It’s been a while y’all. I’ve been racking my brain trying to decide whether to keep Manic Mama alive and well. This past month I’ve been depressed/manic (yes a dual episode), it’s been a ride. It’s a judgmental world out there. This blog is honest, deep, and shines a light on my life that no one has ever seen before. I guess you could say it’s “incriminating,” and you never know who could use it against me. We’re in 2022, I thought people would be more aware and accepting of Mental Health. There’s no shame in being open about your struggles. I think it takes incredible strength. This world is filled with people who want to tear you down, judge you, and belittle you. You have to grow some thick skin if you’re going to put your life out there.
In the past few days, I’ve been laying out the pros and cons of keeping this blog alive. There are plenty of cons, but they don’t outweigh the pros. I spend a lot of time alone, and writing has become my outlet. It would be a shame to let the assholes of the world take that from me. I am proud of myself for starting this blog. This time of the year is always weird for me. My birthday is coming up, but it’ll be another birthday spent at home. It’s hard for me to make friends. Women generally do not like me. This is fine, but it can make special occasions feel lonely. I’ve been working on myself and trying to get a handle on my mouth. I cuss like a sailor and am a little too blunt. I’m trying and that’s all that fucking matters, right?
My social anxiety is getting out of hand. My mind is moving a million times per minute.
“Do I look okay?”
“What if I’m annoying them?”
“Do they think I invited myself?”
“I shouldn’t talk too much, they may start to hate me.”
When I was younger, I never was one to have a bunch of girlfriends. I had the same friends throughout middle and high school. Guys were so much easier to get along with. I wasn’t the foo-foo, make-up every day, nice clothes kind of girl. My mom was so set on me being that way, but I had other plans. I would leave the house in jeans and a cute shirt…then proceed to change in the parking lot at school. Sweats, slippers, and messy buns were my style back then (kinda still is). Fuck being like everyone else–it’s underrated.
Now that I’m about to be twenty-six, I’ve been doing a deep dive into my feelings and emotions. And, I’m truly lonely. Making friends in your twenties is fucking hard. Not to mention being Bipolar as well, it’s difficult for me. I wanted to plan this trip for my birthday, but it didn’t make sense. Who would I invite? I have my few, but my few are just like me. What fun is a birthday if you spend it alone in a lake house? Not really what would make me feel good.
This month I want to learn how to be secure enough to accept that I am simply not for everyone. My relationship with women is weird. I can’t keep girlfriends long, and I’m not sure what it is about me. I have my few, who I love and adore. Then I have the few I try hard to connect with who have no interest in reciprocating. I may be too sensitive to deal with all the rejection. I get defensive, and I start to become a recluse. I think sometimes I read too much into the words someone says. It can cause a lot of problems because I start to get defensive when I feel threatened. It ruins a lot of relationships I have, and it drives Tristan crazy. So, I also want to work on rebuilding my filter. I’ve realized that not everyone understands me or my personality, and that is OKAY.
Another thing I want to work on is being more open-minded when it comes to new people. I think I’m just scared of being judged. I want everyone to like me, which usually makes no one like me. I also need to work on reaching out more. I know I fucking suck at it, and it probably makes my loved ones think I don’t care. I promise that isn’t the case. I am just scared to put myself out there. The problem is, I’m a pussy. Haha. But really though.
Anyways, I’m glad to be back. I promise I’ll never disappear for that long again. I think not writing hurt me, and getting back into it is going to help me feel better. I realized that I need Manic Mama and it’s never going to go away.
Manic Mama is back bitches, and she’s not fucking going anywhere.
I’ve been dealing with Mental Illness my whole life. My first experience with therapy was in elementary school when my parents divorced. I went back during middle school when my parents discovered my self-harming. Depression has consumed me for years, and I’ve never known a life without it. Many life lessons led me to where I am today. I wasn’t always so wise (LOL). It took me a long time to understand and accept my life. It took time and hard work to become comfortable with who I am.
Being Bipolar has taught me about life, love, and much more. They might not make sense to everyone, but they do to me.
Here are twelve things that Mental Illness has taught me.
I have this need to make my voice heard.
I spent my whole life with a muzzle over my mouth. In high school, I was always submissive. I let people walk all over me, use me, hurt me. All without saying a fucking word. In the past few years, I realized that isn’t how I want to live my life. I no longer wear that muzzle. I had the nerve to make this blog, which was a huge step outside my comfort zone. I no longer put up with the people who treat me badly. NO ONE will ever walk all over me again. NO ONE will stop me from speaking up and sharing.
I’m not able to “be happy” or “let it go.”
People have told me this my entire life, and it’s one of the most annoying things I have ever heard. My Dad says this a lot, and it’s okay. Some people can do that, and he is one of them. I’m just not. This took me a long time to learn because I am a people pleaser. I’ve always wanted to put on this outward appearance of happiness to trick those I loved. Now I know that this is NOT me. I am different, and that’s okay.
Medication is not a cure.
I once thought I could be fixed…I can’t. I went on and off medication for a few years and thought I was better. I’d use them until I felt like myself again (somewhat), and then cold turkey. It always sent me into a downwards spiral…which is why you think I would’ve learned faster huh?
I can still live my life the way I want/deserve.
When I was diagnosed, it felt like a death sentence. Bipolar Disorder is for life. 4 LIFE. Lol, I mean oops. Somewhat funny. I felt like I would be hindered in some way…that my life was no longer mine. I was wrong. I’ve had beautiful friendships over the years since then, not all have stayed and that is okay. I get to experience life to the fullest, and I think being Bipolar has taught me that. I won’t let anything stop me from enjoying everything life has to offer.
It’s good to push myself out of my comfort zone.
I was sooooo bad at this growing up. Sometimes I still avoid it. Going out with people makes my anxiety go crazy…mostly because I always think no one will like me. Therefore, I put up the biggest wall ever. I’m trying hard to change that. When I do step out, it always feels worth it.
There are some things I can’t do.
There are a few things that cause crippling anxiety. I’m not ready to talk about those yet…it’s just a lot.
Family is everything, and not all family has to be blood.
This speaks for itself. My family and I are complicated sometimes, but they are the light of my life. I love my brother and sister. I’m so thankful for my parents. I’m thankful for my friends who have become family over the years. I’m thankful for the people who support me no matter how fucked up I am. I’m proud to be me.
This doesn’t define me.
I’m more than being mentally ill. I am a good person. I am loving. My heart is huge, and I care deeply. I am someone who puts everyone above themselves. Being Bipolar doesn’t change who I truly am.
The grass is actually greener on the other side.
Once you get past the bullshit, it’s better. I know this saying is cliche, but it’s true. I go through some dark times, but at the end of them is this ray of sunshine. The dark times make me appreciate the good times much more.
Self-care is important.
Still perfecting this. Lol. But for real, do something for yourself EVERY DAY. For me, I wash my face and I read. Coloring helps me a lot, and it’s one of my favorite forms of self-care. Puzzles are great too. Also, crime shows. Crime shows are my biggest form of self-care.
I’m beautiful…inside and out.
It’s okay to not be okay.
Alright, I know. Cliche as hell. But, I’m serious. I was always ashamed of my emotions. I got used to people telling me I was dramatic, too much, or crazy. It’s just not true. I feel things deeply, which I think is beautiful. No one goes through life unscathed. So, it’s okay.
Hi guys. I hope y’all have liked the past few days filled with posts. It’s been so good coming back to y’all. I thank you guys for all the support, even with my self-care break. I decided to share more of an insight into myself, so I googled some journal prompts.
Here’s to Manic Mama being back. I can’t wait to share all the content I’ve been working on!
What are ten things on your bucket list?
Hollywood Forever Cemetary
Show tits for beads at Mardi Gras (why not?)
Swim with pigs in the Bahamas
Learn to surf
What’s your favorite color? What emotions does it make you feel?
Blue. It’s diverse. It’s relaxing. It’s sadness. It’s serenity. You think of the ocean or the clear blue sky. I read that the color blue is the symbol of depression. It’s a color that makes me feel many different things. I feel as though I have been blue my entire life. Sometimes it’s the happy blue, and sometimes it’s the depressing blue. Either way, blue is my color. My world is blue. My world is diverse.
Write two things that you love about yourself.
My smile. It took me a while because it’s so big. I was self-conscious for the longest time. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what other people think, I’m me. I will always be me, and I am perfect just the way I am. I know that my smile brings joy to those who love me, and that is what matters the most.
My widow’s peak. It took me YEARS to wear my hair up because of this. I thought it framed my face weird–making me look like a man. I didn’t want people to judge me or call me ugly. My widow’s peak started it all. It started the years of self-hatred and wishing I looked differently. Now that I’m older, it doesn’t matter anymore. Anyone who doesn’t like me, I don’t need. I am beautiful. Even though I still struggle with believing that statement, I will never stop trying to love myself.
Stay tuned…this month and next are about to be busy.
People have said that dealing with myself is similar to “walking on eggshells,” and I can understand that. Not everyone knows how to handle someone who struggles with Mental Illness. To someone who’s experiencing it, little comments can come off as rude or insensitive. Some are being assholes, but most don’t understand how big of an effect their words have. Since opening up about my diagnosis, I’ve heard it all. People tend to think I am “too sensitive.” I like to think I am hyper-aware. I have started to let people know when they say something hurtful. It’s my way of spreading awareness. I’ve had conversations with family members about what to say and what not to say. I think it’s time Manic-Mama had the same conversation.
For someone struggling mentally, these comments can be detrimental to someone’s well-being. I’ve concluded that most people don’t fully understand the Mental Health crisis sweeping the world. The other part just doesn’t fucking care. Some people don’t care about anything that isn’t affecting them personally. The world needs a wake-up call, now more than ever. If you’re looking for a better understanding of what to say (or not say), you’ve come across the right blog. If you’re struggling with Mental Illness and you’re here to learn how to talk to better communicate, I’m proud of you. We love a person trying to better themselves. You go, mother effer.
“It’s all in your head.”
DON’T!!! Mental Illness is NOT FAKE, and saying this undermines the feelings of those struggling. These feelings are real, and proclaiming they are imaginary is wrong.
“Well, it could be worse.”
I hear this shit a lot, and I can see where people are coming from. But, this statement is just belittling everything that person is going through. Think about it. Sure, there’s worse out there. That doesn’t mean that person’s problems aren’t real. It brings out feelings of guilt.
“But, you always seem so happy?”
I think we’ve all learned that Mental Illness has no specific face. The majority of people (depressed or not) hide their emotions as a coping mechanism. Not everyone feels safe/comfortable talking to someone about what they feel on the inside.
“Everyone’s sad sometimes.”
Shut up. That’s the nicest thing I can say to that. If you are telling this to someone struggling, they might not seek the help they need.
“Just smile. You’ll feel better.”
Oh, fuck off. That just pisses me off. Is it that simple? Like, can a smile cure me? Shit, someone give me a smile that does that. This is an unrealistic viewpoint. Recovery is much more complicated than just smiling.
A few others..
“Find a distraction.”
“Do you really want to get better? Are you even trying?”
“Did you forget to take your meds?”
“Someone’s bipolar today.”
“You’re being dramatic.”
“Your feelings aren’t valid, it’s just your disorder.”
“Stop acting crazy.”
“This makes me want to kill myself.”
“Therapy is for the weak.”
I know it may seem like a lot, and that I’m overly sensitive. I’m not. People deserve enough respect from people who love them. I just want people to think twice before they say something that might hurt someone.
So, what should you say? What can you say to help build this person up?
“Thank you for feeling comfortable enough to share.”
“How can I help?”
Try asking openended questions. Ask them to share their thoughts.
Listen closely when they are voicing their feelings.
“You have every right to feel what you are. What happened to make you feel that?”
One on one conversation.
“How can I support you?”
“What can I do?”
I avoid using the word “you”, use the word “I”.
It’s okay to not know what to say; that’s why we have google. LOL. There’s no excuse anymore, it’s time for everyone to wake up. Put in the effort and LEARN SHIT. If we want to help our world, we need to know how to help spread awareness. Mental Illness is not just in people’s heads, and it’s not “just for attention.” It’s a REAL problem and continuing to overlook it is ruining lives.
We need to be the change we want to see. Challenge yourself. Grow and learn. Speak your truth. Love unconditionally, and strive for peace.
If you have dogs, you know how much their love affects our Mental Health. I’ve always wondered if our pets feed off of our energy. If we’re sad, are they? If we’re mad, are they? If we’re happy, how are they acting? I tried to do some research, but there wasn’t much I could find. I know I’m not the only one who has thought this. I have two dogs and one cat. Bailey. Major. Shadow. My pets are my children, and I know most of y’all would say the same. Our animals feel the way that we do. Which is what I think makes them “man’s best friend.” I am by no means a professional researcher (LOL), but I do enjoy putting my opinion out there. So, that’s what this is.
I learned that our pets mirror our emotions; dogs can even synchronize their stress levels with ours. They feed off our happiness, our anger, and our sadness. It reminds me of a newborn. They read how you are feeling and react accordingly. Kinda like…”You’re sad? I’m sad.” “You’re angry? I’m angry.” Dogs have grown beside us for thousands of years, they have become in tune with emotions. Our pets form bonds with us, and neglecting to understand how our mental state affects them could be harmful.
We often neglect our mental health, but we don’t realize what effect that has on our pets. I, like my dogs, feed off the energy. Being Bipolar, my dogs see me through dark times quite often. They’re always so sweet. Major will lay on my chest to slow my breathing and help me calm down. Bailey will just walk up and lick the tears right off my face. I never once thought that my chronic sadness would harm them.
There have been many times when I’m so depressed I can’t even get up and walk for longer than five minutes. Therefore, no walks. This isn’t fair to my pets. I’ve tried to get better. It helps now that we are in an apartment. We end up going on like ten fucking walks a day, lol. But, I think it is going to help all of us so much with our Mental Health. Sunshine is good for the soul.
This topic is a brand new one for me, and I wasn’t able to find too much. I’m going to continue searching this up on forums, search engines, etc. I will be back for this one. From what I concurred, we should pay more attention to our pet’s feelings. Neglecting our pet’s mental health negatively impacts their general welfare. I’m not saying don’t cry. Lol, shit. I cry like twelve times a fucking day. I’m saying to make an effort, get out of your bed, and get the hell outside. Go on that walk. Go to the dog park. I feel like we help dogs just as much as they help us. If we’re happy, they’re happy, And if they’re happy, we’re happy.
