I think it was like a few years ago, in early January, I heard about people picking a “word of the year” instead of making New Year resolutions. And this year a blog post by blessingmanifesting reminded me of it. She said to choose a word that embodies how you want to be and think and feel and do, “something you can apply in little ways throughout your life instead of a concrete goal that involves either failure or success.” I chose three words this January, and as I was just looking through my current journal, I found myself thinking about them again. The first word I wrote down was “continue,” because shit was hard a few months ago and I wanted to keep going, keep moving forward, and not let anything stop me in doing that. Which is why word numero two was “unstoppable.” Can’t let things get in my way. My third was “unbothered,” and by that I meant I didn’t wanna let was customers upset me, not let the insignificant action of others influence my mood. And that’s the one that really got me connecting the words I wrote down five months ago to this present moment. I’m not at that shitty job, so letting morons bother me is n out an issue, but I’m not really letting any random nonsense bother me. Like minor mood fluctuations that would have sent me spiraling (for obvious reasons, after having uncontrolled bipolar for yearsss). Alsooo, I sure as fuck continued in spite of difficulties. So check those boxes too. I haven’t written in my physical journal too often lately (I switch between digital journaling and physical journaling, best of both worlds alwayssss) but I’m glad I found these three little words and the pretty butterfly I glued next to it (I’m gonna stop writing before I go offfff about how symbolic a butterfly is in relation to continuing…it is right? or is it just me who feels that way lol)
1:45pm || It’s been a good day, I guess. I woke up early like normal, did my whole morning routine and made coffee and started my day. I’ve been utilizing technology as best as I can during this craziness. I mean, being isolated is certainly not my favorite thing, but keeping myself accountable is helpful. I use that Flora app for when I write, I meditate with the Calm app for a little while every day. I always use Daylio and eMoods to track my bipolar-type stuff, but I’ve been trying to use emotion words to describe my moods too (there’s a list in the Notes app on my phone). I downloaded Longwalks as a journal, which is fun, and this morning I downloaded one called Halohah (does anyone use either of those?). I went for a walk. I’m gonna go for another one soon because I wanna get a cup of coffee at like 711 or something, I’m just craving that type of coffee, it happens sometimes. I video called with my sister and the baby. Then with my mom. It’s nice to be able to see them even over long distances! I wrote the first page of an article due soon, and it made me happy and feel productive. I had both breakfast and lunch one right after the other lol, but I’m not freaking out about my weight or eating habits in general because fuck the fucking disordered thoughts telling me to care. I’m better than that. Not saying it’s bad to struggle with an ED, but I’ve been back and forth and back again, and I know which direction I have to choose. I am, however, going to do a YouTube workout, just because that actually improves my mood. Being at least a tiny bit active also helps me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Once I’m done writing my article I’m gonna read for a while, because I have sooooo much I wanna read: my BP magazine and Mindful magazine (both of which I subscribe to and have apps on my phone/iPad for), Celebrations magazine (the Disney one!), the Disney Food Blog Guide pdf my sister just bought for me, a few articles on research digest, and I wanna finally finish some of the books I started a while ago. I’m obviously not gonna finish all that reading in one day, but I have the time to read so I might as well use it (while simultaneously not pressuring myself to get too much done, because I feel like putting pressure on ourselves during this whole thing is counterproductive). And then I’m gonna journal and write for myself.
Alright, you have an eating disorder? You’re in recovery? Well, listen up, you beautiful fuckers.
Here’s some shit I’ve learned:
– I’m a beautiful fucking flower, a unique and wonderful snowflake, and my presence is a gift to the freakin’ world. And guess what? You are fucking flowers and snowflakes and crap too. Got it?? Literally think about it. How awesome are you? If you’re seriously thinking that you are not in the category of beautiful humanflower that I just described, I urge you (in a kind and delicate way) to stop the pity party. Where has the self-deprecation gotten you? I get it, truly I do. You don’t feel good enough and you don’t feel whole enough and you’re guilty and sad and you don’t have the energy to be positive. I KNOW. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t a fricken flower/snowflake/BALL OF AMAZINGNESS.
