Who, What, Where (A Brief Autobiography)


Contrary to popular belief, I am indeed still alive and well. It’s been a rocky road (unfortunately not the ice cream, though I desperately wish it was), and I have absolutely not fulfilled my resolution to continue blogging more often, as it’s been about 4 months since my last post. I’ve said this before (so many times) but this started out as a humor blog exclusively, but as I’ve gotten older and faced adult challenges, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to be constantly hilarious. I’m still hilarious, but am faced with the fact that I am a multi-dimentional, emotional human being. Of course, that’s okay. Less entertaining at times, but okay.

So what have I been up to? Dealing with multiple mental health crises, honestly. I stay pretty private about it for the most part, mentioning it only in passing unless talking to specific people about it, but you’re all part of the internet so I feel a little more anonymous and lately am less concerned about talking about it anyway. I don’t feel any shame about it anymore, but I also believe it is my story to tell when I want to tell it, and only when I want to tell it.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar II at the very end of 2016 and began various methods of treatment at the start of 2017. It’s been difficult, to say the least. Everyone has their misconceptions about what bipolar even is and I’ve received a lot of unnecessary and unsolicited advice from both strangers and those close to me. Be warned: the comments section here is not a forum for advice, but is perfectly allowed to be a place of kindness and support if you really feel the need to speak to me on this subject. This is not a dialogue. It is absolutely a monologue, and I feel perfectly fine drawing that boundary.

I will give very brief and basic introduction to what Bipolar II looks like for me. I know a lot of people don’t understand the disorder (or didn’t even know it existed in the first place):

I live my life in one of three states at any given time: hypomanic, stable, or depressed. I also occasionally experience mixed episodes, which cause me to swing from depressed to hypomanic within short periods of time. Hypomania is sometimes defined as “mania lite,” but I find that definition both overly simplistic and invalidating, as it implies that it isn’t distressing or difficult to live with. During hypomanic episodes, my symptoms range, but can include extreme irritability (what I call “road rage whilst walking”), insomnia, restlessness, compulsive speech, persistent risk-taking compulsions, increased focus on projects (I’m talking picking up an activity and not stopping for days — I’ve acquired several lovely hobbies over a short period of time) and lack of appetite. These episodes last for at least 4 days, but typically last longer for me. I also rapid cycle and at one point had 5 or 6 episodes within a two month period, which was super fun except when it totally wasn’t.

Essentially, I don’t sleep, I don’t eat, and I can’t shut up or stop moving. Sometimes this all feels really fun and freeing, because suddenly I’m the life of the party. Often, though, I feel scared and get the sense that I don’t know who I am or what I’ll do. In general, emotional swings that severe are really distressing.

It ain’t easy, folks. It’s taken a lot of dedication and effort to work toward stability and feel like myself, but I’m getting closer every day. I think. My goal is to keep the hypomanic and depressive episodes fewer and farther between so I can remain stable longer. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t. I barely slept for the past three weeks, and started absolutely losing my mind until I finally found the perfect combination of relaxation, essential oils, tart cherry juice, and ocean sounds to get 9 hours of sleep for the past four nights…this is probably the only reason I’ve found the energy to write this post in the first place. That combination may not work forever, though, as I’ve learned in the past, and I’ll have to switch things and work even harder. Extra medication is sometimes involved, sometimes not. It’s hard to know what will help at any given time.

I’m finding plants have helped me heal a lot lately. Doesn’t matter how hypomanic or depressed I am, potting a plant will make me feel sane, if even for just a few hours. Plus, I gain little green friends and purify the air in my house all at once. An unexpected but absolutely appreciated medicine, for sure. Celebrating life and maintaining my creativity has been essential — there’s a lot of art, bass playing, and journaling that goes into my stability. I remain vague about other parts of my treatment because it ain’t nobody’s business but those are also difficult and frustrating at times. Support groups help the most.

I’ve had a lot of revelations over the past 8 months…about life, my will to live, what and who I love, what I deserve in this life and the next, what I want to focus on and what I want to leave behind. I’d 100% prefer to not live with bipolar, but if I have to, at least I’ve done a lot of soul searching and self exploration to learn how to manage it.

