Monday, January 25, 2016

Being Bipolar, Zombified and a Creative Mind...

Below is a photo that I found on Facebook by The Kind Mat. It is a GORGEOUS and creative photo, click below to see.

The Kind Mat is a yoga and meditation page. Well, they sell yoga accessories, but they also share a lot of knowledge about mind and body, including lots of pretty pictures.
I think it is very important for everyone to be in tune with their body and their mind. Knowing ones self truly and being able to communicate with others how one feels is very important to me.

When I saw the above picture on my Facebook page it got me thinking about how I often feel "caged" from my creativity because of being Bipolar and having other issues along with that.

The picture...I think it's such a great picture! The rainbow effect of the dress and bird are so beautiful. The way the colors blend into one another with such a smooth transition and the way the bird is flying with such glorious big wings.
The picture and the saying together makes me think of having NO BOUNDARIES as an artist and a creative mind. I've been crafting since I was young, since I was able to use scissors. Crafting with my mom when I was little are some of my BEST memories of my childhood, which is good, because I don't have all of the pieces of my childhood, that puzzle is still being put together.
Now, being able to create what I see in my mind, or at least getting as close to my visions as possible is a constant struggle for me because of all the medications I'm on.

Unfortunately, being bipolar and being on so many medications, I have so many boundaries, and I also have a lot of physical pain from a back and a neck injury and I have fibromyalgia so my joints hurt a lot, all of the time, there is never a break from that, even with the medication I take to help that, the pain is just "dulled" a bit, but never truly gone. It constantly feels like I have a million firecrackers going off inside my body, my arms and legs are the worst! Constant shocks and cracks and pops, it's extremely painful. Some days are better than others though.
The biggest boundary is that the mental medications makes me SO tired and I always feel like a zombie. While on my medication just getting out of bed to have to function is a big struggle. Always being so tired, feeling like a bag of bricks, it makes even the simplest of daily tasks feel like I'm starring at a 10 ft. high brick wall. Just getting out of bed to have to shower is a big task, let alone getting any housework done, helping hubby take care of our furbabies and the biggest thing of all is that I can't even take myself to my dr. appointments because when I take the medication I can't even drive.

I try very hard to keep a good head on my shoulders and be the best person I can be. In truth, I'm a very fun person. I love to play card and board games, video games, I love watching movies and cartoons. Oh yes, I LOVE cartoons and I am always watching Disney movies and Pixar type movies. I love reading books and science magazines and learning. I am obsessed with humor. I like to tell jokes, even stupid ones. I don't care if people are laughing "at" me instead of with me, but they all love me, dumb jokes and all. I love hearing jokes, I like watching comedy skits.
I am a true country girl, even though I was born in the city. I love the forest, I like riding 4 wheelers and being out in the country. I love farm animals and horses and riding horses. I like to run around and play games with goats. I love to hike and be on a boat and I really enjoy fishing and camping. I could stay in a tent for months and sit by a campfire every single night and never tire of it. I love to get my hands dirty in dirt. I do like to garden, even though I'm terrible at it and I will kill every plant I touch, every single time, without fail. I love the snow, and the rain.
I'm creative, SO creative. I sometimes irritate myself because I too into creativity that I can't stop what I'm doing because I'm having too much fun.

 When I'm enjoying life, I really enjoy life!!!!

As far as creativity goes, the medication really irks me because there are so many days that I WANT to craft but I can't. Then there are days that I just lay there or sit there and I finally get so fed up that I get up to craft and I sit in my craft room in my chair starring at my work space and my supplies. When I get to that point, it sometimes takes me days just to finish one card. Whereas, when I'm off my medication I can finish a card in a day or an afternoon (the time frame always depends on how critical I am of my own work and how many times I take it apart and put it back together).

Right now I'm on 9 different medications to help with all the issues I have. Bipolar disorder with rapid cycling, auditory and visual hallucinations, ptsd, horrid nightmares, severe anxiety and extreme paranoia (both of which that often prevents me from even leaving the house).

With all of these issues I still manage to always force myself to fit in creative time. I do admit that I sometimes go on and off my medications, but that is because there are times I need to be able to function in the real world, be able to take care of things and be able to drive. The times I do go off my meds is like feeling new again. Not having any boundaries, and for a few days, being able to think clearly, before everything comes crashing down on me like a pile of bricks again. When I do go off my medications it doesn't do me any good for all of my issues. Then, I just have to go through a big whirl wind of side affects of being off the meds. My voices get louder, my anxiety and paranoia gets worse, my depression worsens very quickly etc. But, being off the meds I'm able to be SO creative and work on projects for hours and not have to worry about sleeping all the time because the medications make me so tired.

There are times I'm on my meds and in a manic (mania) phase (this also happens when I'm off my meds). During this time I can go many days without sleep, I get very hyper and my ideas are firing off in my brain, I see them as pictures and words flying off the wall towards me. I see stars exploding and with each explosion a new idea pops into my head. I'm frantically trying to keep up with the ideas, often times working on several projects at once. During this time, I get a LOT of crafting done! But, this phase doesn't always last, it usually lasts for about 4 or 5 days, and then I crash.

When I crash, I'm in bed for days, I ignore everyone around me, often times, even my hubby. I feel very sad, depressed and I cry a LOT. I have no thoughts of  being creative, and lots of thoughts of worthlessness and weakness. My auditory and visual hallucinations become much more bothersome (even on my medication) and my anxiety gets to be too much to handle. Going through this often leads me to suicidal thoughts and have lead to suicidal actions. This phase almost always ends up with me being admitted to the psychiatric hospital. In late 2015 I was in the hospital for nearly a month and a half. I got out, was out for a couple of days and then ended up going back for a week. I got out, was out 2 days and felt very bad so I went back again for 2 days. This can happen often, sometimes a few times a year. Then, there are other times where I can go months with this depressive state and not end up in the hospital.

