Look. I made it back to my blog. Well, you know, 2020, amirite? Let’s look at what’s been on my mind.
👩🏻💻 February 10th
The reason why, or if you want to know, or if you’re curious about how it feels to be stabilized on medication for bipolar disorder, and after finally having worked with a very empathetic and compatible therapist, the closest I’ve ever synced with, I haven’t needed to see her (even though she’ll always be there), and I have been on the same cocktail of medication for some time.
So, basically it’s like always having your rational self around, urging you to pause before acting on impulse, or even to react necessarily; it is basically the one that tells you to look on the bright side, or I don’t have to think about mom right now; you know, if I know I will get upset. I don’t have to go there, just like the whole saying, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. And we have always argued, my mom and I.
The less suffering, the less creativity or inspiration or needing to express? The less suffering, the less art? The less suffering, the less blogging instead of reflecting at the end of the day, which I still do. I have some time to reflect and each moment I deliberately reflect, the essence of mindfulness. I really am trying to pay conscious attention, even if it might not come off that way. Excuse the mouth at the bottom of my face.
Now, thanks to daily medicinal marijuana 🌿 use, I haven’t had this much patience before my usual limit of annoyance, when lately waiting comes at like the half an hour to 45 minute point. Though, I’ve also found sometimes that right around the time I lose my patience and start to sigh, it turns out to be the time they’re ready for me. 🤷🏻♀️
Being stabilized is like having your sister with whom you’re close with in the passenger seat, and if in the past you came across something like a road closed or a detour, instead of automatically reacting with frustration, your sister would say, Oh they’ve actually had a problem with this intersection anyway. And if I’m in a good mood, this usually happens rapidly, consecutively; an exchange between me and my imaginary sister or best friend.
When I was not fully stabilized and I would have a hypomanic episode, even if I stayed out of trouble, my ideas were still perhaps unfortunately incongruent with the status quo; those who practice tarot and astrology in the new age community, I now “get” that the way it is is, if you believe it then it is real. If you don’t, then it isn’t for you. It won’t be the truth, for you.
We really are multifaceted, fragmented human beings who have to integrate, as Carl Jung thought. In essence, you have multiple personalities depending perhaps on your age or experience, the inevitable trauma of inhabiting the same planet.
Once you’ve integrated those fragments of yourself, through much introspection or through therapy, you abandon defense mechanisms like, say, codependency. Really, it’s not that you’re not that person anymore if you have managed to bring your life back into order and make it manageable; it’s just you’ve replaced an abusive companion with an unconditionally loving one. The companion inside you.
The reason I was so hypervigilant, defensive, overreactive, triggered, is because physiologically, your body with unmedicated bipolar disorder, the instability and constant vigilance, can usually be attributed to complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Unwarranted triggers, the body keeps the score.
I surmise that how I feel presently in my life, it’s certainly not that the disorder was only real while I was sick and physically experiencing the PTSD. I think it’s just that with my brain functioning right, finally, after so many years, the reason is because the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that doesn’t develop fully until you’re 25, or a human is 25, has come back online through stabilizing medication.
If you experienced regular abuse of any kind at a tender young age, while your brain is still fragile and developing, it helps explain why some kids end up antisocial (any fellow true crime lovers?); the last, the youngest evolved region of our brain is the prefrontal cortex, and that is clinically what they refer to as the executive part of your brain; the rational one, contemplative, thoughtful, conscientious, realistic, compromising.
If the PFC is online–which it is not in a manic or depressive episode–the seat of empathy, which commonly goes hand in hand with those who have experienced prolonged suffering themselves, is much, much more accessible.
Lord, shall I never lose access to the medicine I NEED to want to live. Bipolar disorder can and does take lives. And we bipolars contribute wonderful poignance and insight to the world. We’re really remarkable and often very intelligent, with perhaps the most gray, the most balanced perception of how the world works, how humans are. We just can’t be actively sick and suffering, or life will regress to black and white. We’ll need help along the way.
Studies suggest that the great majority of suicide cases occur among subjects with major mental illness, mainly mood disorders, with the risk of suicide death being 10-30 times higher in patients with bipolar disorder than in the general population. Specifically, it is estimated that 20-60% of patients with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime.https://med.uth.edu/psychiatry/2020/07/16/suicide-in-bipolar-disorder/
My only genuine attempt to leave my life happened 20 years ago, almost to the day. I’m not forgetting the night I was 13 on February 23rd, 2001. I’m not forgetting the numbness, the cavalier attitude to whether I’d go or stay. Obviously not the charcoal. Whether I’d try to die again or, or whether I’d just become an alcoholic by age 21.