Do you have any pets? Leave me a comment below and tell me 🙂
It feels good to be sitting here at my laptop, typing up a month’s worth of writing. This past month was a whirlwind, and isolating myself was my way of coping. So it turns out, I needed that month with just my pen and paper. We moved, and it feels like it’s a brand new start. I spent this month thinking about what I can change in my life, and how to become a better person. It’s time for me to spend more time thinking of the good in life, instead of the bad. We moved, and it feels refreshing. It’s a new place, with a fresh start that I so desperately need.
Over the past few months, my emotions have been something else. I’ve been lashing out at the people who have done nothing but support me. I know that nobody is perfect, but I feel I’m more imperfect than most (does that make sense?). It’s hard to recognize myself these days. My anger (more of sad anger) has been out of control, and I can’t fucking figure out what the trigger is. I have this deep need to feel like I am equal to others, even though I’m a walking Mental Health problem. I’m not easy to understand, and I don’t blame those who choose not to be a part of my life. Feeling like I’m a problem is one of my worst traits. I am constantly searching to be understood. I want to be someone people WANT to understand. There’s a lot more to me than my Bipolar diagnosis, I’m human too.
Every emotion I felt after my diagnosis was presumed to be “dramatic.” It’s not fair to me; AT ALL. I get it. I’m Bipolar. I’m moody. I’m “too much.” I’m “crazy”. I’m an addict. I’m a mess. Blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m a lot of things, but none of those things mean I don’t deserve love. I can be a lot. I’m not denying that shit at all. Being bipolar shouldn’t mean I lose the right to feel things like any other person. Not every outburst, crying fest, or bad thing I get into is because I am Bipolar. Not every fucking emotion I have is related to my Mental Health diagnosis. Get real y’all.
I’m excited to be back to writing, y’all have no idea how much of an outlet this blog is for me. I’m not sure that any of you guys missed me, but I sure as fuck missed y’all. Manic Mama is my fucking safe place. Not coming on here has made me a little stir crazy but mostly, it’s made my journal full with writing. I’m looking forward to y’all reading what I’ve come up with over the past weeks. Thank you guys for all your support, this blog would be nothing without y’all.
Over the next three days, I will posting four BRAND NEW posts.
I am so excited to share them with you, and I can’t wait to hear what y’all think.
If there is anything you want to learn about, please go to my contact page and shoot me an email.
XOXO Manic Mama
ALSO, HAPPY PRIDE. This is my girst pride openly out as bisexual, and it feels so good.
I’ve been struggling lately, and my psychiatrist recommended finding some journal prompts to help me have more of an outlet. Writing has been my escape these days. My life feels out of control. This blog allows me to have a voice with no judgment or negativity. I enjoy being transparent and letting others know they are not alone. Self-reflection is vital, especially for someone who has little love for themselves. Also, I really wanted to try some of these.
Here’s to being transparent.
When I think of my father I feel…
Sad. Happy. Proud. Our relationship has always been up and down. But, I am so proud to be his daughter. He is strong and resilient. He is positive and loving. He is an amazing man. I wish we were closer, and I regret not seeing him as much as I should. Dad, I love you. For some reason, I feel like you do read this blog, and that makes me happy. I am proud of him. He taught me everything about baseball, which just so happened to teach me about life as well. I will forever and always be an extension of my father.
What would you tell your teenage self?
Love yourself. Those boys don’t care about you. Stop searching for things in sex. I wish you knew how beautiful you are. You are a force of nature. It makes me sad to think of the dark times. Don’t hurt yourself. Don’t take the pills. Don’t do this stuff. YOU MATTER. You are strong Madison. You are resilient. It’s okay to not be okay. Fuck anyone who doesn’t believe in you. Also, wait until you become a mom. Then you’ll see how truly amazing your life is.
Why is your favorite color and why?
Blue. I’ve always felt blue if that makes sense. Blue calms me. Have you ever heard the song Blue World by Mac Miller? It came out way after blue became my favorite color, but it just exasperates my love for the color. All my life I’ve felt blue, and I’ve never gone a day without feeling some sort of pain. Blue is me. Blue is the perfect color for me.
Why is your favorite movie your favorite movie?
A Walk to Remember. Have y’all seen it? It is an example of true love and selflessness. This movie is something I watch when I need to be humbled. I cry every time I watch. Highly recommend.
What did you use to want to be when you grew up and why?
I always wanted to be a family-focused therapist. My parents got divorced when I was young, and I didn’t handle it very well. Helping kids who are going through that is what I always wanted to do. When I had Grace, it just didn’t seem possible. But, I love giving my friends lots of advice as if I know what I’m talking about. LOL.
Who is your favorite person to talk to and why?
Right now? Madi. She keeps my head on straight and always reminds me I am special. She has a good soul, and I’m so happy we’ve reunited. Over the years I’ve had a few people that always brought me comfort when I spoke to them. Sierra, although we don’t talk every day, she is a person who can bring me back to the center. She is the definition of true support. My Pawpaw was one of them. Cameron was another. Tristan has been one for eight years. My brother too, when we were younger he was my rock.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Why?
I think I am a little bit of both. It usually takes me some time to warm up to people but once I do, I’m pretty out there. LOL. I try to be an extrovert as much as possible. I’ve always struggled to make friends because I keep this wall up. My friends have never liked bringing me around their other friends, LOL. I’m trying to get better because honestly, I’m lonely. A girl needs friend’s guy. LOL
What is one thing you did for someone else this week and how did it make you feel?
The other day I went through Grace’s room to get rid of the things that no longer fit her. When I drive to work, there’s always the same woman. She is walking up and down the highway by the red light, and we talk sometimes. She has two daughters, four and six. Every day when I see her I try to give her water, or I bring her breakfast. This week I brought her all of Grace’s old clothes and shoes. She cried. She thanked me. But, I don’t think she knows how much joy it brings me to talk to her when I see her. I think she deserves so much better than where she is at. I hope to see her succeed one day and be off the side of that road.
What have you learned to say no to?
Putting up with people’s bullshit. I don’t want anyone to walk all over me again. I don’t want people to bully me, or throw low blows my way the second they get upset about something in their life. I also have learned to say no when I truly am a people pleaser. If I don’t want to do it, I’m not going to fucking do it. Haha. Also, I won’t ever let someone disrespect me and keep my mouth shut.
What are three things you love about yourself?
I love how big my heart is. I’m quick to forgive, and quick to accept others. Despite what people may say/think of me, I keep an open mind to everyone. Every one is deserving of kindness, until they aren’t.
My widowspeak. Y’all know what that is? Growing up, I went through a period where I NEVER wore my hair up. Now, I LOVE IT. It’s what makes me, me. Also, I’ve stopped caring about what other people think of me. None of y’all have to think I’m beautiful. I don’t care. I know I’m beautiful. Inside and out.
My dimples. They’re dimples, what else do ya need?
I’ve been losing it lately. The worst part is that I don’t know what is triggering me. When I lose it, it’s hard for me to stop. It’s like this roller coaster that never stops fucking going around and around. This roller coaster wreaks havoc on everyone around me. It makes me feel shitty. A part of me thinks that I’m the problem, and another part thinks it’s not my fault.
Is there going to come a time when everyone gives up on me? I wouldn’t blame them if I’m being honest. I’m a lot. Do you ever look in the mirror and just cry? You’re looking at yourself and wondering why. Why am I like this? I know I’m pretty. I know I have a good heart, and I know I’m worth it. So, why don’t I feel like it?
I’m a pusher, always have been. I’m not sure why I do it. Maybe I think I’m not deserving of love? What’s to love? I’ve never been able to see the good in myself. In the last year, it’s become a huge problem. I question everything and everyone. It’s as if I don’t understand why they want me around? Even going out, I tend to get nervous. Are they going to like me? Do I look okay? Will they talk to me? It’s nerve-wracking.
I’m always last on my list, and that’s been a problem for me my entire life. I put EVERYONE before myself. Now, when you put yourself last…everything starts to pile up. It also seems like I am last on everyone else’s list as well.
I need help, like once a week type of help. I’ve been looking for an in-person therapist because I want to learn how to control the Manic rages. My friend Madi said I’m like a hot air balloon that’s about to combust, and I’ve never related to something more. Maybe I should start doing puzzles again, haha. They always help me forget about everything in my head.
I haven’t stood up in the shower in over a year and a half, and brushing my teeth feels like the biggest chore ever. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that, but that’s my reality. Sucks, huh?
Anyways, this is just me having a case of word vomit. I just had to get some of this shit out. I’m trying to turn it around, but I need help. I want to stop pushing away everyone I love. I want to learn how to communicate my emotions better. I want to start loving myself because I know I deserve it. I want to focus on repairing the relationships that I have fucked up.
I am manifesting light and love into my life. Send me good vibes. Thanks for reading my rambling. 🙂
I remember when my Mom told me that she thought my NoNose was Bipolar. When I thought about it, I understood why she was the way she was. When she got Alzheimer’s I saw the mood swings more than I ever did before. Seeing that made me feel like it’s not my fault. She was a beautiful, wonderful, amazing woman. She was tough, and a force of nature. I miss her and my Pawpaw every day. I miss the phone calls where Pawpaw just listened. He always made me feel heard, and I hope he is proud of me. I’ve never loved someone like I loved my Pawpaw. He was the best man I have ever known.
Grace was about three when I was diagnosed with BD. It made me terrified that I would pass it down. Now…we all know I love to research. It is the best way to become aware. So, let’s begin.
I found out that Bipolar Disorder is a heritable disease. Genetics isn’t the only reason behind BD, but all the things I read show that it is a strong component in developing BD. Did you know that children who have a parent with BD are ten times more likely to develop the disease? Fucking sucks to think about it. Although the exact cause of BD is unknown, they believe that genetics, environment, and family history are all risk factors.
Also, did you know we have calcium in our brains? Or am I just dumb? LOL. One of the second strongest causes of BD is a problem with calcium signaling. Neurons control our intake and outtake of calcium. If you have a problem with it, your brain chemistry will change. A lack of dopamine and serotonin can also have quite an effect on someone’s mental health. ‘
Now, WHO LOVES LISTS? If you do, cool. If you don’t, I don’t care.
Changes in the way your brain functions
When your brain is inflamed
Lacking physical activity
Changes in your hormones
Drug and Alcohol abuse
There’s no cure for this shit. I mean once you got it, you got it, my guy. There are ways to help with your recovery and road to stability. Here are a few things that can help you (and me).
This is a safe, nonjudgemental place to voice what you are dealing with.
Cognitive-Behavioral: You will find a way to understand your triggers and how to handle them. It can help explain how feelings and behavior coincide with one another. Also, let’s learn (together) how to get rid of the dark thoughts and replace them with good.
Family-focused: Get your family to better understand what you are going through. This can help communication be better, better self-care, and get your family to learn the best way to help.
Bipolar Disorder is unpredictable as hell. I can’t do shit but give Grace the best life I can give her. Show her love. Play with her. She’s my baby, always will be. All I can do is hope she has the happiest life. I want to see her grow, love, hurt, and live. Our kids are important. Our kids are the future. The best thing we can do is set them up for happiness. Life is never fair, and I don’t expect our kids to never be hurt. I just expect us, as parents, to do the best we can for them. The kids of right now, are our future doctors, presidents, senators, and professional athletes. The possibilities for our kids are endless.
Becoming a mother saved my life. Grace is the light of all of our lives. She’s going to do big things.
Sometimes I get the urge to stop taking my meds. It usually happens when I start to feel good, ya know? Like I’m normal. It took a long time for me to realize that they aren’t cures, they’re treatments. They help manage your symptoms, not get rid of them completely. Ongoing treatment is usually required to keep Mental Illness symptoms in check, so you can live a life you can enjoy. Thinking about being on the pills for my entire life makes me tired sometimes. So, what are we supposed to do when we start questioning our path to recovery? There are different ways to go about it, but you should always choose the safest way. If you are thinking of stopping or switching your path of treatment, make sure you speak with your doctor.
Stopping medication isn’t uncommon, but it usually isn’t approached as carefully as it should be. Get with your doctor guys. Quitting anything too quickly is risky. The longer you take something, the more your brain/body has adapted to it. Detoxing is what I found every time I searched this topic. Your body/brain should have time to readjust to how it was pre-medication. I found a few things that might help you decide if you are thinking of getting off your medication.
ALWAYS refer to your Psychiatrist before doing anything.
Stopping psychiatric medication can cause your symptoms to return, sometimes even worse.
Medications can take time…are you sure you gave them the time they needed? I went through a lot of different meds before getting to where I’m at now. And, I’m still adjusting them to this day.
Pros & cons. We love a good list.
Keep your regular appointments so that your progress can be monitored.
Psychiatric medications are not “cure-all” pills. There is a lot of emotional work that should be done alongside these medications. Opinions on this subject vary, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I read there are a few trends regarding people and psychiatric medications. Some consistently take them, some refuse, some go on/off of them, some suddenly stop, and others simply refuse. All medications have benefits, and all have risks. Stopping any medication too quickly can cause damage to your body. It should be done gradually over time so that your body can readjust. The slower you wean off your medications, the less likely your symptoms will return.
Risks of stopping your medication too fast:
Rapid return of symptoms
Thoughts of suicide
Withdrawal (yes, withdrawal). You can experience flu symptoms, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, irritability, and anxiety.
Risk of suicide grows higher.
Episodes of violence
Tips for preparing to stop your medications:
Be honest with your loved ones. Discuss with them your reasons for stopping, and what help you will need from them during the process.
You can look into making an Advanced Directive. It’s essentially a layout of what you want your support system to do in the event that you cannot care for yourself.
Identify your triggers. You can keep a journal to help you better spot the patterns. The more patterns you recognize, the more you can understand what is going on. Keep monitoring your moods, this can help you spot things you normally wouldn’t.
Nothing good has ever come from me deciding to stop my meds. I legit have a psychotic break EVERY SINGLE TIME. Lmfao. But, everyone is different. Medication is right for me, but it might not be the path for you. And, that’s okay. It took me a while to realize that mental health treatment is ongoing. There’s no cure. No magic pill that takes away all your pain. Kinda sucks, huh? Search for a good doctor, one that listens to your needs. It took a few tries before I found the right doctor for me.
