This entry today is a strange one.
(It is also long overdue).
I have wanted to check back in since my last Post on March 28 2014.
I would have had a shwack load of posts added by this time.
I should also be in a wonderful and creative frame of mind that matched that very fact.
And perhaps while not 100% true, I am much better than I have been in a very long time. :)
Why I have even I started to write at 750 Words and some of these words have been cut and pasted from my entry there today.
I went there to try and jump-start my writing again.
It is my third entry in a row and I am at 12 points.
I also have received a Turkey “Sticker” for my trouble and while it is cute I do not find it particularly motivating.
For it seems 750 Words lacks the “alive” feeling I get writing from on my Blog.
There is always a slight chance someone will read me over here.
And that fact still counts to me.
It keeps me in check
After my many months of absence I have been toying with the idea of starting to post again.
I used to post regularly but during my illness I decided it would be best not to push things.
I really hoped the return to blogging would be effortless.
But try to write here after having been away for like eons is tough.
It sure is the strangest feeling to come here and be completely wordless.
I get frustrated when I become aware of the things that I lost during my “away” time.
My Time Out.
Blogging was very important to me.
In fact it was one of my best accomplishments to date.
I committed to it and tried to use my blog to communicate with the wider World.
A simple and disciplined writing practice.
A worthwhile thing to do.
But much to my dismay,
I simply could not hold onto the rudder of my own life,.
so I had to let it all go.
Or I would be lost too.
I cannot tell you exactly when I started to slip into a manic phase although it seems was the fall of 2012.
These matters are very complex.
I apparently have an amazing ability to cope and that did not hold me in good stead.
I went a long way on an empty tank!
My Dad’s situation was very tenuous and his descent into Dementia was overwhelming to me.
It was like watching a great leader lose command.
Someone who I had great love and respect for was literally losing his mind.
I was livid.
My paintings were becoming very aggressive and they were masking the powerless feelings I was beginning to experience.
I was working too hard. Eating nothing. Drinking gallons of coffee and basically burning out.
You cannot have him…damn you!
What I can say is that is that I worked harder than I ever have in my entire life.
And as a mother of five daughters…believe me I can work.
I isolated myself.
Completely cutting out my husband and daughters.
I was a workaholic.
Withdrew from connecting with family and friends.
I craved my own company and that was all I needed.
I did manage to produce some very strong pieces during this time.
So as the tendrils of mania started to spread in my overworked, unfed and care worn soul…I just kept working and went over the falls
And that was that.
I was admitted and began the road back to health.
A long and winding one at that.
But a way to go and a path to follow.
Unfortunately I can’t seem to allow myself the permission to have been ill in the first place.
There is strong stigma attached to being bipolar.
Sometimes I feel and do the very things I hate other people doing to those who suffer metal health issues.
Keep away and say nothing.
The best approach is to not talk about this.
Not share about what happened.
Keep it under wraps and hidden
And never let anyone “IN” on what really went down in your world…
while you were away.
Or where you actually “WERE”.
Today I am living with a much more reasonable outlook and I feel very well most days.
For I not only survived I actually improved the quality of my life.
But it is a work in progress and I do not rest on anything as a certainty.
I have had to overcome the feeling of being completely helpless.
Of having lost control.
Now I am a much more tentative individual.
I don’t favour any risky ideas.
If something I want to do, begins to feel “too” stressful or it isn’t coming easily after reasonable efforts have been put out…
I usually decided to abandon the prospect or idea.
If something is supposed to happen…it will.
I don’t try and force the issue the way I did when my father died.
When you are mentally ill you can become rather helpless and you start to rely heavily on others for validation and support.
It is a learned behavior.
You doubt yourself.
You can’t trust yourself.
And after you are “recovered” you live in fear that you may again revert to the way you are when you were manic.
And believe me, you do not want that life again.
There are no set boundaries or rules or guidelines.
There is just existence and minutes of your foolish, ruined life mindlessly ticking off into an hour.
And the hours go very slowly when you are “IN” the “System”
Small things like showers and scented body wash become high points in your daily schedule on a ward that allows for no perfume or bright color.
Life on the ward for me was the 3 weeks needed to remove a medication safely from my regular regime.
Seems I had been put on Zoloft but had never required it.
Taking an unnecessary antidepressants can actually cause a Manic episode under extreme stress so I really was a walking time bomb.
It is really no surprise this happened.
None at all.
Completely understandable considering all that was going on that I spun out into oblivion.
After my Dad died I picked up the pace of my already frantic and frenetic work life.
As an wanna-be Indie designer and artist I devoted long and misguided hour upon hour creating paintings and wearable artworks .
At alarming speed.
It was not a balanced endeavour and it led to a very definitive fall.
Like I fell from a great height into a full and complete stop.
Everything in my life stopped.
I was admitted to hospital and stayed there for 24 days.
It was hell and I cannot recall much of it but I do remember many isolated events that left a very permanent mark.
I try not to dwell on those days as that always ends up with some negative event or story and leaves me feeling all the worse for it.
It is really bad enough that I don’t accept what happened to me.
I don’t like it.
I hate it in fact.
And to top it all off, I actually blame myself for it happening at all.
I see myself as the entire reason this whole damn episode happened.
Had I only been stronger.
More in control and apprised I could have not only prevented it but I likely could have transformed all that manic energy into “Good” works…
At this point you should sit back and sadly nod.
This is the marker I need to watch for.
Those grand designs that a creative person starts to expound upon.
There is a quick quiz to see if you may be entering into a manic phase.
One of the questions asks if you are experiencing feelings of grandeur or thoughts of greatness.
I always thought that one was odd for as a full-time artist for I see the need to every now and then, to evaluate the quality of my work.
What if my work is actually pretty good”?
Am I improving in any way?
“What if I just do not understand enough to make that type of assessment”?
There is the rub.
I now that an awful lot of Bipolar people are also very creative and very accomplished.
It is a disease with alarmingly massive pendulum like swings from Joy to abject terror that if you are not properly medicated, rested and lead a balanced life,
you will likely need help at some time.
You may have the most amazing surges of great wonder and capability. You in your innocence may THINK you see things so clearly that you swear you will never want anything more than the Joy you feel…
until you fall.
You fall into the darkest of moods,
in the depths of a despair you cannot comprehend and are completed overcome by its blackness.
Which causes you go and hide away…until it passes over.
To go alone.
For that is what you will feel
There is no doubt in my mind about that.
Do not suffer alone.
Please get help.
Help is there and you will be okay.
I promise you.
But you must call out…
And then one day,
you too will return.
Just like I did.