Love is a Battlefield (Summer 1998-Winter 1989)

Life with X (we will now call him Xander as it will make it easier to follow along) was fast & wild.  We were sexually active really fast.  We became close very quickly.  We had our ups and downs, but we were both really young.  Xander was a grade ahead of me.  I remember that summer like it was yesterday.  On the last day of school for that year, four of our friends were in a very bad car accident.  The med flight had to be called in.  Unfortunately, one of them didn’t make it.  I remember that being a very traumatic time for everyone.  I think it brought Xander and I closer together, because we realized how precious life really is.  During this period I was relatively mild as far as my mood swings, a little depressed, but nothing like the year prior.  Life went on and we were pretty much inseparable. We got to know each other’s families really well and were doing pretty good.  Christmas came and Xander gifted me with a promise ring.  Mind you, I was 15 years old and he was 16 years old.  Subconsciously, I think this kinda freaked me out.  I wouldn’t have ever told him that though.

After Christmas, a group of my friends (minus Xander) that I had met within the last year at school were hanging out at my house.  We were all having a really great time.  There was one person there I did not know well.  He went to school with me and was in the grade above me.  I will refer to him as Zeke.  As he left that night, I told him to be safe going home as he was on a snowmobile.  I guess that made quite an impression on him.  Zeke and I started hanging out whenever Xander wasn’t around.  I had a big crush on Zeke – our chemistry was explosive.  Well, as you can imagine, that didn’t go so well.  When Xander found out, he was beyond pissed to say the least.  I’m certain I was hypomanic during this time, as I loved all the attention, even though it was chaotic.  I also loved feeling wanted and that I was worth fighting for.  The bad part of the hypomania is that I had no remorse for anything and I was completely selfish.  I did not care about anyone’s feelings but my own!

Over the next couple months it was a roller coaster ride.  Pretty young to be in a love triangle, but that’s where I was.  My emotions were up & down so much.  My feelings for Zeke grew really quickly and exponentially and I pretty much decided that I wanted to be with Zeke, not Xander.  Oh my – Xander was so angry his eyes turned black.  I recall that they got in a fight in front of one of our friends house as Zeke and I were hanging out.  Xander showed up and they started arguing and then punches were thrown as they were in the street.

To show me at 16 years old
Me at 16 years old

We all went to school together and Xander & Zeke were in the same grade and actually friends before all of this happened.  It got pretty intense at times.  I remember Xander punching a window at school and breaking it when he saw me & Zeke together.  My 16th birthday was in February.  Both Xander & Zeke showed up at my house (at different times) with flowers and presents for me.  What was supposed to be a wonderful day, had me in tears and so confused.  I was pretty flattered, but very emotional.  My group of friends had a party for me for my birthday.  We were drinking and having a good time, just hanging out.  I was with Zeke and completely smitten.  All of a sudden, Xander showed up uninvited and unannounced.  He literally came in the house, drug me out, threw me in his car and drove me to my house.  He yanked me out of the car when we arrived and pulled me up to the front door.  My parents came to the door and he brought me in and told them I had been out drinking with Zeke.  Within a couple of minutes, Zeke showed up at my house.  They got into a fight in my house with my parents standing there.  I was hysterical.  I told X to get out of my home and I never wanted him to come around again.  Zeke stayed around for a while to make sure I was ok after seeing Xander drag me from the house.  It all happened so fast!

From that night on, Zeke and I were together all the time.  Our relationship escalated rather quickly and we were sexually active within weeks.  Ours was a forbidden love, as his family was very prominent in our city.  I was not from a wealthy family, we were middle class, and I had a past that I could not outrun.  My parents were upset, because they really liked Xander and didn’t like how the whole thing with Zeke came about.  Regardless, Zeke and I both fell in love with each other really fast.  Stay tuned – I will tell you more about our 7 year relationship in the blog posts to come. Be blessed!  Stay divine!

Hebrews 10:32
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.

