𝐚𝐦𝐛𝐢𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐲

𝟓𝐩𝐦 | 𝐀𝐦 𝐈 𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐬𝐥𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠? 𝐀𝐦 𝐈 𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐱𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐨𝐫 𝐢𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐰? 𝐈𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐝𝐞? 𝐈 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐝, 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐈’𝐦 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐩𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭. 𝐈𝐟 𝐈’𝐦 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐝𝐞, 𝐈’𝐦 𝐮𝐬𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐧𝐞. 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧, 𝐈 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝙘𝙧𝙖𝙯𝙮 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐈 𝐠𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐧 𝟖 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧𝐞. 𝐒𝐨 𝐈 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧. 𝐈’𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐨𝐤𝐚𝐲. 𝐈 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐦𝐲𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟. 𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐡𝐲𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐨𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠.

I’ve been binge-reading Halloween books on every one of my breaks today (haunted mansion YA books, aaaaand the haunted mansion Disney Kingdoms comic…trying to get through these three before I move onto my Clue themed book, ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʜᴀʟʟ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ᴋɴɪғᴇ).

ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏʀʟᴅ ᴏᴜᴛsɪᴅᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡɪɴᴅᴏᴡ ɪɴ ғʀᴏɴᴛ ᴏғ ᴍᴇ ɪs ᴅᴜʟʟ ᴀɴᴅ ɢʀᴀʏ, ʙᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇʀᴇs sᴛɪʟʟ ᴀ ʜɪɴᴛ ᴏғ ʙʟᴜᴇ ᴛᴏ ɪᴛ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘɪᴛᴛᴇʀ ᴘᴀᴛᴛᴇʀ ᴏɴ ʀᴀɪɴᴅʀᴏᴘs ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴏᴏғ ɪs ʀᴇʟᴀxɪɴɢ. ɪᴛ ᴍᴀᴋᴇs ᴍᴇ ғᴇᴇʟ ᴄᴀʟᴍ. ᴍʏ ᴄᴏғғᴇᴇ ɪs ʀᴇғʀᴇsʜɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇᴊᴜᴠɪɴᴀᴛɪɴɢ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴀᴛ sᴘᴇᴄɪᴀʟ ᴡᴀʏ ɪᴛ ʀᴇsᴇʀᴠᴇs ғᴏʀ ᴄᴏɴɴᴏɪssᴇᴜʀs, ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ɪʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟ ᴍʏsᴇʟғ ɴᴏᴡ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ sᴀᴋᴇ ᴏғ ᴍʏ ɪᴍᴀɢᴇʀʏ ᴏʀ ᴇᴍᴏᴛɪᴏɴ ᴏʀ ᴡʜᴀᴛᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴛʜɪs ᴛʜɪɴɢ ɪs. ɪ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ ᴅᴀʏ ᴀʜᴇᴀᴅ ᴏғ ᴍᴇ. ᴡᴇ ᴀʟʟ ᴅᴏ, ʜᴇʀᴇ ɪɴ ᴛʜɪs ʟɪғᴇ. ғᴏʀ ᴍᴇ, ɪ ᴛʜɪɴᴋ ɪᴛs ɪᴍᴘᴏʀᴛᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴀs ᴄʀᴇᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ ᴀs ᴘᴏssɪʙʟᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇsᴇ ᴛᴡᴇɴᴛʏғᴏᴜʀ ʜᴏᴜʀs. ɪ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇᴄᴏᴍᴇ sᴜʀᴇ ᴏғ ᴍʏsᴇʟғ, ᴄᴏɴғɪᴅᴇɴᴛ ɪɴ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ɪ ᴅᴏ (ᴛᴏ ᴀᴄᴄᴏᴍᴘᴀɴʏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏɴғɪᴅᴇɴᴄᴇ ɪ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ғᴏʀ ᴡʜᴏ ɪ ᴀᴍ). ɪ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ғɪɢᴜʀᴇ ᴛʜɪɴɢs ᴏᴜᴛ. ʟᴇᴀʀɴ. ʀᴇᴀᴅ. ᴇɴᴊᴏʏ. ʟᴏᴠᴇ, ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ᴅᴇᴇᴘʟʏ, ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴍʏ ᴛʀᴀᴅᴇᴍᴀʀᴋ ғᴀʀ-ʀᴇᴀᴄʜɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ғɪᴇʀᴄᴇ ʙʀᴀɴᴅ ᴏғ ᴀғғᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ. ɪ ɢᴜᴇss ᴛʜɪs ɪs ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ᴀʟʟ ᴛᴏ sᴀʏ: ɢᴏᴏᴅ ᴍᴏʀɴɪɴɢ. ♡

