The past week and a half has been eventful, luckily most of it was neutral or positive. I used to underestimate the worth of peace in my life. I thrived on drama and chaos; it could make me feel alive like little else could. These days I appreciate peace; having it improves my quality of life, which in turn helps me from falling into an episode.
Things that have happened this month, in no particular order:
I returned to work after being out sick for three weeks
I started dating again
I spent time with my grandparents, nieces, nephews, and other family members
I got to see and talk to my brother
My mother moved out
I got a new supervisor
The anniversary of my sister’s death and birth
I made peace with the miscarriage that haunted me most and I honored my lost child
Music has often been a lifeline for me, especially when I can identify with the lyrics of particular songs. Not all of these songs are about Bipolar Disorder per se, however, they resonate facets of the bipolar experience.
10. Chumbawamba – Tubthumpling lyrics (I get knocked down)
Bipolar disorder is a roller coaster. This song serves to remind us that we are fighters and we will survive and get through the episodes. We truly only fail when we give up and stop fighting.
9. Nirvana – lithium
This song describes the Bipolar Battle perfectly. The structure of the song itself is reminiscent of Bipolar Disorder and its irrational thought patterns and short attention spans, jumping rapidly from image to image with little or no connection. It was written by Kurt Cobain, who unfortunately, lost his battle with Bipolar Disorder and killed himself April 5, 1994. Like many of us, he suffered far more depressive episodes than manic/hypomanic ones. The last several years of his life were spent self-medicating with hard drugs, such as heroin and LSD. He also took lithium to treat his bipolar symptoms. Lithium is the most well known medication used to treat Bipolar Disorder. However, it carries its own horrors. It is relatively toxic and it is common to experience tremors, nausea, diarrhea, lethargy and dehydration. It can cause damage to kidneys and thyroid. It can also leave those who take it feeling tired, dull, empty and lost.
8. Godsmack – Whatever
Irritability, rage and social isolation are common symptoms of an episode, This song describes bipolar rage and isolation.
7. Matchbox 20 – Unwell
Bipolars still face a lot of stigma and discrimination. Many people automatically assume we are “crazy” and withdraw from us. We just need a little understanding.
6. Tonic – Tonic – Take Me as I am
After the bipolar diagnosis we are left trying to explain it to those we care about and we hope they can accept us as we are.
5. Placebo – Meds
Medications are often the cornerstone of bipolar disorder treatment. Many bipolars choose not to medicate as they do not wish to lose the manic highs. Or they will take the meds during depressive episodes but go off of them when they feel better.
4. Aerosmith – Amazing
3. Three Days Grace – Break
At one point or another all bipolars can identify with this song.
2. Good Charlotte – Good Charlotte – Hold On
Suicide is the leading cause of death for those with bipolar disorder. This song is a reminder that we can get through those terrible times and it also reminds us how killing ourselves would affect those we care about. This song has literally saved my life.
1. Manic by Plumb
The most well known aspect of bipolar disorder is the manic episodes; this song is from the viewpoint of someone who loves a bipolar who is in the throes of a manic episode..
Honorable Mention: Macy Gray – Relating to a Psychopath
The last few days I have an intense desire to be more creative. Some of my ideas are to write stories again, build more websites1, create more t-shirt designs, and re-explore photography and abstract painting. I want to try some new things as well like making candles or sculpting.
I tend to start a lot of projects and then give up on them because I get bored, overwhelmed, or hit some other roadblock; after which, I add them to my “finish later” list and move on to something else. The two things that I often come back to are writing and web design. They both come very natural to me and I enjoy them. However, I want to create something without words that speaks to people on a different level. I want to make something beautiful.
- after I get my current ones moved to a new host [↩]
I have a tough exterior, but at heart I’m a sucker. I want to help people out as much as I can and I tend to empathize with them too much. Being that way has brought some satisfaction to my life, but it has gotten me screwed over quite a few times as well. Nevertheless, I am usually unable to say no, even when I know I should.
Case in point, my mother has done everything but shit on me and yet I still feel compelled to help her out. Until the past month, I had little to do with her since last year because she is so burdensome.
My grandpa kicked her out around the time my uncle reconciled with his girlfriend and moved out of my spare bedroom. She didn’t have anywhere to go and she asked me if she could stay at my house for awhile. I told her she could stay a few weeks despite the fact she had stolen my car the week before.
She lies to and steals from me to support which ever addiction (gambling, drugs, men, etc) is controlling her at any given moment. She has proven she can’t be trusted and she has steadily become more and more irresponsible.
The aspect of recovery from mental illness that is most difficult for me is having the knowledge that relapse is not only possible, it is inevitable. It has made me damned near obsessive with self-awareness. Many thoughts, behaviors, and urges I have are automatic, but I find myself frequently questioning them shortly thereafter.
For instance, if I have the urge to exercise, I ask myself if it’s because an episode is in progress or impending, then other questions follow, such as: Is it because you’re manic and have too much energy? Is it because you want to lose weight? If so why do you want to lose weight? Are you ashamed of your body? Are you starting to hate yourself again?