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Michele Barrett

Self Sabotage and I

Growing up, I had one bathroom and shared it with five siblings and two parents. I also shared a bedroom with one of my sisters. This left little room for what my mind asked for, self-harm. I attempted it in small fashions. I knew if I was caught, it wouldn’t be good. And at that age, I didn’t want to get caught. On some level, I suppose I wanted to be caught but not out right. So, my mind started to work with and against me. You see, self-sabotage is a broad term and self-harm falls under that term.

Avoiding Alcohol and The 3rd Degree

Alcoholism is well known in my family, on both of my parents’ sides. This doesn’t mean I do not drink because of this, but I have never been “drunk.” I have will power and know my limits. I don’t find the attraction in getting to the point where things are blurry and I may get sick. And having bipolar disorder, I know alcohol cannot mix sometimes. It’s like mixing multiple kinds of alcohol, it can become a bad outcome in the end. Is that the way for me? Luckily I have no idea because I’ve never gotten to that point. 

Easing Gift Giving Anxiety

In my family, as odd as it is, we have a tradition of on holidays attempting to make one person cry with the most sincere gift. Birthdays and Christmas are the times we do this the most, mainly because those are the two biggest gift giving days. It’s an odd tradition but we do it from the bottom of our hearts, not to be cruel. Sometimes, it’ll be just one person that we all tag-team or we’ll each choose someone we want to single out. 

How I Manage Bipolar With A Helping Paw

To my knowledge, I’ve never been without at least one animal in my life. That ranges from rabbits and hamsters to kittens and 100 pound dogs. I’ve always felt connected to animals. 

One of my pets is Baron, a German Shepherd close to 100 pounds. I trained my dog from the time he was 8 weeks old until now, he turned 5 in September. I did this using many books written by men who worked with K-9’s over-seas and using the ‘pack’ method. In terms, I made myself connect to an animalistic part of myself that could relate to him. 

Positivity

Think...Think 

My thoughts are wild. Untamed. Running wild like mustangs 

Think...Think 

My mind is a minefield. One wrong step and it’s blown 

Think...Think 

One day bad. One day good. 

Think...Think 

One day fast. One day slow. 

Think...Think 

One day guided. One day misunderstood. 

Think...Think 

My mind is slow and fast at the same time. Like an anchor being pulled by a race car. 

Vroom...Vroom 

The Generation Watchers

Growing up, I was the one who looked up to everyone: 5 siblings, my parents, tons of older cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I had idolized many of them. Now that I’m becoming an adult, despite 23 not being old (even though I feel it sometimes), I feel like I’m in their position. Sitting higher than the generation below me for them to watch for action. Like a leader leading her knights into a battle. And I especially feel like that when it involves my niece or nephew because they are all going through those impressionable ages that children go through. 

The Caregiver Club

IBPF recently did a lecture about families and bipolar disorder that featured both consumers and caregivers – there was someone living with bipolar disorder, their parent, and their sibling. Now, I thought that was an amazing idea because I have five siblings. Yup! Five. I am the baby (halo ensured here). We hear from consumers often about their experiences once diagnosed and what they learn. What about caregivers though?

Exiting The Blizzard Meditation

There is a saying, that we are as “unique as snowflakes”, that “no one is the same”, by just being human. I knew there was something happening in my mind but all of a sudden, I was grouped together with a bunch of especially unique snowflakes that were sort of like me. Like a strong blizzard, you can tell there are snowflakes but you can’t see or appreciate that each are uniquely made when you're falling in your own because sometimes we, as consumers, are our own blizzards.

Michele Barrett

I can't start anywhere to be exact. I've been sick since I was 16 years old and I developed insomnia due to the illness, or so my caregivers and I thought. It wasn't until a few months before I turned 19 that things got out of control for me. I was 19 when I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (I with rapid cycling episodes). Due to the Bipolar Disorder, I developed social anxiety, aggression issues, my ADHD was uncovered, and the insomnia eventually led to sleep deprivation, which caused psychotic episodes.