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 UPDATE: somewhat manic, mostly reasonable

Note to self: do not post manic ideas as a blog post.

That last post was pretty unnecessary. Manic induced ideas can be awesome. That’s how I came up with the idea to go to U of Edinburgh for school (to get out of taking the GRE) and the idea of painting skate decks for money (possibly still a good idea for side money). I actually did spend a large amount of time researching where to buy blank skate decks and what type of varnish to use, etc. etc. But as much as I would like to extend my artistic talents into the world of skating, I think I’m better off doing something more realistic now that my mania has subsided.

For the first time since moving to Colorado, I finally feel a bit settled. Why’s that? Well I’ll tell you why even if you don’t care.

I finally have a REAL JOB. I START TOMORROW. Like, big girl 9-5 job. Okay it’s actually 8:30 to 4 and I have to work at 7:30am on Saturdays but a set schedule? Damn I feel spoiled.

And then after spending a month and a half of unemployment, I had a lot of time to think about long term. Long term commitments are scary. I couldn’t even decide on what I wanted to major in in undergrad until I realized I might as well major in psych just because I had enough credits for it. Bad decision, but probably ideal for someone who wanted to graduate ASAP.

But anyway, I recently realized how much I hate modern Western medicine and practices. These drugs that doctors have been shoving down my throat since I was 14 have done nothing for my mental health besides permanently damage my brain and have only acted as a band-aid. Honestly, the happiest I’ve been is when I start with treating my body with respect. It’s cliche, but my body is a temple. Treating my body right is what will eventually lead to having a healthier brain. I decided a more holistic approach to my health would be a better long-term decision for myself. Through eating a plant-based diet and exercising regularly, I feel better. When I started getting outside more and more when I moved to Colorado, I felt even better. Waking up sober everyday (this is sobriety Day 9 for me!!) helps me feel more productive and overall better. Doing yoga and meditation before bed calms me down and helps control my anxiety. Drinking teas with natural and beneficial herbs in them have helped my body through this alcohol mental and physical withdrawal. And of course, I’ve been going to acupuncture every week for the last 3 months.

Initially, I went to an acupuncturist because my allergies since moving here had gotten so bad that I was getting sick every week and I felt like I was constantly miserable. Taking massive amounts of painkillers and Allegra and Mucinex would barely help and just felt like poison to my body. A month into acupuncture, I realized I hadn’t gotten sick in weeks. Either my body finally adjusted, or acupuncture really did help. Acupuncture can be used to treat an extensive amount of ailments so I decided I wanted to start working on my mental health since it seems that I’m finally no longer a prisoner of allergy induced sickness.

Leading this more holistic lifestyle based on Eastern medicine has began to fascinate me. Every time my acupuncturist puts a needle in my skin, I always wonder, “why there?” During treatment, I like to meditate. Yesterday, I told my acupuncturist that I wanted to work on my depression and energy levels, in which he then placed three needles in my head. My mind spiraled into a crazy, manic-esque state but at the same time, calm and reasonable. At the time I was still thinking about the skateboard thing but something in the back of my mind reasonably talked me out of it. Eastern medicine is my calling. Coming from a psychology background, this would be perfect. I want to treat mental illness with more holistic approaches instead of shoving drugs down everyone’s throat and telling them what they should and shouldn’t do to cope with their minds.

That’s the short version. Yesterday, I was a unstable and depressed mess. When I finally found passion in something, that finally subsided. I found a purpose. I found a goal. I ordered books off Amazon on traditional Chinese medicine and started my application essay for a couple of TCM schools. I’m suddenly inspired to learn again, and I’m excited. I can be the calm little center of our ever chaotic universe. Zen, focused, and passionate about something for the first time in my life.

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Also, no GRE scores required, did I mention that? Don’t worry though, I won’t ever abandon writing. My crazy mind will still be on the internet for all to see.

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.

that time that my mother told me to go to AA

The worst thing about mental illness is that you don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late. You see the train coming, but you know that you have the sense to move before it gets too close. But trains travel a lot faster than you think.

So I just spent an hour talking on the phone with my mother. That’s seriously a record considering I only call her when I need something and I usually put the phone down and walk away while she’s talking and she doesn’t notice. 10 minutes is usually my limit. But it’s true: she told me I should go to AA. She does this freaky thing where she can suddenly get me to tell her everything that’s going on in my life from who I’ve hooked up with to how much alcohol I consume on the daily. Things that you usually don’t want to tell your parents. I am way too hungover for this shit. And shaking with anxiety.

