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Thursday, December 20, 2012

lonely

having pills in the house is akin to keeping a loaded gun around.

i can only beg for help so many times.

i can only hurt this much for so long.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where does it start and where do I begin???

Where is the line between illness and individual?

Where does Bipolar start and where do I begin?

Where is the line that determines where symptoms stop and the real me begins?

I am responsible for every single thing I do. I do not dispute this, never have. But do I deserve to be punished for behaviours and actions that are a direct result of symptoms of my disorder over which I truly, at times, have no control?

Where does the blame start? And where does it end?

Where does compassion and empathy belong, and when is harsh cold blame the only option?

I never meant to hurt anyone. Never wanted to hurt anyone. Not one single person, ever, in my entire life.

But my disease has hurt them. My crazy actions spurred on by my disease have hurt them. My desperate attempts to just make the pain stop because the Bipolar will just not let go have hurt them.

Where do I stop and it begins?

As of right now, I really don't know....

I don't ever wanna let anyone down...

Today has been a really hard day.

No particular reason. Woke up, and within seconds could just tell that it was going to be a struggle just to make it through. One of those dark cloud, black hole, cannot find the light no matter how hard you look kind of days. The kind where it feels like apathy swallowed your heart and you couldn't bring yourself to care if your life depended on it. The kind filled with the confusion of somehow being numb and in pain all at the same time.

Ya, one of those days.

It started with me in tears on the kitchen floor because the jam I tried to make for my sister didn't turn out. This tiny mistake brought on a wash of failure shame that I am still struggling to make it out of 10 hours later.

I don't want to let anyone down.

I can't let anyone know how poorly I'm doing, I don't want to let them down.

A very wise online sister, and an incredibly smart close friend have repeatedly told me that I am too hard on myself. I guess I am. I don't know how to be anything else.

I feel like I am letting down my daughters by not being the healthy vibrant mother they deserve. I feel like I am letting down my parents for not succeeding and thriving as an adult after all the promise I showed as a child. I feel like I'm letting my sister down because I have not been able to reach out in kindness to her since a ridiculous meaningless fight almost 3 years ago. I feel like I am letting society down by being a drain instead of an asset. I feel like I have let down countless friends, family members, and partners in the last 20 years just by being unable to be consistent, reliable, and supportive. And I feel like I am letting myself down. By still being sick. Still being weak and unable to fight. Still being stuck, and lost, and hopeless. By not doing more, not being more.

The truth is I let myself down every day. It's rather easy, because if I am honest I don't feel that I deserve any better. It's hard to fight for someone that you don't feel is worthy of fighting for. It's hard to get better when deep down you're pretty sure pain is all you deserve.

I don't like myself. I don't. I haven't in a really, really long time.

So I overcompensate. I try to be pretty so that people won't catch on that I'm sick. I try to be thin, because how can you be sad when you're skinny? I spoil my daughters to alleviate some of the guilt of being a sick, semi-absent mother. I buy really nice gifts for my family, because in my deluded mind this will make them believe that I am doing well so that they never catch on to how badly I am struggling.

I don't want to let them down.

I don't want to spend 2 weeks in Saskatchewan at my parents' house over Christmas. It is hard on me mentally, emotionally, and physically. My daughters want that, my parents want that, so I do it anyway.

I don't want to let them down.

Mine has become a life of smoke and mirrors. If I distract everyone with a pretty shiny outside, and throw on a fake smile no one will ever realize how broken and pathetic I am.

It hurts. It hurts all the time.

But I don't want to let them down.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I really have nothing to say

Sitting.

Staring.

Eyes glazed over.

Mind blank.

The desire is there, but the words just won't come.


The anger comes easily.

Pain floods uncontrollably.

Explosions of violence, self-hatred, self-harm.

Anything just to get it out.

Anything just to make it stop.


Pain and hurt are easy, truth is hard.

So the words stay stuck.

Trapped inside.

Boiling.

Tormenting.

Too fast, too erratic to catch.


The desire is there, but the words just won't come.

Sitting.

Staring.

Eyes glazed over.

Mind blank.


Soul in agony.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

To Whom it May Concern:

I'm not worth saving.

Apparently I'm not worth anything.

And I deserve nothing. Except pain.

Message received.

Loud and clear.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

As if the Bipolar wasn't enough, I have to deal with Ignorance too??

I tried...

Just because someone's pain isn't visible doesn't mean it's not real.

Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it's not valid.

Just because you can't empathize doesn't make killing them ok.


If I had cancer people would care. Automatic empathy and compassion, no questions asked.

Why, just because it involves my brain am I constantly blamed, shamed, mocked, judged, and attacked. I didn't think I deserved it. I really tried not to believe that I did. But i must, because it never stops. It never ever stops.


I gave it all I had, I really did. I tried. I tried and tried and tried. But I am too tired. I am too damn tired and it hurts too much.

I have nothing left. I really truly have nothing left. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I was supposed to be so much more than this.

I was supposed to be so much more than this......

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Apathy of Depression

I spend a lot of my in a low or depressed mood state.

People with Bipolar 2 experience significantly longer periods of depression than those suffering with Bipolar 1, as well as more severe all-encompassing depression. Bipolar 2 sufferers spend more than 50% of their life in a depressed or "low" mood state so not only are they low more than they are hypomanic, they are depressed more than they are neutral or "normal".

In some people this can be greatly improved by treatment and medication. In others, like myself, the depression is "treatment resistant" and the medications that help so many other Bipolar 1 and 2 sufferers do nothing to ease the pain. Add in some rapid cycling (moving very quickly between states of hypomania and depression) and the horror of mixed states (an indescribable state of depression and hypomania existing concurrently, often accompanied by extreme anxiety, anger, and instability) and you have a recipe for disaster.

Rapid cycling is exhausting. Mixed states are confusing, terrifying, and destructive, as well as exhausting. And depression that hangs on and just won't let go will make you wish you were never born, no matter how hard you try to fight.


That is where I sit right now. In a depressed state that just won't let go. I have been fighting it for months and I just don't seem to be able to crawl out of the hole. I have peeked my head out for a few days at a time here and there only to get dragged back down and beaten senseless by the sadness and hopelessness. I am exhausted beyond any typical definition of the word. I have been fighting negative, destructive, critical emotions for months now and have come to a place where I just have nothing left.

I am not a danger to myself, I haven't given up in that way. I have reached a far more painful state where I'm alive, but I have given up on myself and the hope of ever being any different, or any better. Long-term depression eventually settles in and creates a feeling of complete apathy that is so consuming  it is nearly impossible to even move. I've had days in the past week where, while confined to my bed, it took everything I had just to be able to lift my head. Even when I am able to get up and move around it doesn't do much good as I have lost interest in everything. I have lost interest, lost focus, and nearly lost all hope.

The only bright spot in my life is my daughters. I talk to them daily and I am almost certain that is the only reason I am not yet catatonic and hospitalized.


All the things I normally enjoy have become dull. All the tools I used to use to boost my mood hold zero joy so I am physically and mentally unable to even think of forcing my sad ass to get up and do them.

I feel defeated. I feel deflated. I feel empty and hollow.

I feel sadness. I feel despair. I feel pain and exhaustion that is absolutely indescribable.

And yet at the same time I am numb. I feel hurt, but somehow I don't feel anything at all. It's like I'm not even really here. Like I'm floating around in a nightmare, experiencing hell but not really registering or appreciating fully what is going on.


Forget goals at this point. Forget dreams and success and decisions and direction. I don't even know who or what I am anymore. It is as if the disease has taken over and I am merely a shell for it to walk around, and cause damage in.

I am a walking conundrum of numb pain.


I have given up, lost hope, and to be honest I really don't care. Not about myself at least. I have become a prisoner to this depression. A prisoner serving a life sentence, with no possibility of parole, who has run out of appeals. At this point in time death row would be a less painful place to be. Except for the guilt. The guilt of knowing that I cannot do that to my daughters. I cannot hurt them like that, and risk them suffering because of my illness.

