I journal off and on over the last ten years. At times it is to clear my mind after a long depression cycle and to get my thoughts down during those times. At times I use journaling to come up with ideas for fiction and creative nonfiction work.
It is the area where my doubts to bleed on the page of my journal is when it comes to my writing. I am a published author with a memoir that is selling okay. There are other projects that I am working on to be published in 2020. There is a real fear that my writing will never go anywhere.
I know these doubts are just lingering because I have so much going when it comes to writing. I have the ghostwriting business that I am taking to the next level, and I am starting an LLC. I am launching my brand, The Bipolar Writer. Ive created new things for my tiers on my Patreon account, including merchandise with my logo. I have projects galore, and I am nearing the end of my master’s. I consider myself a seasoned professional writer with fiction and creative nonfiction that will take me to the next level of writing. Everything is either about to be published, in editing, or a work in progress.
You would think I would not have time for doubt, but it is always late that they come when I am alone.
They say the monsters and demons tend to come out at night the most. That is true also with doubts. There is something about sitting in the dark on the doorstep of sleep that wakes up my brain, and so the last thoughts are of my doubts that I faced that day. There are times I have mini panic attacks.
I am a work in progress. I will always be adjusting as new things with being Bipolar, having social anxiety, and panic disorder change and the world changes. I have written about being alone recently and why I feel okay with that feeling. The doubts they tend to go to other places. Will I be alone forever? It is one that has haunted me.
It is not all bad. I am better equipped to handle these thoughts of doubts. I look at where I was when I began this journey. I was this 20 something who could not live, and wanted to die. Then I came back. Got one degree with another on the way. Graduated with honors as an undergraduate and heading that way as a graduate student. My life as a writer has improved. I am better at helping others and sharing my story. I have a future in my hand. You see, the doubts are just feelings of insecurity. Look at what you have accomplished and what you have in the future. No matter how small. To quote a friend, open doors and go through doors that are opened for you. This life is too short. Stay strong as always.
This is Vlogcast six. One of the major things I wanted to share revolves around what most artists, performers, people that are book authors, they share their personal experience and some of those completely shifted the way that they showed up in their life. And I know I mentioned in a former vlogcast that life is an experience, um, one of the things that popped up for me thinking about what I wanted to talk about or what what am I supposed to talk about is that that Paradigm I had so recently broken out of was that the world is designed to be fixed, it’s not there’s no fixing it’s impossible it’s not designed that way we’re all connected to each other everything that happens in the world is connected to each other nothing exists independent of another incident in the entire world.
So for us to believe that we can fix something is madness. Complete madness and that lesson, the series of lessons that would unravel happened after series of what some may view As A Series of Unfortunate Events: divorce. Not me but my parents.
The first divorce I experienced was 2008 and then two more divorces around 2012 ah, no it wasn’t 2012. I want to say about 2014 2014-2015 wow the years are really flying by I think my math is failing me here but about 4 for about 4 years ago is when my parents got divorced a second time and I choose those particular events again I shared in a vlogcast before I’m very perceptive to shifts and changes energetically, attitude-wise and behaviorally in my personal and closest relationships and those are with my family members and I found that the way for me at the time that worked was to really immerse into and lean into what’s happening,
Why what has brought this feeling up? So, instead of making it personal, about me, taking offense, getting mad, lashing out yes I still did those things but then after you know I’d I pause and I really opened my mind to experience saying that in a completely different way. I’m open to experiencing this and in a different way what, what kinds of things can I do and say and ask myself and really it was, how it must be for them experiencing this experience from their side, from, from their vantage point, from their life experience and trying to really get to the core message that came up for them that had nothing to do with me and nothing to do with them it just was something.
This something, I mean, I have the terminology now and it’s ego. So, how I responded when things didn’t go well, it was very stressful for me because I took it personally even though I took the steps to emotionally detach from the situation. Lots of tears shed, lots of frowns, lots of, um, abusing self care as a way to cope with not dealing with feelings or experiencing, really experiencing feelings and now when I interact with family, close kindred spirits, friends whatever word you want to use co-workers, it’s really not about taking things personal, we are put on this Earth, to experience one another, to experience with around us to tap into different levels of awareness so we can experience things in a completely different way.
