Happiness: Crime punishable by sentence of lethargy

It is not yet 6:30am. The air is crisp and cool, the sky beautiful, and I have already been up for over two beautiful hours. Ok, so I’m a little hypomanic.

Big smiles are rare this time of morning

But I have had a GREAT morning.

From affectionate puppy cuddles
To watching a stunning sunrise through the clouds
Walking hobbit-style through the neighborhood
And finishing at the park (where I currently reside)

And as I currently live with my easy to worry mother I was already preparing for her inevitable lecture on me indulging my mania.

And that’s when I thought, Why should I apologise for being happy? 

Don’t get me wrong, mania is a serious and harmful condition that I do not want to mistake for simply being happy.

But what makes mania harmful? Certainly psychosis is harmful, and the depression that follows a manic episode for many people. I personally think the most harmful part of it is the lack of awareness during an episode. The belief through the entire thing that happiness is harmless.

But I perceive that as the happiness in mania being risky but not an inherently bad thing. 

Yes, I have been mildly hypomanic this morning. But have I been harmful? I have stayed safe and I have been aware of my state and the dangers of it the entire time.

So in the end there’s just… happy. 

And I will never apologise for that. There is such an attitude that it’s not mania that is bad, but being happy. Any time someone shows any higher level of happiness they are classed as manic and told to stop that. We get taught to feel less; that being numb is a good thing.

I agree that mania is dangerous and should be prevented. But not at the cost of everyday delightful moments. It’s all about learning the balance, which is a difficult road. But in my experience there is far more pressure to not let yourself be happy than there is to not be numb.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather slip into psychosis every now and then than live my entire life empty to the beauty of simple pleasures.

And if this is truly hypomania and not just me being me, I think we could all learn from the benefits of it.

To know the beauty in the world, to genuinely enjoy the good and bad and appreciate it as a part of life… I’ll never apologise for that.

Advertisements

Why I (and anyone else struggling) Deserve to Study Part Time

You know what’s a pain? Having to feel like you need to justify yourself for only having half the study load that your peers have.

I’m made to feel ashamed. That I’m lazy, taking the easy road out. Perhaps they are nicer and only pity me. Poor Joy, she’s not doing well. After all, they put in the effort to study full time and without extensions, so why can’t I?

Simple answer: I am not them. 

I used to be smart, determined, motivated. I was the perfect student with straight As. Life was set up for me. (Then everything changed when the fire nation attacked I got diagnosed.) I had to take a semester off university, and I only returned 6 weeks ago. Less than a month in I suffered my second psychotic break.

And so I’ve had to drop down to half the study load with no extra work, I have a disability plan that allows me special consideration, and I require someone to sit with me when I write assignments.

It’s so difficult trying to cope with how Bipolar has changed my life, particularly in areas that were a part of my identity. And telling people I don’t study the same as they do literally brings pain to my heart. Especially when they tell me things that confirm what I feel about myself.

But I have something to say to me and everyone else: I am proud.

I am not you. I have a major illness that is exacerbated my stress and I’m not sure if you know, but university is kinda stressful.

Yet I’m going to fight. And fight and fight and keep on fighting for my place here. You can think I am not doing well by only doing two units, or perhaps that I am lazy, but I am working harder and achieving more for myself than anyone studying full time is.

I have those assignment extensions because I fight demons every time I bring out a pen and paper. I need more time to relax because that is the cure to my hallucinations, paranoia and self-aggression.

And I deserve it. I deserve to be here, studying less, as much as anyone else who on the surface seems to work harder.

I deserve the money from the government so that I can afford my needed therapy.

I deserve to be a member of the community just like anyone else and I promise you I will study my ass off and get the grades to prove it.

And you know what? I’ll fail sometimes. I’ll fail doing something you so easily do. But if you won’t be proud that I’m still doing two units when I could easily give up, live on disability and do none, then I’ll be proud for myself. 

My reaction to anyone who disagrees with me

Just another reminder that I’m looking to have another blogger come and join me on And Just a Touch of Crazy. If you have Bipolar and feel you have something worth sharing, please contact me using the form at the bottom of this page with a few words on why you’d be good here and a link to any content you’ve already done.

7 Everyday Things that Mania makes Interesting 

1. Haircuts 

Don’t underestimate how hard it is to be still in a chair. Or to fight the paranoia that someone will steal your stuff that’s sitting only a foot away. Or your ability to vocalise what you want. Or the fact your mind has no distractions.

2. Walking

When the meds kick in and you’re so drowsy you’re surprised no policemen have given you a sobriety test.

3. First dates 

Do I tell them? Don’t I? When should I? (I told my boyfriend within 24 hours of meeting… I don’t beat around the bush)

4. Budgeting 

This one may seem obvious but I’m usually so good with money I genuinely thought I’d be able to spend money wisely if I took certain precautions.

5. Memory 

The amount of appointments I’ve missed…

6. Self doubt 

You’d assume that with all the confidence mania brings that self doubt wouldn’t be a problem, but because I’m aware that I’m going to make bad choices and say the wrong thing I find myself doubting my actions more when I’m manic than when I’m stable. I then proceed to not care, but the doubt if whether it’s a genuinely good idea or a manic good idea still lingers.