– Be real with the people who love you and want to help you. Don’t hide the behaviors and bullshit. That’s a huge thing, or at least it was for me. To let someone into my “secret anorexic-Laura brainwave space” was the most difficult thing, I think. To have my eating disorder not be “MINE” anymore was devastating. But believe me, it opened up a whole new world of options and help and stuff. It may seem odd to do. And I think one of those reasons is because it’ll seem like you’re seeking attention or being annoying about it. But just be mature about how you go about it (which will take time to figure out, btw). Also. If you WANT attention, ask for it. Honestly and openly. There is literally nothing wrong with needing some love and attention or like a hug or something.
– I am always going to “be in recovery.” I will always have had an eating disorder…so I will always be in recovery. But do you amazing fuck-fishes see how I worded that? “Will always HAVE HAD an eating disorder.” Chose those words specifically, because they show that my eating shit will always be a part (PART! Not all!!!) of me, because it’s shaped who I am as a person (nd I think that’s important because I’ve been scared to death of losing that part of me, which is silly because I am who I am because of my struggle). And those words? Past tense, you lovely loverbuggers. I’m not afraid to phrase it that way now.
– I don’t need my disorder. I don’t need it to cope with the bullshit that will inevitably pop up in my life. I don’t NEED it to “control” anything, and I sure as fuck don’t need it to determine my weight or how my body “should” be. First of all, life bullshit gets easier the longer we live. And even if it doesn’t always all get easier, I’ve learned that there are different ways to cope. Yeah, there are actually such thing as “coping skills” and tools. SECONDLY, your disorder ain’t helping you control shit. It’s controlling you, and if you know anything about yourself in relation to your eating disorder (aka: if you are introspective and wise enough to figure out that it really IS NOT about the food), you know that you’re doing this to yourself because things are crazy AROUND you or possibly WITHIN YOUR HEAD. I’ve learned that I can’t control what happens in the world around me and I can’t even always control the crap happening in my head. That sucks. Period. BUT…the good news is I (we!) can control the way we react to all that. And thattttt is actual control, my fine friends.
– I don’t NEED my eating disorder to be part of my identity. I want it to be a part of my STORY. But my story is more than just my struggle with anorexia. Granted, it’s a hugely interesting story. The phrasing “hugely interesting” may piss some people off because it overlooks the complete and utter misery we with eating disorders go through. And I don’t mean to glamorize it or make it seem like anorexia was a blasty blast. It sucked. It was cold and painful, and the gnawing ache of hunger is something I’ll never wish on my worst enemy. BUT WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY IS: I did have anorexia. I did go through some shitty shit. And I want to respect that that happened. I want to acknowledge my struggle and appreciate what it’s given me (perspective…strength, bc what doesn’t kill us does indeed make us stronger…the knowledge that I’m resilient and capable…etc) and I want to set that aside. Section it off. And have it in my memories. So I can think about the perspective it’s given me and the strength that I gained from overcoming it…etc. And realize that I am not a girl with anorexia, nor do I need to be in order to have had those memories and experiences and stuff.
– It. Gets. Easier. If you let it, I swear to you it gets easier. I think the CRUX is that you neeeeeed to LET it. Don’t fight it when you stop remembering what it was like to be x weight and x size with x disordered thoughts. Fuck that shit. Don’t fight it when you don’t think twice about eating your favorite food. Don’t sweat it when you’re a little different-looking than you used to be, but you know you’re DAMN HOT.. Don’t sweat it just because you’re not the same number. (Must I say that “you’re more than just a number…because, and I’ve been in this recovery thing for like seven years so excuse me if you’re not at this point yet, it’s a little overdone).
– After it gets easier, it’ll get hard again. This lady who ran the program I was lucky enough to be in when I was 16 years old and about to drop dead, she would always wag her finger back and forth and say “the disease goes like this.” And as terrible as she was (for not treating us like humans and instead treating us like attention-seeking low lives), she was correct. It’s a roller coaster. But I swear it’s worth the ride.
– If you’re just beginning your journey of NOT HAVING AN ED ANYMORE, then first of all congrats. I’m proud of you, I love you, I’m here for you. Please stick with this. *Insert emotional and heartfelt rant here.* A word of advice is that you’re going to take time to mature and like, get a handle on this recovery thing. Please be responsible. Maybe that’s not the right word. But I was just going through the ED recovery tags and I see that many people who were in the position I was in seven years ago just don’t realize what I realize now. Which is totally and a billion percent fine because it’s a JOURNEY as I said. An experience. And this one will be beautiful.
