“Solitaire, something you consider rare/ I don’t want to be compared/ With the cheap shimmer and glitter” – Marina and the Diamonds, Solitaire
I need my time and space to recharge. There have been changes in my life and I need my peace and quiet to process them. It’s times like these when I appear as a very aloof person. I am grateful for having my art materials, books, computer and coffee.
In terms of mood, I think that I found my baseline…and my baseline is governed by dysthymia, and that’s why I sometimes appear unreachable. I am taking my time.
I am in grumpy mode today. And guess what got me this way? A talk about being positive and a friend telling me that “happiness is a choice”. I know all these quotes are meant to be encouraging, but it is also so annoying for a person who’s been struggling for most part of her life when others make it sound so easy.
I especially hate the “happiness is a choice” cliche because it makes it sound like a person chooses to struggle instead of “choosing happiness”. I don’t think anybody in this world would choose to live with suicidal thoughts lurking in the back of their mind all the time, nor choose to suffer in any way…
This whole “think positive” advice is really getting on my nerves. I though I was already immune to it, but it seems I am not.
Since I last had the “patience” and mood to write something. I actually don’t have it right now. I am still in this mixed state, but I am trying hard to keep myself functioning. I am re-learning how to be kind to myself. It is really hard on days like these, when the main feeling is exhaustion and existential despair.
I am hopeful, though. I feel like I am able to cut through all the layers of lethargy and self-loathing. It’s not easy…but I do have a really sharp sword. I am meaner than my demons.
So, I have been tagged by a fellow blogger to write a little bit about my experience. I have to tell you that I am not in a very great place right now, so if this is going to have a little bit of a negative vibe, or if you can feel a bit of my anger through this, I am sorry. But I am going to try hard to keep it mellow.
So, it’s Mental Health Awareness month and “such a great time to be alive” for me. I have recently been through a lot…but I’m a warrior. Going to bloom and grow through this like a mountain flower in a very harsh environment.
1. What mental illness do you have? My current “diagnosis” is Bipolar NOS. My last diagnosis was Major depression and anxiety. Diagnosing mental illnesses is not a linear process. It takes a lot of time and patience, and a lot of follow ups (at least this is my experience). I wish we had biological markers to check how our brains are, like the diabetic people can check their blood sugar levels.
2. When were you diagnosed? One year ago with depression and anxiety. A couple of days ago with bipolar. I will keep tracking my moods, since my diagnosis is very “broad”.
3. Who knows about it? Not too many people.
4. Do you receive treatment for it? Yes. Medication, talking therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and seeing my psychiatrist regularly.
5. Has your mental illness stopped you from doing anything? My life has been a continuous roller coaster ride. I have been in many situation when I couldn’t accomplish certain tasks, some of my relationships have been affected, my productivity has to suffer overall. I would say that a mental illness is affecting you as a whole being. In all the fields of life.
6. Is there anything in particular that has helped you? My support group, my therapist, my doctor, and my passions.
7. Can you describe what it feels like to have your mental illness? Constantly falling from cloud 9 to the depths of hell and up again. No balance. Extremes. Feeling everything so intensely, both a blessing and a curse.
8. What is a common misconception about your mental illness? I heard so any…”you’re using your illness as an excuse”, “you have your ups and downs, like everybody else”, “can’t you just not think about it?”, “there’s nothing wrong with you, you are just a crazy artist”, “everybody thinks they have something these days, everybody is a bit depressed, anxious and a bit bipolar”. I could continue, but I think you get the idea.
9. What do you find the most difficult to deal with? I am really tired of explaining why I couldn’t attend a certain event, why I need extensions to be able to complete my projects sometimes, why I’m “so sensitive” and “over reacting”. At the moment I am trying to find balance somehow and I think this is the biggest challenge.
10. Do you have anything else you’d like to say? You are all beautiful, imperfect human beings. You are more than a label. You can achieve your dreams. You are unique and you should embrace it. Don’t ask “why me?”, say “try me!”. I believe in you, and I believe in myself. I believe that we are precious beings, worthy of love and happiness. You are not alone!
And this day is coming after a lot of other long days…Since my mood went haywire in the last couple of weeks, the appointment I had today felt like relief. I know where I am standing. I know that there is not only my “creative mind trying to find connections.” I know where I am. I am on the right path. 🙂