the worst part of being bipolar (*for me)

*disclaimer: this is probably the most raw and honest I’ve ever been in this blog.  And it’s actually really embarrassing to talk about these things. (I mean, I refer to myself in the third person multiple times and that in and of itself is embarrassing.)  I’m terrified of people judging me, but I’ve assessed the risk and I feel as though this may provide a window of insight into a really severe (sometimes deadly) struggle of those that battle with bi-polar disorder. It is not meant to be a “pity party” or a cry for help or special treatment, I’ve just discovered that extreme honesty is one of the many things that keeps me healthy.*

 

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Wow. So…it’s been a while.

It’s harder than I thought to have a blog specifically about being bi-polar.  (I feel like there is a lot more to my life than just my brain chemistry issue.)  To be honest, I have found myself pretty stumped when it comes to posting a new entry…I think I’ve just been in a creative rut in general.

It has been said that great writing comes from your most authentic place…

I have just been questioning what that “authentic place” is in me.

I’ve been somewhat going through an identity crisis.

[So yeah I guess I have something “bi-polar” to write about now…]

I think that being bi-polar can really fuck with your sense of identity.

Basically, I have two extreme “modes” of being (manicky/ depressed), in addition to a few other modes of being, in the case that I am not extremely high or extremely low (including what I call “white mania” and “the little grey cloud”.) Sometimes I feel like I am 4 or 5 different people, and because of my brain chemistry I don’t really know which one is my “authentic self.”  This is such a hard realization to come to, let alone share with all of the internet.  And it’s really hard to explain.  I’ll try anyways, for the sake of anyone it might help:

M O D E    O N E:

Ok.  So, “Manicky” Genevieve is electric.  Magical, even.  She devours books like gourmet meals and words come to her as though they’re being whispered in her ear by the ancient poets.  Social, intuitive, witty… conversation flows steady and people can get swept away in the current of her charm.  She eats and breathes poetry and art and people.  She can sleep when she’s dead.  She’s superwoman.  She’ll pick up your dry cleaning and bring you lunch in between 3 separate coffee dates and Target and Post Office runs.  She can be mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time.  She’s the storm before the crash.  She’s epic.  And she kind of knows it.

Here are some images from my Pinterest that help me capture what it feels like to be Manicky:

manicky 1

manicky 2

manicky 3

manicky 4

 

M O D E     T W O:

“Depressed” Genevieve is… uneventful.  Muted, even.  She sleeps the day away because dreaming is like watching TV but without the effort it takes to choose a show.  If she makes it out of bed…she keeps to herself and says very little.  Apathetic, cold, cut off… conversations are barely sustained and people can feel shut out by her once fierce and intentional love.  She has no opinions.  No fire in her glazed-over eyes.  She barely has the energy to muster up her (mostly fake) smiles.  She has no hope, no gumption, no motivation, no reason to aspire to the greatness she once thought was possible.  She has foggy memories of feeling talented, feeling worthy, feeling anything at all…but it’s as if those Harry Potter Dementors have robbed her of her colors and sucked the soul and out of her.  And she always feels like it will never come back.  Like she never had a real soul in the first place.  It must have all been an illusion.. just her brain chemistry firing off in bursts of confetti… She feels talentless, idealess, opinion-less, worthless.

I have images for this, too:

depressed 1

depressed 2

depressed 3

d4

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[Those are my two most extreme states of being.

“Manicky” Genevieve shows herself very rarely.

I’m bi-polar II, so I am more likely to operate in varying states of depression. YAY. ]

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M O D E    T H R E E:

A good portion of the time I would say I experience the “little grey cloud” Genevieve… she is “depressed lite.”  (I would say I’m currently operating in this mode as I write this.) I can usually function pretty well…get up (at the last possible minute), go to the gym, get a few things done, maybe read and write a little.  I can push myself to pay attention when people speak to me and can hold a pretty good intellectual conversation.  I might be a little pessimistic or mopey…on a good day I’m kind of morbid and sarcastic in a funny way. I can force myself to act happy and I try really hard to love people and hide the fact that I’m just generally unmotivated and sad for no reason. Every once in a while my extroversion will kick in and I will catch a fresh breeze of energy and genuine happiness that is sustainable for a few hours, or for a day if I really stretch it out.  I spend a lot of time reading other peoples’ thoughts, feeling inadequate, and scrolling on social media.  It’s kind of like Eeyore…but with small bouts of genuine happiness sprinkled in there every once in a while.

