I just bought a new car. As I was throwing shit from my old car away, I found a chemistry wkbk from college. And it seems fitting to start with a chemistry book that also ties into the car thing, because jfc was THAT a source of stress —through no fault of my own, too, believe it or not. You might not believe it. Bc I definitely have a tendency to be: dramatic, reactive, intense, unstable. Read: BIPOLAR. I’m not ashamed of my brain, obv. God knows I talk about it enough times and with enough enthusiasm. I truly don’t get why people are ashamed of mental stuff. I feel lucky that I don’t get it. That being said, I’ve worked hard to control my reactions responses emotions. When I’m in a particularly bad spot I like to kindly and gently remind people that it’s a BIG undertaking to regulate my mood every second of every goddamn day. I’m not trying to have a pity party. Im actually trying but struggling to get to my point… Even though I work to regulate myself, I’m still living in this meat prison of a body with an electrified gray lump of chemical shit animating me in ways I’ve read about but can’t even begin to fathom like fuck wtf ya know? I’m still (wildly) BIPOLAR. I can’t help it that I think in ways that are bigger than said gray lump can process, let alone articulate coherently. I’ve been in a continuous unyielding existential crisis since longer than I remember. If I let my thoughts wander too close to the edge of philosophical boundaries, I spiral into the abyss and land somewhere in a panic attack via some wormhole that I know must exist bc I always find myself there but I can’t actually SEE. Would you be able to see an actual wormhole? Wait are those real things? Fck see now I have to go look this up, lemme just start panicking now and save myself the time. I once again stray from my point (*violently suppresses the urge to complain about adhd not being taken seriously because that’s not that this is about at this particular moment*). Sometimes I look to science for answers. Metaphorically. I make some random ass connection and guide myself into better understanding by making a correlation. Chemical reactions are what make shit from other shit. One kind of rxn is synthesis, where reactants are converted to, like, DIFFERENT SUBSTANCES. That’s cool right? Right? Anyway. A substance is inert when it doesn’t react. I’m thinking mostly of the gases in the last group of the table. They have eight electrons in their last shell, as many as a shell holds, and all that really means is that they’re exactly where they wanna be. If an atom has seven electrons in its last shell, it really wants another one. It wants to be there. If it only has one, the atom really wants to get rid of that motherfucker so it goes back to eight in the previous shell. Last piece of science: you can force an inert gas to form a compound but it takes alotta energy. Analogy time: I have the absolute wrong number of electrons. Duh. I’m unstable (a word that words in both ways here ahh yay). I looked up the most reactive element and it looks like it’s fluorine. Not quite like me because that bad boy has seven electrons and wants one more. I feel like I’m more like sodium or something early in a period because I give away my electrons (meaning myself, I give all of myself to people, or at least I think I feel like I do). Actually that works well because it would literally take more energy for sodium to accept seven electrons than to just give away what it has. I try to be inert. I strive to be at least a LITTLE more inert. I know there are negatives of being an inert gas (sometimes called “noble” gases, which like okay being level headed is noble on some regards but I think the title is a bit much for this metaphor). And I know they are still CAPABLE of reacting (they just require more pushing than the average person/element). Wrapping this nonsense up in a makeshift bow because I have a compulsive desire to do so, people/ elements/ reactions/ emotions/ LIFE isn’t straightforward. But if you look around and try to understand it, it’s easier (?)

Boundaries

A blank page waiting patiently for me. And a brain that’s not exactly quiet but also isn’t about to burst from within my skull and send bits of frantic, frenetic existential thoughts flying around my just-cleaned kitchen. A balanced middle-ground, even if achieved accidentally, is appreciated. I enjoy this moment.

I draw a circle. Well, not really. I’m really typing some bullshit on my phone, littering my Notes app with typos that I’ll fix once I’ve emptied my entire self on this digital expanse of whiteness that, as I think about it now, oddly reminds me of purgatory, but that might be a topic for later because boy do I have other plans for this current thought-process. I feel so compelled to write something flowery and metaphorical, and back to my point, even though I’m actually typing some nonsense on my phone, pretend if you will that I’m drawing a goddamn circle.

