Sundays are for gettin’ shit done

I don’t think I got anything done yesterday (besides some online Christmas shopping!), but today was better in that regard. And in lots of other regards.

I woke up around 8, took my meds, recorded my mood info on my apps, got dressed and ready for the day, got my coffee. Typical.

But I checked off a few good habits from my list. Made my bed. Stretched my aching body.

Oh, I painted my nails. I picked out a few outfits for this week (a practice I was into back in my high school years…laying out exactly what I was going to wear because that’d be one less thing to think about during the chaotic week ahead).

I got some volunteer work done. I took one of the last tests for my class.

Texted with various people. Went out with my boyfriend just so we could say we left the house haha.

I’ve been reading more, which is good. I tend to start books and not finish them (hello, hi, I have ADHD) , and even though I usually beat myself up about that or make it a goal to NOT do that, I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it. And it makes me a happier reader. And besides, they’ll always be there for me to finish later, AND it makes finishing books that much more satisfying.

Monday 11.9.20

In other news, we finally figured out what’s wrong with my body. Apparently my bloodwork showed my rheumatoid factor was as high as it could possibly be (over 100 when it should be around 6…yeah, SIX). And with that, and with a few other tests, the doctor concluded that it’s rheumatoid arthritis.

I’m glad it has a name. I’m glad there’s a reason why I can’t hook my bra or lift my legs to put my underwear on (and then my pants, and then my socks, and then my shoes, and ugh holy shit).

I asked her why I have it, what I did wrong. She said I didn’t do anything wrong lol, it usually happens after the body goes through some tough shit, like having surgery or giving birth. I didn’t experience either of those, so go figure, but eh, maybe starving myself yet again for a few months had something to do with it? Whatever.

There’s a medication I can take to help the arthritis. Another pill (twice a day). Add it to my collection. It literally looks like I have a whole pharmacy on my dresser. I’m not mad; it’s worth it to be able to MOVE and FUNCTION haha, but yeah.

oh hey, positivity

The meds won’t kick in for a few more weeks, so in the meantime I’m on another steroid to help ease the pain. The last one really helped, which is a testament to how inflamed I am (oh joy), but you might recall me mentioning that I was rather moody.

That IS, apparently, a thing. I felt a lot better when I realized that was probably what was going on. Although I of course started to question myself and be all like “well maybe I’m just imagining it.”

Like. No.

I’m on a small dose of steroid, but I’m finding that I’m pretty sensitive to it. I’m irritable today. Just the same as last time.

I talked to my psychiatrist about it. She said to trust myself and do what feels best. It was nice to hear her say that she thinks I’m self-aware. Mostly because I don’t really know this woman. I’ve never met her in person (thanks covid), and just, ahh. Whatever. I’m just glad she gives me the meds I need now.

I’m excited to talk to my therapist tomorrow about, well, about all the things I just wrote about. It’s always fun to process things. It’s even more fun for me to process things with my therapist (who’s so fucking cool). Added bonus when I’m process things that aren’t terrifying, terrible depressions or all-consuming anxiety and whatnot.

Some T H O U G H T S:

My moods was stable as fuck and consistent for a good three days and today I’m just blahhhh, which I guess is normal, but it’s annoying. I’m unmotivated and uncertain and unfocused. I somehow turned a cozy and relaxing day into a waste.

I do so much mood tracking and I’m so careful with how I handle my moods and symptoms and how I handle my disorder. But am I doing ALL that I can? Does any of it even matter?

I’m disappointed that my class is turning out to be less than ideal. I mean, it is what it is, and I’ll take what was given to me and run with it. And I guess it’s good that I’m sure of my values and sure of how I feel (which is a rare thing with me haha, in terms of feelings, at least). I’m determined to not less this whole experience bring me back to the center of nowheresville.

See? Trying to be motivated. Because all I want is to be creative and productive and to make a difference. Or a impact. Or something. I want to be loved too, and to enjoy love and affection, and somehow that’s lumped into this whole paragraph??? My brain is weird.

I’m really sick of the rainy weather and I know it has such potential to be comfy, that it’s great reading weather, that it makes the flowers grow, blah blah. But like fuck I need some sunshine I want to sit outside and have my mornings out there.

Speaking of which, I need to regulate my sleep. I’ve been sleeping GOOD, to be honest, but I go to bed too late or sleep too late even when I go to bed early. I want my mornings. I need to set the right time for my day. It fucks me up when I have a bad morning, and even though I know I always have the power to turn my day around, it annoys me.

I was totally on the path towards an 𝖊𝖕𝖘𝖎𝖔𝖉𝖊 but I think I somehow managed to avoid it ✨

First of all, I’m not in pain anymore. It might be the MEGA DOSE of vitamin D every week working for me or maybe the steroids calming down whatever inflammation was there or perhaps both. But I’m eternally thankful to not be in constant discomfort. And more than that, I’m thankful to only have one more steroid pill to take because I really looked into it, and bipolars really should avoid them. But anyway.

