KimchiSama did something amazing to celebrate 200 followers. A new award saw the light of day; My Reasons Why. Make a list of 13 reasons that keeps you living. Something that makes you keep going. She nominated me and I am extremely honored. Kimchi is very dear to me and if you haven’t been to her blog then you should really check it out, it’s awesome.
I can’t do it though. I can’t fulfill the requirements for the award. I will do my best to tell you what makes me go and how I manage to survive every day but I can’t make a list of 13 reasons why. I wish I could…
This is gonna be long, highly personal and really dark. Perhaps triggering for some as well so if you are sensitive to stuff like depression, self harm, anxiety and such you might not want to read. You can watch the video below instead. Sia’s Chandelier with Sondre Lerche is a pretty good description of my bipolar when I am high going down.
So, as some of you already know, I am bipolar. With that diagnosis also comes anxiety and a sprinkle of paranoia at times. Being bipolar, for those of you who don’t know, it means episodes of depression and mania (or hypomania; the “lighter” grade of mania). In between there are periods of stable/”normal” episodes. “Normal” you say? Why not normal? “Normal” because I have no idea what normal really is. Also, I never really stay stable for too long, I mostly swing around straight away. So, thus “normal”. What about “lighter” then? Well, there are nothing “light” about hypomania but it isn’t as severe as mania.
I talked to a person yesterday who bluntly told me that she had no idea how bipolar worked even though she had googled and read a lot about it and then I realised; yeah, I guess it is so. How can you possibly understand a disorder that is so tied to the person having it.
Depression people understand. You are sad, everything is dark and hopeless and you might even get so depressed you want to end your life, either for your own sake or for the sake of those around you. I’m generalizing of course, but that’s the short and easy version of it. With the right help and support you can get out of the hole and see that glimmer of hope. A bipolar depression might look the same. We get down in the dirt, find the deepest hole, crawl around for an undetermined amount of time; sometimes only hours, sometimes days, weeks or months. No one really knows. I have had periods where my depressions has been mixed with manic episodes. What’s hard when you are bipolar, at least for me, is the knowledge that I will end up in that dark pit again, no matter what I do or how I think. I know it so I might just as well stay down there. Eventually it turns around anyway, if I just wait long enough. That’s how it works when you are bipolar, you can never get away.
Mania is harder to understand for someone who watches from the outside. At least until it reaches the point of delirium and psychosis. You’re happy, creative (not everyone, that’s just a myth. Not all bipolar are creative masterminds), you get things done in a furious pace, you are active 20 hours a day, you never sleep, you are easily irritated, you get paranoid, you suffer from road rage… you see, the list is getting more negative the longer I go. This is what you can apply to me. Others have other things of course, we are not all the same. But, people only see the happy, funny, social person who talks a lot and takes risks. The one who loves to party. I drank myself into a deep depression two years ago. I spent all my savings on trips to Norway to watch Ylvis. I had a lot of fun but the price I paid for being hypomanic was too high. It almost cost me my family and all our money and my life. The friends I made then are all gone. Another tiny detail about being the funny girl when being hypomanic/manic, your friends doesn’t understand what happens when you can’t keep up and you fall into a depression.
So yeah, I long for a hypomania (because, longing for a mania is really out of the question. I have been manic once. That month all I remember is sleeping approximately one hour a night, climbing the walls and not being able to be still. I was high as a kite that whole month and the world was swirling around me, my brain was overflowing with thought I couldn’t stop, all the colors were blending and it felt like I was more in a cartoon than in the real world.) but when I get high enough all I want is to get down and the fall is hard and deep. I’m back in the hole again and it all starts over again. It’s a never ending cycle.
I have strategies to live one more day. Sort of at least. They are probably not what people expect them to be. It’s not like I do yoga or go to the gym or eat beans. It’s a bit darker.
1. Family: It’s a no brainer, right? It’s not like that. I love them of course, there’s no doubt about that. I didn’t know about my bipolar when I decided to have kids. I thought it was just a normal depression. And normal depressions you recover from so of course I would be a healthy mom right. If I had known then that I was bipolar I would never had gotten any kids. Not that I wish them away in any way, I don’t. I love them. And I have made a promise I try to live by every day. I am responsible for them until they are grown ups and I have to keep that promise. I am doing a half assed job so far, but I am still alive at least. If it weren’t for my family I would be dead already. There are many times I have wished I wouldn’t be alive.
2. Death: I find comfort in the fact that I can decide when to die. It is my decision when to die. Well, at least after the kids has turned 18. As I wrote above, if I had been alone I wouldn’t be alive today. I have been tired of this life many times. I just don’t see the point in living. I want to say that it is the illness talking but I am not so sure that’s the case. It is more like I look at the world and think the “what the actual fuck are we doing?” People are too stupid for me. I just get tired. Too tired. A little like that.
