These are my, ‘reasons why’.

I want my family, friends, colleagues, strangers on the street who I pass by and say “excuse me” to, doctors, bosses, government officials, indigenous tribes and golden retrievers to know what living with mental illness is like, is because you can’t see it. But I do, it’s like a filter, distorting the picture in a different way than how the next fella may see the world. Go ahead, it looks way better in Valencia than it does #nofilter.

I can’t just, “get over it” Mr. Porter. I’m nearly 30 years old now. It’s a familiar recommendation, but the reality is, I’m likely going to be hard on myself over a mistake the size of a speck of sand on a beach off the coast.

Here are my 13 reasons why my behavior is so shy, and awkward and shaky. Why I’m great at writing and terrible at talking. These are the reasons why I skip showers sometimes and avoid phone calls always. Why I doubt on a daily basis the people that love me really care. These are my 13 reasons why I need your empathy when I’m at my lowest points. Because it’s not something you can take on by yourself.

1 – Just as we discussed, mental illness often takes the form of an invisible disability. I’m not in a wheelchair nor do I have a cast on my skull or stitches on my chest to heal up the everyday heartbreaks. Take note the power of invisibility is real.

2 – My feelings affect my decisions. And in turn, some of my shittiest decisions sparked and reflected my feelings. Guilt hunts me with a sharper eye than death. Oh how there are moments I greatly regret the past. Including today, and likely tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

3 – I do CBT, I see a therapist, a psychiatrist, I journal and cheer people on in online support groups. And no, it’s not a cure all cocktail. Pay your dues, work with all your heart, proactively adjust your thinking strategies. But it’s still alive inside of me. It never leaves.

4 – Stigma is real. Even self stigma. I spent two years doing empirical research on stigma about mental illness in a university environment. All of us affected think, “change needs to be made” but Paul Revere is out for the season and we’ve run out of tea bags filled with Prozac to toss into the water.

5 – It’s not JUST bipolar disorder, or OCD or ADD. I’ve had Lyme Disease for 13 years, I never went into remission. I don’t take antibiotics anymore. I don’t remember what it feels like to be pain or irritation free, to not have a double dose of brain fog. I don’t talk about it, so no one knows or remembers. I’m no longer a vegetable shipped between hospitals with a PICC line. So who cares? There is no support for me here, about this, anymore. And I swallow the bitter taste of it.

6 – I dropped out of business school and joined the field to help people. Not just people with invisible disabilities, but people with visible ones as well. And strangers. And animals. Not Zombie’s though, I’m on the first responder team for a Zombie outbreak. I get bit and kicked by autistic children on a daily basis. I’ve been spit on by an older woman with an IQ of 6 while changing her diaper. I can tell you how stressful it is to take 4 women with moderate to high degrees of mental retardation to the supermarket to find food for the home I used to run before I became a RBT. I can tell you how great it is to hear a little austistic girl you’ve been working with for a year say, “yay!” as a replacement behavior for a shrill squeal stimm. I’m glad with all my heart I became a therapist.

7 – And as a therapist, who’s been promoted and recognized for my quality direct work, I in particular now than ever take feedback poorly. I’m told to take it and swallow, no speaking up for things I did or didn’t do no matter how minor, just move on, don’t take it personally. We all make mistakes to grow my boss tells me. Make sure you do more yoga with your aggressive client. The fact I didn’t during that overlap cut me with knives made of cursed bones for months. Self hatred flourishes when feedback is given and anticipatory anxiety spins fierce uncuttable webs through my chest and stomach where my anxiety manifests.

8 – I ache missing the people I’ve lost in the storm cloud of knicked and cut up relationships I couldn’t save. I miss a girl I haven’t spoken to now for 10 years, she’s like a sad picture in my mind I can’t manage to set fire to as opposed to store in the attic. I miss a boy who was a breath of fresh air just a few months ago, just to turn around and suck the air from my chest without explanation. I fear a falling out before I’ve finished parking in the top lot.

9 – I am chronically fatigued.

10 – I have difficulty concentrating.

11 – I’m angry I can’t control what you think about me. And how you act toward me. All of you, silent readers, neighbors and best friends alike.

12 – I am a living rock. Every experience good or bad on my daily adventures chips away at the marble. You may be a sculptor and not know it, the way you chip harshly or buff smoothly at my curves. God only knows how deeply I wish the artists who made the boldest dents in the softest parts would look back to see I was not the same hunk of rock they left me as. My carved eyes long to have another chance at those few.

13 – And lastly, I thirst. It’s a deep thirst that wants someone I look up to, to tell me I need to be writing. A woman I admired planted seeds in me 12 years ago. As the Lyme pains became bearable and the manic pre-diagnosed bipolar full fledged obsessive compulsive disorder rose to power I lost track of something that had always been important to me, and that woman and I also parted as life goes between teachers and students. Complications in invisibility have laid bed for a dust storm that has dried the land. I lap up puddles for blog posts. I walk endlessly toward the ocean.

I am more than my faults. It’s just that my faults, are more or less very visible, they’re easy to interact with, and thick enough to mask the marble. Easy enough to walk away from.

Those are my 13 reasons why. What are yours?

