The 4 Faces of Memee: Bipolar Me

4-faces-of-memee | Memee's Musings
A snapshot of one person trying to survive in 4 different chemical bodies.

Hi all,

It’s been a long, long while. I have been suffering with bipolar depression in a very extended way lately. Some people who don’t understand bipolar have the misperception that we suffer both the depressive side and the manic side equally. We don’t. Also, we’re all different in our levels of functionality at the various phases of the disorder. So I’ve been down and out of the game. I am on a new medication, Latuda, and I think it may finally be kicking in. I certainly hope so! It is supposed to relieve the symptoms of Bipolar Depression which is a very big deal for me as I have never had relief from this phase and it is the phase I suffer from the most frequently as well as it being the most catastrophically impactful for me.

Anyway, the picture above was put together back in December at the beginning of a manic phase which I will be sharing with you very soon. During mania I have many brilliant ideas and am extremely active. Unfortunately the mania does not last long and when it burns off suddenly my activities cease and my plots, plans, schemes come to an abrupt halt. For instance, this article had the headline written and the picture uploaded, and even a link to some statistical data but no body. Fortunately, I know my main intent was to go over my 4 “personalities” (for lack of a better description) that I am constantly trying to adjust to and live with.

Left to Right:

  1.  Deep Depression.  This is where I have been for the last several months.  My days in this state consist of sleeping (escaping my problems, but also I am exhausted physically and mentally), crying uncontrollably for no specific reason, staring at the ceiling or blank wall sometimes with no thoughts registering in my head and other times inundated with only negative recriminations for  being this person (something I cannot control) that suffers this chemical imbalance of the brain.  I’ll get up to pee and return immediately to bed.  I mostly drink my calories during this time as I have no energy or desire to even pour cereal into a bowl to eat.  I will bathe once a week but don’t remember to brush my teeth and do not bother brushing my hair or changing my clothes.  I am completely shut down.  Inhuman. Some days I am afraid to be alone because I fantasize about killing myself.  I know that is not the answer and it is really not an option.  Besides, in this state I am frozen in grief and depression so I do not act upon thoughts.  I “just” terrorize myself with them over and over again.  Visualizing myself killing myself.  It’s not fun, believe me.  It scares me and heightens my depressive state.

2.  “The Blahs”  This is where I live the majority of my life.  I still have difficulty with hygiene most days.  I am messy and tired.  I have zero focus, zero attention span, zero interests, zero motivation , and zero drive.  I do nothing but zone out on the computer or Netflix day after day.  My mind is chaotic and so is the environment around me.  It’s better than the deep depression but it is no life.  A waste.

3. Happy/Balanced.  This is my goal persona.  It is who I long to be.  I enjoy friendships and can hold onto a job.  I feel like I am pursuing goals and making real change in my life toward becoming this person authentically.  I bathe bi-daily, I pick up after myself, I eat and sleep in a normal pattern.  I have a life and recognized the blessing it is.  I may even be able to have a romantic relationship again!

4. Mania!   I am awesome!  You are awesome! Life is awesome!  I have big plans and they are, no matter how far-fetched, attainable!  I just got to follow my plans step by step and I’ll do it!  I will succeed at anything I try and I will try anything that interests me!  The world is my oyster, my cake, my playground!

The 4 Faces of Memee: Bipolar Me stats1 | Memee's Musings

So who is susceptible to  Bipolar Disorder?  Statistics sourced through Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance says that:

Bipolar Disorder Statistics from BDSA

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The Goblin Known as Anxiety and Stress – by Lewis Bull

via Letters to the Mind
Contributing Author Facebook: Lewis Bull ; Twitter: @lewisbull92

Art by Hababoon

Though I’ve had anxiety for most of my life it’s not until the past 7-8 years that I’ve really begun to really suffer from it.

Four years ago was when it all really started for me, it was within this time that I became ever more isolated with anxiety taking its full control, from things like job interviews to daily walks into town I began to figure this is me this is how I am.

Along with this stress crept in too, again I figured this was just me being me.

From being overly stressed anxious/nervous in public places or even at home, this is the way life went for me for what seemed a lifetime.

