Middle Ground

Have you ever stood where it felt like middle ground?

Life continues to go around.

Balance is unknown,

living in the bipolar zone.

In between failure and success,

ceasing to express,

instead, I suppress.

True to alcoholic character,

fleeting in a moment’s stress.

I confess.

Will the chains of failure

break if I stay?

Stay to see a successful day.

Defaults stand in my way.

On middle ground do you choose?

If you win or lose.

Not ever being here I stand confused.

Lost and scared

dare I share?

To others, I compare.

Broken and beaten,

strength I have gained.

But pressure is different to maintain.

These fears I contain.

Trusting one’s self after a life of shame,

rather I continue the pain.

Pain self-inflicted,

highly addictive.

Why can’t I see that it is I that do this to me?

With a broken brain and tormented soul,

middle ground is no place for me.

When left up to me,

I chose the pain and its familiarity.

Can’t I choose just not to be me?

Feelings of Freedom

It’s been a while since I have written here on TBW blog. I haven’t had much of anything to say and nothing educational to share leaving me silent. I can’t help but wonder if anyone noticed. I am not an attention seeker by any means, it is my curiosity that wonders aimlessly. I’m sure I am not the only one who wonders such things.

The content here continues to flow at a steady rate with some profound writers adding their insight. As I peruse around the net I can’t help but notice the influx of mental health focused blogs. That is wonderful news for the mental health community. People are stepping out and speaking up about their experiences with mental illness. We can only go up from here.

Being a part of this mental movement makes me feel included, something I’ve not ever felt. Many of you do not know this but I run two blogs, a personal one and another I am trying to monetize. I didn’t realize how welcoming the mental health community of WordPress was until I ventured out into this other arena. Let’s just say they aren’t as welcoming.

It sounds like I expect to be coddled but I don’t, I only now realize the impact the mental health community has had on me. I allow myself to be vulnerable because y’all seem to accept me for me. I allow myself to be honest and raw because y’all respond with kindness. Most importantly, I am me with this community because I have been embraced.

We are a different breed of human and I am slowly beginning to acknowledge there is no other place I need to be. In other places, I don’t feel free. Instead I feel restricted and monitored, weird and uncomfortable. I want to crawl out of my skin.

That’s the thing. I’ve finally been accepted for having bipolar, OCD, and anxiety. I’ve finally been accepted for being me. That is a great yet foreign feeling. On most days I try my hardest to not feel but being a part of this community has taught me that it is ok to have feelings and more so share those feelings.

That is what brings me here today. Feelings of gratitude for each of you. Regardless of your diagnosis, I hope you too feel free in this space.

The Boiler Within

I often like to imagine that if I do not discuss my mental illnesses they will fade away.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Such isn’t reality.  Living daily with a mood disorder reminds you of the lack of control you have over your own mind.  This reminder can be challenging for a control freak like myself. Pretending all will dissipate only works in Hollywood.  When I wake, it is still there.  Weighting me down on my best days.  I wake happy.  I fluctuate between happiness and aggravation every day blaming others stupidity, stupidly.

The fun part of it all is ignoring my symptoms.  Only to be reminded of them slamming me into a brick wall.  Time after time I lose a battle that only I am fighting because only I am stubborn enough to believe I am in control.  Who am I kidding?

Medication does its part which I am grateful for.  Without it, I am a hot mess express barreling down the tracks at a rate of speed comparable to lightning.  Striking every individual emotion along its way.  At that point, my illness is out of control fighting against itself.  Shew! I don’t miss those days of chaos!

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Days spent in la-la land remind me of a time before I was told I was sick.  Me with my illnesses were normal, my normal anyway and who else matters?  I mean, really!  My Ma will tell you I’ve always been special, meaning my explosive moods will catch you, guard, because they are disguised with love and innocence.  An innocence that is childlike.  Others may call it clueless but that isn’t it.  I never know what will make me tingle.  But what I do know is that when I tingle, I get mad.  I hate it.  I despise that part of me.  I hate the removal of taste from my taste buds.  I hate that damn tingle!  And then afterward I am embarrassed and hate myself.  It’s a cycle that can’t be broke but luckily it is tamed.

I’m a girl.  I’m not supposed to be so mean.  So I’ve been told.  I’m too pretty to be so angry.  Funny thing is, everyone claims looks to be deceiving.  I don’t know why I am mad at the world but it sure as hell pisses me off.  That’s the thing about anger, it’s an issue.  An issue that I live with and not because I asked for it.

Living with mental illness is challenging enough without all the added stressors, questions and doubt.  I just want to be me.  I just want to feel ok enough to be ok with who I am and who I’ve always been.  I live with another side of myself that I can’t explain why it is the way it is and that’s tough.  I’ve never met anyone with an anger problem who is proud to have it.  It’s a battle.  Yes, we learn how to cope but to say it is easy to implement would be a lie.  In a fit of anger, all goes black for me.  How am I to think then?  I try.  Man do I try.  I’ve gotten better because of medical assistance but I’m not cured nor will I ever be.  I hang onto hope.  Hope for self-acceptance.  Hope for understanding and hope for compassion.

