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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Falling Off Horses

So I have bipolar disorder.  

It's not official yet but today I get my full diagnosis.

It all started a long time ago.  I had depression as a child which would be intermittent with episodes of hyperactivity, insomnia, and periods of great creativity. 

And then sometimes I was just a nasty little fuck.

And through the years as it was untreated I became nastier and nastier.

At first it was confined to my parents.  No matter how much I went to church or volunteered or prayed, or was smacked around or put in the corner or sent to my room, I was a mouthy little shithead to them.  Usually over absolutely nothing, too. Like my mom wearing olive green or my dad for just existing.

And then more people became exposed to it.  As I got older it got me in serious trouble as I would lash out in romantic relationships, professional relationships, and sometimes at complete strangers. Sometimes it was legitimate, because I felt put upon. Sometimes it was completely irrational, because they were there to scream at.

Now some people really are just mouthy little shitheads. We've all met one or two. But the girl who was told by her first grade teacher that she was the most polite child in the class, the girl who volunteered with the mentally challenged for fun, the girl who used her mom's butt as a pillow while watching TV? She wasn't just a mouthy little shithead.

It's not the real me when I'm ranting and raving waving around a broomstick in the front lawn at 3am.  

I don't think that's the real anybody, to be honest.

Why wasn't I treated sooner? 

Well, I went into therapy at age 14 because of the anger issues. At age 15 they gave me anti-depressants that made me feel worse, so I would hide them in bowls under my bed.  By age 16 I couldn't even function because my mind was racing too fast.

Then I was hospitalized while they got my meds stabilized.

But the meds stopped working two years later and while I spent two years trying to find a new combination, I just gave up.  I was nineteen years old and wondering if maybe the doctors were all quacks.

I still felt really badly though. I had panic attacks on a regular basis.  They were so bad that by age 20 I was no longer leaving my bedroom except to use the bathroom.

Things got better eventually. I eventually found work, a boyfriend who put up with my crazy, and learned that I didn't have to hide who I was around people. I gained friends. I figured life was OK, because I was out of the bedroom and doing things without ruining my life.

But ever since 2010 I've been envisioning killing myself. And it won't go away.

But I'm still here. I sought help in 2010, have been in therapy ever since. But it wasn't until this year that I accepted the bipolar diagnosis, or was courageous enough to try to stabilize my meds again.

What really drove me to accept what was happening to me was when my symptoms worsened in the last year and became more severe. I didn't think that could happen but it does.

What really pisses me off is that when my symptoms worsened last fall, I was at the peak of taking good care of myself. Diet, exercise, sleep, everything was balanced and perfect. I thought I could prevent this from happening to myself by taking good care of myself. And since then I've been trying to get back on track, but I have times where the symptoms are so bad that I just say, "Fuck it!" and lay on the couch. 

I wrote this earlier on Facebook:

I love Cheetos.

I also love pie.

I don't like feeling out of breath.

Sometimes just sitting down is hard because I feel anxious or lonely.

Sometimes there is so much emotional pressure in my chest.

We all know the story. Girl eats veggies and lean meat and suddenly loves sacrificing time spent not doing jack to do Zumba videos and lift weights and suddenly she's a goddamned hero.

I've been that goddamned hero many many times, just for having the right hip to waist ratio or finding a temporary insane love of kale.

It's not that I don't know what I'm supposed to do. It's that one day, eventually, I scream, "Fuck this shit!" and instead of it being a one time thing it becomes a never again thing. I flop on the couch. I continue to flop on the couch.

I'm sure lots of people flop on the couch. And I'm sure lots of people look at all the good habits they have and whine, "Why, why, why is this more important than just laying here until I fall asleep?"

Because eventually you're mad that the scissors aren't in the scissors drawer and that you're back at square one.


My point is that as my meds stabilize, I want to get back into a better routine, but I keep failing at it over and over.

I don't care that I am overweight. I look in the mirror and I'm fine with me. I like my before self. This isn't a looks thing for me.

My main concern is more of a "take care of yourself like a fucking adult" sort of thing.

Does it feel good to sit on the couch and eat chips and fast food night after night after night because, "FUCK IT!" everything else involves some slight effort? FUCK NO. It feels like punishment. 

"This is what you get for not getting to the store. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? Eat another chip, girlfrang!"

Chips are good.  I'm not going to lie. But so is real, organic, fresh produce drizzled in spices and herbs. Couch time is good, but so is dancing. 

I have a feeling I can do this, if only I could get back on the horse a little faster after a bout of "fuck it."



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