Um, my experience with divorce is going to be different from someone else’s because we were at different levels of our awareness at different times and that’s really all it’s about it’s not about oh you’re handling the situation the wrong way, you should be doing this or that’s not healthy or this or that like I’ve heard it all. All the criticisms, all the judgments that could be happening that’s really a projection of the other people’s insecurities onto me about how I should be handling the situation, how what I’m doing is wrong.
It took a lot and heapfuls and heapfulls of moments for me to finally let my anger out and express how disgusted I was with constantly telling, being told and feeling like I could be doing something better or I could have changed my attitude there or I could have smiled more or I could have dealt with that in a healthier manner how about I just am. And if you have a problem with that, that’s probably your shit, not mine. Let’s repeat that again…how about it’s not me that has the problem, I have nothing broken about me and I don’t need to be fixed if you have a problem with how I’m navigating this experience that’s your shit not mine and we tend to, I experienced this too where I didn’t put that for lack of a better word boundary up to say no this is my experience, I’m going to experience it the way that feels right to me and I’m going to choose because there’s something here that’s reflecting something within myself that is meant to be experienced in a whole new way.
Nothing personal truly nothing personal at all. Had this conversation so many times with other people it’s nothing personal, truly that’s not a cop out, truly, is nothing personal. I am just another human being being human just like you and if I want to tap into and if I feel called to or drawn to or something about the situation is expressing this different level of awareness I’m going to go with it because why, because my intuition is guiding me in that direction. When I stopped trying to control the situation, when I stopped trying to micromanage feelings, when I stopped apologizing, when I stopped rationalizing and just let go of trying to be in control all the time, things got a lot less personal, really quick. But it took years of me bashing my head against the wall to finally get it: there are no right or wrong answers. At all! And to, obviously that’s going to be interpreted in a slew of different ways.
The point is, anytime we get triggered by something, anytime I got triggered by something let’s put this back on me, anytime I got triggered by something, anytime I get triggered by something I distance myself emotionally from that and I go, “Huh, that’s really interesting. Just because I feel a certain way it doesn’t mean I am that way. If I feel like an asshole, doesn’t mean I am an asshole. If I feel like I’m being a bitch, it doesn’t mean I am a bitch. If I feel like I’m being evasive, avoidant, if I feel like I’m backing out, it doesn’t mean that I’m weak. Just because I like doing multiple projects, just because I like having different sources of income, just because I like, it doesn’t mean that I’m this transcendent, sun shines out my ass, person. The only reason I bring this up is because these are observations that I make of myself and others bring to the table of me.
What is so…this is a lot easier said than done and it looks different for everyone, of putting your foot down, declaring that you’re not the world’s doormat anymore and being open to experiencing an experience, experiencing an A-N, experience in a whole new way. Because maybe you’re tired of experiencing life in this way and you want to experience it a different way. I think that’s amazing. That is awesome. You’re tired of feeling like shit, if you’re tired of pretending to be happy all the time or maybe you are happy all the time and you want to experience some deep, melancholic stories.
There are, there so many people on this planet, we could experience something without personally, physically, you know, like I said we’re all connected, experiencing it for ourself. Being open to receiving that maybe someone else’s experience is going to directly challenge yours and what you held to be true and what you held to believe was, was fact or what you held onto so strongly as a basis of making sense of who you are. I think most of us don’t know who we are and that’s okay. What’s so wrong with that.
I tell this to my Kindred Spirits all the time: you don’t owe me anything. I don’t expect anything of you. Makes no sense the way you were five minutes ago is not the way I anticipate you being the, in the next five minutes or for the way you were five years and you wake up and one day you decide that’s just not who you are, that’s fine. That’s phenomenal. And trying to make sense of everything, trying to put everything in its cubby-hole, trying to you know go slow to go fast, there are moments for that there, I mean there’s so many different turns of the phrases, words, phenomena, labels, titles, um, you can read piles and piles of books all day long, there’s so much information out there that teaches us how to experience things in different ways but instead of just going out there and experiencing it we’re literally just sitting and experiencing.
