I have always loathed the expression or idea that people pass around glibly and thoughtlessly that one should live without regret. That they regret nothing. This also means that they learned nothing. Which makes them a moron. If one does not first burn their hand on the stove, one does not learn to not touch the damn stove. Regret is essential, guilt is a valued and valid part of the human experience, in fact, it is at the core of being human. Without it one cannot sympathize nor empathize. If we do not know what it is like to experience these feelings ourselves, how can we know what others are feeling and so on.
– Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity: during hypomanic episodes that are euphoric in nature I am Bruce Fucking Wayne. I am the life of the party.
-Decreased need for sleep: as I have mentioned in my posts I sleep on average four to five hours a night at best and have since my late teens unless I was blackout drunk.
–Distractibility: I intentionally seek out distractions, when none are apparently present.
-Psychomotor agitation: I unconsciously fidget or gesticulate when I am uncomfortable.
-Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences: buying sprees, drug and alcohol abuse, casual sex.
-Racing thoughts: brilliant or terrible connections, rapid and constant.
-Irritability: I rant. I get way more angry than I should over things that most people don’t even think about. Yes, I have outburst while I am driving, but later I really don’t care.
-Radical honesty: I offend people by withholding nothing, it makes people uncomfortable around me at times and I recognize this.
-Depression: Obviously. Otherwise this would be a blog about how amazing I am and why I am so much better than everyone else (which wouldn’t be true).
-Pressured speech: I didn’t originally list this but I rant like a motherfucker.
Not all people who suffer from BPII experience every single symptom. Even if they do they may not experience them severely nor frequently. I happen to experience them all relatively regularly and severely. So there you have it. Technically I don’t think that radical honesty is actually a symptom but I include it because it is behavioural and seems to be a shared feature of bipolar.
The medication is working as Dr. Saint claimed it would ever so gradually. Before the meds at any given time I would have several different threads of thought running through my mind and I would have troubles focusing on one of them. This made certain types of thinking difficult for me, which as someone who is reasonably intelligent is embarrassing. I was having the right thoughts, I just wasn’t capable of pulling them forth or bringing them to the forefront of my mind. Sometimes this would be so challenging that the activity of beginning a given task was unimaginably daunting and I seemed lazy or reluctant. Not so, the thoughts and ideas were present, just veiled and not co-operative. Other times however all of these threads would coincide, the planets would aline and I would get all engines on full. This was a powerful blessing. Having a swift mind is one thing, but having several in one skull is a rare gift. Granted, with the meds I have quelled a few of these “minds” and now I only get one or two at best and they may not even be as swift. Alas, they are focused, firing and doing so on command. It is nice to be Sherlock Holmes in fits and bursts, but I would much rather be a capable and reliable Dr. Watson. As it turns out being less inspired and better organized is the vastly superior option in nearly every regard. I can cite from experience many fine examples, nearly every person I have ever gone to school of any kind with. Not to say that I was more gifted than every single one of them, but I can say with certainty that nearly all of my peers were more organized than me.
At this point I have limited options for “living up to my potential” as Dr. Saint claims I will do. I would love to return to school for at least a bachelor’s of journalism, but this would take four years and put me in competition for a job with mid-twenty-somethings with me in my forties. I would also be way over my head in debt at that point as I kind of already am. The education would be excellent though the employment would be horrible. Four years in school (that I likely can’t get into) to scrap for a non-staff internship with no benefits and about as much pay as McDonalds? People who work at McDonalds are starting to look like geniuses. Drug dealers are starting to look like gods. Weapon dealers are starting to look like nightmares that gods have. I should sell guns. The medication is only starting to work and as I have mentioned there is a nihilistic bias. My best shot at a future beyond sticking it out at what I am doing now is to write. Just write books. Good, bad, fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance and horror. I will save the Non fiction for myself. Oh, and you guys of course. Because I love you. There is plenty more to come I have already got some other things hatched and half bashed into my laptop so keep an eye out.
The only addiction I ever had that stuck was nicotine. Which, between topiramate and wellbutrin may not stick for long. I have already reduced my smoking substantially. I drank more than heavily throughout my twenties and tried if not abused every substance known to man. This is what I did instead of education. Productive, was it not? Too bad Hunter S. Thompson predates me by about fourty years or I might have had some successful books. I suppose I still could, but really, after the legends what is the point? Why would I want to be compared to that? I guess that doesn’t stop shitty guitarists from making bad (successful) albums in the wake of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy page. I have found it particularly strange that no matter how hard I went, no matter how long the bender, I wasn’t susceptible to addiction. I’m just one of those types I suppose, cigarettes excluded of course. I would reenact the key scene in “Saw” if I thought there was a cigarette in a nuns stomach. I’m not proud of it, but I am very attached to the habit (see what I did there?).
I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
As a new kid on the block I felt like it might be nice to jump in with both feet so to speak with regards to the mental health community. In my very first post I stated that my secondary goal was the hope that I could help others through sharing my experiences. It is in that spirit that the blogs which inspired me are written and it is in that spirit that I carry the torch. I have repeatedly mentioned my admiration for the community here. I have continually found myself in awe at the beauty of people who, in spite of or maybe because of their own illness are helping others discover and overcome theirs. It is a remarkable thing and I would love nothing more than to be a part of that. So, while I may be new and while I have yet to offer the volume of entries that my peers have thus far, I take the above pledge and humbly request that you accept me among you. I hope that I don’t let you down.