So here I sit. Unable to move, barely able to breathe. Trying just to hold on until the next time I can see them, the next time I can text them or talk to them. Spoiling them with gifts and promises due to the guilt I feel for not being the mother they deserve.

But there is nothing left of me. Any thing I was or ever wanted to be is lost or hiding, and I don't know where to even begin to look. And even if I did know, I'm too damn tired to look. And it is getting to the point where I really just don't care. I honestly just don't care anymore.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Can I even believe anything I tell myself anymore?

Have you ever broken a promise to someone you care about?

It feels terrible. We feel guilt, disappointment, and if you're like me vow to make it up to them however we can.

Why is it not the same when we break a promise to ourselves?

I remember a time, a younger happier time, when anything I decided to do or told myself I was going to do got done. It wasn't an issue. There was no question. If I wanted it I went out and got it. If I told myself I was going to do something it darn well got done. I made decisions, albeit it easier ones than those I face now, with confidence and ease. And once a decision was made, that was it. There was no second guessing, no doubt, no decision paralysis, no problem. Decision made, action taken. Every time.

I don't remember the first time I broke a promise to myself. I wish I did. I wish I could remember if it was hard. If I felt the same guilt, disappointment, and need for redemption that I have felt the times I broke promises to other people. I wish I could remember the second, third, and fourth time as well. I wish I could remember so that I could see just how quickly any negative feelings disappeared. So that I could see just how quickly I went from dependable and constantly following through, to not believing a damn word I say to myself and breaking every promise I ever make to myself.

The loss of trust in myself is bad enough. If it ended there that would, on it's own, be sad, damaging, and darn near incapacitating. Unfortunately, as with most things, it doesn't just end there. When it becomes easy to tell yourself you're going to do something and then just not do it, it also becomes much easier to give in to the evil voice in your head that is Bipolar. It becomes easier to binge eat to stuff down your real feelings, to stop seeing friends so they don't see your decline, to stop cleaning your house because what does it matter, to stop getting out of bed, to stop self-care, to stop exercising, to stop going to work, to just give up. After spending any significant amount of time telling yourself you're going to try and then just not doing it, any conscientious effort to begin trying again is infinitely more difficult.


"I'm going to stop bingeing on junk food, eat healthy regular meals, and start being active again" gets met with "shut up fatty you're too lazy and sugar is delicious, you'll eventually cave and eat a cookie so just eat an entire box right now instead of going for a run".

"I'm going to clean my apartment this week, organize things, and keep it that way" gets laughed at while your front room begins to look like an episode of Hoarders.

"This time I'm not going to get scared and drop out of class, this time I will graduate" may last for a month or two, but is soon replaced by "you're dumb, everyone is laughing at you, even if you do graduate you'll still be sick stupid and useless so just quit now".

"I am going back to work. I am going to be strong, beat this, and take care of myself again" very quickly becomes "don't even try. People will just laugh at you, you're qualified for nothing, you're just gonna screw it up again so why go through the anguish?"


Once you make it nearly impossible to trust anything created in your inner monologue the acts of dreaming and goal setting become non-existent. Early on in the promise breaking you still attempt to have dreams and still attempt to set goals, but once you abandon enough of them you begin to abandon the concepts all together. You don't bother dreaming, what's the point? You stop setting goals, or even being able to think of goals you might want to set.

You then stop making decisions. Without dreams and goals there is no direction, and without direction how do you know what path to take? Without confidence in yourself and your abilities the ability to make even the most simple decisions disappears. Decision paralysis sets in so deeply that your life quite literally stops. You are alive, but there is no action, there is no growth, there is no healing, there is no anything. Years, in fact a decade, can go by and you have no idea where it went or what you actually did for ten years. Suddenly you are ten years older, your kids have grown into teenagers, and it feels like you missed it. There are snapshot memories here and there, but there is no real involvement or appreciation. All of the sudden you are a 25 year old in a 35 year old's body. Everyone around you has grown, changed, accomplished things, but you are no better off and no different than you were in 2002.

That is a very frightening and regretful place to be.

Fear and regrets accomplish absolutely nothing, but when a decade of your life has disappeared before your eyes while stuck in a state of complete inaction it is damn hard not to let them creep in.

The only answer is to jump back into life with two feet. Start with small goals, accomplish them, rebuild your faith in yourself, learn to trust yourself, and learn to feel worthy again. Simple right? Ya, sure. Ask me in another ten years.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's not actually that I lie....

I have been accused recently (and throughout the last 20 years actually) of lying. I have even termed my actions in my own head from time to time as lying. But that's not exactly accurate. I guess in the strictest sense my actions could be termed lies of omission, but as there is absolutely zero malice aforethought, or malicious intent I am uncomfortable with classifying them as such.

See what I really do is hide. Not lie, but hide.

Driven perhaps by fear, shame, disappointment, or a need for protection. I started out life incredibly gifted. Both intellectually and athletically. I was even rather cute so I guess you could say I had it all. I was gifted, lucky, and incredibly happy. Unfortunately such gifts and good fortune tend to bring about jealousy in others. My first experience with this came at the age of 8 or 9. I was in grade four and was verbally attacked at recess for not dressing like everyone else in my one-horse prairie hick town. I was mocked and told I was a snob because I had left the tiny local gymnastics club in order to train and compete with a club "in the city". At 9 years of age I was told that what I liked was stupid, and going after my goals was ridiculous. I didn't realize at the time how much this affected me. I wish that I could say I got past it and thrived despite it, but I didn't.

The bullying continued. For some reason I seemed to attract friends who found it easier to be jealous than supportive. It all came to a head in high school when my already shaky self-esteem took a hit from a friend from it it would never recover. This blow triggered repressed memories, leading to to PTSD, and eventually a diagnosis of Bipolar 2 disorder in my early 20's.

I am sad to say that at 35 years of age, my self-esteem has never recovered. I am still that 9 year old. Sitting on the swings crying. Wondering what on earth is so wrong with my outfit. And why anyone would ever think going to gymnastics and wanting to do well is a bad thing.

So I hide. I choose what and how much of myself, my life, and my reality at any given point I reveal to every individual in my life.

No one knows 100 percent. No one. The last person who knew about 90 percent broke my heart and left me. So right now no one even knows much more than half.

And which half they know depends on who they are. There are people I've never met and probably never will meet that know more about my current mindset and mental health than my family will ever know. I can't do that to them. I'll feel like I'm letting them down. Like I'm hurting them. Again.

I moved to Vancouver just over two years ago for a fresh start. For a change that was supposed to turn things around and get me out of the rut that rural Saskatchewan and bipolar had sucked me into. New province, new rut. My family doesn't know this. I can't disappoint them. And I cannot let my parents know that there are still days, more days than I wish to admit, that I feel like nose-diving straight off the Cambie Bridge. I can't do that to them. I can't cause them anymore pain. My mother sat at my bedside day and night for nearly 4 days while machines breathed for me after I became too weak to go on. I cannot cause them pain or concern. I've put them through too much. Whether my fault or not, their false belief that I am well and life is good makes them happy and gives them hope. I feel like I owe them that much.

I edit myself with my friends, what few I have, as well. I have enough trouble believing that anyone would ever willingly spend time with me or like me, so I reveal the pieces of me that I think will be appealing to whomever I'm with. I never make things up, or pretend to be something I'm not. I just only let out the pieces of my true self I feel will be the most appealing, or least offensive to my present company.

As you can guess, this is not a very good way to meet new people or maintain meaningful relationships so I spend a inordinate, and most likely damaging amount of time alone. And I hide there too.

I hide in my house because it is easier than going out into the world to risk judgment and failure. I hide in my bed because it is a cocoon of protection and denial that keeps me from realizing how much time I'm wasting being afraid. And I hide from my thoughts which are often frightening or judgmental, but even when they are inspired and positive manage to make me feel guilty for never acting on them or following through.

I hide because it is safe.

I hide because there is less risk.

I hide because even I don't know what or who I really am. Or what it is I really want.

I hide because I am ashamed and afraid.

And I hide because it is easier.


I am sick of taking the easy way out.

I AM SICK OF TAKING THE EASY ROAD.


