It is coming up to a calendar month since my latest deep, dark, destructive episode started taking hold.
Exacerbated by stress and some terrifying new illuminations about people who I Love more than my own eyes, I am a puddle of tears and confusion between smiling for a selfie or speaking on camera or in studio.
There’s about 2.5% of most western populations living with a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis, and managing it through various drug and general regimes. I’d not wish this on my worst enemy, and I have a staggeringly mild case of this complex and cruel mental illness.
It is six months since we had a formidable change in our family that knocked us all on our heads. We have been ping ponging through bouts of grief and self-loathing, and we’re settling on some uncomfortably numb acceptance of our fractured and fragile family dynamic. All of this is happening while the world pats us on the head for our feisty fight to fix climate change as best we can by avidly championing Electric Vehicle uptake to take advantage of our clean electric grid. Work is relentless. Life is exhausting. And I feel like a royal asshole because I make a conscious effort to make it look like everything is fine.
Our friends, staff and partners are incomprehensibly perfect. People going through tragedies and trajectories that make our woes look like amateur hour are offering kindness, advice and support.
I’m not winning at friendships right now, but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on just how brilliantly our tribe have taken control and come through with kindness and calm.
Don’t get me wrong, I have also had the blinkers lifted on some gut wrenching douche-baggery of the highest order. People I’ve trusted and helped in huge measure have shown themselves to be beyond bitchy (with a capital C!) and boring and basic, and have subsequently been blocked from our lives. There’s something quite empowering about a righteous ghosting of some arrogant fuckwit that’s been found out and confronted. I’m in Love with most of the world, but when I am done I am done.
So this blog. I just wanted to give some examples of the greatness and the gift that is our plentiful and peculiar pod of people.
You may find it helpful if you are yourself, or you know someone in a fantastic funk.
- Acting Normal
I know I am batshit crazy right now. Off the charts blathering fool at times. Please, feel free to remind me, and it is okay to give me that “oh my, you’re well off the deepend aren’t you poppet” look. But carry on and be yourself around me. It’s so comforting to be around when my friends are in my space and just letting me be the pathetic puddle I am. A well-timed and gently delivered joke always helps too.
- Healthy Options
Walks, rest, dragging me to the gym. Thank you. I need to eat better, live better, and do better things while having an episode. So thanks for helping me try to do that (and taking it easy on me if I forget)
THIS is the most beautiful and important part of the journey this time. Let me tell you about a conversation with Phteven tonight:
A tear stained, bathrobe clad Dee shuffled in the crazy-lady way that I do in this state, into the kitchen. While my eyes started to leak and my mouth started to speak, my soulmate stood staring at me from his perch at our kitchen counter. We talked about the day, we talked about our combined woes. And then, we talked about some of our couple friends, as any couple does. In my state I was quick to interrupt him and point out that I am far worse than any of the many quirky couple characters we were discussing. And for the first time in the conversation there was a pause while my self-loathing welled up and fell from my eyes again.
Said the man I am falling farther in Love with every minute recently.
“You are absolutely, totally, nuts… but I must be too because even the very worst bits of you I am just so madly in Love with.”
And jerky, soulful, pained and ugly crying was caught in his strong, beautiful arms.
When the sobbing quieted enough, he took my fat, red, blotchy face in his hands and kissed me in all my morning-breath-even-though-it’s-evening putridness, and he said:
“This has to be the 10thor maybe 15thtime you have been here. Every time you think it won’t end, and every time it does. THIS time though, THIS time, you haven’t tried to divorce me.”
And he’s right.
Unfortunately, I did realize as he said it, that I spat all the anger and vitriol I have reserved only for him historically, at a new friend. Former friend. And bitter sweet as it is, I realized I have always attacked people I Love in this state. And it is shit. So, if you’re one of the targets of my vitriol and attacks (and chances are if you’ve known me for more than a couple of years, you have been) I am sorry, and thank you for walking away or standing by me, neither is easy.
- Doing what they say they will do
When you’re down, people letting you down stings a multitude of times more intensely in its magnitude. That is why we hide when we are hurting this bad. So the few people who make it through the door or into our life when we are really off the planet, we need you to under promise and over deliver. My beautiful and feisty femme taskforce at work have taken care, not only of me, but my company. My foghorn has stepped up 20 fold this weekend to keep me moving, and all of them have given me cuddles and cups of tea as well. THANK YOU!
- Checking in
And last, but not least, it is all the people who remember to interact while I am off the planet. People are pinging just to say hey. It means more than I can say. Not offering advice or offering to console me, they just let me know that I have been in their thoughts
It’s been said a million times, and it needs to be shared a million more. It is okay to not be okay. Hang on, minute by minute if that is what it takes, because the minutes get better.
I can’t take my gloom and fire back, but I can try to keep myself safe and distant until the sunshine peeks through again.
If you’re fighting your own monsters, as we all do in our turn, know that even though you may feel despised and alone, you are important. The bullshit your brain tells you at these times is not real. What is real is that we are all fragile and freaked out most of the fucking time.
Thanks to my tribe for rallying. I’ll get better and make it up to you all soon.