We Lost a Friend Today (Trigger Alert)

This is an especially tough day. Let me paint you a clear picture. I wake up an hour after my morning call still with fever and congestion. The flu is literally kicking me in the ass. I got some disturbing news about someone I was once interested in. And I just continue to fight through. In Buddhism, we are grateful for obstacles, because the more challenges you have in your life – you are not stagnant. I have for sure not plateaued by any means in regards to today. That’s for damn sure.

When I walked into the break room at work this morning at 10:30 exactly someone came up to me and gave terrible, terrible news. Her relative committed suicide. Meanwhile, I didn’t exactly know this girl. I never met her. But I knew And you all knew her, too. She was one of us. One of our family. She suffered from bipolar (and psychosis).

Over the last few months my dear friend at work had invested time and trust into our talks about her relative. She is someone who isn’t like us and just needed to vent for the most part. I was there for her and gave her my advice as someone who has been through and is currently going through the troublesome times. A few months ago she told me that Natalie was doing well. When she described her current situation I instantly felt in my gut that Natalie was far from doing well. She was manic. And what happens after mania? A downfall. I predicted it and knew in my heart that she wasn’t okay, but never do I imagine that someone will fall down so hard. I know it happens and I’ve seen it happen. But I always want to have the benefit of the doubt that the disease is not as controlling as it is. But it fucking is! It pains me to say that. At least it is when you’re not receiving the proper care and you don’t WANT TO receive it either.

Last Friday she was going through a time that I grew familiar to years ago—before the awareness, before the therapy, before all of the hard work put into my life, before the sobriety, before the correct support—she was depressed. The depression that can only be described to the sane as a deep, dark hole full of solid nothingness. Where no light shines, because it’s too far into the earth and where our own light can’t even shine because it’s too hidden buried under any sort of stableness we never knew. The darkness that keeps us awake at night and wakes us up in the morning. Mornings where life is the most scary monster we could ever imagine and a smile is only a mask we were so that the sane can stop asking us questions.

I knew her feelings all too well that when I heard the news today I cried not because I felt for her family or the fact that it is a true tragedy. I cried because I know what went through her mind when she jumped in front of the train. It brought up the feelings that I had almost nine years ago. The night when I swallowed 60 xanax and somehow was jolted to a reality of pain. When my boyfriend at the time called me a selfish bitch and hung up on me and never spoke to me again. The Christmas I ended up in the hospital eating coal (what an ironic twist in fate) singing Amy Winehouse’s Rehab to cheer myself up in front of the nurses because if not I was going to really go mental. It was the day when my sister saved me because she happened to answer the phone.

But she didn’t have that. Natalie was so dark into the hole and somehow the universe was able to swallow her whole. The pain I have when I think of how much we all could have been there to save her, posing as her safety net with open arms because we understood her sadness.

It’s a sad day in my world today because her light is brighter than ever in this world since she has passed.

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Chaos is simple.

Constantly I hear the words ‘unconventional’ and ‘crazy’ fly out people’s mouths and being used in the same sentence with my name or some pronoun to replace it. But for me, chaos is simple. Difficult is easy. Complex makes sense. It’s structure, stability, and sanity that are a struggle. Why? Is it because I’m a lefty? And I think with my right side of the brain. Or maybe it’s because I’m allergic to chocolate and strawberries. Oh no, maybe it’s because I’m a hybrid. Nope, I’m pretty sure I know why.

I mean, let’s face it – bipolar people strive on drama and chaos. Not that I’m into drama per se, but I need some sort of drama in my life. And if that means waiting until the due date to pay a bill or scheduling three events in one night – that’s my fix. That’s what I need. It makes sense to me to feel overwhelmed than to actually live life like a normal human being.

My sister asked me today why I always wait until I have 3-4 loads of laundry to do instead of just doing it once a week. I told her because that’s what makes sense to me. Of course, it’s not logical to most people – but it makes fucking sense to my brain. I didn’t need to defend myself, but she always feels the need to make me feel incompetent even though she isn’t trying to.. She’s telling me what she believes is best. And maybe that’s why I become uber sensitive to others’ words. Because what they feel and think is best isn’t what I think. My perspective is skewed. Better yet, my perspective works for me. Someone like me.

Think about it, if my normal is a rollercoaster for most, then wouldn’t their normal be my rollercoaster? If we could just reverse things and look at everyone’s views in a more empathetic fashion, we would judge less and accept more. Living in a world where my norm is the irregular, I have always thought that my brilliance was something amazing. But really, it’s just our normal. I can’t explain why I feel the way I do, so I shouldn’t need to feel as though what I do feel is eccentric. It’s just different.

I wouldn’t go too far in saying that my brilliance is sheer genius, because it’s far from it. But for me, walking into a room and creating a catchy song on the spot out of a few ideas someone throws at me is simple. For others, they would need years. Looking at a piece of wood I can create a beautiful artistic piece in my mind and go about it and possibly finish it within a few hours. For others, they would need weeks. What I get done in a week, most would accomplish in months. So for me, chaos is simple. I always see a way, a solution, an intricate, yet doable path. For a straight line with structure, I see boring. Slit my wrist now.

Life is an empty canvas I want to fill with color. I don’t wish to take a beautiful painting and cover it with white paint.

Stability = No drama = Boring = Missing Something

Once you are diagnosed with a mental illness, you constantly find yourself trying to heal yourself or rid yourself of something. Picture yourself sick with the flu and vomiting out the bad and the next day just feeling much, much better.

vomit

Well, it doesn’t work like that.

Especially when something’s fucked up in your head. In my case, most of the real hardcore changes came during sobriety.