I ended up starting Cerebral. It is a Mental Health app that came around during Quarantine, and it has helped me tremendously. She has helped me understand myself better and has made my road to recovery a lot less bumpy. I’ve grown up the past few years (LOL, I know what you’re thinking), and I know what’s right for me. I’m prepared to be on psychiatric medication for the rest of my life, and THAT IS OKAY. Anyone who tries to make you feel bad for that is wrong. No one has the right to judge you for choosing to do what is best for you. Maybe when I’m old and gray, I’ll stop them. It might be fun to go cuckoo for a little bit.
Any recovery takes time, but all recovery is worth it. It IS worth persisting. It takes work. You have to stay focused on the light on the other side of all the darkness. Stay on top of your appointments and actively share your thoughts/concerns. There are different reasons people don’t take medication for their Mental Health. Some fear side effects, don’t trust their doctors, or just cannot afford it. It’s amazing how expensive it is to stay healthy. Our healthcare system is a crock of shit and I’m not sorry if that pisses anyone off. Our country has to do better.
In the end, it is your own decision on what to do with your body. Do what is best for YOU. Don’t worry about what others will think. They aren’t the ones experiencing what is going on in your head. They aren’t the ones who matter on your road to recovery. YOU are the only person who matters.
So, what is a trigger? It’s something that causes us to have an extreme blind emotional reaction. It’s like something scaring you. The thing that startles you is the trigger and being scared is your emotional reaction. We all have them. No one goes through life without developing at least a few of them. It’s the slamming doors, the change in someone’s voice, or a low blow cheap shot directed to hurt you. I want to find a way to stop letting my triggers control me. I need them to lead me to a path of self-reflection. There is strength in learning how to react better towards the things that hurt you.
When we’re triggered, our reaction is far from sane. The emotional response tends to go on longer than the trigger took to penetrate. Even though we associate this with mostly negativity, there are positive triggers. The smell of gasoline takes me back to riding four-wheelers in Jasper, or the photo I have of me holding Riley when she was born. Our bodies turn into fight or flight mode when confronted, and we aren’t always able to control our reactions. I want to work on not fleeing too fast, lashing back too hard, or shutting down too quickly.
There’s always a chance for disappointment when having relationships with people. By becoming self-aware, we can learn how to respond better when triggered. I’m not perfect and have never claimed to be. I’m sort of like a sponge. I take it for so long until it’s just the end of the straw. Once pushed to the breaking point, I suck at controlling how I act. Triggers are past traumas making their way into our present lives. When I did some research (which you guys know I love), I saw that we should get from: Trigger —> Reaction to Trigger —> Reaction —> Response and then Trigger —> Response.
Here are some tips that I found scouring the web that might help us get there.
Name your Triggers- Learn and become aware of what sets you off.
The root of the problem- Figure out what is behind your trigger, and then start your healing process.
Notice when you’re getting angry- When you feel the anger coming on, take a walk and find a way to cool off.
You’re never alone.
So, want to know what my triggers are? I have a few, lol.
Staring Problems: Omfg. This one used to get me good. I mean, I used to yell across the parking lot if someone was staring. As I’ve gotten older, I have kind of gotten better. Lol. Instead of yelling, now I just ask what they’re staring at. Or I tell them to just take a picture.
Not a fan. I am NOT a fan. I try so hard to ignore these comments, but this is the one I struggle the most with. I hate ugly reacting to things that are said to me. Words are just words. Right? Well, not to me. I “take it” the first few times, but I lose it after too many times. It’s like seeing red. I’m not proud of how I’ve acted when someone says a hurtful comment to me, but everyone has a breaking point.
Omg, I suck with this shit. I can’t distinguish between helpful criticism and hateful criticism. I’ve been told my whole life how to dress, what my body should look like, how I should act. It’s made me sensitive to all criticism. I want to learn how to take it in and accept it.
The change in tone of voice/screaming:
Fuck this. I despise it. I feed off people’s energy too much. When someone starts yelling, my body goes into fight mode. My voice starts to raise as long as they are still going on. The change of someone’s tone, or the screaming, scares me. It makes me feel unsafe. It takes me back to being a teenager in toxic relationships or the drunk guys who have hurt me. I hate feeling unsafe. I’d much rather have a conversation in normal tones than feel like they’re attacking me.
Our reactions happen fast when triggered so don’t be too hard on yourself. They make us feel like we are right back into the traumatic experience that caused it. We all need work. I sure as hell know I do.
I promise to find out my triggers, work on finding peace, and stop reacting blindly. Losing myself to my trauma is not something I want to continue doing. I want to be better. 🙂
I can do it, and you can do it. EVERYONE CAN DO IT.
I’ve been bartending for years. Over the years, there’s been a few drinks that I loved. Everyone loves a good drink. I only condone drinking for people who are OF AGE. I do encourage safe drinking. Please do not drink and drive.
Here are a few of my favorites.
1 1/2 Oz Midori
1 Oz Malibu Rum
1/4 Oz Captain Morgan
1.2 Oz Blue Curacao
Top with Cherries
2. Adio’s Mother F*cker
1/2 Oz Vodka
1/2 Oz Gin
1/2 Oz Rum
1/2 Oz Tequila
1/2 Sweet and Sour
1/2 Oz Blue Curacao
Top with Cherries
3. White Russian
2 Oz Vodka
1 Oz Kahlua
1 Oz Whole Milk or Half & Half
4. Blue Hawaiin
1 Oz Bacardi
1 Oz Blue Curacao
2 Oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 Oz Malibu
Fill with Sweet and Sour
5. Smores Martini
1 1/2 Oz Marshmallow Vodka
1 Oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 Oz Half & Half
1 1/2 Oz Drambuie
1 Jumbo Marshmallow
Shake the liqour in a cocktail shaker, coat the rim of the Martini glass with the Marshmallow Fluff, roll into the crushed up Graham Crackers, strain what is in the cocktail shaker into glass, heat one jumbo Marshmallow on toothpick and garnish! 🙂
1 Oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1/2 Oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
Butterscotch comes first. In order to layer the Irish cream, hold the pour spout air hole and pour from the side of the glass.
2. The Madi 😉
1 1/2 Oz Patron
1/4 Rose’s Lime Juice
Salt the rim of your shot glass, add a lime as your garnish, and then shake ‘n strain into your glass. Don’t forget to lick the salt FIRST, then bite your lime. Hehe
3. Pineapple Upside Down
1/2 Oz Vanilla Vodka
1/2 Pineapple Juice
Shake & strain, then add a dash of Grenadine
4. Flamin Dr-Pepper
1 Cup of Beer
1 Oz Amaretto
1/4 Oz 151
Add your amaretto and 151 to a shot glass. Light it on fire, yes it does that.
Drop your shot glass in your cup of beer and down the hatch it goes!!! Kind of like an Irish Car Bomb.
5. Mexican Candy
2 Oz Tequila
4 Oz Fruit Juice (Strawberry, Cranberry, Pink Lemonade, anything within the pink color range)
Dash of Hot Sauce (I prefer Louisiana Hot Sauce)
Line your shot glass with Tajin and garnish with a Lime
I changed in the best way possible when I became a mom. Grace brought light and love into my life that I never knew existed. I haven’t talked much about motherhood, but I also wanted to make it a little spicy. Hehe. I’ve got a list of ten topics that people hate to talk about–most of the time. Now, everything I am about to say is MY opinion. I am in no way trying to force my beliefs on anyone because that’s lame. I’m not telling you how to parent either, so don’t get all mad about that either. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. No one is the same.
So, let’s get to it!!!!
When they’re little, FOR SURE the crib. I was adamant about Grace sleeping in her crib. Plus, newborns are a lot. I enjoyed my sleep during those times. It’s not safe until they are bigger anyways. And now? If she wants to, who am I to say no? She’s my girl. I’m going to take in all this love while I can. One day she’ll be a teenager, LOL. Lord help me.
2. Skipping hygiene routine sometimes
Don’t get me wrong. Brushing your teeth, showering, and all that shit is important. But if Grace is throwing a fit, I’m not going to force her. Do I brush my teeth every night? Honestly, I don’t. I’m never going to force her to do something. She’s good to go if that’s the case. Try again in the morning is my advice. 🙂
3. Time-out or spanking
Spanking isn’t it for me. I don’t like it, I don’t do it, and that’s the end of that. I don’t believe in teaching my child that when they do something wrong, they get hit/hurt. Again, that’s my opinion, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
Now, I do use time-outs. Time out should never be me throwing her in her room, shutting the door, and leaving. There’s no reason to lock her up where I can’t see her. That sounds like abandonment issues in the making. I prefer using the kitchen table or the stairs. 🙂 It’s always been effective for Grace. I do one minute per every year of your child’s age. Once time out is over, we sit and talk about what she did wrong. Then we resume playing. 🙂
4. Screen time
Let’s get real. It’s 2022, technology is HUGE. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a child having an iPad/tablet. Monitor it. Use that parental lock shit, because I sure do. You have no idea the things a child could find on the internet. We keep an eagle eye on what she views or plays. Right now, Grace is super into Roblox. Haha.
There is such a thing as too much screen time. I’m a firm believer in getting outside, feeling the sunshine on your face, and having good old-fashioned fun. There’s nothing better. But don’t stay out of date; let them be kids! Let them have the same experiences but to an extent. Things are different from when we were kids. I’ll still always be a barefoot, outside type of child.
5. Yelling at kids
Traumatizing. A change in tone does the job in my opinion. I know I knew when I was in trouble just based on the tone of my Dad’s voice. When his voice got deeper and stern, man I knew I was in for it. But, I understand being a parent is stressful and you get impatient. If you yell, apologize, tell them why they’re in trouble, and then explain what they did wrong.
6. Leashes for the runners
BEST. INVENTION. EVER. I was (still am) terrified of Grace running off. I’d always giggle when I saw people using them, but I understood the reason the minute Grace started walking. Y’all should know that toddlers are DETERMINED. Lol. When they get going, there’s no stopping them. HAHA.
7. Breastmilk vs. Formula
It’s no one’s choice but your own. I was formula-fed, but my brother and sister weren’t. The baby formula was the best choice for Grace and me. I needed to get back on my medication that I couldn’t use while breastfeeding. I suffered severe post-partum depression, and I needed that medication. To each its own. There is never a warranted reason to tear down a mother for her choice on what she chooses.
I’m competitive, my whole family is really. My brother and I always found some way to compete. I used to make him get me things by telling him he couldn’t do it in under thirty seconds, lol. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with raising your children to play to win. Competition is healthy, but here’s a correct way to act when winning (or losing). It’s all in good fun. Sore-losers aren’t fun though, and everyone loses at some point. Teaching your child how to lose or win graciously is important.
9. Religion and kids
I grew up in the Catholic church. Every Sunday, for a very long time. As a child, Heaven is important for multiple situations growing up. Fish, dogs, pets, family. At one point though, it should become your child’s choice to make their own beliefs. Just like it became my choice. I’ll never try to control my kid’s opinions, EVER.
10. Anti-Vax vs. Pro-vax
Get your kids fucking vaccinated. They can choose when they’re adults.
It’s okay to talk about uncomfortable things. I love to have discussions and hear about other people’s beliefs.
Feel free to comment your opinion and I promise it will be free of judgement.
There’s no doubt being Bipolar has some drawbacks, but it’s not impossible to have a regular life. It creates problems in your personal and social life. Some people think that we can’t hold down a job, but that’s not necessarily true. Eighty-eight percent of people with Bipolar Disorder have said that it affects their work-life, and fifty-eight of them have stopped working altogether. Not everyone believes that working is wrong for someone with Bipolar; some think work gives someone a sense of structure. Work gives people structure, can help enhance your mood, and maybe empower you.
There isn’t a specific kind of job for someone who is Bipolar; you should always search for something that makes you feel comfortable. There are a few things to think about when looking for a job, and I want to bring them to light for you.
Here are a few things to consider when looking for work.
What will the environment be like? Will you grow as an individual here? For most, a relaxed and quiet workplace can help them stay in a structured routine.
What will your schedule be? Part-time, an adjustable schedule, and day jobs can be good for you. Working overnight isn’t recommended, as it can throw you off your much-needed routine.
What are your coworkers going to be like? Seek a job where you relate to them and make sure you have a nice balance between life and work. Having a support system at work can be crucial to someone struggling with Bipolar Disorder.
Is it creative? I enjoy working in places where I can use my imagination.
Make sure you keep thinking about…
What strengths and abilities do you have
What kind of personality do you have
What are your limits and triggers
What are some barriers you have?
Tips for handling stress at work…
Recognize when you are getting overwhelmed and take a break.
I like to use the relaxation mechanisms I’ve gotten from my counselor. Deep breathing, grounding myself, and mediation have helped me tremendously. n
On your break, put your headphones in and listen to music that calms you.
Realize when you are getting burnt out and take some time off. It’s okay to take a break from work to regroup.
Do you have legal rights at work? Yes. Yes, you do.
No law says you have to disclose your Mental Illness to your place of work. Its understandable people wouldn’t be open about it. There is a huge stigma surrounding Mental Health, and most people don’t understand how it can affect your work-life.
I have shared with my boss that I am Bipolar, and I was scared at first. I had gotten tired of hearing my boss throw around snide comments about people who are mentally ill. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT THEY CAN NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST YOU FOR THIS.
There are hotlines available to those who need help talking about their illness. You can go online to Mental Health Works and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce stress and angst at work.
Make sure you SLEEP! Stick to your routine.
It’s not impossible to work with Bipolar Disorder. In fact, work has helped me grow out of my shell. Getting up every day and having something to do is amazing for my routine. It’s okay to be nervous about speaking up, but know that you are NOT alone. Be strong. You got this.
I posted a question the other day on Instagram, asking what people wanted to know more about Mental Health. I might not know everything, but I’m always ready to learn more. Life is about growing, learning, and expanding your view of the world. I hope I never lose my drive to do these things. The best way to learn something is to do your research, which happens to be something I LOVE. I also know how much y’all love to hear my opinions so…you’re welcome.
What helped you to become more transparent about your Mental Health?
