I was covered in blood, by myself, vodka in hand, head not stopping its endless stream. I was sitting in near darkness, candle burning, blade in one hand and drink in the other. I was better than that, I should’ve been better, I will be better. I need to be sober. Need to stop debasing myself, my own self-ruin. I was trapped in the cage that is my mind, banging against the bars as the innately primal instinctual creature, asking myself all the unanswerable questions. Wondering if it’s all worth it. Continue reading Let It Burn. The Idealistic And Miserable Ravings Of A Self-Professed ‘Mad*’ Woman.
I have a new man in my life. His name is Chandler; he is 8weeks old and absolutely adorable. Introducing him makes me remember kindergarten and doing ‘show and tell’. He is meant to make me more accountable and responsible. Pets are also good for therapy (Animal Assisted Therapy), but all of that doesn’t matter, he is beautiful. My mum has been trying to make me get a dog for weeks, after last night I impulsively accepted a puppy off my boss’ friend, probably the best decision I’ve made in months. Here’s to getting better. He even made me stay home and not drink on a Saturday night because I didn’t want to leave him home alone. Continue reading I Have A New Man In My Life. His Name Is Chandler. Pet Assisted Therapy.
“Cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream”
Welcome, dear hypothetical reader to the reflections of a childlike adult on the bender for booze and bright lights.
Bottles of wine
I swallow the tablet, the sweetness lingering in my mouth, the knowledge that nothing is helping. Continue reading Fornicating On The Altar Of My Own Self-Grandiosity.
Welcome to the Pit. It’s nice to see you again. #HarryHarlow
I followed the white rabbit of hypomania so innocently into the rabbit hole. The rabbit, he had been so inviting, fascinating and alluring. Is the rabbit’s hole the true nature of reality? The hole is infinitesimally deep and complex, filled with my existential thoughts. Continue reading Rocking The Pit Of Despair. How Deep Is The Rabbit Hole?
Don’t let the title scare you away, it’s a mouthful, and yes, yes I am crazy. Normality in society has become this unachievable baseline. I believe that everyone experiences some form of abnormal psychological thought processes at one stage or another in their life. Apparently being abnormal was to demonstrate a significant deviation from accepted behaviour, emotion or thought patterns. The concept of normality is based on a sense of ‘wellbeing’, how is this a completely achievable state of being? No one is completely well all their life, our state of mind always shifting depending on the circumstance.
Does having bipolar disorder make me abnormal? In my opinion no, I perceive it as my ‘normal’ state of mind, I function on a day-to-day basis quite well, better than most actually, I receive high grades at university, work full time and participate actively in social circles, yet my ‘disorder’ by societies standards would make me ‘abnormal’. The perception of normal is dependent on societal standards of the time which vary by person, time, place, culture, and situation. Normality is self-perceived and regulated by each individual, the individuality of normalcy makes everyone abnormal.
OK, my actual point was to look at the fact that society doesn’t automatically correlate geniuses who have a mental illness with being abnormal, as long as their creative works eclipse their madness. This double-standard contradicts society’s perception of normality. In some instances these highly dysfunctional yet creative types aren’t given negative stigmas, the population preferring to believe that ‘anyone’ can be that creative without a mental illness or an abnormal perspective. For me it has become infuriating that people are blissfully unaware that so many of the world’s creative types and leaders suffered or suffer from mental illness. How do so many people with a mental illness become the leaders of so many people? I’ve started to believe that maybe they needed that extra push or mentally different mindset to get where they are. The people I’m talking about are Marilyn Monroe, Florence Nightingale, Edgar Allan Poe, Joan of Arc, Jackson Pollock, Russell Brand, Frank Sinatra, Brittany spears, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Adolf Hitler, Chris Brown, Abraham Lincoln, Beethoven, Michelangelo, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchhill, Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Einstein, DaVinci and Napoléon Bonaparte (to name a few).
“When times are good and the ship of state only needs to sail straight, mentally healthy people function well as political leaders. But in times of crisis and tumult, those who are mentally abnormal, even ill, become the greatest leaders. We might call this the Inverse Law of Sanity”
These forward thinkers and creative types of people suffered from a form of mental illness, so how do we judge ‘normalcy’ in society when we follow the ‘abnormal’ people? It seems that society overlooks the connection that a lot of literature pertaining to history’s brilliant minds is disregarded in its relationship to potential psychoses. Socrates believed that a mental illness gives an already talented individual an edge. Everyone is located at a point on the mental health spectrum, mental health seen as a continuum, there is an association between the higher end of the spectrum and the capacity for a person to have an original thought.
- In Plato’sPhaedrus, Socrates’ second speech he asks “If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the inspired madman”.
- Edgar Allen Poe – “Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence… [and] whether all that is profound, does not spring from disease of thought”Aristotle – “Why is it that all men who are outstanding in philosophy, poetry or the arts are melancholic?”
- Cesare Lombroso – Theorised that a man of genius was essentially a degenerate whose madness was a form of evolutionary compensation for excessive intellectual development.
