I tell myself this every day

I tell myself this every day

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Demons to Some, Angels to Others

I have to start this post off by saying that I am a very loving indifferent atheist. I passionately believe everyone has the right to worship or not worship who/whatever they want. Doesn't make you right but it doesn't make you wrong. I attach lovingly indifferent to that tittle because I don't care to disprove or argue with other people about their beliefs. Frankly- I just don't care. That's your business, not mine.

Religion is a very touchy subject- I understand this.

With that being said I'm going to talk about bipolar and personal beliefs. I've been reading Bipolar Victory by Ray and Linda Sturt and outside of it being a very good read it got me thinking quite a bit about the connection between bipolar and spiritual beliefs. Ray, Linda, and their two sons are very religious. They believe very deeply in the bible, it's message, and are completely devoted to living their lives according to their Christian faith. They express how that was what they held onto in order to survive all of the struggles with living with bipolar. I enjoy their story and how their faith is very much ingrained in all of the battles life has to throw at them.

That's their story. It has been told by their point of view- I enjoy and respect that.

Ray and Linda are two of the nicest people you'll meet. When I got a chance to meet them they were very warm and welcoming to myself and a friend of mine. I'm not a conventional looking kind of woman and my friend who accompanied me that day was scaring the children walking by with his outfit. The Sturts didn't even seem to notice. Absolutely wonderful people. They believe that their Christian faith is what healed Ray and their family from the bipolar monster and other tragedies they have had to deal with throughout their married lives together.

I've mentioned in previous posts that I'm a fan of science and what is true right in front of me.

I believe bipolar is a product of evolution. I don't know if it's a flaw or if it once served a purpose when we were a primitive nomadic peoples. I like the theory that it is genetic- passed down from generation to generation. My grandmother was bipolar. She self medicated with alcohol most of her life and eventually heroin before committing suicide. My oldest daughter (9 years old) has it. I can see me in her, it's like I'm watching myself grow up- mood swings and all. My father had it. Most of the people I know who have it tend to have another relative with bipolar or relatives that could be but they are undiagnosed.

I don't believe in a higher power so I have to rely on myself in the darker battles against the disorder. I don't believe that an evil force is what causes it. I don't buy into the good vs evil or that things in life are that clear cut- black and white. Life is mostly all grey areas. Everything is situational to me.

Some times having a belief system seems like it could make it easier to get through this for some. Whether or not it's "correct" is not my purpose here. I imagine being able to trust your physical, mental, and spiritual well being to a higher power could definitely provide a level of comfort and relief otherwise difficult to find. An external entity that you can share your inner turmoil with. Something or someone that is ideally perfect- detached from your suffering as a faulty human. Especially if it's perceived as loving or forgiving. I think humans need and want to believe- it provides comfort, purpose and answers. That concept has always been part of the human psyche. We have always worshiped or had faith something, whether is was a handful of sticks or a king in the sky. The human imagination knows no bounds.

 I believe in managing this disorder and living out a successful and happy life. That is what I hold onto in my good times and bad. It's not quite as in depth as a spiritual belief but it provides comfort and determination when I need it. It's something I cannot currently prove, just like any spiritual belief.

I don't care for faith, god, or spiritual conquests. There is no current way to know why we are here or where we go after death. I've accepted this as fact and have moved on. It seems irrelevant to how I live my life. That doesn't mean my life and actions aren't governed by rules and standards. I'm not going to kill anyone or take cash out of some one's wallet. Though my own rationalization, application of forethought, and social conditioning I have come to understand empathy, the consequences of my actions, and general concern for my fellow man. It's ever evolving just like I am but there is a system in place.

Bipolar is hard. You're already burdened with trying to survive the horrors of your own mind, I can imagine trying to understand the "why" in all of this could be torture to some people. It makes sense that one would want answers they could believe in and find relief in.

Personally I don't care "why." I'm fixated on moving forward and managing this chemical brain parasite. I believe it's science, it happened somewhere along the line and has been passed down, and that is what life gave me. It's genetic chance.


Thank you for reading

Monday, October 28, 2013

Screaming Howl and the Children Play

My moods haven't been stable as of late. It's been a slow decline and I've felt the parasite creeping in but somehow my mind found a way to ignore it. I've been in a depression since moving back from Pittsburgh so I know I should be working twice as hard to keep myself stable. I've neglected environmental triggers, practicing my daily mood managing skills, and sticking to my schedule. I've had other setbacks and stressors out of my control come up that have thrown my slightly unstable moods into full blown mood swings and episodes.