I’m sorry you piss me off.  Imagine how pissed I am at myself!

Listening

What do you do when the silent space of your mind decides it wants to be heard?

Screaming in echoed holler, I hear the vibration of words.

Muffeled and stifled

Humming in my head, reminding me I’m not dead.

I can’t decipher what is being said.

Damn crazy head!

I stay on alert waiting for the silence to strum up the courage to speak.

It isn’t silence that I fear.

I’ve sat in that year upon years.

For the chatter, I wait.

Luring it I dangle bait.

My intentions are pure, hoping the words offer a cure.

If ever a whisper,

or even a howl,

I’ll interpret it

best I know how.

Me. OCD.

Words clutter my mind. It seems they duel it out until one wins. As of late, I have done “brain dumps” before bed. I grab my travel notebook, write the most prominent word down and from there I branch out the others. It’s crazy because somehow the words are intertwined with each other. Somehow connected yet they were separate thoughts while battling in my head.

This has helped me with obsessive thoughts more than I realized it would. I’ve only done this two nights in a row and I must admit my mind seem clearer and my sleep has improved. After days of repetitive thoughts, writing them out helps alleviate the cycle. Catching these thoughts early may be the solution I never knew I needed.

Society has a misconception of OCD. Tragically everyone assumes it is all about organization and cleanliness when those are just a smidgen of symptoms. Racing thoughts occur with bipolar and those are a breeze compared to obsessive thoughts. Once I become fixated on a subject it isn’t until I’ve read myself to sleep before receiving relief only to wake ….obsessing.

Numbers represent so much of my life and occupy so much of my brain space that I wish for a moment they didn’t exist. But oh no without numbers I wouldn’t amount to much so instead I will combine numbers until they are the sum total of 11 and then subtract them until they are 3 and then pray I don’t get stuck on 41 because I don’t like 41. Prime and odd. Repeat.

Rituals occur for me in finger stretches. Extending my fingers stretching them beyond their capability because they need to be stretched. My toes never stop moving, not even in my sleep. They are in rhythm with my heartbeat, in fact, I can convince myself that in order for my heart to beat, I must tap my toes.

Most mornings my brain picks up where it left off the night before. Breaking these patterns is near impossible. I am amazed how my brain shut off after my brain dump. Ok, it didn’t shut off completely but the thoughts quit fighting over which is most important.

All three of my Ma’s children suffer from some form of OCD. It is terrible watching your sister have an anxiety attack because her OCD has told her her heartbeat is off rhythm and she is going to die. My sisters fear of death and obsession with it has caused her to live in a horrible headspace. She frequents the doctor’s office, on a weekly basis. Her anxiety cripples her and she struggles with taking her medication. She is a hypochondriac. She has it the worst of us three.

Bits of my story come and go. My memory of past events is cloudy and finding words to describe the now can prove difficult. When I have a moment of clarity I quickly type it up so others who experience the same thing know they are not alone. For those of you who suffer with OCD I would like to apologize for the light made of it by society integrating it into organization. It is so much more than that. You know it. I know it.

…… Just like the thoughts that tell me I have to explain my writing style to The Bipolar Writers audience because if I do not they will think that I am uneducated and do not deserve to use his platform.

Silly thoughts.

Flames of Life

What is to come of a life doused in confusion?

The flammability of kerosene will destroy with one strike

Tasting the sulfur curiosity engulfs me

As do the flames of life

The power of powerlessness intrigues

Dancing flames

Uncontrollable

Unpredictable

And wavering

Imagine…what we breathe gives life to a destruction we cannot comprehend

Once ignited a challenge to win

Temperatures soar to extremes

Burning yet tempting

Freedom of the flame produces jealousy

Untameable, wild

You’ll see

Don’t stand to close to me

Life gave me no choice

But gifted me with a voice

Silently I scream

The fire and me are a team

Dancing a slow dance

Romanticising

A dangerous affair

Maintenance through air

Despair we share

Forever

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I was thinking, as I often do, about what mental health means to me.  By definition mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.

From an early age, I displayed issues in regards to coping with emotional triggers, more specifically anger.  This inevitably led me towards substance abuse in my early teens. During this phase of life is when we tend to formulate our emotional well-being.  The use of substances would go on to stunt my maturing emotionally. It is said that for alcoholic/addicts when we become sober, we are emotionally at the age we began using.  On a personal level, this rings true.

adult architecture blonde casual

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I began using alcohol and drugs at the ripe age of 13, on a regular basis, having used prior to 13.  I cannot pinpoint at which time I became physically reliant on alcohol. What I do know is that at the age of 33 I decided it would benefit me to remove alcohol from my life and it damn near killed me.  Putting the drugs down at 30 was difficult but not impossible. For the three years that I drank without the assistance of drugs, I basically drowned myself.

