Bipolar Disorder In My Own Words

sunny-person-woman-sitting-largeIsn’t it funny (in the Alanis Morissette Ironic way) how a single picture can take you back to a weekend, the was triggered by a weekend before?  How your memories transport you back to those days, when the hurt was raw and angry.  When the scars weren’t scars but were newly formed cuts, born from a need to have a physical sign of the emotional pain you were in.  

I found a photo today, taken in February 2012.  A reminder of a horrible spiral out of control, a vast wasteland of pain and anger.  It took less than a minute to go back and find a blog post I wrote in the days following that dark painful night. 

The following was originally posted on a previous blog of mine. 

I don’t know that I can begin to find the words to adequately describe to you what BPD is like for me.  And for me to not be able to find the words for something, that’s saying a lot.

Everyone knows that bipolar disorder is best described as extremes.  Extreme highs, extreme lows.  We take the good and make if fucking fabulous, and we take the bad and we make it apocalyptically  horrible.  It’s a talent.

Everyone experiences BPD differently.  I can’t speak for everyone else out there, but I can try to put into words what life is like for me recently.

Right now, I am spiraling. And fuck, it’s ugly. I know it, I’m taking steps to control it, but those steps take time.  I know what triggers it, I have coping methods.  I am intelligently able to head this off.  I am not, however emotionally or mentally strong enough to fight it.  My brain knows what to do, my heart and emotions and core just can’t.

I know to ‘normal’ well adjusted healthy mentally stable people none of that makes any sense.

I go about my day as if I am a small tiny insignificant soul hiding in an intelligent functioning adult body.  I feel as if there is a physical mask/costume I am wearing.

That weighs a fuckton.

There are days I feel as if I am forced to function submerged physically and mentally in Jell-O.  Where you can see all around you but it’s cloudy and difficult to maneuver.

Even these simple sentences are not doing it justice.

I live in fear, that the ugly little troll person who is actually controlling the Awesome Me puppet everyone sees, will break free, and people will see how ugly I am on the inside. They will hear the voices in my head constantly berating me with hateful things that are all too easy to believe.

I’ve been through enough therapy to know the language.  I can parrot it back to them, verbatim, right along with them.  I know I am intelligent, I know I can write, I know I am a good photographer, I know I am a great mom.  I know that I have worth, and I know I am more than the vagina between my legs.

And yet? I don’t know any of that at all, for sure.

Or maybe I do know all that but I have allowed people around me to not know it.  And now, convincing them otherwise is proving impossible.

*ahem* bipolar disorder.

I am a rapid cycling bipolar.  Which means my moods swings can happen at lightening speed with little to zero warning. “From Zero to Bitch in 0.03 seconds?”  That’s me.  I can send you a text that says “I love you” and if you don’t respond in the predetermined by me, but not shared with you amount of time I text “Fuck you then”.  I’m sexy like that.  Is it any wonder I’m single?

I hate my disorder.  I hate my life when it’s controlled by my disorder.  I hate me when I’m in a spiral.  And that hate, feeds the spiral and the spiral intensifies the hate and do you see what kind of fun this shit is?

I fight a very difficult very valiant war inside my head every single day.  I pray my disorder does not harm or destroy my daughters.  I pray that the fight I fight is strong and worthy enough to allow me to overcome the demons inside so that I can be a good mom to my girls.  I also live with the fear that if anyone truly knew how horrible it is inside my head I wouldn’t have my girls another day.  What the girls don’t know, and can never know, is that they are the single solitary reason I get up every day and fight this fight as hard as I do.

I worry now, that putting this out there will somehow make people view me differently.  That those who know me in real life will shudder and shy away.  That now, instead of Becky, they will just see Crazy.  Or worse, they will think I’m too much drama.  They have the luxury of walking away.  I can’t walk away from my life.

I am swimming against a tide determined to drown me.  Afraid to reach out because what if they turn away? Or worse, lend a hand and save me only to walk away once they know I am no longer in danger.  I have so little faith in so many people, and really, it’s because I have so little belief in myself.

I am swimming.  Harder than I ever have.  I will get to safe ground. I’ve traveled these waters before.  Please just promise you’ll all be standing on the shore waiting when I get there??

Also, have margaritas. Lots of margaritas.

 

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Photo credit: Pexels

About Becky

While control is an illusion, organization helps to manage the chaos of our lives. Becky was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2007. She has found that when her life and home are organized her bipolar mind is less manic. She shares her attempts at managing the chaos of living with her fiance and tweenage step-daughter, while trying to be a good parent to her mostly grown children who live 2 hours away.

22 comments to Bipolar Disorder In My Own Words

  • Wow, so poignant. You are very brave.

  • Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    What is bipolar disorder to you? I enjoyed the thoughts in this post a lot and had to share it. -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their blog.

  • Thank you for allowing me to push the post on. It was a touching write Becky. Have a safe weekend!

  • Heart rendering. I don’t know what it is like to not be in control of myself, but I do recognize the times when intense emotions take over and I can’t always control them or stop crying when something affects me in a negative way. But I can’t compare that to what you have to deal with. You are right – people don’t understand and so many are quick to judge. On a side note of what I do – I write a blog for a man in prison ( he’s the father of one of my grandsons) who has spent years locked up in solitary confinement. I know how this experience has made him question everything about himself while wondering why his family, even his mother, won’t be there for him. He has a son born after his incarceration ten years ago and he has never been allowed to touch him. Over the years, through trust we built, he confides in me and tells me his fears and then says he cries because he’s afraid I will see him differently and won’t write to him anymore. Solitary confinement causes mental illness in the strongest people. Some of the words you wrote sounded so much like him. There is nothing he could ever say that would make me want to let go of him until I know he is safe from the monster under the bed, so to speak.