👩🏻💻 Later on that day
I may have flirted with the guy at the auto parts store who installed my car battery for me. He’s raised dogs, too. 😛 Although I’m not confident it came off as flirting if I’m not as explicitly flirtatious and disinhibited as I used to be in active alcoholism.
On to my OCD, which hasn’t not had an impression on some professionals I’ve seen over the years. OCD is good for my short-term memory, have to say. Maybe to offset the long-term effects of marijuana use?
Perhaps attributed to the (suspected) OCD, I still have pretty moderate misophonia. It is real, look it up. My misophonia was off the charts while I was confined in treatment the entirety of December 2018, which is when I got sober for the last time, and have since had my longest stretch of sobriety. It’s not not a big deal. 😌
Deep in the middle of some serious suffering while I was regularly attending AA, I had seemed to conclude that I would be in, or need, AA for the rest of my life, not that there is anything wrong with that at all. I know it’s there if I need it, anywhere practically.
One day when I was still going to the rooms, I casually ordered a double shot espresso right before the meeting. Remember, my body was always on alert anyway; I used to or I am still pretty sensitive to loud honks directed toward me, or at least they startle me like they would anybody else. Before, when I would be startled by something or someone innocuous, I would reflexively scream bloody murder for a second. Lol.
I do compulsively lock doors and things but that’s been a lifelong habit of mine, having had a dad retired from law enforcement. I had a mostly realistic, disillusioning idea of society, I’m assuming earlier than my common peer, who would tattle on me if I was inquisitive about anything remotely “adult.” Also the referrals, which my mom seemed comfortable openingly shaming me for. Among other things. Assumedly, the typical American attitude toward sex? It’s just a question, damn. I was that why kid.
👩🏻💻 February 12th
Am I on edge today? I’ve been having to mute CNN half the time these past couple days. Impeachment proceedings, Donald Trump’s unprecedented second. I hadn’t smoked very much of my bowl before I got Hershey over to the dog park before sunset.
The bugs are out now, they always arrive around 5:30 PM, three whole hours earlier than summer. I resent that, as the sun is a part of my medication, my well-being. Thus, Summer has replaced Fall as my favorite season. I am an actively beach-going native Floridian again. Losing 45 lbs off my previously solid sedentary body, I have my own dog now (!!!) who gets me outside, and moving around is no longer such a struggle, such a burden.
I work out my body using my taught-since-a-baby swimming skills. I move and I swim and I swim and then I float on my back, as the majestic body of saltwater guides me back to the shore. Freshly hydrated, I reapply my favorite suntan lotion and lay my cooled off warm body and seasalted hair under the sustenance of the ultraviolet rays.
A lady I’m friendly with at our dog park, whom I’ve never not felt good around, seemed to trigger me (or I was just triggered on my own) as soon as I dumbly brought up Trump and his defense lawyers, coverage I’d happily abandoned for the park.
She asks me how I feel about Trump; I must’ve tensed up under the radar. Minutes removed from, “I think Biden’s an asshole,” she says casually, I’d hanged my arms around my head, deliberately redirecting our attention to the dogs. No he’s not?! I hadn’t reacted much to her light contempt for masks before; I just do me, you know? I don’t know.
I scanned the perimeter of the dog park for Hershey’s regular dump of dumps. She obviously doesn’t feel the affinity I do with Joe Biden, and that’s really okay. So what, right? Why do we have to be so emotionally defensive regarding our Commander in Chief? I don’t know if it’s like that for me with him; I just feel a shared comprehension of the world. I know loss.
Maybe it’s Hannah. I’ve intermittently been thinking of Hannah, a lady maybe 25 years my senior. I could never discern exactly as she was simply a beautiful, though aged, woman. Aged by addiction.
She died recently. Kara, my other sober sister from AA, told me it was alcohol. It hit home. It hits home when I watch an alcoholic on A&E’s Intervention. I hate this. I hate that two of my selective favorite members of the program that helped save my life are just gone. All I have are our conversations. And if you decide so, you never forget them, at least not how you felt. You felt home. 🪑🪑🪑