This past summer I was on a high. I had read a motivational book, which I was absolutely convinced had cured me of my depression. I went from being a brunette to a very platinum blonde. While in this momentum (that I would soon learn was known as hypomania,) I hired a blog designer. I created a banner for my new blog all by myself by following step by step instructions found on YouTube. I had yet to decide upon my niche, but I suspected that mental illness would be my primary focus.
I also signed up to my local hot yoga studio; proclaimed myself a yogi; and purchased all new outfits to wear while I down-dogged. Then, to fill in the minutes when I was not working, wearing cute yoga gear, and familiarizing myself with the workings of my new blog, I took on remodelling the main floor of my house.
Shortly after establishing the above mentioned activities, I was diagnosed with bipolar II, and treatment began. One of the side effects of stabilizing my moods, however, was that the hypomania which had been fuelling my cockamamie ideas my entire life, was now subdued into a pleasant lethargy. My pink yoga mat was used once. My living room had only one painted wall for several months. And my shiny new blog, the one I was going to use to journal my mental illness, and perhaps connect with even one person who was also experiencing the same pleasant yet unfamiliar lethargy, was left without words, sentences, or any voice whatsoever.
My grand ideas of blogging late into the night; catching up on the activities I had missed out on in the blogging community during these past four years that I've been pursuing other activities, and/or begging for a reprieve from the soul crushing pain of my depression; everything sort of came to a standstill. Instead of spending my free time with my laptop creating content for my blog, or perusing the web to learn more about mood disorders and mental illness, or searching out other mental health bloggers to network with -- instead of changing the world and breaking down the stigma of mental illness one blog post at a time (as my Twitter bio states), I hung out on my couch watching every television program that had CIA characters sniffing out conspiracy theories.
Although this reprieve from my depression which had me side-lying in the groove my body has created in my mattress, or the alternative which had me up all night, googling "best trainers in North America" to aid in my body building come-back thanks to the hypomania which shot my thoughts from one realm of commitment to the next, neither of which I would ever commit to, laying supine on my couch rooting for Raymond Reddington just didn't feel like me.
For over 35 years, when my depression would have me upright long enough to switch gears, I've been buzzing from one potential achievement to the other. I use the word "achievement" loosely because most times my mind would have raced on to another plot line with the vision of an entirely different ending. Of course havoc is reeked as I stumble over obvious obstacles, such as lack of funds; lack of time; lack of knowledge. As debt incurs, as relationships crumble, as insurmountable problems prevent me from ever completing what I've started (because you can't own a cake baking business if you don't even have a proper kitchen in which to bake said cakes if the food inspectors explain to you over and over again that, "No, you can't bake your cakes in your own kitchen even if your cats aren't allowed on the counter tops,") -- as reality sets in that your life is not going at all in the direction you keep trying to force it into, it's easier to crawl back under a rock... I mean pillow.
Of course the inevitable failures send me careening downwards; the jubilant façade I portray while I chase yet another dream explode into torrents of tears; the self-esteem I displayed days before as I decorated a three tier birthday cake for a friend's little girl, the same friend who had suggested, "You should start your own business," -- that self-esteem has morphed into self-loathing.
And yet, despite this realization, now that I've experienced stability in mild doses as my medication is regularly tweaked to find the right balance, I question myself often. Is my thought to return to school to get my Masters something I really want? Or is it residual hypomania egging me on? I still wake at night and watch as the thoughts battle each other for my undivided attention. Am I sitting on my laptop at 3am composing a blog post which has for its purpose to help chip away at the stigma associated with having a mental illness because I truly want to be a voice?
Or is it because hypomania has currently grabbed hold of that thought and highlighted it in neon lights... until I forget to pay the hydro bill?
Clearly I don't know who I am anymore. The chick who lounges on the couch watching crime shows is foreign to me, and yet, the one who cries for months and months, then stands up long enough to Google, "When is the next Mental Health First Aid Class?" -- that one is familiar, but she's unreliable, even more so now that she's stable-ish.
Somehow CIS Chick and Mental Health Advocate Lady must learn to coexist in peace and harmony. Or one of them is going to kick the shit out of the other.
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