Be You

There is nothing wrong with you. You are a beautiful soul. There is nothing more beautiful or deserving of life’s gifts than you. Forget what society has told you. Maybe your parents or your doctor, or maybe even your spouse has told you that there is something wrong with you. You speak out of turn. You are rude. You don’t act like the other children. You don’t pay attention like you should. You’re a piece of shit. Forget them. They have their own issues to face. We all do. Don’t let their judgement destroy you. This is your life. Your story. You are an amazing being, unique and special. Like no other. Maybe there are things about you that other’s have deemed “less desirable” – that is because they are idiots. The things about you that are the most out of place, the most unique – those qualities are YOU. They should be celebrated. Anyone who disagrees is an asshole and should be ignored. Don’t let them influence you. Love you. Love yourself more than anything else in the world. There is no greater gift than self-love and you deserve it. Take a look in the mirror and look at the beauty that is you. For all your weirdness and eccentricities, you are a glorious piece of work. Don’t try to fit in. Stand out. Be weird. Be you.

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Who is Insane?

I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder almost a year ago. I was hospitalized for nearly a month in the psych ward. I had a complete psychotic break. I had hallucinations and grandiose thoughts – a classic manic episode. I started a blog just before my episode went into full swing. My writings in the days leading up to my hospitalization reveal a bit of what was going on in my head at the time. I think a lot of what I had to say was real, it was true. I still believe most of what I had to say. So, what does it all mean?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about mental illness. Thinking about what it means to be bipolar. Thinking about the emotions I go through. Thinking about what’s wrong with me. And what’s right. How I don’t believe there is anything wrong with anyone who has a mental illness. We’re really just sensitive people, aren’t we? So many people – I read their stories about self-harm, suicide attempts, struggles with their medication. Why? Why do we have to suffer?

I seem to be happy by most accounts. My coworkers think I have it together. My family thought I had it together too – that is until I lost my shit and had to be hospitalized almost a year ago. The truth is, I’m hurt. I’m scarred. I’m scared. I feel lonely and sad a lot of the time. I don’t have many friends, and that may be my fault. I’ve been dramatic and I’ve been told I’m cold. The truth is, I feel like I have a lot of love to give, I just don’t always show it. I want people to know that I have a big heart. I think a lot of us with issues do. That’s why we’re “damaged” – we’re so sensitive to the world around us. The hurt, the suffering. It hurts us to see other people in such pain.

Why would “god” make the world so hard? I guess that’s how I came to believe that good and evil are really just silly notions. God and devil – they are really one in the same. Whatever has caused all this beauty in the world – it’s also caused a lot of pain. I don’t consider myself a religious person, but I do believe in “something” that created all of this – the good and the bad. He made us this way for a reason, now we just need to figure out why.

I think those of us that have been put on medication, told we’re “different”, somehow odd – we’re special. We see the world differently, and that’s not a bad thing. The real issue is that society tries to force us to fit their definition of normal. I say fuck ’em. What do they know? Who are they to say that what you see and believe is wrong? Maybe you just see things they cannot. Maybe the hallucinations are visions – maybe you are meant to see them. They serve a purpose. I don’t know if that’s true – but it certainly could be, couldn’t it?

I’m writing a memoir about my bipolar disorder and the time I spent in the hospital. The themes haven’t all emerged yet, but I hope to get people thinking about what it means to be insane. Maybe we’re not so crazy after all. Maybe it’s the rest of the world with the problem. We are the visionaries, we are the ones with unique insights. We have gifts they cannot imagine. We are special indeed.

Welcome Back

I took a break from blogging because it was affecting other areas of my life – like finding a job. I wanted to be so open and honest with the world, I decided practicality was of little importance. I changed my mind when a job I dearly wanted ended up not happening after they presumably read my rantings. So, I took down the blog and kept to myself. Now I’ve found a job and my life is back on track. Still, I feel I must be more discrete, and so I started this new blog – the title is no longer my name and I feel like I can be more free with my thoughts. I want to share my story – the story of being hospitalized for a bipolar episode. The journey that got me there, and the journey to recovery – the journey to becoming whole again.

