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What Is Depression? – Bipolar

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 a year and a half ago, since then I have slowly told more people and shared on social media some of what I experience with it. It’s an odd feeling  to have people come up and ask me about Bipolar after sharing about it on social media.. And now I feel like I need to write down and become more clear about what my answer to “What IS Bipolar” will be in the future when people ask.

After writing this post, I will make a video to put up on YouTube about depression as well. This is going to be a series of blog and video posts that will encompass all that Bipolar is, through the lens of my personal experience. I’m starting with depression for different reasons.. it’s a fairly common human experience, most people have experienced or seen someone close to them experience depression at some point in their lives. It’s also a huge part of Bipolar. Certainly not the fun part. So.. here we go.

Bipolar is a mood disorder. People with bipolar go between depression and mania (or hypomania), and for me, I have a yearly cycle which sinks into a deep depression in the winter months, and slowly builds up to mania in the summertime. Currently, i’ve been hypomanic or just normal feeling. I’ve had some depressive days, but am certainly not IN depression.

When depression comes on, it feels like i’m tired and overwhelmed from outside circumstances and need to retreat and rest.. but then it’s like i’m slipping downward, I never feel rested but keep feeling like I need to rest more and have lots of space from people. People feel like too much. I feel like 1000 pounds, walking down the street gets more and more difficult and I just want to sleep. Cooking, showering, brushing my teeth become a struggle to achieve and more so as the days go on. In the deepest part of depression I am in bed 14 hours a day (at least), eating pancakes (if anything) showering every 3-4 days and my hair doesn’t come out of it’s bun. I completely withdraw socially, have no interest in my friends or being social in any way, and absolutely zero sex drive or motivation to have romantic relationships.

Each evening, the night is welcomed. I want nothing but to sleep. Every night i’m so glad the day is over and I don’t have to be awake anymore. I don’t necessarily want to die, but I  don’t particularly want to be alive either. It’s odd, because it’s so clear that my mind is twisted up and not “right”… in a similar way that manic delusions are clearly the mental illness talking, depression feels like i’m being possessed and I am.. not there. Each morning I wake up with pain. My body feels so heavy, my stomach hurts and my lower back has SO much pain. How can I get out of bed? It would take 2 hours every day, sometimes more, just to convince myself to get out of bed. Just to sit in the kitchen and be miserable until I could go back to bed.

I missed so many appointments, for my stomach problems as well as therapy and didn’t make any arrangements to do anything because I knew I would end up cancelling when the time came. Everything felt like effort, and nothing was worthwhile or enjoyable. Usually I would say that I have a normal amount of anxiety, and can easily overcome it by talking myself through things, but with depression happening, anxiety decided to tag along I guess. I would have anxiety asking for help, like asking my neighbour (who would be more than happy to drive me to my appointments) for a ride, and I would cancel appointments because I was too anxious to walk 20 feet to their house and ask.

Depression feels like someone put my brain on slow motion. Trying to bring up memories, or just THINK feels like wading through a murkey, sticky, goopey pool of water. I would have to force myself to smile or be expressive, and it would feel so wrong inside.

The worst period this winter was pretty bad, though I certainly have experienced much worse. I had a substance abuse problem which ended 2 years ago, and I haven’t used substances since then.. but during this bad streak, I found myself reminiscing about the times when I was using benzos and how they took away all the body aches, and any mental/emotional suffering. In just moments, I could fully bring up the sensations and feelings of that time.. tingly euphoria, nothing matters. Everything is OK. Everything is great. This is the point where.. I can only explain it like I felt my perception be skewed, suddenly I went from a burning fear of drugs sucking my life away and ending up like some of the addicted adults I know, to clearly thinking that I could probably get away with finding drugs and doing them, it would improve my quality of life and no one needs to know. I surely could hide it from my therapist and friends. I would be happy alone if I could just have drugs. No one needs to know. It would be so easy. That was a scary moment for me.

.. So, thats bipolar depression for me. It changes my sleep, causes me to sleep way too much. Eating issues. Zero motivation. No creative inspiration. Sexual desire is gone. Human interaction is “just meh”. Self care is the hardest part of my day. Pain. In. My. Body. Nothing matters. Everything sucks. Desire drugs. Addictive tendencies spark up. Irritable. Blank Stare. Don’t care about the future, at all.

All I can really do, is try my best to keep up on self care, and wait it out. I could go on meds, but theres MANY drawbacks of that. I may get fat. I may lose my creative inspiration. I may be a different person. Maybe, i’ll get even MORE crazy or depressed. Long list of side effects that may be life-long. Like.. life threatening rash???? I have to take a pill. Every. Day. I can’t even take a freaking vitamin D pill every day, how will I take meds every day? Maybe I will have a change in perception and start abusing my medication. Maybe I will become more mentally unstable, and be unaware because when you are sick in your HEAD, it’s pretty hard to tell that it’s happening, and you ave to rely on other peoples outside perspective of your behaviour.

