Tag Archives: bipolar disorder

Well

A lot has happened.

My world has fallen apart, and I’ve slowly been building it up again.

I thought I would keep performing while I did that, but it turns out that paperwork + Baltimore = no energy ever. I could handle lessons. I could plan. I could tell everyone I met about my vision for the music industry, but I could not get up in front of an audience and play a song. Then I went back to Simon’s Rock and played there. I scared a small child, and afterwards an amazing woman came up to me and whispered “You are a badass motherfucker.”

I couldn’t write a blog post, either. I started so many times, and everytime I looked at what I had written and thought “At best, everyone is going to worry about me killing myself,” so I never hit post.

My sister got a kitten. She cuddles with me every morning, and I’ve accidentally started her drinking coffee. She stands on her hind legs to beg every time I hold the carafe to my coffee machine. I swear I didn’t mean to.

I became Australian. All it took was several hundred dollars, three background checks, and all of the pain in my right hand and back as I spent hours upon hours upon days making sure I had filled out the forms neatly. “Give details of all employment and unemployment since birth…”

I have finally started flossing every day. No exceptions.

I came out as non-binary, and changed my name and pronouns. I am Lizard, and my pronouns are they/them. I don’t want to hear about how using my pronouns makes you feel stupid. That’s your problem. Facebook got over it, you can too.

I am no longer making plans to get my house somewhere pretty with some goats and cats, because, as much as I want to be, I am not that person yet. I don’t know what country I’m going to be living in in five years, and, for the first time in my life, I’m okay with that. I don’t talk too much about everything that happened as a teenager because it sounds made-up, surreal. What if people think I’m telling stories for attention?

What if I just stopped analysing my entire life and purpose, and embraced the fact that tonight I convinced an airline to halve the cost of my ticket with my words alone?


My Brain is Broken. Or, Why I Have Disappeared Lately.

If you’ve read any of this blog, you probably know that my brain is out to get me. I’ve spoken a lot about bipolar disorder, but over the past couple of months, anxiety has made it nearly impossible for me to leave the house. I manage to get to official things, like meetings with teachers and work, but unscheduled but necessary things, such as returning library books, remain undone. I went to one social event, and I was struggling not to have a panic attack the entire way there. When I say that I hate people, I’m usually thinking of the times when just being within five feet of someone makes me want to hide. The thing is, while I don’t get that feeling around online encounters, I feel so drained that I disappear. I don’t respond to emails for months, I weasel out of instant messaging,* I don’t update my blog. And then the depression side of my bipolar kicks in and tells me that I’m worthless, that I can’t take care of myself, that I’m a terrible friend, and what am I thinking pretending I have a band?

My brain is a jerk.

I’m doing my best to pull myself together over here. Thanks for bearing with me.

——-

*”What do you want? Gah, just leave me alone to hide in my log!” http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7249/8157682031_d7eaecbaeb_z.jpg


I don’t have monsters in my head

Sorry for this being a day late. This post has been difficult to write, and has the distinction of being the only post on here that I did not write in one sitting. Aside from writing it, the decision whether to post this was a hard one, as I know it will make people I know worry about me. Please don’t. I’ve been managing so far, and there’s no reason to believe that I won’t continue to be okay.

—–

I have had a list of diagnoses for the past six years of my life. Obviously that length of time is nothing to a lot of people, but for me, at twenty, it encompasses most of what I remember about my life. Actually, I have large gaps in my memory, so I don’t even remember most of that. If you ask me about the past two years, I’ll probably remember it, but before that there are just snippets. Most of those make me hope nothing ever comes back. I also don’t remember much of February through May, so if I started talking to you beyond pleasantries and became friends with you then, if I tell you the same stories or forget things about you, I’m sorry. I’m pretty sure I was paying attention when it came up the first time.

One thing I do remember from before six years ago is sitting on the floor of the living room with a new issue of Time looking at the cover story about children with bipolar disorder and wondering what it was like to have it. Now it seems like everyone wants me not just to idly imagine, but strive for, life without it. I mean, they don’t say it that way because that would be stupid. You don’t “cure” bipolar disorder.

I’ve said before that I’m not on medication by choice. It works for me. Bipolar disorder generally manifests in cycles and I’ve been pretty aware of when I need to pay closer attention to my moods. This year was different. My least functional time occurred in the spring, as usual, but the intensity of everything was turned up to eleven. As far as anyone can tell so far, it’s probably stress exacerbating it. I started talking to doctors about a month and a half ago. In one appointment, I was asked “Why didn’t you talk to anyone in November, when you first became aware of problems?” I didn’t really answer the question, but it’s because the good reasons to have never outweighed the bad. Ever.

I remember as a teenager being under constant surveillance, ultimately not having a say in my treatment, and most of all, people’s comments. A lot of people didn’t even try to hide that they thought I had no future, that I was a burden on my parents, but the most egregious was from a therapist I was seeing when I was 18. I wasn’t having real problems, just trying to figure out what I was doing with myself over a gap year. I’d seen her before, so she knew my history. She thought I was doing great until I came in having decided to go back to uni. There was an instant switch and she told me I was just going to end up on disability anyways so I shouldn’t take out the loans or go anywhere far away from my parents. I always tell the story about her in outraged tones, but honestly it’s hard to feel shocked by it. It’s more of what I’ve been hearing since I was fourteen, just stated more bluntly. It’s the microaggressions, the constant reminders that my brain is different, that there is something “wrong” with me. I know most of you don’t consciously think of me as being broken or different or any of those things, but when you make comments about how my brain is “interesting,” that I’m just sick, that bipolar disorder or any other of those diagnoses I have is just an affliction, well, it hurts.

Because they’re not these monsters in my brain. They’re part of who I am. Try and separate me from them, and unless you’re related to me, you probably wouldn’t know me. If I had no anxiety, I might be better at social situations, and I might have grown up with more friends I’d originally met in person. If I hadn’t been hospitalised I might have stayed more in touch with the ones I did meet in person, and I probably wouldn’t have gone to uni when I was sixteen. The music I compose would be different, or maybe I wouldn’t compose, because the albums that inspired me meant so much because the feelings that connected me to them would be different. Because of everything that happened as a teenager, I have felt a constant need to leave the country, get as far away from where I grew up as possible. And I did. I feel better outside America. How can these diagnoses not be who I am if they have visibly affected the last six years of my life to the point where I live in a different country?

But still, whenever I bring up a problem remotely related to my mental health, whenever I feel suicidal, or like self-harming, if I tell anyone, the first response is always “See a doctor,” or “take this pill.” When I consider telling anyone anything, I am risking losing the trust and support of everyone around me. People tend to either pull away or get too close when mental health issues come up. I stop being someone who can take care of myself and become someone fragile, someone who needs to be watched.

This doesn’t have to be the response. A few months ago, I came off of a manic episode during which I had cut. I went and knocked on the door of someone I didn’t know all that well. We’d been friendly all that year, but we never specifically hung out together. He was just the closest person I knew who I felt sort of comfortable going to. So I pretty much came into his room crying, and he didn’t suggest I should be medicated or anything. We went for a walk. We bought some frozen pizza for later. That was all he needed to do in the situation to make me think “this is someone awesome who I should make an effort to stay friends with.” Really, I don’t need advice if I bring this stuff up. I don’t need you to tell me things about bipolar disorder or feeling suicidal. Trust me, I know it already. Just be around.

Really, I won’t break.