“The winner has a different memory and the loser has a different memory of the same event. Where then is the question of a shared memory? What is history? Where is the notion of a We? Unless, the victory has the grace to accept the loser into his moment of glory or the loser has the grace to accede the winner his moment of glory?”
― Srividya Srinivasan
It really doesn’t take much to be on one side or the other, you win some and lose some. A couple years ago, I decided to pick up a hobby as therapy. It was also highly recommended that I find something outdoors to give my mind and body some much needed rest and exercise. I found this sport Disc Golf, some still call it Frisbee Golf. It was like traditional golf but, with a walk in the wood in many cases, and tossing a Disc. I really picked it up and played tournaments regularly the entire year of 2017. I can’t think of a weekend I wasn’t playing a tournament or leagues. Leagues also just like traditional golf brought together all skill levels and introduced me to so many new people. During the week, I found our local putting league; all these things that are part of the sport and like traditional golf, disc golf shared similar rules and even had multiple disc depending on the location to the basket. In 2017, I lost a lot. Probably the biggest loser, but overall I had the most fun and won. I don’t think I ever really cared to win, sometimes it was more about watching other players grow. It was fascinating.
It was truly exciting to play that year. It had its up’s and down’s and obviously I had mine. What happened is something I didn’t expect from this sport. A support group, a community, a sport that accepted the loser into the winning moments. I walked away victorious last year because of the sport. I wasn’t the winner on paper, but the winners were all around and shared each moment of their glory.
As a side note, I qualified and competed in the biggest tournament for amateurs in the world because of my therapy in 2017. How many people can say that about therapy?
Wait until I tell you how I won that tournament without winning….
“Which of my feelings are real? Which of the me’s is me? The wild, impulsive, chaotic, energetic, and crazy one? Or the shy, withdrawn, desperate, suicidal, doomed, and tired one? Probably a bit of both, hopefully much that is neither.” Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
Consistently trying to mimic emotions of others everyday in itself is hard, trying to be happy when you are sad and and stop the acceleration of happiness is exhausting. I cherish the moments when I can completely be myself, drown in the things I love with joy. I wish I could be consistent and a “trigger” is just a word for a simple release mechanism.
I have to pause before the hamster falls off the wheel and rewind a bit. Lately, I can’t figure out if I’m okay, about to be manic, or about to face the black dog (depression). It’s a typical meme you’ll find on the Internet. Basically, if you don’t like my mood now, wait a few minutes. I haven’t written as much on my blog in the last few weeks, mostly just unable to focus. I have emails I desperately need and want to reply too regarding how I handle having bipolar and mental illnesses or blog in general. Many praising how I am shifting such a horrible illnesses into a superpower. It’s hard to tell someone with bipolar, PTSD, depression or anxiety what works for me, because I am constantly trying to pinpoint the answer myself. Ithe is ever changing. I never post trigger warnings on my blog because no single person has the same triggers. Yes, we probably all share many of the same. But mine can be anything from hearing a baby cry in a bathroom echoing off the walls to someone asking me, “Do I know you?” to trigger a response.
So today, I was completely fine, enjoying a day with the family. We had chosen to go see a movie and walk around the mall prior. Today is Memorial day, for our family everyday is memorial day like many of our friends. We never forget those who gave all, so today was like no other except it reminds the rest of the world to pause for the day. It’s a trigger, I am reminded of my husband’s deployments, nearly losing him in the Pentagon on September 11th and those who did not come home on those days or those deployments. So for my family they are remembered everyday. So today a movie and the mall sounded perfect.
While shopping, I get a call from my credit card telling me of possible fraudulent charges. Instantly a trigger, “Did I do something and spend thousands online? Did I charge away to ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) late at night watching those emotional commercials involving animal cruelty? Or to an organization for wounded warriors that pulled at my heartstrings?” These things ran instantly through my head. I knew it was none of those things, but what if? What if it happened and I didn’t remember. The thoughts of other things ran through my head. As I listened, I learned that it was simply we hadn’t used our credit card and when my husband bought the kids a snack with the card just minutes before, it triggered the alert from the card company (Bravo to Chase Bank for diligently). This in turn triggered me.
It was obvious to everyone, the day was over. I was rigid, emotionless, angry, irritated, and every muscle remained tense. It was no one’s fault. I just hated myself, reminded of who I was like Kryptonite to Superman. I was wounded. I saw the disappointment on everyone’s face as we left the mall for the car. Everyone knew the day with Mom was over.
