The loud inner-critic.

The loud inner-critic.

We all have an inner critic. The voice telling you that you’re not good enough or you are not qualified enough or whatever other bullshit your self doubt springs on you. Like most people, we listen to our inner critic more than we listen to the people who actually love and support us and even when we fuck up & they tell us that we messed up – we ignore their plea. Last Thanksgiving I went away for a mini vacation with my sister & mother to Dominican Republic for a few days. A much needed trip. After a long day of activities, followed by a wonderful dinner, all I just wanted was just to go back to the hotel room. Having bipolar disorder I have this constant feeling of fatigue that I can’t seem to get rid of. No matter how much coffee I drink, or Adderall I take – I’m always fucking tired.

My sister decided to get into bed with me and watch some cartoons that had trolls as the main characters (idk these new kid shows today). In the moment, we were laughing hysterically, making jokes about the show (something we haven’t done in awhile but something we used to do often). My inner critic however had a different plan in mind. It kept reminding me that I am bipolar. Of how boring I became and how irritable I am. It wouldn’t let up. It kept whispering how no one wants to be around me anymore. I mean, it’s all true, isn’t it?!? Sometimes your inner critic is a bunch of bullshit and sometimes it’s the real deal. How do you know?!?

I sat there with Ree watching this show contemplating on how to ask her what I had already knew. Did I want to hear what I already knew? I didn’t want my inner critic to get the validation it was eagerly anticipating, but I wanted the truth regardless. So, I asked. I asked her if she thought I was boring. I don’t necessarily remember her answer word for word, but it went something like this: “I don’t think you’re boring, I just don’t think you laugh the same way anymore & you’re constantly tired. You don’t want to do anything.” I felt my eyes tear up instantly, though I didn’t let her see it. It crushed my insides to hear her say these words. I wanted to tell my inner critic to go straight to Hell. I cried myself to sleep that night.

I didn’t want to be constantly tired, or change to the point where I wasn’t funny or fun to be around. I know that I’m highly irritable… I have always been. Things constantly get under my skin & quietly inside myself I begin to wonder if this is the reason half of my friends aren’t my friends anymore. My heart felt shattered.

What can a person do in my situation? I can’t change my diagnosis and I can’t stop taking my medications. They drain me and dull me. Am I suppose to sacrifice my sense of humor? What is the brightest alternative to this fucked situation? There is none. This is the person I have become. Do not get me wrong there are times where I am fun to be around, and times I joke till the person I’m with and I are in tears… but that’s like a full moon. It happens on such rare occasions.

This is my life. My real friends & family understand. They love me regardless of my ups and downs. They don’t care. They know it’s my medications. That they make me not myself. In a sense they rather me be healthy than be a clown. They understand that me staying out late isn’t good for me and accept it. They adjust their lives for mine. Then there’s those people I barely hear from anymore & till this day I wonder if it’s because of that.

Till this day I try to prove my inner critic wrong, and when it’s right I try my best to change my perspective of who I have become. I thrive to be better. Having fatigue though, like I said before is something that is out of my hands completely. That is just something I have to embrace in order to stay healthy. Medications do change you, but your real friends & family will understand you and be there no matter what. Your bra shouldn’t be the only thing that supports you & next time your inner critic demands the right to be right, set it straight and move towards the positive. Yes I have bipolar, but people still appreciate me, people still love me, people still want me around. Because the truth is, those that really matter stay regardless and those that didn’t, well fuck them anyways.

Have a blessed day everyone.

Let’s so back to the basics.

Let’s so back to the basics.

Up until now, I haven’t really gotten into what exactly bipolar disorder is. For those readers who have absolutely no idea what it means or even what it is, I’m hoping this can shed some light. Some people will say it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain and while that may have some truth to it, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. It is a chronic long term mental illness that used to be known as “manic-depressive.” Having bipolar disorder causes unusual mood shifts in how a person feels, their energy level & activity level, as well as their daily functioning. It is marked by mood shifts between two emotional “poles.” One consisting of extremely “up”, elated, and energized behavior – which is known as manic episodes to extremely sad, “down”, and hopeless periods – which are known as depressive episodes. Less severe manic episodes, as I stated before are known as hypomanic episodes. This is the most common one for people with bipolar II disorder. People with bipolar I disorder tend to suffer from manic episodes, which are really dangerous and sometimes may need hospitalization. Once upon a time mania was considered to be the most dangerous episode, however today both bipolar I and bipolar II are are equally dangerous because major depression can lead to suicide. I hope I’m explaining this in a way that all readers can understand. If there is any confusion, please don’t be afraid to ask me for further explanation.

