Documenting for the sake of talking about “me”

Defiant and motivated. Unstoppable. This is the beginning of a manic phase for me. I feel it coming on and they always start the same. Me against the world and I like it. I can take on anything and everything and nothing will stand in my way.

I enjoy these periods no matter how short or long. I get a lot done. I run errands and I write music or work on photography or editing. I make more time for my family where the time is genuine and I’m not co-dependently latching on to them. I reach out to family and friends and I’m all around more outgoing. The outside world doesn’t affect me as much, and the inside world isn’t speaking to me drowning out the contentment. I take these opportunities to feel everything. I take these moments and I breathe in the air and soak my face with the sun and everything looks bright and different. Underneath I feel the shadow in me muted and submissive. Until it’s not. And today, that’s ok. I don’t care, because I can enjoy this moment.

I wanted to take the opportunity to document this because when dealing with clinical depression, bi polar disorder, or other forms of mental illness, it’s important to recognize the extreme ups and downs we face. Sometimes things might seem ok or even amazing, and we ride that high as hard and as long as it’s there. I’ve grow really in tune with seeing the lows coming from a mile away, so, they don’t hit me so suddenly. I can usually slip into them slowly with great care, like slipping into a tub where the water burns your skin if you get in too fast.

I feel the highs coming on the same way, and the world looks like it’s heightened. Everything is more vivid, and I can see a clear path to happiness, “If I can just accomplish this one thing, and make this much money, and get this person to notice, and get this person to speak, and get this person to listen…” oh yes, then it will ALL be solved! Obviously, this is a trick that my mind plays, but recognizing that is half the battle. I allow the motivation to push me, but I don’t allow the dilutions of grandeur to guide me, if that makes sense. I get done what’s necessary, but I don’t listen to the unrealistic expectations. That’s been very important in the last year for me. It’s been a way for me to cope and thrive in a lot of ways. It’s helped me climb out of the very deep parts of depression so that I’m in a more manageable pool where my feet touch the bottom. It might just be the tips of my toes, and sometimes my head goes under, but at least I can come up for air.

I won’t take medicine again. The anti-depressants took all my senses and personality. It took my creativity and love and loss. I didn’t want to die anymore because I wasn’t sad, but I also didn’t feel happy or angry or excited or much of anything. They work for many and have saved a lot of people, but for myself this was a choice I was ok with making and I would never make that choice for someone else. Everyone needs to find the path to recovery that works for them. It is your recovery after all and you need to be happy with it and be able to live in your life.

I find this viewpoint on medication is very common today, and especially with bipolar disorder. We think we can control our own destiny -especially during those manic phases. It’s obvious I share this view and I’m never really positive if it’s true or if I’m fooling myself; regardless this line of thinking is controversial and can be quite dangerous. In many cases, especially without the right support the outcome is much different and tragic.

We aren’t easy to live with. We aren’t easy to deal with and finding someone that is able to sustain that type of lifestyle is not easy to do. I’m fortunate in that sense, and I speak about my wife often. She saved me. She stuck it out. In many instances she knows me better than I know myself. I’m amazed by all of that. I’m still completely and utterly impossible and I can’t imagine what that’s like.

This is still a dangerous stance none the less and placing that type of responsibility on someone’s shoulders feels incredibly unfair, but we also have to realize that people make their own choices as well, and we have to be OK with accepting that help; some make the opposite choice and that’s OK too, it doesn’t make you a burden and it doesn’t make them a bad person. It’s a lot to deal with. It took me 20 years to learn to accept and ask for help. It changed my life and my view. It saved my life and so did this blog. I am fortunate, but I understand who I am, and I know when I need to be left alone and when I’m dying for attention -and I have people who have made both of those states of being ok for me. I’m given those opportunity when it’s needed.

I don’t make any recommendation one way or the other. I want it to be understood that I am only documenting and not advising. I hope this helps someone. You really aren’t alone.

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