Now I See

Yesterday, I received my very first pair of glasses. I didn’t realize how blind I was. I now see everything so differently. So crisp. So clear. It’s insane. I had no idea that I wasn’t seeing things clearly. And it reminded me of myself when I realized something was wrong with my brain.

I have struggled with crippling depressions ever since I can remember. And these depressions are a lot longer than a week or a day. They last from 6 months to 3 years. My most recent depression lasted 3 years and included 6 months of not eating, which resulted in my body nearly shutting down. It included many, many nights of self-harm. And when I finally came out of it, I dove straight into my very first manic episode.

My manic episode lasted for a little over a year. And it took 9 months to figure out that something was wrong with me. During the first 9 months, I was extremely reckless, hyper-sexual, and felt indestructible, all-knowing, and ecstatic. I didn’t need sleep because I was fueled up on manic energy. I was creating art, music, books, and I wasn’t going to stop just to sleep. In order to stay awake when I did get tired, I turned to drugs, which is COMPLETELY out of character for me. The mania caused me to lose my appetite, so I lost a lot of weight again, and the drug use just made it worse. I overdosed 6 months into my mania (didn’t tell anybody, though). During the next 3 months, I was desperate for money and I was still hyper-sexual, so I began taking money for sex. This is also COMPLETELY out of character for me. It was after I got roofied that I realized something had to be terribly wrong with me.

I went to my PCP, who said it sounded like I had bipolar disorder. However, they weren’t equipped to handle mental illnesses, and asked me repeatedly to go to a psychiatrist. I put it off because I was feeling great (still manic). I also didn’t want to admit I had a mental illness. It didn’t take long before I tripped and fell face-first into another depression. This one was intense, and lasted 3 months. By the end of the 3 months, I was experiencing depression and mania at the same time.

I became extremely reckless with men again, and I was hallucinating a terrifying black demon. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I couldn’t even go into my bedroom; I was so afraid. The only way to get the demon to go away was to cut myself. So I started etching little red ditches in my thighs every time it happened. I begged for help. I went to the hospital and begged to be admitted to the psych ward. They even saw my thighs. They wouldn’t take me because they said I wasn’t a danger to myself or others. I never felt more invisible and helpless in my life.

A week later, I called my boss and told them what was happening to me. She has bipolar disorder, too, so she immediately called 911 and asked them to do a wellness check on me. Instead of coming to my house, they called me and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t ready to go to the hospital yet. I wanted to say good-bye to my daughter (who I sent to my mom’s because I knew I wasn’t safe). So I told them I was fine. Thankfully, my cousin decided to call them again, so then they actually came to my door. It was just in time, because I was just trying to cut a path in my arm that was deep enough to bleed out. They saw my arm and said if I didn’t come with them, they would 302 me (give me no choice). I said PLEASE take me, I’ve only been trying to go for a month. So, I finally got the help I needed, and it was 2.5 years ago. I’ll write about my stay in the psych ward another time.

My whole point is that sometimes you don’t realize how blind you are to your situation, actions, behaviors, etc until something is put in front of your eyes to make you see it. For me, being raped opened my eyes. And then my brand new glasses made my vision clear, for real. 😉 The important thing is to make sure that once you see your issues, you get the right help for them. And then do the research so that you can be self-aware and catch episodes before they have a chance to spin out of control, which we all know happens very quickly.

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: The Home Stretch

round grey and black compass

Photo by Supushpitha Atapattu on Pexels.com

I leave for treatment on Thursday.  It seems to have come upon us quickly in that slow agonizing kind of way.  I am the kind of person that once I have my mind made up, I am set and I am ready.  When I have to wait it is pure agony for me.

I know that good things come with waiting.  I have been able to spend good quality time with my family and my friends.  This weekend we had family photos taken and I was able to take my son’s senior portraits (what an honor!) I have been able to make my list and not only check it twice, but a good nineteen times at this point.