As for my experiences with mental health, beyond what I have recently posted here with regards to my own bipolar type II disorder I have a long and wide family history. My fathers family is a veritable cornucopia of dysfunction, his eldest brother is extremely schizophrenic for which he is institutionalized. This was also discovered later in his life as his behaviour became more erratic and eventually a case was made by federal investigators who collected his correspondences with dozens of people that he did not personally know. He had written countless letters to many influential people making allegations and accusations of various untold crimes, one of which included “stealing our family fortune”. There was never a Grey family fortune. My fathers sisters were both diagnosed with various forms of mania klepto to nympho and were medicated for miscellaneous myriad reasons. The details of these are unknown to me. His younger brothers are debatably stable and affable fellows, though there are those who would argue. I quite like them, though admittedly they are strange. This is not a mental illness however. They have their share of mild disabilities, dysgraphia and such. They always reminded me of a rural and impoverished version of the Addams family.
On my mothers side there is rampant alcoholism. I personally wonder if it isn’t for some other underlying issue. I drank quite heavily for a number of years in order to cope with my bipolarity. I have to wonder if my uncles didn’t do the same. Other than this however they are fine and friendly country folk who wouldn’t hurt a fly. They are terse, it isn’t their way to talk about their problems. A convenient mask for any problem that they might actually have.
All of these things had made me sensitive to mental health long before my current status as a diagnosed bipolar II. The issue here being that I had seen the inside of a few psych wards when I was young. I had seen people on heavy medications and even then I told myself that this would never be me. I think that I have willfully evaded diagnosis, elluded assistance for fear of being like my uncle. I didn’t want to end up on heavy medication in a padded room, this thought terrified me. So I have likely ignored obvious signs or willfully struggled through and done my best to maintain in the face of them. I implore anyone reading this to please not do as I had done. It isn’t wise to delay treatment, especially in this day and age. The sooner you can begin working on your treatment and recovery the sooner you can begin to feel well. It was foolish of me to think that I could bear that burden like a psychological pack mule. Like I was somehow different and I was capable of overcoming a disorder through sheer stubbornness and determination. No. It takes pills to right the balance in your mind and then it probably takes therapy to adjust your thinking and behaviours.
If you want to participate in Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project visit: http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/ follow the instructions that for some reason I had difficulty finding (I increased my topiramate, it makes me ditsy).
We have arrived for the most part at the present and have a good idea of who I am. This has been helpful for me, having the diagnosis of BPII dropped on you in your thirties is devastating. You knew that you were depressed, you had been for a long time. Suddenly it had taken a turn for the worse and your upbeat periods, or times when you felt ‘normal’ had dwindled to nonexistence. Where once you had spells where your self-confidence returned in spades, you now had nothing. Just long stretches of misery. Compounded by short days and long, cold nights of winter. This is to be expected of BPII, when you enter your early thirties (right around thirty-three) the hypomanic episodes fade. The euphoric nature lapses and the dysphoric becomes more prevalent. Jack was getting cranky. This isn’t perfectly the same for everyone of course, but this is the average. I was told this just today by Dr. Saint. I dig that guy.
What do the two things in the title have in common? They are both ships that I don’t know how to build. I know just as much about one as I do the other. I lack the fundamental skillset required to build either. Throughout my life I have not had therapy, medications nor a diagnosis to point to. I couldn’t explain to people that I had this thing and during certain social events I was going to behave in such-and-such a way. I have just been winging it. The thing about winging it when you haven’t the slightest inclination about what you are doing is that it always turns out wrong. There are some things you can learn by trial and error, others not so much. I became reasonably good at mimicking regular social behaviour, because you see I am clever. Did I understand it any better? Heck no. Take intergalactic spaceships as an example. I could go out into the back yard right now and start construction on my ship. I know about as much as all of humanity knows about building these things, perhaps far less than that. So I would start out with a camper-van and end up with a camper-van with a few extra lights and a broken air conditioner. Would I understand intergalactic ship construction any better? Heck no. But I could talk a good game. I could tell you about the wiring I had to do in order to add the lights and the technical difficulties I had with the air conditioning unit. I bet you would be impressed. After about six or so minutes though you wouldn’t want me near your camper-van. You sure as shit wouldn’t give me downpayment on the intergalactic spaceship I was offering to build you.
This post is going to cover at least three different things and maybe include some rambling. You are thrilled, I can tell!
Please believe.Baby, when I’m yellin’ at you,
It’s not your fault,
It’s not your fault, yeah and
Baby cause I’m crazy for you,
It’s not your fault
It’s not your fault, yeah and,
Maybe I’m a little confused,
It’s not your fault
It’s not your fault, yeah and
Baby, it’s a wonderful news.
It’s not your fault,
It’s not your fault, yeah.Oh, it’s not that you should care.
I just wanted you to know.I’m a fight with myself,
Till I’m bleeding.
Just a taste of your skin,
Starts the healing.
Anyone from my past,
Get your ammo.
Find my sun in the dark side,
Of my shadow.