Here comes the sun…

I can feel it. My concentration is back. I’m focusing more than ever on work. Work is going fantastic. Not worried about my love life anymore. My son is happy. And I am musically driven. Why? Vitamin D. That’s all it is.

It was a beautiful weekend and I went for a long hike in a beautiful state park, went sledding a few times, and got so many things done around the house. I’m almost finished quite a few projects and I couldn’t feel more content. It’s no coincidence that because the sun is out, I’m feeling great.

However, an underlying fear is that I will feel too great in only a few short weeks. I’m nervous about traveling for work in a less than two weeks because well, that irritates my mania, and because I will be extremely relaxed and hyper. There’s no other explanation for it. Meds haven’t changed, and I’m doing the same exact things.

These are reasons why being in a relationship for me right now is just not right. I can predict my moods when I feel the subtle changes, but I will never be able to entirely control them. The sun is a love-hate relationship for me. I am accepting when he is there, but I’m pissed when he makes me ecstatic.

This is when I become annoyed with the fact that I have this disease and I can’t do much about getting rid of it. The shit ain’t going anywhere!

I have to remember that I’ve come a long way and to just enjoy the moments I have that are truly wonderful.

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Triggers

I wish I had an easy button for life. I’m not really quite sure what it would fix or do in a situation such as mine, but the thought of clearing away all problems and having one solution enlightens me. If only I could cleanse the myriad of racing thoughts I had each day and do the tai chi way of moderation and self discipline so eloquently 24/7, maybe just maybe I’d have a chance of ultimate stability. God help me. God help us all.

It’s little things that will set me off. I will be in my zen zone and someone will blatantly piss me off. It’s like some evil being purposely placed them in my path to completely fuck with me. And that unnecessary evil sits back and laughs as I lose my mind. But it’s not always that I will be set off the wrong way. You see, as a person with bipolar, I can go off in any direction. That’s right. Manic (up), Depressed (down), Mixed (a mixture of both), Hypomanic (a little up, but not too up), and Slightly Depressed. Let me explain a trigger.

You walk into your home, place your keys on the counter, and flick on the light switch. Yup. That’s what happens in my body when a trigger happens. Some little bastard lemming turns on the switch. He’s always there. Just waiting. Hoping that he gets a sign from the crazy gods to turn me on. And he does a great job of it. But my mind is learning to put him away. Since he’s always there, he beats me to it most of the time. Unfortunately.

For the average Joe, getting up each day to brush their teeth, take a shower, cook, do laundry, pay bills, etc., etc., those are normal  “have-to-do’s-whether-you-like-them-or-not”. For someone who suffers from bipolar, schizophrenia, paranoia, clinical depression, SADD, or any other mental illness. These are tough. These are as difficult as a Harvard math problem given to a 2-year old is still teething. Then, if not done in moderation, for someone like myself, one of the mood swings is possible to occur.

Let’s take this for example. Here are two triggers for my mania. Traveling from east to west coast and exercise. Everyone knows that exercise is healthy. That exercise is wonderful. But is there a such thing as too much exercise? Well, of course. I learned that I cannot work out more than 3 times a week. And in those periods, I should not work out for mo than 1 hour. My personality is an addictive one, but I have to push myself to not do so. Rigorous exercise can allow someone to become fatigued or sweat or even just feel exhausted. But not me! Oh no, rigorous exercise causes me to have MORE energy. Same with traveling from the east coast to the west coast. The time difference sparks up a fire in my ass and I become as manic as I have ever been. Frivolous spending, barely sleeping three to four hours a night, and a sex drive that needs to be tamed.

Triggers for depression. A rainy day. Menstruation. Or even something as trivial as, “Tara, your hair isn’t looking too good today.” I never know exactly when these triggers will hit. But they do. And when they happen, they’re not the prettiest.

Immediately after the light switch is turned on I become either angry or fast talking. These are the mood swings that people probably think can happen in anyone and that those who have mood swings (anyone, with or without a mental illness) has bipolar. Not true. These mood swings last longer. Depression can last for a few weeks for me. And mania has lasted even up to one year for me. That’s a lot of out of control.

I have learned that I need to fight these urges to turn constantly. And this my friends is why bipolar can take a toll on relationships and destroy people’s lives. Many never learn how to take control of these mood swings. Sometimes it’s almost as if I’m being chauffeured around with no say. When you think about it, it’s really sad. Most bipolars are incredibly talented and creative, but when there is no real stability – many lives can end in death.