What is bipolar I disorder? People who suffer from this disorder suffer from extreme manic episodes that last at least 7 days. It is attributed to having abnormally high moods. Sometimes it is so severe that people need to be hospitalized. This usually occurs when a person goes into complete psychosis. It is very scary for the individual and the people they are surrounded by (family, friends, co-workers, etc). Single manic episodes may occur with or without periods of depression, however depression can also occur lasting at least 2 weeks. Episodes usually depend on the individual, and for the most part you can tell they are occurring because the person has no reason to be happy, by they just are.

Bipolar II disorder consists of individuals who suffer from hypomania with alternating moods or major depression. Though hypomanic episodes are abnormal, they are not severe enough to impair daily functioning or require hospitalization. In other words, it is manageable not like full blown mania as I mentioned before. Medications are needed for both disorders, although bipolar bipolar II is extremely hard to diagnose because some doctors may diagnose you with unipolar if you do not state all of your symptoms.

I will discuss this further and provide explanations for terms that are easily misunderstood.

Cyclothymic disorder also known as cyclothymia is defined by numerous hypomanic symptoms over a period of two years. Unfortunately, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for hypomanic & depressive episodes. Episodes are not as severe as with mania or major depression.

Rapid cycling is a term used when an individual experiences 4 or more disturbances within a 12 month period.

Mixed episodes occur when a person experiences symptoms of both mania and depression at the same time. This can be highly dangerous and usually in this episode is when someone tries to attempt suicide.

Let’s discuss symptoms so we can get the bigger picture of each of the disorders stated above.

Individuals who suffer from manic episodes may feel the following: euphoria, very “up”, “high”, or elated moods, have a lot of energy, have increased activity levels, feel “jumpy” or “wired”, have trouble sleeping, become more active than usual, have racing thoughts or speech, think they can do a lot of things at once, do risky things for example: spend a lot of money, have reckless sex, or make foolish investments. These individuals are easily agitated, irritable, and\or touchy.

People who have major depression may feel the following: extremely sad, hopeless, and empty. Have very little energy or feel fatigue, have decreased activity levels, have trouble sleeping (either sleep too much or too little), constantly worry, forget a lot of things, eat way too much or too little, feel like they can’t enjoy anything at all, and often think about death or suicide.

I hope I gave some insight on the severity of these terms, what they means, and what people with bipolar have to deal with. I’m currently at work so I wrote this as quickly as you could and to the best of my knowledge. If there is something I am missing or if you feel there is more I can add, please comment below. Overall, I’m glad I can break down what bipolar is and it’s symptoms for a better understanding to the world. It is important and significant to know these things to fully comprehend the disorder.

Before leaving you, I would like to emphasize to those who never been diagnosed before, but think they may have bipolar disorder – please, please do not forget to state all of your symptoms to your physician. You and your closest see you everyday, your doctor does not. Listen to yourself and to those close to you. Give as much information to your diagnostician as possible. This will help you so much! People tend to go seek help when they are depressed and at their lowest. If you are depressed, but have had manic episodes – please do not forget to mention them to your doctor. Manic episodes are just as important as depressive ones. Do not get misdiagnosed!

Thank you for reading. Till next time. God bless everyone.

A kid at the candy store…

A kid at the candy store…

One of the worst things someone who suffers from bipolar disorder can do is pull an all nighter & throw off their whole sleeping pattern. Sleeping is so significant in our lives because it literally affects the way our day will go and how our moods will shift. Last night though, I was like a kid at a candy store. I was so excited about starting this blog that I stayed up till 5 am. I wanted it to be perfect. Pulling an all nighter wasn’t difficult, but I came to realize very late in the game that I didn’t have a freaking clue to what the hell I was actually doing. When the realization finally hit me, albeit, hours later… I knew all my hard work was a lost cause. I decided that I was just going to get one of my amazing web designer friends to help me put it together and I went to bed. Nonetheless, this night wasn’t a high point for me.

