BP Naturally

My Drug-Free Journey of Managing Bipolar Disorder


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Journal: Dreams of the Dead & Living Nostalgia

I woke up after a series of disorienting and wild dreams. Dreams with long bus routes going in the wrong direction, apartments with unfamiliar people, a strong sense of panic, confusion and loss. I woke up after dreams of my grandmother needing me to set up a shower and my failure to do something so simple… pipes leaking everywhere, failure and chaos. In reflecting now, that seemed to be the theme… an inability to do things right. Failure. I remember a boy who I loved, I remember saying I always ended up with these best friends… boys like Lalo and Juan and Darren. They meant so much to me, mean so much.

This boys name was Chris and he was tall and heavy-set, and I told him I loved him, and I did… but something went wrong and instead I found myself having to love his brother, who suffered from crippling depression, and my friend didn’t trust me to take care of his brother and I knew I was in over my head.

They were strange dreams… not “bad” dreams, as much as strange… anxiety-ridden. Dreams I don’t mind reflecting upon. In my faith, we don’t share our bad dreams… and those with horror, those that make me cry out at night, that make my husband wake me because I’m talking, shouting, weeping in my sleep… those I don’t share. Those remain somewhere inside of me, forgotten to my conscious mind. But these ones, these ones that allow jinn to play the part of people I love… these ones, I don’t mind. Even when I’m failing them and disappointing them… seeing them again, close enough to touch. This is a comfort, and these I’ll ponder upon, these are worth reflecting…

Continue Reading:  Journal: Dreams of the Dead & Living Nostalgia.

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Today’s Bipolar Mood is: Slightly Inspired

I had wild dreams last night. Nothing particularly pleasant. And woke up reading some of the blogs Im subscribed to. Its inspired me to write, so I left the kids to sleep late, tip-toed downstairs, pulled on a sweater and a scarf, brewed a nice cup of coffee and sat down to write. In reality, Id like to let the kids sleep all day so that I can enjoy the peace and quiet of the house and get some work done.

Its not the most responsible idea in the world, lol, but I need to write. I need this. So let’s see where it goes. Trying to stay committed to my #tenminutes project. Havent been doing so well with the daily writing, but its a new week… Im going to give it another go. Follow the project at: http://www.chorusofblue.com/ten-minutes

All the best, guys.


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JOURNAL ENTRY #4

IGNORANCE IS BLISS… BUT IT’LL GET YOU HIT BY A BUS

or: The Hesitant Spouse… and if He Really Knew Me  He’d Leave Me


Let me begin with…. FUCK. Oh yeah, blah blah blah, bad Muslim. Whatever. I am not in the mood tonight. We all get pissed, we all say fuck, so fuckety fuck fuck. What a fucking time I’m having. And…. breeeeeaaaathe… There, let’s pretend it’s out of my system.

I want to fall in a hole right now. I want to put my head through a sheet of glass. I want to cry cry cry. Weep, wail, roll on the floor, claw at the walls, cry cry cry.  I want to take back this cup of caffeinated coffee so I can sleep the next two days away. I want to disappear, and if I believed dying would make everything stop, I’d say I want to die. I want the comfort of the dark… I want an endless night. I want no more shrills and cries of children, no more uncertain spouses, no more erratic swaying of my mind. No more wild words, no more fistless fights. FUCK FUCK FUCK. I want to cry.

Tonight, I tried to talk to my husband. I asked him when he’d be picking up that book again (Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder). It’s going on two weeks and he’s only read two chapters. He’s hesitant, but BP rages on with no restraint. He basically said he doesn’t know and ended the conversation. I carried on. It then came down to, “I don’t know if I want to go on (reading the book), I don’t know if I want to question our relationship.” Avoidance. The quintessential head in the sand. I was upset. Where is your commitment to this relationship? This isn’t going away! If you’re going to leave me, then God knows, do it now, not five years from now when we’re in too deep (we’ve been married 3 years). We can’t pretend everything is OK and then when the shit hits the fan, you never saw it coming and you leave me locked up in a hospital, utterly alone. God only knows what would happen to my children.

This is a bad strategy, but fear leaves him immobilized.

