I want to share some words of hard earned wisdom; Be responsible and always monitor your medication. Making sure you take it regularly isn't enough and you can't rely solely on what you're told at the pharmacy. Mistakes can be made and situations can be misunderstood, but you are responsible for what you introduce into your body. That is not to say mistakes shouldn't be made, or situations shouldn't be misunderstood, or trusted professionals such as your doctor or pharmacist shouldn't be held accountable for their actions, it's just to say, in the end, it's your life and and no one has more responsibility for it than you.
It's January 31, 2018 - Bell Let's Talk Day. So let's talk. Or to be more accurate, as this is an article and not a live interaction, I'll type and you read. You can talk amongst yourselves once it's over.
I had originally planned to publish this article last Saturday (even took the accompanying photo that morning), but in the end, I couldn't bring myself to follow through. I thought having previously conquered my reservations about sharing my experiences with bipolar depression, I was prepared to share again, but when it came time to talk about my anxiety and mania, I found myself overwhelmed by the prospect and keenly sensitive to the risks involved. The risk of alienating friends and family who might decide I require too much attention, am too complicated, or am too weak. The risk of losing opportunities and income from employers who can't understand my experiences or feel I'm incapable of performing my duties. The risk of not being trusted or viewed as dependable, of having my every decision questioned, my opinions discounted, or my contributions ignored.
Life has been shitty for me for a long time.
Depression, instead of giving me a break for any length of time, chose instead to be an obnoxious guest, crashing on my couch and putting the empty box of Froot Loops back in the cupboard without telling me before I went grocery shopping.
This essay was published on The Mighty on September 25, 2017.
As someone struggling with depression, there are many lies I tell myself to get through each day. I tell myself that I believe things will get better. I tell myself that I believe life is worth living. I tell myself that I believe someday I will be happy. All these lies I tell myself in the hope they will eventually ring true and I will come to believe them. But there are some lies I tell myself without even being aware, and it wasn't until the suicide of Robin Williams that I discovered I had been telling myself the greatest lie of all.
For eight years I ran my own business while dealing with the challenges and stressors that came with it. Panic attacks had become a weekly, if not daily, occurrence and I lived my life like I was only half a step ahead of a charging boulder. For a time, I even convinced myself that this irrational, all-encompassing fear was what spurred my drive to succeed, but instead of propelling me closer to the finish line, I found myself dropping further and further behind with each new challenge - each setback taking me longer to recover. I was failing both mentally and physically and I realized that the life I had been enduring, not living, was no longer working for me.
A slightly modified version of this essay, titled "5 Tips for Living With 'High-Functioning' Bipolar Disorder" was published on The Mighty on July 25, 2017.
Today I called my Dad to wish him a happy Father's Day and for the first time ever, I told him out loud that I loved him.
His response was simply, "You too." I took it as a good start as we had never been able to cross that threshold before and whether it was something he was not ready to commit to or I had just caught him by surprise, at least his response was not an awkward silence I would have to reflect on later.