Art, Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Creative Writing, Depression, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mental Wealth, Mood Disorder

DEAR DEPRESSION.

My old friend, the black dog, the slayer of beautiful souls, the barbed arrow right through the heart, the chaotic evil, the disaster looming over the horizon.

OG Depression, the demon singing horrifying lullabies to my weary veins, the insecurity killing my glorious dreams, fraying a piece of my heart and numbing a fragment of my soul… it’s been a long time coming!

I would like you to know that you have been crossing my mind a little more than usual these past days and I won’t sweep it under the rug or let it slide. I made it crystal clear on my last post that exulansis does not live here – my pen will keep bearing me witness.

You claim to be a quintessential part of me; I have religiously ridden with you even in the face of death without flinching but you still haven’t done me right. When we met at age 14, I was quite innocent then, but not anymore. Thank God.

Many people do not understand when I say that pain is beautiful, because they believe I’m romanticizing pain. That I’m glorifying the process of surviving pain when in reality it’s the lesson in the survival that I glorify. Pain is beautiful, it gives me insight and empathy and compassion and soulfulness. And those are not your everyday qualities. Thank you for teaching me that my life is not sunshine and rainbows everyday and that’s OKAY.

Depression is the cubicle I’ve sat at, the fishbowl existence I’ve lived in, the cold table I’ve dined at. But they say you must learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served. So today and all subsequent days, I choose to get up from the table. I choose love. All forms of love including self love. I mean didn’t they promise that if I love myself authentically, my energy and aura will reject anyone that doesn’t know my worth? Well you, my friend, do not know my worth. I can say that with a straight face and without an ounce of doubt in my soul. There’s no ghost of a chance here.

I choose love. There’s not a hope in hell that I will go wrong with love. Because love is a metaphor for forgiveness, a metaphor for strength and sweetness, a metaphor for redemption, for salvation, for healing, for wisdom, for might, for beauty, for royalty, for triumph, for goodness, for authenticity, for illumination, for jubilance.

Love is the voice of an angel from the shores of agony, from the tunnels of darkness, the sound of an angel serenading me to life, the heaves coming from my body.

Love is my father speaking words of affirmation, calling me graceful, professional, titular names everyday to my sometimes jaded soul from the other side of the phone. Love is my very African mother passionately calling me “the star” when she has five other wonderful children that sprung from her womanhood.

Love. It’s my doctor whispering me out of fear and putting my soul back in my body and ultimately both back in that recliner where he sometimes reads that medical history that reeks of something like the voodoo incantations of a stark raving mad Haitian witch doctor.

Love is my friends answering every frantic call and text, keeping up with my monotonous rants and not having a single selfish bone in their bodies.

Love is that doting fine man made of textures deeper than what I had been apprenticed to; the man polished by greater forces than bowling alleys.

Love is that stranger at the mall about 6 years ago eavesdropping on my conversation with a friend and remarking, “You are intelligent!” Love is me jokingly replying in a somewhat cogent tone, “Or maybe I just have good grasp of language!” Love is the wide grin preceeding us exchanging numbers and love, yes, love is him showing me to my first psychiatric appointment!

Love is that little girl at service last Sunday that clutched my hand a little tighter when my teardrop landed on her shoe during that spiritual sermon.

Love is that yet another very little girl at the sidewalks, the little girl whom I thought very well looked like eight glasses of water and seven hours of sleep, the beautiful little creature, the one at the sidewalks, the one that asked if she could touch my ears simply because, “zinashine kama stars,” going by the many piercings and golden jewelry. Of course it was a mighty yes from me!

Love, still on these little people, is that very very little boy from the opposite gate that returns the gesture by waving and smiling back each time we lock eyes. My goodness, whose beautiful son could this be?!

Love is my siblings finishing each other’s sentences. Love is the deep and seamless conversations from our childhood.