I inadvertently limited myself by falling into this, this trap that I have to make sense to everyone, that everything I do has to make sense to people I work with. Having to fulfill all these expectations of what people have of me and feeling obligated to respond, obligated to be in someone’s life, obligated, obligated. Expectation … *deep exhaled sigh* it’s enough to make someone’s head explode. I know that’s how I felt until recognizing that nothing belongs to me even though I feel a certain way doesn’t mean I am. And as an entity all my own… there’s no, there’s no connection– forced, expressed or implied with anyone or anything. It’s always a choice. That’s something when I get in an ego State of Mind– you know: victim, angry, rationalizing or putting others before myself –when I catch myself in those states of mind I go, “Okay, is it a choice? Is this where I want to be? Is this how I want to feel? And is it actually who I am?”
So just raising my awareness, asking myself those empowering questions of, yeah it kind of hurts and it kind of doesn’t have to hurt. It’s about experiencing and shifting our relationship with those negative feelings has been a journey. I just had a zoom call yesterday with our Community Mental Health folx and one of the things I talked about was toxic positivity. It’s when you are bombarded with information wherever you may be predominantly social media though, where you see everyone’s feed saturated with positive things– it’s not really representative of the whole– and it also subliminally can send this message of, “You’re not supposed to be negative, that’s not how, that, that’s not normal, you shouldn’t be…” But over time what I experienced anyway from that toxic positivity was a denial and a suppression, avoidance of anything negative.. so that whole, “I’m fine.” It’s gonna come come bite you in the ass eventually. It sure bit me in the ass.
So, one of the things that I’m actively doing and constantly actively doing is just checking in with myself, you know, how to, what’s triggering and what’s coming up and recognizing that there’s advantages and disadvantages to every point of view the rationalizing part of it so just being candid, open and honest. That being human is something that we constantly will experience and it will not stop. The self-doubt, will not stop, the fear of what people will think of you will not stop, feeling not good enough will not stop having that message there will not stop but what can stop is letting it be in control. It doesn’t have to be in control.
Question: in what area of your life could your experience expand if you were to be more emotionally detached? So, in what area of your life could be experienced differently if you practiced detached involvement? In what area of your life could you experience things differently if you practiced more detached involvement? So, detached involvement just is basically experiencing everything in the moment and then taking yourself out of the story and really looking at it and it in an objective way That’s a tool that helps me all the time and I spend less time stumbling around on my face. I think that’s something all of us would like to experience a little bit more: just less self-doubt, less fear or less shrinking and less, uh. diminishing ourselves. Have a, you know make your morning your afternoon and evening whatever way you want it to be.”
Playing it small in life, holding ourselves back, hiding, downplaying our true selves, is unsustainable in the run. I tried it. It doesn’t feel spectacular and it permeates through every aspect of your life. Do you hear it in my voice? I was all over the place! So what?! Tell your story! 🙂 I believe in you.
“Most of your class is smarter than you.” “No one wants to be your friend.” “Of course you didn’t win.”
Throughout my childhood, I taught myself to have no self pride. At all. Despite being decently intelligent and skilled; I could never accept a compliment. If I didn’t win the very best at a contest, the voices inside told me why. If I happened to do well; they reminded me of how many other people were better, or of how there weren’t many competitors.
I’d love to say things have gotten better, but they haven’t.
“Look, see: that person says she likes that person, but doesn’t even look at you when you’re walking by.” “There you go, dummy; forgetting everything again.” “Well, who would want to be your friend?”
I could blame the internet, exposing me and millions of others TO millions of others. But if I’m being honest, my negative self would be able to beat me up even without bringing the rest of the world into the comparisons.
When I’ve addressed this problem with self-meditation, self-medication (usually chocolate), and the occasional session with a therapist; I …can’t actually address it. I’m so good at not being good to me that I jump right in to sabotage any sort of progress.