There’s more stuff I can say but I fear I’m sounding quite obnoxious at this point. I’ve just been thinking about how incredibly FRUSTRATING AND TERRIBLE eating disorders are. I see people struggle and it kills me. I see beautiful amazing talented wonderful people be blind-sighted and bogged down by the baggage that accompanies eating disorders. It’s not fair. I hate it. But it’s obviously time for me to go to bed because I’m rambling.
After being in the hospital in February, I’ve realized how weird it is that I remember this specific date and what happened on it 12 years ago. There’s no doubt that experience this February was tremendous; I finally got on a med combo that WORKS to control the raging mood disorder that tornadoed through my twenties and destroyed any semblance of my sanity, I finally got to know the meaning of the word “stability” which has alluded me for literally half of my existence, I finally got to look back at the bipolar stuff from the other side of it. It’s huge. But I don’t think I’ll remember the exact date I was admitted or many of the details, unlike 12 years ago. There’s something about April 15, 2008, and the journey that began on that day, that’s still, all these years later, very special (or maybe I’m just weird?). I guess because it was the first time I realized there was a way to exist that didn’t involve being grossly depressed and starving myself into oblivion. Don’t get me wrong, those months were a fuckin’ shitshow. But they were also fun (thanks to any fellow LIJ-ers that are reading this), and I survived, obviously, and I’ve been telling the story of how for over a decade now. A quick recap, for the purpose of this post: didn’t eat, too stressed with school which was ironic because I used my grades as a distraction (albeit an unhealthy one), almost went too far, went for a doctors appt at some random place and then didn’t leave for quiiiiite a freakin‘ while, realized there were other people who did what I did (and that those people were wonderful human beings), learned the vocabulary to describe my emotions and behaviors, used all that as a weapon against motherfucking anorexia, leaned on the countless loved ones around me, etc etc etc. I’m pretty lucky that I didn’t fall back into that bullshit again. At least not til October. Lol did you read my last lengthy, emotional post about that? I think it was for NEDA week, and I was, uh, in the deepest depths of a bipolar depression, but my repeated mood episodes had also somehow been creating a whirlpool. I’d started spinning a while ago, but long story short, when I was finally sucked into the middle of it, the familiarity of my eating disorder was waiting for me. Just lovely. It was extra terrible because I had sworn for years that “I couldn’t do that again even if I tried!” and was proven wrong. And I couldn’t even enjoy the sick satisfaction that comes with losing weight because I’m 28 and know better, for fuck’s sake. This has a happy ending though. It has one of those shiny bows I like to wrap my writing up with. I ate like a normal human being today, and I ate like a normal human being yesterday, and it’s a work in progress but I feel…normal. Prior to March, I don’t recall ever feeling NORMAL. And that’s such a cause for celebration, so why mess it up by being all anorexic? One more thing. I’ve had to figure out what “normal” means over and over again in my life. When I left the hospital when I was 16 I had to do it. I left the hospital this February and I’m again trying to do it. It’s further complicated by this worldwide pandemic, and while I don’t have the brainpower to dissect that whole thing, I’ll just say we’re all in a situation where we have to fight how uncertainty makes us feel. We all have to fight boredom (which is a huge trigger for me). So I’m gonna tie this whole post together with a piece of general advice, based on what I’ve learned, so I don’t sound like a whiny bitch haha. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I’ve written a few things about it in the month or so I’ve been home from the loony bin, and I think I’ve finally got it summarized in a way that’ll be useful. Yeah, the unknown is scary. No, we can’t avoid it. But we can create what we can’t find. I’m actually gonna leave off that that, kind of ambiguously stating what I figured out, but if you’ve made it this far in my ramble, you know me well enough to kind of get what I mean.
So yeah. Some positivity for a rainy morning. I’m feeling a little better but still “off,” but maybe that’s just how people feel (no, it definitely isn’t, but maybe this is just how I feel haha…ugh). Either way. While I’m able to, I’m trying to do good things for myself. I’m sitting up straight because apparently posture has an impact on mood. I mean, makes sense. I’m breathing, which is an obvious statement, but every time I think about something annoying (I’ve always said I have to be super careful because even just one rogue/wrong thought can send me spiraling) I just breathe slowly. I’m really trying. I’m thinking happy thoughts, looking at happy pictures, and either allowing myself to smile or forcing myself to. I have a plan for the rest of my morning, a positive attitude about surviving work, and a plan for my evening. I got this, right?
