My Reasons Why – Being Bipolar

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.

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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.

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29 thoughts on “My Reasons Why – Being Bipolar

  1. This was a phenomenal thing to read, I’m kind of speechless. Thank you for being so brave and honest with your life and thoughts. I have a newfound respect for you in more ways than one.

    Also, hell yes to Trent Reznor, been listening to all of Nine Inch Nails’ stuff for 15+ years now and it never gets old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thank you! I need to write this, both for myself but also for all the people who can’t. There are so many people who hide. Who are ashamed of their illness and their life and they need to see that they aren’t alone. I wish more people would talk about mental illness and I do what I can to show the world that we exist. I am not ashamed of my diagnosis or how my life is and has been. I hope and wish that more people would find the courage to share to those who still live with the feelings of shame.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I thought that bi polar meant waking up with a 50% chance of being seriously hyper or seriously low but I didn’t really know it stayed with one of them for a long period of time before switching.

    Thanks for sharing, it would be so much better to read this than google it in my opinion because I feel like I get it more now. Remember we’re all here to talk though because we like you and want to help if possible.

    I’ve got two questions. Do you find yourself wishing to be more hyper when you are on a low and vice versa or is there one that you prefer (Though i’m sure both are undesirable)? Also how sudden is the change? When you switch from one to the other do you find it to be sudden or is there a day or two of transition time?

    Of course you don’t have to answer these if you don’t want too. I’m just interested and don’t want to accidentally cause offense when I didn’t mean too so sorry if this was a little insensitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are not offending me with your questions. I’m glad you are curious. It means you want to learn, not all people do.

      Well, when I am depressed I don’t particularly care for anything really. You get numb to most emotions, even the feeling of how it can be to be happy and outgoing so I can’t really say that I long to be hyper. Especially not when I get really bad in the depression. It’s mostly hopeless then. But in a recovering depression, when I am on my way up again I can start to long for a high. Being hypomanic is fun as long as it doesn’t get out of hand. You got tons of energy to do stuff. I never wish for a depression when I am hypomanic, not even when things have completely gone out of hand. I wish for serenity if anything then. Normal. Status quo. Having a depression is only pain.My main desire is always, wether I am high or low, to get to the middle and stay there.

      Switches can be sudden depending on witch type of swings I have. As I wrote I sometimes get mixed episodes where I can have swings between depression and hypomania several times a day and even at the same time. It changes in an instant, like minutes. Then I can have episodes where the change is gradual and takes days or even weeks before I realise that I am hypomanic (it is mostly like that that way. The other way mostly only takes a day or two because I am so exhausted after being hyper for so long and not having slept. It’s an instant crash.) In general you can say that it depends on how long episodes you have (had) of the depression/hypomania. A 6 month long depression might have snuck up on you but a 2 week depression came in two days. That’s the best answer I can give.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for answering, this was really informative. I’m thankful that you’re open to talk about this because a lot of people don’t have much idea of what bi polar is like.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I cannot describe how much I admire you for writing this. I think you are an incredibly brave person and really admire the fact that you can be so honest! This isn’t an easy thing to do and I’m very proud of you that you posted this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I had to. For my own sake but also for all those who can’t. There are so many people who suffer in silence who needs to know that they are not alone. I can finally share how I feel and how my life is and I feel like I should. I am not ashamed of my diagnosis and I am no longer ashamed of what has happened in my life. There was a time when I hid too but mental illness is something we need to talk about and someone has to start somewhere so. I have a wish and hope that more people find courage to tell their story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem. I completely understand and I think it’s wonderful that you can share your story which will encourage others and make them feel less alone! I have to say it certainly had that impact with me as I have been nervous about writing this post but I now feel inspired to do so and share my own story! I’m glad you’re not ashamed as their is nothing to be ashamed of, I understand how easy it is to hide away the mental illness but it’s important to share stories as it brings us together! You certainly encouraged me to share my own story and thank you for being so open with us all. It’s not easy and it’s something you should be proud of!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry that you have to suffer through this. I have anxiety and depression and I feel that people don’t really understand even them. They think that you can just stop.
    I love that you gave your man a chance because he wanted to show you “Once More with Feeling”!! Great reason!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you just think positive everything will be fine… yeah, I have heard it too. As if the depression will go away just like that. If it were the case then no one would be depressed. That would be wonderful. I’m sorry to hear that you have both anxiety and depression. It’s hard. ❤