Hopefully I’ll write again before another four months have passed, but you never know. Either way, know that I’m here, I’m alive, and I’m more than just this disorder.

xo

If you’re interested in learning more about mood disorders, NAMI is a really great resource. If you happen to be a person living with bipolar, DBSA meetings have benefitted me more than I can ever explain. 

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Sleepless


I can’t sleep. It’s the middle of the night before I move out of my childhood home and into an apartment in a city, and I just cannot sleep. I keep wishing Puck or that Fairy King were around to chuck some sleep glitter at my face so I could just have that midsummer night’s dream I’ve been waiting for. Also…pardon the potential inaccuracies, it’s hard to remember the details of Shakespeare’s works when you’re SO EXHAUSTED YOU’RE GOING CROSS-EYED. 

I was super annoyed that I couldn’t sleep, and was laying in silence waiting to be bopped over the head by some sleep fairy, when a pack of coyotes started howling. To a lot of people, that’s weird, unsettling, or maybe even scary. But to me, it sounds like home. I grew up listening to them yip at night, and my dad always used to take me outside to listen to them. There’s something comforting about coyotes: they come from where I come from, with their clever eyes and timid glances, and they really do represent my home. 

So maybe I should reframe this experience: I got to stay up late and hear the coyotes one last time before I move away. I’m sure I’ll be back to visit and hear them outside my window, but it’ll be different. This time is perfect. 

Bye bye, home. Bye, coyotes. I’ll miss you. I think it’s time for sleep. 

I Miss My Snugglemuffin (This Is Why I’m Single)


So we have these things called sleeping porches in sorority houses. No, I don’t sleep outside on a porch, though lately it feels that way. They’re rooms that we sleep in on bunk beds…sort of like in the army. Or prison. And in my house, there’s no insulation. So this morning, I woke up to what felt like sub-zero temperatures (though it probably was about…I dunno, 40 degrees? 50? It’s really cold) and had to shuffle out of bed, all stiff and sad with a frozen nose and whatnot.

It’s hard. Not hard like “I never am warm and also I’m starving and poor” hard, cuz that’s obviously a lot harder than this will ever be. But it’s hard to sleep properly when you literally have to wear a hat to bed to stop the heat escaping through your ears.

Only two weeks. Then I move out and live in an apartment. I’m excited.

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Sure, chubs, have a seat between me and my homework.

But what I most wanted to write about it this: I miss my cat, y’all. He slept in my bed almost the whole time I was home for break. This was my life: snuggle with cat, watch Dr. Who, snuggle with cat some more, realize cat is soooo photogenic and take 10 pictures of cat, take 5 pictures of self with cat, realize he’s cuter by himself, Instagram said pictures of cat, snuggle cat more because who’s a pretty boy?, have lunch with best friend/girlfriend Chloe, go home and watch Shahs of Sunset with Chloe, snuggle cat, cat loves Chloe, go to dinner with Chloe (because food is always on our minds), come home and snuggle with cat.

Basically, guys, I can’t get to sleep because Mickey isn’t laying on my feet as I drift into dreamland. He’d lay across both my feet and purr so violently that it was like a mini foot massage. I miss that. I miss my snugglemuffin.

Help.

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He’s pretty cute. Sometimes he poses like a weirdo.

Outside My Window, Something Seranades Me


 

Is this you? Are you this?

Dear weird owlet/cat/small child outside my window,

First of all, what are you? You are making a strange squealing/squeaking/(dare I say) burping noise that I can’t properly identify you by. This species ambiguity is freaking me out.

Also, why must you make this noise outside my window? Like…RIGHT outside my window? Every single night this week, it’s been “squeal/squeak/burp” over and over and over until I have to practically blast The Strokes to drown you out. But once they’re blasting, sleep is out of the question since The Strokes are louder than you anyway.

See how difficult you are making my life?

Maybe you could move to a different tree/shrub/hole in the ground. And hopefully you aren’t a small child, because that’s creepy and dangerous – you could be eaten by a coyote or owl or something even scarier, like Katy Perry. I’ve heard she shoots babies with her whipped cream gun bra.

With all due respect, I ask you to shut up.

GoodNIGHT,

Cappy