I transitioned last night. So that’s a thing. Thank god it didn’t last long but Alice did leave me high and dry with a shattered phone screen. So that’s another thing. Drunk Alice me is apparently extremely unattractive. I asked Blob what he found unattractive about her and I think the word he used was the most accurate description of her: explosive. After angrily telling him to just go home after work instead of coming over, I started driving away and started crying, then called him and begged him to come over. I felt better once we got home and I cracked open my bottle of wine. Alcoholism at its finest. I don’t understand how that man puts up with me on a day to day basis. Or really anyone. But those who do put up with me I guess are the ones who are worth keeping around. And the ones who get up early and make you awesome breakfast after the whole episode are definitely worth keeping around. Don’t let your ego get too high, Blob. You still annoy the fuck out of me. This is just an appreciation paragraph.

Why do I cry so much now after having a total dry spell for a year? I might have to call out of work because I can’t stop crying. I’ve skipped class a few times because I can’t get out of my house without my face being a total wreck. Why do I wear so much makeup? My eyes are always red and puffy to the point that only black eyeshadow can cover up this damage. I am a wreck. You know how on the internet you find those little inspirational quotes that say things like “those who suffer from mental illness are the strongest individuals” and shit like that? Man, I don’t know who came up with that because we are such a train wreck. But I guess those who don’t have any mental illnesses would not be able to deal with the kinds of things I go through on the daily. I guess I gotta give myself some credit here. This is just an appreciation paragraph for myself. Bipolar disorder/DID is a gift and a curse. I can feel things that no one else has the ability to feel, which sounds great sometimes. Mania is awesome, who can argue that? But with mania does come the depression that just drags you down like you’re tied to a 3 ton boulder. Days like this are difficult. I’m trying to find some silver linings.

I really don’t want to go to AA. I’m such a stubborn person. I know I have a problem but I just can’t stand the thought of being Marla Singer in a support group. I am Jack’s wasted life. No thank you. So here I am today sitting at my computer and trying to get the courage to get up and out and hopefully make it through the day without having to end it on a drunk note. My mom told me to try not to drink tonight. I’ll try. I’ll try to color or play with my new hula hoop that’s coming in the mail tonight. I’ll try to not disassociate from myself. I’ll try to not run away from everything.

I’m always running from something.

I just can’t outrun my brain.

that time my coworker accidentally broom raped me

Got ya. I totally just wanted to use that as my title because I told him that I would. Shout out to Mik for playing it cool. Mostly. Shout out to me for keeping it togeth-hold up. I don’t think sitting on the floor tearing up from laughing is keeping it together. It’s ok though, guys. Now I know that rape CAN be an accident. And that broom handles and vaginas do not go well together. That’s probably how IUDs get dislodged. Moving on.

24 hours later, I’m finally lucid. I finally have my body back. Most of the time, my dominant alternate personality, Alice, only sticks around for roughly 4 to 5 hours, which is just enough time to do a lot of damage and then fuck off when she doesn’t want to deal with the damage she’s caused and leaves me exhausted and often high and dry. So try 24 hours of that. I checked my phone and it wasn’t pretty. Dammit, Alice, I even password protected my phone because of you! So I guess that doesn’t work on alternate personalities that have your memories? Identity theft taken to another level.

Being the manic and kind of your worst nightmare psycho girlfriend type is exhausting. Transitioning into another person is just weird. For me, it’s more of a depersonalization because I was there the whole time, but it’s like being behind a sound and bulletproof piece of glass and watching your life happen how someone else would play it out. The other weird part is that she is strong enough that she knows my entire life. She even knows how to do my job, which is convenient (because damn, I made out good serving today and I didn’t have to do a thing or somehow get my shift covered), but she is an awful human being. Maybe kind of misunderstood, but awful. Alice didn’t have to keep sneaking really terrible notes to Blob about wanting to take a bunch of xanax and calling him a sociopath repeatedly. He knows he’s a sociopath. And I do not want to end up in the hospital again. But here I am, thankfully with no pills in my system, at home and somehow I think I managed to stay sober the whole time (someone correct me if I’m wrong). I’m sorry Blob.

Alice is like a drug. When I’m Alice, I am unstoppable-

holy mother of jesus fuck.

Excuse my language.

I think I had my first bipolar manic episode. Back to diagnosis square one.