Love is my kinsmen in Ndhiwa, my neck of the woods, the cradle of the mighty Gor Mahia, the heart of the village, where people “lead the lives they choose” (not my words!), proudly putting me on a pedestal, paying homage to me, holding me in such high esteem as the strong woman, my great grandmother, CheChe, the woman who birthed that whole clan, the woman that willingly left Tanganyika because love knocked on her door, the woman my father named me after, the woman whose blood I’m so blessed and humbled that my children and their children’s children will carry for generations to come. Love is me tracing my roots to Tanzania and that side of the family’s every deed spontaneously giving hints of love.

Love is a real bond in a flawed world.

Love is Father Time allowing me to make monumental memories with my loved ones.

Love is my unborn nephew due sometime this month! The month of love!

Love is me learning a bit more about love and a little less about myself. Love is all the positive words and their nuances and layers of meaning, love is all the words that orchestrate me to leave my comfort zone or be my brother’s keeper. Love is me feigning strength until it’s inked in my bones, love is me drowning in insidous and compounding waves but still waking up to try and reach the shore tomorrow. Love is my favourite colour…love is your favourite colour too!

Love is my nurturing mother, love is my protective father, love is my charismatic sister, love is my unborn children lingering in my lover’s eyes.

Love is the whispering wind, love is the sun kissing the earth, love is the leaves breathing, love is the sea washing out, love is the raindrops pelting the roof as I sleep sound.

Love is the tasteful and timeless music and my dancing feet.

Love is my patchwork heart and my glitchy mind adorned, love is my sharp edges and missing parts validated. Love is my ocean of confidence.

Love is Wabi-Sabi. Love is me understanding that a box full of darkness is still a gift, and I can use that well for the highest good.

Love is the emotional explosions that thrust me into the arms of a loving God.

Love is me understanding that love is still very much in need of love today.

Love is me agreeing that life is my textbook and everyday I must breathe in a new page and be taught.

Love is me sharpening the blades of my pen to destigmatize the conversation around this sinister thing that is you, depression.

Love is me processing that the pen is mightier than the sword and paper is more patient than people.

Love is me catching a dream filled with affection and awe inspiring things and holding it in my heart until I get to see my loved ones in heaven.

Love is me becoming a vibrational match to each and every one of my dreams.

Love is butterflies, the whimsical beauties darting and swooping as they frolic between the greenery while I look on dreamily, touching me with their pale gossamer wings and leaving their magic on my skin as they restore my faith.

Love is the smell of fresh rosebuds.

Love is the beauty of the strange, the hope of time, the sound of space and the uncertainty of impossibility.

Love is the bountiful sky soaking my soul in the joy of illumination.

Love is the prickly bougainvillea not requiring a nod to harbour the blooming sight that wishes to protect its flower pod.

Love is me learning that in order for good things to come my way I must believe that I deserve them.

Love is me being nonchalant, unbothered and aloof from the playful bickerings that strive to force ugliness into my soul.

Love is me acknowledging that I cannot settle for being the gold fish in a fishbowl yet I have the capacity of a shark in the ocean.

Love is my aching awe and strong rush of gratitude for the good and the bad, for the yin and the yang, for all the blessings and the lessons.

Love is my philosophy. Love is my yellow brick road to happiness. Love is the future.

Love is not you, depression!

Love is me, me chasing my calling!

Peace, kid.

©️ Ida-Sharon

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Art, Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Mental Health, Mental Wealth, Mood Disorder

MIGHTY GRATEFUL.

Happy New Year everyone! It’s a chilly evening here in my neck of the woods!

My birthday was three weeks ago and I just got discharged from hospital one week ago so I’m certainly a year wiser and tentatively a stone lighter.

I’m nestled against the pillows as I type this, mellow and comfortable in the middle of my bipolar spectrum, with a clear state of mind, a calm soul and a revamped spirit. Last night I slept like a log and woke up to find this knackered dog curled up beside me at noon. Life is good, safe to say.

Looking back, I realise I grew up in this type of fishbowl existence where having my kind of chronic illness was the largest elephant in the room of health discussion. I heard people talk, I heard people stigmatise. So I figured that if people were going to say it about me anyway, I would say it first, because if I said it first, I would say it better. That is why I started this blog. Let it be known that exulansis does not live here. Please. And thank you.

