There’s something about cool spring mornings, with the soft light and crisp air that makes me smile. I remember waking up on these mornings as a kid, on a Saturday, to join my mom and dad out in our screened-in porch. I would sit on the fake grass in the small spots where sunlight hit to warm my skin. I’d be allowed to have a small cup of coffee, which tasted like a treat with cream and sugar swirled about in there.
I don’t know what the proper word would be to describe the feeling that I had on those mornings, that has followed me all the way through adulthood. Every time I wake up and see the cool sunlight peeking through the window, I get flooded with the same emotions.
It’s almost as though I feel inspired, or creative. The possibilities of what I can do, as a person, as a creative soul, feels almost electric at my fingertips.
I have been working a lot lately on positive self-talk. I am aware of the fact that when it comes to getting stuff done, I am my own worst enemy. I crave to read, to write, to draw, to hike. All of these things are right there in the back of my mind, but I find myself following the same unhealthy patterns.
And when spring comes back, and I feel like a little kid again, it gets to the point where it’s more work to ignore the voice in my head telling me to ‘go’ or ‘do.’ If only I could bottle that feeling for the dreary rain and snow days.
I am using my own encouragement and goal-setting to dive into my creative world once again. And I can tell you I already feel happier and lighter. I want to keep this motivation surrounding me, pushing me forward to do better and appreciate more.
I feel the urgency of this mission now more than ever. I want to raise my children in a fun, creative home. I want them to have the inspiration that I have become accustomed to. To use their imagination, and create, is one of the greatest things a child can do.
Sobriety is something that has always been a struggle for me. For a long time, those around me were convinced, and were convincing me, that I was simply addicted to alcohol. And there was a problem, but it was much bigger than just addiction.
The diagnosis of being bipolar started to make everything clearer. Patterns started falling into place. The chaos that I kept spinning around me made sense all of a sudden.
I can honestly say that one of the worst things to go through is to feel yourself slipping out of control, and there’s nothing you can do to stop yourself. I am sure to those who are unfamiliar with bipolar will not understand but there are even times where I don’t realize that it’s happening.
Unfortunately, alcohol was a method that fueled this, and I gave into it for years. I drowned my sorrows and disappointments by having fun, claiming it was just a side effect of my youth and boredom from living in the Midwest.
Being trapped on this path shaped a lot of my life. I can think of lucid moments, or even larger periods of time, where I would look at myself from the outside and wonder what the hell I was doing.
Eventually, this slowed down as I become absorbed in my work, however I never fully left it behind.
In late December of 2017, I decided to stop drinking all together. There were one too many times of waking up with no memory of the night before or waking up and feeling shame because of the things I did. And most of all, now that I was on the proper medication for bipolar, all I was doing was causing it to short-circuit by drinking.
Obviously, shortly after that I found out I was pregnant. That takes drinking out of the equation completely, but I am happy that I made the decision prior to that.
I read about and follow a lot of sober success stories; people who are living with purpose and excited about the possibilities since they invested in themselves and have stayed sober. It’s always been an inspiring thing to watch. Now I have decided that I will follow the same path, because what’s more important than the health and happiness in our own lives?
So, with everything going on in life, writing has fallen off my to-do list for far too long. For those of you who know me personally, you are aware of the changes I am talking about.
Back in January, I had started school again to finish my bachelor’s degree once and for all. That part was challenging enough, but in February, I found out that Shawn and I were pregnant. This was something that we had not planned but were excited about the news regardless.
I spent two days off work feeling not-too-great and decided to go to the doctor to make sure it was nothing serious or contagious. Imagine my surprise when the doctor comes in the room to tell me that I’m pregnant.
Now, given my history, this was something that I was extremely nervous about at first. Between the bipolar, being in a newer relationship and just starting my life over again last year, the news was overwhelming. But I’m lucky to be dating my best friend.
As soon as I got out of the doctor’s office, I called Shawn and told him the news. He drove home from work right away, and we sat together talking everything over. He made me feel safe and so ready to take this journey. And he assured me that all that had happened was we moved our plans up a year or so.
It was then we decided to get married. Shortly after that, we went and picked out an engagement ring. We did it together, which felt lie the perfect way. A week later when the ring came back sized to perfectly fit my finger, we announced to everyone the good news about getting married. Not too long after that, we shared the great news about the baby.
Even though everything came about as a surprise, our future is laid out before our feet and I couldn’t be more excited. I guess I have never been one of those people who expected to have things work out like this.