With the time I have had since being accepted into treatment and actually leaving I believe will be three weeks.  It has been a long, tiring, draining three weeks.  I have attempted to get “caught up” work wise, but alas, this does not seem like it is going to be one of the things that is going to be checked off my list.

And that is one thing I am learning.  I am trying, really hard, and I am doing the best that I can.  And that’s the best that I can do.  I am fighting through horrible side effects due to withdrawal from one medication and side effects from another new medication.  Then there’s stress that causes the body to breakdown it’s personal shields and cold season, and oh so much fun.

But, I am a fighter.  This journey will probably be the hardest one I have ever chosen to take, but I am going to muscle through each and every foot step of it, perhaps not with grace and certainly not always with a smile on my face, but I will do it and it will be worth it in the end.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Sandcastles

I remember as a child going to the ocean.  Packing the car, so snug we could barely move, everything we needed, and only what we needed, for a week’s vacation, in a small compact sedan for a family of five to make a 3-hour drive to the coast.  I personally dreaded the drive, squeezed in the back with my brothers, getting car sick, my short attention span, and the big giant bridge that we had to cross that always scared me.

But my parents always had us leave very early in the morning, so we could sleep through most of the trip, so it would be more comfortable for us, a sacrifice for them, but a comfort and a gift to us.  Before we knew it, we were at the beach.

We unloaded the car like that of a clown car, and with grand anticipation, we headed to the beach.  Of course, we had to be lathered in sunscreen first.  Being of Polish and mainly Irish heritage, and speckled in freckles, this girl does not tan, but burns, so the more suntan lotion the better.  Our then short legs would carry us through the hot sand, while we assisted in lugging our beach gear down to what would be our spot for that day.  Once the spot was set up, umbrella was in position, blanket was all arranged, and we knew where our headquarters was located, we were allowed to go play, as long as we stayed together.  Which was never a problem.  While on vacation, especially at the beach, having siblings was the best thing, you had built in buddies.

When playing in the water got to be a bore, we turned to the sand.  We ran to our headquarters and pulled out all of our sand toys and shovels and started to construct what would be the most amazing castle ever.  Placement was key, please note.  We needed to be close to the water, but not too close, but not too far away because we needed to have water to for the mote.  Once the location was found, the digging started and then time just passed us by.

An elaborate castle was created.  With turrets and bridges and thus was created a massive masterpiece.  You know other kids were walking by and they were looking and their jaws were dropping and you can just tell that they were jealous, and we were all like, “yeah that’s our castle, we made that, and we are proud!”

The day is coming to an end, and tides are coming in, waves are starting to wash in farther and farther.  We are seeing the warning signs and we are starting to get scared.  So we start to build higher walls, at first, it is working, and we are able to fight off the incoming water.  But the intensity of the waves is getting stronger and after a long day at the beach we just don’t have the strength that is required to build as needed.  The waves are starting to overpower us and one large wave rolls through and washes our fair city out leaving little resemblance of what used to be a magnificent castle mere ruins left behind.  All our work, all the hours, all the time, and one huge wave, knocked it out.

 

I have been struggling for over a month.  The first month was in silence and denial.  Blaming a change in hormones to be the cause of moodiness and a raging temper, totally missing the signs of a mixed episode.  A full month into a mixed episode I was feeling like I was losing my mind with extreme mania.  I feel like I am that sandcastle.  That I spent months building that sandcastle, spending so much time working on it diligently, spending time, effort, sweat and tears, and then BAM!!! A big wave came through in the form of a simple med change and forked me up like something serious and landed me on my applejacks, a hit so hard I have not been in this place since my initial breakdown in 2016.

But, yes, my friends, there is always a but.  There’s always a second day at the beach.  There’s always another chance to build another sandcastle.  There’s always a way to learn from what we did and did not do the previous time and things that we can do better moving forward.