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Take 2 Emotional Asprin and Call me in the Morning

I started practicing writing in Morse code in my paper diaries so that I could vent what I needed to but not have to trigger bad memories if I ever flipped back through the journals. But today, the pen feels like it’s a thousand pounds. I’m emotionally drunk and tonight’s poison is despair.

More than anything recently I’ve been dealing with massive amounts of anxiety. I thought it’d be a great idea to find some guided meditations on YouTube to lay down and listen to and the plan was to find at least 2 or 3 that I could share on the blog here. Results: I found nothing! Nothing that works for me anyways. The closest I got to finding something that I felt was worth listening through to the end/going back to was an amateur who could not keep pace when she was reading the meditation. There are some real calming voices out there, but missing the right words and some lovely oceanic sounds, but without the words to hold my hand I just get bored with and start cluttering  my mind with thoughts again.

I remember from about 6 years ago when I was in therapy there was this one meditation that my therapist read for me ONCE that I remember to this day. It was fabulous. It was about imagining myself as a leaf floating down a river. Once in a great while I’ll admit I try it out again just kind of winging it. As long as it works right? But then eventually I lose concentration. I’d probably be the worst Jedi ever.

Last week I put my resignation in and now I have one week left with the agency I’m at. I was hired at a higher quality, better paying job which I’m pretty qualified for, which’ll send me in the right direction in my career. It’s a big deal. I’m thrilled for it but nervous. My job I currently have a week left at I’m stressing tremendously from. The administration hasn’t been that great about it, but I just need to keep counting the days.

My health is poor, and the first opportunity I have to get things REALLY straightened out is a month away. Also, my relationship I’d say has been going the best it has been for years until a couple weeks ago when my boyfriend REALLY got down about his shitty life, and when he’s REALLY down he puts the verbal bullets right through every kill zone in me. The shots fired today of course, which has me in a coma where I haven’t said a word to anyone in the past six hours.

Since I couldn’t pick up the pen and vomit it all out, I figured I could flitter my fingers for a while. My biggest recommendation for anyone in a similar situation is to stay distracted. Right now I’m blogging, watching Netflix, and moving everything from one notebook to the other which is a nervous obsessive compulsive behavior that I just let happen because it gives me something to do at least.

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Sleep is really easy and unhealthy to do for 70% of your day off, but it’s also the best way to keep your mind off of things. So don’t sleep all day alright? Only I can do that.

#TodaysBipolarStruggle

This is officially the first of my bipolar blog entries, and it’s in the middle of a rough patch, so here goes.

I’ve decided the format for my bipolar posts will be to refer them to informative entries. For example, this one has a link to #IntensiveBipolarEducation which I’m going to put up right before this one. 

I’ve gained about 70lbs on the most current mood stabilizer that I’ve been on, and the number one thing I want to talk to the doctor about is adjusting the drugs. I haven’t been able to see the doctor in 3 months. Thanks to insurance and her fucking idiotic receptionist that is. Today is going to be a struggle to slice through all the nasty sinew of phone calls and e-mails and contact who needs contacting so I can get things straight. Not that this is going to be my first attempt at all this bullshit.

Right now, I’m struggling. I think my liver might be overworked (toxic) and here are reasons I can tell:

1. When sad music comes on TV shows, movies or commercials I get really sad/borderline weepy.

2. I don’t sleep properly. Lately I am sleeping all day and up a couple hours at night, then going back to sleep.

3. I have 2 tests tomorrow, I haven’t been able to study for either because I can’t concentrate. I still can’t concentrate. I’m even forgiving myself for not being able to concentrate right now. This post is taking forever, and still going to be a mess.

4. I’ve been working with administration at the damn university I go to in order to get the administrative withdrawals in place for classes SEMESTERS AGO that I had needed dropped. That includes pending refunds that won’t be processed until the paperwork goes into place.

Do you know how fucking hard it is to be ill the way I am and have to deal with some bullshit that’s not getting done? I can’t even talk directly to the Dean and every single month that passes I have to follow up on all this bullshit the more I just want to crawl under the earth and be frozen because I don’t want to deal with it.

It’s paralyzing. It’s fucking paralyzing. And ESPECIALLY now that I’m so fucking frustrated it’s the middle of the semester, this should have been dealt with LAST YEAR, and now I’m upset about  tomorrow and the fear when tomorrow comes of dealing with all of it, and I’m trying very hard to be mindful but let me tell you I don’t know how to handle everything.

5. I get excited about the idea of something, like for instance, G-Dragon’s world tour, but then wonder “will he be coming to the U.S.?” I need to see! So then I look and see there’s nothing more than a handful of tour dates so far, and therefore I can’t plan anything or figure out if I can go, or scramble to pay for tickets, IF I can afford them, etc. I get overworked over stupid little things.

I’m escaping into fantasy land rather than being mindful of my surroundings, but either distraction is helpful.

It’s funny, now that I’ve raged and gotten the chance to express some of my inner demons I’m not satisfied nor do I think anyone cares, even people who are struggling with mental illness on their own. I feel like isolating even from my own blog audience, which is nearly 0 to begin with.

A day in the life.