November 15, 2012

We all deserve a medal.

I'm depressed and anxious this week, so I'm kind of phoning it in.
I've been reading a lot of Carrie Fisher lately.  She's insane.  And I love it.  Today I finished the book "Wishful Drinking" and found this gem at the end in the author's note:
 "One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of duty in Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you're living with this illness and functioning at all, it's something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medications one has to ingest."
There.  There's your medal.  Wear it Proudly.

And so I posted that on facebook.  I hope mental illness doesn't start to dominate my li...  Hahahahahahahaha!  It's already taken over in here, I'm just letting it spill out now.  I wonder how many will unfriend me as I get more and more obnoxious...  Because of course that's where my brain goes.  I will lose all my friends and be alone.  Forever.  I'm breaking a little this week...

November 14, 2012

One of those days.

          Do you ever have one of those days where you've been doing so well for so long and then you crack a little and try to hold it in and keep pretending everything's Lifesavers and M&M's but the crack keeps getting bigger until you finally have to admit you're not invincible?  Me neither.

November 12, 2012

"Coming Out" with Mental Illness

                Yesterday I decided that it was time to put my money where my mouth was and tell people about my mental illness.  On facebook.  For the whole world to see.  This is what I wrote:

My Dear Friends,
There's something I'd like to tell you. It's been a little over a year since I checked myself into the local psych ward for a three day stay. Not a lot of you knew about that. I suffer from depression and anxiety and have since I was 12 or 13. It's a big part of my life and a big part of who I am and where I am today. And I've decided it's time to be frank about it. It's not a result of sin. It's not a result of lack of will power or laziness. I can't just snap out of it. It is a result of my brain chemistry, and I am no longer ashamed of my brain chemistry. I am not ashamed of my trials. If you think less of me now that you know this about me, that's your loss. But I want you to know about it so you can ask questions, so we can get rid of the stigma associated with mental illness, and so maybe I can even help some of you with similar struggles. Talk to me about it. Ask me questions. I've probably heard them before. This is me making lemonade with the most bitter lemon I've ever been handed. A wise woman once said, “If you can claim something, it has far less power over you.” Well I am claiming this. I am claiming my mental illness. I hope you understand.
With Love,

And it’s absolutely true- “If you can claim something, it has far less power over you!”  I’m a little stunned by the outpouring of love and support.  At the last count, I had 59 “likes”, 28 comments, five private messages, and a text message.  People care.  And I’m so grateful I gave them the opportunity to do so.  And I’m going to keep owning depression!  You hear that, depression?!  YOU DON’T OWN ME!  I’M FREE!!!

November 11, 2012

Nerd Cred Challenged

*Tonight I'm working on another post in my random series about the light at the end and unicorns because I've been intensely depressed all day.  But it's not ready yet, so instead I'm posting a rant from a couple of weeks ago.

                Last night I took a big step.  I decided that it was time for me to start playing Magic the Gathering.  Just casually, mind you.  Just for fun.  I don’t intend to play competitively.  But I AM a nerd (nerd… geek… whatever), and it sounded like a fun game.  So a friend of mine came by and was teaching me how to play.  We were battling and dueling and…  See, I don’t even know the terminology yet.  But I was learning, and we were having fun.  And then my roommate and her friend came into the living room.  And they started laughing.  A mean laugh.  And so I said, “I think you guys should just leave.”  And they said, “Why?”  And I said, “Because you’re being judgy and mean.”  And then they tried to backpedal and pretend they were laughing at something else.  But there was something about the tone of their laughter that hurt. 
                I am not one to hold a grudge.  “Whatever” is kind of my motto in that department.  But today I am still hurt.  I am still angry.  Now you see, I am lucky.  As a nerd, I have never come up against that kind of judgment.  I’ve always loved Star Wars.  To a fairly ridiculous degree.  And nobody has ever given me crap about it.  I mean sure, there have been eye-rolls, but they have primarily been loving eye-rolls.  But now I’m starting to understand why nerds hide.  Why they don’t flaunt their passions.  Why they go to Comicon to spend time with like-minded people.  It’s because people are MEAN. 
                If I wanted to, I could blast that roommate.  Her interests boggle my mind.  Her friendships boggle my mind.  Her hobbies boggle my mind.  I don’t understand what makes her tick.  She’s fairly immature.  But that’s ok.  She is who she is, and it doesn’t bother me!  As long as she doesn’t try to force me to like the same things and do the same things, I couldn’t care less what her interests are.  And I think that’s how it should be.  And because she is immature, I will eventually let it roll off my back.  But for now, I am still hurt.

