After reading Marisa’s post on Mad Girl’s Lament, and relating to it so intensely, I made my own list of things that make me mad/angry when it comes to my mental health. I thought about just making a bulleted list and then having a rant or two about specific things underneath, but then I thought that letting each thing I’m mad/angry about to be its own paragraph would be a better way of going at this.
Ok, now, I know some of those things probably seem trivial to people, but for me (and everyone dealing with any mental illness) they can be monstrously huge issues. I don’t really have people to talk to (in person) about this stuff, so I’m putting it out here for all my online friends to read – along with whoever else actually reads my blog.
I never asked to have bipolar disorder! I don’t know if it’s genetic or if runs in my family. But I do know of one other person in my family who has it. And for the longest time, this person hid it from everyone. I don’t think they were handling it very well. Eventually they got help and I think they’re doing better now – but I can’t say for sure because I haven’t heard anything lately.
I never asked to have to take meds for (very possibly) the rest of my life. I know they’re necessary for this because of the whole there’s no cure for bipolar disorder thing and that I’m gonna have to deal with this for the rest of my life. Another thing I hate about the meds is that they make me super sleepy and unable to stay up late. I know that’s what they’re supposed to do, because they’re basically tranquilizers and they’re meant to sedate you. But to be completely honest, I usually don’t take my meds on time at night because I’m just not fucking ready to go to sleep yet. But the last time I waited till I was “ready” to sleep, I wound up sleeping for like half the next day. It was terrible. I’m clearly not the best patient…
Going to appointments and talking to the doctors about how I’m feeling with my meds is so fucking annoying. I always feel like they’re internally judging me when I say anything. It’s like the opposite of how I should feel going into the appointments. I mean, I know they’re actually listening to me, but there’s always some piece of me that feels like they’re not doing what they’re supposed to – that they’re being like every other person and judging me while I sit in front of them opening up about what’s going on.
Even on my meds, my moods are all over the place. I never know what I’m gonna feel like throughout the day when I wake up. Seriously, I cold go from laughing at something on Facebook one minute to crying over something that happened in a movie I’m watching on Netflix in a split second. It’s so unpredictable even with being medicated. I fucking hate it.
The smallest things stress me out. I mean, not getting enough sleep at night can leave me stressed out and on edge for the entire day without reason. And my ability to manage my stress levels is so decreased with my mental illness. I don’t understand why, but it is. And it fucking pisses me off because it leaves me unable to do all the things I want to simply because it would be too much all at once.
Oh my lord, stability is never a guarantee. I understand this and I also totally don’t get it. Stability with bipolar disorder is not something predictable. Nothing with bipolar disorder is really predictable. I mean, you can kind of see something coming, but that’s still not a guarantee that it’s actually going to happen. You could be stable for nearly a year, and then the tiniest thing triggers a manic or a depressive episode. You didn’t know it was going to happen. That’s just the way things are with this particular mental illness. And it fucking pisses me off!
Staying with friends who want to be up till 2am just doesn’t work for me anymore. I often have to make my decisions based on my mental illness. Do I want to go out and have fun drinking with my friends? Meaning that I’ll end up taking my meds really late and be a groggy non-human the next day? Or do I want to be sure that I’ll get enough sleep to be functional? It’s so fucking frustrating being 22 years old and not be able to go out with my friends like I want to because I have to worry about the timing of taking my medication. What the fuck kind of life does that leave me with? It’s not fucking fair!!
Just because we take medication doesn’t mean that everything’s automatically a-ok. There are other things we have to do in order to take care of ourselves as well. Sleep is a big one. It’s also one that I struggle with constantly. I have a tendency to stay up late at night even though I know I should be going to bed and sleeping to take care of myself. I’m supposed to take my meds at 9pm every night. Do I? Sometimes. But recently I’ve been taking it later at night because I want to stay up doing something. I know that if I take my meds at 9, I’ll likely be passed out before 11 and that’s not what I want. So I put off taking my meds for two, two and a half hours. What that ends up meaning is that I then end up sleeping ridiculously late the next morning. I know it’s going to happen, but I just don’t want to sleep yet.
Why does everyone only want to know the good things in our lives? Why don’t they want to sit and listen when we need someone to talk to about how we’re emotionally struggling? Why do we have to put on a fucking happy face for everyone in society? I don’t get it. It’s not easy to fake being happy for everyone when inside we’re barely holding ourselves together as we battle depression with every single breath. It’s not fucking easy to do this for y’all every day.
And that leads me to another thing. Part of the reason I put on that fake happy face is because I honestly don’t want to know that people are worrying about me. But the people who know me well enough can often see through the facade and realize that I’m struggling. And if they know well enough, they won’t tell me that they’re worried. Because if I know people are worried about me, I feel like I have to constantly act like things are fine and I’m always on edge when I’m out because I’m petrified that anything I do could be seen as part of an act and they’ll realize that I’m faking it and start worrying about me. It’s seriously a fucking vicious circle.
Part of the reason I don’t want people worrying about me is because I feel like if they know what’s really going on inside my head then they’ll leave me. And the last thing I need is people leaving me. It’s just a constant fear that if I tell people the truth when they ask if I’m ok or how I’ve been doing then they’ll tell me it’s too much and never talk to me again. And I don’t want that. So I’ve begun to learn what’s appropriate to say to certain people and how much I can say without it crossing the line of too much information.
There are some days when I just don’t care about anything at all. I don’t even care enough to bother with making myself food. It’s really quite pathetic. Those are the days that are usually spent laying in bed binge-watching Netflix. And those are the days when I have internal dialogues wherein in berate myself for not caring enough to take care of myself and make food. Which usually lead to me feeling worse about myself and therefore really not wanting to get out of bed because of how miserable I feel about myself.
The one thing that fucking pisses me off the most is how mental health issues aren’t taken as seriously as issues with physical health. I don’t understand why it’s such a different matter. Both are crucially important. I mean, If you’re struggling with your mental health, you may have problems taking care of your physical health. You have to have a handle on both of them to really be able to fully participate in life. (This video from BuzzFeed shows how things would look if we treated physical health the way we treat mental health. It made me smile a little because it really shows how we downplay the severity of mental illness as it’s turned around to dealing with physical issues.)
Not all of this is normal day-to-day life for people with bipolar disorder. But it’s what I’ve ben dealing with recently.
I’ve got a psychiatrist appointment coming up next week (that I’m honestly dreading for a reason that’s listed above), and maybe, we can make some more adjustments to my meds and figure out what’s gonna work and what’s not working.
I have relationships right now that are struggling because of several things I’ve mentioned, but I’m working on things with the people because I want them to understand what I’m dealing with and how they can help me and be a support. So hopefully things with them will improve as they get a grasp on what’s happening and figure out how to do what I’m asking of them without feeling like they’re being babysitters for me.