Interestingly, when the world closes in with darkness and sin, I’m grateful for the myriads of blessings. Despite the depression, I’m blessed beyond imagination. Despite the soul rot, I’m blessed beyond imagination. Despite the speed bumps along my journey, I’m blessed beyond imagination.

Therefore today, in retrospect, I’m particularly grateful to / for:

  • God. For being the pillar of my astounding support system. For holding me while teetering between stoical and fervid. For carrying me during all reflection, transition and rebirth.
  • Bipolar Disorder. Circular Insanity. For OG Depression, the black dog, the brain fog, the throttling monster, the slayer of beautiful souls, the barbed arrow right through the heart. Grateful really? No, BUT… for being an eye opener, for giving me insight, for giving me depression which teaches me empathy, for giving me anxiety which gets me to be more organised, for giving me suicidal tendencies which taught me to appreciate the moments I almost didn’t have.
  • Me. Finding myself. I feel like I had been a young girl of steel bright intelligence, but zero common sense. In other words. I had downplayed and underestimated my bipolarity and my femininity and their secret theatres of power and influence. I now strive to act as a redeemed, empowered young woman and a daughter of philosophy and ethic. A powerhouse, a legible wisdom of a grown woman, fearlessly navigating the turbulent waters of bipolarity. A grown woman of beautiful maps seldom left unread. A woman who is discontent with being the gold fish in a fishbowl when she has the capacity of a shark in the ocean. A woman who does not crinkle. A woman who knows her way around the minefield of self-actualization. A work in progress.
  • Music. Soulful music. For rap lyrics with wonderful emotional potency that resonate with me on a personal level. (God bless Kid Cudi). For the tasteful and timeless genre that is Ohangla. For its beautiful beats and for my dancing feet. (Please give ALL the flowers to Prince Indah).
  • The wind, the zephyr. I mean have you ever spent an unholy amount of time trying to make your hair tame only to step out and have the wind leaving like a witch that just flew on her broom? I’m grateful to the wind for constantly validating my princess hair!
  • Dr. C.O. For knowing how to help me stay on my cool. How to get me to stand ten toes down. How to whisper me out of fear and self-pity and put my soul back in my body, and ultimately my soul and my body all in that same recliner where sometimes he recounts a medical history that reeks of something like the voodoo incantations of a stark raving mad Haitian witch doctor.
  • Pens, paper pads and paperbacks. The readership, the blogosphere, the wordsmiths, the writers and the authors. Geniuses whose piercing words penetrate your heart and get plastered all over your soul. Clearly the revolution will not be televised but thank God for Ijeoma Umebinyuo!
  • My friend M. The queen of hugs and holding hands. An actual prodigy, a great listener, a top example, a quality friend, a real ride or die.
  • My friend N. For answering every frantic call and text. For not having a single selfish bone in her body. For her superpower of keeping up with my monotonous rants.
  • My friend C. For being a real bond in a flawed world!
  • My friend G. For the simple fact that we finish each other’s sentences.
  • My friend H. For being the sunshine in my last memories of O’ Level. And for constantly crossing my mind and lifting my spirit throughout A’ Level. 7 years on and she still saves the day from many miles away on video call!
  • My friend T. A person made of textures deeper than what I had been apprenticed to. A person polished by greater forces than bowling alleys.
  • My cousin BT. For his stellar personality.
  • My nephew Y. For his smile which also doubles as my medicine box.
  • My siblings B,B,B,B and B. Annoying, agitating, aggravating, nosey, caring, funny, determinated, intelligent and sweet. Whole bunch of awesomeness with a twist of wow and plenty of fun. For loving me religiously.
  • My grandmother. A daughter of the islands who had the most beautiful wrinkles around her eyes when she smiled. A woman whose eyes radiated beams of light with just one grin. A woman whose whole face was the map of her life. A magic maker. A birth giver to stars. For the 21 great years she was in my life as my bond companion.
  • My parents. If I didn’t have them I’d never see the sun.
  • Roses. The only flowers that convey messages without words!
  • Fair weather friends, phoneys, wet blankets, naysayers, rabble-rousers, unnecessary tirades, the losing team. For subconsciously reminding me that love’s still very much in need of love today, and that I’m imbued with heavenly powers and I can use it well for the highest good.