So often brilliance and madness intersect. I was shamed for my brilliance so I hide in my madness. I use it as a shield, an escape. I must find my brilliance once again. It does not lie in science and math the way it used to. Over the years my experiences have morphed it into something else, changed its focus. The trick is finding it again.

Where did the brilliance go? And how can I use it well? I am convinced that the path to recovery and survival lies here.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

tested....

Last night's resolve is already waning. After my positive epiphany and mild progress, a very not mild anxiety, fear, and anger attack. Followed by a major mood drop, minor self-harm, and a bottle of wine. Luckily I passed out before doing anything too stupid or damaging.

Ugh. I have no other words than ugh.

No, that's not true. I have these words: really??? Really???!!!! Are you kidding me? Seriously? Unbelievable.

I woke up feeling like an empty hollow punching clown again. Not a good start.

I want to stick to my one fun thing, one cleaning thing, little less TV plan. I really do. But I am currently trying to figure out the most miniscule cleaning thing possible, and I am not even sure I can do that. Deflated heap here I come.

Ugh.

One step forward, seventeen steps back. Every time. Every fricking time.

Ugh.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Just a boring Monday night????

I was sitting around a a few hours ago and I thought to myself, "ugh it's Monday night and I have absolutely nothing to do."

I sat there bummed out for a few minutes until a now rather obvious thought hit me like a truck; I have a ton of shit I could do, why am I not doing any of it?

I have clean laundry that needs to be folded, dirty laundry that needs to be washed, the bathroom could use a good scrub, the kitchen could use a good scrub, the floors need to be vacuumed, a good dusting wouldn't hurt, my kitchen cabinets are screaming for a reorganization, my front storage room/office is a disaster, my bedroom closet needs a good purging and reorganization.

Ok, so I don't have anything fun to do on a Monday night.

Wrong again. I could knit, read one of the 12 books that I have started in the last year and not finished, paint, listen to music and dance around my apartment, do some pilates, head out for a walk since it stopped raining, text my daughter, call my mother, write my grandmas each a letter, learn some speed reading exercises, organize my photos, search online for fantastically awesome and thoughtful Christmas presents to buy my family, or research volunteer opportunities and toy drives in my city.

At any given point there are probably well over 100 things I could be doing. I am not well enough at this exact moment to be working so I have a ridiculous amount of time to choose to anything at all that I want. Despite this fact, at any given moment I am usually sleeping, watching tv, eating, sitting around, or perusing Twitter and Facebook mindlessly clicking on links and whatnot.

My brain just smacked me upside the head with what a waste that really is. Sleep is good, but not 12 hours a day. TV and movies are great, just not 8 or 9 hours a day. Twitter and Facebook are fun, but not 104 times a day.

So then I says to my brain I says, "brain, why on earth is I bein so stupid?"

No, but honestly, why?

It took a couple of hours and some pondering, eating, and distraction, but I think I have it figured out. It is not that I never have anything to do, it is that I never have any want to do anything. And not just the tedious obligatory cleaning related stuff, but a want for the fun and productive stuff is missing too. I pretend I do. I tell myself the little white lie that I really wish I had more to do, but I often don't. This is what an incredibly long and painful illness has done to me. I don't want to do anything and I don't care that I don't want to do anything. Or at least I haven't cared up until this point, as I have done nothing to change it. This is the apathy and surrender that the horrible depression associated with my Bipolar 2 has caused.

This realization got me quite motivated. For about 6 1/2 minutes. Then I just got sad. Then numb. Then sad again. Then discouraged. More sadness. And now I am writing about it all.

So how do I get my want back? I assume, as with most things, baby steps. Start small. Day 1 do one cleaning thing, one fun thing, and watch just a little less tv. Day 2 increase that, and so on. My problem is not only resolve, but follow through and commitment. Sometimes I will get all motivated and attempt activity and productivity for a few days, and then I will get either bored, distracted, depressed, or scared and I will stop. I have a SEVERE inability to set goals and actually see them through. This pisses me off. Before my Bipolar 2 symptoms began I was one of the hardest working, most dedicated and driven kids you would ever meet. I have not been that person in a very long time. That makes me angry, and sad. Feels like something else stolen from me by this illness. Another area where control has been lost, and it is such an exhausting fight to get it back.

My only hope right now is the old saying, "the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem". It is true that there are certain periods of time in my life where it is not that I don't want to do things, it is that because of my symptoms I literally can't. But this is a smaller percentage of days than 95% so I need to get off my ass and do something.

Hi. My name is Cristina and I am a TV and Internet addict. I hide in these activities because the real world scares me. I am afraid of failure, and even more afraid of success. I don't think I'm likeable or interesting so I shut myself off in order to avoid humiliation and hurt. I hide away inside my illness and myself because so many years of fighting have beaten me down and worn me out. It is easier to hide and to not try, than to go through anymore rejection, failure, blame, and judgment.

Hi. My name is Cristina and I am sick of hiding and taking the easy road. Whether motivated by lack of focus, motivation, energy, and direction, or by fear; I am tired of it. I have resolve at this moment. I will take baby steps. I will try to keep fighting. And although I have said this before and not followed through that does not mean that I cannot follow through this time. I CAN succeed, and if I slip up I will forgive myself and start over. Because the only failure is in not trying. The only way I truly fail is if I give up. It will take however long it takes, but if I am still trying and fighting then that is success.

I need to remember that most success is not big, huge and quick. It is a series of small successes. A learning curve. A string of slip ups that you pick yourself up and then learn from. I need to practice patience. And I need to be kind to and forgiving of myself.

It's really all I can do.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I don't even know where to start.....

I need to write. But I don't know what to say.

It feels like I am riding a gigantic high-speed coaster all alone. Screaming and begging to get off but they won't stop the ride. Over and over again. Up, down, backwards, sideways, upside down. At top speed. At ridiculous slopes. I can't do it. I can't do it anymore. I need to get off this ride. I am nauseated and exhausted. Please, please, I beg of you. Stop the ride.

Meds messes me up. Lack of meds messes me up. I just don't know anymore.

The uncertainty is bad, but I think it is the lack of control that is the worst. At 15 years of age I lost control and bipolar took the wheel. I lost control of my moods, my energy, my sanity, my diligence, my energy, my motivation, my mind, and my future. Loss of control is a disabling thing. An incapacitating thing. I have been trying to take the wheel back, but regardless of how many positive healthy things I do my mood can go at any time. Regardless of how well I'm doing, 10 minutes or 10 days later my mood could swing and ruin everything.

I have tried so hard, so many times to take back control. I'm just so tired. I'm too damn tired. The loneliness, emptiness, seclusion, and doubt are debilitating. I feel so empty I'm convinced I'm hollow. Like the next depression, mania, or anxiety attack could deflate me like one of those blow up punching clown toys that develops a leak. I feel like a punching clown. As if life, this illness, and the people who refuse to understand have beaten me senseless and left me in a heap in the corner. Like the Wicked Witch of the West, afraid that the next insult, judgment, or setback will be the water that melts me into a useless pool of nothing.

I'm tired of waiting for the bomb to drop. Tired of depending on external events and other people for my sanity, stability and happiness. Tired of this dependence allowing others the control. Control in the form of insults, judgments, rejection, and negativity that can send me into full-blown anxiety or catatonic depression.

I don't know what to do. I feel truly lost. Completely stuck.

I just know that I need to get off this ride.

Please, please I beg of you, stop the damn ride.........




Sunday, October 28, 2012

If I'm being honest......

I pretend that I'm ok.

I pretend all the time.

For my family, my couple of friends, people on the street, even on Twitter.

I'm totally pretending.

Because honestly, I'm not ok. I'm not fine. I'm not even close.

I'm falling apart.

It hurts so much and I don't have the energy or strength to make it stop.



Today I laid down on the floor and wondered how long it would take to die if I just stayed there and didn't move.

I need medication. However, I make too much money for them to be covered yet not enough to buy them for myself.

I need a psychiatrist. Unfortunately there is a 12 month waiting list.

I need a therapist, but yet again I make too much to have it covered yet not enough to afford to pay for it myself.