Then at the beginning of this year I couldn’t handle the pressure being put on me anymore I quit job hunting, and for those months of doing gloriously nothing, it re-surged in probably its worst way, I gave in and started taking medication to handle it and am now on my third course of CBT this time intensive CBT and I can feel it starting to help and I started to realize there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

In terms of perhaps not completely not getting rid of it but instead I picture myself facing the goblin with a shotgun and seriously wounding it (I look forward to this day and what a picture it will be!).

This is Lewis Bull saying I will not let this control the rest of my life!

© Lewis Bull 2015


About the author:

I’m 23 years old, as child I had a moderate learning difficulty and went to a school for those who suffer from moderate to severe learning disabilities.
As my anxiety worsened I stopped attending family occasions (though I thought it was perfectly natural but instead later realised it was my anxiety), never have I indulged in typical teenage behaviour e.g. drinking or even just hanging out with friends instead I remained in anxiety imposed solitude.
After I finished 3 years of college, the first immediate thought was to find work, there in started my long battle with stress and anxiety, though I’ve always suffered from stress and anxiety it was in my later teenage years that it really became relevant, It was in the middle of this year that things started to change from seeing family who understand and sympathise with my issues and finding new friends who themselves suffer from anxiety and stress.
Facebook: Lewis Bull
Twitter: @lewisbull92
“If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me?” – Ronnie van Zant and Allen Collins of Lynyrd Skynyrd

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

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

Anxiety and me

Pressure by Kevin Dooley
Pressure by Kevin Dooley

There’s a classic phrase that we are all familiar with, which is spoken retrospectively, and I am going to use it now.

A few years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be in my third year of university contemplating a career in Journalism, whilst trying to establish myself as a writer by writing poetry on a WordPress blog and working on three novels, one of which would be my dissertation project, I wouldn’t have believed them.

I’ve found that life has a funny way of making you realise how far you’ve come, and how amazing you can be if you just try. At one point in my life, I didn’t try at all. Well, I did, but I didn’t feel like I was doing anything worthwhile. I hadn’t found my passion. There wasn’t a spark in my life that said, ‘Hey, you’re on the right path, you’re doing the right things.’ I felt like I was on the wrong path, doing things that I didn’t really want to do. This meant that I would believe I had to start all over again by taking a leap of faith. It turned out that when I leapt, I landed on the edge of the new path and it immediately felt wrong, and that’s when I realised I had to jump back.

I landed back onto the right path, which is the one I had been walking all along, without realising that I was heading towards the future meant for me.

So, where does anxiety fit into all this? My final year of college (which was in fact an extra year, because the year most people went to university, I wasn’t ready and I wanted to delay the inevitable) gave me so much stress that I got anxiety about what I was doing and where I was going. This, coupled with the fact that I thought I was a terrible friend, and then heightened by the grief I was suffering due to the loss of my Grandad, meant that I felt hollow. I was empty. I had nothing to give myself or anyone else. I was waking up miserable, wishing for a different life. I wished for change, I wanted to be a different person, a better version of myself, because who I was then didn’t feel like anyone at all. I wrote ‘I do not exist’ on a piece of paper and stuck it on my late Grandad’s corkboard.

It got to the point where I had to take a week off college to get my head around things. In my mind, I wanted to leave for good. It scares me to think where I would be if I had dropped out, but I’m grateful for the fact that I realised I needed help and I went straight to my GP and told her how I’d been feeling. Before I knew it, I was having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy over the phone. I’d studied CBT in Psychology in my first year of college and suffice to say I didn’t make it to a second year. Ironically, it was too much for my mind to handle.

Gradually, I started to feel better and began seeing the world differently. It was after my therapy ended that my coping techniques really kicked in, because at that point I was out on my own. I’d got through my exams, applied to university and was awaiting the results. I knew that this was the new chapter I had been aching after. I just needed to wait a little longer.

Results Day was surreal but massively overwhelming in a good way. It was official; I would be going to Nottingham Trent University to study English with Creative Writing. I was shocked, but relieved. Shocked because it felt like a complete accident (I don’t entirely remember selecting that course, or being aware of what course I had chosen) and relieved because I knew I had, somehow, chosen the right course. I realised that I had been lucky not to ruin everything for myself. I very nearly did, but it turned out that although the last few months of college had been some of the hardest, everything happened for a reason, and everything fell into place in a way that I could only have dreamed of.