It’s oddly misshapen, because apparently even metaphorical Laura can’t draw. I label the circle “me,” and I do it in box letters that look shitty even though I tried like hell to make em neat because I’m trying to make sense of the chaos because hashtag self-awareness am I right?

Outside “me,” I draw two more circles. The me that’s actually typing this shit considered three circles, then four, then just a ton, but landed on two. They’re labeled “people I care about” and “people I don’t fucking care about.” (The f-bomb added for some flair)

Between “me” and the other two circles I draw a fence. Metaphorical me can draw now. (The magic of writing— I can do what I want)

The fences are boundaries. They’ve been drawn on this imaginary piece of paper because no iteration of myself understands what in the fucking fuck they are. (More flair, for my own personal pleasure)

Or maybe that’s not true, because the fence between me and the people I don’t care about is dark and thick and scribbled over again and again. And the fence between me and my loved ones is light, barely there. It’s telling that even in my imagination, I’m afraid to even insinuate that I’d be okay with upsetting someone who’s important to me.

On the page I write: boundaries are the rules we set with people to make sure we’re respected, what were willing to tolerate from others, what we use to protect ourselves from being treated badly.

Then I write: I can’t say no without feeling guilty. I’m often accused of being too nice by people when I explain what I’ve most recently been roped into (and funnily enough, those same people who call me that soon after want me to be roped into their bullshit). I’m afraid of making others feel negative emotions like sadness or anger or stress. My reason for this is I’d rather absorb emotional pain myself because at least I’m certain that I can handle it. It kind of feels like a moral responsibility, actually. Like if I exist as a lightning rod for negativity, it’ll make me worthy of feeling good about myself.

I brain dump: Why is it hard for me to say no? Why can’t I stand up for myself? Have I really not found my voice? Or do I just not use it? Is the reason I love expressing myself through writing because it’s the only way I feel confident being potentially problematic?

I come to some conclusions: I make interpersonal issues bigger than they are sometimes (hi, I’m Laura, and I’m pretty sure that’s a borderline thing). I also don’t think I’ve sat down and defined what my boundaries are, and although I don’t think that’s something normal human beings do, when have I ever been normal? Also also, holy shit do I need to get a handle on my self-esteem.

What a needlessly creative stream-of-conscious this has been. A real pleasure to escape into, if I do say so myself. But before I rejoin my body in reality, I’d like to use this blank void and it’s ability to circumnavigate the normal space-time continuum and bend with my hypothetical ideas to explore something.

𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘢 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘦, 𝘢 𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘯𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘵𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘦𝘹𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭 𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘺 𝘮𝘺𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧, 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥. 𝘐 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘐’𝘭𝘭 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘳𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧𝘧 𝘣𝘺 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝙣𝙤. 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯’𝘵 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴, 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘧𝘶𝘭, 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦-𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘐’𝘮 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘢 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘰, 𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘐’𝘮 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘢 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘦 𝘐 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘵. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘐’𝘷𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘢 𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘯𝘦𝘸. 𝘚𝘦𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘴.

And yeah, that’s about as inspirational as it’s gonna get this evening, but at least there aren’t frantic, frenetic chaotically existential thoughts flying around my kitchen. I’m enjoying this moment.

summer mania, am I right?

