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Bipolar

And other interesting quirks

First the positive.

If we've met, Chances are we met at a friends party. So to make sure everyone understands:

I love going to parties. I love finding the quiet place people retreat to once in a while, and chatting with everyone who comes through. I have met some of the most amazing people that way. And I have had incredible conversations, seen art, learnt about other cultures, comforted, helped, found peace, and more, through so many of these interactions. And that can be in one night!

I may be an introvert, but I’ve found a way to still be social and meet new people. Don’t think because I hang out in the back room, I am not loving the hell out of your party. I am.

Now for the neutral.

I am a nonlinear thinker whose natural thought processing is not in language, it is in pure abstract and images. And I think on multiple tracks at once. As a result I think very quickly, but time is something I have to set alarms for.

It has taken three people to replace me in multiple jobs. I do my work on time. I do it efficiently, and with attention to time management skills. I kept that up when I moved to working from home.

But outside the confines of my work schedule, my time gets loopy. Life seems to be moving too quickly and too slowly at the same time. I might send an email in a morning and think it's been a week, or not realize a month has gone by.

When I'm not in structure of daily tasks, I just don't experience time in any form of linear way. That's why some form of lifestyle architecture is so important. And that's why when things go "tits up", (as all lives are want to do) I have to rebuild quickly.

Okay now the serious stuff. I am public about this, despite the risk of stigma, because I belong in this world too. And I stay this way because I get thanked for saying what others are feeling but have no words for. Those thanks are everything to me.

I am well treated and very resilient. I know the ins and outs of my illness, and how to limit its affect on others. But I am Bipolar I with Psychotic Symptoms. These days it sounds more scary than it is. One day I will tell the story of when I was truly ill.

The following is very, very rare - so it can be sneaky. Like many bipolar people, I can keep it together for other people, co-workers, clients, friends. And in public I am dependable, responsible and very careful with my words. I have to be.

Because if I'm not? I might seem, too quick, too energetic, too loud (you'll notice), too cranky, too proud, or just plain too much. If this is the case I might be manic. Please. Please. Please. Tell me! I have meds that help. And if they don’t work, I will remove myself till I can get the symptoms under control. I have a lot of methods of coping that can bring everything down a notch.

At the same time these are my symptoms. I don’t intend to be this way. I don’t want to be this way. Please be kind to us both, and don’t let me be this way. It is not mean to tell me I seem off. (If you start second guessing why you friended me, mania might be why). It is mean to think that I am off. I am not my symptoms.

I also get anxious. And sometimes that anxiety hits like an overwhelming wave of chest clenching emotions and you might not have the energy for someone freaking out over something small. Please tell me. I have medication for that too. I might not realize I am being anxious at all because mental illness is a bitch. I can bring it under control.

For both of these, that’s if I don’t notice it first. I watch my symptoms like a hawk. For the past year, every time mania's struck I've been the first to notice and act on it that morning. It never went far, only my vast amount of writing really betrayed my state on facebook.

For the anxiety, I have physical warning signs so I can usually nip that in the bud too. Around other people I'm very healthy these days.

It’s my personal life that bleeds.

What I'm working on.

Sometimes I need to do infrequent paranoia checks - particularly with new friends as I get used to new habits and humours. I let you know what I'm doing and I ask if I upset you. There is no deadline to reply. You don't have to rush to comfort me. If you don't see it for weeks I understand. But It would greatly help if when you do? You let me know if we're okay. If we're not? Lets talk.

I've gotten a lot better since I first wrote this. I put it boldly, daring others to take offense. But I've mellowed with age and the right mental health resources. I'm stronger than ever. It's possible this list is now here just to help others point to an piece and say, "see this."

I write my posts on my illness so people can see themselves reflected in my words. I write art so people can see the descent into illness burned upon the page.

I want to share with you, and I want to help you heal.

 

Also I’m English. We apologize for breathing. Prepare to be apologized to. I also get embarrassed when you get embarrassed. So it’s not all bad.

 

Finally. My anthem.

"Brave" by Sara Bareilles

 


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