The whole beginning of 2020 fucking sucked. There was a lockdown and lots of personal shit. I realized (slowly) that the only person whose opinion should matter is mine. Granted, I don’t have that transparency with my family. You can use online research as a helpful way to gain advice or help (obviously, you’re on my blog LOL). When you are ready to be transparent with your loved ones, understand that it might be awkward (for both parties) at first. It helped me to think about the fact that our parents are people too. They’ve experienced pain, heartache, and loss too. You never know who can help you and give advice. That first conversation is the first step. Once that is out of the way, you can begin talking about what you are experiencing. It might not be the response you are hoping for, but I’ve learned that’s okay. Speaking your truth can make you feel vindicated.
Lifestyle changes to help with depression.
I’m still figuring this one out, so I did some research. You know, my favorite thing to do. Let’s learn together, huh?
Change your expectations. Understand that there is no timetable for depression. It’s okay to give yourself some time.
Find the things that bring you joy, and DO THEM.
Find your safe place. Find somewhere (or something) that brings you peace.
The feelings you get when you are depressed can feel never-ending. It helps to remember that these feelings are all a part of your illness. Don’t give up, please.
It can take a lot out of you, so don’t push yourself too hard. Take your time getting back to who you are.
“I’ve never tried medication; does it have any side effects for you?”
I didn’t get on medication until right before I got pregnant. I’ve read a lot of things regarding this topic. You know, Big Pharma and all that shit. I was told my whole life that it’s all about your mindset, and medication isn’t needed. I’m twenty-five now, and I rely on medication to get me through life. Sure there are side effects, but tell me a medication that doesn’t have one? I experience a few different side effects. Sometimes I puke, all day long. Other days, my balance is completely off and I’m stumbling all over. In the end, if the benefits outweigh the bad parts…keep using them.
What does Mania feel like?
I had my worst Manic Episode during the height of my drug addiction. We all know addicts are manipulators, but it’s not just to other people. They manipulate themselves as well. I was convinced I had no problem; everything was A-OKAY. One night Tristan tried to help, but I wouldn’t hear it. He had brought me the empty bags he had found, and I remember laughing. “That’s not mine,” I said. We argued for a long time. I don’t remember much of our argument, but I came to when I was outside. I was beside myself. How could he accuse me of using drugs? What would ever make him think that (HAHA)? I proceeded to sprint to the highway. I planned to jump into the street and become a Madison pancake (as my mom always said). Anyways, Mania can be exciting. It can make you feel like you are on top of the world. You’re invincible, and no one matters but you. Everything you feel is heightened. It can go so many different ways. You can be on a high horse, or you can think everything around you is fucking annoying. Mania makes me self-sabotage. I usually relapse during a Manic Episode. I feel like my brain is moving too fast, and I can’t catch up. I find myself struggling to pick a mood. As I have gotten older, I’ve become more conscious of what is going on. Knowing helps me understand how to navigate the fucking bullshit. I have to keep myself level and focused on getting through it. I can’t let Mania take me over. I must overcome it.
Positive coping techniques for anxiety
Avoid moping. It helps to get out there, socialize. Do things that distract you.
Do some yoga. Meditate. Take a breather.
Avoid Anxiety-producing Stimuli. Don’t park in the far spot of the parking lot. Don’t watch a horror movie and go outside. Avoid spending time with people who cause trouble.
Exercise. It’s not always about trying to get in shape. Getting outside is good for you. It burns away all that stress that you are feeling.
Think positive. I struggle with this, so I know it can be difficult. I like to set alarms. These alarms send me messages; like “you matter” or “remember your worth.”
Accept it. Your anxiety is always going to be there. Learn how to talk about it. Fearing your anxiety will drive you crazy. It’s never going away; so focus on ways to handle the angst.
I know it has been a while since I’ve posted, and I apologize. I won’t let this happen again. Thank you guys for all of your support. I love y’all.
It’s been almost four years since I decided to get sober. Cocaine would have killed me if it weren’t for the people who cared about me. There are five million regular cocaine users in America right now, JUST America. Addiction is a disease that kills thousands and affects millions every year. Deaths by overdose have fucking tripled since 1990. This shit is real. We, as a society, need to broaden our viewpoints and spend more time understanding than judging.
Almost twenty-one million Americans have at least one addiction, and only 10% of these people seek help. I’ve seen the disgust people feel when they talk about addicts, but t’s not rare. Addiction affects millions of people. So, why? There’s no point. Instead, you can try being a support system for the person who needs you. In 2018, there were 14,666 cocaine-related deaths. Drugs change your brain in ways that cause problems when it comes to stopping. Addiction is a complicated disease, but it’s more common than you’d think. When you’re an addict, there is always a chance of relapsing. Relapsing doesn’t mean you failed. Treatment changes over time and molds to you as life goes on. It’s okay to take a step backward, as long as you pick yourself up and keep going forward.
Looking back, I’ve always been an addict. I see it all now. I’ve had many vices over the years, but cocaine was my biggest one. When I started bartending, the late nights were brutal. I was introduced to it quickly, but I had no idea what it would do to me. I went down this dark rabbit hole. Food was not something I needed, neither was sleep. I thought I hid it well, but Tristan knew. Everyone knew. After an intense psychotic episode, he gave me two choices. I could quit or move out. So, I quit. I was ninety-five pounds and hadn’t eaten anything in days. Nosebleeds were a regular thing. I know if I would’ve continued I would have died. The worst part is that I will be fighting my entire life to stay on the right track. But, I have always been a fighter. I have a support system that now that I have never had before. I’m an addict, but I’m also so much more than that.
Cocaine-related deaths grow every year. It damages the lungs, provokes mental disorders, and can cause respiratory problems. Dealing with an addict can get stressful, sometimes it can feel like there’s no hope. But, there is ALWAYS hope. Addiction is a physical disease (like diabetes), and you have to realize that it isn’t their fault. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. I have a few do’s and don’ts regarding how to deal with an addict. I know how hard it can be to talk to someone struggling, because I was that someone. Addicts manipulate not just you, but also themselves. Drugs rewire the brain and make it hard to stop.
You should never push shame or your criticism on an addict. When someone is in active addiction there is never a time for tough love.
Remember that there is no sole reason for this disease, so don’t ever push fault onto the addict!
Don’t expect progress immediately, and ultimatums aren’t always the best way to go.
It isn’t always easy for an addict to talk about their problem, so don’t think they will open up immediately. These things take time.
Never call an addict selfish.
NEVER lump your loved one into a box. Don’t assume that addiction only affects bad people. That’s simply not true.
Encourage your loved one to find out what helps them in their journey into sobriety.
DO YOUR RESEARCH. I feel like I say this a lot, lol. But it’s true. The more you know, the better you can help your loved one.
Help your loved set goals for their journey. Goals can help people strive for something more, which I think is crucial for getting sober.
It’s okay to celebrate the milestones, but there’s nothing too small or too big for your loved one. Your loved one struggles every day, so always keep that in mind.
Provide your loved one with support and love. Keep things positive. Encourage them along their journey. Providing your loved one a good support system is one of the best things you can do.
This shit is never simple, but it’s not impossible. If you or your loved one are struggling with this disease, know that you are not alone. Not all of us have good support systems, and for the ones who don’t, I’m sorry. My contact page is a way to reach me if you need someone in your corner. I’ve gone through the ashamed phase, but that’s done. There’s no shame in telling your story, and I hope more people do that over time. I’m proud of my progress, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten those times. Recovery is all about acceptance and forgiveness.
Who else grew up around people who didn’t understand Mental Health? Who else was berated in school constantly? Now, come on. I know I am not the only one. Middle School was when my Mental Health drastically started to decline. I had very few friends who loved me despite it all. Sarah, my first kiss, you were a rock for me in middle school. Most people didn’t understand (or didn’t want to) what I was going through. I learned quickly how mean people are. I learned to wear long sleeves. I couldn’t risk anyone seeing my cuts. I got many comments. I heard things like, “you’re just looking for attention” and “you should just kill yourself.” Mental Health isn’t in schools curriculum, can you believe that? Mental Health IS Health, and we should discuss it as much as Physical Health.
I scoured the web for different myths that are out there regarding Mental Health. I thought I would share what I found and then share my rebuttal.
Here we go.
Myth: People with Mental Health problems are violent and unpredictable.
I will be the first to admit that I have had my share of freakouts. But who hasn’t had a freakout? I’m Bipolar, no doubt about it. But just because I am Bipolar, doesn’t mean that every emotion I have is because of that. Everyone freaks out. Everyone feels intense emotions, not just me. People with Mental Illness aren’t prone to anything more than y’all special folk with no problems. Lol.\
Myth: You can’t do anything to help someone who has a Mental Health problem.
Alright, what the fuck? This is something people really think? Shit…this world dude. I’ve lost many friends because of my episodes. There’s so much I wish I could tell them now. I loved them and still do. Sometimes I can get to be too complicated, but I’ve never wanted to be alone. There’s so much you can do for someone you love who is suffering. I will always say that doing your research is the best way to understand what your loved one is going through. I know giving up is the easiest way out, but that’s only easy for you. What about your loved one? There is ALWAYS something you can do to help. I promise.
Myth: Mental Health problems are rare.
HAHA, people actually think that? Ain’t that some shit. For your information, one in four people will experience a Mental Health problem in any one year. Mental illnesses aren’t uncommon. I have been struggling with my Mental Health since I was 11 years old, so I think I kind of understand this shit a little more. Mental Illness happens, and it doesn’t discriminate. We are in 2021. I think it’s time for Mental Health to be a priority in life and the world.
Myth: It’s okay to use derogatory words such as “crazy”, “nut-job”, “off your meds”, or “psycho.”
It absolutely is NOT. Don’t you ever come at people and call them names. My illness isn’t a joke. This shit is REAL, and I don’t appreciate it being used for shits and giggles. It’s insensitive. It’s time for Mental Health to stop being a joke for people to use when they feel like being mean. Fuck that. Don’t ever use someone’s Mental Illness against them. EVER. It is wrong, and it’s cruel. My feelings get hurt when people try to use my illness against me. I’m Bipolar, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
If you know me, you know I love tattoos. And if you really know me, you know I struggle with self-harm. Every now and then I try to count my tattoo’s and I always lose count around thirty. I have tattoos ranging from a few cuss words to a bible verse on my wrist. But, I can honestly say I don’t regret a single one of them. Over the years, I’ve accumulated hundreds of scars. Most of which are now covered with art. It’s hard for me to put into words how I felt when I got my first self-harm cover-up tattoo. It went from the scars that everyone questioned, to this wonderful piece of art. And yes, tattoos are art and I am the living canvas.
I’ve spent most of my life dealing with this, and it’s affected so many aspects of my life. What do you think of when you think of getting a tattoo? I bet you start to wonder how painful it’s going to be, and it is painful (even though I’ve fallen asleep during some). So is getting a tattoo or piercing a form of self-injury? I mean, both maim and change the body after all. I’ll be the first to admit that some of my tattoos did come about because I had the urge to hurt myself, but it’s not always about that. Tattoos aren’t done by one’s own hands, so really it’s not self-harm. For me, it’s mostly become a coping technique. A very expensive coping technique, haha.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like my depression is swallowing me whole. My life just isn’t where I thought it would be at twenty-five, but are any of y’all where you thought you’d be? No, really. I’m curious. I started harming myself in little ways the past couple of months. You know, like the cap of a pen or a paperclip. I know it’s not a healthy coping mechanism, but sometimes it’s all that works to calm me down. Self-injury isn’t uncommon. It happens way more thank you think. There have been studies to show that one in five people have harmed themselves intentionally at least once in their life.
Self-harm usually develops in the early teens, when you’re young and finding out who you are. Life was scarier back then, at least for me anyway. When I was that age (and maybe even now), I associated cutting with the release of my inner pain. Hurting myself made me feel something, it made me remember that I’m a person and I can feel things other than emptiness. Although, it wasn’t always cutting. I went through a period where I would go outside and punch the bricks of the house. God, I did it over and over and over again. And, do y’all remember bloody knuckles? I can’t believe we played those games, but it was my alternative to cutting at school. So I played, and I still have the scars to show for it.
I spent all of the school years wearing long sleeves, bracelets, or long pants to hide the cuts. I also had to avoid the cruelty of other kids. Kids can be cruel, and I had my fair share of cruelty in school. One time, this girl Katie told me I should kill myself. We were in eighth grade, and I was in a really vulnerable place. Kids (and some adults) don’t realize how much words can impact a person. I spent so much time covering up my cuts when I should have spent more time understanding why I was hurting myself. Therapy is real, and it helps. It’s not a fluke, and if you need help you should get it. It’s the right thing to do for yourself, and it doesn’t make you weak.
I love my tattoos. Every single one of them. I have a story for every single one, and they always bring a smile to my face. I know it can’t be an alternative for cutting, but it sure is a good way to express myself. Now, I don’t want to hurt myself for the rest of my life. I know I need help and I’m committed to the work it takes to get better. I’m gonna share my favorite tattoo story before I go. I got “fuck this shit” tattooed on my hip. No one ever sees it but it’s one of my most meaningful tattoos. I crawled out of a deep dark hole the day I got it, and I’ll always remember that feeling.
When my Pawpaw passed, Cameron passed shortly after. Life got turned upside down. When Tristan had me move out, I was really lost. I was in this place where I couldn’t find a single thing that was good about me. This one day I was curled up in bed, crying my eyes out and I started saying fuck this shit. I started to think about how shitty life can be but on the other hand, it can be so beautiful. There are always better days. So, I got up and drove to the tattoo parlor. I thought of my life, friends, family, and everything in between. Then I got it. I got “fuck this shit” to remind myself that yeah, life can suck but it gets better. It always gets better.
Do you remember being little? Weren’t we much happier then? Back when nothing else mattered but playing outside with your friends after school. No cell phones, no social media, those were the good days. Grace had her first incident with a kid the other day, and it got me thinking. She’s growing up, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I still remember the way she smelled when they put her in my arms after her first bath. If you’re a parent, you know that smell too. In a few days, I will no longer be able to have children. Hah. That’s weird to say. I’ve had mixed feelings these last few weeks. There were a million what-ifs that came up. What if Tristan and I don’t get married? Would someone else want someone who can’t have kids? Am I going to regret it once Grace is older? Am I being too hasty? Maybe I’m still too young? Just because I’m Bipolar doesn’t mean my kids would be too, right? In the end, there are a million what-ifs. But the pros here definitely outweigh the cons.