If you know me, you’ve heard me speak about the relationship between my bipolar and cycles, because such is my life, at least it is on the bad days (and, of course, on the too-good days, the precariously-good days, the too-much, too-irritating, too-fast-but-painfully-slow-moving days). You’ve heard me speak words, either slurred with the remnants of sadness or blurred with the remnants of endless frenetic energy, about cycles and patterns and rhythms, trying to make sense of it all after the storm has subsided and I organize my previously unintelligible thoughts into categories that hopefully make sense to other people because then hopefully they’ll understand it all and therefore be able to explain it to me a bit better. Maybe hearing why my cycles are “off,” how they’re too extreme, too dramatic, too chaotic, will make things better while I try to process the inevitability of another downswing, another round of fiery rage, another surge of explosive energy that doesn’t fit within me, another another another. But I’m sitting here, eyes rusted open, later than I should be awake, and I’m thinking that “off” is an arbitrary thing and maybe crazies like me are the normal ones (ignore the obvious contradiction in my choice of words). Maybe it IS normal to go from one extreme to another, to swing, fast and hard sometimes, repeatedly all times…maybe it’s normal to mark life that way, to be big and painfully conspicuous, to have unrelenting mayhem within all of who you are, down to the core of your soul and into the farthest depths of your brain, leaving no nook and cranny untouched by the confusion of your perplexing existence —because really, it’s not all bad. I feel the electricity in the atmosphere, I feel my cells vibrating, I feel my organs, each of them, doing what they’re doing to keep me alive (and I feel the anxiety in each of them, but it’s so easy to ignore that bullshit when I have a song stuck in my head and I’m dancing around my kitchen like I haven’t been able to in I don’t know how long). I feel the atmosphere around me, thick and heavy with the lingering sensation that this might dissipate into frazzled distress at a moment’s notice (that it will dissipate into frazzled distress at a moment’s notice). It’s not all bad, I swear it’s not. I don’t want to dwell on the downsides, not right now, not when my pen is flowing freely in my hand, spilling ink clumsily but purposefully, staining my fingers with sticky black meaning, staining my notebook with a snapshot of this quasi-euphoria on this midnight bender fueled by an excess of typically-all-too-elusive neurotransmitters. The music blasting from my speakers is loud, and I keep turning it up to drown out the music in my head, and it’s the same song playing in both places, both on repeat for days at this point, and the speaker won’t go any louder, so I guess my head is winning, but maybe what I’m trying to say is I’m not fully certain it’s “winning.” I’m spinning trying to latch onto an answer, but let’s face it: it doesn’t matter. I’m on the damn ride. Gotta throw up my hands 🙌🏻

my brain is utter chaos lately

went from not sleeping at all to sleeping for a frighteningly long time, not surprising (hashtag bipolar life) but still fucking annoying. something is up. i’m irritable. anxious. generally just fucking off and YUCKY for lack of a better word (all the words I have now lack becuase none of the good ones wanna get anywhere close to my fucking brain). i have therapy tomorrow and i wanna have a good like, summary of how things have gone since we last spoke. but getting that together seems overwhelming. everything seems overwhelming. i’m super fucking annoyed

–last week

Writing about what we talked about in therapy

(seems like I’m always doing that, and my inner writer is super thankful for therapy, although all of me is thankful for therapy haha, but forreal, I’m glad that I’m able to explore topics in the safety of therapy and then process them again more fully via writing,.. ANYway)

She sent me a funny meme along with something that said “our thoughts are sometimes assholes that lie to us”

Because I’ve been super negative lately. Just a shitshow of “I don’t deserve this” and “I’m not worthy of that” and the usual whirlwind of “I’m a failure who does nothing and it’s pathetic and everyone should just kick me a bunch of times to even things up”

Yeah fuck my brain lol. I think it’s worse than usual lately because we’ve been talking about hard stuff in therapy every week. And I’ve been doing my job and thinking about it a lot. I wanna be my best self. I wanna do good for myself so I can do good for other people. (She’d probably remind me I should do good for myself because I deserve to do good for myself).

Anyway. I’m trying to control the intrusive thoughts. Because I mean I said that’s what they’re called right? That’s what this bullshit is??? (It is lol)

In the meantime, here are some thoughts…

How To Know When Your Thoughts Are Lying:

  • The “facts” your head tells you don’t check out with what your family and friends and loved ones say
  • They’re overly negative without compromise or middle ground to tell you some of the positives
  • They are dramatic, extreme, or hyperbole
  • They’re all-or-nothing
  • You avoid telling people what you’re thinking bc you know the person will think you’re being dramatic, or that they won’t understand
  • Your thoughts about yourself don’t match how you want to be or how you try to be (the effort you put into yourself doesn’t pay out in terms of your confidence)
  • You acknowledge your thoughts with anger, shame, fear, etc
  • If you’re questioning your thoughts in the first place, chances are there’s a good reason for your doubts (aka: your thoughts are lying to you
picture I took on the way to get my first covid vaccine 🙂 I wasn’t driving haha

Another fun thing that’s been on my mind… My αɯƙɯαɾԃɳҽʂʂ keeps me company; whenever I’m lonely or bored or get that eery feeling of anxiety, I fidget weirdly or talk to myself ridiculously or crumble into my inner world that I can’t fully explain but feels super…unique. Coping mechanism? Not a terrible one.