      Well, what can I say; there could be worse way to fall in love. 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for sharing; this is really beautiful. You are a wonderful person and fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband, too, it sounds like. Good wishes and prayers for all of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I want to repeat what you said and say that you are so very dear to me. As I was reading I was proud to know such a brave and wonderful person. Thank you for your willingness to be open and sharing what many can’t explain. This shines such a light on this and really help explain when some of the world think it is something that “you can just get over with a positive attitude” most will never know what it is like and the struggle.
    Thank you again and I’m so happy to have met you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. 😊 I just feel that there are so many people that don’t have the courage to talk about how they feel or are ashamed of who they are because of their mental illness and they need to know that they are not alone. And, “normal” people need to be educated and informed of how it really is. That the struggle is real. You can’t just shrug it off. I would be the first one to shrug like a wet dog if that was even possible because I would love to be able to live like a mentally healthy person. So, as long as there are people who live in shame I will talk out loud about mental illness. I know a lot of people feel uncomfortable when I do but I really don’t care. It’s life and life isn’t just flowers and birds and fancy cars.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. I remember I used to be ashamed about my suicide story if I can call it that. Now, I share it openly. It is part of my journey and how I am where I am today. I heard a speaker talk about depression and something she said helps is that we stop lying. Stop telling people that we are okay, be honest at least with one person since the lies can in the end just cause more depression.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is a very good advice. When people ask you how you are tell them. Well, maybe not just anyone but if it is someone you trust. Although, most people don’t really mean that they want to know but I am brutally honest when someone ask me how I am. I answer honestly. That throws them off guard. It’s one part funny and one part sad. If you don’t want an honest answer don’t ask the question. But yeah, tell the truth. It is necessary. Even if people don’t expect an honest answer maybe an honest answer might awaken something in them. Ugh, I don’t know, I just want people to know that there is people out there that suffers and it is their damn responsibility to help if they are capable to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Exactly, I especially am open with other writers. I never know if they are going through the same things as I am and even if they are not willing to share maybe just maybe they will realize they are not alone. Sometimes that makes all the difference.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s so nice. And important. And thoughtful. Even if they aren’t responding they know that there is someone who knows what it’s like. And maybe one day, when they feel ready, they know where to turn. That’s why I write my posts sometimes too. I know it scares people though but it can’t be helped.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You are amazing! I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through this and I’m so glad your willing to live through it for your kids. Thank you for sharing this.

    I would ask a question, but Ross basically asked it already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment got stuck in the spam filter so sorry for the later reply. My blog is mostly about anime/manga but I do write about my mental health now and then too so sure, why not. I’ll link you to some of my posts on the subject.

      Like

  8. This was great to read! I can’t say that I know what you are passing through, because I don’t! I’ve only had depression in my teens (and some minors here and there in my adulthood) and a case of extreme anxiety… I was able to beat them, at least for now! 🙂

    Nevertheless, I understand what you are saying. My brother was/is bipolar, it is smaller than yours I think and the mood swings take way longer (also drugs were part of the problem). But I think I can understand him now better after reading this post! Specially about his maniac outbreaks when he was in it his peak of his illness! So thank you very much for this post! It was a great read and I think it will help a lot of people! What you did here was something great! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the greatest compliment to get, that it has helped someone to get a better understanding. thank you. ❤ And, you shouldn't say "only had" because it isn't just "only". It is depression and it is hard no matter. My illness isn't worse than yours. And anxiety sucks. I'm so happy you have beaten them. I have read your posts about how you tackled your anxiety and they are really helpful. I think a lot of people can gain from them.

      Many bipolar peeps do drugs as self medication. It's a vicious circle. The start to do drugs because of the bipolar and then the drugs makes the illness worse. It's horrible. I self medicated with other means. I think that if had had access to drugs I would have used it too but I was too good of a girl and too oblivious to know where to find such things. Otherwise I would have loved to numb my broken brain too. Now I have legal drugs that does the job for me. Not sure if it is better always but at least it is under controlled forms. Sort of.

      Anyway, enough about me…

      Liked by 1 person

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