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will riseʉϬ

6:23

Waiting for the sun to rise, I have been for three hours already

Wearing leggings and an oversized sweatshirt, my grandma’s old brown leather jacket, boots of the same color, my other grandma’s locket

(it matters because I’m comfortable and cozy, feeling cute and calm, and because I’m patiently awaiting the morning’s official invitation to join it outside)

Come on light, come on optimistic, hopeful light

Spill over into the blue that’s gradually fading into purple, contrast the darkness with your red, oranges, golds, and yellows

My hair is pulled into a bun so it’ll be curly tomorrow, still wet (which isn’t ideal in the 45° weather, but lo and behold, colder weather will be here soon and there’s nothing I can do but get used to it)

Sitting at the kitchen table, door already open so I can grab my coffee, already poured, and my book, Halloween-themed and exciting, and go sit on the steps to revel in the morning silence

The birds are already chirping, though they’ve got a way to do so that doesn’t interrupt the stillness, and they’re making my front porch sound both musical and…what’s the word for “more nature-y than it actually is”

6:42

I think it’s time, so I step outside into the chill and as it reaches my core, I don’t shy away from it but inhale deeply and hold for a bit

*

Another day’s begun, although it feels weird to say that after the night awake just warped time around itself

Even during my darkest moments, I usually woke up with some level of optimism; certainly not a stellar amount all the time, but I remember talking about it in therapy and my therapist told me that my prognosis is better because of it

Now, it might have taken life merely a minute to knock the optimism right out of me, but even I can’t deny it was there, if ever briefly

*

I’m irritable again, and I definitely know what usually follows such fervent desire to rip my face off, but (as I shouted at the skies countless times for countless years), all I needed was a god damn break…and I got one, and I’m thankful, and I’m not taking it for granted, and I’m handling my issues

6:55

It’s cold, I’m probably going to go back inside, but I like starting my mornings out here, and I’m glad that I did today

𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐤 𝐨𝐫 ð¬ð¨

Or perhaps there’s a better word than “emotional.”

It’s been a period full of quiet mornings and peaceful cups of coffee drank on my front steps as the world wakes up. It’s been a week of reading a good book, of existing in the realm of social media (mainly on tumblr, this week), and trying to stay on top of everything I had to do.

It was a really really phenomenally fun weekend. My sister and her family came up to visit and I saw the absolute joy that is my nephew and he made me so beyond happy (they all did, but he’s more special to me than words). We saw our extended family, went pumpkin picking, and played a whole lot of Elmo songs for my little man to dance around to.

The lack of five minutes to myself this long weekend might have contributed to my rather random display of bipolar rage the past few days. I literally haven’t been that way in forever. I haven’t lost my shit, I haven’t felt that painfully “itchy” frustration, that “I want to rip my face off and burn it” kind of restless exhaustion and exasperation. It’s unique.

And not for nothing, even though it’s been eight months (EIGHT MONTHS) since I’ve lost my mind (read: had an episode), it’s still really fuckin’ familiar.

Excerpts of my journals, for your reading pleasure:

J take it mavxjxndbdbxjxbxbxvgdvd I take it back I’m not handling the bipolar rage well at all I want to ducking kill everyone fmmb slabs dbdbdvvdvdvdsvvd I want to fucking kill everyone and everything and my laptop is plugged in bc it’s aboht to die and it’s just sitting here but it’s aoooooooo soooooooo fucking goddsmn fucking loud like shut the hell ip it shouldn’t be loud why are you so loud STOPPSODNDBJSJDBDBDJ I can’t shake I can’t stand typos so I’m it I’m not fixing them because if I have to backspace one more goddamn fucking shitting time I’m gonna kill myself I don’t want to go to clas bc the other people are sooooooooooo stupid like how are human beings so stupid and annoying I can’t even explain it. My sleeves are annoying me. I already snapped at my boyfriend and I ha myself I hate myself for it j mean he gets it but it’s still not fair and I jdjsbfvfbf f d KUSTTT. JUUUUSSSTTTT got through being all thankful for not being crazy and fucking fuck for once

Good times.

