If you’ve ever scrolled through social media during the holidays, or like, a worldwide pandemic, you may come across well-meaning friends posting the number for NAMI or Suicide Hotlines.
“If just two of my friends will post this, you can change the world.” Or something.
These posts invariably appeal to people who want to provide support to the mentally ill without having to get involved in the messiness of it. Well, if you’ve ever really loved a person with mental health issues, you know — it’s far from clean-cut and sanitary.
As a person who is well-versed in various forms of cognitive and dialectical therapies, spirituality, and nutrition to manage her own fluctuating mental stability, it still catches me off balance and knocks me on my ass every time. As someone who previously flooded the discomfort of feelings with booze and participated in shopping sprees and obsession of things not-yet-conquered (boys), in order to distract myself from feeling anything mildly unpleasant – I’ve had to change.
Now, as a sober person trying to not be crazy all the time, I have to sit with all the ugliness that swells up in this five-foot-two body. There are still physical scars on my arms and legs to prove a time existed when I couldn’t stand this dis-ease. There are, I imagine, mental scars still breathing through half-healed and half-gaping wounds — aggravated by my own self-willed beliefs of how my life is supposed to look. Like pouring salt on a snail, I pour sugar on my emotional wounds and watch the mess fizz up. It’s the sweetness I want, all the empty calories, that spins me out into a cycle of moods. I want to always be in control of how I feel. Sometimes, I just can’t. And anyway, how I am supposed to feel? Sometimes, I barely can.
So when my brain is fizzy and my body feels made out of boulders I’m too weak to shuffle across my living room floor to get to the door and answer, I scroll past the Suicide Hotline posts and think, “That’s sweet. That person thinks that when I’m this deteriorated by a depressive episode, that I’ll think straight enough to pick up a phone and call someone.” I hope that it works and I KNOW that it MUST for many people. But since I like to consider myself so special, I’ll let you in on some other safety measures I have in place because my dual diagnoses likes to super complicate things and makes a liar out of me.
- I let people know I’m in recovery and have bipolar 2 disorder. This will automatically make people suspicious in any drastic personality and mood changes so this is the easiest best way for people to call me out.
- When I feel the spiral (up or down) coming, I get super honest for the .003 seconds that I can and let 3 or 4 of my closest peoples know. Then I blab about it on social media.
- My family members and 3 close friends have the door code to my apartment in case I stop responding to calls/texts.
- I make commitments to ongoing things like workshops or groups so if I’m missing too many weeks, someone again can call me out on it.
- The best thing I’ve learned to do is to just let things fail.
It is OK to fail being able to control my moods, to sleep in too long and miss my morning meditation, to not sleep enough because I’m doom-scrolling until my eyes wanna fall out, to binge on sugar and watch my body swell up from the inflammation it causes. It is OK to fail for a short period of time. But then I gotta try.
When it goes onto week three, the changes need to start and that’s why I’m here — getting back to writing. It’s the last thing I want to do and it’s the perfect thing I need. But this didn’t come to me. I shouted at God to help me and he threw an old journal at me and told me to write. [Literally, I was walking (moping) around and my old journal came out of nowhere and landed at my feet and I tripped and I got madder than I already was. OK GOD I GET IT THANK YOU BUT HONESTLY iloveyou&thankyoufornevergivinguponmeJesusilybye]