Out of the Darkness

Ending the stigma against mental illness is a big part of my blogging.  It is why I share my own diagnosis and feature other people’s stories of mental illness; it is why I co-host a separate blog, Letters to the Mind, where other people can post their stories of living with mental illness.

If you’ve been following my blog for over a year you know that we suffered a great loss to suicide in August of 2015, which lead to a poem about that loss, three articles, and the #ASKFORHELP poetry challenge. One of my firm beliefs, as someone with a mental illness, and as someone who has frequently felt there was no way out other than death, I believe that Isolation Kills! And the only way I know to end the isolation is to talk, share, and educate those around us so that the fear for mental illness and those with it alleviates and we can become embraced by the rest of the world.

#askforhelp | Memee's Musings

I am sad to report that last month we lost another young person close to us to suicide, 14-year-old Nina.  It breaks my heart and indeed makes me angry that we live in a world where children are not carefree, where they have enormous stresses and not enough support systems (or fear sharing their struggles) that the only way they can end their pain is through suicide.

Suicide changes the lives of 1 in 5 people. That stat alone means this is common.  There is no reason whatsoever to justify families believing that struggles with suicidal thoughts, actions, successes or failures should be taboo and kept as “dirty little secrets.”

Yesterday I participated in our community’s Out of the Darkness walk hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  I didn’t like being a part of the community, but it is a truth and my need to raise awareness to the prevalence of the problem is so much more important than my own personal comfort.  I cried.  I wasn’t alone though. Everyone there had lost someone or made attempts themselves.  We formed a team in honor of Baily and Nina and raised several hundred dollars toward  raising awareness, education, and the pursuit to end the stigma.

We all wore beads representing our loss.  I wore four bead strands.  Three for losses of friends/relatives and one for having attempted suicide myself.  Once we began walking the tears subsided and the mission began.  I will definitely do the walk again.

The first Out of the Darkness walk had 4000.  Now a quarter of a million people walk!  If you have lost someone or struggle with mental illness, or simply want to help raise awareness, WALK.  And support those who walk.  Thank you!

Bipolar Be Gone!

Hello, my friends!

You’ve been ever so patient with me (I think).  I mean, I haven’t gotten any hate mail from anyone for disappearing on you for so long.  It’s been four and a half months since my last post, the erotic flash fiction story entitled, In Our Little Yellow Tent.  It has been seven months since I was posting regularly… April of 2016!  I cannot say time flies or that it got away from me.  I wrote only one piece in May called Simply put that explained why I had been absent for a while:  I moved from California where I wanted to be, back to Washington, where I didn’t want to be; however, my mental health necessitated it. (If curious you can learn why in my posts entitled, Agonizing Turmoil and Persona Non Grata. But that wasn’t the big thing keeping me away from blogging, the big thing was depression and I wrote about how I was feeling at that time.  Well it never got any better. In fact, it only got worse.

This week I feel I have turned a corner.  You see, when I moved to California last year I went off my bipolar medication.  Not because I wanted to or thought I could. I just failed to seek out a new doctor.  Perhaps subliminally I felt that it wouldn’t last… the hopes and dreams I had about my future.  I mean, never in my life have things worked out the way I hoped they would.  But really, let me be honest here, rationally I know that is true for everyone.  But that is the thing with depression and especially bipolar depression.  It sucks everything out of you; literally everything.  Anyway, I started back on meds last month and they are finally kicking in.  I am also taking 600 mg of St. John’s Wort daily and use essential oil aromatherapy when I need an extra boost.

To read more about my bipolar journey please visit my bipolar posts category.

Rather than going into a long-winded account of how it all works I want to share with you, reblog if you will, from a wonderful writer who is clear and succinct (unlike me!) And although she lives in England we walk a similar life path.  I followed her blog regularly and when others wanted to understand bipolar better, I would send them to her blog. Sadly, she took it down many months ago.  Tonight I found a wonderful blog post she wrote about bipolar depression in my email and that is what prompted me to write to you this evening. Everything she says in this post is true of me except for the hallucinations.  Thank goodness I don’t have that on top of everything else.  Don’t worry though, I do plan on being here all week.  And have set the goal to begin doing at least one Flash Fiction story a month for the year 2017!  See, I am feeling hopeful once again and ready to go!  Or maybe I’m just hitting a short term manic phase.  That is, after all, entirely possible.  But I hope not!  Think good thoughts for me!