Currently I’m doing pretty well, so all of this does not apply to how I am right now. I am making art, self care-ing, eating well, social, sex, motivated, exercising, everything’s good. I have to look out for manic symptoms coming up in the next months, and do my best to use the time where I am in a good mindstate to get myself forward in life.

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Art as a Coping Mechanism. Toxic Homes, Bipolar Disorder, Self Preservation.

I was reminded of how much art has helped me to deal with negative circumstances in the fall, when I was spending time with a difficult family member and found myself fiercely digging my graphite stick into the paper while they were talking. As if I had to physically feel something to further distance myself from the interaction, to protect myself from the harshness of those shitty vibes.

I have been making art my whooole life. Because I was an only child, and there were not many other children near where I lived (the boonies, sticks, middle of no-where) I had many hobbies to keep myself entertained. Art, playing with animals, and roaming around in the forests were my favorite pass times.

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time alone. I think that is part of what fueled my artistic drive, as an adult I much prefer to be at home looking out at the trees and working on a project, than going out and doing normal 20-something-year old stuff, like drinking.. or whatever normal people do. In my life, I have noticed that some things just don’t change.. As evidenced by a little book that I found, I made it in kindergarten and my artist bio for myself was, I like crafts, and I just want to be a good witch. Very relevant.

I think that creating art helped to fill the time where I was alone, and may have felt lonely growing up, but also gave me a sense of purpose and a way to connect with others. “See what I made?” always resulted in a positive reaction. I had a little hat that I crocheted (for my cat) put into the Fall Fair when I was 7, that was exciting. People always were impressed and smiled when I showed them when I made. Art also purposed as an escape from the negativity of my family, at times my house was very chaotic and toxic and I could completely detach from reality and throw myself into my projects. Isn’t it funny how the things that we find that feel good to us as children, can be such a big part of our whole lives?

I had a very active imagination as a child. I would write stories, poems, and songs as far back as I remember. I would come up with detailed stories of different worlds and realities, and pretend (and believe) that I was part of them. One day when I was around 8 I convinced my friend that everything was just make-believe, and we were like Sims in a big video game and there are players, so much bigger than us which are controlling everything in our lives. I can remember things like this happening as I got older as well, making up extravagant / unrealistic stories of other realms and trying to convince my peers that it was real-life, at 10-11 years old I was still doing this.

Maybe, using art so heavily as a coping mechanism in so many ways.. resulted in me being a bit detached from reality? Not that it’s completely abnormal for a 10 year old to play make believe.. but I was also starting to drink alcohol at this age. In the coming years I struggled with various addictions and further detachment from reality. I found myself constantly surrounded by people who also came from chaotic, toxic homes and felt distant from their families, many of whom ended up with addictions and mental illnesses as we got older. I see a connection between escaping the current moment using art and imagination to create better feelings and emotions within myself, with mental illness and a distorted sense of reality. Some psychologists/therapists will say to people, its not that your reality is WRONG or non existent, it’s just that the reality you are experiencing is not the objective reality. People with psychosis or schizophrenia can see/hear/feel things that aren’t there, and there are arguments of whether the brain is simply misfiring, failing to accurately sense the environment around it and sending faulty signals, or if the person is tuned into a different frequency of reality and experiencing things that others aren’t able to perceive. Some people are extra sensitive, they feel everything much more intensely than most people, and.. is that the brain misfiring? Or are they wired up that way because their childhood experiences primed them to be extra aware of certain things. Who knows! Science doesn’t. But one day i’m sure it will, and that’ll be pretty cool.

Not all artists are mentally ill    o b v i o u s l y

But when they are, it’s fun and interesting to look at what could have caused things to be the way they are. I find it entertaining to think about why I enjoy something like hand stitching so much, and tracking the way I feel throughout a project. Everything that I make is an expression of something inside, on the days where I complete 1/3rd of 50 projects and throw them all away, the days where I complete ONE thing and feel exhausted, and the days where I do literally everything that I could have imagined and feel amazing. Bipolar Disorder has many MANY parts of it that are absolute CRAP but there is no denying that it makes life interesting.

I talk more about my “wellness path” and mental illness on this channel
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfP07xUfSOVNQpJZKoQpkpg

Day 2 Cleanse

Coffee. Sugar. Smokeables. Cold Turkey.

After someone I know, more-so someone from my past.. days where I was in the depths of addiction and drug use, died of a heroin overdose a couple of days ago.. I can’t believe it’s real.. Dead? Anyways, it sparked me going on a cleanse.