© Ida-Sharon

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Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Life, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mental Wealth, Mood Disorder

Y(OUR) STORY ISN’T OVER YET;

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk to bloom. ~ Anaïs Nin

You are worthy. These are the words echoing in my mind, vying for attention. Another life lesson has been cultured. As a voracious reader and a fledgling writer, I love words with all their nuances and layers of meaning. The connotation of the word “encourage” stares me in the face and I can’t hold it in anymore.

Are you discouraged? Struggling to navigate from cradle to grave: call of duty, earthly undertones, work, school, relationships, family, adulting …life?

How are you today? If you squirmed at my greeting then this post is for you. I’d like you to know that Your Story Isn’t Over Yet;

It may seem like you have hit rock bottom. It may seem like you have hit a dead end. Perhaps turned a corner and suddenly rammed into a brick wall. Perhaps it is the same old compounding treadmill of vanity and no fruition. Perhaps it is jostling through the labyrinth of life searching for the exit from the debilitating maze of the mundane. Perhaps it is dying to live yet living to die.

If you have ever listened with shock as the doctor shared test results, if you have ever watched the casket close on your loved one, if you have ever lost a job, if you have ever had your heart mercilessly ripped out by the person who should have loved you authentically, if you are going into the red, if you are wallowing in self pity, if you are going to pieces, if all these have hit a little close to home… perhaps there are no more skeletons in your closet or no more crisis looming in the horizon but you are still angst ridden, dog tired, guilty, broken and longing for something different from your already full plate, this post is for you. Your Story Isn’t Over Yet;

These moments of trials and tribulations, these bouts of apathy and despair are the chief cornerstone on which your story of glory is founded on. Find and shield the blueprint. Guard it jealousy. When everything seems dark and dizzy, hang in there for a second more. Stars need the darkest night to marvel. And when they do, they adorn the night sky. If you are going through hell, keep going. Let your heart break, it is good for your art. There is no glory without story. Realise that your soul purpose is your sole purpose. The seed must grow regardless of the fact that it is planted on stone. It will be lonely but the caterpillar is alone in the cocoon because transformation time can only be done one on one. Take heart, because you will soon transition to the beautiful butterfly.

The butterfly is only beautiful because the caterpillar is brave.

Search for that tiny flare of hope, religiously. Make those recurrent episodes of closed doors, silent cries, lead heavy eyes and stuffy nose bring out your tenacity, your grit, your will power, your resilience, your strength. Process, own and manifest the power of nothingness. Keep feigning strength until it is inked in your bones. Adopt resilient dynamism.

Your wings are carved and shaped to slay the demons, therefore you will not be touched by turbulence in the aura. You will not be tainted by failure. Rise from the ashes like the phoenix. Heal like the wolverine. Repeat until you can soar like the eagle. There is beauty in the struggle; you are the radiant sparkle of beauty. ❣️

God is still out here drawing straight lines with crooked sticks!

Pitch your tent in the land of hope.

Failure is a detour; not a dead end street. ~ Zig Ziglar

Your Story Isn’t Over Yet;

If you are probably wondering why there is that semicolon at the end of that mantra but not one more word as it should be after the semicolon, (or if you have been coming across people with semicolon tattoos sometimes often with the mantra), here is the reason: it is in solidarity with Project Semicolon, an organisation dedicated to “presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self injury,” and “exists to encourage, love and inspire.”

A Semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” ~ Amy Bleuel, founder of Project Semicolon.

I hereby regurgitate the beautiful mantra of Project Semicolon by giving my testimony. I am a young woman living with Bipolar Type 2 Disorder. I have survived suicide. I am definitely not some of these labels and actions but rather a survivor. Not a victim, a survivor. My morbid fascination with suicidal ideations and tendencies are erstwhile struggles now. So I’m not doing this to be judged or fawned over – I’m doing this to be matter of fact. I have an astounding support system of wonderful mental health professionals, friends and family. A team that supports me, and I support you. I do not want your sympathy, I want your empathy. I want you to know that somewhere someone you love shares my story in one way or another.