3. Scars: My left hand is covered with scars. Scars and permanent bruises. If I shave my head there might possibly be permanent bruises there too. I didn’t actually think that you could get scars from bruises but apparently you can. Or maybe I am some medicinal wonder. Anyway, I hurt myself and I feel alive. I know, it’s an anxiety reliever, but to me it’s a little bit more. Again, it reminds me that I can die. I’ve got (man, you are morbid now) blood inside my body. I can drain myself of that blood. It is comforting. At the same time the pain wakes me up from the thoughts. My doctor (I am fortunate enough to actually have my own doctor whom I have been seeing for many years) once told me to take ice and squeeze between my hands instead of cutting or hitting myself since it is the pain I need. That’s when I realised that it wasn’t the whole thing. I have been hurting myself since I was ten I think. Not cutting myself, that shit I started after I got kids. Yeah, the responsible adult, but hitting myself. The first time was with a hammer.
4. Trent Reznor: That’s specific. Let’s go a little bit more specific then. The Downward Spiral, the album. Whenever I am in a depressive mood I listen to that album. If you haven’t listened to it, it’s about a man who is spiraling downwards into a depression to finally end up trying to kill himself. I think most have heard Hurt by Johnny Cash. Well, that one is originally by Nine Inch Nails and is on this album. Trent is the mastermind behind that one. I adore Trent beyond the stars. He is my hero. His music is amazing. It’s perfect for those episodes when I am manic/depressive. I mean those mixed aggressive episodes. The most dangerous episodes when you have the least impulse control but are the most suicidal.
5. Mentally ill music: What the fuck, that’s a genre? No, not really. No, but there are plenty of music in this world that deals with mental illness in different ways. I have a playlist with music that deals with bipolar, depression, mania and anxiety. Also, I often listen to artists that was/is mentally ill. I find comfort in the fact that even the big ones can have my disorder. That said, I despise people who sit on forums (and all those fucking magazines and blogs, and websites) and speculate about celebrities and what mental illness they might have. And, even when people are speculating about anime/manga characters. Stop doing that. It does’t matter what they got as long as they haven’t explicitly told the world themselves.
6. Music: Yes, now I’m talking in general. As you might understand I love music. I breathe music. I always listen to music. From the moment I wake up until I go to bed I listen to music. I can’t live without it. I am much of a mood listener so whatever mood I’m in is very clear on the music for the day. Except when it comes to Japanese anime music because there all genres come in one playlist. Okiayu Ryoutarou has the hottest voice ever and he has done some amazing songs that I can listen to all day long (he’s got his own playlist). Anyway, I listen to most genres actually. It all comes down to the artist. I love to discover new music.
7. Books: I love books. Specifically Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Terry Pratchett saved me through my years in university. Without him and a handful of close friends (whom I have only shallow contact with one today) I would never have managed that time. Neil Gaiman came into my life when my husband did. He’s dear to me. His writing is extraordinaire. What can I say, he has yet to disappoint me. And Hitchhikers Guide is my teen in a nutshell. I didn’t particularly like my teens but again, a book that saved me. I love to read in general and I read a lot; at the moment it’s mostly manga.
8. TV/Film: Joss Whedon. Oh no, that scum! Ugh, please don’t. That man is the soul reason for me and my man meeting. I am not joking. If Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn’t exist I would never have met him. The only reason I even went to his place was to watch the episode ‘Once More With Feeling’. I love my man, he is still by my side even though I act like a complete nutcase, throw fits at random people and drive off or fight without a point. (list can get long if I continue. I do a lot of shit when having hypomanic episodes. It is a wonder he hasn’t left me yet.) He is also the one who has introduced me to a whole world of good movies and TV I would never have watched otherwise. Not Loki below, although I had a huge crush on Tom Hiddleston thanks to him, and if it wasn’t for my man I would never had seen Thor so…
9. Sleep: I need to sleep. I don’t when I’m on a high. I go to bed at four in the morning and wake up at half past six. I’m creative then of course but yeah, I crash eventually. So I try to sleep. When I am depressed I sleep too much. 18 hours is not unusual. That’s not good either. The rest of the day I lay in the bed or in the sofa watching anime or read or just make up stories in my head if I can’t focus on the other two things. I basically melt into whatever surface I lay on.
Finally; with every hypomanic episode I get I tend to find something new that interest me. That’s why I can’t pinpoint things that make me happy. I have gone through a wide range of hobbies by now; sewing baby carriers, sewing balaclavas (yeah, they were for kids and looked like dragons), balcony/regular gardening, coloring(books), oil/water painting, tai chi, video editing, writing (fanfiction among other), Ylvis (ugh, yeah I had a huge interest in them. Also, a huge crush on them both at different times. Yes, yes, never mind that). Again, I can make the list longer.
Man, now you know everything about me. The ugly sides at least. A long while back I actually said yes to write about my bipolar here so, here it is. I am open for any questions you might have. I can’t promise I can give any good answer and I can only answer from my own point of view. Bipolar is such an individual disorder. Anyway, fire away, either in the comment section or if you rather want to, on the contact page. Maybe I’ll do a Q&A.
Well, that was a lot of words.