no really let me kiss your feet it’s totally normal

My roommates and I were having a Gatsby-themed party at my house that night.  There I was, in all of my frenzied gloriousness, dressed to the nines in yoga pants and a sports bra with a 1920s flapper dress flopped over it all to complete the ensemble.  My haphazard, five-days-no-wash, purple curls were thrown in a “bun” on the side of my head.  A sequined/feathered Party City headband dug itself into my forehead/temples, the feather dangling next to my right eyebrow.  I had slept 7 hours in the last 4 days and my brain was the Mall of Georgia on Black Friday: hectic, high-traffic, a million things happening at once.  Chaos.

_____________________

A glimpse of that day prior to the party: I stopped 3 strangers on the street to take selfies with me, videotaped myself singing a very serious song about my yoga pants, invited the employees of Party City to my house, cried hysterically about my parents’ divorce (24 years prior) in the parking lot of Whole Foods, and carried on multiple conversations with Siri (most of which I screen-shotted because I thought them to be brilliant.)

IMG_6073
(from the actual day of the party)
IMG_6039
yes this is from that actual day and yes i looked lovely out in public like that

______________________

That night, while the party was bumping and people were carrying on upstairs, I was downstairs in the Basement of Doom and Confusion with a few trusted (THANK GOD) friends of mine that were already familiar with my illness.  They knew about me being bipolar, yes, but they had never seen me quite like this.  I had never seen me quite like this. But I definitely learned a few things…

How to Scare the Ever Loving Shit Out of The People That Love You:

1. Weep to them about how “HUMANS ARE NOT COMPUTERS”

2. Laugh creepily at self immediately after crying and then go back to crying.

3. Blabber something about how you “feel like Jesus” (Yes, Kanye, you might be bipolar.)

4. Literally kiss people’s feet.  They’ll love that shit.

5. Flail your body in as many directions as possible so everyone can see you’re “not afraid of raw expression.”

6. Exclaim (out loud) that you are, in fact, horny.

7. Intermittently scream “DON’T JUDGE ME!” while performing 1-6.

Yeah I pretty much had no idea that I was experiencing my first full-blown, manic episode.

_____________

1 week-long stay in a hospital,

50 mg of lamotrigine per day,

and 5 months of near-seclusion later,

here I am.

I’m learning to trust my mind again.  At one point I was terrified to read anything or open my journal for fear that anything slightly creative-seeming would send me whirling back to madness.  I actually thought I would just stop being myself, and morph into this creepy, Virginia Woolf-y, frantic, mess of a woman, forever kissing reality goodbye. I read multiple books on my illness, feverishly searching for a five-step checklist on “How to Get One’s Shit Together After Being Hospitilized With a Manic Episode.”  I didn’t find that particular list, but I was reassured by The Bipolar Champion of All Champions, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, that “clarity and logic are perfectly compatible with the ebbings and flowings of manic depressive illness and its associated temperaments” (from Touched With Fire, an excellent resource on bipolar disorder in case you’re interested.) So I wasn’t doomed to constant insanity for the rest of my earthly life, just temporary, unexpected bursts of it (yayyyy….).

I’m in this period of my life where I’m learning all aspects of who I am, even the most monster-ish ones, and slowly but progressively learning to accept, and maybe even love, each piece.  Lots of 20somethings are in this phase with me.  It’s quite the tedious process.  But it’s a rewarding one.  I specifically feel like I’m finally letting go of the shame that I’ve felt for years for simply being myself. I’m learning to see myself, even my crazy-ass brain, as beautiful.

under the sea

HAVE A GREAT DAYYYYYYYY

16 Comments

  1. genevieve. I laughed and cried. This is a beautiful portrayal of that night, and also of your journey. You are brilliant and brave, and I will keep saying it. I love you, and this,

      1. 7. Intermittently scream “DON’T JUDGE ME!” while performing 1-6.

        LAUGHED out loud. Belly laugh.

  2. I love this. It brought me back to that night and I’m so happy to see how long of a way you have come since then. I remember being so sad that weekend because at one point I legitimately thought that I would never have my friend back, a bit of a selfish thought but an honest one. I’m glad that you can pull from that experience and somehow start to make sense of it. You are so brave for being so honest and I have always loved that about you.

    1. Coco I love you!!! I totally understand that thought. At one point I didn’t think I would come back to myself!! lol. Thank you for loving me. I take pride in you choosing me as a main still to this day. hahaha

  3. My Whoville Sis…gosh, I love you even more now. Your spirit is ALWAYS captivating, but in your being so “naked” to the rest of us I have such an even greater appreciation for YOU. Regardless of where your emotions or mind takes you, you are one of the most sweetest and sincere people I know. The love that God has filled you with shines brighter in every situation. I pray for your Sis, for your strength, bravery, and the encouragement you are passing on to others in just being YOU. You rock, Girl! Be blessed :0)

  4. Hey so we met once or twice at tiffs house…totally ok if you don’t remember that. I just read this and thought I should just send ya these words…hope they are encouraging. Off and on over the last six months you have been someone’s I’ve been praying for. Not knowing much about you, the word freedom kept coming up. This blog is another step in that freedom. Just felt you should know that. You are beautiful and awesome. Honesty and truth are ways to freedom. So I just hope you continue to have great support and a willingness to let life be what it is…our journeys are meant to grow us and shape us not to make us shameful or cowards. Keep being courageous. Keep walking in freedom. Thanks for having the balls to write about your shit.
    Nikki

  5. Oh my dear sweet wild Genevieve……..I read your entry yesterday……copied it and read it again……I have friends who have experienced this……and I have not known that you were going through this challenging time…….
    It is very brave to share it……because there are many who are supportive in your quiet times….and are frightened by the outbursts of passion and energy…….
    There is a wonderful movie with Richard Gere, called “Mr. Jones” and he captures something of the shift of energy in this kind of experience. I have watched it many times.

    I wish you peace…joy……..hope………and pray you find what most helps you through this. There is no judgment in this family…..each of us has our own “strangeness” …..our own moods…….our creative bursts……and our time of isolation in between…….whether we name it or not………sensitive people………especially artists……..can’t help but FEEL everything.
    We overload………

    You will never know how your writing about it may help others. Bringing it out in the open helps…and definitely lightens the burden of it…….Go for it!

    You are much loved……my dear!
    Hang in there! The moments unfold like jewels……and we learn to be grateful for every one….

    1. I absolutely LOVE your family 🙂 I’ve always felt kindred to it. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my words. You are such a beautiful soul and your poetry and expression are uniquely divine! Thank you for the encouragement. It means so much to me.

  6. Dear Girl, you are an amazing spirit. You have no idea how many you are helping with your stories. I took my girls to see Frozen and wanted to share you post about how you compared the movie with bipolar, but I couldn’t find it. Am I missing something? I thought it was written so perfectly. 🙂

  7. Genevieve- I just came upon your post after reading your “Frozen” article…Thank you so much for telling your story. I can so relate. A year and a half ago, I had an episode that left me humbled. Sometimes I have to take the next best step, moment by moment. I wish you the best in your healing process!

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