Why am I here. What am I doing. Why are my thoughts so painfully negative. Why can’t I do this, why can I still not do this.

–this shit keeps running through my head and it’s killing me

I’m working to: not believe everything I think. Learning to not question every intrusive existential thought so deeply…because those type of -philosophical questions- aren’t going anywhere. They aren’t pressing questions. It’s not even “who cares,” it’s more “do I have to concern myself with this right now?”

Thought to adopt for Monday mornings: It’s gonna be a week. I don’t know if it’s gonna be long or not. I don’t know if it’ll be easy or hard, fun or painfully boring. I don’t know how I’m gonna feel (I never do). but I know it’s gonna be a week. And I know when I can’t be positive I have to be NEUTRAL.

It’s important to know your worth  (apparently), and I’m gonna do the whole “fake it til I make it” thing, because that seems to work

I’m gonna try to collect my thoughts further (like when I get flustered and trip over my words in therapy and she tells me to breathe and start over when I’m calmer)

Monday 3.22.21

❝It comes in waves. Which is nothing new. It just feels surprising at the moment. How quickly we forget our suffering (or maybe it’s just me; I don’t mean to speak for others). Though I guess it’s good to forget the pain and anxiety and depression. The internal chaos. The (rarely understood) tortured indecision paralysis. The explosive anger coupled with barely enough energy to function let alone explode. The fear. Uncertainty. Discomfort. Huge, sick, twisted, gnawing discomfort. 

Ugh. Okay okay we get it. I remember it now. 

But still: it comes in waves. Waves of emotion, waves of confusion. They match the waves of nausea storming away in my stomach. Cycles. Rapid succession. Rolling, crashing, crushing waves. 

I want comfort. I seek safety. Calm. I want normal but even in stability I’m not gonna obtain it. Fuck. 

On the meds? Still bipolar. Off the meds?? Bipolar and a danger in danger. 

Bipolar always. Inescapably bipolar. What’s the point. 

But inescapably bipolar— it feels comforting. A whole “I am who I am no matter what” type thing.

But that kinda sucks haha. Doesn’t it?❞

– therapy homework –

We’re all born a relatively blank canvas. As our lives progress, we experience emotions that begin to color who we are.

Now, it’s probably different for everybody; colors and what they represent to each individual can be very personal. But I was immediately colored pink with the effusive love of my family. I was colored orange a little later by having a fun and exciting childhood. Vibrant yellow made an appearance when I learned to write, my passion showing through each crayoned word on each piece of construction paper. By the time I was fourteen, a rainbow of colors and experiences and emotions was displayed as proud art across the canvas of who I was.

At the end of that year, however, colors that were significantly less appealing started taking over. A vile, putrid green rimmed the edges of my canvas; the anxiety that put it there was gaining strength. Purple was around a lot, but the muddy, murky-brown shade, thanks to fear of…something I couldn’t put my finger on. Gray permeated through all the others. I wasn’t sure why. I wished I knew why.

By the time the gray turned black, it blocked out the shocking blue of my perpetual, gnawing hunger. It blocked out everything. Every color, every memory, every part of me.

In a flash of light that lasted, oh, four months in a hospital, I had myself a blank stretch of opportunities in front of me again.

A rainbow of colors returned to the masterpiece of my life. And it happened quickly. Too quickly. The pale blue of satisfaction and relief mixed with motivation’s highlighter-orange. And the comforting teal got all over both. And red, no, go away, it’s all turning…   Black. Again.

Months passed, during which time I wiped away every color, washed my canvas clean. I didn’t know what else to do.

The same process repeated. Exciting pure-orange getting all over the deepening shade of pink that spoke of how loved I was. Every color going this way and that. Mixing. Giving me black. Again.

Eventually, I started spinning my canvas around. Maneuvering myself to twist and guide my colors to where I thought they’d cause me less pain.

I had the right idea. It was still a miserable eight or so years. Lots of all-consuming, obstructive black. But then…there were all those colors. So many colors, of all shades, bringing with them a big enough range of emotions to fill ten people’s canvases.

