I can sit here and tell you honestly, being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder came with a heaviness that I could never quite shake. Reconnecting with myself and my love for writing gave me a way to tell my story. On paper, online, anyway I could spread awareness for this disorder through my hands, I did it and I did it loudly. The truth was that the loudness was to drown out what I didn’t want to hear… That when those words left my lips, they were laced with shame and sadness. I used to only see the negative aspects of my disorder, the pain in myself and the pain I’ve caused others, the burden, the mood swings, the stigma, the shame… I’ve decided to take a new path. I believe everything happens for a reason and I now see my disorder in a new light. Bipolar has forced me to know myself, deeply, and has unveiled my triggers and the parts of me that needed fixing. It has literally made me into the woman I am today, a woman I am so proud to be. It was recently that I discovered this change of perspective… and that, when talking about my Bipolar Disorder, it rolled off my tongue without skipping a beat, so fluent, calm and comfortable. It was then that I realized I finally, wholeheartedly, loved myself.
It has been some time since I last wrote about my mental health, time that was much needed to take off. The last post was one filled with pain and suffering. I look back and read about a woman filled with pure despair, aching for a way out. It also shows a change, one I previously mentioned, in how I handle the darkness when it overcomes me. I did not seek a way out through ending my existence but I was seeking a way out through healing. That, my friends, is growth.
I decided I needed to take a step back and really listen to what my soul was craving, what it’s been craving for many years. I decided it was best to keep quiet because what needed to be worked on was something I needed to do without any extra noise. I understand throughout the years that I am the girl who cries wolf. I announce big plans and I always fail in the public eye. I always am looking for that instant gratification (like so many of us are), the attention (like so many of us are), and the success (like so many of us are)… but I see now my failures were a sign that the path I was on in life was not the one I was supposed to be on, I was not ready. So instead of hanging my head in shame and embarrassment, I looked at it as a lesson to grow from. So stepping back became my first step on the right path, the first step to stability.
Next was creating a schedule for when I allowed myself on social media. Laying in bed one morning, I decided to open up to my man about my plans to get better. He is always supportive, so hearing his opinion on my plan was important to me. During our discussion, he pointed out something I had missed. I had been stable up until I allowed myself back on social media, it was soon after the depression hit. We don’t realize the negative effects social media has on us. We are constantly comparing where we are at in life, which makes us feel like shit when we aren’t as successful as people appear to be online. Our brain processes the negativity, the comparisons, the successes, the trends, the hate, the love and it effects us whether we realize it or not. Life is already hard, and this just makes it harder, especially with a mental disorder. The reality is is that it’s hard to get away from our technology driven world. I figured I needed to find a way to still keep in touch with my friends and family while creating a healthy relationship with social media. In the end what it came down to was, what I was allowing myself access to on my feeds and using the apps in moderation. I cleaned up my Facebook and Instagram and removed all the negativity that I could, then I created a schedule for myself. I started off small, not letting myself on social media for 1 day of the week, after 1 week I increased that to 3 days (which is where I’m at now). Due to my success lately, my 4 day a week goal will be achieved shortly. This little change may not seem like much but it has been an eye opener: I’m calmer, happier, have more free time to do things that are healthier for my mind and I don’t go on it as much even when I allow myself to.
He then pointed out another issue, in relation, that I was oblivious to… my blog. He understands how therapeutic it is for me to write but the posting is where he can tell I start to stress. He sees how I disconnect and focus on making sure I post to each page, obsessing over the hashtags, sharing to my stories and just all the promoting that goes into it. After our discussion, I was left with a decision to make, to continue my blog or not. I wrestled with this for a couple weeks and decided to meet in the middle. I didn’t want to stop blogging but removing a set schedule and not focusing so much on promotion (FB and insta), would help me fall in love with it again. My passion does not lie in the success of my blog but in the writing. If it becomes successful, cool, if not then that’s okay too. What I will do is write when I want to, post when I want to and make sure not to stress over a specific time and day or how many likes/views I get. The reason I don’t love the promoting aspect is solely because it does not align with the person I am becoming.
Next was a change that I used to really struggle with accepting. When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar, my psych had told me that drugs and alcohol would not mix well with me. She said she couldn’t tell me to stop but to drink in moderation was fine… Well 7 years later of not drinking in moderation, it was my disorder that was telling me the time had come. 46 days ago I stopped drinking.
I have quit before, I aimed for 30 days and succeeded. I was feeling a bit lost within myself at the time, unsure of who I was then. I remember quitting for the wrong reason, my appearance, I wanted it to help with weight loss and my acne. And honestly, my heart wasn’t in it, which made it seem sooo much longer than 30 days. The only thing that kept me motivated was the memory of how shitty hangovers were (haha).
This time is different. I started to use a depressant to relieve my depression, because that makes fucking sense right? I would turn to drinking to find some kind of relief only to be met with feeling like crawling out of my own skin. I would drink to get rid of that feeling which would end in me blacking out. This had only started happening recently, so don’t go thinking I was some raging alcoholic in front of my kid lol. Regardless, I was in a vicious and unhealthy cycle. On the day I quit drinking, I woke up and I just knew that this was the best decision for me. I had gotten to a place where I finally understood the damage it was causing my mental health. This time, it just feels right and effortless. Do I get cravings? Rarely, but just the thought of how awful it was making me feel makes them vanish. How long will I do this for? I have no plan, I’m taking it day by day. Eventually I will allow myself a 2 drink maximum if I want one but intoxication is not in my near future. As much as I was scared to take the leap, this has been one of the best, life altering, decisions I have ever made for myself. I was always so scared because I wasn’t comfortable with who I was and I was worried I couldn’t be fun if I wasn’t drinking. Boy was I silly for thinking all of those things, because life was about to show me who I was without alcohol.
1 week later, stability settled calmly into my mind. ❤
…To be continued