Friday, 28 October 2016

What is Bipolar?

People often have misconceptions about bipolar. I've heard the term be thrown around when someone is in a bad mood or is inconsistent with their emotions but that's is not entirely true of the illness, and in some cases, can offend.

Bipolar is a mood disorder, where one experiences periods of extreme elation and also periods of great depression. These feelings and emotions are much more intense and futile than of regular emotions. It is not categorically a shift in mood from hour to hour, but rather over days, weeks and even months.

For me I can spend a long period of time feeling worthless and guilty, I forget to eat and I sleep too much.

The risk of suicide among those with bipolar is significantly higher and is what makes the depression end of the scale extremely scary.

On the opposite end, those experiencing elation can often begin to hallucinate, or in some cases enter into a state of psychosis.

Both ends of the scale prompt risky behavior's and come with wide variety of symptoms from irritability, changes in weight and even excessive spending, to name but a few.

Bipolar is said to be an imbalance in brain chemicals which contribute to these extreme fluctuations in mood, however, day to day environmental stresses and pressures can have a big impact.

The severity of both moods (and in some cases mixed states), can have a damaging effect on ones social and work relations, financial stability and can often pose issues with the law.

Bipolar is a serious long term illness, but with support and education, some may go on to lead long, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Love xo

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

" What's gonna be left of the world, if you're not in it. . "

Some days are just the worst.

The day started fairly positive, I mean I woke up late but whatever. I got off to a good start, sticking to my daily workout followed by breakfast.

A quick bus trip to school and i'll be golden. That's what I thought. 

I had been on the bus no more than 2 minutes when the fear hit me. A delightful patron, barges through the isle and hollers to those on the back seat to ' Move the fuck over'. Uhoh. This is going to end well. After finding a seat, said passenger jumps up and slams the roof vent open with an aggression to be desired. It's fine, honestly it's fine, but the fear doesn't listen. My palms start omitting a cold sweat, my heart rate falls over itself. Oh and there it is, there come the shakes. Is that vomit I taste? Fuck. All the while I'm staring dead out the window, hoping my headphones silently deter any interaction. Nope, not this time. ' Nice hat', takes headphone out of one ear and sheepishly says thank you. More loud chatter, more curse words. Finally he tells me i'm sad for wearing headphones and missing out on conversation. That is, until someone nudges him, a reminder that he pushed the button to signal his stop. Off he goes, shouting and swearing into the day. Now where was the need for all of that? The belligerent behaviour is one thing, but to have a panic attack in reaction is something else entirely.

The day picks up, i'm off to meet my tutor. What else can go wrong? Well I guess I'll have a peek online and see if my exam results are posted. Yupp, there they are. A big fat fucking D. May as well have slept through the fucking exam. Chokes the vomit back, again.

Yoga relaxes me a bit, and I make it through my Psychology lecture without bursting into tears. Bursting being the optimum word, tears there were.

I bus downtown, but the memory of my last trip breaks me into panic once again. I plug in my headphones and stare at the ground, hoping to bypass any vomit that may be awaiting my demise. Given the day I had, I thought a nice cold cider was in order. I have 9 spare minutes to book it to the liquor store before my next bus. On route I pass some panhandlers. Again, headphones in. Again, that deters absolutely no one. When I fail to respond to his aggressive shouts, he follows up with ' Go fucking die '.

So here I am, walking down the street wondering if I should in fact take his advice and go die. Or I could go home, cook a steak and drink a cider. Yupp, right on cue. Vomit. Luckily there's a trash can in sight, because regretfully, this time I can't choke it back.

So that was today; 3 vomits, 1 panic attack, a failing grade and a request to kill myself.

Happy Fucking Days!

Love xo

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Fresh out of the box.

This might be the hardest thing i've ever had to do, well besides taming the beast that is. You see I haven't been completely honest with you over the years. Although it says it right there in the title, I have not yet written or spoken the complete truth of it all. Behind the scenes, I have spent the past few years struggling with my demon. A demon that within the field of modern psychiatry, is named Bipolar 1 Disorder.

The signs were always there, a diagnosis merely highlighted the facts. I was often met with the label of ‘too intense’, ‘hypersensitive’, and in some cases just pure ‘crazy’. The lookers and pointers where always quick to tell me something was wrong, but until I decided to realize it for myself, everything was just ‘fine’, fine with roller coaster highs and lows that could not be reasoned with. Until now.

It's not me, she screamed.

And it isn't. It is a big part of me of course, but I would be a fool to believe it constitutes my entire being.

But what does it mean? Well, for me, as well as shedding light on some of my past thoughts and actions, it now puts my future into perspective. I take daily medications, as well as self-care strategies. I work on a colour coded mood scale, that depicts my darkest and highest states. I never thought I would be so at home with a label, a chart, even an identity, but you see bipolar is not my identity, it is deep rooted in who I am as a person. A person full of love, happiness, creativity and excitement. Someone who, with the aid of said colour coded chart, can pin point her mood at any given time and consequently, yet proactively see the potential pitfalls coming her way and react to them accordingly.

Coming to terms with, and accepting this illness has been by far my hardest task to date - even given some of my most intense episodes and hospitalizations. The realization that there is a manageable life to this eternal illness and having the strength to push on with, and uphold the strategies I need to stay in a safe place, has been nothing less than an epiphany.

I am Natalie, I have a passion for life, travel, adventure, connection and on the bad days, self loathing.

I sit cross footed on the see saw of my existence, in the hopes that the scales don't tip against me.

After years at battle, I feel I finally have some control in my life. Control enough to stand up and talk, to share my story.

So here I stand, guilty of the highs that send me into psychosis and allow me to talk to god, as well as the lows that dig a bigger hole than a JCB.

I am Natalie, a daughter, a friend, a lover, and I proudly manage, not struggle, with a disorder called Bipolar 1.

I no longer anguish over the past, but instead, I now look onward with lust to the future. With the help of some very strong and supportive family members, friends and helpful local organizations such as Bipolar Babes, Insight counselling and Vancouver Island Health Authority. I now know I can take each day for what it is. I have returned to university in a bid to learn this illness inside out, I continue to hold down a job and care for my four-legged friend Sandy the chiweenie (although she may well be the carer). I recognise the difference between self-care and selfishness and continue to grow as a person, each and every minute.

I’d never wish this illness upon anyone, but for now I am happy to say it is very much a part of me.

I am Natalie, and I am bipolar.

Love xo

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Good Night Rosey Tee, Good Morning Lithium Daydreams

After three years of blogging under the name Rosey Tee, a place where I shared my transition from Scotland to Canada, and all the adventures in between. I hangup my coat and pick up the umbrella.

It is now time to start a new writing project. A project that is very close to my heart and will follow my new journey in dealing with Bipolar disorder.

I hope to share with you, the ups and downs I deal with on a day to day basis; the roller coaster life that is one of mental illness.

I swear here today that I will try to stick to the point, no veering off or being swayed by product placements and paid posts.

Pure and simple writing is what I seek.

I have found an honest, creative outlet in writing and wish to continue with that.

Follow me on my journey of intense emotion, medication, psychiatric practices and self care strategies.

Together we can work to manage, not struggle, with mental health disorders.

Love xo