- Neil Cole (psychiatrist) – “the word associations, puns, flight of ideas, that are an intrinsic part of bipolar disorder in its manic phase, and the reflective thoughts, ruminations and the stripping of life away to the bare essentials that are experienced during the depressive phase, in my view, considerably enhance the artist’s armoury of ideas”. Believing that the ‘genius’ factor hinges on eccentricity.
- “When a superior intellect and a psychopathic temperament coalesce – as in the endless permutations and combinations of the human faculty, they are bound to coalesce often enough – in the same individual, we have the best possible condition for the kind of effective genius”
Mental illnesses can be incredibly destructive; it has to be considered that without obsessive research habits, extreme moods and neurotic drives we wouldn’t have a lot of our scientific knowledge, art and literature. Although not all people with a mental illness are geniuses likewise not all geniuses have a mental illness.
Parting note: Society is extremely hypocritical of mental illness, not stigmatizing it when it becomes beneficial and not classifying it as abnormal. How can we then make clear-cut definitions of being abnormal and normal when it is dependent on the contributions of the person afflicted.
I’ve always thought of people’s bodies as meat suits. We treat and look at ourselves like we are the pre-packaged meat products you buy from the supermarket. Always judging the product to see if it’s the right weight, proportion, undamaged and aesthetically pleasing. Would you buy that cut of meat or make the most out of the one you have? Is it a nice lean cut with little-to-no fat? I was reminded of this when my new swimmers arrived today, it’s been extremely hot in Australia lately, easier to stay in swimmers all day. After putting them on I started to analyse myself like I would a piece a meat, my scars revealed even when wearing shorts, the beginnings of my tan highlighting the white lines making them more prominent. It’s too hot not to wear shorts at the moment; I start to pick at the hem of my shorts, in my mind hoping that they would magically grow a foot longer so that the lady at the supermarket would stop gawking at my leg.
When I wear shorts to the gym, no one stops to stare; they see a healthy energetic person, my scars not determining how they judge me in that particular circumstance. My body consciousness is improving, yet I will always be that scarred pre-packaged meat suit, always getting judged and examined externally. In some instances you become the damaged package goods that nobody wants. Having the scars out in the open allows people to develop an opinion about what type of person you are, believing you to be attention seeking, unstable, unhappy, suicidal, anti-social, a pain seeker, self-absorbed, violent/angry and impulsive.
Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror, caught up in the idea that the person staring back can’t be me. I look puzzled at my body, tormented by the idea that I inflicted so much pain on myself, both physically and mentally. I did this to myself, IT WAS ME. I need to take ownership for that. It’s about getting caught in the trappings of your mind, the deepest darkest place. I sometimes want to yell that I’m not ‘ill’ when people look at me strangely, I’ve always been a highly functional person, relationships, jobs and university study, I’ve always managed, even when depressed or hypomanic.
It has become part of my personal wellness project to detoxify, cleanse and be ok with being imperfectly ‘perfect’. It shouldn’t be scary to be our imperfect selves, why should we avoid the label of ‘imperfection’ as if it’s the plague?! It’s useless to believe you can obtain ‘perfection’ or the current perception of perfection. The perception is wholly based on the current idealisations of the society, completely dependent on your milieu. My aim this week is to embrace my imperfections.
♪♪“Love your curves and all your edges. All your perfect imperfections. Give your all to me. I’ll give my all to you. You’re my end and my beginning. Even when I lose I’m winning”♪♪
Hypomania for me can feel a bit like a power trip, my eyes are glazed with excitement, red dress, red lipstick, legs for days and very provoking eyes – on numerous occasions I’ve been told that I have very intense eyes or ‘sex eyes’. It contrasts a lot to my usual black clothing and asocial nature. After these conquests I usually have to take ownership for the wreckage I’ve left behind, the awareness that I’ve hurt people. I like to fade into the shadows and hang on the outskirts of groups, but hypomania makes me the centre, colourful and full of too much life. I also tend to have a severe need to change and little patience in achieving it, sometimes resulting in more piercings or hair colour/cut changes.
Anyone else think that Taylor Swift’s song ‘Shake It Off’ resonates with aspects of mania?
I’m not one to listen to mainstream music unless I’m working-out, but for some reason this song just hit some cords when I was hypomanic.
♪♪ “I stay out too late. Got nothing in my brain. That’s what people say…I go on too many dates…Can’t stop, won’t stop moving…It’s like I got this music, in my mind, saying, “It’s gonna be alright…I’m lightning on my feet…I’m dancing on my own, I make the moves up as I go…”♪♪
The song reminds me of a combination of ‘innocent’ and ‘femme fatale’ stages of my hypomania. The differences between hypomania and normality are the fact that I wouldn’t make the same decisions if I had been at my normal baseline.
“I go on too many dates”: At these times I get the ‘come hither’ air about me, usually getting exactly what I want from that person, using myself provocatively to achieve my ends. Manic women can appear extremely alluring when they are experiencing the ‘must have’ mentality in regard to sex, the airs of confidence and self-indulgence in pleasure. At the time it seems like the best possible idea, so excitable and care free. I always look back on those times of complete confidence with disbelief, seeing how misguided and delusional I was at the time, yet how you are incapable of realisng that it was a bad idea until much later. A lot of people say that you ‘knowingly’ carry out your actions, I disagree, I believe my judgement becomes extremely clouded, my perception of normal has been shot out of a window.