Once home it took hours to stop my muscles from being so tense. Release myself from the fear and tension that had occurred in my head. I sat on the couch and didn’t move. Shortly, I fell asleep from exhaustion. Once I woke, my body ached, I was tired, not sleepy but drained. Dinner was prepared for me, the kids and Dad went to a neighborhood cookout. The day was savaged for them, but I felt like I’d spent the day in the gym. In a fog, reflecting how real it all felt.
I wanted to share that regardless of how awesome and healthy I look or appear I’m not immune to triggers. I am not perfectly super bipolar all the time. What makes me great is also what makes me horrible. A trigger to me is what I imagine and compare to the weaknesses of superheroes.
As I sat down to write tonight I was reminded of, Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. I flipped to the highlighted quote you see at the beginning of this post. It perfectly described me. It is me yesterday, today and tomorrow. The battle never ends, but like all superheroes I will survive to fight another day.
“Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.” ~ Charles Bukowski
I’ve done a lot of reflection, experienced great things, great people, and been part of some extraordinary projects and events even since my last post. Again, this is such a silent illness. If you know me in person you will rarely see me without a smile on my face. What is hard to admit is how many times I wanted to run or avoid any human interaction. I forced myself, not because it was for the experience, not for the social reward, but to make myself experience life. I do this because my family and my friends mean more than this thing I fight in my mind.
On social media, you only see the good and rarely the bad. I promise for every extraordinary experience, I’ve had a great fall from the over stimulation. It was never someone’s fault and I am thankful for the wonderful things I am blessed to be apart of socially and recreational. I am able to listen to everyone, hear everyone, remember, and listen. I do put together huge pictures in my head. It’s almost a curse, I pin and connect everything and have amazing epiphanies. People want to see other failures, it’s astonishing. I see it everyday, someone who volunteers and moves on to another endeavor is always criticized, success is criticize.
I connect the dots in my head and have an overwhelming sense of shame for knowing something I should not know, only because three or more people placed puzzle pieces via causal conversation. I was able to see it all completed, and it hurts me like a dagger upon completion of the puzzles in my head. I’ve found myself withdrawn from those whom I never wanted to finish the puzzles, but regrettably by forcing the smile and “living” it was inevitable.
As, Bukowski said above, “I do not have time for things that have no soul” and I shall not make my time available to be sucked dry of any hope I have to win the battles in my mind. I fight too hard everyday to erase, remember, and overcome the thoughts in my mind.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” It’s questionable to the origins of the quote, was it Plato? Most likely Ian McClaren, but it is something we should all remember. I am reminded daily by brief encounters, private messages, emails, or comments on wordpress that I am not alone and we are all very different, but….you are not alone.
One of my favorite parts of this article. I just had to share.
“It is important to keep in mind that you have more than a diagnosis. You have a destiny, and you can still realize all the dreams you ever had. Sure, it takes courage to move on with your life, but courage is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
Bipolar disorder is only as limiting as you allow it to be, so do not let it hold you back. Bipolar disorder does not define your life: You do.” ~ Stephen Propst
Read the entire article link at bottom. It’s a great one to share and read.
This morning the cat and I shared a moment. It confirmed, we both suffer various psychotic symptoms. Both of us thankful for our medications. *skip to the bottom if you’re impatient.
*I suppose this is another “don’t talk about it” dirty symptom.
So before I get to our experience. I figured I’d explain a bit about bipolar disorder delusions and hallucinations. They are very different, delusions being irrational, illogical, and just a bit of false grandeur. Hallucinations can be many things, hearing, seeing, smelling, and generally sensing things with something triggering the response. Usually experienced during manic episodes.
My grandiose delusions are usually related to when I’m suffering mania or it is fast approaching. In a recent setback, I believed that I was approached by an Angel and he told me I’m having a child. I began seeing things, but I’ll get to that a bit further. This required, some help with medication. It’s what my husband refers to my mental reset. It also causes me to sleep for 16 to 24 hours or if that doesn’t work the good old hospital visit. It’s funny to look back on the experiences, but I mean biblically it’s happened before right? In all seriousness, it was a grandiose delusion. I have visions and find connections, I feel completely in sync with the earth’s energy, which can also be perceived as a delusional or maybe I’m just extremely in tune with nature. I can sometimes spend hours which feels like minutes staring into the woods. Keep in mind this is me medicated.