I am not letting one destroyed sandcastle ruin me.  I am going to take my sand filled wedgie out of my bum and try again.  I am going to take my sand toys and I am NOT going to retreat.  I am going to lather myself up in suntan lotion and I am going back down to the beach and I am going to build another sandcastle and gosh darn it I am going to have a golly gee hell of a good time, and probably a juice box and a sandy peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Don’t lose hope my friends.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

 

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. While it’s great there’s a month dedicated to this, it should be 365-day year awareness.

I understand suicide can be a touchy subject especially for those who have struggled with it themselves or have lost a loved one to it.

I wanted to share my personal story with suicide because that was something I struggled with for a long time.

I was 14 years old when I started getting suicidal thoughts. I was in high school and was completely miserable. I was living in an abusive household suffering abuse from my mom on a daily basis. It was physical, verbal, & psychological abuse. Living in such a toxic environment and experiencing that abuse on a regular basis caused me to go into a severe depression.

I would spend hours locked in my room crying myself to sleep. I would always question God asking him “why me?”

“Why was this happening to me?”

“Why did I have to get a mom who treated me so terribly?”

It wasn’t much longer when I started to get suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

My mom told me so many lies on a regular basis that it was hard for me to not believe them. She convinced me I was a burden to others & that I shouldn’t be on this earth. She told me things that no child or person should ever here. She told me she wished I were never born and that she wished she had me aborted when she had the chance. These are things I wish I could say never happened, but those were all lies she told me.

My thoughts started to become more negative and darker as the days went on. I started to lose feelings of happiness and forgot what happiness felt like. I started to feel numb & empty on the inside not feeling any emotions but sadness. I started to cope with self-harm when I was 14 years old. I believed it was the only way for me to feel something besides emptiness & sadness so I turned to self-harm.

That’s when the suicidal thoughts started to creep in and became more frequent. I started to believe the lies my mom and my depression told me. I believed I was a burden to others and that the world would be a better place without me in it. I wanted out of the world so bad that I came up with a plan when I was 15 years old to end my life. I had been prescribed pain medication from a dentist visit when I had to get a root canal and researched that medication and found that if I took all of the pills in the bottle I could never wake up again. That was my plan.

It was like playing tug o war in my mind though, there was that part of me that believed I was a burden and that I should just leave the world now, but there was another part of me that wanted to keep fighting. It told me to keep pushing through that those negative thoughts were lies and I could beat them.

I confided in my high school’s guidance counselor and he helped me push through the suicidal thoughts. I didn’t seek out treatment for my depression at the time even though I should have. Throughout high school I still struggled with depression and being active in sports helped me manage it.

After high school and when I went away to University the suicidal thoughts started to creep in again. I thought it was just homesickness since I was going to school on the other side of the country, but it was much deeper than that for me.

It was the summer of 2014 when I was home from University that I sought out treatment for my depression. I struggled with an alcohol addiction and one day when I had way too much to drink I couldn’t control the suicidal thoughts. I knew that if I didn’t seek out help that night, I would have harmed myself and may not be alive today. I had my best friend’s boyfriend drive me to the mental hospital and drop me off. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this and I told him yes I knew if I didn’t get help I was only going to get worse.

I spent three days in the crisis unit of the mental hospital. I was put on Zoloft and anxiety medication that helped ease my anxiety while I was there. I wish I could say going on Zoloft helped with my depression, but it actually made things worse for me. At the time I was diagnosed with depression and didn’t know I had bipolar disorder. When I was on Zoloft I felt like a zombie I was so out of it and numb, I hated it. I didn’t realize that for those who have bipolar disorder, anti-depressants could cause you to go into mania, which it did for me.

When I was back at University that semester I was a wreck. I was in and out of depressive episodes along with being in manic episodes. My alcohol problem was out of control and my behavior was reckless. I was failing all of my classes and was drinking on a daily basis. I started to struggle with self-harm again and the suicidal thoughts again. I knew that if I didn’t leave University and get myself out of that environment things were only going to get worse for me. That’s when I withdrew from University and moved back home to Florida.

