Bipolar 2 With A Dash Of Rapid Cycling

Let's talk Mental Illness. Bipolar plays a huge part in my life and I'm always looking for better ways to understand what it is that I am feeling. I found this article while wandering around the internet: Loving Someone With Rapid Cycling Bipolar and it really resonated with me. The part that really stood out was how she compared herself, and her marriage, to the movie "50 First Dates."  I wish I could explain how much this makes sense to me. If you have seen the movie, you would know that the character played by Drew Barrymore has amnesia and she had to be reminded of her life every morning because her brain would reset every night. I don't have amnesia, but I feel like I need reminders on a daily basis of some of the most basic things.
My cycles can be rapid or sometimes they can last for weeks. I can even go through long periods of normalcy, which is always a pleasant surprise. It's kind of like an old friend coming to visit and staying a while. I like to have my down time but staying busy definitely helps. That's probably why I do so much. Just in my Star Wars hobby alone I play a lot of different roles. I'm second in command for our squad, PR Officer for the Garrison, PR Officer and Event Coordinator for the Base, and I'm a Hive leader. When I write it all out like that it makes me feel exhausted! To be honest though, it doesn't seem like a lot. It only feels like a lot when my depression kicks in.

When it comes to my depression I feel like such a failure. I fall into a feeling of despair that feels like it will never end. I also feel lost and can end up spending hours just sobbing. I usually can't move either. I will sit in the same spot for hours. I don't need a reason for it to happen and most of the time it just happens out of the blue. One moment I can be laughing and the next I might get quiet because my brain decided it was time to be sad. It's absolutely exhausted. I try very hard to push myself through it because I know my family depends on me to go to work, or just perform daily functions like going to the grocery store, but when it hits, it hits hard and it's debilitating.
How I Cope 

Taking selfies actually help. I know it might sound stupid but they force me to smile and when I see a picture of myself I realize I'm not the monster I feel like inside my head. I use the cat filter on Instagram a lot because I wish I could actually be a cat!

I still do not use medication. I spent a period of about 10 years trying to use different medications and nothing would work. At one point I even ended up in the ER because of a bad reaction. I stay away from alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. I don't completely cut out sugar but I don't consume more than maybe 20 grams a day usually. I basically stay away from consumable stimulants and this seems to help a lot.

Meditation is also key. I'm not even going to try to brag about being some healthy, meditating, mental health hero. I'm far from it. I do try to mediate as often as I can. I even went out and bought over-the-ear head phones to better block out any other noise going on in my house. I can't tell you how imperative it is to meditate for me. Mediation (to me) is not about clearing your mind and making it empty, it's about allowing yourself to be in that moment, listen to what your inner voice is saying, and being gentle with yourself.

And like I said in that last sentence I try to be gentle with myself. I come from a generation where I was taught that tough love was the only way to live, including with yourself. Now that I'm older and a little wiser, I have found that the more gentle I am with my thoughts and how I care for myself, the better I feel and the better I treat everyone around me. 

I also surround myself with beautiful humans. All of my friends are some of the most amazing people I know. They are talented, kind, and very compassionate. I love my weirdos. My partner Mary is the most loving and caring person I could have ever asked for. I removed myself from negativity and those who thought making fun of me was okay, regardless of how harmless they thought the joking was. I've accepted the fact that I, myself, can be sensitive and that is okay.
Unfortunately due to the repeated trauma that I have encountered I may never be 100% okay. I have accepted that. My journey will always have hiccups for sure. I know that as long as I remember to take care of myself (even when I forget) I'll be the okay-est as I can be.

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