Just yesterday I was having a great day and then I met up with a very handsome guy. We were having a great time, sitting around, relaxing and he grabbed me to kiss me. It was a fantastic kiss and I held back. I said to myself, “Tara, don’t lose control. It’s okay. It’s good. He doesn’t need to know that you’re fighting every single hormone and feeling in your body. Your heart doesn’t need to start racing. Stop thinking. Just be okay. Don’t like it. Don’t like it. Oh, but his lips taste so good. Resist. Resist the urge. Oh, but his hair is so smooth. Nope, you don’t like it.” And then his teeth bit playfully into my bottom lip and his tongue caressed my ear and I was done. Next thing you know I was almost fully undressed and I realized…

NO! I HAVE TO STOP DAMNIT. I cannot keep going. I politely said to him, “I refuse to be a tease. I just have rules. And we already broke them. I don’t kiss the first time.” He wanted to continue going, but he also understood. The chemistry was so amazing that the bad angel on my shoulder kept pestering me to continue. What should I care? But I realized if I did go any further, I would have a high that was uncontrollable and then I would just regret and pity myself the next morning.

It’s hard enough to control yourself with everyday emotions as a stable human being. But doing so with bipolar emotions is fucking hard. On top of everything else in my life. I counted 6 side jobs that I do yesterday during the Super Bowl. That means I am a single mother with a full-time job, a music career I am pursuing, and six side jobs. My life is complicated enough that I don’t need to complicate it any further. Life is simple; my mind complicates it.

Screw these triggers. The weather is shitty enough today and my depression is beginning to lurk. I am going to take a deep breath and hope I’ll be okay.

Mood Swing: Depressed to Hypo

My son looked at me during my fifth hour of cleaning today and said, “Mama, you’re coo-coo for cocoa puffs!” Usually, my cleaning spouts run for about 30-45 minutes each day. However, in my earlier post today, I was feeling down and there are only a few healthier ways to get past it. One is to dive into my creative state (songwriting or music itself and even now cooking or chanting), but today I opted for cleaning. I needed to do some anyway – some super early spring cleaning let’s say..

I began after 3pm and went until about 30 minutes ago.. I cleaned for nine hours. I went through every album I own and my record player was tired around 8pm. Let me tell you, our apartment is spotless. I mopped, scrubbed, swept, washed, picked, dusted, re-organized, disposed of, moved around, hung up, unpacked, cleaned, folded, and dried everything in each room. I have one thing left to do–RE-fold a couple of drawers in my room.

Now I’m slightly hypomanic. But hey, it’s better than being in a dark place.

Good night, world.

Stability: The Ultimate Goal

Having a floor and a ceiling is the best I can do for my mood swings as bipolar is still not a curable disease. That’s what we all strive for–stability. Well, attainable stability, that is. However, controlling my moods or outbursts are not as easy for me as they are for most. I mean sometimes I want to scream at the top of my lungs, but all I can do is grab the nearest pillow and scream about 50% of my actual potential with my dynamic vocal chords, and dig my nails into its backside.

The problem with medication is finding the right cocktail. There’s a struggle to find that perfect balance of what works, especially when you’re throwing added stress, weather changes, traveling mania, and hormones into the mix. Always work to be done getting the dosages on point. Nothing is perfect in medication.

However, taking more vitamins, exercising only the right amount (because if you exercise too much that can throw you into a state of mania or hypomania–even more dangerous), not eating like shit, blah blah blah.. The list is endless. It totally fucking blows.

Most people don’t “understand” what bipolar is in the first place. They think if someone has drastic mood changes, then they’re “bipolar”. I hate how often people throw the words “bipolar” and “crazy” around. If people were more conscious about it like they are with a word like “retard”. Thank goodness I’m over being too sensitive about it. Because people constantly will say, “My boss is such a bitch. She’s totally bipolar. One minute she’s happy and the next, she’s totally insane. Ugh. She needs to go to the loony bin.”

Statements such as those can be tough to hear, not because my feelings are hurt, but because I instantly want to defend all those who suffer from a mental illness and advocate for not categorizing others who you just don’t like their daily attitudes with us! Our problem is real and a chemical imbalance. It’s not just something we can control. People take abnormalities like diabetes and heart disease seriously. What’s different about bipolar and schizophrenia?

Something I struggle with the entire stability goal is once I reach it and I’m at a good state of mind, there’s only one word to describe it. BORING. For many years I was accustomed to the ups and downs. I became dependent upon my own personal life drama. I accepted the madness. Once I began to learn the cues and signs of the arising episode, I started approaching them differently. And there birthed stability. But damn, did I become nostalgic for the brilliant insanity!

At different points in my illness I came to love the “crazy” so to speak. I knew I had a choice to make once I had my son. I chose to love him as best as I could. And with him, the motivation to create music really rang. But some days I have an itch for the old Tara. The one who could snap her fingers and had energy for days upon end when she needed it. What I don’t miss are the crashes. I do miss the attention I received for my lack of maturity whenever I would helplessly lean on self-mutilation as a solution. I don’t miss the scars.

I guess there are demons inside of me. Will I be able to fight them ever? Properly?

Xx, Trin


Here’s a song I wrote that most think is about indecisive love. But really, it’s about my life.. and how I couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to stay alive. It’s one of the first songs I wrote and this is me and my band covering it. Click here to listen.