M O D E    F O U R:

My favorite me is what I call “white mania” Genevieve.  Hands down.  It’s like a less frantic, healthier version of “Manicky” Genevieve.  I experience this maybe once every few weeks for a length of a few days to a week.  It’s kind of like being in a constant state of tipsy-ness…Like how you would feel after a couple glasses of wine.  I am social, creative, productive, more fluid.  Life feels like a blank canvas—-No—-more like a canvas that I’ve been going to town on and I’m really proud of myself because I’m creating a fucking beautiful work of art…like it’s going to be a masterpiece and I know it.  When I read poetry, it’s like I can smell and taste the words; they hop off of the page and dance around in my mind, inspiring new thoughts and fragments of poems and songs.  I feel like I’m the most intentional, the most thoughtful, the most vibrant version of myself.  I literally feel high on life.  And I have a much easier time with things like self-compassion and a sense of self worth.

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But here’s the kicker.

The worst part of being bi-polar:

You are almost always confused as to which one of the “modes” you operate in is actually YOU.

So it creates this constant second-guessing of oneself and one’s identity…almost always having a tragic detriment on your sense of self worth, and on your motivation to keep fighting and keep trying to discover yourself.

I know I should love myself and respect myself…and I want to…

BUT WHICH ONE OF THESE “selves” AM I?

Am I just talented and personable in the times when I’m manic?

Is my confidence just stemming from my “grandiose sense of self” that my brain has created?

What if I’m just the depressed ball of nothingness with no true and authentic self?

What if I’m fooling myself and everyone around me?

What if what I thought was my personality is actually just a construct of floods of dopamine in my brain?

These are all thoughts I wrestle with sometimes.

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You can’t fully love yourself if you don’t fully know yourself.

And that, to me, is the thing that sucks the most out of all of the things that suck about Bi-Polar disorder.  You don’t stay in one “mode” long enough to feel at home in your own head.  The fight in your thought life can be exhausting.  And sometimes, tragically, it can be deadly.

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Unfortunately, I can’t offer much significant advice on this subject, because I feel like I am just now beginning to figure it out myself.  I do know a few things that have helped me.  Feel free to message me on Facebook and we can chat 🙂

To all of you that have met and love (one or more versions of) me,

Thank you.

Thank you for your love…for your words of encouragement…for your patience with me as I fight this battle and learn to truly love myself.

Next time we hang out, if you want, you can ask “So which mode are you in right now?” and I will do my best to try and assess my situation.

Oh, and sorry this post has been kind of depressing.  Love y’all. Thank you so much for reading this whole thing.

HAVE A GREAT DAYYYYYYYYYYYY

17 Comments

  1. This was far from “depressing”. I love the openness you have in your blogs, G. To be honest, I recognize each of these parts of you in myself. I am not bi-polar, but I am someone who lives in a world where I am in constant battle. A battle with myself, my world, and my spirit. I just trust that in the chaos of my mind and emotions that God is keeping me. Jesus died for me, so the least I can do is trust that there is purpose for the way I am. As far as who the real Genevieve is…you are all of them. Just like a beautiful picture, all the different colors and strokes used make up a masterpiece that can’t be duplicated. YOU are a created masterpiece of God’s love, mystery, beauty, and purpose. YOU are beyond amazing…and whatever mode you are in each day is just another wonderful stroke in the amazing and unique portrait of YOU. I love you, Sis. Be strong…keep sharing…and know that God will always have you. SMOOCHES!!

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I can relate on a level, and I can only imagine how difficult it must be. But they truly are all the beautiful parts of the one and only you. ❤

  2. Hello, Genevieve. Ailyn forwarded this to me yesterday. I haven’t stopped thinking about you. What you wrote made me sad and happy. Sad for the obvious reasons, sad that it didn’t skip you. Happy, very happy, that at this young age you have the awareness, that you are willing to share, that you are accepting. What you wrote is a profound description of the things i have heard my sister, only her realization came at 40. ONLY THE IGNORANT will judge you for the bp! I hope you always remember that i love you. May God continue to grant you wisdom for sharing on your blog and helping others. Much success!

  3. Beautiful! I love that you aren’t afraid to bare your soul even in the current “depressed lite” stage in which you find yourself. I think we all have modes of operation like the ones you’ve described whether we are bi-polar or not. It’s not always easy to love and embrace our darkness, but there IS beauty in every part of you. Thanks for sharing it with the world!