The reality is that I am Bipolar, on Anti-Psychotics, and not sure I’ll ever be able to handle getting off medication for nine months. It took a long time to come to this decision. I’m still not really sure how my parents feel about it. I kind of just told them and didn’t really give much room for rebuttals. It’s my body? So it’s my choice. I’ve become more in tune with what is best for me, and I know this is the right thing to do. Plus, there are so many different ways to have a child. There are so many fucking kids out there who are born to people who don’t want them or who can’t take care of them. I have so much love to give, and I can’t think of a better way to spread the love. I could make a child feel wanted, loved, and happy. Every child deserves that. Kids deserve everything. Kids should always be protected. Plus, I think Grace would love a sibling at some point. Even if the sibling doesn’t come from me.
I’ve always been a hypochondriac, so to say I’m nervous would be an understatement. I’m trying not to think about it too much. I’ve been focusing on the positives. My depressive episode has started to lift. I can see the light again, and it’s so refreshing. Focusing on myself, Grace, and my family is all I need right now. I got some fish. Haha, they’ve actually been helping me. They’re really cute too. I think this is the longest I have ever kept fish alive. Granted, I did go all out and buy a full blow aquarium set. Haha. But hey, my counselor said it was a good idea. My routine is back. I spend my mornings working out, dancing, and spending some time in the sun. Having a routine is good for me. It keeps me going in a forward motion. It helps keep me focused on the things I need to do. I just recently started to get my license to sell insurance and I’m feeling really good about it.
Anyways, as you’re reading this I’m probably loopy as hell laid up in bed. When I got the call from the hospital to ask about my medical history, I was surprised by how loving the nurse was. She asked all these questions, and then drug history came up. When I told her I was an addict (you’re always an addict though), she started to cry. She told me how proud she was of me, that I did a good job, and that she was happy that I’m still here. It was one of the sweetest things, and I am glad she was the nurse I talked to. It’s good to know that there are good people out there.
This post isn’t too informative, but I needed to get some things out. I’ve been bottling things up a lot lately. When I bottle things up, they never come out good. I need so much to happen in these next few months. We need to find a new place to live, I need to start paying off some debt, and I just need more money. I’ve been into manifesting things and using affirmations lately, so I thought I’d throw a few out there before my surgery.
I’m manifesting that things will go okay. Good things will start to come my way. I am strong. The rest of this year will be good to me. I am making the right decision for ME. I am full of love and light. I deserve all the happiness in the world.
We’re all born with a clean slate, pure and innocent. It doesn’t last long. One day you’re five walking through the kindergarten hallways, and then you’re twenty-five. 2020 was one of the worst years of my life. It chewed me up and spit me out, all kinds of fucked up. I lost myself and am still trying to repair the damage caused. When 2021 began, I was determined to get my shit together. I found the Cerebral app and got back on medication. I started a blog, got back into yoga, and started learning how to cope better. Living with Bipolar Disorder isn’t a walk in the park, but I am committed to the work it takes. Getting back into therapy has been eye-opening for me.
I’ve always been someone who takes the trauma and puts it in a box. There’s this box in my brain that contains all the things I have decided to bury. It’s time to open it. I can’t move on and continue in my recovery with these things holding me back. When I was younger, writing was always a safe place for me. My therapist suggested trying it. Taking pen to paper, you know? I’ve become very open this year about who I am and what I go through. I’m not posting this to my blog to gain sympathy. It’s good knowing you aren’t alone. Healing your inner child and accepting the negative experiences is a huge step in recovery. Recognizing your triggers can be very beneficial for you.
Let’s start from the beginning. Lol. I was fourteen freshman year. I had already been cutting myself for a few years and went into high school seeking something (or someone) to make me feel better. My first boyfriend was two years older than me. Let’s call him Asshole number one. Lol. The relationship was possessive. He needed so much attention; there were calls ALL THE TIME and so many text messages. It got to the point where he thought he was going to marry me. I WAS FOURTEEN. Like, what the fuck? Losing my virginity to him is something I regret. All that comes with that memory is pain. I lost a piece of myself to him that day. We broke up when he was out of town, and I quickly moved on. He wasn’t ready to let me go. I remember seeing him drive by our house all the time. He started rumors saying that I was telling people he raped me, which led him to put a letter in my mailbox addressed to my mom. Yes…a fucking letter to my mom. It got to the point where he keyed my boyfriend’s car at school. He made me feel unsafe for a long time, but he also was the beginning of a long line of bad choices in men.
After Asshole number one, there was Asshole number two. It was amazing…until he went to college. I thought it was going to end in marriage. I was CONVINCED, and I’m fucking ecstatic that it didn’t. When he went off to school, our relationship started to fade away. I tried to make it work. I went to visit a handful of times before things went sideways. One of the last times I went, we had gone out after the football game. Now, I liked a good party back then. We drank, and I was fucked up. There’s still a lot missing from that night when I think back to it, but I can remember some. When we left to go back to his dorm, he had his friend put me in the backseat (I couldn’t walk). I remember his friend having me put my head on his lap and I thought, “I can sleep now.” He continued to molest me in the backseat of his truck, and Asshole number two did nothing. I could feel his hands on me, but I couldn’t move. So I closed my eyes and waited for the car to come to a stop. I quietly thought that this was all I was good for…sex.
It took both my boyfriend and his roommate to get me into their dorm room. I honestly think I had an out-of-body experience. Asshole number two and his roommate continued to have sex with me. They had sex with me when I was in a state where I couldn’t even speak. The incident comes to me in flashes. He was someone I loved and thought loved me back. He was supposed to be my safe place, and he hurt me. They took something from me that night that I never got back, and it sent me into a downward spiral. Sex meant nothing to me after this. I was looking to fill a void in me, and I looked for it in boy’s beds. I believe I experienced Mania for the first time that year. I stopped loving and caring for myself. I’ve never talked to my family about what he did to me, and I’m not sure how they will feel if they read this. I have stopped caring about the negative and I don’t care if this makes people talk. It should make people talk. I was scared for years to talk about this, but not anymore. I want everyone who has been through something like this that they are NOT alone. You are never alone.
Fast forward to July 2014, and Tristan has come into my life. I had already committed to going to Mississippi State for my freshman year of college. A few months in, we had a concert. I forgot who came to play, but we had to walk these little town roads to get there. Parties were all over. I think we stopped at like seven different houses on the way to the concert. I was out with my friend, her boyfriend, and a few guys from his fraternity. I was pretty drunk but I was aware of my surroundings. I found one of the guys we had been out with all night and asked if he would walk me across campus to my dorm. I was scared to walk all that way alone. I didn’t know the person I had to be scared of was the one walking me home. I’m not sure how far we had gotten before he grabbed and shoved me behind some dumpsters. My back was up against the concrete wall, his hand over my mouth. He attempted to make me touch him, but I wasn’t going to just let it happen. I grabbed, twisted, and dug my nails in. When he let go, I ran the whole way to my dorm. I stayed up till the sun was in the sky, smoking cigarettes the entire time. I lasted one semester before going home. I got depressed, stopped going to my classes, and slept all the time. I was miserable, so I went home. In a way, I felt like he won. But, I’m glad I came home. Look at the family I’ve created and look at how much love I have in my life. So…no. He didn’t win.
It’s been almost a decade since these things have happened to me. This past year has been huge for me in regards to self-growth, self-love, and forgiveness. I am a survivor, I am NOT a victim. I came out on the other side and can say that things do get better. Life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. I think you all know that, but life is beautiful. Life is worth living. I’m twenty-five now, Bipolar, and sometimes a total fucking wreck. Now I know that despite all my flaws, I am deserving of love and happiness. I am worth it. I will never lose who I am again. It’s scary talking about your trauma and having people know what evil has happened to you. There is strength in acceptance, and there is strength in forgiveness. I am no longer a victim. I am a SURVIVOR.
I covered suicide last month, so I thought maybe I should cover something else people like to ignore? Self-harm.
Most people who self-harm keep it a secret, which is what I did for a very long time. It’s more common than you’d think. Self-harm has this huge stigma around it, and it ends up hindering people from getting the help they need. I began self-harming in sixth grade. When people saw my cuts back then, they were anything but worried. I was the “emo” kid. Girls are mean when you’re that age, but these girls were cruel. These girls would tell me to “kill myself” or “slit my wrists.” For the rest of middle school, I made sure no one ever saw any cuts again.
The definition of Self-Harm is self-explanatory; it’s when someone intentionally hurts themselves. There are so many ways for someone to harm themselves; I’ve always stuck to sharp objects. Safety pin, knife, paperclip, thumbtack, etc. Some people burn themselves, pull out hair, pick their skin (I’ve started doing this). It’s not an easy thing to talk about, but I believe it’s necessary. People view Self-Harm as “attention-seeking” behavior. But really, it’s a cry for help. It’s a sign something deeper is going on there; they aren’t just “emo.”
It might be hard for you to understand why anyone would purposefully harm themselves, but I hope you have a little more understanding after reading this. I also ask that y’all read this with an open mind. I’ve never been this honest about my history with Self-Harm, but I think now is the right time.
When I tell people about my history with Self-Harm, they usually get wide-eyed and don’t know what to say. It’s hard to understand when you have never experienced it yourself. Most jump to the conclusion that it is all for attention, so they shrug it off and move on. People like that need to understand that this shouldn’t be ignored…ever. Self-Harm should ALWAYS be taken seriously; it’s not a joke. It’s a sign of emotional distress (not for attention). If ignored, it can turn into a dangerous cycle. For some, it even becomes a habit or a kind of ritual. Once the damage has been done, the guilt and shame start to come into play. Feeling this is normal.
I know what it’s like to wake up the next day with dried blood on my wrists. Then the cuts heal, and there’s this permanent reminder of what you did and what you were feeling then. How could one not feel shame? Or guilt? This is where that vicious cycle comes into play. You cut, then you feel guilty and you cut again. It’s not your fault (or mine), sometimes you need a release. I get it. Hurting yourself releases endorphins (pain-killer hormones). These endorphins that are released, are the reason I continued to cut myself. It was the only relief I had from my own mind. Those hormones do not last very long, which is why once you start…it’s hard to stop. You feel better until you don’t; thus beginning the vicious cycle again.
My Mom got remarried when I was in middle school. We packed up and left the only home I had ever really known. I had so much brewing inside me and I had no idea how to handle it. I remember the first time I ever hurt myself, I was in the bathroom at school. My depression was eating me from the inside out. I was sitting on the floor in that big bathroom stall, sobbing. I was fidgeting with the safety pin that was on my backpack and accidentally scraped my ankle. In that quick moment, I felt relief. I was so confused, but I wanted to feel more. So, I took the safety pin and began scratching my skin vigorously. The crying stopped. For that short moment, I had finally felt some form of happiness. Which was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. My life changed on the floor of that stall–I had started something that would haunt me for a long time. I have stopped and relapsed again and again over the years.
About three years ago, Tristan and I weren’t in a good place. I don’t even remember what started the argument. We had just gotten back from going downtown one night, so alcohol was involved. I spiraled. I usually spiral if I drink when I’m off my medication. Tristan ended up going to sleep, and my downward spiral continued. I remember getting a knife from the kitchen and going to the bathroom (the floor of course). I ended up cutting my leg three times, all deep enough to see my muscle tissue. Once I came to and saw what I did, I was scared. In the moment, you don’t realize what you’re doing.
I knew I needed stitches, but I knew what would have happened if I did. I’m terrified of ever being hospitalized, I don’t think it’s something that would ever help me. Which is why I did not want to go get stitches, I would’ve been put away. So after a looooooot of hydrogen peroxide, butterfly bandaids, and gauze–I just sat and stared at all the blood on the floor. I felt so much shame…so much sadness. I mutilated my body, again. I wore pants for a long time when I’d go out in public until I realized I shouldn’t hide them. People needed to see them. I needed to see them. Accepting my cuts and scars was the next step in my recovery.
I’m twenty-five now, and most of my Self-Harm scars are covered up with tattoos. My scars that remain (or are somewhat new), help me remember the place that I don’t want to get to again. Things are different today. I have a support system, I’m older, and I have a much better understanding of what I’m going through. I’ve accepted that this is a lifelong battle, but I’m committed to making it through. Over the years I’ve learned different coping techniques to subside the need to hurt myself. When I was younger, I’d take a pen and draw all over myself. My Dad hated it, but he had no idea why I was doing it. He just thought it looked bad. As I aged, my coping mechanisms have changed. Today when I feel the need to hurt myself, I usually go get a tattoo. But, we all know that shit is expensive. So when I’m not willing to spend the money, I do a few other things. Coloring, yoga, reading, and writing are all things that help me. It’s important to find what is best for you and stick to it.
I can’t promise there won’t be any bad times; no one can. Something I do know is that you deserve to be happy. Your mental health IS important, and it’s okay to struggle. Everyone struggles and I mean EVERYONE. Don’t feel shame in seeking help. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. You are the only one whose opinion matters.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with Self-Harm, I am praying for you. You are in my thoughts and I pray that you find healing. You are beautiful and you deserve the world.
I was first introduced to Rapid Cycling when I was twenty-one and deep into an addiction that would’ve killed me. It came back in 2020 when I moved back into my Mom’s. Rapid Cycling can develop in anyone who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and it’s temporary for most. Rapid Cycling is when someone experiences four or more Manic or Depressive episodes in twelve months. These mood changes tend to happen quickly, either a few days or hours. Unfortunately, there’s usually no pattern when it comes to this. Rapid Cycling can be grueling, emotional, and scary. It’s more common in women…lucky me? Since it is temporary for most, I try to find solace that it is only temporary.
Rapid Cycling isn’t a diagnosis in itself. When someone gets stuck in this, it can take a great toll on them. The mood swings that you already get begin to get more intense and come more often. There’s a period of “remission” when your mood is neutral, which is what I call the calm before the storm. Sometimes, your symptoms can become too much. It can start to affect your everyday life more than your Bipolar Disorder always does. People who are experiencing Rapid Cycling are at a higher risk of being hospitalized or committing suicide. This vicious cycle of switching from low to high so quickly is scary. There’s just this little glimmer of hope in between. It’s the part where you’re just waiting for things to go to shit again. For that short moment, things are peaceful. Then it starts again. It can seem never-ending. Be glad and take comfort that it is only temporary.