I wish I could say everything got better for me when I got back home to Florida, but my depression grew worse. The psychiatrist I was seeing was no help at all to me and didn’t listen to my problems. He didn’t care to give me a proper psych evaluation and just wrote me a script for the next anti-depressant out there. I continued to struggle with self-harm and battled the suicidal thoughts daily.

I was empty & numb living in an endless cycle of my depression.

It wasn’t until the end of 2016 when I finally found a psychiatrist who gave me a proper psych evaluation and diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. Getting on the proper medication and changing my lifestyle to healthier habits, put an end to the suicidal thoughts. It was like the fog had finally been lifted and I could see clearly again. I started to see a therapist for a few months as well that helped me work through some of the issues from my past.

I’m happy to say that I am stable now and have not harmed myself in over three years now. I still find myself going into depressive episodes every now and then and will catch the suicidal thoughts creeping into my mind. I’ve become a lot stronger than I was three years ago and can fight off the thoughts much better than before.

I know living with a mental illness will be a life long battle for me. I’ve spent over ten years now fighting the demons and while it can be exhausting, I know I will survive the fight.

For those of you that have experienced something similar or going through a tough time please never hesitate to seek out help. There are so many resources available out there today and remember you are not a burden to others. Your life matters and you are never alone in this fight.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Babbles: Monsoons and Moodswings

Where I live, we have storms called Monsoons.  There are mainly dust storms, but sometimes are accompanied with rain, and massive wind.  What makes them unique is the fact that it can be bright and sunny in one part of the sky, pitch dark in another place, torrential down pour of rain in one area and complete peace in another.

Sunday, we had one of these storms and I had a few work-related errands that I had to run, and I was taking in the sights that were surrounding me.  I drive a larger SUV and it was being moved around the road from the massive winds, my windshield wipers were moving about wiping the rain from my wipers and I was in awe of the contrast of the light and the dark of the sky.

I was thinking about the latest occurrence of a Bipolar mixed episode in my life.  The presence of depression and mania, quite close together, if not happening at nearly the same time, co-existing, the light and the dark, the calm and the violent, much like the weather that I was driving in, in that very moment.  I had to keep reminding myself that I was indeed driving and to not get totally lost in my head, but it was quite the visual for what I was experiencing within my body.

It has been challenging this last month.  A few changes to two medications are what we think led to the upheaval of the apple cart aka my mood and stability.  We are working together as a team to try and pick up the pieces and get back on track.

Each time I go through an episode I learn a lesson.  This last lesson, I learned a few things.  First, we change one thing at a time.  We ended up changing something with my hormones and my psychiatric medication and this was too much for my body to handle.  Next time, it would be best to change one, wait a month and then change another.

The other thing that I learned is that I most likely waited too long before asking for help.  I waited the month between doctor visits with both doctors until fessing up and stating that I was having problems.  I allowed myself to be in denial that I was struggling for weeks before stating that there was a problem and asking for help.  The reality was two weeks in, I started to notice a change for the worse, and at that time I should have raised my hand and asked for help.

Currently, I am still struggling.  I am extremely fatigued and lacking drive.  I am trying very hard to push myself, to be present and complete what is needed to be completed both at home and at work.  My reward for completing my tasks is to crawl into bed and allow the world to crash around me while I escape from it all.

I am scheduled to meet with my doctor this week.  I will request for more help.  I want for things to go back to how they were several weeks ago.  A month or so ago there was a gentle breeze, there was sun, a few clouds, but a big beautiful blue sky.  It was warm, but I could see the positive in everything, I could focus, I was motivated, and I had contentment.  Life was swell before the monsoons moved in and brought their unbalanced and unpredictable weather to my world.

 

Cupcakes with Sprinkles,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

A Special Thank You to my Friends & Family

Right now I’m at a period of my life where I’ve been focusing more and more on my own inner work & personal development. It’s something I neglected and put off for far too long. I held the belief that if I pushed away the painful memories & experiences I could forget about them forever. I’ve learned though, that’s not the truth. At some point they will resurface and force you to deal with them.