I knew that my excitement was overbearing and completely took over my mental state causing me to fall into a hypomanic state. This excitement and this all nighter also made me complete loose track of time and miss my medications. I routinely take my medications before bed. However, last night there was no “before bed” for me, and I can’t take them during the day unless I want to be walking around like a damn zombie. (Side Note: Do not, I mean DO NOT miss taking your medications under any circumstances. It is a very dangerous game to play and unless you have mastered the skill of avoiding certain triggers to prevent you from getting into a manic or depressive episode, take your medications as your doctor insisted on. It is highly highly and I mean extremely dangerous, and the last thing I want is for anyone to think what I did last night was okay, because it totally was extremely irresponsible on my part). By the time my significant other got to the house to pick me up for one of my very important doctor appointments, I had decided that I was not getting out of bed. I was extremely tired, and I only slept 3 hours. I was not going. Point blank. Period. This indeed caused a major and rather stupid argument between us. So, it is safe to say that my day started off pretty shitty. Lets rewind back to last night though, people with bipolar II disorder tend to have hypomanic episodes. Hypomania is a less milder form of mania (which I will discuss at another time). Because of my state of overbearing excitement, me missing my medications, and my mind full of racing thoughts — I couldn’t sleep. For most people, being excited about something new, something creative, and something that they wanted for a long time – staying up for it does them no harm whatsoever. Well maybe some bags under their eyes, that btw Klyie Jenner’s eye cream would fix right away lol. But, for people like me – this opened a big can of hypomanic episodes.

Let’s go down the DSM-5 list, shall we? 1. Inflatted self-esteem or grandiosity (check), 2. decreases need for sleep (check), 3.pressure of speech (check), & lastly (for this case), increase in goal-directed activity (check). These are some not all of the DSM-5 symptoms of diagnosing Mania. I only stated these because that is exactly what I was going through last night. I mean, I had literally just worked a ten hour shift and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. But I just couldn’t. My mind was racing with these creative ideas and if I had not stayed up, I would have indeed been tossing and turning in bed thinking about it. So, I chose to stay up. I felt like Superman and I could do anything my little heart had desired. It was go time. Ultimately it was a epic fail because I am not even remotely close to knowing how to set up a website. It is not my strong suit. And because of my burning need to be a perfectionist it cost me heavily. I was extremely exhausted, irritable, and had a ridiculous argument with my girlfriend, which later caused me to fall into a depression and I ended up sleeping all day. Remember yesterday when I said having the good days are better than the bad days until the crash happens. So, I was highly intoxicated with excitement causing me to become hypomanic then became extremely exhausted, causing a really dumb argument, and ended in me feeling like a shitty person—causing the crash & that my friends is what happens when you do not take your medications. Your highs drop to such a low point that you end up spending a beautiful summer day sleeping. I just took my medication, and I am going back to sleep because I have a very early surgery in the morning ( I’ll talk about that another day). So that was my very blah story of the day. I hope everyone is doing their best & God bless — goodnight world.

My Little Intro

My Little Intro

This is my very first time creating a blog or even being on one of these things, so please bare with me while I bring my page to life for your and my own advantages. I honestly know nothing about blogging however, my main goal was to talk about Bipolar Disorder & bring more awareness. I am not some type of expert, I do not have a degree is Psychology (as of yet), and I am not a medical professional. But in a way, living with this disease every day has made me know it inside and out. I just want people to learn, share, and talk about bipolar disorder as they would anything else. Let’s talk about it as we would anything else while strolling in a park. We shouldn’t fear it or hide from it.

Stigma is a very real thing. Anyone who lives in the real world knows that people who suffer from any type of mental illness have it pretty rough. And that is because society made it hard for us. When I first got diagnosed, about three years ago, I was in such disbelief. Though I always felt like there was just something not quite right with me, I was still shocked. Once the gavel comes down and you hear “You have Bipolar Disorder” everything changes in that very second. And as you walk out of that doctor’s office lost and confused, it begins to echo around in your brain. Fear sets in. I remember feeling so ashamed, distraught, angry, & every bad emotion you can possibly envision. I couldn’t understand it, yet it made a lot of sense. The ultimate Catch 22.

Regardless of the matter, I didn’t want anyone to know. I was afraid. Afraid of what my family and friends would say, afraid of what was going to happen to me, afraid of myself. I didn’t know who I was, all I knew was that I was either extremely happy on some days, or extremely sad on other days. I constantly lived in black or white, there was no such thing as the grey area for me. And even though, I knew my life was about to make such a drastic turn, I also I knew that I wasn’t ready for it. So, I became a hermit. Yup, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, I completely put myself into isolation. I stopped hanging out with my friends, or tried to avoid them as much as possible. I wouldn’t return phone calls. I just wanted to be left alone. I was stuck and felt hopeless. That kind of “I’m totally fucked hopeless.” Feeling as though you’re tied to a huge bag of rocks in the middle of the great Atlantic, and there isn’t anything you can do but sink. So I sank, deeper and deeper into my despair with not one person to talk to.