My Story Isn’t Over Yet;

(Today is the annual World Mental Health Day. This year’s theme is suicide prevention, in order to raise awareness and action to prevent suicides. Therefore I will do my part: if anyone reading this is struggling, I will listen. Empathetically. Remember sadness is a mood but depression is a mood disorder. We are alone, TOGETHER. We are fighting the good fight whether or not it shows. My DMs are open and I’m looking forward to start an epidemic of smiles!)

© Ida-Sharon

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Death, Mental Health

DARLING SHARIDA.

Listen baby girl, you are beyond STUNNING. Do you hear me?

You have always been the girl that lets life happen to her. The girl that rides the rollercoaster of Bipolar Disorder without a seatbelt on. The girl that fights back the sting in her eyes when least expected to pull herself together. The girl that is almost painstakingly adept at keeping her cool in the wake of the turbulence that is circular insanity.

Today, in retrospect, looking back on some of your blog posts and I am absolutely gobsmacked at some of your posts. Equally inspired and revamped because you found people on the same wavelength as you. (Underestimate the blogosphere at your own peril.). One thing is still vivid though: the skeleton that spooks you every time you open the closet. The black dog. The brain fog. The pain in the brain. OG depression. The slayer of beautiful souls. The throttling monster. The barbed arrow right through the heart.

You have hugged your knees, cried for hours until the tears dried and the throat hurt. Until you got a stuffy nose. You have sat on the floor of your room, sulking, yet in daze at the stormy situation that compounded you.

It is a pity that even as you write this, you keep glancing over your shoulder because you know the black dog might be back sooner than later, but you tread on because you feel compelled to get this out. Anxiety, the black dog’s significant other, is probably sitting in the corner watching you, anticipating their grand return. These two are the functional duo that still rob you of your functionality many years after their debut. The tricky, conniving and manipulative duo. The elephants in the room. The ticking time bombs.

But I’m glad that you are learning to dance in the torrential downpour. Like a phoenix, you are starting to learn how to emerge from the ashes to start a new life. I have seen you plummet to the state of despair and depress. I’m happy that you still have the key even when the black dog steals your self esteem, debilitates you (often to the point that you have no oomph and no motivation) and wraps it in chains.

You are larger than life. You stun me!

You have been through different phases like mazes but you are still the prime purveyor of utter grit, resilience, tenacity and strength and resolve of character. You are fully aware of the inherent beauty in the promise of the life ahead of you. You dare to pich your tent in the land of healing and destigmatization. You choose to be a prisoner of hope. You are bold, candid and uncensored on matters mental health. You tell the home truths about it. You adorn the fact that madness and genius go hand in hand. You understand that depression did not break you, it broke you OPEN. You know that you are not here inspite of the challenges, you are here BECAUSE of the challenges! You know that we must all meet our moment of truth in this thing called life. Nobody is invincible; no plan is foolproof. You are unstoppable, not because you have failures or insecurities or doubts but because you soldier on despite them. You still know, in the grand scheme of things, you are BLESSED despite the speed bumps along your journey. A journey that sometimes seems to be guided by a broken compass. A road to redemption that sometimes seems to have no GPS.

You are as clear as mud. You stun me!

You internalize how depression teaches you empathy, how anxiety gets you to be more organized and how suicidal ideations teach you to appreciate each moment you almost didn’t have. You are slaying a demon that can’t be seen —feels like you have been through a fight but you have no punches, kicks or head butts to show for it yet you feel painful aches.

You are a powerhouse. You stun me!

Four years after the death of your beautiful grandmothers and you still have conversations with them on the regular even though you have not heard their voices in years. You have learnt how terrible it is to love something that death can touch. You now know that when you watch the casket close on your loved one, it somersaults your mind forever. You have felt the paroxysm of pain. You have learnt that it doesn’t get better; you only get stronger. You know that you are in it for the long haul; it is a pill for an emotional ill. Until you find your yellow brick road to healing. You must keep feigning strength until it is inked in your bones. You must be psyched. You must be firmly rooted, built up and established in the faith. You must master resilient dynamism.