However, just because I finally felt in the right place, it doesn’t mean that my anxiety disappeared. I was managing it then, and I’m managing it now, but it still creeps in once in a while to remind me that it’s there. Some problems don’t leave or get resolved no matter how hard you try, so you stop trying and it gets worse. Until you end up with nothing at all, and that in itself is a problem. But, change your way of thinking, and you can turn your problem into a solution. I still felt like a terrible friend, but then I realised that it didn’t matter, because I know that I am a good friend. I’m reluctant to write it, but I need to reassure myself that I am a good person and a good friend to the people that love me and appreciate me, those who understand my story, and believe in me and where I am going. I realised that if I was to defeat my anxiety, I needed to overcome the source of it, and this was a losing battle. A conflicting, confusing and, at times, terrifying battle that saw my self-esteem plummet back to square one. When you look at yourself through the eyes of someone who causes you intense anxiety (shaking, sickness, worry) you begin to think that you deserve to feel that way, and that you’re trapped in an endless cycle.

Break the cycle. It’s not a case of quitting while you’re ahead, because getting ahead might not be possible, it’s a case of realising that you’re losing, and the only way you’re going to come out a winner is to let yourself get out. Do it for you, not to get ahead, or to give up, but to stay happy. If you’re sad, something needs to change. If you’re anxious, something needs to change. Until you are happy, you need to look at yourself and ask: What do you want?

I matter, you matter, we all matter, albeit in different ways and in different circumstances. You need to find that point where you know you can be peaceful; smile despite the pain that you felt, or even caused, to get there. It’s not selfish; it’s simply looking out for yourself.

I write poetry to cope with my anxiety. I talk to my anxiety and try to understand it as well as deal with it. I don’t let it get to me anymore. I rise above the pain and try to create something I can be proud of. It has shaped me into the person I am today, and when I think of my lowest points I am thankful for them. I’m thankful for everything that went wrong, and everything that went right, because if they hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here, writing these words now.

I am a good person, I am a storyteller, I am a poet.

I have friends, I have words, I have anxiety.

I have mindfulness and clarity of thought; I have peace.

Right now, I am exactly where I am, and always was, meant to be.

Jade K. Moore

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hi, it’s Memee. Jade was offered the opportunity to guest blog on my site when she won the Love’n Hate Poetry Challenge I held last month. The challenge truly inspired her and out of it came An Open Letter which personified her anxiety allowing her to recognize the growth that her disorder has gifted her which inspired her even further, prompting her to create a project entitled, Letters to the Mind blog. A blog where every one can submit creative expressions of our mental health struggles and triumphs. I am proud to be affiliated with the project as an editor and contributor on the site. I hope you will join me in participating in this brand-new, much needed, project. So, please, help spread the news. Non-bloggers and family members impacted by mental illness are encouraged to participate as well!

To read, follow or join Letters to the Mind project click here.

An Open Letter

To Anxiety,

Shall we begin with where you began?
No, first I’d like to ask you about
your master plan:

Did you hope that I would fall?
before I opened my eyes to it all?

Did you want to make me scream?
enough to make me miss out on my dream?

Did you intend for me to cry?
long into the night while life
passed me by?

Or did you in fact, want me to react
so that I might find hope
along with ways to cope?

You helped me to climb
and make the most of my time.

You helped me to realise
the importance of advice.

You taught me that tears are fine,
although born of sadness, they are mine.

You allowed me to think with a clearer mind
and discover the happiness you never
thought I’d find.

In the beginning all I felt for you was hate,
but gradually I became patient and able to wait
for that moment when the bad becomes good…

…the moment at which hate becomes love.

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Submitted to Memee’s Poetry Parties by Jade K. Moore 11-21-2015.
Original Poem: An Open Letter © Jade Moore 2015. All rights reserved.
An Open Letter post © Memee’s Musings, 2015-2017. All rights reserved.

Dear Reflection

As September was Suicide Prevention Month and our family lost someone the last week of August to suicide I felt that we should explore this topic with our poetry. Writing heals. And talking, sharing our thoughts with others keeps things from becoming taboo subjects. If we talk about it then perhaps people who are feeling hopeless and lost and are thinking of suicide may find the courage to speak up and ask for help. I know that if our loved one had shared his feelings we would have done whatever we could to help him to heal and perhaps we could have saved his life. And so the #ASKFORHELP Poetry Party came into being.