When I was twenty-one, I was lost and hurting. Addiction had hooked its claws in me, and it wasn’t letting go. I had stopped taking my medication and would soon send myself into this rollercoaster ride. When I did my research before this, I read how Rapid Cycling tends to require hospitalization. My highs and lows had gotten so extreme that I was starting to get scared of myself. One night, I was strung out and stuck in this Manic state. I remember Tristan coming home and things just got progressively worse. Back then, Tristan had very little knowledge of what was happening to me. That night a switch flipped in my head, and I lost it. I don’t remember much of the in-between, but I do remember the beginning and the end. I got sent into a downward spiral of a mixed episode when he walked through the door. There was a lot of nonsense screaming and crying coming from me. The result was me sprinting down the street in an attempt to run onto highway six into oncoming traffic. Tristan stopped me. He threw my sweaty, barefoot ass in his car and took me home. This experience was traumatizing, for both of us. That night he gave me an ultimatum, and I chose him. I will always choose him. I quit my toxic job, got sober, and got back on my medications. My Rapid Cycling continued throughout the whole withdrawal process. One day I found myself so depressed that I could hardly function. I got in my car and googled “Mental Health Hospital”. Just thirty minutes later I found myself in the parking garage of a hospital downtown. I turned my phone off and cried. God, I cried so much. That day was so dark, I had become scared of myself. After what seemed like hours, I turned my phone back on and braced myself for the outside world. I ended up going home and spent a year getting myself balanced out. This time my Rapid Cycling lasted eight months. It took a lot of will to get through those months, but I did it. I came out on the other side. I fucking made it.
Rapid Cycling can occur at any time, and usually comes and goes depending on how well you manage your disorder. Rapid Cycling shows up in about ten to twenty percent of everyone who is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I know firsthand how physically and mentally exhausting this can be. There are a few different things you can do to help yourself cope and get through it.
By tracking your daily moods, you’ll start to understand what triggers you. I suggest buying a journal and keeping track of your mood swings. Get some colorful pens and make it fun. This helped me so much.
This helps you identify the issue and make a treatment plan. Therapy to me has always been a “no judgment zone”; which I think is something everyone needs. I’ve been going to therapy since I was young, and I really need to get back into it. Talk therapy has always been the best way for me to get my feelings out.
Rapid Cycling can make coping with work, life, and society extremely difficult. But knowing that there’s an end to the rollercoaster makes it a little easier to get through. When you’re going through this, you should be seeing your therapist and psychiatrist quite often. You should also always be transparent with them about how you are feeling. There are likely going to be adjustments made to your medication to manage the highs and lows accordingly. I took Lamogtrine when I was on the ride, and I’ve been prescribed it again to help with my depression right now. Anti-convulsants have proved to be best for treating Rapid Cycling. Now don’t forget that it takes some time for the medication to start helping. Psychotherapy has also proved to help. When you’re home, there are things you can do to help as well. Your therapist will be able to give you homework or exercises to help you cope. Always surround yourself with people you trust. It’s one of the best things that you can do. Having a support system will save you, I promise. There’s also no shame in getting help. No one should ever have to deal with this alone.
Although there is no known course, there are a few theories. I know how hard it can be, and I know how exhausted it can make you. Don’t forget that this is not a diagnosis; it shows how the course of Bipolar Disorder is experienced. You can use the fact that it is temporary to help ease your mind a little. Going from that extreme high to the depths of depression is brutal. If you think you are going through this, you should get with your doctor as soon as possible. I always think about the people who get stuck in Rapid Cycling but never come out of it. I couldn’t imagine, and I feel so lucky to have only had this temporarily. I know I say this often, but my inbox is always open. Don’t go through this shit alone. Find your people (or your person) and focus on your inner happiness. If you have any questions or want me to send you some coping mechanisms…you know where to go.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Suicide is an often stigmatized topic to discuss, and most tend to avoid the subject. This month is a time to shift public perception, raise awareness, spread important information, and give hope to everyone affected by suicide. Were you aware that more women attempt suicide, but 78% of all people who die by suicide are male? Another fun statistic…twenty-five to fifty percent of those who have Bipolar attempt, while fifteen percent die by suicide. When a Mental Health condition goes by untreated, the risk for suicide gets greater. No one should ever feel shame coming forward and talking about what is going on inside. I apologize for anything I may say in this post that may trigger unwanted feelings and emotions. But, I have to talk about this. The world has to talk about this.
I want to start by providing you with two numbers that have helped so many people.
If you are struggling or know someone who’s struggling, here are two safe places for you to reach out to.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK And if you are not comfortable speaking on the phone, text “NAMI” to 741-741.
Although there are some at higher risk, everyone is susceptible to suicidal thoughts or actions. The suicide rate in the United States has increased thirty-five percent since 1999, and we lost more than 48,000 people in 2018. Forty-six percent of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed condition. This is the second leading cause of death of people ten to thirty-four years of age, and the tenth leading cause in the United States alone. Our country is lacking in proper and affordable Mental Health Care, something needs to change.
Someone told me not that long ago that my blog could be used against me, and I don’t doubt it. But does that mean I should delete it? Stop being open and honest? End this thing that has helped me and all of those who have visited? I can’t do that, and I won’t. Manic Mama will continue to be a safe space for me and anyone who is struggling. I began self-harming in seventh grade, and I first attempted suicide my freshman year of high school at just fourteen years old. I swallowed a bunch of pills and waited. My friend had a different idea, so she shoved her finger down my throat until I couldn’t throw up anymore. I never spoke about it, and I never told my family. I was ashamed of what I had done, and I didn’t want people to think it was for attention. Being a self-harmer, I’ve heard it all. I know some people view self-harm and suicide as attention-seeking actions. I didn’t need the gossip then, and I don’t need it now.
If you aren’t really sure what this month is about, please look into the NAMI. They work to ensure that everyone has access to the resources and help they need when dealing with Mental Health. I hope the rest of this post is beneficial to you all and helps bring more to light on this subject. I encourage everyone to come together and use their voice to advocate for Mental Health. I want to put some lists down about the warning signs of suicide, the risk factors, and what to include in your Crisis Plan. A Crisis Plan is something you create to share with your friends and family. This will help them know how best to help you in the case of an emergency. Thank you for coming to Manic Mama, you all have no idea how much it means to me to see people visiting. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Family history of suicide
Substance use (drugs worsen the highs and the lows)
Intoxication (more than one in three of every suicide was under the influence)
Access to a firearm
History of trauma and abuse
Tragedy or loss
Mental Health problems
Having attempted suicide before
Family members or friends who have committed suicide
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Withdrawal from family, friends, community
Dramatic mood swings
Reckless or impulsive behavior
Buying a gun
Tying up loose ends (a will, saying goodbyes)
Giving things away
Talking about dying
Suggesting they feel hopeless, worthless, or helpless
Saying things such as, “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want to get out”
Losing interest in things they once loved
What to include in your Crisis Plan:
#’s of Psychiatrist, Therapist, and any other healthcare provider
#’s of family or friends who could be helpful
Local Crisis #
Addresses to Crisis Centers that take walk-in’s
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Your personal address and #
All medications you take
Previous relapses or suicide attempts
History of drug and alcohol use
Things that have helped in the past
Mobile Crisis Unit #
Ninety percent of people who have died by suicide have experienced Mental Health Condition symptoms. There’s so much you can do in order to help those suffering. I will always preach that the best way to learn, is to DO YOUR RESEARCH. You can make a difference, even if you think you can’t. Volunteer in your community, and find ways to help those around you. If you are the one struggling, please know that you are NEVER alone. There are ways to get help, and I encourage everyone to seek help when needed. Please don’t ever feel shame for needing help! Seeking it makes you STRONG. If anyone is need of a friend or a ear, please make your way to my “Get in Touch” page. I would love to hear from you guys, and help in any way that I can.
Does anyone else remember twenty questions? With Grace starting Kindergarten, I knew I wanted to do something to document this age. So I thought, why not play it with Grace? It could be interesting, haha. She has come into her personality so much in the past year. She is smart, talented, funny, kind, and so much more. As we get older, we start to forget what it’s like to view the world through the eyes of a child. Are you ready to see the world from Grace’s eyes? I know I am.
How old are you? “I’m Five Mom, you know this.”
What’s your full name? “Well, it’s Grace Melinda”
What is love to you? “Umm…love is hugs and kisses. A lot of them.”
How old is Mommy? Daddy? “Uh, Mommy. I think you’re sixteen. And Daddy too, Daddy is sixteen too.”
What do you want to be when you grow up? “A police officer. Definitely a police officer.”
What’s your favorite thing you own? “My Hatchimals. They’re so tiny and cute.”
What animal would you like to be? Why? “A Cheetah. Oh! Actually, a flying Cheetah with angel wings. I want to be fast.”
What makes you feel loved? “Kisses and hugs. And when people throw their trash away. It’s the right thing to do.”
Where would you go if you could fly? “The waterpark. I love the waterpark. Can we go now?”
What makes you sad? Happy? “It makes me sad when I’m by myself. Hatchimals, birds, and stuffed animals make me happy.”
What’s your favorite memory? “Fishing with Mommy and Coco.”
How tall is Daddy? “Taller than you, Mom.”
What’s your favorite thing about yourself? “That I’m like you Mommy.”
What do you dream about? “Sharkboy and Lava Girl.”
Do you have a best friend? “Phoenix. She’s a girl. She’s very nice and pretty. Just like you Mommy.”
How does it feel to be a Kindergartener? “Good. It’s so much fun.”
What’s your superhero name? “Super G.”
What would your powers be? “Ice, fire, water, Earth, and winter.”
Who’s your favorite dog? “Um…sometimes Sofa, and sometimes Major. I like white dogs.”
If you could do anything, what would it be? “Go to the waterpark. I love the waterpark Mommy. Please can we go?”
That was fun to do. It’s humbling to see how your kids view things. It’s always so pure. Grace is the best, and I feel lucky that she is mine. This year is going to be so good for her. I’m excited to watch her grow and learn. She’s a beautiful, smart little girl. I’m so proud to call myself her Mom. Time goes by so fast, so make sure you cherish every moment. Take pictures. Videos. Save those memories…I promise you won’t regret it. I’m excited to come back to these questions in the future and see how she viewed the world. Grace Melinda, you are a star. I love you so much.
I’ll be twenty-five in three days. When I think back to seven years ago when I graduated high school, I feel many different things. Mostly, I’m just glad I’m not that person anymore. My mental health growing up wasn’t the best, and I was very self-destructive. I had Grace when I was nineteen. Life, school, friends, everything got put on the back burner. At some point, I stopped dreaming and wanting things. My daughter just turned five, and when I look at her I can’t help but hope that she never stops dreaming. This past year has been life-changing for me. I got my medication back on track, and I’ve started to make myself a priority. Growing up has always terrified me, but it’s time to embrace it. Sometimes I forget that I am still young, and I can still have dreams. So…it’s time to dream again.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the years trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I stopped going to school a few years ago, and never found the right time to return. I couldn’t commit to it because I knew I wasn’t all in. So, I’ve bounced around jobs over the years. Mostly bartending, I’ve gotten quite good at it. Haha. I spent the last year thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. At first, I thought Vet Tech would be pretty cool. I even started paying for a course, but I’m so busy. I quickly learned I wasn’t passionate enough about it. When I quit this one job back in 2017 and got sober, I started working at a yoga studio. I had just had a year off to recuperate, and I threw myself into those free classes they gave me. I had been searching for a safe place for so long. Somewhere where I could be in tune with my mind and body, and I had finally found it. I don’t work there anymore, but I never let go of it. Yoga and meditation have become a crucial part of my daily routine.
So, I’m proud to announce that I am about to start that journey. Not only have I been trying to figure out what to do in life, but I’ve also been learning how to love myself more. Younger Madison had no sense of self-worth, and that makes me so sad. I’ve spent my whole life putting everyone else first. That ends this year. I deserve to be number one. My dreams no longer need to stand on the sidelines. I’m so much more than just a mom. I’m a sister, girlfriend (soon to be fiancé maybe?), daughter, and I have dreams. I have dreams that I have to follow. Dreams that I need to pursue, and now is the perfect time for that.
Self-love doesn’t come easy to all of us. I still don’t really know how it works, haha. I’ve spent years hating myself, and I’m starting to think that maybe I fed into my issues a little bit. Body dysmorphia peered its ugly head when I was in middle school. I remember taking the shoelaces off of my shoes and measuring the width of my thighs. For some reason, I’ve never viewed myself as beautiful. Almost twenty-five years of life, and I have yet to look at myself and think I’m beautiful. That’s no way to live. Makeup has never really been my thing and in a world full of it, I kind of stick out sometimes. When I wear makeup, I feel even more insecure. Does that make sense? I don’t want to portray myself as anything less than who I am. With that being said, there is nothing wrong with a good makeup look. I will doll up from time to time. It’s just my personal choice to not wear it except for special occasions.
2021 is MY year. I promised myself that I’d start thinking of myself more. Shit, I’m only twenty-five years old. I have DREAMS. I have aspirations. I want to do something with my life. It doesn’t matter if my dreams aren’t enough for other people, all that matters is that I love what I do. This year was a game-changer. I have begun my journey into loving myself again. Grace started Kindergarten. My brother started a new journey at a new school. And me? I’m embracing my birthday this year. There’s nothing wrong with getting older. Life only gets better from here. I’m beautiful, smart, talented, and I deserve nothing less than the best.
I became a mom while my friends were attending frat parties. I was nineteen when Grace was born and turned twenty a month later. I wasn’t diagnosed with Bipolar until a few years after she was born. Post-partum hit me like a train and lasted for months. My parents are divorced, so I had an idea already of what kind of parent I wanted to be. I am also the oldest of three. Riley wasn’t old enough to see much of my struggles after high school, but Will was. I knew I wanted to shield Grace from seeing times like that. All moms struggle, even the ones without a mental illness. Being Bipolar doesn’t mean I’m a bad parent–I believe it makes me a better one.
People tend to forget that Bipolar Disorder is an illness, just like diabetes. It disrupts your everyday life, and it’s a lifestyle change for sure. When I first got diagnosed, I’ll admit I went off the rails. I was young, and I didn’t understand what was going on. Medication was something I wasn’t interested in at first. They always made me feel foggy or sick. I was throwing up all the time. As the years have gone by, I’ve gained more of an understanding of what is best for me. During the first year, Tristan’s parents were such lifesavers (although they’ve always been). I knew I didn’t want Grace to have to experience the bad episodes, and they understood. Whenever I knew I was not well, she was always welcome at their house. I have so much gratitude for Tristan’s parents. Their support over the years means so much to me.