    • It’s hard to not be in control, to have compulsions that you logically know you should ignore, but are so overwhelming you can not ignore them, and you give in. There is often shame, and self loathing, and embarrassment that follows. Your friend in prison is lucky to have you and if he can’t tell you that, I will, because you should know. Having someone who won’t leave, no matter how ugly the insanity gets, is an overwhelming gift. After a manic phase, when I come back to normal, and am once again in control of my emotions, I always worry people will see me differently because I see myself differently. Don’t let go of your friend, no matter what. The light you shine is often the only thing that gets him through his darkness.

      • Thank you for your kind words. Years ago when I realized his mother wasn’t there for him I reached and grabbed him. He calls me mom. She won’t even put a nickle on his books so he can buy deodorant. His whole family treats him as a non entity. But I bet they will be waiting at the gate when he gets out and have a party – and then drop him again, “You’re a grown man. Figure your own life out”. he was a school to prison kid and got locked up in juvy for 4 years before this because that is what they do to black kids. They don’t need a reason. His story is on the blog. But I know, if I wasn’t there and he had no one, it would be a very different, very angry man who gets out. I’m a Nichiren Buddhist, so for years I have been teaching him the basics of the law of cause and effect. NB is very different from Zen or Tibetan. There is no fat happy Buddha statues. It teaches you why you have the nature you do and how to change the things that cause you unhappiness – how to make better causes and get better effects – accepting responsibility who we are with no blame at others. There is no prayer to an outside source to change your life. It is about going inward and find the source of change. There is a reason for everything. There is a reason he and I met, and a reason why I read your blog when I did. Nothing happens by chance. Our lives are so amazing. You have such a tough road to follow, but there is a reason why it happened to you. There is something you need to learn. I don’t want to start sounding too “preachy”, I just see someone who is really struggling and I wish I could help.

        • I have long given up trying to figure out why the universe causes things to happen. I am fully aware that people cross my path, come into my life for reasons that are none of my business. I’ve come to accept that I don’t need to know the reason, I just need to trust that there is one.

          • Becky – it isn’t the universe that causes things to happen. It’s the causes we make ourselves that causes things to happen in our life. We get the effect of those causes and we just don’t understand why it’s happening. It’s called karma. When people come into your life it is your business because it is happening your life. But you are right, not understanding the reason is not always necessary. Some people – like Christians say, you reap what you sow, or others say,”what goes around comes around”. It all means the same thing. It is possible to change things and understand why. I’m going to give you a website to see. People can’t know what they have never been taught. It pains me to see people suffer. So I will plant the seed and if you want to know any more,I’m here. if you don’t, I will say no more. http://sgi-usa.org

  • Heart rendering. I don’t know what it is like to not be in control of myself, but I do recognize the times when intense emotions take over and I can’t always control them or stop crying when something affects me in a negative way. But I can’t compare that to what you have to deal with. You are right – people don’t understand and so many are quick to judge. On a side note of what I do – I write a blog for a man in prison ( he’s the father of one of my grandsons) who has spent years locked up in solitary confinement. I know how this experience has made him question everything about himself while wondering why his family, even his mother, won’t be there for him. He has a son born after his incarceration ten years ago and he has never been allowed to touch him. Over the years, through trust we built, he confides in me and tells me his fears and then says he cries because he’s afraid I will see him differently and won’t write to him anymore. Solitary confinement causes mental illness in the strongest people. Some of the words you wrote sounded so much like him. There is nothing he could ever say that would make me want to let go of him until I know he is safe from the monster under the bed, so to speak.

  • Just keep swimming baby! Awesome piece…thank you for sharing!

  • Wow, what a touching read. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing a deep part of you that is so difficult for outsiders to understand. I know people who struggle with BP and I really do feel helpless on how to help them. I guess just being knowledgeable about it is a good start so I appreciate hearing from those suffering from it.

    Keep hanging on and pushing through. I’m praying for you. 🙂

    • Thank you!!
      I have often said that the greatest thing anyone could do for me, or anyone with a mental illness is to learn as much as they can about it. With knowledge comes understanding.

  • Wow, what a touching read. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing a deep part of you that is so difficult for outsiders to understand. I know people who struggle with BP and I really do feel helpless on how to help them. I guess just being knowledgeable about it is a good start so I appreciate hearing from those suffering from it.

    Keep hanging on and pushing through. I’m praying for you. 🙂

  • This is an amazingly candid post. I don’t talk about BPD often, but it has affected my family for generations. It is what we were never allowed to speak about…and that shame and secrecy has haunted us for a lifetime and changed the course of so many lives. Thank you for sharing your experience. ❤️

    • Shame and secrecy often go hand in hand with mental illness. I have had family members shut me out of their lives because they just didn’t want to deal with my “drama” and “why can’t she just get her act together?”
      It is important to talk about it, to shine a light on it, to put a face on mental illness. To somehow make it less shameful.

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