^^^ That is what I’ve told myself for the past few days.

And now for a sidenote that’s probably suuuuuper relevant to what I’m going through right now:

I’ve been in the process of going to doctors trying to figure out why my body is stiff and sore, why my limbs are heavy and painful. The regular doc said my blood showed low Vitamin D, which could explain a lot of my symptoms. But I’ve been on a mega dose of it for three weeks now and I still feel ehhhh.

I had the rheumatologist earlier this week and I explained everythingggg (I had a whole list of things I tell her, thanks to my therapist’s urging ❤ haha) and she started me on steroids for what is probably an autoimmune or inflammatory issue.

I do not think bipolar people are supposed to take steroids, but I need to collect more data. Some basic google searches and readthroughs of articles tell me I’m probably correct, but like. Fuck. I’m desperate to not be in pain.

𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐈 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭

So that’s what I’m gonna do because, well, there’s not much else to do anyway haha

and here’s the narrative I just presented to my class

So it’s kinda weird to have 20 full minutes to talk about my experience, my strength, and my hope. I mean, I talk about myself and what makes me ME quite a lot; I’m lucky enough to have friends and family and a therapist who listen and understand and make me feel heard. But this feels different, and I’m honored to be sharing with all of you.

I’m gonna read something I wrote a long time ago that I reworked yesterday in order to make it better for this narrative exercise.

But before I do that, I just want to give a quick summary, through those five words Emily had us pick yesterday. Mine are: more, anorexia, personality, sexuality, and bipolar. They go in chronological order for the most part. And they help me understand chunks of my life and categorize them into…I guess into lessons I’ve learned.

“More” because I learned at a young age that my reactions to things were bigger, more emotional, and more dramatic

“Anorexia” because I spent the majority of high school locked in the lonely hell of starving away my problems, and because those years and the first few months of precious, innocent recovery shaped me tremendously

“Personality” because I’m proud of who I am and what I’m like and how I behave, even though I can be a lot to deal with, and I very much enjoyed the process of becoming me

“Sexuality” because my identity played an important role in my development and without my journey with it, I wouldn’t understand who I am and I wouldn’t be with my boyfriend who I love

And finally, “bipolar” because it explains things, it helps me make sense of things, it’s put me through a ton of shit but I’m still here standing next to it

When I was ten, it tugged at me.

At the time, I was merely confused. Maybe a little curious.

It felt weird more than anything else.

A vague and unfamiliar sensation that wouldn’t seem to go away.

I felt more, in every regard. Was that possible?

Something…wasn’t right.

I didn’t know what, but it didn’t really matter.

I distracted myself by learning to crochet and going about my regular fifth-grade business.

.

When I was thirteen, it pulled at me.

At the time, I was already agitated, as every new teenager is. I grew annoyed with it.

It was confusing, but no longer curious to me.

A troubling nuisance, forever in the back of my consciousness, on top of everything else.

Something was wrong.

I didn’t know what, and I didn’t have time to figure it out.

I distracted myself with writing and all the normal preoccupations of an eighth-grader.

.

When I was fourteen, it yanked at me.

At the time, I was stressed and upset and annoyed.

No longer confused, just pissed off with it.

A stupid, scary presence…a lingering sense of discomfort, and it was spreading.

My stomach soured in the presence of food,

Waves of sickness rippled through me at the mere thought.

I wasn’t good enough, could never be good enough, oh god, was it too late to try to be good enough?

Something was wrong. Very, definitely, completely wrong. Was it all related?

I didn’t know, didn’t care either. Still had no time to figure it out, nor the willpower to try.

I was too distracted to distract myself. Fucking ninth grade.

.

When I was sixteen, it ripped into me.

I was depressed.

It was empty. Hollow sadness that radiated into every aspect of my being.

Anxiety that pervaded every thought and action.

A dark cloud looming over me, terrible fears caving in on me.

Everything wrong. Nothing okay.

How did it get that way? How could it have gotten that way?!