You are stout-hearted. You stun me!

You would rather be a burning passion than a perfectly put together coward. You are powered by the wilful disregard for convention. You ooze authenticity and razor-sharp wit. You still believe in the sound of space, the hope of time, the greatness of nothingness, the power of pain, the change of the unstoppable and the essence and beauty of the strange. The beauty that can only be seen when you align your mind with your spirit.

You still let your hair down and live your dash.

You are the oracle on mood disorders and mental illness. You stun me!

You know too well that these are not whimpered words but silent yet candid ruminations of a young woman seeking normality within bipolarity.

You are beyond STUNNING. Chase your calling, sis.

❤️

© Ida-Sharon

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Mental Health

DEPRESSION, AMBIVALENCE, A YEAR OLDER.

I know many people perceive depression as an intolerable, persistent sadness and deep gloom. My most recent experience has vividly shown me that depression can be subtle, sneaky and disguised in symptoms that can be hard to identify. If you are having unexplained pains or aches, often feeling irritable, irked or angry for no discernible reason, crying at the drop of a hat – you could be depressed. This is me lately.

Depression is poking me in the most unexpected way, both physically and behaviourally. I’m obviously very lethargic but what hits hard is the frequent crying spells, the short bursts of spontaneous, out-of-nowhere (sometimes anxiety provoked) teariness. My little brother could be trying to show me a meme on his phone but I’d be very irritated and balancing tears and on the brink of slamming the door on his face just because he called my name “a little louder than usual.” On Monday I cried on the bus to town because I simply felt “unloved.” These feelings honestly make my stomach churn. I want out.

I have also have a significant lack of appetite. One meal per day suffices pretty much. I don’t even feel hungry in between. I’m also experiencing what feels like pathological guilt. I know guilt is a natural sensation at times but I have branded mine as pathological because it painstakingly scans the past and sees only a series of failures. I feel overtly guilty for having been born, guilty for having depression, guilty for having mental illness, right now I can’t think of any major life role (daughter, auntie, friend, girlfriend etc) without being consumed by feelings of guilt.

While these symptoms are specific “clusters” of depression symptoms manifesting to create different experiences of mental illness, it’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things. I mean I experienced another milestone… I turned a year older! Against all odds. Sailed through the shark infested bipolar depression waters of suicidal ideations, guilt tripping and everything in between. Forgive me but I’m happily unhappy, actually very ambivalent about this. Ambivalent for the prime reason that it was only yesterday that I walked into my 20s and let the tinges of adulthood kiss me fresh vibes of a world, tainted, yet beautiful. Ambivalent because now I’m inching closer to the quarter life crisis. Or so I feel.

However I must say turning a year older has triggered my love for reading and writing more. Readership is powerful. The pen is mightier than the sword. Underestimate it at your own peril. I’m falling out of love with my jeans and welcoming comfort to my skimpy dresses. I’m gladly binging on something called love. Something I had previously believed was a misnomer and a fictional concept. Love. Love that is a messed up world. Love that is going to fix us, no matter what.

So… Dear New Age,

You may look like a big number, but to me you are just as old as I am. You are the youngest I’ve ever been yet also the oldest I am. I’m just as paradoxical as you; tainted yet so pure. I would like you to know that I’m in search of something, something still unknown to me. We can discuss this over a year’s time as we turn over a new chapter on 10th December 2019, while we’re stumbling half drunk on our own musings and words. Until then, let’s learn a bit about love and a little more about ourselves. Let’s keep feigning strength until it’s inked in our bones. May we find our yellow brick road to recovery. May it strike us, one day, in retrospect, that these years of struggle for sanity were worthwhile. Peace and love, kid.

© Ida-Sharon

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Mental Health

COLD TURKEY.

Hey everyone! It’s been a minute! Life definitely happened during my hiatus; I underwent a huge rollercoaster of emotions.

