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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Distracted


Initially, I was diagnosed with ADHD, and a lot of people with it will relate to this post. When I look at this photo, I see the beautiful flower, but I can't help but be distracted by the streaking caused by a bad seal in the camera's film magazine. No matter how much I want to concentrate on the flower, it's incredibly difficult not to be distracted by that bright white streak. This effect is quite similar to everyday life during hypomanic episodes. No matter how much I want to concentrate on something, just about everything else acts like those streaks. This is what caused a lot of my issues with school work/homework. It's not like I wasn't trying to sit and concentrate-believe me, I was-but as with the streaks, everything else was just overwhelming. I remember that music helped extend my attention span, but even that didn't entirely work.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Grinding gears


The brain is a very complex and fragile instrument, much like this watch. There's lots of gears and springs and little parts, and if something is slightly out of adjustment, the whole thing can come to a grinding halt. Consider bipolar disorder like grains of sand in there. Sometimes, they're contained and not doing any damage; they just kind of sit there. Other times, the grains get kicked up and lodge in the gears and bring everything to a stop. This has been the case with a lot of my hobbies and interests over the years. I used to be a trumpet player, and a fairly good one at that. During a depressive phase, I gave up on it. The same goes for drag racing, building model kits, rocketry, playing guitar, and even photography, though I've come back to that. What happens is that I get into something wholeheartedly during a hypomanic phase (one of the symptoms of hypomania is grand ideas and starting major projects), then a few phases later, a major depressive phase hits, and I lose interest in what it was I was doing. That major depressive phase is the sand in the gears. It could stop me despite how determined I was to succeed at something.

On the flip side, the hypomanic phase can also put a wrench in things. The grand idea aspect got me chasing too many new projects to finish any of them. A good example would be with painting projects around the house. The trim in my dining room still needs to be finished. I have to paint the plaster above the stove. But the dining room is painted and the hole in the wall is patched. These were projects abandoned before I could complete them to work on the multitude of other projects and ideas I came up with, all of which are in the same state.

Stuck in the past



While the blocks belong to my son, the toys are all things from my childhood. That was one of my favorite toy planes. The yoyo (in the background) was an obsession in middle school. The nightlight is from the 1980s. I'm not sure if this is a part of bipolar disorder or not, but I've had an incredibly hard time letting go of things from my childhood. It's not like most people, who hang on to a couple things-it's bad. I've hung on to absolutely everything I have from my childhood, even if it's falling apart or tattered. It's not like I'm a hoarder, but I can't get rid of any of it. I've found that since starting medications, letting go has become a lot easier, so this may actually be attributable to bipolar disorder.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Reaching Out


One of the things that was hardest for me was reaching out for help. It took me over a decade to admit to anyone that I had attempted suicide. After I finally came to grips with my history with suicide, I realized it was time to reach out for help. The anthers of this flower took time to reach out from inside the petals, just like I took time to reach out for help. It was a difficult process, and wasn't easy for me to admit "oh, hey, maybe there's something wrong," but now having done it, life is finally on the up.

Making the admission that there is something wrong is one of the most difficult things a person can do, and while I believe in the help I've received, I don't think anyone can force someone to accept a diagnosis or help in general before they are ready. If you're reading this, have a diagnosis, and are having a problem accepting it, don't feel alone. There's many, many others out there like you, and lots of people understand exactly what you're dealing with.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Randomness


Randomness has always been a huge part of my life. I feel like this may be attributed to hypomania, if anything. I've always been incredibly random. For example, I could be talking about catalytic converters, and suddenly I need to talk about sofa cushions. And then to poodles. And then to the guitar that guy on TV has. Then we're off to how the color silver looks quite classy on an E46 BMW but falls flat on a Jaguar.

It has its pros and cons, of course. Pros would include being quite easily entertained and being able to converse about nearly anything. The biggest con would probably be staying on topic when necessary. Other people also think that I never shut up, which, admittedly, I don't. My randomness fills any gaps in conversations. Quiet is something that's hard to find with me, but then again, it just reflects what happens in my mind.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Man Behind the Mask





One of the less desirable aspects of bipolar disorder is this sense of not knowing oneself. Due to the nature of the ups and downs, iterations of myself are plentiful. It can come across as disingenuous to others, and is quite frustrating being able to see that and not having control over it. The hardest part of all of this is knowing that I don't quite know who I am. I don't know what my dreams are, I don't understand my goals, I can't get a grasp on what it is I am because all of that is constantly changing. It's particularly difficult to find a direction, since I may choose something, but after years of hard work to get there, I'm a completely different person with completely different interests.

As of this moment, the medication is helping massively with the lows. The depressive symptoms are gone, destined to become a memory, which is a great start. Unfortunately, the hypomania is still quite present. It will take some time for me to be truly stable, and who I really am is still yet to be discovered. Hopefully it will happen soon, and this is a good start, but there's a ways to go.