I feel so let down. So abandoned. Forgotten. Ashamed. Worthless.

I try to be strong. I really do. I try to fight. I try to fight so hard. I just have absolutely nothing left.



Today I have no profound thoughts, nothing interesting to say, not much of anything at all.

I'm just empty.

Hollow.

Alone.

And just way too damn tired.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

I'm sure I used to like myself, I know I did

But I don't anymore.

I try.

I really try to.

But I don't.

I hate me.

I really truly honestly hate me.

So I don't I don't fight for me. I don't believe in me. I don't work for me.

I self-sabotage. I doubt. I give up. I give in.

It hurts.

It hurts all the time.

I'm alone.

I'm alone all the time.

I'm so lonely I can't take it.

I did it to myself, but I can't take it.



I know when I was 7 I thought I was fantastic.

I worked hard. I worked all the time.

I had dreams.

I had goals.

I was happy.



Then the bullies came.

And the doubt came.

Then more bullies.

Then the pain came.

Then the memories came.

And everything I was or ever had been was shattered.



I cannot do this.

I hate this.

I hate this so much.

I can positive self-talk until I'm blue in the face. I don't believe it.

I can tell myself it's not my fault. I don't believe it.

I don't believe it, and I don't believe in me.



So lost. So alone. So scared. So done.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Because I told myself I would....

This morning I told myself that I wanted to write today. Since I am trying to stop breaking promises to myself, and follow through with plans/goals, however small, I am now sitting down to write.

I had a fleeting thought last night while trying to fall asleep that is the inspiration for this post. "Just how much time have I really wasted?"

Yesterday I was feeling very inspired after a fabulous day at TEDx Vancouver, but did not seem to be able to translate any of this new found mental energy into physical action. This is pretty much the story of the last ten years of my life. Periods of extreme hopeless depression, followed by wacky crazy hypomania, interspersed with time in "the middle". During these "middle ground" times I was often inspired, hopeful, or even gung-ho, but it never ever translated into action.

So this morning I woke up with the nagging question, "ok so how much time DID I really waste?"

Being the uber-nerd that I am I set out to quantify it. The numbers are both good and bad, but I think that the good outweigh the bad. Providing, that is, that I turn things around and start taking action.



So here it is:

312,974.   The number of hours I have been alive as of this moment.

388,320.   The number of hours I have left in my life if I die at the age of 80.

The good news is that my life is not even half over. It's not too late.


87,658.   The number of hours I have been away from full time work and fighting this illness.

The bad news is that that is a LOT of seemingly wasted hours as I am not much better off.


56,978.   The number of hours, up until this posting, since my brother-in-law and then Drs pulled me back from the brink after my near fatal suicide attempt. I call these, and any after, my bonus hours as it really is miraculous that I am even here. And yet I continue to waste bonus hour after bonus hour.

The good news is that I was given these bonus hours. Something in the universe worked to keep me here and give me another chance. More good news is that this number will only continue to grow.



Alright, so now what?

Most people would look at these numbers and be motivated to get moving, to make a decision, to make a start. I spent all day in my apartment suffering from what I have aptly heard called "decision paralysis", and self doubt.

I know I need to move. Somewhere. Anywhere. Unfortunately, I do not trust myself to choose the right direction or path. Most would argue that any path would be better than standing in one spot, and they would be correct. However, my issues are so ingrained that I am still unable to choose any of the 50 paths flying around in my brain. I am unable to take even one small step.

"Every journey, no matter how long, begins with a single step."

"You don't have to see the entire staircase, you just have to see the first step."

I know these things. I believe these things. And yet it still feels as if I am standing here wearing cement boots.



Now what?

I don't know.

Monday, October 22, 2012

MIA

I haven't written in a very long time.

2 reasons for this.

1. September and October were VERY hard months for me. Horrible depression. Suicidal thoughts. Too much alcohol. Too much junk food. Too many pills. Too little activity. Too little action.

2. Someone from my real life (a friend {or so I used to think}) stalked my Twitter account, found my blog and read the whole thing. This in itself felt like a violation. But then this person started using my own words against me. "oh on such and such a date you said blah, blah, blah, that must have been about me" and "oh on your blog you said you lied to your friends, that means you're a liar and I don't trust a word you say". This person then continued to use my bipolar as an attack and insult, my past as a weapon, and my words thoughts and feelings against me. This person (as of today) is no longer in my life. I vow to NEVER let them back in, or to let anyone else like them in. I deserve better.

No one ever uses a cancer diagnosis as a weapon. No one ever blames, shames, and attacks someone after their MS or Parkinson's symptoms flare up. I know I have ranted about it a thousand times, but this is one of the things that angers me more than almost anything else related to dealing with this illness.

Ignorance just pisses me off. Judgmental pricks piss me off. And even more so judgmental pricks who are absolutely clueless and know NOTHING about the topic they're spouting off about piss me off.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Welcome back hope.

You will see more of me soon.

I promise.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Not this....

I don't know what I want.

It's sad, but I literally have no idea.

I just know it's not this.

It's not even in the vicinity of this.

But I feel so trapped, stuck, like nothing I do would matter any way. Like even if I did know, it would be impossible to achieve, obtain, or make happen. So why bother?

And then I don't bother.

And I keep not bothering.

So another day, week, month, year passes. With me still not knowing. Still being stuck. Still being trapped. Still being nowhere near anything positive, good, or constructive.

Excuse me while I bury my face in my pillow and cry. Again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What do I want???

Isn't that the $64,000 question?

What do I want?

I truly have no idea. None.

More than this, I know that. More activity, more excitement, more happiness, more fulfilment, more success.

But how, and at what? No clue.

I had dreams as a child, but they all seem stupid now, or it's much to late to pursue them. I have ideas now, but they all seem stupid and I constantly doubt my ability to even attempt let alone achieve them.

I want....... more

But what the hell does that even mean?

Sigh. Going back to bed. I know the answer to my $64,000 question doesn't lie in there with me, but honestly, it's the only thing I have the energy for now.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

First we take Manhattan........

I have realized something. I am just as insecure about the things I write on my anonymous blog as I am about the things I say in real life. Too many times I walk away from conversations thinking, "oh my gosh why did I say that? They must think I'm so stupid. I am so stupid. They must be laughing at me, or think I'm nuts. Why do I even speak?".  It is the same with this. I enjoy writing. I want to write everyday, heck two or three times per day even. However, I have no confidence in my words or ideas. "People will think I'm stupid, no one will want to read that." Which is completely illogical because I started this blog simply as a diary to get my thoughts out. A place for me, and no one else. But then a few people did read it, and that's when the pressure started. Self-imposed of course, but pressure nonetheless. Pressure to be informative, to be interesting, to be provocative, to be right.......

Ah that darn pressure to be right.

To pick the right topic, say the right thing, say it the right way, and always seem witty and intelligent while doing it.

Seems rather ridiculous even to me as I sit here typing it.

I'm not exactly sure if it is the fear and embarrassment of being wrong or the stubborn irrational drive to always be right, but whichever it is, it is hardwired into me. I've been this way as long as I remember. It's as if, somehow, being wrong or letting others see that I am sometimes wrong will spoil the facade. My act will be given away and everyone on earth will see everything I've been trying to hide and mask for so long. Everyone will find out that I'm nuts, and I'm not as smart as I pretend to be.

The funny thing is I am smart. Very smart. Ridiculously smart actually (in terms of IQ points and test scores). I know this. It's a fact. Always has been. Unfortunately, I am also ridiculously nuts so even though I know I'm smart I don't actually feel smart and I doubt myself constantly.

This leads to a horrible situation where either I am right and will fight tooth and nail to prove it to you, or I am wrong but will still fight tooth and nail to prove that I'm still right anyway or somehow it's not my fault I'm wrong.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that deep down I know there is actually nothing wrong with being wrong. It happens to everyone. Everyone. Some, more than others. Many, more than me. But it DOES happen to everyone. Daily.

Being wrong can be a very positive thing. I truly believe that we learn more from our failures than from our successes. That being wrong can lead to research and learning that will only help you in future.