Well I appreciate all these experiences. As a firm believer in the notion that one must learn from everything that comes at them, I appreciate the yin and the yang, all of that.

That aside though. I left my hometown and STOPPED my psychotropic medications… COLD TURKEY! This is not advisable clinically and it was not a personal decision. It has been about 14 days of not taking my antidepressant, my antipsychotic and mood stabilizer after some years. I love how psychotropics are steadily percolating through our culture and shaping the public understanding of mental health.

I must admit it has not been a walk in the park as I have had to try many psychotropics over the years. I have taken prozac, olanzapine, amitryptiline, carbamezepine, haloperidol, artane, escitalopram etc. Hitting the psychotropic jackpot sometimes needs patience.

However psychotropics are generally commendable if you ask me. They have constantly awakened me to the poignant beauty of this life. These drugs are nothing short of magical; they have resiliently fought my feelings of lethargy and constant bleakness and random outbursts of emotions for almost no discernible reasons. Words fail me.

But now the chickens have come home to roost. I’m having serious withdrawal symptoms that range from insomnia, confusion, anxiety, agitation, nightmares, fatigue, migraines, muscle spasms, fogginess, flu-like symptoms, night sweats, tingling and numbness in the arms and legs. Literal brain zaps.

However, because my bout of depression is not here yet and my appetite is not messed up, a part of me is secretly hoping that this is just a slump and everything would resolve itself and someday I’d be able to lead a “normal” life. Ignorant as it may sound.

Let it be known that I’m not advocating for abrupt discontinuations of psych meds (your psychiatrist needs to wean you off them!) because these drugs cause biological adjustments in the brain, but so do mood disorders. This is no scant basis. Exude caution.

Will I be making another impromptu visit to my psychiatrist soon?

I HOPE NOT!!!!

© Ida-Sharon

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Mental Health

DESTIGMATISE THE CONVERSATION!

I have not been able to blog for several weeks because my depression has been a witches’ brew of guilt, anger and bad religion. Lethargy had drained and numbed me to life itself. Things have successively been going wrong leaving me feeling like the butt of life’s joke.

Today I’m going to respond to something that cut me to the quick. I’m going to do it with dignity and not resort to name calling or shade throwing, because then I will have kept the same (bad) energy that one of my close relatives had when they publicly tried to shame my folks for my mental illness.

Okay. Can I be honest? Lay my cards on the table? I am aware that stigma and discrimination whether stemming from ignorance or not, are a direct depiction of one’s own insecurities, if you can’t accept someone for things they can’t control or didn’t choose, then you are the problem. If you can’t stomach the thought of their well-being, you could just love them from a distance.

I have to write this so everyone here can get a good look at ignorance and audacity in an overtly heightened state. Nothing is ever worth demeaning a person’s existence. Society NEEDS to destigmatize the conversation around mental health. We cannot do this by talking? Straight forward isn’t it? No.

Most people start the transition from childhood to adulthood looking to the future at a world of possibility. I on the other hand transitioned by a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder. But I cannot be shamed because I wear it like a crown. A crown of grace and grit.

“End mental illness stigma” is a phrase we hear often. The word “stigma” technically means “a mark of shame” and in the context of mental illness advocacy, we mean the unfair mark of shame others assign to us when it is revealed we live with different mental health conditions. It can also be shame we assign ourselves when we feel like there is something wrong with how our brains work, and decide to keep our thoughts hidden from others. However this idea of “ending the stigma” only scratches the surface of the real shame, micro aggressions and acts of discrimination people who live with mental illness sometimes face.

I’m blessed that I got a proper diagnosis. My psychotropics seem to be working like a shaft of light into my weary, befuddled brain.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Therefore society should stop making mentally ill people feel bad for their symptoms. We are flaky. We are sleepy. We are grumpy, aggressive and forgetful. We lash out. We cry. We over think and over compensate. We are sorry. We are trying. We know we are in limbo between too sick to be healthy and “not sick enough to be healthy. ”

S/o to everybody battling an invisible illness!

© Ida-Sharon

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