There are so many other things other than grandiose and persecutory delusions there are a great list of common hallucinations. They include olfactory (smell), auditory (hearing), gustatory (taste), tactile (feeling touched, creepy crawlers), somatic (feeling in your body) and last but not least, visual (seeing things). These aren’t always all associated with Bipolar disorder, but remember, I’m the kitchen sink, PTSD, ADHD, GAD are sometime the culprit. Now put it all in a pot and stir it, actually shake it.
My primary culprits are auditory, olfactory, visual, and somatic. These are the ones I still experiences even on medication. The delusions are generally contained very well with medication. My kids and husband believe I have this superpower to smell, the ability smell anything and pinpoint precisely the source. The hallucination is when I am convinced I smell smoke most often, sometimes it’s Jasmine. Other strong smells include, rust or blood. One that almost always gets me is some old heirloom roses that were behind my grandmother’s house as a child. I remember as a kid always stopping to smell the roses, literally. I only started smelling them after my father passed away. Roses today have lost the smell, these roses had such a strong, unique, unmistakable smell. Sometimes they smell as if they are right under my nose. Some would say this is spiritual and loved ones reaching out to let me know they are present, others hallucinations.
The auditory, are usually like whispers, but only at night. I recognize it as my mind decompressing, I’m simply hearing myself. But it’s interesting to know I sometime talk to myself in a completely sane manner. Sometime the pets and like other stories we have conversations, they have their voices too. Visually, it usually shadows…also reassured it medication adjustments by doctors. The somatic is usually gut feelings. They can be very unnerving. I could go on and on to the sense of being touched sometimes to waking at night and seeing someone.
So many of you may have skipped down here to me and the black cat. This morning in bed, the cat and I heard something downstairs. We currently live in a three story townhouse. So hearing something downstairs was a bit unnerving. So the dog, the cat and I walked downstairs to the sound in the main living area. Instantly, the cat completely puffed up her fur and arched her back and the dog stood in front of me and slightly growled. This happened once before when my mom visited and she witnessed a similar event.
I am pretty sure I heard the cat say, “holy shit” and the black dog growled just trying to be brave and quickly ran to the couch. The cat and I stood for a few moments basically, she held her puffed, arched back hissing. I just closed my eyes and use my senses. Was it a smell, was it the sound, was it delusional. I kept my eyes shut and remembered the smell of the roses and suddenly it was all gone. Whatever cause the disturbance, was sent away by thinking of the most comforting thing, the smell of those heirloom roses. Some would say my guardian angels came to my side. The room smelled of roses. The cat calmed and purred on my leg. I opened my eyes to nothingness.
“I fancied my luck to be witnessing yet another full moon. True, I’d seen hundreds of full moons in my life, but they were not limitless. When one starts thinking of the full moon as a common sight that will come again to one’s eyes ad-infinitum, the value of life is diminished and life goes by uncherished. ‘This may be my last moon,’ I sighed, feeling a sudden sweep of sorrow; and went back to reading more of The Odyssey.” ~ Roman Payne
*I adore Roman Payne if you’re not familiar with his works, he writes with such sexual energy, poetic and translates his passion and character’s passion in his books. His awareness, portrayal, and understanding of mental conditions are beautifully displayed in his book “The Wanderess”.
So back on topic, his quote struck a cord and sparked this blog post. Each month I look forward to the full moon. I read many articles and today ran across this one I’m sharing, It was an excellent article regarding lunacy and effects on mental health. It contains some great theories listed throughout the article from some of our greatest philosophers and psychologist discuss the theories based on my opinion outdated research from the 1980’s. I love the historical content, great article.
I firmly believe it affects my cycles and moods. I’m one who can’t sleep and have a fascination with the full moon, honestly the moon in general. It one of my many obcessions. It affect the earth, living creatures, and even plants. Why would it not affect us as well?
I get a surge of energy, elevated mood even with medication I can feel it happening. I’ve actually charted my moods. It can be argued it psychosomatic, but over the years and experience with others it seems Lunacy is real, yet still only a theory. I’m curious to hear from others. What is your experience or feelings on the subject? Do you experience mood changes?
Let’s explore how I reset and enjoy the healthy time alone.
1. Learn to observer and watch people. It’s simple, watch children play and interact. Sit in the bar or group and listen. It’s much the same. Listen, don’t talk, unless spoken too.