How to know it’s coming on again:
- No matter what song I put on, it doesn’t feel right
- No matter where I go, it doesn’t feel homey or safe or okay
- So much dread
- The fact that I have to get through a whole day (and subsequently a whole night) feels like I have to scale a mountain
- “Life hurts”
- I’m overwhelmed by everything
- I’m having trouble doing small, menial tasks
- I want to drive really fast so the anxiety can’t catch up to me
- I can’t decide what mood I’m in or how I feel, I just know I don’t feel right
- Oh dear GOD the irritability
There’s so much more to that, I can add countless more things to that list. But in the spirit of being positive (because I somehow don’t have the weight of existence crushing the life out of me at this moment), here’s a list of how to know you’re coming out of it:
- I contemplate what outfit to wear, don’t get violently angry while trying to find one I like, it sort of matches, and then I even think about putting makeup on (too much effort still? that’s okay)
- My therapist gets me to crack a smile
- Breathing becomes easier, and it’s so hard to explain the sensation but the air doesn’t feel like lead as much anymore
- I can hold a conversation with my boyfriend, with my mom, my sister, my friends, the people I’ve been ignoring for weeks
- I take a shower and go through the trouble of shaving my legs and using coconut oil on my skin because #selfcare
- I think to turn on happy/pump-up music in the morning and it actually has the vague effect of making me happy or pumped
- My thoughts get clearer
- I don’t use sleep as an escape from the bleak reality of consciousness
- Hello motivation, how I have missed you
I dunno. I’m obviously scared to say this episode is dissipating. I don’t want to jinx it. Again. Every time I think it’s getting better I get beaten down again. The higher you go, the harder you fall. That type thing. Of course, there’s the positive outlook on that. That being the harder you fall, the higher you bounce. I dunnooooo.
I’m trying. I HAVE been trying, but like, I’m STILL trying. What else can I do?
Anyway, here’s hoping the sun’s gonna come out soon (the literal sun, because it’s been rainy and gross all week which obviously doesn’t help my moods, and the metaphorical one).
It’s a bit early, bc the actual week is at the end of the month. Maybe I’ll have something to say that’s completely different than this rant by that time. But for now, while I feeling like typing this mess, here we go…For the last few years (twelve, I guess? seriously?), eating disorders awareness week has been a time for me to think about a part of my life marked by, well, an eating disorder. I think about the suffering. The physical pain of my stomach eating itself as I passed well beyond the point of hunger. The emotional pain from pressuring myself to do better at starving, do better academically, both of which I thought would lighten the inexplicable weight crushing me entirely. I think about the internal conflict, a level of which I cannot even begin to describe. All of me at war with myself, constantly questioning every thought but powerless to find an answer or come to a compromise. The resulting guilt, self-hate. But this year it’s kind of different. I haven’t just started to think about this again now; I’ve been thinking about it since mid-October. Thinking about it hard. If you’ve just read between the lines, you realize I’m saying that I’ve been having issues. Again. Twelve years later. As a fucking adult. Like, this shit is a problemmm. I spent years with the attitude “I couldn’t get to that level of disordered again if I tried.” Well guess what, idiot, apparently you can. Do you hear the shame laced through these words? Because I’m over here thinking how much it sucks that I can’t write some attempt at an inspirational “recovery is awesome” post. I’m thinking how much it sucks that I can’t take twelve years worth of insight and fucking use it. But I’m not here to bitch and moan or have a pity party (I’ve done that enough and had plenty of those). I’m here to do what I fucking DO, and figure out a way to wrap this bullshit up in a nice bow. Make sense of the chaos. Find meaning in the anguish. Sweep up the shards of broken mirror, dump them in the pile of shards from twelve years ago, and find another goddamn mirror. Because that’s what I fucking do. No matter how many times I have my sanity ripped violently out of my skull (and my bipolar disorder ensures that that happens quite a lot, like in this current moment, actually, as I summon the immeasurable amount energy it requires to put words onto a page right now), I stand back up, drag my battered self over to my laptop, and create some semblance of purpose out of the darkness. I really don’t have a great conclusion to this rambling mess of words. I wish I did. But my point here, I guess, is that anorexia doesn’t have to be the conclusion, for anyone. I’m obviously going to find a better one, and anyone else who’s struggling is welcome to join me. And for those of you that don’t struggle with this fucking nonsense, remember to be kind to the ones that do. This isn’t a choice, it isn’t a diet, blah blah blah with the platitudes every eating disordered person says constantly when attempting to explain to the people judging them or whatever. And one final thing, for the endless support from the amazing people I have in my life, thank you. Like. So much. I remember every single one of you who saved me back in the day, and I’m so fucking lucky to have you all doing the same again now. So yeah. Eating disorders awareness week.
