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.)
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.
HAVE A GREAT DAYYYYYYYY