Me: “Well, when someone compliments me, I feel like they probably don’t know the whole picture.”
Also Me: Justifying “I’m not that good at cooking/writing/being a friend/etc. That person is just really nice. She tells the off-key 8-year-olds at church that they sang beautifully.”
I’m so good at not being good that I claim my conclusions are LOGICAL. I bring outside evidence to back the negativity up, disguise rudeness as truth, and name-calling as accurate titles.
And I don’t see this as wrong.
If I had a friend (See? If I had a friend? -so mean!) -anyway- If I had a friend whose boyfriend were saying that crap to her, I’d immediately tell her it was abusive behavior. If someone at school were telling these things to my son, I’d advise him to stand up for himself and even talk to his teacher about it. If I were reading a book or watching a movie and heard the things that play in my head all day; I would recognize the character as a petty, selfish bully.
Living with me all day every day, however, I do not. As you may have guessed, I tell myself that negativity is exactly what I deserve.
…Which makes breaking out of the cycle of abuse that much more difficult. And yes, it is a cycle of abuse.
As such, the actually LOGICAL steps to getting out would be to follow professional advice for leaving an abuser. The internet may be providing fodder for my inaccurate comparisons, but it also has a lot of information to help save me from them. In fact, there is even a wikiHow on breaking an abusive cycle.
Since we’re dealing with an internal abuser, I’ve taken their list and modified it:
I can’t exactly leave my own head, but see that my substance abuse and attempts to disassociate are a lot like telling an abusive spouse I’m leaving, but not actually packing bags and arranging for another place to live.
I feel that I don’t know where to go or what to pack yet, but maybe I can start asking around and collecting a few moving boxes.
Don’t dismiss, justify, or accept the abuse.
Frankly, I need to stop agreeing with the Meany-Head in my head. I can probably, sort-of, start talking back to it like a stubborn 3-year-old. According to professionals, that’s healthier than allowing it.
Look out for the honeymoon phase.
I didn’t think self-abuse had this, but it does. I have days or even weeks of letting up on myself. I smile without reminding myself that poor children in Africa have little to smile about. I accept a compliment and don’t downplay it.
Don’t fall for that break in abuse!!
I can’t let my guard down and assume everything’s better if there is little or no meanness.
When I went on a successful diet one time, I mentally associated sugars and refined flour with fat gain. Those two became repulsive to me and I had no appetite to eat them.
Similarly, I’ve got to put a no-acceptance-at-all mental block on the negative talk. Like Susan said in her article, I’ve got to respond right away with positivity.
Unearth your superpower.
The wikiHow articles says, “One reason individuals stay in abusive relationships is because they feel powerless and unable to act.” Boy, is that ever true. I feel overwhelmed at the idea of finding strength within myself.
BUT, there are times that I am motivated to act -no matter how depressed or beaten-down I feel. Those times include: if someone I love is in danger, if injustice is raising its ugly head, and when things pile up so much that I simply cannot tolerate any more.
If I can find strength even in the darkest despair, I can fight this abuse.
Go get help.
I think this is my favorite of the steps, because I often suffer from Analysis Paralysis. I don’t know the ‘right’ direction to go, so stand and stare at the different options until I get frustrated and give up.
With a counselor, therapist, psychologist, trained friend, or even a small reminder to literally choose to be positive; I can get GPS instructions for which way to start walking.
So, what am I waiting for? Honestly, I’m waiting for it to be easier. I’m waiting for the ‘right’ motivation. I’m probably waiting for the chocolate to kick in.
But I have a list. I have a goal. I want to Keep Fighting instead of keep bending over backwards and feeling worthless.
“Please Drink Responsibly” is the phrase slapped across every product you must be twenty-one years of age to purchase in the United States. Alcohol has been, is, and always will be one of the most controversial matters in history for many reasons. Our grandfathers’ fathers made it hidden in the south eastern mountains to provide for their families in the most lucrative way they could. A tradition has been made out of its’ recipes and stories of bootlegging and prohibition. It’s the one thing that even the United States government couldn’t stop.