I wondered how, and why, but had no energy to figure it out.

I distracted myself by starving my body into oblivion and cutting open my own skin.

Thinnest of blades drug over scars, one on top of another.

Ruined innocence, soiled purity, was it worth it to take one goddamn breath?

Fuck.

.

The darkness was first punctured when I was seventeen.

Light washed over everything.

It was like moving through a familiar world by means that were infinitely more fun.

Less painful and chaotic.

I was happy that the weight had been lifted (figuratively, at least).

It felt weird, but it was a relief more than anything else.

An oddly satisfying sensation that grew more comfortable every day.

It was finally okay.

I had the goddamn pizza AND the goddamn cookie.

I was proud of myself, and it felt good.

I celebrated by smiling at the beauty of the world around me.

.

I was eighteen when I fell again.

It was like tasting freedom only to realize it was all some sick joke.

Suffocating sadness juxtaposed next to pure happiness…

A throwback to three years wasted, a body wasted.

Something. Wasn’t. Right.

AGAIN!

Why, for the love of God, WHY?!

Exhausted, I cried to the universe for an answer.

And instead, I went crazy.

.

A respite came when I was nineteen.

A diagnosis.

“Are you on cocaine?” he asked.

“No.”

“Then you’re bipolar.”

It was confusing more than anything else.

But when I finally caught my breath, it started to go away.

A short punctuation, a precarious pause…

And then insanity.

Something was wrong, or right, or something, and what was I talking about?

I didn’t know.

I distracted myself with self-mutilation.

.

I was twenty when it came and went.

Repeatedly.

A roller coaster of twists and turns.

One flash flood after another.

I was twenty-one, I was twenty-two, I was twenty-three.

.

I was twenty-four, and you know the story by now.

Exhausted.

Clawing my way back up, climbing and scaling and reaching…

And falling.

The ground ripped from underneath me.

Again.

Get back up. Again.

Pushed back down. Again.

Sick frustration. Twisted, gnawing lack of energy.

Double fuck.

.

Fifteen years later.

Perspective and knowledge and maturity behind me.

Up and down.

I knew enough to center myself and ignore it.

UP and DOWN.

I was hanging in, struggling, but holding on.

Up down up down

It threw me off balance, but I had muscle memory from years of it, so I remained standing.

Up. Down.

Something’s right, something’s wrong.

As it always is.

I didn’t know why, but didn’t have to.

I pushed back,

Distracted myself by living my fucking life.

Easier said than done.

.

I was twenty-eight when I said enough was enough.

(When I begged the universe to see that enough was enough).

I wandered into the depths again,

Trudged through the muck again,

Fell too far again, I couldn’t get out again.

I threw myself deeper and farther and couldn’t bring myself to stop it, but

Life came to a grinding halt

(the way I’d been begging it to for so, so very long).

Blue paper scrubs.

Cups full of meds.

Visiting hours.

Coloring pages.

Hospital unit.

Groups and groups and groups.

Pacing the halls, laughing out loud, crying and shouting and breathing and…

.

I am twenty-nine.

And it’s been eight months.

I’ve been stable for eight months.

Almost three times as long as I’ve gone without spiraling into chaos

In more than half my life.

You know when you’ve been running for ages and it hurts so bad and you can’t catch your breath and finally you stop and rest and there’s a glorious influx of air into your lungs?

That feeling when you’ve lost you’re footing and you’re sure you’re gonna fall and you clench your body in preparation but you regain balance?

You know that feeling when you finally get that thing you’ve been wanting?

It’s called happiness.

It feels lovely.

.

I’m sitting here with my right hand on my ribcage, where the words that were tattooed upon them ten years ago remain, the reminder of a lesson I had learned and would continue to learn and shall most likely continue learning still…

It takes rain to make a rainbow.

Look, I’m not under the impression I’m going to be running through rainbows for the rest of forever. I’m not gonna sit here and be unrealistic. Life is full of ups and downs, and though I’ve certainly had my fill of them, that doesn’t make me exempt from future fluctuations.

The difference between ten year old me, sixteen year old me, twenty-four year old me…the difference between my past and my present is simply the fact that I’m living here now, doing what I can with what I have, and I’m ready to take on the next portion of my adventure.