I’m appreciative of each tint, tone, shade, hue. I’m more appreciative of the pills I swallow every day that put the fucking cap on some of the colors so it’s more controlled. I’m appreciative of the art classes I take from a badass expert (hi Gail, do you like my analogy).

But I started writing this to explain that there are things besides emotions that have influence over the paint; sometimes the experiences themselves taint the colors.

I struggled for fourteen years. While other people had a normal amount of normal colors on their palette, I had too many, wild and extreme and confusing. I reacted to them dramatically, in a way I truly don’t think was disproportionate.

But no one knew how to help me. It wasn’t their fault. They still consistently colored parts of my world pink. But they didn’t help me. What color must that have added to my canvas?

No one knew how to help, so why bother asking (begging) for it? Why bother? Because bothering BOTHERS people. Continuing to cry out for relief would only make me a burden, right? And I wasn’t gonna do that. I wasn’t a burden. I was BETTER than someone who was a burden. That makes me worthy.

“Not a burden, check, give me some yellow paint now” (I guess yellow is the color of serotonin or dopamine or something).

I guess that’s how I got it in my head that for some reason complaining is bad. Or, to use words I wrote down to describe it before I looked up the actual definition: having a bad attitude, being negative or pessimistic, being ungrateful or unappreciative, talking too much about your problems. The vibe of that explanation is somewhere between brown and gray.

The actual definition, of course, is to express dissatisfaction or annoyance —an explanation that’s far more mild and nonchalant. Lime green.

To recap: I have an incredibly skewed understanding of things like complaining and worth. And unfortunately, you just have to extrapolate that to get to my perception of how to ask for what I need. Why it’s linked to my level of deserving makes no sense. But murky-purple fear runs through it all.

I’m afraid maybe I am deserving of harsh judgment, because after all, I did complain a lot for a long time. And that was clearly the wrong thing to do because it took years before I got any real help.

And as I sit here writing this, descending into an existential crisis, I think it might be time to use my well-practiced technique of wiping my canvas clean.

from the archives: spilled ink

“Some people write to feel, some people write to heal, some write to remember, some to forget, some people even write to fall in love. I write to make sense of the incomprehensible chaos that saturates every fold and crevice within my brain and permeates through every part of the world outside of it. The disorder and confusion expands to fill its container, like a noxious gas. And my fingers flying frantically over my keyboard sublimate some sort of meaning from the complete and utter absurdity of it all.”

It’s been an interesting two weeks

I’ve been feeling okay for the most part, especially having just made it past the ONE YEAR OF STABILITY mark! But I’ve been having some issues with pain, and that was disheartening. I might have overreacted, but such is my nature haha

Journal from March 7: If it’s not one thing, it’s another, and I shouldn’t complain but like what the fuck

I can’t put pressure on my leg

It’s stiff in my calf and sometimes pain extends up my leg and down to my ankle. It’s been like this for over two days and it LOOKS like it’s fine. There’s no prrof I’m in pain, but it’s painful and sore and I can’t walk. I don’t understand.

Because if it’s not this leg thing it’s the rheumatoid arthritis, and if it’s not that it’s some mental health bullshit.

What is wrong with me and why do I feel stupid

Very “woe is me,” I know. I think that’s just how I am. I’m dramatic. Reactive. Although I definitely try to be positive and optimistic whenever I can. It usually takes conscious effort, but I do have some elements of optimist in me, deep down to match the bubbly, energetic me that’s around half the time (hi, I’m the epitome of bipolar, nice to meet you).

Like this quote I found back in high shool:

“I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me.”

Jim Henson

I try to prove to myself that I’m optimistic, and this stream-of-thought I’m typing out here is actually helping me connect how I feel to what I’m supposed to be thinking about for my therapy homework lol.

I’m supposed to be thinking about getting my needs met, why I have trouble with it, the definition of complaining, and why it’s completely different from getting what I need and deserve.

If it’s not clear (my brain jumps from topic to topic in seemingly random ways), that’s related because I think complaining, being pessimistic, and being dramatic makes me unworthy of help.

I’m not sure where the mental associations came from.

I guess I’m supposed to be figuring it out, I’ll let you know how it goes haha