He wants to avoid reading the book because he’s scared of really understanding what this illness is. Really, he’s doing it because he loves me and if he reads it and can’t handle it, he’ll be forced into the very real possibility of deciding to leave, of breaking up our family, of starting again. I understand that. He thinks I’m pushing him to read the book because I want him to see the monster and I want him to leave me; that I don’t really want to be with him and want him to be the one to leave. 

I don’t know how much more wrong he could be.

I hate this illness. I can’t win for losing. 

So, I’m left in a state of limbo. The constant fear that one day, I’ll snap, I’ll really snap, and he’ll be ill-prepared (having not read this book) and he’ll leave me when I’m most alone, most in need. I’ll walk in front of a bus or jump off a building, because God knows, if HE can’t love me, who in the hell can? How unlovable we BP people are. How fucking unlovable are we?  So, I find myself here: 

If he reads the book, he’ll see this monstrous illness for all it really is and he’ll leave me. 

versus

If he DOESN’T read this book, he’ll be unable to support me in managing this illness, I’ll go fucking berserk, he’ll be utterly horrified and, once again, he’ll leave me.

Let’s try some hackneyed expressions here… I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t; stuck between a rock and hard place; dealing with a double-edged sword… well, fuck, indeed, what a predicament you’re in, my dear. I hate this illness. It’s killing us. It’s killing me. Limbo is an understatement.

So, I give him an ultimatum. Read the book by the end of the month or we can initiate a divorce. At the time, this made sense to me. I’m deathly afraid of being locked up in a hospital and abandoned. DEATHLY AFRAID. I need to know NOW. I need to know if you’re willing to do this with me. So it all made sense… now I’m locked up in my office, actually considering climbing out the window to get out. To get away from the echo of my own words. God, help me. I don’t want him to leave me. And it’s not even that I don’t want to be alone. I specifically don’t want to be without him. You must understand, it’s not you’re typical BP obsession. It’s been three years and a lot of bumps, fuck bumps, MOUNTAINS, and I still feel safe with him, still love him, still want him. My frustration has grown, my insecurities, my doubts, but never my desire to be with him. I want him to read the book because I want to be better and I want to feel secure. I want to know we’re in this thing together. I don’t want to live in constant fear anymore, I don’t want to live in the ever-lurking shadow of BP… I want to be in control of my life. That’s what this book is about. Finding strategies and working with your spouse to manage your condition. I need him to understand it fully, I need his support. 

So after a bit, I storm out. I’m so flustered, so angry, so disappointed, so afraid. He emails later and ends his email with, ” I do feel i need to look at this more seriously and make the necessary preparations for the future, whatever it may bring. i love you. never forget that no matter what happens.” 

No matter what happens.

And those words echo in my mind, prod at my heart, wring those delicate tendons of my being. It is a pain they bring, a very physical and psychological pain, that’s indescribable. The very real possibility that “what happens” may very well be, I am left alone. And it’s my fault I made him read the book, or my fault I din’t make him read it sooner. And what’s more? I am unlovable. And it’s moments like these that say to me, perhaps you should be locked up and lobotomized. And what of my children? They are better off without me. And now I understand why so many BP sufferers drink. I just want the pain to stop, the flood of emotions to end. I want the fear and anxiety to come to a screeching halt. I don’t want to think, to analyze, to exist. I want to be numb from the inside out. 

I fucking hate this illness. It’s torturing me and dangling death before me like a god damned carrot. I am so tired of being sick. God, help me. Heal me. 

[The STATUS of things: I have been battling depression this past week. I have hardly bathed, eaten, prayed, or slept properly. I have not been following a treatment plan. Been immersing myself in stressful situations again and again and been feeling beaten down, overwhelmed and exhausted. My diet has mostly consisted of hostess cakes, soda, and shit I can’t think of much else. My irritation level has been high, my heart heavy, my mind unfocused, my thoughts confused. I’ve been angry, confrontation, impatient. I’ve buried myself in minor obsessions with projects, I’ve had progress and failures. I’ve done next to nothing to de-stress, relax, or attend to my own needs. I’ve tried to smile through it all. I haven’t journalled or blogged. It has all been bad. I know. So we can see. I know how to pull myself out. I do. And I must. So let’s pray for a better next week.]


