I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I haven’t written anything new in weeks. I’ve been busy with life. Mateo’s sleep training went completely out the window, so I’m exhausted. I found out that Nori has SPD and have been dealing with my emotions around that. Mid month we took a trip to Maui and on the days in between I’ve been spending time with my husband who’s had the whole month of October at home. I’d be lying, though, if I said that any of these things were the reason for my silence. One morning I just woke up feeling totally uninspired and that was that – it’s like a flip was switched and I can’t seem to figure out how to turn it back on. You’d think that I’d feel out of sorts – wondering what might have turned my creativity off, but this isn’t anything new for me at all – in fact, this has been a steady pattern for me ever since I was a teenager, but became especially apparent once I started college.
I never graduated.
I couldn’t stay on track for more than a few semesters at a time. I would be loving my classes and then suddenly, I couldn’t bare to go anymore. I would question who I was and what I wanted. I’d start to fuck off – I’d start to party, until eventually, a new switch would turn on and I’d figure it out! I’d pick out a new major – a new life. This continued on for years – 8 years, to be exact. I went to 5 different schools, had 7 different majors and have nothing to show for it.
Since giving up on finishing school, I have had several different jobs. I even started a few businesses, only to abandon them part way through. I’ve taken on new hobbies, several spiritual practices, exercise routines and meal plans and with each and every one of these new paths that I’d take, the same. damn. thing. happened.
When I was first telling my friends about how I wanted to start writing more, a close friend of mine said to me, I don’t mean to be rude, but do you think you’ll stick with this? You’re always starting new things and then changing your mind.
Even though this trend was terribly apparent to me, I didn’t realize that it was something my friends picked up on too. I know that my friend wasn’t trying to bring me down, but I felt attacked! I felt embarrassed.
Why did I think that this time would be any different?
For me, this is what living with bipolar 2 looks like and it fucking sucks.
I feel lucky, though, because my illness used to be a lot worse. Aside from not having much direction, I was totally unstable! I had extreme anger, practiced self harm, abused drugs, was impulsive, self indulgent, unpredictable.
Once I stopped drinking alcohol and using drugs, my moods seemed to balance out, but not completely, that is, until I was pregnant with Nori. Maybe it was the hormones or maybe it was the excitement, but for some reason, I felt amazingly together during that time. Life was easy. I had found a direction that I couldn’t give up on – motherhood. My positive outlook lasted all the way through most of our breastfeeding journey, but once she started to eat solids, things started to change. I’d become restless – not with motherhood, but with everything else. I felt trapped. I felt lost. Sure, I could take care of my family, but I struggled to take care of myself and eventually, my moods started to shift and I was back to my old self.
I never knew how I would wake up in the morning. Would I be super charged and happy or would I be so depressed that I’d lay around all day? Would I feel deeply in love and in harmony with my husband or would his entire existence make me cringe? Would I have it in me to be the best mom that I could be for Nori or would I be so caught up in my own thoughts and anxieties that I was hardly present for her at all?
It was exhausting. Both for me and for my family. Probably for my friends too.
After a few intense months, I decided to get help and I am so thankful that I did. My doctor put me on a medication called, Lamictal and without a doubt, it has changed my life. After about a month of being on the medication, Benny came to me, crying. He told me how grateful he was that I went to get help. You see, he was pretty against me wanting medication. That sort of thing wasn’t something that he was raised to understand. I had to go completely against his wishes to see a doctor, so to hear him say that he was grateful was extremely powerful.
On this medication, I still feel like me, but I’m no longer so extreme. I don’t act on impulse. I feel content – I go with the flow. Sure, I get angry and upset sometimes, but everyone does and it would be super weird if I didn’t.
Over all, life has been really good!
It’s just this one thing that hasn’t resolved.
And this one thing brings me so much unhappiness, embarrassment and shame. I want nothing more than to be able to figure out who I am and who I want to be for more than a few months at a time.
I’ve never spoken openly about my struggles with mental illness. It’s been a secret that only the people closest to me know about. Even with all of the talk on social media about mental health awareness, I haven’t had the courage to speak out – even when I deeply relate to what people are sharing. I feel afraid of being judged. I feel afraid to admit that I struggle too. I am realizing now that sharing isn’t admitting that you’re less than – it is admitting that you can overcome.
And I have faith that I will.