I thought I was experiencing a spiritual awakening – I was certain of it. Look back to the April archives and you’ll see what I mean. Then, one night it happened – I went fully insane. I was seeing shadows, and then even more hallucinations – a helicopter crashed in the front yard, a two dimensional figure waving at me. I was hearing voices too – I thought I was communicating with friends and family through my thoughts – projecting them out to the world. They were speaking back to me too…only they weren’t. It was all part of a manic episode, or so they say. Who decides what crazy is, anyways? Have they ever experienced what we go through? I doubt it. They cannot understand what it feels like to have an episode so intense it requires nearly a month of hospitalization.

Since I’ve been out it’s been difficult for me to move forward, to feel like me again. Surely I will never be the same again. Something like that changes your life forever. Your perspective is forever changed. You see the world differently. You see yourself differently.

I’m feeling more whole now – but I must admit I miss the mania – the sense of oneness with the world. I’m trying to incorporate some of those thoughts into my thinking now. I want to feel as free as I did before the insanity. I thought I had the world all figured out. I thought I was a prophet, and my words were prophetic. Now I am a mere mortal. Working 9-5. Just getting by and living life. I want to feel the magic again, without all of the insanity. I am trying to grasp at it, but it escapes me. It will be a balancing act – maintaining sanity while attempting to recapture the magic of it.

Day 1

On May 1st I watched the sunrise while sitting on the ledge of the window in my new stark-white room. I sat on the wide windowsill, my legs perched upon it. The sky looked different, like a bluish purple color. Indigo. It reminded me of book I came across years ago, about indigo children – a new generation of children with amazing powers and abilities. Was this the Indigo sky? Are we the Indigo children? But, I’m not a child. I pondered these thought as I looked out at the sky. I returned to my bed and sat in the same upright position with my knees to the sky. I buried myself in the blanket. Like a frightened child I sat with the blanket completely over me. I wasn’t afraid of the dark; I found the cocoon comforting. Inside the blanket that earthy, organic smell enveloped me. It was as if I was in a chrysalis and I would emerge a beautiful butterfly – or at least a beautiful and compassionate human-being.

I felt like that day was the first day of the new world. A more loving and compassionate world existed just outside the hospital walls, if only I could escape. Can we call this “one” I asked aloud. I nodded yes to my own question. I thought it was day 1 of the new world. It was a fresh start. All day long I asked everyone I encountered, nurses, patients, and doctors – “did you see the sunrise?” It was breathtaking. “Out of this world,” I proclaimed.

Then, looking out on the neighborhood behind the hospital I saw a house. It was a grand house, filled with many window and rooms. It was a modern design, something I’d always admired. It was the grandest house in the neighborhood. It towered over the houses on either side. It was the house I had always dreamed of, “Is that my house? Do I live there?” My intuition told me yes, and so I believed that was my home. Or, at least, it could be and it would be in another reality plane.

I felt so much love for everyone and everything. Well, everyone but the people who were trying to get me to take medication. I thought they were trying to silence me and change the course of history. I believed they wished to harm me, and I feared for my life. I already believed Doctors had killed me in the ER when my heart stopped beating. I didn’t trust them at all. Each time they tried to give me medication I refused. I thought the Doctors were not real Doctors, they were simply projections I had imagined, with names that sounded like Charlton and bed-wetter. “These are not real Doctors,” I openly proclaimed.

They Doctors wanted to make it easy, to make me sleep, to make me stable, but I wanted none of it. I felt I had been enlightened, surely they wouldn’t understand. They could not see the world through my lens, and they weren’t interested in trying. I had been violent and aggressive and they needed to sedate me. I didn’t think I needed drugs, all I needed was some time. I would wail in the night, screaming and crying. I was fighting for my reality, for my vision of a less material world and a less medicated society. I wanted to create something new. A world where people helped one and other, where jobs were no longer needed. I was dreaming of a commune – a place where friends and family helped each other, where everyone enjoyed meals together. We would sing and dance and celebrate life each and every day. This was not the reality the Doctors had in mind.