It takes rain to make a rainbow. Take from those words what you will, but I for one am glad to have some perspective.

.

Experience = the full life I’ve lead for 29 years

Strength = communication, resilience, compassion, understanding

Hope = that little fire in my core that tells me to reach out when I’m struggling, to keep fighting when I don’t think I can, to love bigger and stronger and louder; the thing I’m struggling to find the words for, because right now, things are (dare I say) STABLE

So for the class I’m taking, we have to share our narratives. Our stories, our struggles, our hopes.

We talked this morning about how powerful it is to be vulnerable and how it’s sometimes difficult. I felt a bit disconnected from the conversation because I’m usually able to be vulnerable very easily. At least with other people. I’m good at relating to other people. I’m an open book, I know that I’m worthy of love and kindness, and like…all the stuff we spoke about in regards to sharing excited me. Some others were excited too. Some weren’t. But I really am looking forward to the next few classe.

Anyway, I’ve been reviewing a few pieces of my writing so that I can read one out loud while I share my narrative. I think I’m gonna go with something that I’ve already written and rework it a little. But as I was figuring that out, I smashed the keyboard and something fun appeared on the screen. Something about me walking into the unit at the psych hospital for the first time, being emotional and overall just scared as shit. It isn’t finished, but I’m eager to share it with the interwebs…

They took my elephant. Sickness swirled in my stomach. I looked again, pushing everything else around frantically. I swallowed hard, hoping to suppress the rising panic at the fact that my elephant wasn’t in the brown paper bag that held (most of) the other belongings I’d brought with me. Leggings, shirts, hoodie. No notebook. No stuffed elephant. Why was I frantic? Why was I starting this whole process by having a meltdown, why was I panicking over a stuffed elephant?

I was sitting in a chair like the ones behind the desks in my old high school. I was wearing something that was basically paper. I was cold. I was grossly depressed, exhausted from weeks of it, no– years of it. And my goddamn fucking elephant wasn’t in the piece of fucking shit bag.

A yell across the unfamiliar hallway broke me from my sad-angry mixture as I helplessly stared into that stupid brown bag. I inhaled deeply, unsteadily. But before I could exhale there were more yells from the same general area, way down the hallway of the unit that looked pretty much what you would’ve expected it to look like.

I brought my hands together with stiff arms, fingers laced, thumbs alternately massaging the opposite palm: a visible representation of my twisting, writhing anxiety. 

The screaming got closer, along with banging and stomping and other voices arguing. Something happened to my right, and, oh god what was this place? What did I do to myself? Were they going to–

“Sweetie, are you okay?” said the guy who’d minutes earlier been screaming violently about the staff being idiots. He put his hand on my shoulder to comfort me, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, although I had a hunch that he was harmless. Regardless, I didn’t have to ponder too long because two men in blue scrubs jumped on him to pull him off of me in a manner that was incongruent with the tiny interaction I’d just had with him.

I rocked back and forth as the scene unfolded in front of me and they pulled the man somewhere around the corner, and I didn’t realize I was sobbing until a nurse came over to the little chair where I was folded into myself, crouched down on the floor in front of me, and asked me if I was okay. I looked at her quickly and concluded that she was trustworthy (I’m good at those kinds of determinations).

“It’s so stupid,” I gasped. “I’m 28 years old and it should matter.” I wiped my nose on the sleeve of the paper scrubs they’d given me to wear. “They didn’t give me my stuffed animal, I brought him, I packed a whole bag knowing what was going to happen to me, I knew I’d come here, I need this, but my elephant…” I sobbed in one long exasperated breath.

I don’t remember how she answered. But I remember going into a little room with a table and absurdly heavy chairs with her and explaining a bit about my history for her charts while I calmed down. And I remember when we walked out of that room she handed me a blank marble notebook that she’d grabbed from the closet. I knew she’d just given me one of the most important tools I’d get in that place.

So I’m taking a class on peer support and how to be an advocate for those who need it

It’s phenomenally interesting. There’s so much to learn about and read about and explore and discuss and ponder deeply. There’s also so much room for personal growth to happen throughout the training process.

I was reading about the history of psychiatry and mental health systems and to cut out a lot of wordiness, I found this one particular part that I can’t stop thinking about.