7. Writing a blog

I find myself so distracted that I’ve seriously slipped on my writing.

So. 

If someone is interested I would like to add another Bipolar writer to my blog. If you could contact me using the form on my About page telling me why you think you’d be good on my blog and provide a link to your current one, or if you want to ask me questions, please do. 🙂

What does it feel like to hallucinate?

Trigger warning: short depiction of rape towards end. 

Disclaimer: Describes my own experience only, I do not speak for others. I would be interested to hear how experiences differ between people. 

Did you know you can feel it coming? 

The first step is that the world around you takes on a different quality. You can look around your room and see everything, but you see it from a different space. As if it is a room that you view on TV; seen, but belonging to another world. A simple item like a door feels like it’s crushing in on you and yet an eternity away. And then there’s the air. 

Air is no longer the “nothing” between objects. Rather it is a dark, swollen entity of it’s own. It is a substance, almost tangible. It’s thick, almost as if you could reach out and wrap your fingers around it…

Then you start to shake. Your heart rate quickens, your blood pumps harder, your breathing becomes strained. 

And you feel a presence. 

The air becomes thicker, and you feel it watching you. Invisible eyes that pierce your soul. Your blanket wrapped around you is nothing. They see everything. 

And then you see it. 

Only you don’t? The air wraps itself into an object you can almost see. You can certainly feel it. In the corner of your eye, he’s there. He’s watching you. Always standing there and watching. You dare yourself to look right at him, maybe that will make him leave. You stare right through him; like a window you can see through yet also see what it’s reflecting, he is both there but seen through. Only now you’ve left behind you unwatched and your skin crawls up the back of your neck and your hair stands on end. 

You would cry, but you’re too scared. A fear that turns your gut into poison and and squeezes out your last hopeful breath. 

You’ve never known fear like when you’re supposedly alone in your room but you hazily see multiple men staring at your nearly naked body. You are so exposed, so vulnerable, so alone in your fear. You wish to your highest power that simply knowing it can’t be real is enough to stop the fear but it’s not, it’s really not.

And they must be there but that makes no sense and they must be there so how can they not? 

And then they become clearer. 

More solid. 

And you feel their touch. 

So real. So real. You feel their fingers caress your thighs. So vivid. So real. And your legs spread. You feel it. You resist it. You want to scream. You try to scream. But who will hear anyway? And you feel them inside you. 

You’re a child again. 

A scared child who needs their mummy. You’re lost to the other world, only a scared, lost child. You don’t understand. You cry out for mummy. You cry out for anyone. 

And you ask yourself. 

Is it rape if their was no perpetrator? 

The Rule

There is a rule.

It is why white people who say the N word and call themselves black are disliked by most of society. It is why if my female friend tells me to get back in the kitchen I will laugh, yet if a man said that to me I’d raise my eyebrow. It’s why I would never make a joke about Muslims being terrorists, despite my alliance with the Muslim community, as I have not personally faced the bullying and stigma that becomes the right to turn something so serious into something to laugh at.

And don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with sexist or racist or so on jokes. But there is a rule that only those who indesputedly know the hardships of a group of people, only someone who belongs to that group of people, can successfully poke fun of their hardships.

So why, then, do I see a stream of humourous pictures saying things about how the voices in someone’s head give them good advice or how insanity gets to know each family member individually, shared by people who have NEVER had an idea of what insanity is actually like.

I’m sure you’ve seen them – I’ve probably posted them here. Pictures and comments and jokes that glamourise the experience; make it fun and quirky.

Do they know the person scrolling past these stupid pictures is only on Facebook because her new anti psychotics make it painful and difficult to move?

Do they know that she is on anti psychotics again because during that oh-so-funny time of being “off her meds” she began to hallucinate all because she was at university again?

Do they know the true fear of hallucinations? Do those moments mark the most terrifying times of their life?

Have they ever been in bed, and felt snakes biting them? Have the snakes transformed into men? They lurk in the shadows but you know they’re there. You feel them, sense them, see them. You feel their eyes on you, burning where they watch. You’re so vulnerable in bed, exposed. Two men in your room are clear but you feel more lurking. And you feel fingers. Fingers that creep up the inside of your thighs…

You don’t want to feel the rest, but you do.

Tell me, can you have been raped if their is no perpetrator?

If I haven’t got you laughing yet, thinking “oh, that’s so true and relatable”, can you relate to this?

I’m cracking up

How many times have you felt your own fingernails scratching up your legs, your arms, your face, so hard it stings? Have you ever collapsed onto your bed and started beating yourself up, no control over your arms, only thanking yourself for being such a weak person? Have you been in an abusive relationship with yourself?

So funny I could scream. Which I do. For no reason. Simply get filled with terror so full and complete it fills me, consumes me, rising up and pushing out in a desperate scream for help.

This terror that filled me each day, leaving me catatonic for hours. Unresponsive to the world around me, because my mind was becoming a world of its own with all the thoughts and feelings racing through. People around me have the ability to study and complete their degree, yet I’ve lost that. I lost my best friend and I nearly lost the love of my life.

Are you laughing yet? I’m not.