So with no further ado, I introduce you to my fellow Bipolar sufferer, Brighton Bipolar:

Bipolar: Depression

by brightonbipolar

Depression means different things to different people and everyone experiences their own personal low points with varying symptoms. As a Bipolar sufferer, my own struggles with depression are probably very similar to those many other people have to endure on a daily basis. For those without first hand knowledge of how difficult it can be to function in a depressed state, I hope my words can give a bit of insight into the darkness that clouds us both mentally and physically.

For me, depression can come on in waves, like a tidal change, slowly getting progressively stronger and threatening to drown me at any moment. One minute everything seems fine and the next, an all enveloping fog descends, giving the world around me a grey tinge and a sense of foreboding. It’s not always something I can predict or prepare for – Some days I simply wake up to find everything around me has slightly changed, like the world has tilted and I’m still upright wondering where the dizzy, sick feeling In the pit of my stomach has come from.

My Whole Body Aches – Depression can actually manifest itself as physical pain. It feels like I’ve run a marathon with every inch of my body aching, which makes walking around or even standing up very difficult. This is often accompanied by migraines or headaches, adding to the feeling of being completely drained and not wanting to move. Symptoms can be very similar to those of severe Influenza.

Chronic Fatigue – Coupled with the aches and pains, comes the overwhelming tiredness. Like being totally drained of energy to the point where simply getting out of bed seems too exhausting a prospect to even consider. All I want to do is sleep (during these times I sleep a minimum of roughly 16 hours per 24 hour period) and every day tasks like taking a shower or getting dressed are impossible without assistance (my husband has washed and dressed me many times over the years, when I simply don’t possess the strength).

The need for Isolation – Lacking energy and being in physical pain isn’t exactly conducive to socialising. At these times I have a desperate need to be on my own and fear leaving the house or having to interact with anyone. It’s almost like a phobia and the thought of going ‘Outside’ away from the safety of my home is terrifying.

Uncontrollable Emotions – When in a depressive phase my emotions are in chaos and I have very little control over them or how they manifest themselves. This results in violent, unexplainable anger at times or more often, uncontrollable bouts of crying. I don’t mean a few tears – but gut wrenching sobbing that can go on for hours without reason or warning.

Suicidal Thoughts – It’s during these dark times that I find myself wondering if the struggle is worth it. The idea of ending the mental and physical pain becomes a very seductive one and a lot of my time alone is spent planning and organising my own ‘Exit Plan’.

Self-esteem and Self-worth Simply Vanish – There seems to be no reason for my existence and I can see no positive aspects of my life at all. In my mind, I’m a burden on those around me and cause everyone nothing but heartache. Looking through the fog of depression I see (what I feel at the time is) the reality of my situation – I am universally despised by everyone and my life has no value. At times, I’m overcome by paranoid thoughts which can take the form of either aural or visual hallucinations, confirming in my mind, my way of thinking.

These depressive phases can, for me, last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks or when in a state of ‘Rapid Cycling’ I can jump from depression to mania several times in one day. Trying to ‘Mask’ or ‘Hide’ my symptoms is very stressful, tiring and all consuming – I don’t doubt that the effort used to try to appear ‘Normal’ contributes to my irregular mood swings and general exhaustion.

No matter what others may tell you, depression is a serious condition which should always be treated with respect and understanding. Living with the symptoms can be as debilitating as those of many severe physical illnesses and should never be taken lightly.

brightonbipolar | June 14, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Tags: Bipolar, depressed, depression, mental health, symptoms | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p66ClX-2f

Original Blog entitled Bipolar: Depressed © BrightonBipolar, 2015-2017 All rights reserved.
Bipolar Be Gone! post © Memee’s Musings, 2016-2018. All rights reserved.

Simply put

So I have been back in Washington for just under a month now and I am not doing well at all. I am physically and emotionally exhausted all of the time. I have zero interest in blogging and make zero effort at seeing those people that I “missed so much” when I was in California. I have done very little school work and my new job hasn’t begun yet.

I found out I will have orientation next week, on Tuesday, for the new job and how I feel today is, “Geez, can I even hold a job? I’m so lost. Whatever, guess we’ll find out.”

So, yeah, that’s why I haven’t been around. I’m in the doldrums and wishing I could just go back to sleep. Second-guessing the smartness of coming back here (or lack of smarts). Simply put, I am not happy.

I wish that it didn’t cost an unreasonable amount to live there. I wish I could have stayed. But working 40+ hours a week and only being able to afford a tiny room in someone’s house didn’t make sense. Not when I was on a course toward putting my life together and making something of myself. And I couldn’t stay where I was, that was tearing me apart mentally.

