A Magic 8-Ball, More Truman Show Conspiracies, and Bipolar Disorder: Autumn 2012

There are some people in this world who have a legitimate reasons to feel the way they do, but not me. Not usually. When I wake up each morning, I usually feel like I’m shaking a magic 8-ball, just waiting to see what emotion rises to the surface. Sure, I have had my fair share of crappy cards dealt into my hand, but my raw self is seriously wired to be unpredictable. It’s called being bipolar. I have learned to deal with it.

Medication, therapy, friendly people, Star Wars, and anything peanut butter & chocolate seem to help quite a bit – but every now and then, I get an 8-ball kind of day that really takes me (and everyone around me) for a ride.

Bipolar disorder: a condition in which people go back and forth between periods of a very good or irritable mood and depression. The “mood swings” between mania and depression can be very quick. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience periods of high energy levels and impulsiveness called hypomania. These periods alternate with episodes of depression.

It’s disappointing to feel sad for no reason. Sadness used to be pleasantly indulgent when I had a way to justify it – listening to sad music and imagining myself as the protagonist in a dramatic movie, gazing out the window. Dramatically.

However, the last week or two, my sadness typically just didn’t have a purpose. Listening to sad music and imagining that my life was a movie just made me feel kind of weird because I couldn’t really get behind the idea of a movie where the character is sad for no reason. I was being robbed of my right to feel self pity, which is actually the only redeeming part of sadness.

I tried to force myself to not be sad, but trying to use willpower to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back. When I couldn’t will myself to not be sad, I became frustrated and angry. Which made me more sad. Which then made me more frustrated.

This self-loathing and shame ceased to be even slightly productive, but it was eventually too late to go back, so I just followed myself around like a bully, narrating my thoughts and actions with a constant stream of abuse.

Last year, I spent collective months shut in my old apartment, surfing the internet on top of a pile of my own dirty laundry which I set on the bed for “just a second” because I experienced a sudden moment of apathy on my way to the laundromat and couldn’t continue. And then, two weeks later, I still hadn’t completed that journey. But who cares – it wasn’t like I had been showering regularly and sleeping on a pile of clothes isn’t necessarily uncomfortable. But even if it was, I couldn’t feel anything through the self hatred anyway, so it didn’t matter. Slowly, my feelings started to shrivel up. Eventually I couldn’t even muster up the enthusiasm to hate myself anymore. I just drifted around, completely unsure of what I was feeling or whether I could actually feel anything at all.

If my life was a movie, the turning point of my depression would have been inspirational and meaningful. It would have involved wisdom-filled epiphanies about discovering my true self and I would conquer my demons and go on to live out the rest of my life in happiness. As fate would have it, this did, in fact, actually happen – and I have thanked God for that turning point every day since. (This also fuels more of my life-long conspiracy theories/suspicions about my life being just like The Truman Show, but that’s for an entirely different blog post).

So, last week, while crying helplessly into my pillow for no good reason, I fantasized that maybe someday I could be one of those stoic badasses whose emotions are mostly comprised of rock music and witty one-liners and not being afraid of things or yourself. And finally – finally – after a lifetime of unpredictable feelings and anxiety and more feelings, I wouldn’t have any unpredictability left and I’d be able to act like a normal non-depressed, non-manic human being and wake up hearing birds chirping instead of screeching. I would have spent my last feeling being disappointed, and just be … appointed (… Or whatever the opposite of disappointed is; the “opposites” sector of my mind isn’t working right now apparently).

Suddenly, I felt invincible. I could get all my unpredictabilities out and eventually be normal. It was possible (and somehow logical in my current state of mind then). And that’s how my depression got so horrible that it actually broke through to the other side and became some sort of fear-proof exoskeleton.

It didn’t work out.

I’m still bipolar, I’m still struggling with basic emotions and stability, and I still feel like I’m shaking that 8-ball some mornings.

But you know what? For the first time in my life, I’m in a place where I have rock solid people in my life who are supporting and loving me through this transition, and I’m even attending a school that calls all my emotions to the front burners of my mind and forces me to deal with them. It’s brilliant, helpful, exhausting, maddening, and wonderful all at the same time. I don’t expect 2/3 of the people I interact with to understand at all, and a good majority of them certainly don’t and have labeled me crazy or mysterious or a number of other misguided adjectives — but I’m not here for them. Right now, I am finally getting it RIGHT. Living is finally POSSIBLE. Successfully living.

I don’t feel lost. I don’t feel self conscious. And I don’t feel like I’m the embodiment of chaos theory anymore.

I know who I am, I know who I want to be, and I finally know how to get there. Who cares if I have a psychiatrist, or a disorder or two, or my own miniature pharmacy in my bathroom? My battles are not owning me anymore. Not every day, at least. I have minutes, hours, sometimes even days of conquering everything that has built up inside of me and around me for years. I am conquering that. I am embracing these feelings and using them properly. I have the right tools. I am capable.

And even though I am not perfect and I still struggle, for the first time in what feels like forever — I am moving forward.

And although this may not be my typical comedic blog post, I know I have enough readers to know that these words can maybe inspire hope in even one of you too. I’m not even going to go back and edit my words – I said what needed to be said. Keep moving forward. :)

(and I’ll be back with more consistency in posts too. Thanks for the kind notes/comments from so many of you! I’m back!!)



2 thoughts on “A Magic 8-Ball, More Truman Show Conspiracies, and Bipolar Disorder: Autumn 2012

  1. There need to be more posts like this, that humanize disorders and take away the shame that others place on them. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy post to write, and I can identify with it on an insanely similar level. Thank you for this.

  2. Whether or not this is the first time you have publically talked about your biopolar disoder, I applaud and thank you! I am not bipolar but I do have some one very close to me that is. It is wonderful that you can talk about your experience in such an articulate way. Congratulations on your journey and good luck for the future!

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