Stable is not a word you think of when it comes to the word Bipolar. When you become a mom, stability is something that HAS to be in your vocabulary. Children require a stable home environment. My parents are divorced, and it was something I didn’t handle well as a kid. It was also something I didn’t handle well at twenty either. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had a pretty good idea about what kind of life I wanted for my kid. Little did I know I’d be pregnant two years later, haha. It came fast. I like to think we did well with Grace. She has so much love in her heart, and she’s going to do big things. I promise.
To be honest with everyone, there have been very few times that Grace has seen one of my episodes. We moved into Tristan’s parents shortly after she was born, so she’s always felt comfortable at both places. I’ve shielded Grace from most of it, but one day we’ll have to have a conversation about it. She hasn’t seen an episode since she was a baby and we couldn’t talk about it. I’m not naïve, I know I can’t hide it forever. I’ve spent so much time thinking about the day we talk about it. I want to be as open and honest with Grace as much as I can be.
I know that I will never lose perspective when it comes to how my illness affects her. It’s so important to me that she knows that my symptoms are not her fault, they’re parts of an illness. Our line of communication will always be honest. I want her to feel comfortable coming to me with questions, and I want to be able to answer as best as I can. Counseling is something that could also be helpful. My biggest fear is Grace ending up like me (not that I’m awful), but I want her to be happy forever. Unrealistic, I know. I’m going to do my best to make sure she has the best life. Grace Melinda deserves the world.
There isn’t a handbook when it comes to parenting. You take life as it comes, and you cherish every moment of it. It goes by too fast. Even if you don’t have an illness, motherhood can still be challenging. For all you moms out there, you’re not alone. Becoming a mom is the best thing that ever happened to me. Grace is amazing. We got so lucky. Kindergarten is in less than a month, and I know she is going to do so well. My little genius (she’ll tell you this herself).
There are a few things I like to keep in mind being a parent with Bipolar Disorder. Here you go 🙂
Consider your loved ones feelings always.
Show love as much as you can.
Listen to them.
Don’t feel shame. Your illness is not you or your family’s fault.
Learn how to become more aware when an episode is coming on, and how better to handle it.
About a month ago, I woke up for work and had this pit in my stomach. It had been a rough couple of days, and I was already on edge. By the time I got dressed, I knew the day was going to be a shit show. I couldn’t seem to slow down that morning. I was all over the place. I popped my daily Prozac, and then I ran out the door. My insides were in a knot. Driving has not been the easiest thing for me lately, and I could feel myself getting tense. I rolled the windows down and opened the sunroof. I put on some country music and pulled out the driveway.
I made it to the highway before things went sideways. Sweat began pouring down my forehead, and then my legs locked up. They were up under my steering wheel, and I could hardly press the pedals. People started to honk at me, and I realized I was swerving. My chest was so tight. I felt like I was flexing my entire body, ya know? Like when you are trying to flex your abs. LOL. Now, I’ve had panic attacks before but never like this. There was no way I was going to stop on the highway, so I became frantic. All the looking around made my eyes start to dart back and forth. My vision was so blurry. I knew I had to get somewhere fast.
So there I was…hardly able to move my feet, swerving into this Billiard’s store parking lot. I quickly put my car in park and just let it out. I screamed. I cried. I freaked out. It took me awhile to come out of that state. I called Tristan’s parents, and they quickly came to take me home. I called in that day, and took off a few days to recover.
Ever since the lockdown in 2020, I haven’t been able to escape it. I’ve been talking more to my friends about their experiences, and it’s been amazing. It’s nice to find those people who understand you. If you google anxiety symptoms, there’s so much shit. LOL. Everyone’s different. It makes me feel a little crazy when I talk about my symptoms regarding anxiety and Bipolar. But that’s why I started this blog, to be more open and to show people it’s okay to talk about these things.
My mind is constantly spinning. It can get to be so much sometimes that I want it to shut off. Growing up, I feel like my anxiety was only related to when something significant happened. Nowadays, it’s rare that I can find out what triggered me. Sometimes I get this feeling deep in my stomach like it is curling itself into a ball. I start to worry about everything under the sun…for absolutely no reason. It’s a real thing when people say anxiety can be debilitating. That day Mike picked me up; I know something could have happened to me if I had kept driving. That’s a scary thought. Even now, just typing this. My legs are starting to tighten thinking about it.
Now, anxiety can also be just a normal feeling. It’s right to feel anxiety or fear. But for some, it becomes more than that. I know it can be hard to help someone who’s having a panic attack; I’m not sure Tristan has quite mastered it yet. Haha. I know how scary it is when you are climbing to the peak of your anxiety…but know that it is the PEAK. Once you reach the top, the only place to go is down. For me, it can feel never-ending. I try (still working on it) to try to think of things that make me happy. I also like to find something to put in my hands. Shout out Mimi for knitting a yarn lion. Anxiety and fear can come like waves. They come, and they go. Never avoid it. EMBRACE IT. Avoidance is a friend of anxiety. Everything you avoid eventually comes back as more anxiety.
There’s so much you can do for help. Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist is always something I recommend. But, I’ve been going to therapy since I was little. So I’m ALL for it. Don’t ignore the way you’re feeling. I promise that does more harm than good. Lately, I’ve been trying to push myself to do things that make me uncomfortable. Like driving in the middle lane. I always keep my anxiety medication on me, and I always look for things that I know can ground me if needed. Figure out a game plan with your loved ones. Let them know the best way they can help you.
I don’t know why I’ve been on such an honesty kick, but I’m enjoying getting my voice out there. Manic Mama is my outlet, and I’m so happy with its progress. I’m almost twenty-five, and I think I have finally decided what I want to do with my life. I finally am feeling like there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Don’t let anxiety hold you back, get up and conquer it. I believe in me, and I believe in you.
It’s no secret that relationships take work. For those like me, it might take a little more. There are three types of relationships that I am going to discuss–Family, friends, and significant others. When you think of relationships, you think of stability. When you pair a relationship with Mental Illness (in my case, Bipolar 1), it’s hard to have that. Sometimes your relationships will fail, and that’s okay. I have learned that I am not for everyone, but so what? The people who matter will stay. It takes both people to make a relationship work, especially when your loved one suffers from a disorder.
Growing up, I didn’t have the best luck with guys. I remember when my first boyfriend left my mom a note in our mailbox about my virginity. Yes, you read that right. Lol. After that ended, I stayed in a relationship from sophomore to the beginning of Senior year, and it didn’t end well. I don’t enjoy talking about my trauma from before Tristan very much; it’s just always been something I’ve put away in a box. Senior year was a roller coaster. I was all over the place, and I went through things that I’ll cover another time. I met Tristan when we were young, he was this little thing with long-ass hair. We got together a few months before I left for Mississippi State. It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years. No relationship is perfect, and I don’t always make things easy.
I did a little research when I decided to do a post about relationships. Ever since I got diagnosed, I’ve had this internal struggle about Tristan having to deal with me for the rest of our lives. Is it fair to him? His life with me will never be “normal”, and that makes me sad. Tristan doesn’t have the best understanding of mental health, but he’s made such an effort with all of it. Having Bipolar Disorder can make simple things turn into absolute turmoil. My biggest problem when I am Manic is that I start to put myself in bad situations, and Tristan is always the one who has to pick up the pieces of my wreckage. When the depression comes, I withdraw. I shut myself down. It’s unfair to the people who love me…but it isn’t their fault. I hope they know that.
When I asked Tristan what it was like living with me, he said it’s something he can’t describe. That sounds about right, LOL. When you look at Bipolar Disorder, you see that 90% of marriages fail. Yep. They fucking fail. Now, I come from a family where divorce is not insane. I know that it happens, but 90%? I mean, come on. For a relationship to work, BOTH partners have to be actively involved. If you are dating someone who has a Mental Illness, do your research. The more you learn, the better role you can play in your partner’s life. If your significant other is open to it, I suggest therapy. Speaking to your partner and learning when you should help or when you should leave them be. Having a relationship with a Mental Illness isn’t impossible. It’s an ongoing effort on both sides. I believe that with the right person, it will all work out anyways. Now, my relationship is far from perfect. But if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that I’m going to marry Tristan. PERIOD. If you haven’t found your person yet, I promise you will. Don’t ever give up hope. You deserve to be loved.
Jeez. Time to talk about friendships. I assume it’s hard being my friend, but I also feel like I can be a good friend to have. Although, manic me tends to be shitty. I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years. Not all of them were my fault, but some were. For friendships to work, they can’t be one-sided. For the one who has the disorder, you have to remember that they struggle as well. In the past couple of months, I have learned what kind of friends I need and why some friendships ended. We all need someone to lean on. Learning how to maintain friendships while being Bipolar is key. But, not every friendship will last. You have to accept that. You have to let them go.
I said above how I’m not for everyone, and that sucks sometimes. I can see how I can be too much for some people. In the past six months, I lost a friend who meant a lot to me. Before I got on my new medication, I was shitty to her. That friendship is one I will always cherish and miss. Much love to her. Although there seem to be a lot of downfalls, there are some good parts to being my friend. My experiences have made me more empathetic. I’m an extremely good listener–probably because I know what it feels like to not be heard. I also know what it’s like to not fit in. In high school, I had very few girl friends. Girls never seemed to like me, I always bonded better with guys. That could have been why the girls seemed to hate me. LOL. I also think I was misunderstood by many. It takes a special person to stick around through all my shit.
If you have a friend who is Bipolar, the first thing you can do is RESEARCH. I say that a lot, but it’s for real one of the quickest ways to learn. Remember that medication doesn’t remove their disorder. I went through so many different meds before picking the right ones, and I’m still making changes. Maybe one day your friend decides they can stop their meds…I am proof that this is never a good idea. A friendship with someone who is Bipolar is all about rolling with the punches. Your friend experiences the highs and lows to more of an extreme than others. Keep this in mind when a minor thing sets them over the edge. There are so many people in the world who have loved ones with a disorder. Find a support group!! Go to therapy. If you are committed to your friendship, you will learn how to handle it. Although, some people can’t handle being friends with someone who is Bipolar. This is something I don’t hold against any of my old friends. I know it can be rough at times. Don’t be ashamed of that either. But if you commit, full send it. Go all the way in for your friendship. It’s the only way it will work.
I suffered a lot growing up. My mental health problems started in middle school. In sixth grade, I started cutting myself. In seventh grade, my mom caught me. Can you imagine? My teenage years were a mess, lol. I did not make it easy on my mom. I was the BEST liar, and I got away with so much. I was extremely depressed in high school. I withdrew from my family, especially my dad. He reminds me so much of me that it scares me sometimes. I started going to therapy after that one night in the kitchen. My mom called my dad over that night, and we sat outside on the patio and talked for hours. They were scared, and rightfully so. It was only the beginning of my long struggle with mental health.
Bipolar Disorder can affect your family members in many ways. They can feel guilty or worried about what you are going through. It disrupts everyone’s routines and throws everyone for a loop. It can be stressful. I know there have been many times that my parents felt like there was nothing they could do. You have to be able to come to terms with their diagnosis. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, but you have to learn how to handle your feelings. Some people feel like they have lost the person they once knew, or like they have to grieve their thought of how it was going to be. Your siblings may feel like they have to help manage you. My brother was a godsend when I was growing up. He was always there when I needed anything. My little sister is only eight, and I’ve tried my best to shield her from the hard things. One day she’ll be old enough and ready to hear about it. There are so many ways to help deal with having a loved one who is Bipolar. You just have to be open to taking that step.
Again, start by EDUCATING yourself. Order some books. Go online. Get some gosh darn KNOWLEDGE. Learn how you can best support them. You can start by getting with your family member and asking them how they feel you can help. There are some times when I don’t want help. I don’t need people to see me when I am in some states, especially my younger sister. Things can get dark, and they can get rough. Just be there, and let them know that you love them no matter what. Love them in their darkest (Romans 5:8). There are also so many support groups out there. I promise there are others out there dealing with the same thing. There are groups for people who are Bipolar, and there are groups for people who love someone who’s Bipolar. Go to one of them! I promise you they help. One of the things that came up recently in therapy was the option of making a “game plan”. You can get together and figure out the best ways to help them when things aren’t going well. Lastly, remember to come at it with NO judgment. You can’t help someone that you are too busy judging. I promise you can get through it. My family and I have made great strides in rebuilding our relationship. I’m so thankful for the way it is now.
To sum it up, it can be work to be in a relationship with someone who is Bipolar. To all my friends and family, I love you guys. Thank y’all for all the support. I truly don’t know what I would do without you guys. For the friends I’ve lost along the way, I’m sorry. There are many days that you cross my mind. I know I was a lot to handle. I wish you guys nothing but the best (you know who you are). I will continue to watch y’all grow and cheer you on from afar. To Tristan, I love you. Your unwavering support is incredible. You love me despite everything, and you have no idea how much that means to me. You are my absolute best friend. I have enjoyed these past seven years so much, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us. And lastly, to my readers. Thank you guys for coming back to my blog. I had no idea how much support I would get when I started this. I also never thought I could reach people. I’m so happy that I can be a voice for those who haven’t found theirs yet. I hope that I am helping in some way. See you next time.
When you finally get the correct diagnosis…you can feel so many different things. For me, it changed everything. I was able to do my research and find patterns from the past that I had never noticed to be warning signs. Once you are diagnosed, you have the chance to help yourself and others around you. Yes, it is so final. It can be scary. What I ask people is…would you rather know what is wrong or forever guess? When I was first told I was Bipolar, I didn’t tell anyone. I was scared of how people would react. It’s no secret that Mental Illness is viewed as a completely negative thing. I mean, growing up I can’t even count how many times I heard people say “she is so bipolar I swear”. So I began to think, should I even tell people? Should I just deal with it alone? Will the people who love me accept me? Will my significant other leave me because I am “messed up”?
