Graphic opening sentence, but tell me if you get what I’m trying to say here!

If I blew my skull open, splattered my brain onto the blank wall behind me, let it drip down into pools that echoed my former consciousness, I wonder what it would look like.

I bet there would be glitter there. From the excitement I hold inside of me and from the goodness in my depths. And I bet the light would hit the glitter and the wall with my brain-splatter would shine. But with the shine would come shadows. Perhaps some darkness in comparison. The pain and suffering would hide there, in those shadows now painted on the wall I’d been standing near.

There would be bright colors. Oh yes, there would be bright neons and vibrant hues, rainbows of colors beyond what you could even dream. They’d be splotched together in chaos but it would look beautiful from afar. Just take a few steps back. Zoom out, broaden your view, and you’ll see that the disorganization has purpose. Creates something larger. Sometimes mess can only be appreciated when you walk away from it.

The colors may form more than random splotches. They may melt into ambiguous shapes or patterns or designs. I imagine hearts and stars and flowers, lines that swirl and curl and curve. My doodles made real. The colors may come together to create larger pictures, too. Scenic scapes. Or maybe memories. Maybe the significant times would be blown out of my head and onto the blank slate I’d been standing in front of. The deep conversations. The climbs from the trenches, the exhilarating rides, the falls that taught lessons.

There would be words there, in the mix. On that wall that was formerly blank but is now covered with a visual display created from the thing that housed my very essence. Of course there would be words. I am made of them. I collect and carry them and grow and expand them. Then I release them into the world as meaning and understanding and hope and excitement and emotion. Sometimes I plant them and watch them transform. Sometimes I fling them outside of myself, vigorously send them away, because there’s been such a buildup of them inside of me. Sometimes I keep them for myself, the words that are important to me.

The wall behind me would be indicative of such importance. Words strewn between the colors. They would tell stories of happiness and sadness. They’d speak of defeat and triumph. They’d be woven between the glitter and the shadows, balanced as a line between.

Other words on the wall would take the form of thoughts I’d had. The thoughts would have the ability to escape into the ether directly, through no effort of my own. They’d just float from my obliterated skull into the world encapsulating it. Fly away free from the tethers of my conscious mind, the mind that never ceased for a fraction of a moment.

Currently, my thoughts twist around my mind and vice versa. They snake up along one another, mingling into a mess of confusion for me. Neither is whole. My thoughts aren’t their own entity and my mind isn’t what it necessarily wants to be. Their existence is so muddled, the two of them. But when my brain blows, covering the wall behind me with light and sparkles and struggle and blackness, the thoughts will no longer be bound down with consciousness. They’ll exist in their own right. And I won’t have to fucking worry about them.

If I blew my brains out the crazy now living on the wall behind me would be apparent. Instantly noticeable. But if you look at the image differently, turn your head in curiosity, maybe the crazy would look like creativity.

Sometimes I wish I could do it. Blow my brain open and see what it looks like. It would be art. That’s for sure.

But maybe I don’t have to. Maybe instead of using a wall for a canvas I could paint my brain onto you.

Because that’s art too.

***

Again, I wrote this super quickly, without stopping. I’m proud of myself for just getting all the words out without second-guessing myself or anything. I didn’t proof it, really, and I dunno if it makes sense. But hopefully someone gets the kind of metaphor I’m going for here. 

Advice is welcome! Maybe someone else would be able to help me make my point more articulately and eloquently or just overall BETTER. I’m tryingggg to be the writer I know I’m capable of being. I know I need formal training, and I’m working on that, but yeah…advice welcome…

Thanks for reading, internet!!!

Bipolar Progression: A Retelling of My Moods

I dunno what to call this thing. That isn’t my favorite name up there, but whatever haha, you’ll get the point. It’s about how it all progressed, so I guess the name, although boring, works. I didn’t really title it to begin with, so whatever.

This is the first real WRITING that I showed my therapist, and I think it’s something that gives real insight to my…craziness? (And again, I use the word with love and claim it as my own because I relate to it) Maybe reading this (or listening to me read it) helps people make sense of who I am and how I came to be who I am.