For being 23 years old I feel I have experienced so much already in my lifetime. I grew up in an abusive household for almost 18 years being abused by my mother on a daily basis. I was sexually assaulted at the age of 19. I struggled with an alcohol addiction during that period as well. I hit rock bottom and almost killed myself. I was hospitalized for my mental illness. I was in & out of depressive episodes along with manic episodes. It was only two years ago when I got the help I needed & became stable again.

During the years when I was away at college and struggled with my alcohol addiction I stopped caring about the others around me. I stopped caring when my friends voiced their concerns about me and wanted to help me. My actions became careless and reckless that cost me friendships at that time.

I think back and wonder that if I did listen to them or if I showed more compassion maybe some of those people would still be in my life. I wonder that if I didn’t struggle with alcohol and mental illness that some of those people would still be in my life. It also showed me, who my true friends were, the ones who stuck by me through it all and are still in my life today.

It’s why I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to my family and closest friends who stuck by me through my darkest moments. I thank you for not giving up on me when I was at my lowest points. I thank you for not getting mad or leaving when I wouldn’t listen to your advice. I thank you for always being there to support and show me love even when I didn’t want to receive it.

I believe it’s always through our darkest struggles and moments that shows us the people in our lives who truly care. It strengthens us to rise up even higher than before. So again, thank you to all those who showed me support and love through my darkest moments.

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Why You Should Start Practicing Mood Hygiene

We practice personal hygiene, dental hygiene, etc. But have you ever thought to practice mood or mental health hygiene?

The word hygiene was derived from the Greek goddess of health, Hygiea. Hygiene is defined as the science of the establishment and maintenance of health. Mood hygiene is when you practice and build habits that will promote good control of your mood symptoms. For those who have a mental illness this helps take preventive measures to improve the symptoms over time.

Living with mental illness, I never thought to add mood hygiene into my routine. The more I learned about it made me realize how beneficial it can be. Practicing mood hygiene doesn’t have to be just for those who have mental illness; it can be for everyone to practice. There are a few ways to practice mood hygiene and incorporate it into your daily life.

  1. Stress and conflict management

When you find yourself in stressful situations, it can sometimes trigger symptoms of your illness like a depressive episode or anxiety attack. There are several ways that you can take to help and prevent stress in your life such as exercising regularly or meditating.

I’ve learned that when I find myself in stressful situations is when my depressive episodes start to surface again. It’s why I’ve added exercise and meditation into my routine because it does help eliminate the stress and lifts that weight off of your shoulders.

  1. Lifestyle regularity

Having structure in your day-to-day life is extremely important. By establishing and sticking to a schedule will help build that structure in your life. For example, I wake up at the same time everyday and have a morning routine that I stick to everyday. I start my mornings by journaling and listing out a few things that I am grateful for each morning. By practicing that gratitude also helps get me in a positive mindset for the day. I then get my workout in before I start my workday.

By having a schedule you stick to on a regular basis builds the structure in your life that will help you feel in control of your life.

  1. Track your moods

By keeping track of your moods will help you determine if there is a certain pattern or cycle in your moods. I started tracking my moods a couple months ago in my journal and it has helped me become more self-aware. It’s helped me notice a pattern in my moods and it allows me to get my moods more under control. It allows me to prepare for the month so I can be strategic with my commitments and make sure I don’t over extend myself.

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These are just a few ways on how you can practice mood hygiene and start implementing them into your own daily life. Practicing mood hygiene on a regular basis will help immensely in the mental health recovery process. It allows you to have a new sense of control in your life and can be empowering for the individual.

Fluttering Manic Butterflies

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Photo by Isabella Mariana on Pexels.com

The sitting.

But then there’s the movement.

And how can I not mention the mental buzzing.

There’s the lethargy, and exhaustion, but at the same time a desire to run, to run like the wind and to not stop until your legs give out and you topple over, face planting onto the hot, dirty pavement.