As with anything however, where there are pros, there are cons. As with anything, if enjoyed in excess there are many debilitating effects it can cause on your health and the health of others. Poor judgements and decisions are made which can impact many people for the rest of their lives. If you live just below the Bible belt as I do, don’t be surprised if some mega church preacher attempts to release you from the grasp of the Devils’ nectar as he lovingly embraces you while reaching for your wallet and groping every square inch of your wife with his eyes.
The point I am trying to make is that we live in a society that welcomes the use of alcohol like an old family friend. It’s as American as apple pie, baseball, McDonald’s, and this messed up obsession we all have over reality television. So if no one else seems to have a problem, and it all just is a natural part of life, do I really have as big of a problem as I think I do?
If you have followed me or my blog for any amount of time, you may have stumbled across my introduction or several works about alcohol and my battle with the bottle. Today I want to give you a little background about it, as the subject weighs heavily on my mind lately. I have been drinking since I was fourteen years old. It started out as simply as it typically would. Tall bottles of Smirnoff Ice which eventually led my curious tongue to tall cans of malt liquor. I drank A LOT of gut rot, gas station specials as an early teenager such as Steel Reserve 211 and the likes, until I finally calmed down into normal domestic beers.
At around the age of eighteen I began to indulge in liquor. Trying a little bit of anything I could get my hands on, I quickly discovered that vodka and gin were two of my least favorite liquors. As stereotypical as it will sound, I was a bourbon guy through and through just like my father. The smoky taste, the warm burn of eighty proof tingling down your throat, and that decadent smell of oak as it swirled around in my glass could make my mouth water with every sip. I had made it my mission to become a connoisseur of bottom shelf bourbon. Even when I moved out on my own, the only things I had to my name were a few pots and pans, a record player, a futon mattress, and most importantly… a bottle of rye whisky.
It wasn’t until last year in September that a panic attack made me really look at myself and question my life. Once I began my journey for better mental health, I realized I was using the alcohol to self medicate my anxieties and possibly even some of my bipolar tendencies when I look back in retrospect. I made a lot of changes to my lifestyle with help from my wife. I decided to not keep beer in the apartment we share and she agrees because she feels it’s a waste of money. We agree to only drink when we go to restaurants or concerts and I stopped buying liquor all together because if it’s in my reach, I will drink it.
It’s not uncommon for me to become my own worst enemy. I am my worst critic, my worst judge of character, and the last person I ever want to have to confront. Lately if I’m out somewhere and decide to have a beer, I look at myself in shame and feel regret over my decision. I feel as though I’m letting myself down and even you down. Even though I don’t drink for the same reason anymore, enjoying one beer throws so many questions into my mind, it almost makes me wonder if it’s worth it. On the other hand, I’m not drinking for the same reason anymore. I enjoy beer as a craft and a beverage. Taking barley and hops and creating a flavorful masterpiece is a skill I am honestly envious of. There are so many good things about beer that go far beyond alcohol content.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has a situation that is different. I am not writing this to sway someone who is struggling with addiction to drink. If you are someone who is on the fence, I encourage you to please take the plunge and reach out to your local alcoholics anonymous program or outpatient rehabilitation center. What I am writing this for is to tell my story and to pose a question to my friends, the readers.
With the habits I continue to follow, I find myself wondering if I really have as big of a problem as I think I do. Am I more in control than I realize? Am I blowing this entirely out of proportion? If no one else seems to have an issue, then what is my problem? I am fine with not buying liquor, but am I wrong if I buy beer from time to time? What are your thoughts, and do you struggle this as well?
If you have ever ridden a roller coaster, you understand the excitement and fear that courses through your mind and body as you burst through the track. You experience such an intense jolt of so many emotions as your breath is stolen from falling and you only have enough time to take another breath as you ascend. In a lot of ways, bipolar disorder seems to share many similarities. It seems to change a person drastically in mere moments and can even span episodes for days at a time. You never know how you will feel when you wake up in the morning. You never know what will happen to send you spiraling into a depressive episode. I often like to call it a “Jekyll and Hyde” effect in my personal blog.