Dear Reflection was voted favorite poem from this very challenging theme. So take a read and head over to author and poet Laura A Lord’s website and give her some feedback. And tell her Memee sent you! Continue reading

How Do I Survive the Weekend?

via Brighton Bipolar
about the author

Brighton Bipolar header

This weekend my husband and I are heading off with another couple for two days in France. Triggered by my recent depressive slump, they thought it would ‘Cheer me Up’ to get away for a short break.

Whilst I appreciate the thought, words can’t express how terrified I am.

I’m in a depressive phase, which means I have very little energy and sleep A LOT. My moods are cycling rapidly and can turn from anger or confusion to deep sadness in a very short space of time. Today I didn’t Wake up until 2pm and am still exhausted. It’s the need for sleep/lack of energy issue that causes me the most concern with this weekend trip.

I have to be up and ready to leave at 5am Saturday morning – lack of sleep tends to make all my other symptoms worse and the couple we are traveling with could end up facing some of my more ‘Antisocial’ behaviours. I’m also not sure it’s safe for me to be on the back of a motorcycle for hours on end when feeling dizzy, confused and exhausted.

What happens if I have ‘An Episode’? – Usually a long depressive phase like the one I’m in now culminates in a huge meltdown, which is not pretty. It’s been almost a year since my last Episode and I’m terrified that I’m due another any time soon. Whilst my husband has seen me through many of these breakdowns before I’m positive his friends don’t want to be saddled with a screaming, crying, hallucinating harpy literally punching and kicking anyone within arms reach. Although I wouldn’t normally hurt a fly, my Episodes can often be very violent towards those around me as well as myself.

What if my mood turns Manic? – When in the clutches of Mania I come across as the life and soul of the party, talking a mile a minute and making very dubious choices. People would describe me as ‘Fun’ and ‘Bubbly’ as I throw caution to the wind and take dangerous risks without fear. During Manic phases, I am invincible and my naturally flirtatious personality turns into Hypersexuality. Yes, I become a slut. I’m not proud of my behaviour when in the throws of Mania but at the time, I’m feeling great and function on instinct rather than rationality. Hypersexuality is one of the myriad symptoms of Bipolar but isn’t really talked about, the shame and embarrassment we feel about these moments isn’t something that’s easily shared.

What happens if I have ‘An Episode’? – Usually a long depressive phase like the one I’m in now culminates in a huge meltdown, which is not pretty. It’s been almost a year since my last Episode and I’m terrified that I’m due another any time soon. Whilst my husband has seen me through many of these breakdowns before I’m positive his friends don’t want to be saddled with a screaming, crying, hallucinating harpy literally punching and kicking anyone within arms reach. Although I wouldn’t normally hurt a fly, my Episodes can often be very violent towards those around me as well as myself.

What if my mood turns Manic? – When in the clutches of Mania I come across as the life and soul of the party, talking a mile a minute and making very dubious choices. People would describe me as ‘Fun’ and ‘Bubbly’ as I throw caution to the wind and take dangerous risks without fear. During Manic phases, I am invincible and my naturally flirtatious personality turns into Hypersexuality. Yes, I become a slut. I’m not proud of my behaviour when in the throws of Mania but at the time, I’m feeling great and function on instinct rather than rationality. Hypersexuality is one of the myriad symptoms of Bipolar but isn’t really talked about, the shame and embarrassment we feel about these moments isn’t something that’s easily shared.

I don’t want to disappoint my husband and his friends, but am terrified they may get a glimpse of ‘The Real Me’ behind the mask I put on daily. People often THINK they know what living with this condition is like but are nowhere near prepared for the reality. I’ve scared off friends and family before and have lost count of the times I’ve been referred to as ‘Crazy’ or ‘Psychotic’. It breaks my heart that I am so terrified of ‘Me’.

 

 

Your Most Precious Possession

Memory

 

Many months ago I was thumbing through a Voice for Health pamphlet at my chiropractor’s office. Now, I do not recall if I read the article though I am inclined to think I did because I brought the pamphlet home with me, folded and creased to a specific article which I had also dog-eared. So I assume it was in fact something I had purposefully thought of using or sharing… something. I have still not revisited the article, however, a little over a week ago I stumbled upon that open, dog-eared article once again. It’s title: Your Most Precious Possession. I said to myself, right then and there, this will be a future blog post! I did not however know at that time what my most precious possession was. Continue reading