Owning My Depression like Carrie Fisher

                So, sometimes I get obsessed.  It’s a geek thing.  I go through phases.  This summer it was Stargate.  Earlier this school year, it was Farscape.  Now it’s Star Wars.  Now, at any given time, I still love all of these things.  It’s just that I can’t be actively obsessed with all of them at once.  So I have taken to pinning things on my Star Wars Pintrest Board and watching Carrie Fisher videos on YouTube.  Carrie Fisher was diagnosed as bipolar at the age of 24.  And that was back in the day when they couldn’t even really help you with crap like that.  But now, she owns it.  She talks about it openly.  And I think it will help people.  She says of her mental illness, “If you can claim something, it has far less power over you.”  Someday I hope I can own my mental illness like she owns hers.  She says, "If my life wasn't funny, it would just be true. And that's unacceptable."  And you know what?  I think I might be able to get to that point someday.  I might be able to look at it as funny.  A little.  Someday.  In closing, here’s an apt description of living with mental illness:  “Imagine having a mood system that functions essentially like weather- independently of whatever’s going on in your life. So the facts of your life remain the same, just the emotional fiction that you’re responding to differs.”  My emotional fiction is depressed tonight.  But the fact that I have a great life will remain the same.

November 7, 2012

Depressed? Inevitably.

Inevitability from: Inevitable-  unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary: an inevitable conclusion.

That’s how depression is.  It doesn’t go away.  You don’t “get better.”  You don’t “get over it.”  At least not if you’re me.  So when I feel good for a while- when I’m not continually weighed down by depression- it feels completely normal to return to this state- to depression.  Luckily lately it only lasts for a few hours at a time.  But man, it hurts.  It’s a painful place to be.  It is all I can do to drag myself across campus to my next class.  And then, *poof* it’s gone again.  But it inevitably comes back. 

November 6, 2012

For the love of all that is holy, VOTE!

          We (ok, I'm from the USA- that's the we I mean) are privileged to live in a republic where we can elect our leaders.  Today is that day.  Research your choice carefully.  Understand what they stand for.  And then get out there and VOTE!  If you don't vote, you have no room to complain about the outcome.

"NyQuil" or "Why I would be a great alcoholic."

          Do you ever feel like you're just 100% fed up with being awake?  I did last night.  Starting at around 7:00pm.  I kept it at bay until 8 or so when I finally went to bed.  For the record, I am a night owl- midnight is a fairly early bedtime for me.  Unfortunately I have a loud roommate with an unpleasant voice who woke me at nine. So I took some NyQuil and read for awhile.  Then I took some more NyQuil and finally fell asleep.  I tried to tell myself that NyQuil only lasts for 11 or 12 hours in my system and that I'd have no problem getting up in time for class.  Fifteen.  It lasts for fifteen hours in my system.  When I noticeably staggered on my way to the bathroom after my alarm went off, I decided I would not actually be going to class.  I made it out of bed in time to go to therapy at three pm.  And now I'm tired again.  Luckily.  Because it sure was nice when everything went away and all that was left was the NyQuil.  I wouldn't mind doing that more often.  Which is precisely why I can't.

November 4, 2012

Suck it, Insomnia.

Dear Insomnia,
                I see what you’re planning here, and it’s not going to work.  You and depression are teaming up.  Actually, you, depression, and anxiety are teaming up.  Might I refer you to this letter?  You. Will. Not. Win.  You will not break me.  You may think that 3:42 AM is a victory for you.  I assure you, it’s not.  Remember that time you kept me up for 26 hours straight not too long ago?  Remember how I slept for three or four hours and was fine?  I can do it again if needs be.  Yes, I am exhausted right now.  And I’ve only been up for 19 hours.  And yes I feel completely wired at the same time.  But guess what?  You’re still not going to win.  I’m going to keep living my life whether you like it or not.  So suck it, Insomnia.
Thank you for coming. I hope you get something out of this. I hope you learn about yourself. I hope you get help if you need it or give it if you can.