Back in the 1800s, in this one asylum in New York, a publication came about that turned out t be pretty revolutionary in that it was written and published by people who were patients there. It gave at least a little insight into life there, although it was definitely a little too cheerful and optimistic, since it was written by people who wanted to keep writing and not have that privilege taken away by the doctors and such there. If they wrote too…colorfully…and made the asylum look bad, they might have ad to do some other form of occupational therapy.

Anyway, I was reading about that and I came across a line that talked about a fear that was had in regards to the patients’ minds:

“The danger is that the imagination will lead astray into the mazes of insanity.”

It took me a minute to process that and incorporate it into what I already believe in my heart and head. Like, I’ve thought quite a bit about the subject of insanity (having had more than my fair share of bouts of it haha), and I mean, I guess I’d never thought of imagination having anything to do with it, but then why did this quote jump the fuck out at me?

I think it could have just been the writer in me. This line did come shortly after a paragraph where it talked about how they’d often prompt the patients with topics to write about, just to get them distracted and focused. And they mentioned acrostic poems (god, does anyone else remember those from like, elementary school?).

I’m gonna do my “this is my blog and I reserve the right to jump around and not make sense” thing. And just dump my acrostic down here. Because I was just super inspired, ya know?

Safe from an inner world of spiraling chaos

An expansive stillness that allows movement

Nearing the edges of confusion calmly

Integrating the good with lessons learned from the bad

Trusting the ongoing journey and exciting process

Yesterday mattered but so does tomorrow

Yeah, one of those poem things where it says something going down but it’s a poetic sorta thing going across. I think this might be one of those things I revisit every now and again. My definition of “sanity” might change over time. It might be nice to reflect on that every now and then.

We were talking in class about how the definition of recovery is super personal and individual and unique. Same idea. Kinda cool.

I’m excited to see where this class takes me. I’m super pumped to go do all the readings and learn as much as I can, and to continue learning (ain’t that what it’s all about?) for a super long time.

Now, to get to all that reading (while l’m still motivated and awake)

good morning, I guess

four in the morning.
too early, close your eyes again,
wait. wait some more.
four fifteen, close your eyes again,
close them, keep them closed,
fuck.
eyes open, feet on the floor, hoodie pulled tight,
good morning, I guess.
grab phone, scroll apps,
switch, scroll,
switch, scroll,
boredom,
close apps, shut phone.
change clothes in the dark.
wash face.
grab laptop, charger, book,
and leave.
coffee. need coffee.
drive to shop, greet the owner,
thank him for being open at this ungodly hour.
espresso pulls, milk froths,
the sound brings you to life.
the smell brings you to life.
you sip. banana chocolate heaven.
it brings you to life.
good morning (for real this time)

I’ve been having trouble with my sleep schedule lately. Since like, June. Since my pyschiatrist upped my lithium, since I broke out in that rash, since I started feeling weak and sore and achy and stiff and ugh.

I’m not saying it’s all related to the lithium. I’m not saying it’s related to it at all. I could have a physical thing going on. If that’s the case, I’m hoping it’ll be solved soon, because I finallyyyyy was able to get a doctor’s appointment. It’s been really hard during covid, but if I have something physical happening, they’d most likely know or send me someone who would know. And my sleep cycle fucking up could just be a bipolar thing. I know I experienced (very muted) symptoms of an episode throughout the summer, and I mean, that’s just my bipolar fluctuations doing their thing. No amount of meds is gonna CURE me, I’m just MANAGING it all with meds. And it felt managed, but…not perfect. But whatever.

It’s just super annoying that I have soooo much trouble sleeping for two days and then I’m unconscious, absolutely dead to the world, for three.

I’m picking my battles. I’m choosing not to be angry or annoyed about this.

Similarly, I’m getting a handle on that bipolar rage while I drive. I’m not saying I don’t cut moron drivers off sometimes, but I don’t feel seething anger in each and every one of my molecules. I don’t literally see red. I don’t make their dumbassery about ME, because like, I can just let it gooooo.

It’s a skill, doing that. I never really understood that idea until I started thinking of driving like a training program…if that makes sense? Perspective shift/Mindset shift. Possible DBT skill?