I am very aware of my addictive brain, I tend to get addicted to anything. Sugar is honestly the worst currently, and if you think that’s silly.. think again. I will go through the large sized bag of coconut sugar, or maple syrup in a week. This ends up costing me $80 a month. For a food that is not necessary. It doesn’t make me feel good, and I often end up bingeing on some combination of carbs and sugar at about 8pm. This throws off my sleep schedule, and my gut balance. It really does interfere with my life. FUCK. Coffee isn’t such an issue, I don’t drink more and more each day (like i do with the other things, that is a telltale addiction thing) but smokeables ARE an issue. I don’t want to go into that, but i never smoked tobacco regularly before this year. WHY NOW??

I know that the desire to cope comes from uncomfortable feelings. So, I need to become more comfortable with my feelings. Rather than immidiately jumping to a coping mechanism, I need to sit with myself and feel it flow through me. There are healthy coping mechanisms, like self massage, baths, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, burning sage (it really is distracting for me and makes me calmer) aaaand running.

Running has been something on/off for a few years that I have tried to get into, but lately I have been enjoying it more than ever. I love the feeling in my body right after I stop, and also I have been finding that I have alot more energy when I run in the morning, and it lasts throughout the day.

I’ve been trying to keep up with blog posts, writing is something that I really want to get into more.. It’s perfectionism that keeps me from doing it. I know that i’m a terrible writer. I know that this would be hard to get through for anyone reading, and is totally un-interesting. But if I just do it, and do it, and do it some more, I will improve. So i’m doing it.

Food Issues..

i have food issues
issues – with food
and food issues are some of the worst issues
because you HAVE to face it
three times a day
or you wither away

for the past month and half i have been on a STUPID diet
called the “low fodmap diet” as prescribed by the tummy specialist doctor

on this diet, I couldnt eat..
honey
sugar
apples
green peppers
garlic
cabbage
beets
dairy
beans/legumes
coFFEE
+rice, potatos, any starchy /grainy things
+im already allergic to gluten and berries

and then part way through, i found that i was reacting badly to yams and sweet potatos, so i had to cut those out too.

i was eating.. nuts, avocado, greens, lotsss of greens, lots of eggs and meat, cantelope, oranges and bananas.

for over a month! this shit is hard. but also waking up every day with no energy and pain is hard. so yea. i did that. now i feel alot better.

but now that i feel better, i’m back to eating probably too much sugar.. the dietician told me that my sugar intake is not abnormal and i shouldn’t worry too much about my eating habits.. but idk. i FEEL like it is not good for me. and now, my routine is back to… morning, water, coffee with sugar and coconut oil, then another coffee.. then maaybe another coffee.. and no food, until i’m STARVING, at like.. 6pm.. and then I eat a huge dinner, and then just snack on sugar/bananas/almonds till 8ish and go to bed, bloated and uncomfortabe.. then i wake up, not with that pain like before… but more tired, groggy, and just feeling LESS good than if i.. didn’t do that. yet, i keep fckin doing it. *sigh*

Fabric / Textile Art

Fabric / Textiles Project

I worked on the red fabric for a few days, working on design and texture. I’m very new to this type of art, so i’m in the process of learning how to work with these materials.

While hanging with a couple of artist friend I turned the red fabric into a little bag/pouch, but I honestly didn’t like it very much.. I was liking it less and less. I thought maybe I should just finish it and give it away, or put it in the box of things that may or may not ever be finished.

But then, I decided to make a leave from the green material. I used windows and embroidery, and again didn’t like it very much at all.. I was feeling a little frustrated and tired of working on it.. until I noticed the little bag. I thought, maybe these will be better together? It worked perfectly on the front flap, and I actually love both pieces now.

This has opened up some ideas of.. spending time working on pieces of fabric, sewing them and creating texture and then turning them into bags, bracelets, headbands, patches, pendants.. Creating little lines of work that look very similar.

I’m really happy to have found this new style of art, it REALLY speaks to me and has been bouncing around my head for.. many years, especially of the past year.

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Bone Broth Recipe

Bone Broth.

Bones, best way is to bake with lemon and olive oil, then boil for 6 hours, add potatos, carrots, garlic, ginger, tumneric, salt, boil for a few hours and then start taking it out and pouring it into bowls to freeze.

 

Soup.

Put fresh cilantro, thinly sliced sirloin steak (raw or lightly cooked) diced garlic, ginger, lots of chilli, lettuce, fenugreek, sprouts, soy sauce, pickled garlic, pour boiling broth into (large) bowl over that.

Also, rice noodles.

Add ons… amaranth, buckwheat, beans, hemp hearts.

Recipe for one of my top cheap and nutritious foods.