I dunno how I was okay with suffering for so many months not being able to bend or stretch or move or use my muscles (not sure how I went 14 years without being properly treated for my mood disorder, but I guess that explains the other thing now, doesn’t it, Lol). I talked to my therapist about that. Good times ❤

Hi enjoy this selfie from my floor purely to celebrate the fact that I can now officially get onto the floor and then get up again without sounding and looking like and FEELING like I’m my grandpa’s age (which I believe is 92) 😎 #imnotold #notthatold #notyetanyway
My rheumatologist appt had to be canceled because the nine vials of blood they took from me haven’t yielded any results yet, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out what the actual issue is, but I can move and I’m fucking thankful. Like, people, you take for granted being able to shave your legs or hook up your bra when you’re able to do it. Yeah I’m thankful I can hook my fucking bra #gratitude

I have to wait a few more weeks to see what the actual issue is with my body (I was told it could be something autoimmune, so like, I’m eager for an answer and a plan of how to deal with it from here) but I feel patient.

I’ll tell you a THING, though, I was pretty hyped up and approaching hypomanic this weekend. Like. Whenever I start laughing like a lunatic, that’s when I know something concerning is happening. And also? This one is hard to explain, but when I relate SO MUCH to a song that I feel it in my cells?? Yeah, hypomanic. I first noticed that in 2018 when I was wildlyyyy and chaotically energetic and I had this one song on repeat and I was swimming laps like a pro swimmer even though I’m not and just, I felt every note, every lyric, every facet of it, and I felt it so deeply.

Bipolar people tend to feel EVERYTHING deeply. We feel more. We react more. That’s an actual thing. But the way that relates to music is a telltale sign for me. I’m not articulating this in a way that does it justice, but I think that’s fine. I think my peopleeeee will understand this ❤

me this weekend…showed this to my boyfriend and my cousin and they laughed lmao, and like, shit I’m so glad to have people who GET me and my brain

rainy mondays are for baggy sweatshirts, lots of coffee, and sea shanties/ pirate music playing through my noise cancelling headphones on repeat…while I try to write and actually be productive

yesterday wasn’t TOO unproductive, to be honest. I had a pretty big spurt of energy in the morning where I cleaned as much as I could in as little time as possible. I did the laundry, put things away, wiped the surfaces down, etc. it doesn’t look phenomenal in this apartment, but it’s more livable, and that’s what I was going for in the moment.

I was trying to do this whole SUNDAY RESET ROUTINE thing

and by that, I mean getting everything set up and organized for the coming week so that I don’t feel like a total shitshow for another seven days.

I like routines. I like the idea of them, and I really like when I stick with them. I was suuuuuper good at my morning routine right out of the psych hospital/right when quarantine started. it was helpful to have that structure, those set things I needed/wanted to do (and actually did). that fell off quite a bit, as could have been expected. and I’m not beating myself up about it. but it’s like, you get fed up, ya know? with the chaos? and you just wanna say “enough is enough” and fix everything right then and there.

the chaos typically doesn’t go anywhere, if I’m being honest. mostly because it’s internal (for me, at least!) haha, but it improves my internal state if I get shit done.

which is a huge reason why I neeeeeed my ADHD meds, and why I need to continue looking up and learning about the delicate relationship between bipolar disorder and ADHD, but I don’t wanna get into that now

[read my article on Libero Magazine about my experience with that, if you want]

usually when I feel like the chaos is gonna make me explode, I do a certain number of things in a certain order…

  • make my environment immediately more inviting: open a window, light a candle, spray some lavender
  • set a timer for ten minutes. make sure the alarm/song for when the timer goes off is fun.
  • clean like hell really quickly but try to get as much done as possible, spread as widely as possible (like, don’t organize inside the dresser drawers bc that has a narrow scope; instead, clean a little in the bedroom, a little in the living room, a little in the kitchen)
  • freshen up (because it’s hot after cleaning): wash face, brush teeth, put moisturizer on, etc
  • journal? read? social media catch-up? whatever, just unwind in a way that doesn’t bring all that momentum to a complete dead stop, because that only makes it feel shitty again

today I actually have some more important shit to do than just cleaning and organizing.

I have to work on some of my volunteer work, which should be fun, but it might require a lot of my brain.

and I have to do stuff for my class. work on all the tests I need to finish by november. and I also wanna like…gather my thoughts on the whole thing. really get my opinions and ideas together. I wanna talk about it with my therapist next week.

therapy today was awesome, as always ❤ I was in a mopey mood this morning (as I have been for like two weeks…possibly because of the steroids, possibly because I’m heading for a full-blown episode…not sure, and not sure I want to dwell on it) but anyway, she always knows how to distract me and get me out of it. get me talking and being like, MYSELF (my talkative, excitable self) and I love her for that reason (and many others).

^^ that was two days ago, a fun reminder from one of my mood tracking apps

[today I broke the “meh” streak, by the way!]

okay I’m gonna stop procrastinating and get to work. this has been fun, this update featuring the pointless pictures I take and save and have ✌

have a lovely monday, bloggerrssssss!!

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 rise ✨

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 𝐬𝐨

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