But the cat came back the very next day

This fall, I finally started to understand why people say it feels good to be alive.

My conversation with myself last week:

“It’s a good thing I haven’t told any of my newest friends about this “bipolar thing”. Maybe in a few months, I’ll tell them about how I used to be bipolar. Because now I’m not anymore.

It was just a postpartum thing and the meds rebooted my brain (and I’ve recovered from the childhood trauma, which probably wasn’t so bad anyway), so I’ll go off the meds soon and be awesome.

And then I’ll tell everybody exactly how I became perfect and they’ll all be happy and inspired. Because probably everybody’s a little bipolar really, I just chose to get help to deal with my tiny bit of moodiness that they thought was bipolar disorder.”

I was clearly starting to relax into being a part of my life. So, of course, (eventhough I didn’t actually stop the meds), I suddenly starting feeling like I was slipping away from myself. In a matter of two days, the part of me that was a functioning, confident, non-ruminating partner, slipped completely away. All that was left of me was a slow moving object creeping around my house looking confused and mumbling.

I could feel it coming that day- the way the wind changes when it’s about to rain.  It felt like a Harry Potter dementor was getting ready to suck the light out of me. I tried to run but there was no time and nowhere to hide. And then, it began, my new happy me was being quickly ripped from my body.

She tried to hold on but there was no use. The force was too strong. I tried to hold on to my yoga mat and keep her in, but I couldn’t save her. She kept slipping out. All that was left was the shell. It happened so fast and then it was over. I felt like I’d been pulled apart.

The fact that this shit comes back never fails to surprise me. I’m not talking about a bit of moodiness, I’m talking about what it feels like to die alive. To see your life in front of you and not be able to engage with it. No matter how silly it sounds, I can’t think my way out of this. I’m tied to the bottom of the hole, there’s no climbing out.

I took the extra seroquel right away. Two nights in a row. Twelve hours of sleep a night. Anti-psychotic medication and I’m feeling better. I’m coming back into my own body.

But I still feel scared. I feel on edge and not entirely safe. I feel like I was the victim of identity theft and I’m worried the theif still has a key to my house.

childs pose

You are here

I’m not feeling great today. Just a bit anxious and a bit depressed. Really, today is what I would have called a good day a few months ago. But now it’s kinda a bad day. Being even a bit depressed doesn’t feel very good. It doesn’t feel good to walk around wanting to die, wishing you’d never been born. I think it will pass soon. But there is always that big fat question mark of doom. Lately, I’ve started to forget that it’s there.

I’ve been drinking about a pint (16oz)(a starbucks grande) of fresh raw vegetable juice each day. I go to a one hour yoga class 2-3 times a week and do ballet once a week and I never get less than 7 hours of sleep a night (I aim for 9-10 hours a night). I eat homemade lunch and dinner at regular times. I take my medicine religiously. I don’t ever drink any alcohol. I don’t smoke anything. I avoid all conflict. And I’m starting to feel somewhat happy to be alive.

Lately, I’ve been saying “yes” to more and more social commitments, helping people with stuff, caring for my kids alone. But then I feel overwhelmed and I’m not sure I can chew all that I bit off.  I have to remember that as good and competent as I might feel today, the confidence is temporary. I mean, I suppose everything is temporary anyways.

Life is a journey with no map. There is no “you are here” button. You are where you are and that is where you are. Just hold on and try to enjoy the ride. Have you got something better to do?

My insides are all wrong

There is a fat old lady with a mustache
using a thigh-master on my lungs.
She is too fast and too slow- never in rhythm.
I beg for mercy.
She can’t hear me over the television.

My eyes are controlled by
A few stupid fairies who still can’t make sense of the world.
They like to draw on the backs of my eyeballs
and poke me with their tiny arrows.

My brain is actually one of those plastic globs
made to look like fatty tissue
that they keep in doctors offices
to teach kids how much 5 pounds of fat really is.

But my heart is real.
A young girl curls her naked body around it.
She is cold and hungry and sad.
Sometimes the heart warms her,
sometimes she freezes it.
She won’t let me near it.

Somewhere deep behind my pancreas,
There is a crazed woman locked in a tiny cage.
I’ve shoved her deep down
But I can hear her…

I feel guilty keeping her in
She knows I can hear her
She knows that I care
She pleads her case
Over and over.

She tells me that she is the real me.

She can never be free.

Clip from League of Gentlemen of Tubbs screaming "my insides are all wrong!"

Is stigma holding me back?

Sometimes I read scientific studies. By “sometimes”, I mean all day. And by “scientific studies”, I mean random articles on the internet.

Aside from powerful blogs written by women in my shoes, my impression from reading recent ‘news’ articles about mental illness has been that the worst part of having a mental illness is having to face the “stigma” of mental illness.

I know that stigma is a problem. I know that my parent’s inability to help me is rooted in stigma. But, bipolar is also a problem. Having it hurts. It hurts a lot. and no amount of green ribbons is going to make that pain go away.

Just saying…

facing stigma is the worst part of having bipolar disorder? false. losing your mind is the worst part of having bipolar disorder.