I know there will be tough roads ahead, life is never easy, and rarely ends up perfect. But what is perfect anyways? I have dedicated myself to our future, plus I am focusing on self-care and positivity. These things are more important now than ever before. I want to make sure I enjoy my life and that I provide a good environment to my family. Most importantly, I want to share adventures with my love, and teach my son the importance of fun and creativity.
I am so excited for the future, and can’t wait to continue sharing my journey.
Take part in time and lighten your load
Do no accept defeat even as it is handed off
Peculiar settings make for easy days with uneasy feelings leading the way
Hold onto the snake, ride along with the ancient earthquake
Reverberating comfort to us through the ground
Pound pound pound on your heartbeat
Strengthen blood pumping hope to oneself
Decaying bones headed by the fire representing the loss of sanity
Serenity holds the hand of independence
And keeps the wheels going, watch the gears form together.
Connecting as if correlating parts
Throw another log on to stir the embers
Apparently what we’ve missed isn’t nearly enough
Dip under the calm water and feel free to enjoy the ease of its release
A whole lifetime has fluttered by in the blink of an eye as you attempt to remove infection
Look up to the sky, what do you see?
Milky white silhouettes outline what has yet to occur
Staying in the emergency room for a day and a half did nothing to ease my anxiety, not only about relinquishing control over my life but also admitting that I really need help. It allowed for a lot of contemplation, and a lot of worry. Going into the hospital last year really tested everything that I had inside me.
When I finally arrived – after an hour-long ride strapped in an ambulance – I was surrounded by an environment that I didn’t understand. My instincts went into overdrive, and I don’t think that my panic has ever been stronger. I sat there just thinking of how I could get out of there to go back and go through the mundane steps of my life. But there I was, and I had no choice but to look forward.
Something that people don’t tell you when you go into the hospital, even willingly, is that you don’t control when they deem you are ready to get out.
The activities with the strange people that I met made me feel extremely disassociated from reality. We worked on different therapy techniques and were allowed the freedom to practice fun activities like drawing, or writing. The greatest gift that was bestowed upon me was a notebook so that I could start distracting myself from my surrounding.
I will say that the best part of being there was sharing my experiences and learning from the experiences of others. There was a wide array of different people there, all with their own baggage. While at first, I was stand-offish to the experience and the people, I started to open up in group, and started sharing during our free time.
After two days I started to feel the fog lift. The seriousness of what I had been through started to seep in, and my brain started thinking of everything I needed to do once I got home. I spent my time there learning about myself with others and working on my first book. I hand-wrote 100 pages, or more, and it was so therapeutic.
When I finally got the okay to go home, my whole body buzzed with excitement. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to start my life once I got out, but I think that getting acclimated to my meds and taking a pause from the every day life that pushed me over the edge got me to a turning point in my recovery.
Close your tired eyes, just for a while
Grasp the slipping hand, it’s passing by
No one will understand what you’ve been through, until tonight
Truth ripping through the soul
You can feel some more
It’s time, goodbye
Who are they to condescend the dreams that were dreamt in bed one night.
There is no more to transcend.
There is nothing left.
No one to fight.
Give in to the warmth at hand.
Then you’ll understand, you have the right.
Look up, the future is here.
It’s not what you feared.
Why say goodbye?
Turning time will only tell
Happiness or burning hell
It will be alright.
Being diagnosed bipolar was something that I really didn’t expect, and totally took me by surprise. I didn’t think of myself as someone who was out of control, and never really thought that there was something in my brain working against me. But I guess that’s how it can work right?
The fact that I saw other’s around me have unsuccessful relationships with doctors and attempts with medications in terms of mental illnesses, on top of the stigma I already had in my mind that there just couldn’t be something that wrong with me, I had a difficult time accepting this conclusion.
On top of that, I had already jumped head first into treatment with the psychiatrist that my doctor had referred me to – and here was I was with a conclusion that I hadn’t expected and wasn’t all that thrilled about. I had two options. I could tell the doctor to fuck off, that there was no way her diagnosis was accurate. Or, I could follow through with the plan that I had set myself on to see where it would take me.
I guess the thought that really pushed me towards getting help was the realization that I had been going through my life with no assistance thus far, and I was still feeling so terrible every day, and things were still falling apart. Seeking medical help seemed to be the one avenue that I hadn’t tried out, and it honestly made sense for me to give it a try. So, I gritted my teeth, and went forward with it.