These are all valid feelings. What I will say is that the people who love you will surprise you. I have spent years keeping things from my mom and dad to keep them safe from some of the pain. When I think back to my teenage years I can’t help but wonder how my Mom must have been feeling. Now that I have Grace, I am terrified to see her struggle. It’s been years since that night she came into the kitchen, but we still struggle. For some, this is harder to comprehend. I truly believed that keeping them as much in the dark as possible was the right answer. It wasn’t. I am so grateful that now I can be more open and honest with them. This did not happen overnight…I promise. It’s an everyday thing, but we work on it together. That’s all you can do.
Getting diagnosed is a process. I started seeing a therapist after that one dreadful night. She diagnosed me with Unipolar Depression (obviously not my freaking issue). Now that I am older and have become more aware; I know now that teenagers are extremely hard to diagnose properly. This is why so many people get re-evaluated once they enter adulthood. My mental health drastically declined once I hit twenty. Here I was–out of my fucking mind. Sorry, excuse the language. I was so confused. I got in to see a psychiatrist and started explaining to her what was going on. There I sat, in this cute little office…and she told me I was Bipolar. NOT ONLY BIPOLAR…BIPOLAR ONE. Like, have you ever read about that? It’s freaking scary when you read about it on google. LOL. But I know firsthand how awful it is to not understand your mind. It felt somewhat good to have an answer.
Mental illness (to me), is a problem that never goes away. There’s no clear answer. No clear solution. There are those people who believe it can go away…eh, don’t think so. Would be nice though. This is life, but there’s so much you can do to come to terms with your diagnosis. I truly believe that once you accept your diagnosis, it is easier for you to let others be involved in your journey. I shielded Tristan from a lot when we first started dating, and I feel bad about that. Maybe if I would have been more honest from the beginning, there would have been more understanding on his end. He has been such a huge part of my recovery and I am so thankful for how accepting he is of me. I believe that it’s time for everyone to be more understanding of mental illness. If people were more accepting, the world would be a better place. The stigma surrounding mental illness is idiotic. If I should be ashamed, how am I ever going to get help?
Coping with a diagnosis is hard enough…but now you have to start focusing on how to cope for the rest of your life. I wanted to share some techniques that I have found helpful, and some that I am still trying to master myself. Hopefully this gives some people some guidance.
Total acceptance. Radically accepting your illness. There is nothing you can do about it. This is a situation you cannot change…accept that. Accept that you can’t stop the storm from coming, but you can prepare yourself for it. Once you come to terms with your illness, it no longer controls you. It no longer holds the reins. Acceptance kept me safe. When I was able to understand that it isn’t MY fault…everything changed.
Triangle Breathing: Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 3, then breathe out for 3.
Star Breathing: This is in the shape of a star. Breathe in, hold, then breathe out.
Square Breathing: Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, Breathe out for 4.
These are a few techniques that I have learned over the past few years. The diagrams you can find anywhere. With my anxiety as bad as it has been, controlling my breathing has really helped keep me grounded. If I am ever feeling overwhelmed I take a break and focus on just my breathing. It is peaceful.
I want to focus on my absolute favorite grounding exercise. The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique. This involves all of your senses, and it has helped me so much with my anxiety. You need to ask your self these five things…
What five things can you see around you?
What four things can you physically touch and feel?
What three things can you hear around you?
What two things can you smell?
What can you taste?
By putting your focus on your surroundings, you take away the need to think the bad thoughts. You can take your mind away from the feeling, even just for a little bit. This has greatly helped me when I feel a panic attack coming. My Mimi knitted a lion that hangs on my keys…it has become my stress ball. The texture of it helps keep me there.
Opposite to Emotion Thinking.
This is one of my newer techniques that I am trying. It’s exactly what it sounds like…the opposite of everything your feeling. You want to isolate? No, go out instead and call your friends. Anxious? Go meditate. Manic? Find something to bring you down and stabilize you (for me, that’s yoga). This is something I am still working on, but I think it is something that would be amazing for me. Being able to battle the negative feelings and turn them into something good…well, that’s amazing in itself.
Living with Bipolar Disorder is hard. Every day it’s something. There are so many things you can do to help yourself get by. It is so important that you find healthy outlets…I know how easy it is to get into the wrong things while trying to deal. I want y’all to know that it is okay to be scared. If you or anyone you know is struggling with their mental health, be a friend. Be there for them. Things get better as the days go by. Don’t EVER be ashamed of who you are. Your struggles make you stronger. You got this shit.
Please feel free to go to my contact page and shoot me an email. I am always here for ANYONE who needs someone. Thank you.
When I was diagnosed, I had no idea what Bipolar Disorder was. When I was able to know what was wrong and learn about it, my healing began. Becoming more aware saved my life. There’s so much that I wish I would have known at twelve years old, or at least my parents would have known when it comes to the world of Mental Health. I want to shed some insight on what I have learned, as well as what I have experienced living with Bipolar Type 1. Let’s start with the basics. There are three types:
Bipolar Type 1
Bipolar Type 2
I remember being terrified when I was told that I was Bipolar. I had stopped taking my depression medication and went off the rails. I turned into a person no one recognized. My Manic episodes started to happen more often as time went on. I went back to my self-destructive ways and ended up destroying my life for a little over a year. I apologize to my family for everything that happened back then. I was struggling with something I had no idea about. The long periods of being Manic and then switching to such an extreme low…it was such a shit show. For lack of better words.
Bipolar 1 is when someone experiences Manic Symptoms for a week or more. You get to be Manic, but you also get to be depressed. The depressive episodes typically last two weeks. Before medication, my low points were bad. It felt like they lasted for months. Before doing my research, I had no idea how to cope with my depression. Healthy coping mechanisms haven’t always been my strong suit. Then there are the times when you experience both Manic and depressive symptoms at the same time…how fun. There’s no handbook. It doesn’t just go away; you can’t be cured. This is a lifelong thing. Terrifying, right?
At first, I wasn’t a big fan of medication. Now that I’ve found the right help, I have learned just how much it helps me. For some people, it might not be the answer and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter how you go about it, it’s just important to get the help you need. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the answer to all my problems. Therapy and medication are stepping stools into your recovery. At least for me, they have helped me come to terms with my new normal. Keeping my demons at bay, ya know? It is nothing to be ashamed of. I have learned how to handle the nasty comments over the past few years. “Are you off your meds?”, is not something I haven’t heard before. You learn to accept that some people will just never understand…and that’s okay.
I like to think I am very high functioning. For instance, I have never been hospitalized. I also tend to do very well in a high-stress work environment; which I was told was “not a good idea”. Look at me, bartending and dealing with people all day. Hell yeah! Not without some kinks though. Lately, I have developed a problem with my car. The windows HAVE to be down or I feel claustrophobic. Social anxiety has also become a thing. My social life has drastically declined since I was diagnosed. This illness–for me, is all about going with the flow. Life is a rollercoaster anyway. At least now I know why mine is such a twisty one.
According to The World Health Organization, Bipolar Disorder affects about forty-five million people around the world. It is expected to shave NINE years off your life span. One in five commit suicide; most people end up having to go to the hospital or spend time in an institution. Oh, the fun things you learn while researching your disease. It was scary when I first started learning about it. I wasn’t sure how to handle it. How do I explain this to someone? If I didn’t have the support system I have now I don’t think I would get by.
When experiencing a Manic episode, one can feel very irritable. I always tend to feel super wired. Everything bugs me when I’m Manic (I can hear Tristan chewing sunflower seeds now). You tend to sleep less; lose your appetite and your mind won’t slow down. You can make poor decisions; which is my specialty. In my opinion, depressive episodes are much harder. These just get so low for me. You can feel hopeless, “slowed-down”, lose your memory. There are feelings of worthlessness…I struggle with this a lot when I am depressed. Then there are the episodes where it’s a little of both. Those suck. That’s when the “highs” and “lows” you hear about really come into play.
I spent a day once driving around Houston deciding on whether or not I was going to check myself into the hospital. My highs were so high, and my lows were so low that I was becoming scared. I honestly think my symptoms got worse when I got in my twenties. I didn’t know how to handle it. So there I sat. In some random parking garage downtown, sobbing and dodging my mom’s phone calls. I must have sat there for two hours. Ignoring calls left and right. Once the tears had gone and I could sit and think; I wiped my eyes and decided to go home. It was time to make a real change.
I went out and found a psychiatrist and started my new journey. I got on medication (seven at first), and I started doing my research. A diagnosis is a crucial part of leading a healthy life. You can’t do anything about something you know nothing about. My diagnosis saved my life. A lot of things come with this illness; for instance, I have extreme anxiety. People with Bipolar Disorder are more likely to misuse drugs and alcohol. They should try to work in low-stress environments. It starts to feel like you will be held back all your life, but that’s not true.
Sometimes it’s more than just a rough patch. Sometimes there’s something more going on. You find ways to deal with it. What’s that famous saying? Oh yeah, life’s a bitch. Then you die. Seems probable. But really, treatment and coping strategies are the way to go. I’ve gotten better at my coping strategies with age. When I was younger I didn’t know how to cope properly. I have always tended to cope through self-destruction. Becoming aware isn’t something only someone diagnosed should do though. Anyone who has a relationship with someone who has a mental illness should do their research.
When I asked Tristan just now, he said he can’t explain what it is like living with me. Honestly, it’s hard for me to explain and I’m the one going through it. It helped when I was diagnosed, at least we knew what was going on. When a manic episode happens and everything is thrown upside down, it can be scary. Never knowing what is gonna happen. Before I got on meds, my Manic episodes were killer. Then the craziness subsides and all is calm again, but everyone stays on guard…waiting for the next whirlwind. A whirlwind you know is going to come back again and again.
One of the best things my psychiatrist ever said to me was to let the people who care for you know that it is the illness they should be mad at. I’m sure the people who love me sometimes feel helpless, not in control. And the truth is, they aren’t in control. Neither am I. No one can control it. What you can do is support them. Keep them on the right track (without being overbearing). Do your research. LEARN ABOUT IT. It’s the best thing you can do. Learning how to handle the highs and lows is key.
It’s a process. It’s not impossible. Things get better with time. You learn how to handle the up and down. Your loved ones grow more of an understanding of what you are going through. Yes, life is rough but life is also beautiful. Everyone deserves to experience the beautiful part of life. Hardships are inevitable, but the good times…those are the times you truly come to appreciate. I am thankful for the life I am living now. Awareness brings growth. Growth is always good.
My first post. So glad you’re here. “You go Glen Coco” and all that shit, right? Anyways. Should we begin?
Honestly, it’s been a long time coming. I remember being twelve writing in my journal worrying that someone would snoop and read them…that someone being my parents. People reading my thoughts and judging me. That used to be my biggest fear. Look at me now, sharing stuff for the world to see. Pre-teen Madi would be proud. Shit, adult Madi IS proud.
Although this blog may never take off, I feel like there’s no better time than now to have an outlet. In a world of emotional turmoil, writing has always been a safe place for me. Sharing…now that was always the hard part. I remember faking sick to get out of a presentation so I wouldn’t have to share something. Or how I took speech during the summer so I wouldn’t have to share anything personal in front of people I knew. Someone’s writing (at least I believe) is a piece of their soul. So personal. So open. So honest.
I’ve struggled a lot over the years. Those reading this, who know me, know. Growing up I always knew something was wrong. I mean, I remember when my parents divorced. I felt this shift happen within myself. That was the first time I ever felt depressed. Back then, I never really understood what mental illness was. Bipolar disorder? Multiple Personality Disorder? Anxiety? Nope. Never heard of it. I remember seeing stories of people who were mentally ill and thought, “Wow they must be crazy”. This one time I specifically remember saying to my friend “Stuff that happens to you isn’t able to make you go crazy.” Boy was I wrong. A wiser, older, more mature Madison would soon learn that this was not the case.
And then you flash forward to now…twenty-four, a mother, and Bipolar. Being diagnosed was a huge moment for me. After years and years of struggling, I finally had an answer. I could finally get help. I no longer had to wonder what was wrong with me. Was I crazy like those stories I read about when I was little? Was I going to end up in the looney bin? I mean, why am I feeling these things? Why am I searching so hard for an outlet to the point where I am hurting myself? These are questions I wish I would have had the answers to when I was thirteen and learning what the world was like.
Looking back…I am so grateful for my English teachers. English was always my favorite subject. Writing papers? You didn’t have to ask me twice. Especially the papers we got to pick our topics. SHOUT OUT MRS. DICKINSON (if you know you know). I think if life had gone differently I could have done something with writing. The journals on journals I had growing up was honestly just ridiculous. I was always that girl who would write cute letters to her boyfriend…I mean, if you ask Tristan he’d say I am still that girl. I’ve always believed the written (or in this case typed) word means so much more than anything else. It’s tangible. Something you can keep forever.
Thank you for making it this far. I must be doing something right. This whole process just makes me nervous. Honestly, I just really want this to be about everything. From family, life, friends–just everything. I want to put this version of me out there that is just utterly raw. No one has ever seen this side of me. The side that is so open…not silent and letting people walk all over her. I want to show people that they are not alone. Turmoil follows us everywhere. It waits in the shadows and comes out when you least expect it. BUT…No one is alone. There is always someone struggling right along with you. Why not be there for each other? I mean, misery loves company. Right?
2020 was a hard year for me. I’m sure it was for everyone, right? I lost my Pawpaw, a friend (CAMERON I LOVE YOU, WE ALL LOVE YOU), I got kicked out and had to move back into my mom’s, I drank too much, partied too hard, and cried…A LOT. And then I moved back home. Back into a relationship that was broken in so many ways. A relationship that was in dire need of some TLC. Tristan is my best friend. There is no one else in this world I want to build a life with. We’ve been together since we were just kids. We have; quite literally; grown up together. We have come a long way in the seven years since we started dating. I can say that I am proud of where we are now. I love you T. Shout out to you, my guy.
It’s been a year since quarantine started basically, and reliving all the trauma of 2020 has taken a toll on me. And honestly, it’s only just begun. That’s why I am here. Typing my thoughts out at my kitchen table as my kid eats her dinner. I want to get it out. I need to let it ALL out. I want to help myself and hopefully help others along the way. I want to show that you can make it out of hard times, and you can feel better. I’m not sure what is in store for this blog. But one thing I do know is that…your mental illness doesn’t define you, just like mine doesn’t define me. I am a mom. I am a daughter. I am a girlfriend. I am a sister. I am a friend. I live with Bipolar Disorder and I’m gonna be okay.