  4. and what if y-ou are “all- of the above”…
    embrace yourself whole…that’s what Go-d does…completely, acceptance, love unconditionally…forg-ivin-g —…—embracing the “good and the bad”…complete–ly…no buts about it…we are never the same, always evolving…(like you never step into the same river twice thing)…
    and the real you is not in your personality, the real you is what remains forever…right now you are learning…that’s good.
    hope this helps. Learn to separate the “behavior” from the person. Some modes may be easier to live with than others, that’s the learning part of the unconditional love.

    that’s my- two -cents.

    love tt

  5. I know this feeling. Part of borderline personality disorder is a very screw up sense of self. I spend so much time trying to be who i have to fit in and be liked, i don’t even know how to think when i am alone. It’s scary. I have no advice, but sometimes its encouraging just to know you aren’t the only one.

  6. I’m just finding out that I have this and am so happy I found your blog. I relate to this so much. I was just discussing this with my counselor about how I feel I don’t really know my true identity because I worry that I am in one of those states and can’t really assess my true nature and also worry that I am just this lifeless depressed person. So yeah anyway I appreciate your openness! Keep writing!

  7. I found your blog via Instagram. I have Biolar I. Been diagnosed for 7 years. Hospitalized three times. Manic three times. Depressed three times. I love the mania. I’m so alive, so creative, so productive. But it is so destructive. I charge thousands of dollars to my credit cards and I am incredibly hypersexual. As much as I love the mania it is exhausting. The depression sucks. The worst is the empty feeling. Nothing excites me. And the insomnia is so draining. But thank god for medicine. What do you do to cope? Medicine? Exercise? Holistic measures?

    Be well.

    Krystal

    1. Hey Krystal, thank you for sharing all of that. Wow.

      I have been hospitalized twice so far. I cope by being extremely open about the disorder with my friends and family. I also focus on living a holistic lifestyle, with exercise included three times a week. Hope that helps!!

  8. Hmmmm…honestfaithwalk is right. So far it seems to me that you’re pretty normal, maybe even better than what others consider to be “normal.” Why? Because you dare to be honest about yourself with everyone. That takes guts. I have given this a great deal of thought… feelings are good. Jesus made them – heck, even he has them, but they don’t make up everything he is and they dont rule him. He never meant for them to rule us either. A person completey ruled by emotion is unstable. On the other extreme, a person void of any emotion is unstable too. The Bible tells us to walk by faith; not by sight. Why? Because our eyes, which provide our sense of sight, are easily fooled. We are to have faith (belief) in God who changes not, and in what he says, which is pure truth, not in what we see, or feel. I dont know about you, but I find that to be a very comforting and anchoring truth that I cling to for dear life! Easier said than done, right? While it is true that feelings help us experience life and the divinely gifted ability to empathize, let’s not forget that feelings/emotions can be manipulated. We must use our head to guard our heart, but when our head isn’t chemically functioning on all cylinders, that’s hard to do. As I see it, your physical disease is manageable, and you are taking responsibility in doing so, bravo! So don’t be so hard on yourself. Have faith in God, and live one day at a time, as it comes, the good and the bad, relying on the Lord to see you through it all!

  9. I just started to discover the many faces of my bf with newly diagnosed bp and your post is remarkable in that it parallels, somewhat, what I am seeing in him.

    Beautiful Blue and Sullen Grey are the ‘hims’ I know so far.

    Beautiful Blue isn’t even manic. He is loving and sweet and INTERESTED in life and good things. I believe it is the authentic him.

    Sullen Grey loves me but pushes me so hard to leave. Grey knows how to press my buttons and each time pushes that much harder to test my limits(?) or to do that depressed ‘chase me off’ bit.

    When my bf opens the door, I can now recognize who is greeting me. It is in the colour of his eyes, whether he will look me in the face, if he smiles, how he touches me or doesn’t.

    As I write this, it occurs to me that he may be manic as the ‘him’ I would call Black Bart. Black Bart should not be touched, crossed, or otherwise engaged as he is going to bite and can’t help himself. Bart will not ever even look my way, he rushes about and barks and grumbles. It’s not happy manic at all but it’s productive in a very agressive way.

    I love and want to be with all of the hims and this is my challenge. Convincing all of the ‘hims’ that I will be here for them all.

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