what a wonderfully crippling world.

And ya’ll actually thought I had given up on writing. It was pretty believable for a while there. My facebook page is gone, and I haven’t posted a single thing since July 3rd. But here I am, here to tell you the things in my life that I don’t always know if people will care about, but are still relevant to the mental health community.

So the move happened, and I’m finally settling back into this life of living at home and regrounding myself. The beginning was rough. As soon as I got off that airplane, and walked out into the 95% humidity, I immediately started crying and regretting the decision I made to leave Colorado. And for about 2 to 3 weeks following coming home, I was pretty depressed while still trying to figure out what I was really doing here.

Familiarity is always good. Feeling the warm hugs of people who genuinely love you make you remember that life isn’t always so lonely. Sitting down in front of the easel you abandoned so long ago and just painting every color that you feel in your blood and soul is an instant release of everything that feels bad. Seeing my old therapist in person was weird, but ultimately relieving. Even when you go back to the gym you used to go to and see the same people doing the same things feels both homey, yet slightly sad, but I mostly find it hilarious. Finally, after one good night, it’s like something in me finally opened up, and I finally felt like I could dig myself out of my depression once again.

One night towards the end of July, I peeled myself out of bed on a particularly dreary rainy night to go see Andrew McMahon in Baltimore (if you don’t know him, please do your mental health and your soul a favor and look him up). Standing in the crowd of all types of people I would normally hate, there was this weird community where we all felt that Andrew had changed our lives in some way, and was still continuing to do so as he sang his little heart out on the stage of Ram’s Head. After the show, it was pouring down rain. I mean POURING. I got a flash flood warning on my phone. But regardless, I had gotten this far, and I decided to be an idiot and stand out in the pouring rain for an hour because I was that determined to meet Andrew for some weird life-fulfilling reason.

After waiting in the rain for an hour, or so it felt, Andrew finally steps out of the venue with no shoes on, and a giant plastic cup filled with wine, looks at us all standing in the rain waiting for him, and with a huge smile on his face, says “What’s up, everybody?” He made his way down the line of people and when he finally got to me, I gave him a hug and started crying while I told him how his music saved me when I was the most alone I had ever been while in Colorado. I’ve never felt like anyone has actually listened and understood how I felt in that moment until then when he looked me directly in the eye, and gave me another hug like there was nothing more that needed to be said, and I could move on now.

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sometimes people make you feel the impossible

After that night, I started using my synesthesia for painting. I stopped caring about making my painting good, and making them look how I felt emotionally and physically. Synesthesia presents itself in different ways, so for me, I perceive emotional and physical sensations as colors. Instead of feeling the warm fur of my cat, I sense a warm campfire orange. If that makes sense. Feel free to ask me more.

I was painting everyday. I was painting so much that I was stepping over the paintings in my room to get almost anywhere. And it felt so good. I looked forward to just sitting down with a bottle of wine and my paintbrush and watching the colors form across the canvas. And as I kept doing this, I kept feeling more and more at home, and happier in some way, which is a weird thing I’ve never felt.

A couple more weeks passed and I had never felt so great. I was beginning to feel at home with my new job, some new friends and old friends I had reconnected with. I could socialize comfortably for the first time in years. I started doing great workouts at the gym and was starting to feel comfortable in my own skin after months of hating my body. I felt great, I looked great, and I knew it. Each day was better than the next. I would try new things, and do things I wouldn’t normally do, and that was totally ok because I was finally stepping out of my comfort zone and into this new, confident, happier me.

But finally it hit me. This “new” me, wasn’t me. This was hypomanic me. This was the uninhibited, no impulse control with nothing in my brain to tell me to “stop” me. I wasn’t sleeping much, would eat a lot or nothing at all, and got annoyed when people would try to stop me. I felt invincible. I was a goddess and nothing could bring me down.

And it’s amazing what small things will bring a person down from that kind of high. This post is brought to you by my post mania depression that resulted from a bad night of drinking, yelling at people in the street, and spraining my ankle, my wrist, banging up my knee and elbow and ultimately, an extremely bruised ego. I can’t walk, can’t exercise, can’t paint. I went to my first ceramics class of the semester yesterday and walked out feeling completely defeated because my ankle hurt too much to use the wheel and everyone was making beautiful pieces while mine kept falling apart.

I guess the lesson in all this is that it’s not a bad thing to have unmedicated bipolar disorder. I wouldn’t trade my hypomania for anything because it’s the best thing I could possibly feel and it feels like a gift to feel so alive, and to feel something that no one else can. Sometimes it’s even worth the horrible, crippling depression that follows and the stupid mistakes you made (like wearing heels while drinking and dancing). But there’s a difference between managing your mental illness, and living with it. And obviously, I can’t just live with it and expect to be okay. It’s not okay to start acting psychotic and screaming at people in the street because voices are screaming in your head. It’s not okay to become a total klepto during a hypomanic episode. It’s not okay to let depression make  you sleep for 3 days straight despite having an ankle injury and avoid contact with everyone.

But I will be okay. I always am. And at least this time, I’m not alone because I’m finally home.

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2017: the year of manic-induced ideas

Anyone ever go through phases where your dreams get so vivid that you wake up the next morning like “OH MY GOD I HAVE TO GO GET MY LIP RING REPLACED TODAY”? Yeah that totally happened to me the other day. I had this weird dream that my lip ring fell out and when I picked up the ring it was one long piece of wire that I had to wind into a ring shape and when I put it back in my lip there was blood EVERYWHERE.. and then I woke up. So yeah, I woke up and automatically ran to the mirror to make sure I still had a normal looking lip. Close call.

Okay and then last night I had a dream that I owned my own custom skate deck company. It was so vivid that I was putting my own designs that I’ve actually drawn or painted on skatedecks. So, naturally, I woke up this morning thinking, “hey, that’s actually an awesome idea.” I’m barely a skater myself, if anyone recalls my several instances of spraining my wrists during my phase of wanting to be a skater kid. I can go down a flat wide road without falling pretty well and… that’s about it. Maybe when it gets warmer out and there’s not ice everywhere, I’ll try again (Godspeed, wrists).

But for real, custom skate decks? I don’t know anything about actually putting together a full board with all the wheels and hardware, but I can paint. I picked out my skate deck purely because of the design (pink background with a unicorn with tentacles? How could I not get that one?) Okay, granted, the start up would be hella expensive. Blank decks start at $17 a piece (and that’s just for small skateboards), plus paint, lacquer spray, and MAYBE grip tape if I really want to get fancy. But man, I could make bank on that

Let’s start with my latest and greatest storm trooper jelly.

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The ever famous Marla image I printed on t-shirts
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Geometrical patronus?

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The original design for my calf tattoo..hmm
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And I think we all remember my jellyfish phase..
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And this is just cool. 

Start up material? Maybe. Maybe I’m just a little manic because I was really depressed last night and played Alice: Madness for like, 5 hours and what happens after I’m depressed? MANIA AND STRANGE DREAMS THE UNENDING CYCLE.

I should really calm down and not buy a blank skateboard and maybe just draw instead of thinking of company names for this manic induced idea. Wonder Decks? Manic Decks? That one might be more appropriate.

First Hogwarts, now custom skateboards. Where will my mind take me next? Mania can be a beautiful thing. What else am I gonna do while I’m not bound to a real adult job? Be a manic kid. It’s kind of nice.