The storm has subsided (mostly)
I guess it’s like a pendulum. It goes from one extreme to the other, oscillating with all that energy being saved up and used between swings, whizzing by its equilibrium position, giving me whiplash as I try to keep up and get my head on straight. But eventually, the momentum, which is thankfully not conserved, slows it down and it stops.
Basically, when I’m coming out of a period of what I call “I just lost my goddamn mind,” it becomes more spread out. Less intense, I guess, although yesterday’s random panic attack was pretty insane. But today has been fine, and tomorrow might be a little iffy, but then the next day will most likely be fine. And so on.
That’s exhausting in its own right because I’ve said a billion times that I’d rather just feel shitty than feel shitty with periods of feeling okay. I don’t like being teased like that. Unfortunately, I don’t have control over how it works (ugh).
I don’t think I have to explain that in the darkest depths of my depressions, I physically cannot find any good, any meaning, any safe thought to rest on. “Just being positive” is not an option because my thoughts are spinning painfully fast and I am totally unable to fathom how I’ve every functioned and how I’ll ever be able to function again. It’s all-consuming, omnipresent dread.
(Sidenote: someone literally tried to pull the whole “just be positive” bullshit on me the other day, and then proceeded to tell me about people who have it worse than I do but still have better attitudes than me…needless to say, I was not very happy…I didn’t even bother to explain how utterly wrong she was because why waste the little energy I somehow still had?)
Howeverrrrr, now that I don’t feel like death warmed over, I’m using the time to do what I always fucking do and value the semi-calm and pretend there’s meaning in this bullshit (okay, I’m still a bit negative, but go with me here). I’ve done this countless times before, but hey, why not do it again? Maybe thinking this way and preparing for the eventual and inevitable next-time will finally be of use. Fingers crossed. Anyway, here’s a list.
How to survive the bad days
- Just don’t
Don’t bother. Don’t try. Don’t waste precious energy. It can wait. It will have to wait. It has no choice but to wait. I’m not talking about literally everything by saying this. Obviously there are some responsibilities we can’t totally hide from. But don’t add shit to your to-do list that you don’t have to. Cut out literally everything you can cut out. Another way to phrase this might be “get your priorities straight.” And, my main point, I guess, is to not beat yourself up about not. Survival mode is difficult enough. Give yourself credit.
- Maintain your body one thing at a time
There are things human beings hafta do to like, be human beings. We need to take care of ourselves. Use the car analogy or whatever, cars require maintenance, bodies do too. There’s lots to do though, and right now you don’t wanna do any of them. So maybe choose one thing and then feel good that you’ve done that thing and then stop trying to do more things because #depressionisexhausting amirite? Choose from the following: wash your face, brush your teeth, have a glass of water, stretch your body, take a shower, change your clothes, open a window and get some fresh air, eat something with some sort of nutritional value
- Ask for help
Why face the monsters from the hell that is your brain alone? You literally don’t have to. People love you, they’re there to support you (it’s true; your depression and anxiety are lying to you, those worthless motherfuckers). I might be guilty of asking too many people for help (usually), which is bad because there’s so much input coming in, not all of it valuable or helpful, and it’s overwhelming (and I’m already overwhelmed). This round I kinda just kept to myself and didn’t answer any texts or messages because I had no brainpower to figure out how to describe this bs yet again, let alone figure out how to put words together). But when I finally thought to call one person, it was actually helpful. And I dunno, they say talking helps in general? So yeah.
- If you can do it, do it
If you can open your Pinterest app and find an inspirational quote, do it. If you can summon the will to put a single dish from the sink into the dishwasher, do it. If you can try to quiet your mind, try to breathe deeply in spite of the anguish, do it. If you can’t, refer to point #1 and don’t. You’ll be able to at one point or another, so just wait it out. I think giving up and not doing shit you can actually do makes things worse, though (duh).