My first sponsor told me, “The drama will cease at some point and you’re going to miss it.” Smart woman because 1) I didn’t think I had drama! (little did I realize, or does anyone realize when they live a drama-filled life?) 2) she was totally right, I do miss it. As strange as it might sound, sometimes I try to find a reason to cry. I don’t know if that’s a crazy-person thing or just a person-crazy thing. Tonight as I lay in bed and my head is spinning around a million and one ideas (racing thoughts), I think to myself, maybe I’m sad. And I tried to find some tears, and instead all there was was empty.

insomnia

Am I depressed I thought? No, I had a pretty great day. Maybe I’m manic, that’s why I can’t sleep. I mean, maybe those are possibilities, but I began to dig deeper and what I realized was that I don’t have any drama. I haven’t had true drama in a very long time. Granted, there are things that happen in my band from time to time and at work someone may piss me off, sometimes I get a call from a 1-866 number about a debt I didn’t pay off years ago that is now haunting, but when push comes to shove, my life is a million times better than it ever was years ago.

That can definitely say one thing about me – my life was one fucked up mess if what it is now is heaven compared to let’s say 2007?

However, it does tell me that I am maturing somewhat. As I sit here typing away furiously, my son is passed out snoring next to me, and my stomach hurts because all I put in my stomach was a slice of pepperoni pizza (too lazy to cook tonight), I realize that I am doing something healthy. I am feeling like a complete and total shit, regardless of how things really, truly are (aka fantastic) and I am writing about it. Blogging is nothing but cathartic… for me. In the past, a moment like this probably would have never presented itself because my life was a constant ball of drama, but if I did feel an unknown emotion and didn’t quite know how to handle it – I would cut. I would slice. I would punch my hand into a wall. I would scream. I would yell. I would cry. I would drink. I would smoke. I would take a bunch of pills. But I don’t do it anymore. I write.

Why is it that with the absence of drama, I am going stir crazy? It’s the same type of feeling when you’ve been locked in your house because you haven’t escaped because you’re either broke or snowed in or sick. It’s like my body craves it. My mind is addicted to it. I find myself almost shoplifting from time to time little things from the store so I can get some sort of a high. The void of drama is hurting a piece of me. The insanity part of my being needs to be fed and I am not quite sure how to rid of this feeling. Yes, writing will only hold me over for a few hours until I doze off and wake up tomorrow to the hullabaloo I have created in my life of work and music. More importantly, how do I handle these emotions when I am older and not full of energy? What do I do then?

How do I channel my nostalgia for drama into a healthy appetite for sanity?

Bipolar Relationships: Joint Custody

Joint Custody is a court order whereby custody of a child is awarded to both parties. In joint custody both parents are custodial parents and neither parent is a non-custodial parent, or, in other words, the child has two custodial parents.

That’s a nice way of putting it. Here is the real definition:

Joint Custody is a way for two parents to argue constantly over who is doing more and who the other believes is more happy. The pinnacle of these fights usually begin around tax season time when one parent believes they did more for the other. The time when these fights seem to dissolve is around the child’s birthday when the two must unite in some way to have their child at their happiest moments. Both parents whole-heartedly believe that what they are doing individually is best for the child. Both parents answer to single parent issues and know that even though their child may suffer from time to time, everyone is happiest apart.

For the past two and a half years I have been a single mother not only on paper, but also in real life. In some fantasy world my baby daddy believes this means parenthood is a constant competition. fatherTonight I put a stop (at least for some time) to this ridiculousness. Basically, he was complaining because our son had the same sweatshirt on two school days in a row. OK. I can see that if you lived in a white picket fence world this is fine. However, I don’t. We don’t. I live in the city with sky-rocket high rent, bills galore, and in some months paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. Other months, it’s wonderful. It just all depends on what consequence my new self must serve because of the madness I lived for over a decade. AKA bills I forgot about six years ago and now they found me. Yup. Happens all the time.

I had to take a deep breath, because Mercury Retrograde has really gotten to me today and I responded with, “Some days I can’t wake up. It literally takes every single part of me to move out of my bed, dress Kai for school, pack him lunch, dress myself, and drive him to school on time.” I think back to a few years ago where my structure was completely out of whack and I couldn’t even do that. Baby Daddy hasn’t resided with me in so long I guess he had forgotten. I needed to remind him. Now in a “normal” relationship’s custody battles and conversations, this would be possibly insane to hear. But for me, I have come a long way.

Only a few years back I didn’t do my laundry. Still I struggle with that. Easy = struggle. Difficult = all too familiar pain I can deal with. I’m unsure of why that is exactly with me. Instead of being hard on myself and constantly thinking I’m a fuck-up and a loser, I need to pat myself on the back and reward myself for the smaller things in life. Because all of these small responsibilities add up to a big deal.

pat myself

Setting healthy boundaries with those around me, people I love and people I don’t, is so important with my mental illness. With an illness like bipolar where you just shoot up and down like a jumping bean, I need to structure my life in schedule and in relationships.

When he responded back to me he was quite calm and said that he did forget and he doesn’t understand. He only understands reality. That pained me to hear because even after all of these years he still doesn’t get it. I don’t know why I honestly believe that people without the illness will ever fucking get it. Because they will never. Until you go through darkness and euphoria, you will never truly know what it feels like to have this curse blessing disease. He did promise, however, to be more understanding and more supportive of me emotionally. He said he will always be there for me. That made me tear up a little bit and almost miss him. Nope. Can’t go down that path again. I said, “Thank you,” and hung up the phone.

I will continue to try my hardest as a single, bipolar mother, but it’s never going to be easy. Ever. I’ve accepted that. I wish there was a manual of some sort.

manual*Sigh* Good night, guys. It’s been a tough week. I’m glad it’s almost over.