Now I am just totally off course and without direction. I don’t feel the me inside of me any longer. Just emptiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that I don’t have Ms. Passive-Aggressive wounding my pride every day. But now I just feel like, well, I don’t feel like anything. I don’t feel human. I don’t feel pain or happiness, just blah, nothing-blah.

I guess I need meds. But I have zero energy to jump through a zillion hoops to get them.

Stagnation

Stagnation | Letters to the Mind

I cannot move.
I cannot stand.
I lie and stare
and really don’t care.

The whispers in my head,
get off your butt,
you’re hurting yourself,
this inaction will
only make it
worse.

I know it’s true.
If only I could
don’t you think
that I really would?

I feel frozen in place;
I’m stuck in the mud.
Motivation is
all well and good
but without drive
nothing will change.
At least not now,
not while I’m
in this space.

And so,
I wait only for
the next moment
to take this one’s place.

Eventually, I know,
as it always has been,
a moment will come
when a shift has
occurred and
I’ll be on the mend.
I’ll find myself
standing upon the
forward road
again.

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

I originally published the above poem at my other blog, Letters to the Mind. Please consider writing to the mental illness that impacts the world you walk in and sharing it with our new community blog. The site was built in the hopes that other creatives who suffer from a mental illness or have a family member/loved one with a mental illness will write to the illness and post it on the site for two purposes.

The first is as a way to grow and challenge how we relate to our illness. In the act of writing to your illness you achieve empowerment. And the second purpose is to educate other people about the various mental illnesses that people live with every single day and how their struggles differ or are similiar to everyone else’s. With education comes understanding and with understanding stigma begins to fall ill and eventually dies.

For more information on contributing to the Letters to the Mind please click here.

We ALWAYS need contributors, any and all mental disorders welcome. No one is turned away and your own blogs, media platforms are cataloged and linked on the site.

Thank you,

Memee

When Hopelessness Hits

1936 South Dakota dust bowl

I’ve spiraled down
and now I fear
what’s on my plate
is a fate
I did not anticipate.

I thought I had
an excellent plan
that would keep me
from residing in
your forsaken land.

I was wrong.
I could not evade
the plans you’d
already laid.

And now I see it
rising before me,
not the reprieve,
not the light
for they have
disappeared from sight.

What awaits me
is darkness and despair.
Lord please lift me out of here!

© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2016-2018. All rights reserved.

I originally published the above poem at my other blog, Letters to the Mind. Please consider writing to the mental illness that impacts the world you walk in and sharing it with our new community blog. The site was built in the hopes that other creatives who suffer from a mental illness or have a family member/loved one with a mental illness will write to the illness and post it on the site for two purposes.

The first is as a way to grow and challenge how we relate to our illness. In the act of writing to your illness you achieve empowerment. And the second purpose is to educate other people about the various mental illnesses that people live with every single day and how their struggles differ or are similiar to everyone else’s. With education comes understanding and with understanding stigma begins to fall ill and eventually dies.

For more information on contributing to the Letters to the Mind please click here.

We ALWAYS need contributors, any and all mental disorders welcome. No one is turned away and your own blogs, media platforms are cataloged and linked on the site.

Thank you,

Memee

A Letter to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

via Letters to the Mind
Contributing Author: Chad McDonald

 

dr__jekyll_and_mr__hyde_by_zerinity

 

Hey there boys,

I hate to tell you this but all my friends and family say you have to
go. You’ve caused too much chaos in our lives. You’ve ruined my
marriages, cost me jobs, alienated me from friends and family, lead me to jail on a few occasions, and even had me hospitalized when you wouldn’t shut the fuck up.

You have been nothing but hell to my life, and still I can’t get rid
of you. You are a part of me. To quote Renee Zellweger, “You had me
at hello.”

And since I am unable to rid myself of either of you we are going to
have to revisit the rules of our little game.

From now on, I need you to listen to me. You may give me ideas, some
good, some bad, and some that are definitely harmful to all of us, but
it will be me making the decisions, no matter how long you scream in
my ear.

There will be no more porn, no all-night drinking binges, and no more yelling
at people over piddly shit. Have you got that Mr. Hyde?

As for you Jekyll, just because we are strong doesn’t mean we have to
be silent. It’s okay to ask for help or just have a cup of tea without
being pretentious about it. We don’t have to go into hiding simply
because something has upset us.