- Be miserable all around the house
I assume you’ve been laying in bed all day. Maybe you’re crying or maybe you’re totally catatonic. Whatever the case may be, try to be miserable somewhere else. Sit on your couch and cry or stare blankly into space. Sit on the floor and curl into a ball there as opposed to on a comfier surface. Feel the pain in the kitchen. Drag yourself to the bathroom and feel the weight of the world there, instead. I think not staying in one place helps trigger some sort of something good in our brains. Might be totally wrong. But maybe you’ll be less bored (on top of your crippling depression).
- Go to sleep then be awake, repeat
I basically slept whenever I could this episode. It started with insomnia, of course (hypomania always starts with that and violent irritability, both of which are just…so unpleasant). But when I got sick enough of that I’d take Benadryl and shit to knock myself out. Dunno if that was wise, please don’t take my idiotic advice without talking to your doc. But sleeping/ not being conscious while I waited it out? Sounded good to me. Buttttt I think next time (ughhhhh next time) I’ll try to be awake when I’m awake. Not saying I’m not gonna sleep my days away. God knows I can’t make that promise. But like. There’s a certain something about being an awake and alert entity that seems helpful.
Has this been helpful? Probably not to read, but it’s been helpful to write. Am I going to remember these “tips” when major depression crashed into me like the meteor that caused the ice age? Probably not. Why did I write this then? Eh, why not.
There’s always a sort of cleanup that needs to be done after an episode, isn’t there? Piles of laundry to do because you’ve neglected them while depressed or manic. Tons of other chores. I guess some people have lots of things to return to various stores when finally thinking clearly enough to regret reckless spending. Not to mention apologies to be made. For like, not answering texts or being distant or even an outright jerk. Stuff of that nature.
I don’t think I fucked up TOO much over the last 2ish weeks. I ignored texts. Called out of work like 3 times (more on my utter failure in regards to jobs in a moment). Snapped at one or two people. I have tremendous guilt about all of that. But mostly I just slept and cried and neglected a few household chores, so overall I’m not in too bad shape.
But I still feel like there’s major emotional cleanup to be done. There’s debris scattered everywhere in my recently-normalized mindset (as normalized as it ever was, anyway). Everything has been blown miles away from where it started and now I can barely remember what goes where. I still have the fear of another episode happening, and now that I’m (pretty much) better, I don’t know what to do with that fear. It’s an out-of-whack thing to carry emotionally. I can’t explain it. And I’m still confused about what in the fuck actually happened, because as much as I can write about it and try to make sense of it or whatever, what actually happens to make me want to drop off the face of the damn earth? What just occurred, because it’s all a blur to me. Aaaaaand of course, there’s that guilt I don’t know how to deal with. I literally spent DAYS just sobbing. Lots of which was done in public. And portions of that done at work. I’m not embarrassed. I really couldn’t give a shit if people see me as some random chick sobbing in pain. That’s basically what I am: some random chick sobbing in pain. But I probably should be embarrassed. It’s more guilt, though. Or just feeling stupid and inadequate. I should be able to function in my shitty ass job and I should be able to handle the stupid fucking responsibilities I have.
It’s also confusing because I feel too much. And I’m not sure all that makes its way up to my brain. Makes processing and cleaning up those emotions a lot more difficult. There’s a disconnect that once again I’m incapable of explaining, at least at this moment.
I dunno. I’m glad I’m coming out of the darkness into the light again. I’m glad to be basically certain that I’m almost out of the woods. Maybe during this next spurt of sanity I’ll be able to figure more of this nonsense out so I’ll be able to use it…next time.
(Maybe next time will come much much later, and clearly I’m in for another med adjustment, but like…yeah)
I’m hesitant to say this round is over. I won’t say that just yet. The remnants of unbearable fear are still with me, the trauma is still too recent.
Like, fuck. It was (I’ll use the past tense there) like 15 or so days of just. Well, if you’ve read my shit before you know what it was like. Or if you’re unlucky enough to suffer this sinister fucking disorder, you know. You don’t need me reminding you.
It always starts with the violent, aggressive, uncontrollable irritability. It has no actual cause and therefore no clear way to be diffused. It’s terrifying. I notice it in the car the most, driving. No matter who’s in front of me and no matter how they’re driving, I am angry. Intensely. White-hot rage is literally all I know or have ever known.
Then major depression. I noticed that when I was driving during that phase, I was angry as fuck still but literally to weary to respond with anger. It turned inward and tore me apart from the inside. It literally radiates off of me (like my anxiety does). My boyfriend always comments when he feels it radiating off of me.