Yet, I sit.

I think. Think thoughts.

I should do this.

I should do that.

I shouldn’t of done that or said those things.

While thinking there’s all these things that I think I could be doing, or should be doing, that my brain is telling me to do, but I sit, nearly paralyzed.

It’s a physical paralysis as my mind keeps going and going, running and running, leaping and bounding over hurdles, yet my body remains still, still on the outside.

Under my skin, deep within my skin throughout my muscles there is a muted chatter.  A movement where nothing seems to quiet.  I refer to it as the butterflies.  They live within me and are never quiet or still.  I sit and I do not move and like a baby in the womb, they move about with their own destination in place.

It is torture.

One may think that the inability to be still is a godsend, the answer to getting all they’re to dos done in one day.  But it is not, it is in no way a godsend.

The inability to concentrate.  To not be able to think long enough to compose a well thought out sentence.  It does not bring joy but sadness and despair.  There is literal pain felt through the body when trying to control one’s unquenchable desire to move, especially when one is exhausted.

Loved ones and friends offer to help.  And there’s nothing that they can do.

A big, sincere, long hug left me with tears streaming down my face last night.  The realization that he feels just as powerless as I do, breaking my heart, again.

There are birthdays to celebrate and mothers to shower with love.  I do not have the time nor the energy to have a manic episode.  Yet here it is front and center, present….. Major Mania reporting for duty.

 

Cupcakes and Sprinkles,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

 

Rapid Cycling Mixed Episode

In This Mental Illness Life, Things Change Fast

For the last two days, I had a rare feat even for someone that is dealing with Bipolar One–a rapid cycling mixed episode.

I think it has only happened to me about ten times in my mental illness life, but it is the worst feeling in the world. For those that don’t know too much about a mixed episode in Bipolar One, it is where you experience both mania and depression at once. What makes it rare for me is that I don’t tend to know that it is happening to me in the moment. It is usually one of two ways–depression with manic symptoms or mania with depressive symptoms. For me over the last two days have been mania with depressive symptoms.

I could tell I was manic. The need for sleep the past two nights have been zero. My mind and thoughts were all over the place. I could not concentrate and I had an unlimited amount of energy. I was so irritable, and I wanted so bad two drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes (both of which I have not done in years.

When I am just manic, which often happens when I am coming off a depression cycle like the one I had, I deal just fine. I could feel right away that this was different. At the same, I was feeling extremely hopeless. I didn’t want to keep going. Phrases like “why should I even try,” began to take shape in my mind. At times I was a ball of mess. I was anxious, and I let my irritations cloud my judgment

I wanted to scrap my entire memoir and quit thinking that writing is something that is the best thing in my life. I was the worst parts of myself. I was far from the guy who’s philosphy is “Always Keep Fighting.”

I was self-destructive. I slipped, and I felt so bad about it. For the first time in so many years, I wanted to give up. I sat in the dark for hours lost in the darkest places in my mind. A place I have not lived for a long time. I wanted to not be a part of this life. I have not written a sentence like that one in the present, it was always talking about the past.

I could not believe I could go so low. I felt alone. Lost. As if I was back in the worst years of my life. I kept cycling between mania and depression. At times it was mixed. I felt all of it at once. I wanted it to just end. How could someone so strong fall so quickly?

I finally slept. I took a mental health day, and it helped. By the end of the day, I was so worn out that slept more. I reflected on what the hell was going on in my life. Could I have done something different?

That is where I am today. Picking up the pieces and wondering what is next and what are the causes. It is isolation. The lack of connecting with others? I was so excited that we at The Bipolar Writer Collaborative blog had finally reached the business level. I was so happy to start this week. I can only hopefully move on.

I was able to start something I hope will be amazing for my writing career–a Patreon account. If you have a moment, please check it out. I will write a blog post later today with the details.

https://www.patreon.com/JamesEdgarSkye

Always Keep Fighting

James

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