It feels like forever ago that I sat in her office reading this to my therapist, but it was probably like two months ago. Maybe less. I’m revisiting it now because I think it’d be helpful. I was told in this morning’s session that I am actually a functioning human, going about my business in society at a fairly high level of competence. I love when she compliments me and says nice things about me and reassures me, but there’s something to be said in the fact that I still have trouble hearing it. My eyes don’t meet hers when she talks like that.  I guess I’m still self-conscious about…something? I mean, I don’t feel successful. She phrased it in a way that made more sense, something about how I’m not doing what makes me fulfilled inside? Something like that, but dammit, I wish I remembered her actual words. Regardless, I have to consider the main idea. That being that I’m high functioning, apparently. I’m “normal” (is how I interpret it, sort of). Which means when I feel comfortable enough to do so, I’ll add some more to my plate and start looking for a JOB that doesn’t make me feel like garbage.

When I’m comfortable, I’m going to move forward. That’s scary in a whole hell of a lot of ways. But what I’m getting at is: before I move on, I need to come to terms with my backstory. Or whatever.

Anyway.

These words are important to me. I chose them carefully.

My story, my journey, whatever you want to call it…is important to me. I find meaning in it carefully.

I guess just read it and see for yourself?

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.

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.

Something was wrong. Very, definitely, completely wrong.

I didn’t know what, 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.

Anxiousness that pervaded every thought and action.

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

Everything was wrong. Nothing was 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.

Fuck.

.

The darkness was first punctured when I was seventeen.

Light washed over everything.

At the time, it was like moving through a familiar world by means that were infinitely more fun.

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 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 begged the universe for an answer.

And instead, I went crazy.

.

A respite came when I was nineteen.

A diagnosis.

“Are you on cocaine?”

“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.

Frustration.

.

Fifteen years in the making.

Perspective and knowledge and maturity behind me.

Up and down.

I know enough to center myself and ignore it.

UP and DOWN.

I’m hanging in there, struggling, but holding on.

Up down up down up down.

It throws me off balance, but my I have muscle memory from years of this, so I remain standing.

Up. Down.

I push back.

.

I am twenty-seven, and I’ve said enough is enough.

I’m stressed, but okay. Tired, but functioning.

Something’s right, something’s wrong…that’s just how it is.

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

I’m distracting myself by living my fucking life.

What makes me MAD (and why I strive to be an “Emotional Robin Hood”)

I’ve been planning this post since yesterday morning, since I was sitting in my therapist’s office talking about work and getting angry and then talking about whatever other stuff and getting angry.  My therapist pointed out what types of things seemed to be making me feel that way, that fiercely passionate way.  We talked about it, and she suggested that I write down other things that make me, for lack of a better phrase, fucking pissed off.  Those weren’t her exact words haha (although she does curse sometimes which I find incredibly cool).  I need to find patterns, figure myself out, all that stuff.  I thought about it at work yesterday, and I kept thinking about it when I got home and cooked dinner, and I was trying to type this out yesterday night while Andrew and I watched this documentary about flat-earthers because holy SHIT that made me angry.  Like, too angry to formulate a coherent post despite wanting desperately to write.

It’s a new day, though.  It’s a sunny, bright morning, not even 9am yet, and I’ve been awake and enthusiastic for nearly three hours already.  I got iced coffee even though it’s freezing, and came to my parents’ house to do laundry, which means I hung out with them for a while before they went to work and now I’m sitting with my doggo and I’m comfortable and yeah, good things.  These seem to be the perfect conditions to think about what makes me mad.

And I guess I’ll start by telling you how we got on the subject yesterday.  I was explaining to my therapist that my boss is sometimes really terrible to the older ladies I work with.  She treats them unfairly and unkindly, and it kills me because these women are not only the nicest people but they’re really really old.  Don’t be fucking mean to old people.  Don’t pick on them unnecessarily just because you want to feel powerful.  That is lower than low.  Imagine if someone was mean to your mom or grandma for no reason.  It is disgusting to me.

As you can see, I got angry on behalf of these women, my friends.  I got mad because someone was mean to someone else for no reason.  And there’s a common theme of things of that nature making me mad.  I don’t like when people are mean like that.  I don’t have tolerance for people who are bad or unfriendly.  People who are intentionally not good.  My therapist reflected back that injustice makes me mad.