It’s 6:37 right now. I’m texting my boyfriend who’s back at the apartment and getting ready. We’re sending each other memes. I recorded my moods and stuff on my phone (loveeeee me some tracking apps). I posted to instagram to feel social and connected haha.

Good morning.

Follow my train of thought

I’ve been known to become somewhat aggressive. Well, I mean I doubt anyone knows me by that and that alone, not if they actually KNOW me, anyway. I’m this little thing and I try to be as nice as I can at all times. Especially to retail workers, but I’m not gonna get into that. My point: I know myself as getting super aggressive and it’s been in the back of my head lately. You know. Blind bipolar rage.

It’s an actual thing, and it’s different from regular anger because there’s often no clear cause and therefore no clear way to diffuse it. The outburst might be caused by something, but it’s the perpetual feeling of frustration that makes no sense that’s the real issue. Like, for me I might be in traffic and start screaming bloody murder. And maybe the screaming and throwing myself around it caused by the anxiety that I’m gonna be late (or simply not early) and there’s nothing I can do about it, but there’s most likely been a storm brewing for a while.

I’ve been really good lately, though. I’ve noticed it more than a few times. I brewed my tea wrong the other day and didn’t have a conniption. It didn’t FEEL the same as it would have before I was in the hospital. And this morning when we didn’t have internet I literally felt the anger start to bubble but it was like I turned the heat on the burner down so the pot never boiled.

Boom. Victory. I am quite proud of myself.

And more seriously, I’m glad I’m able to do that. I’m glad I have finally been given the tools I need to help myself. I’m glad I’m using them to my advantage. I’m thankful.

I mean, sometimes I just WANT to get crazy mad, but it really isn’t worth it.

Anyway, the reason I wrote that whole fricken thing was so I could explain an analogy I thought of whilst not having a meltdown this morning.

I usually think of fire when I think of bipolar rage, but this time I thought of water. I was trying to grasp some sort of way to explain the way the anger used to cut into me (and how it still tries to). But weirdly enough I thought of water. Like, if I were to high-dive into a pool. I’d cut through the water. There’d be a splash. A noise. I’m not explaining the powerful image I have in my head but like, I’m trying to show that the water where my body was would be displaced and I’d be physically in that space. And maybe a human being should be in water. Well, no, I guess people can be in water. I guess a more true-to-my-nature analogy would be a knife stabbing someone, and the knife is stuck in them, and blood gushes out. A knife shouldn’t be in a person.

I’m rambling. I’m not making sense. But my goal today was to write words and upload them so I have now checked that box.

Comparisons

June 29th:

She was antsy. Crawling in her skin. Unsurprisingly agitated, although she hated to admit that, almost whole-heartedly refusing to believe what was happening, what was approaching. It was also unsurprising that she jumped when the thunder cracked right outside her window. She was just on edge. The noise wasn’t inherently scary; it was simply the harbinger of the torrents of rain that were now falling freely from the ominously-gray-but-eerily-bright sky. It was the unexpected noise, so loud she could feel it vibrate in her sternum, that made her shoot three feet off her chair and that, quite frankly, pissed her off. Why can’t I be one of those people who enjoy a thunderstorm? she wondered. One of those people who find them romantic or poetic or some shit. Her mind wandered but her eyes fell fairly quickly from the rain pelting her window to the coloring page in front of her. Fuck. She’d ruined her “masterpiece” when she nearly fell out of her chair. The anti-anxiety coloring book had kept her entertained enough, but god fucking dammit, now she was too aggravated to continue. Nothing like swapping anxiety for anger, right?

August 27th:

Thunder was shaking the same world outside the window, lighting periodically streaking across the same too-darkened sky. She was sitting at the same desk, existing in her same consciousness (she allowed for a momentary shiver to run through her as ideas that were far too philosophical for this time of day consumed and then released her). The same brain rested between her ears, that’s for sure. Although it might have been the first time she considered it to have been resting. It had been a long few months. But compared to the previous, oh, fourteen years, it hadn’t been that terrible of a summer. The streetlamp flickered on, illuminating the introspection that rolled like boiling water from the core of her being into the expanse of that consciousness that lived in that resting brain of hers. She wasn’t focusing on the obvious, but maybe better things lived a little deeper, ya know?