Something that every medical professional will warn you about, or should warn you about, is that a lot of medications meant to treat depression, or the antipsychotic medicine they can prescribe you to treat bipolar disorder, can make your sense of depression or hopelessness worse before it actually does its job and makes you feel better. Oh, and my favorite, it can make you more suicidal. Appropriate, right?
It was probably a week or so into the new medication when my mind snapped. I had come home from work for two nights straight and sat with a kitchen knife staring at my arm, just thinking about how easy it would be to get it over with. There was still a small voice breaking through telling me how stupid that was, though.
It was the night that I finally cut into my arm that I called my mom and told her that I needed to go to the hospital because I couldn’t trust myself while I was getting acclimated to this new medication. I was lucky enough to not do any damage; the best way that I can explain it is that I cut into my arm to try and feel something. And, as faint as it was, the alarm went off in the back of my mind to reach out for help. I am lucky that I did so. It was then that I would commit myself into the hospital for a little under a week, and give myself a chance to get used to the medication as well as press pause on everything that was causing my mind undue stress.
It’s not too hard to research some information on a topic of my own
But I will ask you one last time
Why are you so bold?
Walking through an empty hall
Attempting to speak to you about a faith I have never truly held
Do not mock my heart for refuge in my prison-like cell
You would like alone time as well
If you don’t, well you’re a liar.
I will be hasty and call you so because I can
It is as simple as that.
My eyes are swollen and puffy and sad
So how difficult is it to give me the cool clear drops to stop the poison from spreading?
I am sure you are not prepared to meet my demands
Say goodnight and kiss my hair
And be okay with an intermission
You will have to sit still and be quiet for now.
While I suffer through inner turmoil
Thank you for connecting me together
With the silvery smoke
That is currently escaping your world
Just hold my hand
And give me the wave
And allow me to flow all night with you.
I try to paint pictures for you to try and understand
The kind of circumstances I am experiencing
My hair is no longer soft enough to run your fingers through.
Your hands are dirty and dry, and you must leave it to treat them another day.
Try and hold onto the hope that things will be on their way to getting better.
Let us dance together through a lonely night and hold onto the bottle just a little longer
Isn’t it disappointment to ride along a barren drive
Waiting to obtain an impossible high.
Time to fast forward a bit so I can give you guys a picture of what I have been living with all these years, and so you can see the culmination of almost ten years of up-and-down chaos come to a stop. All I can say is that now, looking back on everything and understanding myself and the circumstances, I can make a more concerted effort to be a better, more appreciative version of myself than before. That’s how I want to live and have been trying to push to live my life, in the past year and a half or so.
Back in 2016, I was in the throws of a deep depression. Well, correction, it was more of an up-and-down rollercoaster. This was a pattern I was familiar with, or I guess that the people closest to me were familiar with. Since my vision was so clouded by the thoughts that my mind convinced me were real and important, I thought that I was a self-realized person. And, in comparison to a lot of cases, I was. Unfortunately, my ability to convince myself that I was smart enough to know everything that was going on and keep an eye on it myself had kept me away from doctor’s and away from anyone who could have potentially helped me any sooner.
Anyways, the erratic behavior that my family and friends had seemingly grown accustomed to had started to resurface in a volatile manner. I chopped my hair even shorter. I dyed it blonde…again. Then it was blue. Then, it was purple. I was chain smoking. I spent a couple nights drinking by myself. I started spending money, recklessly. These were all just external examples of the way I was trying to control my body because I felt like everything was spinning out of control.
I spent everyday on the up-up-up to get through work. Logistics is a tough industry and requires a lot of energy and attention to detail to get through it. I was able to throw energy into it to get through the day. For the most part, the hysteria or the complete empty feelings that gnawed at my insides were kept at bay while I was at work and had to focus on these tasks.
But as soon as I left, the distraction was gone, and the feelings settled in. And I was in for a long night. I had finally sought out the help from my general doctor to start getting to the bottom of whatever was going on with me. I figured it was a minor case of depression, perhaps with a side of anxiety. I figured that’s all it could be, and I knew so many other people who were affected with variations of the same.
The process with medication started off slow, but I was open-minded to it. You’ll have to keep in mind that I had already spent ten years neglecting that anything was wrong. By this time, I had reached out for help, I was ready to accept what they had to offer.
So – as I said, the process started off slow with the medication specifically geared towards depression and anxiety. It took weeks of testing out different medicines and their side effects, and then moving over to a psychiatrist to start narrowing down that it wasn’t just depression and anxiety, there was something else at work.