We talked more while I was in that same fiercely passionate mode (I’d even call it violently passionate?  If only because of how it sounds?).  I mentioned conversations about abortion and it sparked that rage deep within me, because how DARE idiots have opinions on something that doesn’t involve their own body.  I mentioned people not understanding mental illness.  More specifically, how someone told me while I was in the middle of a panic attack that I just wanted attention.  Let me just tell you how much that pissed me off.  Because I DO like attention; that is an obvious and given thing.  But I don’t seek attention by struggling to breathe between the sobs that shake my entire body, because when I want attention I fuckin’ ASK for it like an ADULT.  I learned in a very life-changing way that that’s the best way to go about it.  So don’t you for one second think my PANIC ATTACK has anything to DO with that.

I hope what my therapist saw in me yesterday is coming through in these words here.  I have trouble standing up for myself and speaking up.  But when it comes to this shit, I have NO problem channeling the Incredible Hulk and raging out.  And then I revert back into my nicer demeanor.  And that’s that.

Right so let’s analyze.  Ignorance frustrates me.  Like the abortion issue and the flat-earthers and their ridiculous conspiracy.  You shouldn’t be allowed to be ignorant when it so clearly has a negative impact on others.  Along those lines, you shouldn’t be allowed to make someone feel less-than over an issue you don’t understand.  Particularly when you are LUCKY you don’t understand.  If you’ve never panicked yourself into a dark corner and melted into a black hole, don’t comment on it all.   Also.  It angers me when people act superior.  When they’re condescending.  When they make me feel stupid.  When they insult my intelligence, basically.  Because I’m not self-conscious about my body, really (points to me there), but my brain is something that I feel I have to protect.  Similarly, don’t be rude for no reason.  Have consideration.  Have manners, you should’ve learned how when you were fucking FIVE.  Be respectful or go to hell.  That’s why I hate customers at work; they are so incredibly disrespectful.  Therefore, I don’t consider them to be humans.  They are savages.  I think of them this way to protect myself.  Lastly, overall unfairness pisses me off.  Things should be fair.  End of story.

The general gist of that preceding paragraph, I think, is that large, philosophical issues make me tick.  And maybe that sounds mature or whatever (maybe?) but then these stupid, minor things send me flying off the handle too.  Like when the WiFi doesn’t connect.  Oh my GOD does that annoy me.  Just WORK, is that so DIFFICULT?  Or when things don’t work out how they should (because things never just work out, everything is constantly being messed up by life).  When people drive too slow?  Just gooooooo.  Go!!!  Time limits make me insane.  Because it’s so stressful when the clock is ticking and you’re waiting and you’re trying to be on time or get something done and it just isn’t fucking working and holy shit the anxiety.  Nine times out of ten it’s not my fault if I’m late for something.  So yeah.  Time makes me angry.

[update: apparently these all fall into the category of “lack of control”]

I really can’t think of anything else that I’ve gotten mad about lately.  What makes NORMAL people mad???  Comment with responses, because normalcy alludes me…

Anyway, my therapist and I continued talking.  I said that I sometimes use both sides of myself in combination.  I stand up for myself in an aggressive way but mask it with niceness so as to not cause too much trouble.  I also remember saying something along the lines of “I’m gonna take my emotional baggage and beat the assholes with it,” because I want desperately to protect others from pain.  I referenced how it’s always a shock when happy people commit suicide but that in reality, those people may seem super happy to others because they don’t want other people to feel the hurt they feel inside.  I called myself a sort of “Emotional Robin Hood.”  I wanna help those who’ve been hurt like Robin Hood helped the poor.  I want to steal undeserved confidence from insulters and give it to the insulted.  And do things like that.

Wow, so I dunno if writing has helped me process any of this, but I have therapy again tomorrow so we shall see, I guess 🙂

 

Starting at the beginning, I guess?

My first major mental health thing (aside from feeling vaguely “off” and emotionally “different” at the age of ten or eleven) was the eating disorder I developed in high school. That disorder was a tremendously strong force in my life for like, a reaaaallly long time. It was my disappearing act, resulting from crippling depression and anxiety, where I shriveled into a shell of who I once was and lost all sense of how to relate to my body, my self, and my loved ones. It was crying in what felt like every bathroom stall of my school as I hid from anyone who might figure out what I was doing, what I was being made to do, for fear that they might try to intervene. Because if they did, I would just EXPLODE, so I had to stay away. It was throwing myself into my schoolwork, distracting myself with the drive to get straight As and 100s and be perfect so I could graduate and go to a good college and get a good job and be successful and not fail out of life itself because how fucking shitty would I feel if that happened, I already felt shitty enough! The eating disorder was a lot of things. None of them particularlyyy good.

