Saturday, 3 December 2016

If I Could Schedule Happy, I Would

If I could schedule happiness I would.

If getting happy was as easy as scheduling my hair appointment or getting my teeth cleaned, I’d be the happiest person on earth.

Actually, it’s not that I’m NOT happy. I am. I’m perhaps the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. It’s this damn bipolar that’s throwing a damper on my happy-fest.

This week has been difficult for me. I’ve been disappointed each morning that I open my eyes. That is to say, I am disappointed that I wake up anxious and depressed. I read in a blog somewhere that waking up to a panic attack is like waking up to a punch in the stomach. I can’t describe it better, so I won’t.

I am disappointed and frustrated that this episode of illness in my life is cutting into my happiness. It is draining me of fun and joy and that hurts. There is a difference in the me that you may see out and about and the me going on inside my head and heart. There is nothing sadder to me than acting out joyful moments instead of feeling them.

That makes me angry. I am not comfortable with anger and bitterness. Neither one is a default emotion for me. I truly am happy-go-lucky. I preach compassion and forgiveness. In fact, I may even let go of anger a little too soon sometimes because I don’t like how it feels. I’m not afraid to feel it, I just don’t like it hanging around for too long.

So, this week has been tough. My disappointment, anger, and frustration at myself, at the world and at medical science has made me very “grinchy” right now and that, my friends, is unacceptable in the long term for me.

Trust me, if I could simply “schedule a day of happiness”, I’m fairly sure I would have had this depression thing cleared up years ago.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Sick Enough

It has been a long time since I have posted on my blog. I need to change that.

Sometime sharing is difficult. And sometimes, I may share for the wrong reasons.

What do I mean by that?

The wrong reason is when I want desperately – too desperately – to be believed. But, I realize it’s NOT my job to convince anyone that I am sick. It’s not my job to justify or prove that my bipolar, especially at this very moment in time, is unbearable. It’s not my job to prove that the only reason I can get up in the morning is thanks to a cocktail of medication that allows me these seemingly false, but necessary nonetheless moments of strength.

When able, I MUST participate in life. Participating in life is part of my treatment. I celebrate that. I need that. I get tired sometimes of having to – or feeling like I must – look or sound a certain way to earn the “green light” of being believed or being sick enough. I am tired of thinking I must give off visual cues so that people feel comfortable with believing I am sick enough.

By who’s standards, I wonder?

The moments I can laugh with my family or joke with my friends I hold on to because the next moment may find me plunging into darkness. Such is the unpredictability of a bipolar depressive episode. If you see me smiling or hear me chattering away, recognize that I am simply managing my symptoms in a less grueling way in that moment. Be happy for me if you can.

I am sick now. Right now, I am not able to “power through” or “fight off” this episode. A healthy diet and a good dose of exercise will not make me well. They may help, but they won’t fix it. Lighting scented candles and meditating are also helpful, but not the answer. Sadly, the chemicals inside my brain that govern my illness are in charge and I can manage in whatever way I need to.

No one chooses mental illness. It is not the “new black” or “on trend”. But neither is it something to apologize for. There is no shame in this illness. My bipolar disorder won’t look like anyone else’s. It presents differently in everyone. For me, sadness is only a tiny sliver. It is so much more and sometimes it stops me in my tracks. Times like right now.

It is in these times that I must draw on my own words when I am advocating for mental illness. It is not just for me. It is also for anyone else who feels that they don’t have a voice.

There is no shame. Stigma has no power here.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Week Two - New Meds

Week Two – new meds.

What a ride. And not in a fun “Yay let’s go for a ride!” ride. More like, “wow, this ride is nowhere NEAR as fun as I thought it was gonna be” ride Or “Maybe you better bring me a bucket” kind of ride.

I mentioned in my last post that I have received my new, proper diagnosis of bipolar type 2 and I sincerely thought that I would be at the point of acceptance by now. Right? I mean, it’s been two weeks for crying out loud. I should just acknowledge, accept and manage. Trouble is, my body has been less than cooperative with this new normal and has been quite clear it’s not on board yet.

It’s hard to describe how I’m feeling, so let’s just say I feel one part hungover, one part weighted under a hot, wet blanket, one part confused, another part fatigued beyond belief and finally yet another part thrilled to pieces that I am potentially going to get this right.

It’s difficult work getting well, but I am on it. I just feel like my brain is a little further ahead than the rest of my bod and it’s getting annoying.

The goal of course, is to align both so that I can live with my diagnosis in some form of perfect harmony. Bipolar for me is like that 80s sitcom neighbour who always barges in through the kitchen door and raids the fridge then offers up unsolicited advice. They drive you nuts, but you love them anyway and can’t imagine life without their presence in it.

Yeah. That’s what it’s like.

Next time they barge in, they better bring a bucket.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

I wasn't ready to talk. Today I am.

I didn’t feel much like talking earlier this week. There were a few things I had to sit with first.

I’ve spent a large chunk of my life living with a diagnosis that didn’t quite fit the bill. I’ve suspected for quite some time, as have others close to me, but I was satisfied living with what I thought I knew and managing the best way that I knew how.

Still, something wasn’t quite right.

If you have any kind of mental illness diagnosis, you know what I mean when you get tired of going to doctors and tired of trying new medications and sketchy side effects. All true.

I’ve been of the thinking that if it works well enough that will do. It hasn’t been working well enough for a long time now and after careful reflection and consideration, I went back for a full on psychiatric assessment on Tuesday and the verdict came in.

You know when you hear something you are expecting, but you’re surprised to hear it anyway? Yeah. That’s pretty much how I felt.

I am bipolar.

There, I said it. It’s ok. It’s good to know. I am still ruminating on what it means and how things may change for me or for my family. I brought up this concern with a kind friend who gave me some good advice.

He told me that while the diagnosis is new, I’m not. I’m still the me I’ve been and can only get better. In fact, he told me that I’ve always been who I am and the doctors are just catching up with me now!


True or not, I liked the way it sounded and it took some of this confusing weight from my shoulders. Now I am managing new medication and enjoying (not) the pleasant (gross) side effects that come with changing up what you have been doing medicinally for years, but I’ve got this.

Let’s Talk is a wonderful initiative, how about keeping the conversation going?