my life, reflecting on the words of the two anthropology professors.

It isn’t that life stays bad forever. You just have to learn to see the good even when no one turns on the light.

So, my dear world, I would like to thank you all for existing. And I want you to know that I look forward to seeing each and every one of you tomorrow.

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If I Could But Remember

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If I could but remember

The way my smiles came

The breeze by which they blew in

Or was it the summer rain?

There is no reason why I can’t

Recall the good times few

But each time I stopped believing them

I saw nightmares as true

The golden fleece of healing

Did nothing for my eyes

For all I saw was darkness

In the silver lining lies

If I could but remember

What it was making me so sad

Then perhaps I’d find a better way

To keep this smile that I had

The doom and gloom have left me

I cower in silence no more

For what I thought was incomplete

Was the thing I went looking for

The smiles came by blizzard

Not subtle but by force

It wasn’t the eternal kind

But the kind which dies of course

If I could but remember

Feeling normal though I try

I know it would all be sacrilege

To hide the smiles while I cry.

The Rant of June 19th.

*Preface–I found this little free write gem while I was cleaning out my computer files. While I don’t feel completely the same currently, the emotion is gloriously honest. Welcome, everyone, to the depression phase of my life.*

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The fact of the matter is that days like this suck. And I’m not talking about the regular, teenage version of the word. I’m talking about the full blown suck the life right out of you, can barely breathe kind of suck. And what is there to look forward to when you live your life like that? So I’m not supposed to be a victim, I’m supposed to be a victor or a warrior or a heroine. And you know what, for about point five of a second, I feel like I could do that if the situation arose but then I go back to being the me that I am literally every single day and gods that sucks. I mean, what is there that’s so freaking special about me anyway?

I felt like I was supposed to be born a different person, or at a time when I would have fit in and then I look at that long and hard and realize I would have never fit in anywhere. I mean honestly, am I that big of a freak that I literally have no place in the time space continuum that I can find some damn comradery? So here I am doing this free write, like it’s going to provide me with this epic insight into where I went wrong, or like it will magically strip me of all the negativity that I’ve built up-like a good teeth cleaning. But truth be told, I actually feel nothing. I mean literally nothing. I’m not upset, I’m not happy, but I know that I should feel something and that fact kinda bothers me. Either way, here I am and truly, I can only stop and notice that once upon a time I wished really hard that I would be special, that I would have something that would set me apart from the rest of the world. Little did I know. Honestly, I would probably go back in time to that me and punch her in the freaking nose. Stupid little shit.

But here I am, the girl who can fake a smile better than anybody and still feel like a fecking loser. What I don’t understand is how all these famous people I read about, like Robin Williams or Van Gogh actually found their muse. I mean I know that I don’t suck at everything-statistically that’s impossible- but I can’t seem to find the thing that I suck at less than everyone else. I tried painting, and singing and that was fine and well but really, I’m only good at those things if I sit and stare at a picture for hours, reworking it a million times or if people have nothing else to listen to. And then there’s writing and let me tell you something about that. I wrote a novel, some 75 thousand words and not one agent said “hey that’s pretty good, let me look at it further”. In fact they all said “that’s a good idea” but then followed with “but I’m not looking for it”. So which is it? Is it a good idea or is it a bad one? Because if it was good, you’d get it and make money. If not, then you lied.

So here I am an academic artist without a medium and I’m supposed to not be a victim. What does that even mean? I keep looking up “not a victim” quotes on Pinterest and such but all I get are those flaky shit things that are like “life is gonna be rainbows eventually”. That’s complete and total bullshit. But I hope somebody actually feels better when they read it. I just know that I don’t. I need meaning. I need honest, gritty, shitty truth. And this society is just full of shit. I don’t mean the people necessarily, I mean the crap we put on TV and the way that everything seems so damn fake and superficial. There used to be a bigger meaning, but now it’s all entitled bullshit.

But regardless, I think the therapy sessions I had been going to were helpful. I don’t necessarily feel like I’m a different person, but at least I found someone who was willing to listen to me without judgement or expectation of anything in return. That is the one thing I have going for me. I guess you could argue that I also have my husband going for me, and while that is true, it isn’t as though he’s there 100% of the time, after all he has his own life and his own independence. I’m saying that he’s my rock, and I have no other but sometimes I need to just get lost in the ocean for a while. I hate that I feel so adrift. I mean, is that normal? Is that the way every average 22 year old feels? Am I actually deluding myself into thinking that I’m extraordinary when in actuality I’m completely average? God that would be a fecking waste. I think that would be my breaking point.

And with that thought in mind, I decided I was going to get a medical ID bracelet. I know that that means that I need to get an updated diagnosis, and that I cannot go back once I decide to dawn that piece of metal. Is it like my superhero cape? Shit, that’s my life isn’t it? I’m not actually a superhero, I’m a mentally ill psycho with a damn piece of metal that says “CRAZY”. Great. But it could always be worse right? I mean I could be pregnant and into hard drugs and dropped out of college with all those student loans and then be crazy on top of that. Puts it into a kind of perspective I suppose.

Good talk team.