Unless you're me. Then it's bad. Very, very, very, very bad. It means you're weak. It means you suck. It means everyone is gonna find out your dirty little secret and no one will ever love you for the rest of your days. An overreaction? Of course it is. But it is also a very accurate depiction of my inner monologue. Did anyone ever hear the Adam Sandler stand-up comedy bit where the mother keeps saying "NOOOOO, they're all gonna laugh at you."? Well that mother is my inner voice.

I keep saying that others' judgment of us, and the stigmas they assign to us need to end NOW. I am right, of course. However today I am feeling a tad hypocritical (and I really really hate that). Why do I feel hypocritical you ask? How can I expect outsiders to stop judging me and assigning me stigmas and stereotypes when I can't even do it for myself? Until I can stop judging myself, and accept and love me for me illness and all, how can I demand that anyone else do it?

So here we go #twitterpsychward, it starts with us. Until we demand respect from ourselves, until we can stop judging and hating ourselves based simply on the fact that we have an illness, until we can love and forgive ourselves, we cannot tackle the outside stigmas, judgments, and barriers.

Join me won't you?

My name is Cristina. I have bipolar II disorder and it's not my fault. I've had a lot of hard times, been in a lot of trouble, made mistakes, and yes I've been wrong sometimes, but that's ok. It's all ok.

My name is Cristina. I have bipolar II disorder and that doesn't make me any worse or less of a person than anyone else. I have value, I deserve respect, and my illness does not define me.

My name is Cristina. I have bipolar II disorder but I will feel guilt and shame no more. I am more than an illness, more than my diagnosis. I am a bright, smart, wonderful person, and I am fantabulous.

My name is Cristina, and if you think differently you and I will have issues. Starting now.

Speak up #twitterpsychward. Who are you?

First we change our own perceptions. Then we change those of the world.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I just had to write this.....

Yesterday when I read the news of former NFL football star Junior Seau's suicide I cried.

Did I know him? No. Was I a devoted fan? I had heard of him, seen him play, recognized his talent, but no.

So why would I shed actual tears over the death of someone I didn't know, who had no impact whatsoever on my life? Because I've been there.

More times than I would like to admit I have been in a place so dark, so painful, so lonely, so empty, and so hopeless that I would've done anything just to make it stop.

And I did things. I have done many things. In fact, the only reason I sit here still alive today is coincidence and luck. Am I glad I am still alive? Yes. Now I am. But do not judge me or anyone else unless you have been in that horrible endless cavern. Unless you've felt the unbearable, indescribable, intangible pain that we have felt. You will never in your life know hopelessness and loneliness unless you are unfortunate enough to be one of the millions suffering with a serious mental illness.

Let me make one thing very, very clear. Suicide is not about you. It is not about the family, the friends, the co-workers, the neighbours, the doctors, or anyone else. It is a desperate, frustrated, hopeless attempt to stop the seemingly endless pain. A pain that takes over your entire body. A pain that permeates every muscle, bone, joint, and cell in your body. It is a physical pain. It is an emotional pain. It is a mental pain. And it is relentless.

Don't write articles on how suicide is selfish and we all need to make our kids watch the video of Junior's mother's crying. That's ridiculous. If you knew anyone suffering with depression, bipolar, or schizophrenia you would never suggest that as a useful tool for preventing suicide. Because a suicidal person is not thinking about their family at that moment. They are not thinking about the tears or aftermath. The only thing in their mind at that moment is the pain and emptiness, and an uncontrollable need to make it stop. Shaming them with the potential pain suffered by their family would, frankly, just cause them more pain, guilt, and sadness-possibly pushing them over the edge. Because if you knew anything about the mind of someone in the grips of a major depression you would know that at that moment they are 100% sure that their family, and the world as a whole would be a lot better off without them. The fact that they are wrong about that is irrelevant. And you shaming them with their own thoughts is downright ignorant, and potentially dangerous.

A suicidal person, in fact anyone in the grips of depression or other mental illnesses, needs simply this: compassion, support, and understanding. That's it. They don't need advice. They don't need to be told why their thoughts are wrong. They don't need to be told how their illness or death would affect other people. Because they already know. They place so much guilt, shame, blame, and hatred on themselves that they certainly don't need it from you. Especially if that you happens to be a seriously misguided sports writer who is completely ignorant when it comes to helping people with a mental illness.

Do we need to pay attention to this tragedy? Definitely. Do we need to discuss suicide more, discuss mental illness more, and better help those suffering? Absolutely.

Is the guilt and shame game the way to do it? Certainly, absolutely, most definitely not.

Friday, April 27, 2012

How do I love thee???? Let me count the ways...

So how does one go about falling in love with themselves?

This was the question I was pondering last night in my frustrated insomniac state. I started off writing down reasons I might fall in love with someone else: attractiveness, kindness, personality, their actions, their goals, a mutual respect or admiration, etc. So I set out to write a list of the things I like about me. Some of them i currently fully believe, some I only partly believe (or at least want to believe), while others I don't yet believe at all but hope to soon.

I have a great smile.
I have beautiful eyes.
I am smart.
I am funny. (although my daughters don't seem to think so ha ha)
I cute.
I am strong.
I am resilient.
I am brave.
I am adventurous.
I am a good mother who loves my girls more than anything else on earth, and would do anything for them.
I don't quit. - I may postpone or procrastinate but I don't give up.
I can write well.
I am well spoken.
I am a great coach, and love volunteering with kids.
I am a good friend.
I still have dreams.
I am generous.
I want to help.

Not a bad list. I sound pretty fantastic. ;) Who wouldn't love me?

Ok well maybe me, but I'm working on that.

So now for the more difficult list....

I deserve love.
I deserve to be loved.
I am worthy of love.
I love you Cristina.

That one still sounds kinda fake and forced. But I will repeat it ten times a day until it doesn't. Or at least that is the plan.

(Damn now I sound like one of those shiny happy people I've always hated. There must be a way to be happy, fulfilled, positive, and inspired without turning into freakin Tony Robbins..... Finding that might have to be the next step in order to keep from making myself nauseous lol)

Off to Victoria for the weekend. Have a great one everybody. Try to love yourselves. It really does make a difference. And if we don't start with ourselves, how can we ever expect anyone else to???

PS: if you are reading this you are awesome too and I love you for it. Every single view this darn thing gets makes me smile. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A New Approach.....

Alright, why the change?

I'm not going to complain anymore. It's exhausting. It makes me feel crappier than I started out feeling. And to be honest, it never seems to accomplish much of anything.

So here goes: I have bipolar affective disorder type II with rapid cycling and mixed states. Medicine doesn't really seem to do any good. So I am starting a quest to see what will do any good. Step number one, I refuse to continue my habit of going on and on about being sick. I acknowledge it, I recognize it, but now I'm done with it. I shall begin from this moment forward to go on and on about being well and feeling better.

Will everything work? Of course not.

Will everyday be a balanced, happy, fantastic, brilliantly healthy day. No, but I won't dwell on that.

Will this work? I have to believe that it, or something I discover because of it, will because nothing I've tried so far has let me do anything other than merely survive and that is not enough anymore. I deserve more, and it is time I start believing that.

Today I begin the mission of falling in love with myself. I've spent too many years hating myself and it is clearly not working. It has always seemed at odds with the natural agenda to hate oneself, but having felt it for so long I have simply ignored that dissonance. Not anymore.

How am I going to do this? I'm not entirely sure yet.

I changed my "name", I have changed my blog, and now the next step is to fall in love with myself. (I'm pretty cute, shouldn't be too hard lol)

I don't have to see the whole staircase, just the first step. (or next step)

I see the next step. Here goes....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sooooooooo tired

It is hard to complain when I look at where I am compared to where I was 7 months ago. My mood is better, I get out of bed on a regular basis, I have a new best friend who's supportive and actually understands, I leave my house almost daily, I am volunteer coaching for my daughter's track&field club, I eat junk food only occasionally, rarely binge, and am getting moderate exercise a few times a week. But it is still not enough. It is still just alright and ok. I want more than that. I want fabulous. Don't I deserve fabulous?