Quitting drugs I experienced bouts of depression but I chalked those up to bad days.  Some crippling….but nothing a little liquor couldn’t cure. Days and nights passed until I was bedridden and suicidal.  On the brink of death, I dialed my sister before taking my life. At this point, I had literally lost my mind. Literally.  In a state of psychosis I would be admitted into an emergency facility and from that moment, mental illness became a piece in my puzzle.

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At almost 40 years old I have come to fully accept my diagnoses.  In order for me to accomplish acceptance, I had to gain clarity. In doing so I acknowledged that mental illness is forever with fluctuating symptoms. Forever is a long time, right?!  In sobriety, it is suggested to take life one day at a time and I apply this approach to understanding the symptoms that accompany my diagnoses. One 24 hours at a time.

gray double bell clock

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And what does this mean to me?

I have yet to put it in words.  I struggle to comprehend emotions.  As openly as I speak on behalf of the mental health community,  the stigma remains attached. And me, unattached and disconnected, medicated, a mother, a daughter and a sister wandering around this big world aimlessly.  Curiosity has gotten the best of me on a few occasions and we won’t bring up the antics impulsivity has created. I live with no regrets, I hold my head up high because I know my karma and I know for certain I have a great heart.  Everything else is meniscal. I have no clue what tomorrow will bring. I’m just winging this thing called life with a broken compass.

I consider myself one of the fortunate with mental illness as I am capable of maintaining a job.  There was a period of three years this wasn’t applicable. Each day brings with it a set of challenges that I must overcome.  Some days I am winning at life and others, not so much. That’s life. I am lucky to not have caused significant damage by the amounts and potency of the substances I abused.  My state of mind is altered and off balance yet it is all I know. Chemically I will require assistance … forever but for me, today, I am ok.

And ok is all I’ll ever be.

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Finding the Light

In previous days I often discussed finding the light. The light that would lead me out of my darkness. I would hold on to the glimmer I could see but it took more than that slither to set me free. Weak arm muscle giving out each time I neared the sight. I am here to tell you that it is possible to reach that damn light.

My days of darkness aren’t as present as they once were. They ebb and flow at a different pace. At one time my depression and mania would race. On those days medication is my saving grace.

Fearing the fall remains at the forefront of my mind. When I fall, I am left behind. Time goes on without me. Slipping, I slide further into the tunnel. On occasion, I am able to halt this downward spiral. Tightrope walking the one mile.

Recovery has worked wonders for me. The mental recovery gives me a freedom I’ve not ever had, whereas the substance abuse recovery allows me to see clearly. Recovery isn’t limited to any one area of life. It is all-encompassing.

It takes work to remain alcohol-free. Its hold was mental and physical. Crippling me for 23 years, I shed no tears. It isn’t a loss as it is a gain. I am now able to maintain. An existence that may seem mundane but one that makes me proud.

My mental state is in sorts of remission. It hasn’t interrupted my days. At bay, it stays. Waiting for its turn in the spotlight, making me lose sleep at night. Tossing and turning we fight.

My time may seem consumed, a cloud looming of doom. I leave it where it lay, refusing it to play. Play with my mind and torment my soul, I won’t give it control.

So for now, today, I am ok. Creating and decorating a space I claim as mine. I take advantage of ole father time.

For those with lost hope, remember to hold onto the rope. Pull and climb, don’t get left behind. Recovery waits for you around the corner. Use all of your strength and you will be glad you did. Don’t say you hid.

Find your light and blind your darkness. Allow it to be your compass. Guiding you toward that light, say you put up a fight.

And to all,

There is light.

Mania

Manic she creates

Challenging its fate

Teasing it

She flexes

Check’n it

She mocks it

While multitasking

It’s only from up here she sees the depths she has visited

A rebel

Toying with nature

Testing its power

She’ll put up a fight

Giving her thoughts freedom to roam

They disperse magic

in her dome

Cultivating a strategy

One that depression

promises to steal

But this time is different

She’s learned its game

And prepared for this part

She will stand her ground

Herself she has found

The piece she lost

Or perhaps never had

Yet she has wanted it

so bad

Striving for balance

and healing her wounds

She moves on

to a more positive space

Trusting her instincts she shall achieve

Obtaining strength and reprieve

Defeated

1, 2, 3, 4

She can’t take much more.

Finding herself on the floor.

She fights with life.

Angry and mistreated,

Defeated.

Liquor brings reprieve.

Herself she deceive.

Addicted without boundaries

she’s left gasping.

Loss of control

the poison takes its toll.

5,6,7,8

Pleading with herself

to get straight.

Not much longer can she wait.

Brittle and bruised,

a childhood emotionally abused.

Flashbacks and nightmares consume her nights.

Rarely she turn of the lights.

Drowning her pain

and nothing to gain.

A must to maintain.

9,10

A morbid solution for it to end.

With only her thoughts

by her side,

she can no longer hide.

As she set aside her pride,

reality and her collide.

She is no more a contender

in this battle she fight.

Surrendering her flag of white.

…..

Switching off the light.


If you find you are struggling with drugs and/or alcohol please surrender. It will not be easy but you are worth it. Don’t waste your energy fighting a losing battle, use it living life.