All night long I looked at the limited number of vehicles in the parking lot. Some of them seemed familiar. I thought they were my rescue crew, waiting for the cloak of darkness to move me to someplace new. I thought the problem was that I looked dead. I thought they needed to move me at night, so I would go unnoticed by the government, or by other people. I looked like a monster, or a zombie, I thought. Would they be frightened of me? I believed I could not be resurrected again until I could leave the hospital. I was patient all night long. Eventually I clothed myself in the blanket and began singing an REM song in my head, “it’s the end of the world as we know….I feel fine….I feel fine.” I was in so much pain and had such fear that I was rotting, of dying. Shadows of darkness crept into my mind and I had a long night of singing and praying before the sun rose again.

Getting Back to Normal

It’s been almost two months since I left the hospital. I’ve battled many mixed feelings and loads of confusion. What caused my breakdown? Will it happen again? Will I ever be “normal”? All of these questions enter my mind on a daily basis.

I’m not really sure how to explain my breakdown to people. It was truly insane. I had come to believe my intuition was the true guide – stronger than reality. If I nodded, I believed that was a sign of truth. I believed I was reincarnated and that I was a time traveler. I believed the people around me were people I already knew – even if they looked different. They could be a different sex, or a different race, but I “knew” who they were. I could feel it and I trusted my feelings even as they betrayed me. I was trapped inside my own mind, believing what I wanted regardless of what was in front of me.

I lost my ego – my sense of self. I no longer cared about me, I was willing to die for my truth, unaware that my truth was not truth at all. It was delusional thinking. I believed I was taking a stand, a stand against drugs. I refused medication so they took me to court and had me certified insane. That gave them the power to inject me with drugs. Left with no choices, I chose to make a scene. I screamed. I cried. I sobbed. I drooled. I was horrified that they could give me drugs against my will. I could not accept it.

I don’t believe it is fair to inject someone with drugs against their will. I was not going to harm anyone. I just wanted my freedom. I wanted to make my own decisions about my care, but they would not allow that. I had become too insane to be trusted. They couldn’t trust me. I couldn’t trust me. It was a scary time.

I’m not sure if I’ll have another episode or not. I feel “normal” now – although I am still taking medication. I’m being more cooperative. I don’t want another breakdown. It was too hard on me and too hard on my family. That much pain and suffering is not worth it.

I know everything happens for a reason, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense when you’re in the middle of it. I’ve tried being mad at myself but that doesn’t help. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t understand or comprehend that I was acting insane. It felt too real.

Another poem

hands tremble and shake

I wonder if it is too late

to turn back the hands of time

press the rewind

to a time when my mind was mine

I liked it just fine

fine until it betrayed me

once it decided I could no longer just be

when being me means being mean

confusion sets in and it is all you see

once you get a label

society sees you as unable

I am still here

despite their fear

if I can only steer clear

my true voice, they will hear

remove the layers

peel back the skin

look within

it’s still me

fighting for a chance to be seen

they will not listen to what you know

they don’t realize they are shallow

put a label on it, give the proper dosage

mask the soul within

make sure she doesn’t sin

I will not have it

this is my life to live

no more drugs

breathe life into the lungs

A Poem

darkness creeps into my eyes

battling the light for what’s wise

scared to keep them closed

not seeing life – more like the emperor’s new clothes

naked and exposed, waiting to be hosed

looking for a punishment for a crime I did not commit

I’m confused and sick

looking around for a cure, hoping I’m not next to get a prick

injecting fluids against my will

making my soul feel ill

for my right to be free someone had to kill

now I’m standing numb, no freedom here

crying and hoping someone will hear or feel

feel my pain, inside my brain

nothing here for me to gain

freedom is free to be

I look around and all I see

people held against their will, just like me

the brain is a mystery

no one understands it fully

drugs play with my brain chemistry

is it worth it for a chance to see differently?

I just want to be