So what is holding me back from fabulous?

The best I can guess is exhaustion. I am tired ALL the time.

I will have 2 or 3 good to great days and then a day like today when I sleep from 11pm to 3pm.  A day where I can barely lift my head off the pillow let alone sit or stand up. My mood is low today, but not horrible. I am discouraged and angry today, but nothing I can't handle. The problem is mental and physical exhaustion that I can't explain or fix.

I thought that the healthier food would help, it hasn't. I thought that moderate exercise would help, it hasn't. I thought that a regular sleep schedule would help, it hasn't.

I'm not sure what to do now. Do I need to do something extreme? Some crazy raw vegan all banana detox diet? Intense exercise twice a day? Hot yoga? Tibetan bowls? Acupuncture? A meditation retreat?

I really don't know. At this point I'd be willing to try almost anything. As soon as I lift my head up off this pillow....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

So did it work???

2 days ago no_H_cristina replaced bipolar2_gurl in the twittersphere (I wanted cristina_no_H but it was taken, boo). At the same time, I started trying to replace my self-imposed "bipolar gurl" label with less restricting, more positive thoughts about myself. Starting with the easiest to say and believe, "I'm Cristina, and yes my parents left the damn H out but I like it better that way".

 Has it changed my life? Well, no.

 But did it change my perspective enough to put together (so far) 2 1/2 very positive days in a row? Why yes it did.

 They say in life it's the little things that matter. Hugs, smiles, laughter, hope. Well this is a little thing, but it definitely matters. The only opinion of me that really truly matters is my own. I know that I can't do it all at once. I have a long way to go, but this was a great first step. Good-bye bipolar gurl. Thanks for fighting the fight for as long as you did. You are done now though, it's time for me to be Cristina again (and don't you dare put an H in there).

  :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Can changing a Twitter handle change your life???

Earlier this week, out of nowhere I had an idea that prompted 2 thoughts. One: I spend way too much time on Twitter. But more importantly, two: how can I ever escape the trap this illness has locked me in if even I define myself first and most importantly as bipolar. Forget my name, my likes and dislikes, education, occupation, any of my personality traits, the biggest and most important label that I put on myself basically tells the world that I'm female and I'm crazy. Now, you may be thinking it's just a Twitter handle who cares? That would be the case if I had invented some weird meaningless pseudonym containing a clever pun or inside joke, but I didn't. I chose a handle that explicitly explains the label that I sometimes feel is tattooed across my forehead. I chose it for two reasons; first: when I originally joined twitter it was simply to connect with other people living with mental illness so that I would have someone to talk, second: it is what I see when I look in the mirror, what I think of first when describing myself, and what I'm afraid I project to the rest of the world. 


This second reason is that part that is currently troubling me. When I look in the mirror I don't see a cute blonde woman with nice eyes and a good smile. I don't see a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I don't see an intelligent, funny, strong, determined soul. I see crazy plain and simple. I put the label on myself before anyone else could and I am afraid that I have let it blossom from just a simple description of my illness to a jail of my own making, filled with fear, anger, resentment, regret, pain, frustration, guilt, shame, self-loathing and self-doubt. 


"Well, I would go back to school but I failed before because I'm crazy so I better not even bother trying again."


"Wow, I would really like to ask that guy out but I'm crazy so I'm sure he'll say no."


"I had a fantastic job before, but I screwed it up because I'm crazy so I might as well not even try to work at all."


"I'd love to start working out again, but I'm crazy so why bother when I'll just quit eventually and start bingeing on junk food again."


"I am lonely sometimes and would like to make new friends, but crazy people make horrible friends so I better just keep sitting here alone."


"Every one I pass on the street must know that I'm crazy, insecure, and fat so I'll just stop going outside all together."


These are some of the common rationales that play in my brain which have allowed me to sit back, hide, and miss out on life for most of the last 10 years. 10 years! A decade. An entire decade wasted in my self-made jail. As I wrote those, well basically excuses, it occurred to me that I have made an interesting connection in my own mind. Crazy=Failure. In my mind failure sucks, and is embarrassing, and results in judgment so why bother. I have set myself up for failure for the last decade and have succeeded brilliantly at fulfilling that prophecy. 


Where am I going with all of this??? I have no clue. Not yet anyway. Can changing a Twitter handle really change the way you see yourself and in doing so change your life? I don't know. I'll keep you posted, I'm off to think up a clever pun or inside joke.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a little bit lost and a lotta bit stuck (a rambling, babbling teary-eyed post)

I feel like am supposed to be so much more than what I am right now. Like I should be doing something real, and meaningful, and important. Like there is so much in me that just needs to come out, and be fantastic, and take on the world. I just don't know what. Or how. Or where to start..... When I was a kid it was so easy. I wanted to be a gymnast, and go to the Olympics, then be a Dr and a lawyer and a singer all in one. Well I didn't do any of that. And now that I'm older a horrible mix of fear, illness, bad luck, circumstance, past experience, bad decisions, broken hearts, and bogus expectations is keeping me from even being able to sit down and figure out what it is that I truly want now. I want to be happy - ok fine, just be happy I want to be successful, and busy, and inspirational - at what and for what???? no idea I want more time with my girls - I'm doing all I can, but illness, geography and finances make it a constant struggle and it's never enough I want to love myself so that someone else can love me and I won't die alone - don't even know where to start I want to be secure and safe and taken care of - again, no clue how I want to feel important, and worthy, and useful - but I don't. deep down I really truly don't. and until I do, nothing else is possible 18 years of Dr's and meds and therapy and treatment and I'm no better off, no closer to an answer. I'm really tired of being stuck. I'm really tired of not having any of the answers. And I'm really truly so damn tired of hating the person that I spend all my time with; the fat, useless, lazy, pathetic mess that stares back at me from the mirror every day and taunts me with glimmers of hope but delivers nothing. I wanna fight. I'm just so damn tired. And so damn lost. And so damn stuck. And I really truly honestly have no idea where to even begin. "you don't have to see the whole staircase, just the first step" - well it feels like I am in a hole, inside a well, 10 feet away from the first step with no ladder, no rope, and no flashlight. What now? No seriously, what now? Gratitude..... ok I am grateful for my daughters, for my sister, for my family, for a roof over my head, and a warm bed to sleep in. I am grateful that I have food to eat (even though eating brings more shame and self-hate). I am grateful for a safe country, and basic human rights. I am grateful I'm not dead yet (most days). I am grateful that I have it better than a lot of people. Gratitude exercises are great, until they make you feel like a whiny, even more useless, waste of space than you did before you started them. I know it takes work. I'm willing to work. If I could find some actual direction, purpose or anything to work toward. I don't like or trust myself enough to even know what is that I want. What it is I should be doing. And I don't know how to start. Overcoming that much self-doubt, distrust, and loathing is something I long for so badly, but don't even know how to begin to tackle. What now? Seriously, what now???

Friday, April 6, 2012

What did you just say to me???

I told myself I was going to write more often, but I have been struggling with that. It seems I am only inspired to write when I truly have something to say. Well tonight is one of those times. I truly have something to say....

If you as a parent and you teach your children only one thing, let it be this: you are not better than anyone else on the planet, just different than and you do not have the right to be mean, cruel, judgmental, or rude to anyone ever just because you feel like it.

I was bullied horribly in high school. By a jealous "friend", by her new "friends", by a lot of people. In grade 10 I gained 10 pounds after quitting competitive gymnastics. I went from a 2 to a 6. At a party a guy actually made pig noises at me. At 5'3 and 125 pounds someone oinked at me and people laughed. Then they joined in. That is when my disordered relationship with food, and absolute hatred of my body began.

Now at 35 it is happening again. I gained some weight after moving to Vancouver for various reasons including loneliness, laziness, and age. At 5'3 and 120 pounds I was again called fat. And laughed at. And told "ya you're way too big for me". I have been fighting my ED for 20 years and had recently reached a point where I honestly felt like I could say I was in recovery. Until tonight......


Is this person important? No.

Will I ever see him or any of his jerk friends again? Probably not.