I am Shelton Fisher and recently I have been given the privilege to be a contributing writer for The Bipolar Writer. I am a 25 year old with a full time job, an amazing wife, and the two best dogs in the world. I used to be a decent musician and writing has become a passion of mine. Amid the wonderful things that life has provided for me, I have mental health issues that fight me tooth and nail on a regular basis. Anxiety has been a familiar part of my life since I was a child, but alcoholism and panic attacks made me realize that I needed to finally address these problem medically. In September of last year I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and began a regimen of serotonin inhibitors and recently I have began seeing a therapist. After several sessions addressing my childhood behaviors and my current behaviors, we have discussed that I may be bipolar and the symptoms honestly surprised me.
As I continue the journey into my mental health to confirm a diagnosis and discover how to live a better life, I want to include you through personal stories, free verse poetry, and the occasional informative post. I am not a professional by any means, but I am living proof that mental health is a war to be won. If you have ever been afraid to speak, afraid to make a move, lost motivation and hope, hurt yourself because you couldn’t find the right words or felt trapped inside your body, screamed at the top of your lungs with tears rolling down your boiling red cheeks, self medicated with alcohol or drugs, fallen into depression for no apparent reason, or just want to know how I am handling things, my posts are for you.
So, there is this thing called chaos. It’s a noun that is defined as complete disorder and confusion. And I am drawn to it like a moth to light, like bees to honey, women to shopping malls, you get my drift. I’ve been this way for years upon years. Only being really cognizant of it over the last few years.
Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist and I confessed my sins. I had made the choice over a week ago to decrease my mood stabilizer medications because I was tired of the side effects, namely weight gain. I had enough, and I took matters into my own hands, even though I knew that I should not make changes without her guidance and approval. Knowing that my choice to mess with my medication regime could cause instability in mood and potentially a devastating setback.
Truth be told I had been doing really well. I was happy, able to focus, productive, spirited and a pleasure to be around. I was stable. Life was good. I was sleeping soundly, no disturbing dreams. The anxiety that I was suffering from when driving was at an all-time low. The worst-case scenario thoughts were coming less frequently and when they did appear I was able to squash them with a quick one-two punch of CBT techniques. Most importantly, there was a lack of chaos. So, of course, I had to change that!! And I did just so by mucking around with things. I feel like a witch at a cauldron when I do this: One frog’s toe, a hair off a Deadman’s finger, two squeezes of nectar from the honeysuckle and poof, a magic formula for chaos creating by yours truly. Because how can I exist without chaos?
Is it that I can’t handle being in a good place? That I have this need and desire to purposely self-sabotage? That to exist I need there to be drama? Where does this abnormal drive to ruin what good I have come from? Why do I do this? And most importantly, how can I stop?
And that’s a real humdinger there because I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to get myself to accept that life is SUPPOSED to be good. Life is SUPPOSED to be balanced. Life is SUPPOSED to be enjoyable. So, why do I fight it so hard, and to the degree of making decisions that thwart my progress and overall quality of life, to make it difficult?
I know the first thing I can do is to take all my meds, and just the meds I have been prescribed, the way that they were prescribed, in the dose that they were prescribed and take them at the frequency indicated on the label of the bottle.
When the good times start to roll in, I will stop and embrace them. I will tell the thoughts in my head that are telling me to lash out, to throw a fit, to make something out of nothing to just plain stop. To not allow them to take hold and request that they leave me be, the same way that I would request that a bully stop harassing me. Because, in a way, I feel like what I battle in my head is a bully. And I am tired of getting beat up on and then going home with bruises and a bloody nose.
I will engage in self-care so I can ensure that I am taking care of all my needs. I will limit myself from taking on too much (my real got for self-destruction). I will learn how to just be in the moment through the art of mindfulness.
I am a warrior. A warrior who has in the past thrived on chaos and destruction, but today I draw the line in the sand, no draw a line in the quick-drying cement, that I will not allow this to continue. I am in control, and I can overcome this. I am strong, capable, persistent and will persevere. Chaos will not win.