To speak in a way that isn’t full of words that are me just trying to be a fancy writer… I fucking starved myself for three years. In ninth grade, at fourteen years old, I met Depression. My friends didn’t like me anymore, I was lonely and sad, I was stressed out with school, and I was a teenager so like, my relationship with my dad was shit and it caused me a great deal of stress. I stopped eating because I wasn’t hungry. I was anxious and panicky and sad. And furthermore, I was consumed with schoolwork and advanced classes, and the pressure was crushing me. I worked through lunch instead of eating because I thought it’d alleviate some of the ever-present dread, maybe chase away the dark cloud looming above my head or the sense of impending doom. It didn’t, but I wouldn’t eat anyway. Then, weirdly, I was compelled to skip breakfast too. So I skipped breakfast too. And then I was told by some omnipotent presence to get on the scale. So I got on the scale. And thus began the competition I had with myself to make the number I saw get lower and lower and lower. Cue body image problems. Enter physical issues. Bring on the bitter, biting, painful cold that settled in my bones and didn’t leave me the fuck aloneeeeeee.

No one really noticed, or so I assumed, but if they did notice, they left me to it until I was too far gone. By the middle of eleventh grade I desperately wanted to stop. I had realized there was a word for what I was doing, a name for this THING eating me from the inside out, but I didn’t say it. I didn’t write it. I tried not to think it. Because with the awareness that this was anorexia was the feeling inside of me that I was consciously doing wrong. And I wasn’t a bad kid. I was and always had been a good girl. I wasn’t wrong, I wasn’t bad, I couldn’t HELP IT, ughhhhhh.

I was thrown into the hospital in an eating disorders program in April that year. I say “thrown,” but I guess it was my choice? I was brought to this appointment as this office far away from where I lived, and I mean, I had a feeling it was about this eating issue thing of mine. And my stomach went sour when I realized that feeling was right. But the doctor who talked to me and examined me was so nice. I trusted her immediately. And I mean, I wanted to get better. So I was honest with her, said the dreaded word anorexia, and even more said that that was what I had, that anorexic was what I was.

“Laura is very mature,” the doctor told the nutritionist when she walked in. “Came right out and told me she’s anorexic.”

I beamed with pride, but the happiness only lasted briefly, because now we had to “talk about options.” Oh, god. Oh god oh god oh god. “Because you can’t stay sick forever. You can’t stay stuck in this forever. I think you know that, Laura.” Ughhhh, I diddddd, but I was scareddddd.

“You can leave here today. And you’d have to come back in two weeks for an appointment. And during those two weeks, you’d have to try, really try, to eat and gain weight.” The words she spoke hit me like a ton of bricks. “But patients I send home never do as well, and every time I let someone go home, I regret it. I’m afraid that…” she shifted in her chair and leaned towards me. “I’m afraid that if I let you walk out of this office today, you won’t walk back in.”

The subtext of that being, of course, that I was going to drop dead. I knew that was what she meant. I struggled to breathe, I struggled to see straight without dark clouds spotting my vision, I had no energy, my body hurt, I was cold, emaciated, I was going to die.

“Or,” she paused to look at me, “you can stay here. We’ll admit you to the hospital.”

Somehow, as this brilliant doctor and I were talking, the decision was made that I’d stay. She was extra brilliant because she somehow made sixteen-year-old me believe that I had made the decision. Which was important because it made me work extra hard over the coming months in the hospital and the program. It was what I had decided I wanted to do, wasn’t it? I mean, it truly was what I wanted. But goddammit, eating??? Gaining weight??? That shit was difficult. Almost as difficult as processing the emotional shit and talking about my secrets and opening up about my disorder whileeee eating and gaining weight.

I made friends in the hospital that helped me back into my skin and reminded me who I was as a person. My friends back at school (the ones I’d made and grown close to over the prior three years, the ones who came to love me even though I was a miserable, starving mess) were so incredibly supportive. My teachers were incredible, I can’t understate how helpful they were. My family I can’t even begin to describe. And like, holy shit, just feeling such extreme love after having felt the exact opposite for so long…it was enough to catapult me into recovered life.