Sidenote, I love that he senses/sees the changes that happen within me. They’re so sudden and for no reason, and they leave me feeling crazy (I already feel crazy like, generally, but I’m constantly questioning like “did that really just happen, did I really just sob hysterically for an hour?”).
After that (or along with it) comes anxiety. Fuck the fucking anxiety. Like, physical panic attack symptoms coupled with the racing thoughts, none of which I can fully latch onto, most of them scary, many of them about death. It’s just indescribable to not have a safe place in your brain. No amount of visualization or breathing can fix it. Not even having someone next to me speaking words of comfort. Not even a hug, and I love hugs.
I had family stuff all weekend, and my cousins were visiting from another state. And it was terrible because I spent one day holding back tears and hiding and then actually letting the tears just fuckin’ flow. I couldn’t even bring myself to make eye contact with anyone that day. Yesterday was a little better. I was mopey and uncomfortable and distracted and totally not myself.
Then, of course, I got home and was hysterical for a little over an hour. And not that I wanna put myself back in that terrible, terrible moment (or any of the MANY previous ones I’ve had), but I just remember so vividly wondering how I’d ever be able to function again. I couldn’t fathom how I’d ever been able to function before. There was no escape, nothing else but inward-pointing disgust and depression and fear. I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t stop dwelling on the fact that I’m only fucking 28 and that this thing is gonna live with me for the rest of my ever, and it might get worse and there’s no cure and like. Yeah, the cure thing. I explained to a friend of mine that “cure” is not a thing. Meds are not a cure, therapy is not a cure, doing all the right things is not a cure. They help. They give me better tools to survive the next round. But that’s all it is, most times: survival.
Sounds like a totally negative way to view it. And I feel no guilt for feeling that way. This. Shit. Sucks. I deserve a pity party after every fucking episode. At least grant me that (not that I need or am asking for permission).
Also, could timing possibly have been any worse? Ugh. I missed them all and they were physically here. The guilt I felt made things worse. The longing didn’t help either.
And I’m pretty sure none of them have ever seen me quite that bad. I was afraid I scared or upset them. But honestly, they are all so understanding and helpful and supportive, and the tremendous amount of love I feel for them is mind-blowing. I am so lucky, and I’m at a loss for words. I doubt that in a lifetime of writing and collecting words, I’ll ever get enough to explain how lucky I am or how much all that means to me.
And I have to mention my sister. And brother in law. Not only their actually support, but they were sending pictures of my amazing perfect adorable pure nephew. Immediately puts a smile on my face. Lots of people reminded me that he’s a big WHY. I want to be the aunt he deserves. And I know I can be, although I dread having to explain to my little guy why Aunt Laura loses it every now and again (but there’s a Dr Seuss book about feelings which is actually totally about bipolar disorder that I’m gonna use when he’s old enough). It sometimes hurt that I had to feel so shitty and have that someone be connected to how he was making me feel better. There was some measure of guilt that I can’t explain. But my god is his little face and his little rolls worth it.
Right. So I’m feeling better but not ready to call it being out of the woods yet. If nothing else I think it’ll be less dramatic from here on out, and I think it’ll be less rapid cycling. I think I’ll be at least somewhat less reactive to tiny insignificant bullshit going “wrong.”
Mind you, this is all sheer optimism and positivity. And I do not for a single second take for granted the fact that I am, at this moment, capable of thinking that way. It’s fleeting. All of this is fleeting. I mean, life can be looked at that way by everyone, which might be a helpful push toward “living in the moment.” But bipolar fleeting. Moods are fleeting. Flux is constant and its effects are omnipresent.
I’m just trying to find the silver lining. Wrap this up in a bow, as I tend to do. Actually no, as I need to do. And like, don’t we all? Part of what made this episode suck so bad was that I couldn’t write (even though I had some deadlines) and I couldn’t describe this bullshit in a way that I haven’t already. Each bought of insanity brings with it new…shit. And it is infuriating to not be able to explain it again. Also, I couldn’t move let alone form words. Couldn’t make eye contact let alone summon the energy to talk with other human beings.
I dunno. I guess for now I’m gonna focus (something I’m able to do again!) on finding the beauty in the spaces in between the chaos. Find a way to drill it so deep in my brain that I’ll inherently remember it (or just fucking FEEL it) next depression (well actually this was a mixed episode but whatever).
Until I get around to doing that, peace out, internet.