Are they worth my anxiety, anger, and time? Not in the least.


And yet here I sit. Alone. Wounded. And crying. Because once again I am the 15 year old at the party getting oinked at. I ran home and cried, vowing to never eat or leave my house again just like I did 20 years ago. I have gained a lot of strength in those 20 years but deep down I'm worried I will always be that lonely wounded little girl at the party. Who, for the first time in her life, thought "I'm not good enough" and has been fighting that feeling ever since.

How dare you? What ever made you think that you have the right to say anything like that to anyone ever? You disgust me.

And yet your words tore me down, ripped me to shreds, and hurt me more than you'll ever know,

I'm 35 years old, I had hoped the bullying had ended a very long time ago. I guess I was wrong.

Sadly, I was very very wrong.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Heartbroken and helpless....

So tonight I found out that my 15 year old nephew has been in emergency foster care placement for a month because my sister is useless idiot. No one in my family saw fit to tell me. My mother's excuse was that "it's not nice to talk about." Really mom? Oh it's uncomfortable and unpleasant so you're just going to not talk about it and hope it goes away? How about you ignore it and hopefully it goes away on it's own. Let's not dare face it head on, be honest, and try to come up with a useful helpful helpful solution. Oh no, because that would be the smart rational thing to do.

What does this remind me of? Oh right!!!! When I first started having symptoms of depression, PTSD, and eventually bipolar and you shuffled it under the rug and never got me any real help. When you ignored it and refused to learn anything about it so that you could properly help me. I know you loved me mom and dad but you sure as hell messed it up with me, and you're about to do the same thing with your grandson. All because "you don't like to talk about uncomfortable, unpleasant stuff". Thanks for the hug, but avoidance didn't get us anywhere then and it will not help the poor child now. Back then it in fact made things worse, I fear that is what is about to happen again.

All of this is, of course, happening 1700km away from me. So it's easy for them to hide it from me. Why they feel the need to I'm not sure. Probably because they knew I'd be outraged and refuse to sit back and be quiet while my idiot sister (pardon my french) fucks over her own kid. I have never been so worried about a child in my life. He is depressed, feeling unwanted, unloved, and abandoned. I want so much to help him, but I don't know what to do. I am here, they are there. I want to bring him to Vancouver and get him away from the hell that is his mother and now his foster home, but my twit of a sister made up lie about him trying to attack her so now the poor kid has a court date. Who lies to the cops and tells them your son tried to murder you just because you're too lazy to deal with a teenager with an attitude? And might I point out that his attitude is entirely his mother's fault as she exposed him to physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her boyfriends, while she was an alcoholic, cokehead stripper. On top of that she abandoned him with boyfriends, friends, and my parents several times throughout his short life. I'm surprised the poor boy is doing as well as he is. But seriously???!!!! Who tries to put their own kid in juvenile detention with lies because they're too lazy to be a real parent?

Answer: my sister.

Family can be great, but I cannot forgive her for this. That poor child needs love, support, guidance, and compassion not this. Never this. I can't imagine the hell he is in. I can't imagine what went through her mind that could make her do this. I am so livid I am shaking.

I need to help him. I will help him. I just haven't figured out how yet. He is so smart, so sweet, so deserving of good. It's time someone gave him that instead of what his mother has given him all of his life. Once he is found not guilty of her horrible attack lies I will do something. I will find a way. I will not let him get lost in all of the bullshit. I will not let him go through as many years of hell as I did just because "THEY" don't wanna talk about it or face the truth.

No one deserves what that child has been through. No one. And the fact that it is happening to my own nephew is unbearable to me. The fact that I am so far away and feel so helpless to stop his pain and support him the way he needs is heartbreaking. His pain is now my pain and I want more than anything is this world to make it ok for him. To find a way to help him past his pain so that he is not still hurting and struggling in 20 years like I am. I will not allow him to have to go through what I have.

I don't know how yet, but I will find a way. I cannot abandon this kid. I cannot sit back and be silent because it's easier and more comfortable. This is my purpose. To help my nephew. To find a way, no matter what. I will not let him get lost in the bullshit. I will not let him feel unwanted or unloved ever again. I know what that's like. Never again.

Never again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A lesson from Seinfeld........

They say the definition of insanity is to keep doing what you have always done expecting different results. In the spirit of that, I took a lesson from Seinfeld this morning and made an "Opposite George" inspired decision. As expected, it turned out brilliantly.

Normally on Sundays (when I don't have one of my daughters) I clean, or avoid cleaning by sleeping, watching tv, or going for boring walks by myself. This morning 2 dear friends invited me to go snowboarding with them up at Cypress, and me being my ever anti-social lazy self was himming and hawing about why I didn't really feel up to it and probably wasn't going to go. It was at that moment, as I was about to tell them to head out without me, that I remember the opposite George episode and thought "screw it, go anyway even if you don't want to right now". So I did. And it was FANTASTIC! i have never before been skiing or boarding that was literally t-shirt weather, but that's what today was and it was glorious. The sun was gorgeous, the snow was decent, the company was fabulous, and even though this is only my 3rd time ever snowboarding I did pretty darn well. I could feel my improvement and I LOVE THAT!

"I used to sit here and do nothing and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite and I will do something."

I did. And I am so thankful that I ignored my normal instinct.

"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right."

Well I don't know if every instinct that I have is wrong, but a lot of them (especially those influenced by my illness) are certainly not advisable. My life is not where I want it to be right now. I am not where I want to be in life right now. The only person that can do anything to change that is me. Maybe by consciously doing the opposite of my first instinct sometimes. The only way to change who I am and where I am is to start doing things differently. It was a small step today, but a step nonetheless. I take that as a damn good day.

And although I doubt I'll be telling off Aquilini or Gillis anytime soon, I do want to make a change. One small step and one damn good day at a time. (Although a job with the Canucks would be pretty sweet........)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A lesson in gratitude....

While waiting for the bus on W Broadway today I was reminded of something that I too easily forget. Even with all my struggles and problems, I've got it pretty darn good.....

Behind me was an older woman. She was sitting at one of the outdoor tables mumbling to herself and occasionally yelling out random obscenities mixed with gibberish. She was clearly, to me at least, schizophrenic or severely manic and in some sort of dissociative state. Those sitting near her and those walking past glared, whispered, passed judgment, and looked down their noses at this poor woman who was resting her feet, completely oblivious to the fact that she was out of place or bothering anyone. I, however, looked at her with concern, pity, understanding, and an extreme thankfulness that I was not in her same situation. I do not pretend that this makes me any better, kinder, or more informed than the other passersby. I feel so differently than them because deep down I am much more similar to the mumbling old lady than the offended onlookers.

I wonder where she has come from. What she's done earlier today that's brought her to the McDonald's patio at 4:30 on a Saturday. And where will she go when she leaves here. Does she have a home, a place to stay, a warm bed to crawl into tonight and forget her troubles for a few short hours? She is shabbily dressed, not exactly clean, and carrying a back pack so it is impossible to tell where she might have been, or where she is headed. I feel a deep sense of gratitude and a feeling of luck wash over me as I realize that but for a couple twists of fate I could be that woman. I want to help her but I don't know how. A couple dollars or a sandwich is merely a "band-aid" solution that does nothing to truly address her problems or help her in the long-term. She has clearly been let down by the health care system and is either unmedicated or self medicating as the drugs to treat schizophrenia or extreme mania are more expensive than even I can afford. While pondering what possibly I could do to help this woman or people like her the bus arrives and my thoughts turn to my own situation...

I am sick, but not as sick as this woman. I have had wild manic bursts but nothing to the point that would have me mumbling on the street corner or yelling at strangers. I have been unable to work for quite some time now, but by some glorious twist of fate I landed a government job a year before my illness totally took over my life and incapacitated me so I receive disability that makes it possible for me to live a semi-normal life. I can pay the rent in my very nice apartment, in a safe, quiet, secure neighbourhood. I can pay my utility bills, cel bill, and there is always food in my cupboards. I won't be taking any tropical vacations this year, or buying any of the designer shoes and clothes I love, but I've got it pretty darn good considering. I spend my short bus ride being ridiculously thankful for that glorious twist of fate and the things I do have, for if it weren't for the disability I receive I would be either homeless or living on a farm outside Podunk Saskatchewan with my parents. Neither of which sounds like a very great situation compared to where I am.