Not that the “road to recovery” was all skipping through fields of flowers. I gained 50 pounds, yeah, but uhhhhhh that didn’t mean shit? I mean, I gained higher comprehension and understanding and became more self-aware and able to process shit. But I still felt like the sick me. Even though I looked like a “healthy” me. *Identity crisis intensifies*

I held it together as best as I could. I never really had a major relapse and never wound up back in the hospital, but it was a wild ride from there to here.

I’m realizing now I’ve never thought extensively about my actual recovery. I know how I transformed in the actual hospital, and in the very early stages of recovery. But I’ve never truly thought about being in college and grappling with both eating disordered thoughts and the determination to kick the shit out of those thoughts.  Put a pin in this, that’s a blog post for later.

Long story short (not really), I’m 27 and the eating disorder is an issue anymore. I’m thankful and lucky and proud. So yay 🙂

Some people don’t believe in “full recovery,” but I mean, I don’t have an eating disorder anymore, so I think it’s a thing I believe in. I totally get that people are talking about the ongoing process of recovering. And I understand that. I dunno, maybe it’s different for everyone.

It’s also currently eating disorder awareness week, and I posted about it on facebook, so I’m gonna post here what I posted there. Just for funsies, Lol.

I usually like to tie posts and writing up in a nice bow to end things, but my brain isn’t brain-ing right now. So no super-great ending. I just hope you enjoyed my ranting here, internet 🙂

Snowy Saturdays mean coffee and writing (especially when I’m off from work)

Good morning, internet!

I slept late today (which for me is until like 7:30) and woke up to snow. It’s a gray day, which makes the snow seem far less pretty and exciting. I mean, I don’t loveeee snow to begin with; I hate being cold, I have no tolerance for it. But when it starts at night and then the next morning everyone wakes up to the sun shining brightly, reflecting off that glittery white snow that no one’s walked or driven in? So it’s still fresh and peaceful? Yeah, I like that.

But like I said, it’s gray and gross today. So I’m gonna stay here, sitting at my desk, where I am surrounded by colored pens and markers and notebooks and stickers that all make me happy, and I’m gonna write write write. I have coffee, so I’m happy. It’s like a “make your own sunshine” type thing, I guess? Gotta find the good parts of a day, every day. Coffee definitely helps me do that. But I don’t wanna go on and on about my love for my favorite caffeinated beverage just yet (I can and will do that later).

I have a lot of work to do with this blog of mine. I want this to be a place where I share my writing and my story and the lessons I’ve learned or am still learning. I wanna do what I think it is I do best: put words to my intense and often-incomprehensible internal state. Which I do so that I make sense of it. I think I have the ability to describe the chaos in a way that’s graspable to everyone, whether they’re struggling or not. Maybe I can give those struggling something to identify with so they can make sense of the bullshit along with me. And words are power in those situations, I know this for a fact. When I was a teenager, this little anorexic mess of a human, I did things I was compelled to do and I didn’t have the language to describe it or understand it or make sense of it. Having the words necessary to talk about a mental health issue is crucial to a person’s ability to survive that issue.

Right, so I can do a lot by writing about what’s in my bag of crazy. Maybe I can help some people. Maybe I can shed a certain light on mental health stuff, help educate people who wouldn’t otherwise know or care about it all. I know I can definitely have a ton of fun with this blog. Because writing (perhaps for an audience?) is my favorite fucking thing.

Sidenote, real quick: I used the word “crazy” up there, and I think I’m gonna use that word quite a few times throughout this blogging adventure, and I want to clarify why I use it so as to not offend anyone. I use it because I claim it as my own. It’s how I identify personally, and I don’t use it to describe myself with any negative connotation. I like the word. Don’t know why, not fully at least. I used to call myself things intentionally so others wouldn’t have fun calling me those same things…so maybe my use of the word comes from that? I just don’t want other people to be like, “oh she things people with Bipolar are crazy,” because some other people may not particularly like that word. Okay, good, moving on.

I’m gonna post a bunch of things today. Some essay-type things and some things I’ve posted elsewhere on other social media and some things I generally like. I kind of want to catch this blog up to where I am in my “journey” or whatever you wanna call it. I think it’s important. It’s important to me, at least, to have this be a place that knows how I got to where I am right now.

‘Cause I have a lot more places I wanna go after here. But I think I have work to do still before I’m gonna be able to get too much farther.

Okay, ready for an onslaught of posts? Annnndddd, here we go…