Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Between the storms

One analogy I would like to connect with bipolar 2 is to weather a storm. With hypomania, it's a storm of thoughts and ideas and grand schemes. In the depressive phases, it's just dark and gloomy. But, as in this photo, there are breaks in the storm. There's moments in between the hypomania and the depression that allow clear, rational thinking, make day to day functioning fairly straightforward, and make life seem practically normal. I loved these moments. These were the moments when I could feel emotions that coincide with the dynamic environments of life as opposed to an all encompassing mood that casts a shadow over everything.

Once treated, life can be like one big "between the storm" with no new storm on the horizon. It can be done, and it's a massive relief. The knowledge that the next big storm was around the corner always cast a massive shadow over just about anything, and lifting that shadow is absolutely liberating.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Fog

Often, I've found myself almost devoid of emotion. It's almost as though a fog has rolled in. Like the photo, there are feelings, but like the trees, they're muted to varying degrees. This doesn't seem so bad on its face, as it does soften the sting of more difficult moments, but where this goes wrong is in muting what should be happier times. Times that should be filled with happiness just... aren't. Fake smiles abound to create the impression nothing is wrong (which I didn't even know something was). Social awkwardness takes over. This was particularly difficult in my teen years, when things like popularity and image were important. It's also a royal pain in things like job interviews, when saying the right thing is a pretty big deal in making the right first impression.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just around the corner

Bipolar disorder is a journey. It's a journey through ups, through downs, through long straight paths, and through switchbacks. Something different is often just around the corner. That may be hypomania, that may be crippling depression, or that may be a numbness and inability to feel. But keep in mind, that may also be hope. Keep on down the path-you may find the stability I have. You may not be able to see what's coming around the corner, but don't give up. It may be the answer you've been looking for. I turned the corner, and I can say thanks to my medications, I'm free.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Something in the way

There's something that isn't seen in this photo. Behind all that greenery is fantastic view of the Fox River. A lot of people with bipolar disorder have a problem seeing and achieving their goals due to the lack of focus or motivation. Just imagine sitting on that bench, seeing reality in front of you, knowing that behind it there's something much more majestic that you can't see, can't experience. For me, that was stability. I long theorized that something was wrong, and that there was a way to treat it, but I had no idea how to begin, how to get through that brush to see the river.


A car is made of pretty strong materials. Plastics are resilient, steel is quite rigid, aluminum is strong and light, but even the strongest things can be damaged fairly easily. This car has crumple zones, and probably didn't sustain THAT hard of an impact-most likely less than 40 mph. The point of this is that during the depressive phases, sometimes the smallest words and seemingly insignificant things can cause massive damage. Imagine, for a moment, that this car sustained this damage at 5 mph. That's the kind of fragility I've experienced during depressive phases-things seem OK, but someone says the wrong thing, I become obsessed with it, and the damage is done.

A million thoughts

This particular photo is quite busy. There's no particular focus, there's too many shadows, the trees are cut off, and all the trees distract from each other-it all makes for a particularly awful photo. That's the point. This is basically my mind during a hypomanic episode. I can't focus on a single thing to completion. Thousands of different thoughts race through my mind, all simultaneously. The trees are similar to the grand ideas I get-things like building a Formula One go kart or starting a variety of businesses-but never complete. Basically, it's like living a stream of consciousness without being able to control where it goes.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm Free

For my first blog post, I'm going to tackle the hardest of all. This scene is a recreation of what is most likely the darkest moment in my life. I had been incredibly depressed, and the pressures of an awkward social life and failing academics had become too much. I decided it was time.

I attempted to overdose on some pills I had found around the house. I remember the words I thought as I got ready to close my eyes for what I thought would be the last time-I'm free. Whatever it was that was consuming me had won. I gave up and gave in.

Thankfully, I woke up the next morning, but had to put on a happy face and pretend it never happened. It took me well over a decade to let anyone know this ever happened. I still have a hard time talking about it, and likely will for the rest of my life. This was only the first of many attempts to come-all, thankfully, quite unsuccessful.

The words "I'm free" have stuck with me ever since this particular attempt. Recently, however, they have taken on a new meaning through therapy and treatment, and mean that something great is sure to be on the horizon.