Through all of this, I always manage to come back to a state of "just being". I am alive, I'm dealing with my issues, I'm taking my medication, I'm doing the things that need to be done to stay "stable". But during this time (which this happens many times a year, too), I'm not always happy, I'm not always content, sometimes I am, but not always... But, I really do try to be happy! It's hard, but I try, and many days, I have to paint on a smile and push out the laughs. Sure, there are days that I am at a point where I feel life is what it is and at least I have a roof over my head and people who love me for me, despite all of my flaws. There are some days I am happy and some days I am content, because I know it can't be any better and I should just live in the moment and be thankful for everything and everyone that I have...that makes me happy, for a little while...

But somehow, I still ALWAYS have the feeling of being a disappointment, a let down, a failure, a horrible wife, a bad daughter, and a terrible friend. I am a college graduate, I graduated in the top 3 of my class out of 75 students in my area of study, I have no career to show for it, as much as I WANT that, I just can't have it, or do it. That hurts me, very deeply. I busted my ass to work through college through all of my mental and physical issues, in and out of the psychiatric hospital, but ALWAYS staying on top of my school work. I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated college, I was on track to do just that, but this stupid brain and it's issues!
I can't take care of my husband in all of the ways that other women take care of their husbands, even as much as I want to be the perfect housewife, I just can't. He understands, but his understanding doesn't make me feel any better about the things I can't do. He also has his limitations due to a severe physical disability, so there is a mutual understanding of each others limitations, but that doesn't mean I want to be any less of a wife than I feel I could be if I didn't have all of these stupid limitations.
I can't always be there to spend time with my parents which I know hurts them, especially because we live so close now when I was away for so many years. We have a lot of similar interests, playing board and card games, camping, going to movies etc. But, it's hard to get up and do anything when I'm so zombified from the medications.
I don't keep in touch with all of my friends, often times going months without a message, an e-mail, a phone call, or even text message, though I have the means to do so I just can't get out of my slump enough to spend the time to talk or chat. Sometimes, I feel terrible because I break plans that have been made, not intentionally, because at the time of making them I had all intentions to follow through, but sometimes when the day comes I just can't get with it, my anxiety is too bad, I'm too depressed, or I'm just in pain.

I've had a lot of loss in my life due to my mental issues. I've lost jobs, job opportunities, career opportunities, and the feeling of being an accomplished person. I've lost a lot of friends who just couldn't understand what I was going through. I'd get comments about how there are people who are in wheelchairs but they don't let it stop them from living a full life. I've also had people tell me that it must be nice to not have to work and be able to stay home 24/7.
Some people just don't understand how severely my mental issues impact my daily life. When I am constantly fighting with the voices in my own head, when my anxiety is so severe that I can't even sit still and I get on my hubby's nerves.
No one understands, I don't WANT to miss out on all the fun, I don't like ruining relationships. I'd rather be out camping, going to a concert, or just hanging out. But when I'm on my meds, and I'm such a zombie and so tired that I literally sleep 14 hours most days, (when I'm not in a manic phase), it's impossible to LIVE life to the fullest. I've tried, and it just ends badly. It causes me to put on fake smiles and push out fake laughs. and then there are times that I do enjoy myself, too much. So, because I'm in a good mood, I stop taking my meds, so that I can live, and be free from the zombie mind. but, that's when it all comes crashing down again.
No one gets it, I don't WANT to live on disability and have to struggle with money and paying bills. And no, I don't live off the Government, I only get SSD, which is the money I worked for nearly half my life, and paid into the system. Yep, I get ragged on about that by people all the time, no one "knows" what I go through and how difficult it is to live off the little bit of money I get. With hubby being disabled (he only also gets SSD, so nothing extra from the Government), we get very little combined because there is a cap on what married couples are allowed to get, even if we are disabled. It's rough living like this, but we make it, and we make the best of it. It's not always fun and games to stay home 24/7 when I struggle with the things I do.

And just because I'm on medication doesn't mean that the medication fixes it all. The medication only "helps" with the symptoms. I still hear voices and see things, none of that goes away fully, there is no medication that completely takes the voices and the people away. The anxiety medication doesn't work to completely take my anxiety away either, it just curbs it. the medication for my fibromyalgia, it helps, but like other meds, it doesn't fully take away the symptoms. There are days my legs and arms hurt so bad that I am constantly kicking my legs out and throwing punches into the air. There are days I take several extremely hot baths a day just to get the pain to subside for a little while.
Some days are better than others, for all of my issues. But I try. I try to go on, and I try to do the best I can and be the best I can. I have reached my boiling point and tried to end things quite a few times, but I always hang on. There is a reason, and I don't know what that reason is. Everything happens for  a reason.

This. All that I've just described, is only part of how it feels to be Bipolar and have other issues. While I WANT to be better, all I can do to be better is take the medication. Nothing will ever "cure" me of being Bipolar and having these other issues. Nothing will ever take away the voices or stop the visual hallucinations, nothing will ever cure my anxiety or paranoia and nothing will ever make me feel 100% better. But, I try.

I don't know how this went from a short post on creativity to this long post about creativity and everything in between, but I guess I really needed to get it out. So, this is a little peek into the life of me. If I would have explained everything, I think it might explode some heads. It's hard being me, but I do try to be the best person I can be.

~Melisa Marie

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