My blog is about the scenic, stressful, spectacular life (and everything screwy in between) of a
California girl turned expat transplanted to the land down under: North Queensland, Australia.

September 28, 2010

Day 1.

Hey, like the new look of my page? It took me for-freaking-ever to tinker around with it, but I’m pleased. The background is a picture I took in August 2008 when we were staying at Jupiter’s Casino. The sky was so pretty. And I added my tattoo/Paul Frank charm bracelet to the picture because, well, just because I guess.

So yesterday you may remember I posted that I was going to take the challenge posted by Molly over at Life of Cynicism called “30 Days of Truth” (and one of the blogs I follow and love about a British Expat in Melbourne with impeccable taste, Fully Fashioned, is joining in, so go read her truths after reading mine!). Well today it starts. The first question is

Day 1: Something you hate about yourself.

I had this inkling to first babble on and on about my stomach, but something I like to keep hidden in the dark keeps jumping out at random and reminding me what my biggest flaw is. I happen to suffer from Bipolar disorder. According to Wikipedia, Bipolar is defined as “a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes. The elevated moods are clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes, or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These episodes are usually separated by periods of "normal" mood; but, in some individuals, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, which is known as rapid cycling.”

Now, if you know me, you would see that I am generally never full of energy, never miss an opportunity for sleep, and rarely go off kilter. It’s because I happen to fall into the “Bipolar II” category, which means “at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode; with this disorder, depressive episodes are more frequent and more intense than manic episodes. It is believed to be under-diagnosed because hypomanic behavior often presents as incredibly high-functioning behavior. Indeed, to a physician or psychologist specializing in mood disorders, highly confident ambition might appear to be symptomatic of hypomania if that individual's goals are viewed as unrealistic.”

What this basically means is my “highs” are categorized by, oh, plans to go on a diet where I keep a journal and write down the calories, fat, and serving size of every morsel that goes in my mouth; going through every photo on my computer and naming it, creating sub-folders for different things and re-editing them one by one; starting college while working 10-hour days and telling myself I’ll sleep when I’m dead. My “highs” tend to last around a month and cycle to devastatingly low “lows” where I quit school, my job, my diet, essentially my life and stop getting out of bed.

I was diagnosed at 15. Around that time I just fell apart at the smallest things. I actually remember crying over spilled milk. Back then I thought it was my teenage angst; that no one understood me and that if someone broke up with me my life would be over. Looking back, I see how my destructive, angry tendencies were depression I didn’t know how to deal with. I want to punch people like Tom Cruise who say that “there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the body”. Telling that to a person like me is like telling a Jew that the Holocaust was made up. It just blows your mind that people can be so ignorant.

I wouldn’t wish mental disorders on my worst enemy. It makes you become your worst enemy. Things that seem right an hour ago become wrong. Happy days turn into days you wish never existed for the slightest reasons. I have an extremely hard time regulating my emotions. Thankfully I am aware of this and have an inherent fear of hurting someone’s feelings or people not liking me so I usually tend to be excessively nice or friendly while wanting to strangle you on the inside (ask my old restaurant employees: I would smile and apologize profusely to a customer, then go in the kitchen and yell, “I’MA CUT THAT MOTHER F*CKER AT TABLE 51!!!”).

As for treatment, cycles of depression and mania usually follow suit with how I function. If I feel fine for an extended period of time, I tell myself I don’t need medicine or therapy and may function fine for years. Other times I try 20mg of this, 100mg of that and see if I bleed out my ears or tremble profusely due to side effects. All of my life has been a cycle. I have started and stopped so many jobs I don’t even know what I want to do for a living anymore. It’s a constant battle.

So to all of my fellow bloggers or readers contemplating this question for themselves, remember that the extra skin around your knees or a vestigial tail is nothing. I urge you to really take a look at yourself and be thankful that you have a healthy, functioning brain. I know that may sound silly, but the brain is responsible for every single thing we do. It’s who we are. Imagine the feeling if you changed every single day, or hour sometimes. How would you regulate? I struggle with this every day of my life. I write to feel better. To feel useful. Sometimes I can’t get out of bed in the morning, and I don’t seem to possess the “get up and go” guy that most people have on their shoulder that propel them even in times of stress or hardship.

I’m not grumpyface all of the time. I have a great, loving family on both sides of the world. I have friends who live fulfilled, happy lives. I have a perfect (to me) husband that…honestly, I don’t know where I would be without him. Truth is hard to look at sometimes, especially when you strive to live a “normal” life so people may envy or praise you. We’re all human. This is me.

3 comments:

  1. Hello. I too am taking this challenge from Molly's blog. Thought I'd like to see who else is taking it and get to know somethings about a total stranger. My hope is not to be strangers after all. Your blog is truthful and I commend you for it. I have a 29 year old son who is so miserable with himself and everything in his life and sees no fault of his thru his eyes. I have always thought he was bi-polar but I'm not a doctor and he won't go to one. After reading this I'm convinced I'm right. I even wrote a post about him called How Do I Deal With a 29 Year Old Baby? I'd love for you to read it and comment if you could. Either way I am glad to meet you through this challenge. Each day will be interesting.

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  2. Thanks for sharing and following me!

    I would love to go to Australia to visit, its on my top ten place to travel next! (not insinuating that I visit you particularly, don't worry not stalking ;P)

    You now have a new follower!

    CBG
    canadianbloggergirl.blogspot.com

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  3. I feel mental illness is perhaps the most misunderstood illness of all. No one can relate to the isolation one can feel as a mental illness sufferer, not even a loved one, it is hard to put into words, but you have done well, I praise you for your writing!

    I would also like to punch Tom Cruise in the face...;)

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