Earlier this year I started to suffer from chronic, painful, daily migraines. The pain is constant and intense, taking away my drive to eat at all, removing my drive to exercise, and after days on end of constant and consistent migraines, I am reminded why they are commonly called “suicide headaches”.
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To the Beautiful, Bold, Bipolar;
The culture of today is fast paced, moving at a breakneck speed. With the technological savviness of social media sitting in the forefront of most of our minds, our culture has come to not only know but expect perfection. Anything less than perfection is deemed unworthy; a curse.
Being your own advocate is neverending.
In January, I had to be admitted to the emergency room due to an unusual complication to a common ailment. While it wasn’t related to my mental illness at all, the emergency room staff was convinced that it was completely and totally related to it, and in turn exacerbated the situation.
“It’s not complicated. It’s easy. You just have to make a decision. Are you going to hurt your unborn child because you are going to kill yourself?”
Those words rocked me to my core. Those words sat like a ton of bricks on my mind as I left and drove home from that pharmacy. Those were the words that numbed me and caused me to sit back and feel hollow as I contemplated how deep the issue at hand was.
To many people, the mere thought of me telling my son about my bipolar disorder diagnosis was controversial. When people would ask if he knew, I’d always let them know that yes, he did know, and he was okay with it. They’d gasp, or shake their heads in disapproval, or even tear up. If I am being completely honest, I don’t understand their responses. I don’t understand why I wouldn’t tell my son.
But I do know why I did, and why I will continue to talk to him about it.
“Mommy has a sick brain?”
Most girls have that one ‘must have’ item in their purse at all times. For some it is a certain lip gloss, others have a pair of great sunglasses, others hide great items like portable chargers or spritzers. These days, my go to items are my planners and journals, and yes, I carry those in my purse at all times. Let me explain more.
The best advice I had ever gotten in regards to my diagnosis came from my father. It was a dark and gloomy day, in those long months between winter and spring. “You need to spend less time fighting your bipolar and more time working with it.” He said. “It’s how you would work with a difficult person, you could make that person work for you - why not your diagnosis?” He asked. I remember sitting back into the seat I was sitting in and settling in to those new thoughts. ‘Why not my diagnosis?’
Recently I had a book signing for my recent book. Following the reading portion of our event, I opened up the floor to a question and answer session. It was fabulous, lots of fantastic questions and ideas tossed around the room in a conversation-like format. Something stood out to me during that group conversation that I want to share and elaborate on, something that took me a long time to get, but once I got it, it changed my life.
“What do you do when someone calls you crazy?” A quiet voice asked from the middle of the room.
“And now we will inhale, and as you exhale, move forward to Down Dog.”
The voice of the yoga instructor was an octave too high and the cantation style tone of her voice was almost painful as she chirped her way through this short session of televised yoga. As I shifted my hips into the air and positioning my head towards the floor, I grumbled and felt put out by her requests.
I’ve said it in many other posts and even in my book, but the day I received my diagnosis and was told I had Bipolar Disorder, I truly felt alone. The days that followed, the feeling remained. The more I searched online and the more I dug, the worse I felt. I longed for someone to tell me that things were going to be okay. That life wasn’t over.