The song ‘whore’ by ‘In This Moment’ also has some pretty stirring lyrics:
♪♪“I’m the girl you’re thinking about
The one thing you can’t live without
Yeah, I’m the girl you’ve been waiting for
I’ll have you down on your knees
I’ll have you begging for more” ♪♪
Waking up this morning I’m still so drained from the night, the vivid dreams and disorientation of waking from sleep walking. I routinely get on the scales each morning, the scales determining how I will feel about the day. Today they aren’t bad or good; I’m lying in bed knowing that I should take myself to the gym, not understanding why it has become so important for me to be skinnier. I use to become skinny as an act of revenge (obviously a healthy endeavour), not ever for myself really, but at the moment it’s become a compulsion, but why do I need to be skinny, I ask that to myself, yet each day the same routine and disappointment. I eat enough healthy meals during the day and exercise, yet nothing changes.
Sometimes I like my scars; they show the pain that I’m going through internally. They show the struggles that my mind puts my body through. There are more scars then I remember, thin straight lines, one after the other. I touch them and I can remember the pain. The self-loathing and madness. Today they represent my pain at the moment; I’m becoming more and more discontent, a nasty edge to my demeanour. I’m withdrawing from my friends, preferring my own company. I decided that they were toxic and I needed to clean up my act, but I think it’s become worse. The discontent runs deep, what am I actually aiming for in life? I’m studying to get a job, a job that will take up nearly all my time, to live a life that seems pointless. Living in a stratified society inhibits the achievement of your dreams. In a very abstract view of life as humans our goal is to live and procreate, that’s the bottom-line, yet I can’t see myself wanting that, I can’t see a life where I will be happy. I have no desire to pass on my genes to another generation.
I know that I’m sick and twisted, but I can’t help but enjoy it. It’s a sick sad world. I can feel my hipbones start to show that little bit more, but it’s still not enough. I’m getting high distinctions for nearly all my assignments in university, but it’s still not enough. I’m eating healthy and exercising regularly, but it’s not enough. The discontentment is too deep, too overwhelming. I will not walk along the cliffs at the beach lest I get the same intrusive thoughts from before, the irresistible need to fall. I was so high for so many weeks, guess it was time for that mood to crumble and be replaced by my mental pit of despair. I drink less, party less hard, sit in the sun and exercise, yet why have I suddenly become so unhappy?
HI, my name is Alice** and I’m my own worst enemy and critic, currently enjoying the trappings of my former life. I took my meds today, I take them every day.
- I didn’t immediately post this, I wanted to wait and see if this wasn’t just a bad week, that I could ‘make’ myself better again, it didn’t happen. Depression is the new black; I wonder how much of this acute unhappiness we bring on ourselves and the awareness that we are our own unintentional triggers. I always try and be a positive advocate for mental health, consciously aware of what mental state I have arrived at, but sometimes powerless to lessen its effects. I don’t want to be like this, I want to be in control of my mental state of mind. I’m just going to keep trying.
Conducting a mental self-examination is useful for people with Bipolar Disorder. By introspecting themselves they become consciously aware of personality facets which they present to the ‘outside’ world. The different personality representations are part of the dual lives that people with mental illness live with, potentially masking their symptoms. It’s a balancing act to appear as a strong functioning person whilst simultaneously trying to deal with depression. When watched by others your self-portrayal varies from how you act when feeling depressed by yourself.
The honest truth is that people don’t want to hear their friends drone on and on about being depressed. Those that are suffering from depression usually don’t voice their concerns due to the perceived backlash and the lack of compassion sometimes exhibited by the people around them. It’s always living a half-life when you’re around people, people want to hear about things that directly correspond with them or which interest them, having a depressed friend doesn’t fit this criteria. The lack of empathetic understanding further alienates and stigmatises people’s understanding of depression, tolerance is slowly developing, mostly due to the increasing number of people who are experiencing depression which affects their usual functionality.
The double life takes a toll on the person, never representing a full depiction of who they are to the outside world. People need to view themselves as a ‘diamond’, multi-faceted and beautiful, each facet representing a different persona in relation to the situation and the ideologies of the people around them. The surfaces or facets make the diamond twinkle and look attractive; the facet is a visual representation of their character and the perception of their character by others. A multi-faceted personality is unlimited; we are always changing or trying to cope with the daily struggles of life. Each experience is moulding the new facet we will present and the people around us will potentially consume.
We become the visual stimuli of our mind, sometimes we are the stagnant walking dead whereas in other circumstances we will present a person who is socially adept and pleasant to be around. Personally I’m exhausted from putting up so many fronts in my life; life has become a series of fronts to mollify the masses. The never ending portrayal of oneself, the more interesting question is which is the most innate personality or are all the portrayals just a depiction of the larger picture; we are all those things, but never all at once. You can only ever really perceive one whole image at any one time, changing your view to see the other.