*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.*
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:
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:
[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. ]
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.
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.
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.
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 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