I spend so much time being mad at the fact that I have this illness, and longing for the me that was before it took over. I dwell on what could of been, what should've been, and all the potential that will never be realized. I forget too easily to just sit back, breathe, and be thankful for what is. For what still could be. And for not having worse than I do. I may never fully get over the pain. I may never escape the darkness and hurt and self-doubt that consumes me, but I hope that I never forget the light that I do have. The luck that has brought me a safe place to keep my things, and a warm bed every night to escape, even for a few hours, the craziness that is my life.

(I have yet to come up with any ideas of how to help in any way the woman I saw or people like her. It seems almost futile and pointless as the problem is soooo big and so complex. This makes me sad. I wish somehow, someway, there was something I could do to pay my luck and gratitude forward...........)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why am I in bed???

Seriously, it's as simple as that. Why am I in bed?

The answer: I don't know.

I went to bed last night slightly manic, slept through my alarm, and woke up late in an unexplained low mood. I drank a bunch of water, ate some supposed "energy boosting" food, drank some tea, yet here I sit. Even sitting here I could be reading, knitting, doing my nails, anything. But I'm not. I'm just sitting here. Even finding the energy and motivation to write this post is proving to be ridiculously trying.

What am I afraid of? Failure? Success? Even trying? Yup. Yup. And yup. Why don't I feel that I am deserving and worthy? Why don't I feel that anyone else will ever see me as deserving and worthy?

I have to stop now because I'm about to cry. And I really don't have the energy or strength to handle that today.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You know who you are.....

You know who you are.

You thought the Charlie Sheen debacle last year was funny not sad. You ridicule and judge the homeless person downtown who mumbles to himself or shouts at strangers. And you think that I am crazy, unstable, needy, and merely trying to get attention because I have bipolar.

You don't realize that Charlie Sheen has a mental illness. Either one that has been around most of his life that he is trying to self-medicate, or one brought on by heavy drug use that is now out of control. Regardless it is an illness. No more his fault than someone who gets cancer, either because of genetics or because they smoked a pack a day for 20 years. You see his breakdown as a comedy not a tragedy, Nd you are wrong.

You don't realize that the homeless man downtown didn't choose to be homeless. He is schizophrenic or severely bipolar and was forced onto the streets when the government closed the city's only residential mental health hospital and gave him nowhere else to go. You blame him for his situation and wash your hands of him just like the government, and you are wrong.

You don't realize that I am a brilliant, creative, wounded soul who would not choose this life for anything. I was abused as a six year old, bullied as a teenager, and hospitalized for the first time at 17. I have spent the last 17 years on a hellish rollercoaster. Fighting just to survive, trying to build something of a life for myself, being beat up by an illness that many people blame me for and think is funny. You decide that I am a lazy, out of control attention whore who doesn't deserve your respect, and you are wrong.

Mental health bullying is wrong. Judging us for having an illness that is out of our control is the same as bullying someone for the colour of their skin, the amount of money their parents make, or their sexual orientation. The tragic suicides of gay youth in the latter part of 2011 brought bullying into the limelight. Good. People need to talk about it, they need to know that it is wrong, and gay youth need to be supported and given hope. It's time we call out the bullies and those ignorant of what we really go through, and tell them it is wrong, and give mentally ill youth hope. I know at 17 I could have used it. I survived, barely. I knew young people that didn't.

You know who you are.

And you are wrong.

And you need to stop.

Now.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just call me Ms Dragon

This past New Year's I did what millions of other people did, I made a resolution. I resolved to get out of bed and stop hiding, stop bingeing on junk food, watch less tv, exercise even a little bit every week, and make something of my sad hopeless life. The only part I've managed to keep is the junk food part, for the most part I've been eating healthy reasonably sized meals. Otherwise I've completely failed.

Now I realize that setting goals and making changes based on the rolling over of the calendar is a purely psychological trigger, but I tend to be a black-and-white-thinking fatalist and had settled into the belief that since the first 21 days of 2012 were a depressing failure the rest of the year was a hopeless write-off so why bother. I understand this is a gross overreaction, but it was what my serotonin starved, bedridden brain had decided. Until I read an article this morning on the Chinese New Year and the year of the dragon. It dawned on me that I have another shot at "new year new me" and it gave me hope on this dreary morning. And as I've stated before, hope is a rare commodity in my life so I try to embrace anything that triggers it. So instead of a fabulous me in 2012 I am now going to work on a fantastic me in the year of the dragon. Completely arbitrary, totally psychological as it doesn't actually take a new year to start making a new you, but like I said anything that triggers hope in my dark world gets my attention.

Now i am not at all spiritual or superstitious, in fact I think astrology is ridiculous hokum, so colour me a hypocrite and let's continue. For it wasn't just the fact that tomorrow is the start of a new lunar year, but what I read about the year of the dragon that inspired me. The dragon is considered to be the most powerful of all the Chinese zodiac symbols, and is associated with high energy, prosperity, and superior control. When I read this I realized that that was basically what I was shooting for with my original resolutions. The dragon is seen as a good symbol that brings with it a change from bad to good. How perfect? That's exactly what I need. I further discovered that this past year was the year of the rabbit, a symbol associated with instability, and unstable is a very apt description of this past year. I took this as a sign that I need to try again, and take advantage of "the change from bad to good" whether I'm superstitious or not.

I also learned that when creating the dragon totem ancient Chinese tribes combined totems of the Phoenix, tiger, lion, and scorpion so the dragon is considered to be "everything". If you're a dragon you're everything. And that is what I want, to be everything I've ever dreamed of. Strong, courageous, successful, innovative, hard working, and happy. It seems like I've been side tracked forever because of this illness, but this is the year of the water dragon. A year that only comes around once every sixty. So maybe this my year, my rare unique year to finally conquer. To make a change and succeed instead of fail.

It's completely superstitious and ridiculous, but so what? Nothing else has worked so why not give it a try? It has given me hope that maybe this year will not be a total write off so I'm gonna run with it. First step, actually get out of bed tomorrow and accomplish something other than 10 hours of tv watching and a nap. Wish me luck.

Call me Ms Dragon. I am everything.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why would I help someone I hate?

I can't seem to get inspired to write. To be honest, I can't seem to get inspired to do much of anything. I know that it's wrong and unhealthy to use the word "useless" in reference to myself but that is how I truly feel. I have zero energy and no amount of sleep, healthy food, or stimulants seems to change that. I have zero motivation, no resilience, no resolve. I have turned into a sedentary, lazy, do nothing lump. I know what needs to be done and what I should be doing, but I am physically and mentally unable to do anything other than sit or lay here and manage to breathe. I walk past my dirty kitchen, think about cleaning it, start to cry, then lay back down and turn on the tv. I sit in bed for hours on end thinking "wow I am so bored I wish I could be doing...." but I don't move, I don't change, I don't do anything. I feel hopeless, frustrated, scared, and alone. Fear has paralyzed me to the point that I have just stopped trying. I don't think I even know how to try anymore. I have given up so much that the only thing I am capable of right now is sitting here and not dying. I can manage to keep myself alive, but that's about it. I don't trust myself, I don't believe in myself, and I don't love myself. And when that is the case what's the point of even trying? I feel like such a failure and I hate myself for it. And why would I ever help someone I hate???

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You all just made me cry....

I can't believe anyone actually read what I wrote.

Most of the time I feel like a babbling fool.

I don't consider myself important or interesting, so to come back to this blog after nearly a year's absence and find that people had not only read it, but taken the time to comment... wow. I'm touched, honoured, and humbled. I promise to write more as soon as I have something real to say. (right now I'm still wiping the tears from my eyes)

To anyone who's ever read anything I've written, or is reading this now, thank you. Though I will never know you in real life you have touched my life more than you will ever know. For this morning I don't feel nearly as alone. And that gives me hope, the rarest of any emotion I know.