I've been having one to two episodes a week.

Tonight I'm paranoid. It's been the symptom of choice for over a week but it came to a head tonight. I had been repeatedly going outside of the house because there was a loud noise in the neighborhood that my mind interpreted as someone screaming bloody murder. I don't know if that's what it was- I couldn't get outside soon enough each time to hear it clearly. My mind was going wild with what would happen if I did hear someone screaming like that. My brain started to flood with graphic images of someone getting stabbed, raped, bludgeoned, torn, crushed- you name it, my brain was making me think it. I put my shoes and jacket on and was ready to follow the noise if it was in fact someone in a life or death situation. I knew I couldn't live with myself if it was someone in any of the awful situations in my head. Standing on the porch I eventually realized this isn't how a brain is suppose to operate. This wasn't normal and it was unhealthy.

Paranoia hadn't been in the spot light in my life with bipolar until 2 years ago. It had found a perfect breeding ground when infidelity sprung up in a long term relationship of mine while I was unmedicated and undiagnosed. There were multiple incidences of unfaithfulness by my then partner and that kick started it into full gear. I had never known paranoia until then. Thankfully those days are over and the issues that started my long decent into a paranoid lifestyle have successfully been brought down through therapy and getting on the proper medication.

But the parasite evolves to keep itself alive. Now it's coming on full force in a completely different manner- eating away at the very core of my mental stability.

I don't hear noises that aren't there but my nerves seem to over react to screams or anything that could be interpreted as one. Every scream I hear I think is someone getting hurt- children playing, loud people in public, excited teenage girls, the TV, and any other form of screaming that isn't pain inflicted. Some noises produce the same reaction in me where I immediately go into a fight or flight state of mind. I heard a car tire screech yesterday and I immediately thought someone was being thrown out of a car, run over, or stabbed. When automatic doors produce a high pitch dragging sound I immediately think of people in excruciating pain and start to panic. Children screaming outside when they're playing makes me think someone is hurting them or trying to kidnap them. I spent a couple days watching over the kids in the neighborhood a little bit from my window- that was a wake up call that something in my head isn't right.

I now know that the past week has been a product of paranoia. It was insane to sit at my window and make sure every scream or loud noise wasn't something horrific happening to the kids playing in the road. Every loud noise would produce horrific images of torture and death in my mind. Paranoia manifests in my life as an irrational fear of people getting severely hurt, tortured, kidnapped, murdered, and a slew of other tragedies while my brain creates these images of worst case scenarios.

It's always the safety and well being of others. I never panic about the situations I'm in or could be facing. I'm also not bothered by death or injury to others in documentaries, the news, video games, movies, or tv.

When I take a shower and someone else is home with me I turn the water off every couple of minutes to make sure someone with murderous intent hasn't broken in. If I hear any thumping or knocking noises coming from another occupied room my mind tells me that person is trapped or has fallen and is possibly dying. It tells me that the random faint tapping I hear is them trying to cry for help and if I ignore it then I'm letting them die. Every time my mom goes out on an evening with friends my mind tells me that something bad is going to happen to her so I spend all night waiting for her text to tell me when she's going to sleep. I have a hard time sleeping at night because I dream of scenarios like these.

I'm scared to face the paranoia symptoms I'm having. Plain and simple. This is new territory- it doesn't make sense. When unmedicated I have psychosis, which is pretty scary already knowing my brain has the ability to create feelings and visual manifestations of things that aren't there. Now I'm terrified of things that aren't happening that are triggered by real noises. I'm afraid that if my psychosis and my paranoia meet up I could lose grip on reality and my entire battle for a successful life would be compromised.

I really don't know what to do at this point besides get my daily routine back on track and crack down on my skills to prevent mood swings. I'm just coming to understand that I am having severe bouts of paranoia.

I'm also paranoid about the effects I could have on people. I'm no longer scared of my disorder but I'm scared of the effects it might have on those close to me.

I need to spend this week getting my mind together.

Thank you for reading

This is one of my original art works titled "Teach Me Not To Dream"