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Prose: How to Navigate Bipolar Mania to Exploit Its Creative Swings (Humor)

I wrote this for a fiction class back in 2010. WARNING: This is designed to be humorous, do NOT actually take this advice. It’s terrible advice. This is written from actual personal experience. Enjoy.

How to Navigate Bi-Polar Mania to Exploit Its Creative Swings

First and foremost, you must abandon the use of even mildly effective mood stabilizers. If you have not already done this, I recommend you do so gradually and do not tell your psychiatrist as he or she will most certainly object. The only means of ensuring a manic episode is to avoid medicating it, simple as that. If you have a Bipolar II, but especially Bipolar I diagnosis, be prepared for sudden aggressive swings of depression and the possibility of delusions. If you’re a creative writer, these delusions can be dangerous but useful. Upon the onset of violent or suicidal ideations, go to the Crisis Counselor, but not before jotting a few things down in your journal. You can recognize a manic state by the sudden presence of pressured speech, racing thoughts, a boost of energy and absolutely no physical need for sleep. If you are up for days, you’re fucking manic. Grab a pen. You may also have the sense that you can do anything, literally. You may believe you can tear down the walls of your house, repaint the kitchen, redesign your blog, cook and freeze enough meals to last the rest of the year and write three best-selling novels in a matter of a few months. If a rapid, ultra-rapid or ultradian cycler like me, it may be in the matter of a few days. It’s important to note, that yes, you can. So after abandoning medication, recognizing mania is the first step.

Next, if you’re anything like me, you love lists. Start making lists. This is an excellent way to focus your racing thoughts. Do not start tearing the walls down until you’ve marked it off your list. Now reorganize your lists in alphabetical, thematic order, in addition to what will require the least energy and the least trips to the hardware store. Do NOT go to the hardware store. You will be shopping through your entire episode and all that energy (and your paycheck) will go to waste.

Once you’ve recognized the on-set of a manic episode and begun making lists to focus, it’s time to exploit that energy. Caffeine. This is dangerous, start slow. Five-Hour energy drinks should not be used until the waning of your energy (by day 2 or 3 in a typical 3 day rapid cycle)… start with chocolate, progress to coffee, avoid espresso. Your hands will shake. Turn the music on. Loud. You won’t even notice.

Note: If delusions of grandeur set in; if you begin to feel you are “chosen” this IS a delusion. Note the word “delusion.” Lay off the caffeine, and do breathing exercising to slow your mind and your heart rate. Stop hyperventilating; that is not a breathing exercise. As long as you don’t suspect you have super powers, remember you ARE chosen, how fucking awesome is that? Now start writing, painting, composing, whatever your shaking hands can manage. This swing may not last long.

For the writer, while the pen is often preferred, remember that during manic episodes you may write for 14 hours straight and note that the last 43 pages were just scribble. It looked like words at the time. But you’re manic, everything looks like words. Instead type. You have a greater chance of avoiding nonsensical gibberish.

If you find you cannot slow down, I recommend any of the following: do mathematical equation aloud in your head. If you’re manic, you know exactly what this means. Try verbalizing increasingly complex color combinations, red and yellow make orange, yes… but red, white, yellow and brown make mauve. You get the idea. Musical chords and combinations also work great for the musical type.  Any kind of increasingly complex repetitive list will slow you down and help you exude that energy more easily. It helps to have a friend there to nod and encourage you if you get stuck on your list. At the end your breathing will slow and you’ll cry hysterically. When you’re done, get back to work.

If you do have a friend or family member who is accustomed to your manic swings, keep them on-hand. They may seem to be moving slowly, but they’re in real-time, this can help you keep perspective. It’s important that your major focus is upon the acts of creativity themselves, and not the ensuing depression that will inevitably follow. When it does finally hit, look at that list you wrote 3 years ago of all the fucking awesome bi-polar people in history.  Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, Ernest Hemingway, Ozzy Osbourne, Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Wolfe… the list goes on. You are fucking awesome and the low swing will pass and brilliance will most certainly emerge. Cheers!