As many of you know, I sometimes publish (and actively encourage) guest posts from folk. I do so as I truly believe that it is important that we as a community get to share and in order the provide folk with an opportunity to actively contribute to the guild. I do of course reserve the right to edit anything which is submitted and to decline to publish anything which I feel I shouldn’t publish. And the criteria I use in deciding what to publish, what to edit, or even what not to publish, isn’t about me agreeing with the content of the guest post it is more about the quality of it, and the impact I feel it would have on our members.
The following guest post was submitted to us by Cassandra – Miss bipolar from over at The Twisted Mind Behind An Artist. And isn’t edited in any way.
The Illness That Defines You
They say that mood disorders and mental illness, are simply part of you. That they do not define you. Bullshit. If you suffer from a “mood disorder” you and I both know that its not true. Your life becomes about recovery, about figuring out what exactly is your illness. Then after months or years of being observed and observing yourself, you’ve officially googled every medical term for what you believe you may have. Yet, when someone with a Ph.D diagnoses, what you already thought you had…your world crumbles. It becomes OFFICIAL.
From this point on comes what they call, recovery. Getting better, knowing your illness, accepting its deadly grip on your soul and telling yourself, you are NOT your illness..it is simply part of you.
Lets be real. Most of my days are spent figuring out what triggers my “up” and my “downs”. Then the other half is spent trying to avoid everything since I cant figure out which way my mood will go. They teach you strategies to cope; for example if you suffer from panic disorder, they teach you “box breathing”. For anyone who’s every suffered from a panic attack, you know that breathing is NOT something you can seem to get under control. Therefore teaching someone to breath in 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds and then hold for 5 seconds again, will NOT work in a situation where theoretically speaking it should be needed.
Once you’ve figured out what triggers you, then the question becomes how do you handle yourself in the midst of a crisis? Just because someone intelligent wrote books on what he or she believed would help, doesn’t mean they really comprehend the feelings you experience. After all, how can someone who’s never been Bipolar know anything about how I really feel, when I myself can barely understand my own feelings. The fact remains my brain has an “ON” and “OFF” switch, and no matter how many group and one on one therapies I do. Its not something that will change.
Exactly my point, its not something that will change. So they give you 15 pills a day, watch the effects it will have on you, and play around with the dosages. Like a guinea pig you become a test, trial and error; for the millions of medications made for people.. just like you. After finally finding something that doesn’t completely bring you out of whack, they just keep increasing the dosage until they think you’ve become “normal”. Well, as “Normal” as you will ever be. From now on, every day, most likely morning and night, you swallow your poison to sanity. Knowing that the day you stop taking what will eventually kill some part of your insides. Your mind will lose itself once again. This is when , the oblivion starts all over again.
So who ever said, you are NOT your illness, I say, screw you. Because after years of fighting, days of endless struggles, lost friendships and millions of heartaches. I spend every minute of my days, trying to fix what has been chemically engineered in my brain. I would love to say, I am Bipolar, and it doesn’t make me who I am. But the truth is, who I am depends on what part my Bipolar chooses to be. And all I can do, from the back of my mind when it takes over my body, is try so hard to minimize the destruction I will cause in my moments of crisis. Its like narrating a story in your mind with absolutely no control over your body, actions or words. Stuck in a prison, as you watch everything you love or want, fall apart. And then, when you take over the driver seat, you spend your “Sane” days fixing the mess your true self left behind.
Cassandra + Miss Bipolar
[Editor’s Comment: I would very much like to thank Cassandra for sharing this with us and and allowing us to publish it here on the Guild’s site. And I would like to encourage members to pop over and visit Cassandra’s site and view her other work.]