2. Enjoy your time alone. It’s rare, turn off every device in the house for 20 minutes. Everything, phone, WiFi, televisions. Actually, go find the breaker box main switch and flip it off (turn the usuals off before doing this), you’ll instantly feel peace. It’s a strange sensation. Close your eyes and feel the lack of WiFi and electricity…..you will feel it if you shut it all off.
3. Learn to talk to yourself. You can always be kind to yourself. Learn to appreciate what your mind tells you in silence. Many times I’ve ignored what I knew or I should have done only to have my mind tell me, “I told you so”. So it’s worth listening and talking to yourself. No one will ever love you or listen to you like yourself.
4. Volunteer! You can do the smallest thing and change a life. But you do it on your own, you don’t do it to seek recognition. You just do something that helps others selfishly.
5. Decide you’re going to learn a skill or project. Complete it! I wanted to learn electrical repair. Several vocational classes and yours truly can fixed a toaster, wire a lamp, or do general household repairs. It was so rewarding, I continued with woodworking, plumbing, and auto repair. I’m a bit obsession so don’t use me as an example.
6. Make a list. I hate list, but make an agenda of things you want to accomplish before bed. Make sure the first this on your list is MAKE YOUR BED. Trust me, if you don’t make your bed you’ve screwed up the list. Make your bed, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and then that first thing is checked off your list.
7. This is by far my hell on earth task, working out. Yes, workout! Walk 30 minutes, yoga, run, or what ever your vice….even sex. I prefer the latter. Sex count.
8. Do something completely alone. I’ll go to the movies, bookstore, and then have a drink and dinner while writing in my journal, ALONE! It is possibly, my best advice if you’re a mom or dad with a schedule. Plan a run away monthly!
9. Approach and engage strangers and be genuinely interested. I’ve learned so much about people just by removing the stigma of societies norm. I’ve made some of the best and life long friends whom I don’t think I could live without if not for letting go of my preconceived impressions based on societies normal. I’m in a military community, so normal is pretty straight laced.
10. Set goals, writing it down and put it in an envelope. In one year, I will have….? Next one, In 5 and 10 years. It can be big, it can be as simple as I’ll stop biting my nails. But, when you open that envelope you’re rewarding yourself. Do monthly envelopes! It’s goals with the satisfaction, you put it in writing and you accomplished something for yourself, not someone else. You discover and achieved it for yourself.
That is my alone time. That is how I’m alone and not defined by anyone else.
Best day ever! It’s like finding money in the dryer or a jean pocket, but the joy keeps going and you are constantly being uplifted. Yesterday was one of those days. No anxiety or panic, no sadness, no flashbacks, no racing thoughts, no tears, nothing over the top. Just a blank canvas day, that ended up a beautiful picture.
My blank canvas didn’t involve winning the lottery or anything of grandeur. It simply involved waking up to two beautiful kids who let mom sleep, started the house chores, and my oldest made breakfast without burning the house down. When I finally woke up, a bit foggy forgetting the kids were even home on spring break. I walk downstairs and head directly for the coffee pot. From the other room two little heads pop up, “Hi Mom! Good morning!” I yawn and think to myself how awesome of them to let me sleep and go on autopilot. Then almost as if they planned the timing together they asked, “Mom, is today the day you have your friends teach us to play Disc Golf?” I responded with my normal noncommittal, “We’ll see, mommy needs her coffee first.” This is a protective response from me when I don’t want to let them down. Two reasons, I needed to make sure I wasn’t dreaming and second I knew this activity required a commitment from friends to teach them to play. I hate when I let down my kids, but to have someone else let them down physically hurts.
Bit of a backtrack, I decided months ago I needed to take back up a hobby such as golf. I was really good at one time and really remember it being fun and therapeutic. Then, I ran across Disc golf, I was immediately intrigued. Disc golf is where you throw a flying disc at a target like chained basket, the fun is scored like golf and based on precision and accuracy on a 18 basket courses. Win, win for me, no hauling balls or golf clubs, just a bag of various discs. I loved it instantly and quickly became obsessed with the concept and game. This was going to be my new sport. I shall master it and shared this with my kids. Who watched Vine and YouTube videos that a friend had sent, over and over. They wanted to learn too!
Back to best day ever, “We’ll see” I tell the kids and I sent text to my friend. He’s, a disc golf junkie and jumped at the opportunity to teach the kids and myself. We meet at the park, I knew instantly his passion and obsession with the sport made him the perfect guy. Plus, he was a bit of a kid himself so the kids loved him and the sport.