To quote Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Hyde, you
can still tell me to take a break and have a little fun without
breaking the pocketbook. We don’t have to go on benders for weeks at
a time. We can just chill. We can feel good and laugh and smile
and be intimate with our girlfriend, but it’s not the end of the world if we
don’t have to do it right now.

Jekyll, stop being an obsessive, introverted, arrogant little prick.
I’m more than glad to have you as my friend. You always give me such
unique insight into what Hyde is doing. And you have stopped me from
doing stupid stuff on more than one occasion.

We each offer strengths and insights into our shared little world that make
us a unique person of value to the human race, but in the end I’m
going to be the one in charge. This is my life and you have been with
me through thick and thin, not so much for the blessings but as the
cause. Dudes, together we can be something extraordinary. We have
the ability to learn faster, think deeper, to be more compassionate,
more productive, and an even funnier son-of-a-bitch than we are now.

So when I feel you guys getting out of control I’m going to have to
take a break, talk with you, and keep you in line. You can help me be
the person I want to be, not the person on the 6 o’clock news or the
daily arrest report.

Hating you has done no good and giving you free reign has only
brought chaos. So this is it. Be polite. Introduce yourself. Be the
person I know I can be and everything will be just fine. By embracing
you, I make us all a better person, somebody worth remembering, not
somebody needing to be forgotten.

So do you understand now why things have been so rough the last 30
years? It’s because you’ve been in control, not me. That changes
today! I can embrace you or I can medicate you into oblivion. The
choice is mine.

Think about it for a while and I’ll decide what part of you gets to
continue being a part of me.

Love,

Dr. Frankenstein

© 2016 Chad McDonald

Art courtesy of Zerinity.


chad-2014

About the author:

This letter was written during the course of my first major manic episode of the year, which actually started around Christmas. I am the author of the book, “To My Children, Love Dad.” It is my testimony about how basic Christian doctrines have changed my life and how they can help everyone. Insert shameless plug: All who buy the book directly from my website receive a signed copy with a personal note of hope and love, if you’d like. I also blog about the things I have time to ponder about in my life in Southeastern Idaho and share my photography of this beautiful piece of America.

I do have a permanent disability called Bipolar Disorder that I have been dealing with for 30 years and researching for the last 20. Some days I cannot focus and get nothing done while other days I am hyper-productive and hilarious. However most of the time, aside from my talking to God or any number of ideas racing through my head, you’d never know I have an illness that has almost taken my life.

I rely on the support of family and close friends inside and outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and above all my Heavenly Father, My Savior, and my spirit bro, the Holy Ghost. Without them, I would not have had the strength to change my perspective in life to discover that this “curse” was given to me as a blessing if I would learn how to use my symptoms.

Life isn’t perfect, but the perfect joy in life is knowing that we have the strength not merely to survive but to enjoy, to rejoice, and to exude our divinity everywhere we go. From the second half of 2 Nephi 2:2, Book of Mormon:

… and all thine afflictions shall be consecrated for thy good.

Blog: CMMcDonaldBooks

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

Dear Eating Disorder – by Rosie

via Letters to the Mind blog project
Contributing Author: Rosie Elsom

Dear Eating Disorder -  by Rosie | Letters to the MindI hate you for taking over me
and making me believe this is how I want to be.
Why do I stay with you when all you do is put me down?
make me starve ’til I fit into the smallest gown,
with the loss of each gram I’m closer to my goal,
with your grip tightening over my dark soul.
Filled with fear at every bite I take,
your plan, my plan, would be ruined by cake.
Counting calories, and fearing how much I weigh
I am beginning to feel like you are here to stay.
My reflection has become something I fear,
I dread the time I have to look in the mirror.
The pain in my stomach never goes away,
it grumbles with hunger while in bed I lay.
You tell me you are my only true friend
and make me fear the day this relationship must end,
but I know your presence is here for a while,
so I hide this relationship behind a smile.
Dear eating disorder I know you are wrong,
but how can you make me feel this strong?

© Rosie Elsom 2016


About the author:

My name is Rosie, I am 18 years old and from the UK. I suffer from a variety of mental illnesses however this poem is focused particularly on my anorexia which I have suffered with for many years and has led me to numerous inpatient admissions. During my lows, my highs and my admissions, I have found poetry a really positive and productive thing and it has helped me to make sense of some of the chaos in my head.

My favorite quote is one from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and it is:

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre 

I like this quote because sometimes mental illness’ can make you feel trapped but it is important to remember you have the power, potential and the ability to be free.

Blog: Positiviteablog

Read the original post: To my eating disorder (poem)

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters to the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee