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

So to review what I’ve learned about rheumatoid arthritis this week:

There’s some shit I can do and take that will help:

Drinking lots of water

Collagen —good for joints – I’ve been putting the unflavored kind in my water bottles and the coconut flavored one in my coffee or yogurt

Turmeric —good bc it’s anti-inflammatory – I’ve been taking the liquid kind

Chia seeds & Flax seeds — another thing I mix in my yogurt lol

Raw green vegetables

Omega-3 fatty acids

Actually taking Motrin when I’m in pain instead of tough ig it out because “I don’t wanna put even more meds in me” or because “I don’t deserve to feel better” (???) which will prevent joint damage

Gently trying to stretch to keep mobility (but not pushing myself when it really hurts bc that could make things worse) – I have to learn when to do which

I’ve been more productive lately and I’m loving it. It makes me feel better about myself.

That’s such a sign of internalized capitalism, thinking how much I get done is tied to my worthiness. And if you’ve been following along with my journey this week, you might recall me feeling like I’m not worthy of existing and not being in pain. Yeah, fucked up, huh.

But that aside, I’m happy that I’m going to bed feeling fulfilled and like I’ve done my best.

I went to the bookstore today. I got a bunch of kids books to give to the kids in my life with birthdays coming up. Treated myself to a coffee and an adorably inspirational Disney book (for children).

I have a bunch of books like that. Cute and inspiring and nice to pick up when you’re in a funk.

Oh and I also bout an issue of ADDitude magazine. Love learning about what’s wrong with my brain lol.

Speaking of what’s wrong with me:

  • I’ve been learning more and more about rheumatoid arthritis this week, and it does make me feel more empowered. There’s a lot of info and I’m kind of overwhelmed, but it’s a process. Took me long enough to learn about bipolar and I’d had the diagnosis a lot longer than I’ve had the RA one.
  • I still think I’m fighting my brain in terms of a mood episode. But I slept last night for longer than I’ve been able to in a while, so I feel better. I feel like it’s one of those times where I just have to tell myself “I’m still bipolar even though it’s so much better than it was for 14 years of my life, so I’m still gonna have fluctuations.”
  • On the other hand, though, is that normal? I’ll have to discuss it with my psychiatrist. Idk like, maybe this isn’t normal and my perception is just skewed. Or maybe my shitty self-esteem is affecting it.
  • It’s hard for me to admit that I have low self-esteem. I mean in a lot of ways I’m super confident and sure of myself and proud of myself. But I’m also not. It’s a tricky dichotomy. And I think it’s fine to be confused about it.

I’ve been thinking more about job stuff, too. And I don’t feel like elaborating too much on it, but I’ve come to terms with some things and I think that’s gonna be helpful for me.

❥✿❦

Acknowledge where you are —the journey is where you find appreciation for the destination.

Eternal Sunshine

Something is definitely happening

For starters, I hven’t slept in three days. I mean, an hour here and an hour there, yeah. But I’m exhausted but can’t remain asleep for longer than that. It’s infuriating. I’ve been sleeping irregularly for longer than three days, maybe like three weeks total, but it’s so bad lately.

(It’s a bipolar thing)

I also can’t get to a good temperature. Like, I cannot get comfortable. I’m too hot, I take off my sweatshirt. I’m suddenly freezing. Put the layers back on. Uncomfortably hot. Lower the heat, raise the heat, try different combinations of heat temp and layers of clothing. I can’t get to a normal fucking temperature.

(Probably also a bipolar thing –I just looked up a bunch of stuff about circadian rhythms -which are fucked in bipolars- and temperature regulation, and it’s all related)

Long story short, I’m pretty sure I’m heading into some sort of episode, probably mixed because I have these flashes of wild and chaotic energy where I flirt with my boyfriend and ask him a million random questions and gesticulate crazily and have all this energy I feel the burning desire to release from my body. And then I’ll crash. Andrew even said, without glancing in my direction yesterday, “have you crashed yet?” and like, I love him for knowing me so well and understanding the bipolarness of my brain so well. But I rely on him to help me guage the severity of this bullshit and to help me see things realistically…and if HE knows something is up, it’s not a good sign.

I’m moody. It’s manageable, but it’s annoyinggggggg. I’m more irritable than I’ve been in a long time, and again, it’s manageable, but jfc like, I’d rather just NOT, ya know?

I’ve been fine for a year, and I know I shouldn’t complain. And I’m gonna be honest, I feel like I absolutely don’t deserve to complain. Especially because I’m not fucking working, so what’s the difference anyway. But it’s still shitty. It’s not fun feeling exhausted and unable to do anything about it. And I’m fairly certain not letting someone sleep is certified torture, so that’s fun.

I’m pretty sure I have a psychiatrist appointment next week, which is good. But I doubt she’ll be helpful. And tbh I’m terrified she’s gonna take my adhd meds away without giving me another solution for my adhd. Yeah, stimulants can cause mania, but I STILL HAVE ADHD like if I can’t focus it impacts my mood and makes me sadder and more anxious than I have to be. But like, people don’t take adhd seriously, but it’s often just as bad as any other of my mental illnesses.

I guess I’ll wait and see how the rest of this week goes. I see my nephew this weekend which is GREAT for my mental health!! Although bad for my arthritis lmao. BUt I’ll suffer the aches and pains for that boy any day any time anywhere, I just love him so much.

I’m gonna keep taking Motrin bc with its anti-inflammatory and pain killing magic, I might as well. FUCK the belief that I deserve to suffer. How does that help me? How does that help ANYbody? (and doesn’t my pointless and ever-present guilt stem from me wanting to be a better person than I am??? no really, I’m asking, I have no real clue)

Yeah. I’ll get this updated once I figure that out Lol