Angry At Everything

I’m really struggling, and I just want to be heard. Please hear me. Please don’t be offended. I need to vent. This is me angry. I’m not angry at you. Please keep that in mind. I just need someone to hear me say all of this. I need it out. I need it said. You’re […]

How I Learned That Change Is Always On The Way (or Hope In Water)

    One time, about 5 years ago, I was on an antipsychotic medication that was known for being very safe and having few side effects. I will not name it here, because I don’t believe that telling others about my bad experiences with medication is safe or appropriate. This medicine helps millions of people; […]

Sometimes I Can Only Sit And Feel Hard Things

Since my diagnosis, I haven’t been able to do much. I abandoned school in the middle of spring semester four out of four years. Springtime always makes the bipolar more intense and often unbearable. I couldn’t do laundry, go to class or parties, basically nothing but stay in my room and be upset. Sometimes I’d use the episode to make a painting, and god, those paintings born of episodes are the darkest ones I’ve made. None of them are on this site: I believe I burned them all one night in a manic episode. I thought it would be cleansing. It was just destructive. You get a lot of ideas when you’re manic, and most of them are terribly misguided…

Staying In A Psychiatric Hospital: A Story In First Person

(Quick! Take a 4-question quiz to let me know how you feel!) It starts out scary and uncomfortable. I didn’t want to go to the psychiatric hospital. I didn’t want to be there. I was already suicidal, and here I was voluntarily giving up every comforting thing I had in my life: people, places, and […]

It Is Possible to Lose Weight While on Psychiatric Drugs, and I Believe in You!

Three years ago, I weighed 270 pounds and I was miserable. Now down to 155, I get terrified when I see fat people because I know I could go back there if I’m not careful.

Medicine for psychiatric conditions makes weight control very, very difficult. It’s another one of those things that’s not fair. On Seroquel, my first antipsychotic, I never felt full. Ever. I’d go to the school cafeteria and go back for seconds, thirds, dessert, and, of course, second dessert. My stomach would hurt badly, and still I didn’t feel full. It was like being hungry for two years. Eventually I leveled out on the Seroquel and could feel full again, but by then I’d put on a lot of weight. As a student at the time, exercise was not part of my routine. I was mostly in survival mode, just trying to keep my head above water…

Hallucinations

My favorite hallucination I’ve ever had was a flock of black angels flying over the highway. I leaned out my window to look as we drove under them. I was severely sleep deprived, manic, and on a medication that I hadn’t yet figured out was affecting me badly, so I didn’t know right away that it wasn’t real. Usually I can fact-check and try to reason through the situation if something comes up that doesn’t make sense. These angels felt very real to me. I got to watch them for about 45 seconds before they were gone, and because they disappeared, I could confirm that it had been a hallucination…

Suicide; The Perpetual Question Mark

The truly tempting thing about suicide is that it’s a solution to pretty much everything. Not a constructive solution or a solution other people want you to use, but still a solution. We can opt out. Once you realize you’re strong enough to end your own life, that knowledge will never go away. When you’re happy and engaged in life, that knowledge makes your life better because of the profound meaning there is to be found in the awareness of death and the empowerment of choosing to live. But when you’re feeling awful and you get to feeling awful enough that you think you’d do anything to change the way you feel, the knowledge that you could kill yourself becomes lethally dangerous…

5 Quick Fixes for Panic Symptoms

I’ve learned a few small, quick actions that help me during extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and episodes. They don’t cure, but they help.

Splash your face. Cold water on your face jolts your system and tries to reset your body to a calmer mode. It also gives you a chance to be by yourself for a minute if you’re in a public situation and need to calm down.
Take a mindful shower. Trying to tap into the reality of the present moment is the most powerful tool (outside of medicine and professional help) that I’ve found so far. Finding the present moment is an ancient Buddhist practice that western civilization has appropriated and renamed “mindfulness”. To take a mindful shower, do everything in slow motion and take time to notice everything you see, smell, and feel. Do not rush…