Why I write this

By focusing on the steps I’ve put into my own life to bring my own happiness I can not only share them with other people who may benefit, but I can also remind myself of them and continue down the right path.

I’m about to get more personal here than I ever have with 99% of the people in my life. It’s a little scary, but it’s the reason I think the way that I do and the reason I started this blog. This is the big thing in my life that has above all others defined how I find my happiness.

When I was 17 I spent several weeks in a mental facility and came out with a diagnosis of Bi-Polar disease, also known as Manic Depression.

Now I’m going to take a moment here for a big important disclaimer before I say anything else.

I am not any kind of doctor or professional counselor. I am going to share how this disease impacts me and how I manage it, but I truly have no idea if this is the norm or something that would work for other people.

I am not encouraging anyone who is suffering from any kind of depression to stop or change any treatment. I am not saying that I have the answers or know more than anyone else. I am just going to share what works for me, and how that has molded me into the person I am.

If you struggle with depression and need help please reach out to a professional. If you want to connect to others with depression please seek out groups and support online. Reddit has a large supportive community Here.

If you are having thoughts of self harm please reach out to a suicide support line right away at 1-800-273-8255. You are never alone and talking will help.

Bi-Polar is defined by Web MD as:
Bipolar disorder was formerly called manic depression. It is a form of major affective disorder, or mood disorder, defined by manic or hypomanic episodes (changes from one’s normal mood accompanied by high energy states). Bipolar disorder is a serious condition. Mania often involves sleeplessness, sometimes for days, along with hallucinations, psychosis, grandiose delusions, or paranoid rage. In addition, depressive episodes can be more devastating and harder to treat than in people who never have manias or hypomanias.

From: https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/bipolar-disorder-manic-depression#1

The most cliché picture I can put to it is a roller coaster. You spend almost all of your time going from up to down, and very little of it on any kind of a flat surface.

Bi-Polar impacts everyone a little differently, here is what it does to me.

Depression

On the depression end it’s very close to the standard definition. It’s an overwhelming feeling of total hopelessness that can come from nowhere. It’s this complete feeling that nothing will ever be good again.

While stress and anxiety can bring on a depression swing, these feelings have little to no basis for reality and can hit even if I’m having a fairly good day.

If I let it run its course I can end up in hysterical crying fits, sleeping the entire day or sometimes in an almost catatonic state. I once spent 2 hours just staring at a blade of grass from my front porch.

Manic

The manic swing for me can often be even worse than the depressive because I don’t always know it’s happening.

For me this is usually a flurry of ideas. My mind goes into overdrive and I feel like I can do anything. I can’t focus on anything and I will start a million projects that I will never finish. I’ll spend money to fund some crazy get rich scheme I came up with and then abandon within a few days.

I can’t sleep and I can’t turn my mind off. I once laid awake all night in bed thinking about how I was going to be the next best children’s book novelist, only to lose all of the ideas when I tried to flesh them out in the morning.

I start something, but then as the mania swings down I lose track of why I started it, or stop believing that it is worth it and give it up. This can also feed into a depressive swing, with my thinking that I fail at everything.

I will say I’m fairly lucky in the way my mania manifests. There are people who have violent rage outbursts due to this disease. I don’t know if my chemistry is just different or if it’s because I don’t have the real capacity for violence in me, but it does not cause me to be violent or angry. The majority of people that I interact with they would just think I was very energetic and full of ideas. In fact these episodes have led me to some success in my job as the ideas person.

What this all boils down to is a very simple day-to-day fact for me, I can never actually trust my current feelings, whether they are good or bad. I never know if I’m experiencing things the way they are or if it’s through the lens of the disease.

So I headed home with this horrible thing looming over me and a big pile of medication I hated. It made me feel fuzzy and disconnected and sometimes literally sick to my stomach. They caused horrible migraines. My husband Chris, who was my closest friend at the time, said they made me into a zombie.

The diagnosis was not a total shock as Bi-Polar runs through my mom’s side of the family, and she has been battling it herself most of her life.

With the help and support of my mom, who had been self managing for many years by then I was able to come off the medication eventually, and learn how to manage my episodes. She saved me, in so many ways, and she is still the person I call when I can’t get a grip on things.

She led me to learn that I cannot trust my base feelings. That the things going on in my head were due to chemicals in my brain going off-balance and they were not always real.

When I was in the grip of depressive episodes she would help me think logically about what I was feeling and make me see what was actually there instead. She encouraged me to change my focus in these moments to think about the good things, to go over my blessings over and over again and know that my life was good, even if I didn’t feel it at the time.

I had to get a firm logical grasp on things in my life that I knew to be good and be thankful for them. I had to hug someone and live in that happy little moment and feel someone loving me.

She encouraged me to fix anything that was in my power to control if it was leading me into sadness. Rather than brooding because something was wrong or I needed to do something I should suck it up, focus and get it done.

Wallowing in sadness is not an option, if it can be fixed, go fix it now. If it cannot be fixed I should change the way I look at it, or let it go. The work ethic she gave me is one of the greatest gifts of my life. Suck it up, keep moving and just get it done.

I learned that when I was in a depression is when I need the most to focus on the good things in life and make my own happiness. I learned to see the depression for what it actually is and move on with my happiness in spite of it.

During my manic phases my mom helps to ground me. Telling her my ideas she always encouraged me to sit on them and think for a long time before taking action. I learned eventually not to make any kind of big life choice until I know I’ve thought it through when I wasn’t manic.

I thought about starting this blog for 2 months before I actually did it and started promoting it, because I wanted to be absolutely sure it was something coming from me and not a manic whim.

When I was thinking about what I should blog about I knew I wanted to do something that would be positive and upbeat, but then what? I’m not an expert crafter or cook. We don’t live in our RV yet to tell awesome travel stories. I don’t have kids to talk about.

I started to think that my life was just very boring and there is no way anyone is going to be interested in reading about it.  The only thing that stuck out that was somewhat unique to me, and that I knew enough to talk to was managing my disease every day.

But I didn’t want to do a blog about depression. I don’t want to wallow in the disease, I don’t want to focus on it or gain pity from people, I wanted to keep feeding my positivity and encourage it in others.

That’s when I realized how different this disease has made me. That I can’t just be happy, it’s something I have to be mindful of every moment and something I have to do. I can’t take it for granted or trust that I am happy, I need to take specific steps every day to make it happen.

I decided that is what I wanted to share with the world.

By focusing on the steps I’ve put into my own life to bring my own happiness I can not only share them with other people who may benefit, but I can also remind myself of them and continue down the right path.

I think that’s why I’ll be able to stick to making this work. Even if I never make a dime off the site, even if I never get more than a handful of followers, I am feeding my good wolf every day and already benefiting more than I ever would have imagined.

9 Replies to “Why I write this”

  1. Hi Misty. Thank you so much for this post. I have lived with depression as long as I can remember. I think I was born feeling this way. I found some things in your post that I will add to my arsenal. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. It’s a daily struggle, but there is light even if we don’t always see it, and you are never alone. Have a wonderful day!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. You are not alone. As I was reading it, I realized you put into words what I have been battling with my whole life. I wish you luck with your blog!

  3. Thank you for you openness. This is something I have wrestled with as well but always just chalked it up to the emotions of being a writer. Your words ring true to me as one “idea girl” to another. I look forward to hearing what works for you, and am grateful for the reminder to “be the happy.” I will bookmark your blog for sure!

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