Peter couldn’t figure out if he was left or right handed thrower. This took some time since he is ambidextrous. Eventually, he threw it, just somehow backwards each time. When advised to run into it and throw, Peter literally ran 25ft forward then threw. Peter, always the one to look for the cheat.
Turns out Rowan was really good! She was a natural. Not only did she throw really well, she was noticed by some of the local disc golf players in the league who encouraged her to join the league and play in a tournament next month. They said she probably win. That was really cool and a huge encouragement for her. She sometimes needs encouragement and this came from one of the best female players locally.
As for the mad woman, well I threw, but kept getting my butt kicked by my daughter and dodging Peters crazy Ivins. Try to not scare our new friend with our multiple personalities. Not only did we learn to play. My daughter found something she loves. Peter was still frolicking tossing, then came home to tell stories to his friend about how he plays disc golf like a boss. I found my new hobby and made great friendships.
In retrospect today, I had a day without let downs, a day away from society. It was therapeutic. It was the perfect day. I was again, a new “normal” for the day.
I found myself reading blogs like novels! Yes, probably your blog too. I may possibly be stalking you. *Maniacal laugh…… I do really like to read, expecially with my new medication (new doc, hahaha she gave a stimulate to a bipolar who was rapid cycling, I’m chasing squirrels right now) I can concentrate, until it ignites mania and then it’s back to mind numb forgetfulness. But I read a lot of blogs and yes I do love your blog. I think I’m going to start showcasing mental doppelganger bloggers of the week.
I read, heard a long time ago when you read books, papers, or articles you absorb a small part of that author. It really made me a bit picky about my choices in literature. Hemingway will always have my heart. He wrote with such conviction, blood emotion, and experience. I instantly feel in love with a dead man who suffered from the same mental flaw I am fighting. I never knew Hemingway was bipolar until recent years. Once I reread his works with my new understanding of his mind it really explained my analysis and sometimes unorthodox synopsis of his stories. I read them with a bipolar mind and he wrote it with a bipolar mind. It really is beautiful to admire his beautiful mind. I don’t discount the darkness, He lived with sickness, Hemingway himself and put a shotgun in his mouth in his finest Chinese robe in his door hallway. He saw the sunrise one last time. He knew his story had ended and he was determined to write the ending, not a sequel. He knew his ending which is a very sad statistic for those who are diagnosed bipolar.
It’s a bipolar thing, we like to write our endings. My challenge is to bring back the sequels. A story doesn’t have to end with the story book, Prince meet princess and they have beautiful children and live long prosperous lives and die without regret, pain and have a long legacy. I can say with certainly those handsome narcissistic princes you meet along the way will always satisfy their needs even thought they have beautiful princesses. I’m around it everyday, it’s really sad the poor girls/guys who accepts the repeated infidelities of a narcissist, because they feel they have a trophy husband or trophy wife. I am sad for their delusion of happiness and infidelity. It’ll never stop, it’s a cycle. It makes me sick how many people live such a fake life or repeatedly try to reinvent and change their lives….until they get drunk again a cry to listening ears. Until they gey the attention from the assfish who circle them. Those people are DUMBASSES!
I am happy to admit I’m flawed, possibly worse than the abusive narcissist married to a dumbass. I love deeply and I crave a happy ending. I love to satisfy emotional and physically. I am hurt very easily when my affections aren’t returned. Sometimes all you want is to be held, hugged, touched, and cuddled. It makes me so happy that I have someone who loves me, holds me, satisfies me, touches me, and holds me and I know they aren’t that narcissistic person or playing me a fool. They know all my demons and still love me.
I HOPE and pray sometimes I relay the true depection of the emotions of my mental health in words that help someone. The comments and messages I receive give me great hope you hear and share my musings.
I hope you love me because I’m writing a tragedy, but you know it ends a love story. It’s that crazy Nicolas Sparks novel! No one dies or gets sick, those books and movies are just full of heartbreak. I’m surrounded with heartbreak everyday right here on wordpress. Except I can interact with the characters, the real people and real stories. Unless your one of my fictional writers or poets. Then I’m probably just obsessed with your way with words. I love the poets!
I think eventually in a lifetime you get it right and your soul can rest.My soul needs to rest and this is my nutty story…….I love your blog!