There I was young, alone, LABELED, with prescriptions of all kinds of medications in my hand. For the record, I utterly despise labels. And bipolar to most people means crazy. I didn’t want to be labeled as crazy. I hate that word. People use it way too often today, especially when it comes to women, whether they have the disorder or not. “She’s bat shit crazy.” SMH!

“I am not bipolar, I have bipolar.” The reason that this quote is highly important to me, and I want it to be as important to everyone else who has been diagnosed, because having bipolar disorder doesn’t define you as a human being. You are you. Your very own unique person. Yes, we may share something like bipolar disorder, but that doesn’t mean we are the same. NO ONE IS THE SAME. And, frankly I am tired of people with this disorder being labeled as crazy. It is a mood disorder which has so many spectrums. The young me feared that so much, like most people would. Even if some of us won’t admit it, we all care about what people think of us or say about us. That’s just real life. Today, all I can say is that I am 30 years old, I work in a pharmacy and go to school for Psychology. Which honestly, I believe is the real reason I became so comfortable with talking about having bipolar. I realized, that yes I am not perfect, in fact I struggle with my demons on a daily basis. I may have the happiest day ever for no apparent reason. Oh, and those days are my favorite days ever. Those days, I am that charismatic, fun, “dopest” person in the universe me. I remember an old friend of mine once said “Alisa just pulls you right in, there’s just something about her that just pulls you right into her.” That something my friends is known as “grandiosity.” Yup, that unbelievable feeling of total “I am soooo freaking amazing” feeling. Then there’s those days, where you can barely get yourself out of bed. It’s like the Great Depression, except allover your body and mind. The saddest part is feeling like you want to give up because nothing is worth it anymore. The pain is excruciating. Depression has a way of just slapping you right across the face practically out of nowhere and extremely hard. Those days are the worst, unbearable, agonizing days and nights. Those days make you want to crawl out of your own skin, if you could. I would pick the happy days over the depressing ones any day of the week. And all I see is black or white. I am currently reading this book (maybe some of you know it) – “An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jamison. Yes, the book is a memoir about this woman suffering from bipolar. The past year I have read, researched, wrote about bipolar to no end. And my journey isn’t even close to over. Everyday I learn more. Everyday I push myself to acquire more knowledge. Like they say knowledge is power, the more you know, etc, etc. I have literally learned more about this disorder on my own than I had with any doctor. Not for nothing but giving me the DSM-5 rundown on my symptoms for your own diagnosis’s didn’t help me one bit. I enjoy books like these, because I can read something and say ” wow, I have been there” or “OMG, that happened to me too.” No one understands bipolar disorder the way people who in fact have the disorder do. Your depression isn’t like my depression, and that’s just the truth. Anyways, if you haven’t read this book (which my professor advised me to get) you should definitely give it a go. She is so brilliant. I am not done with it but, I am already a fan of her work. I can recommend other bipolar disorder books if anyone is interested & don’t worry they wont be all “yawn”, “shove this down my couch” kind of book. My girlfriend is really another reason I took such initiative of the disorder. She wanted to learn all she could about it to know exactly what she was getting into, and I mean I don’t blame her lol. I am not the easiest person to live with, but I am the best (just kidding… kind of). I like to thank her for helping me deal with having bipolar and making it so much easier than it was before. So, love if you’re reading this (which you better be) lol, thank you – I love you

This blog was something I wanted to do for a really long time already. Unfortunately I had always been too busy to get it together and do it, and here I am finally doing it. This is something I really wanted to do for myself, those who have bipolar disorder, and their loved ones. I want to hear your story while I share mine. I want people to stop hiding and be proud of who they are even if they aren’t societies definition of perfect. It took me a long, long time to get to this point in my life. I am finally embracing who I am and trying to change the things I don’t really like. Hard work, and ambition go hand in hand. You have to want to be better, and do better – just like in everything else in life. If this blog isn’t for you and you’re not a fan, that is okay, God bless you anyways. BUT, if you are interested to know about my life with bipolar disorder, you’re more than welcome to indulge into my ordinary/not so ordinary life. Comments are expected, so please do share… It’s late, so I am going to get ready for bed.

Till tomorrow, goodnight world.