Facing the words of the past.

In episode 12 of my old blog, I put the following quote inside of the entry from Bruce Barton:

Great men suffer hours of depression through introspection and self-doubt. That is why they are great. That is why you will find modesty and humility the characteristics of such men.

Back then I did not know what it meant. I was two months away from being 24 years old. I think the best way to think of it is that I was way too lost and blinded by the symptoms of my mental illness to actually be able to really think clearly. But, it’s hard to explain. I felt like that someday, even though I was the severity of my symptoms affected me severely, and there was not people in my life that understood what I needed at that time, I felt like that one day, that this quote would be important someday.

For the past several hours, I’ve been here reading every word of my old blog and writing down the words that speak to me now. I’ve done this for two reasons. The first is that I’m going to take some of the things that I’ve said in this blog, and make it into a session for those individuals that I serve. The second, is for me, and you, and everyone who reads this entry. This is the dream that is my recovery, and the best way I can contribute to this special day of Suicide Prevention.

I think that all of the key things that happened to me are when I was 25. I think that in this year, I was probably at the peak of my symptoms. I probably felt the very lowest of myself then. I had suicidal ideations but no real attempts at that time. I think that I got into crisis states of symptoms very often. I was reckless, wasteful, and I guess back then I really wanted to die badly. I read an entry from September 2009 that was the crux of the beginning of my actually journey in living in recovery.

I think reading through all of those entries, I felt like that even though I was a good person for the most part back then. I felt like I had to lie all of the time…to protect myself, or rather, them from me. I felt like no one back them really knew how to deal with me from that standpoint of my symptoms. Also, I didn’t know how to deal with me.

As I look through the entries and up to the final entry to the that blog, I was surprised to see that there were 60% more positive entries than negative ones. As a matter of fact, I actually wrote about what those entries did for me in a semi-blinded light in September of 2011. I think that since then, now having a job that allows me to pool my experiences from those years, and use them to save lives, is the end result of all the struggles I’ve come from.

I want to go back to the quote above now from Bruce Barton. Even now, I will suffer from depression as I have been diagnosed with a disorder that I can’t control when the cycles are. The best I can really do is to identify what cycle is coming and to reduce the frequency of the symptoms. Back in my past entries, there was a lot of confusion in my words, and that confusion led me to panic. The panic I felt made me think about death a lot. That panic made me do horrible things on occasion just like anyone else with a diagnosis. However, this panic was caused by not knowing my illness. By not knowing the nuances, and the knowledge that bipolar type 2 has periods where you feel like you are “normal”.

Even then, I get depressed more than I get mania. Then, I think, and I get frightened, and I feel like I can’t do anything, even to this day. And I think it’s because of this very thing, that I feel like I’m humble. Yes, I will live in recovery for life, and I’ll have these symptoms for as long as I live. But I think it’s because of my symptoms that on this day, I won’t take my life for granted, and I am humbled at the fact that people see a human being beyond the diagnosis. That’s what that quote means to me.

On this day, where suicide awareness is put on the map, I want you all to take a look at the things that aren’t said. Take a look at that eye that looks like it is infinitely sad…that slight tremor when you touch someone’s hand. Also, take a look at those who say all too much, but never the right thing. Perhaps just asking one piercing, sincere question, one open heart, or one clear ear could be the difference in breaking someone’s world, or saving it.

I’m going to save a lot of people eventually because of the struggles that I faced today. It was probably the toughest thing in the world to go back and face those words of a me that was lost. To cut through the fluff and to see what is really going on. However, I am thankful for those words that I wrote in that blog, and I will continue to be thankful. I truly believe that it was those words, back in April of 2008, that shaped me into the person I am today, and I’m not just another statistic.

The One Who Colors Everything.

I’m looking this morning at the river near my apartment, and the view I see is the water in front of me.  The sun is shining to the east, and the moon is faintly glowing to the west.  This image is a perfect for the types of things I’ve come to realize this past weekend.

Last Friday, after a night out with friends, I realized something very serious.  I went to clear my head.  I sat at the very same river that I just mentioned, with the veil of confusion in my mind.  I eventually went home, and slept.  The next morning, I entered a tournament.  At this tournament, I was still reeling from last night.  The result was I could not focus, and I ended up getting dead last in the tournament.  I wasn’t really phased about it.  I was still on the thing that I realized the night prior.

I sit here now, still thinking about it.  I’m completely in a state of confusion right now.  I would even say that I have been depressed since about 3:30 on Saturday morning.  You might be asking, what is it that I realized?  What could be bugging me so much that it would eat me alive for this long?

Well, that reason is because of two separate items.  One of which, I already knew about since the beginning of this year.  The second is a more recent thing.

On Tuesday, I took a small peak into the bipolar disorder subreddits (I am really new to reddit so I just clicked on what was available).  There were two topics that really caught my interest.  The first of which, was a post from three years ago that an anonymous person asked about how to cope with his then girlfriend having bipolar disorder.  The answers varied from the ignorant to the insightful.  There was comment that really stuck out to me.  Here is that comment:

Patience, Pride, and Perspective.

1) Be patient.  There is NOTHING you can do to calm her down once she cycles.  You just have to let the chemicals, that are in her brain causing the state, pass.  Just weather the storm of insults patiently.  Be quiet.  Be calm.  Be ready to call the cops if she starts seriously threatening to harm herself.  Don’t provoke.  Don’t antagonize.  Don’t take it personally.  Which leads to…

2)  Have enough pride to not let your feelings get hurt by the meaningless insults being flung your way.  Insulting back will only worsen and escalate the situation.  Understand that once the mood has passed she will regret what she said and be remorseful of her actions–even if she doesn’t show it.  She would stop the outbursts if she could, but she can’t, and neither can…

3)  You.  Put it into perspective.  This will be lifelong for her.  You may be the recipient of the insults, but she has to live with a condition that will often self-destruct most of her relationships, friendships, and other opportunities for the rest of her life.   She has it much worse off than you do.  You can walk away from the situation.  She can’t.  What you can do is be there to show patience when she’s cycling, and forgiveness later when she’s looking for understanding.

 

Reading this reminded me of the last girl I actually fell, or was falling for.  She had the same disorder that I did which gave her an insight as to what I was going through.  She had all three of the things that were mentioned in this comment.  However, I was not at that point to where I could do the same for her.  As a result, I broke contact.  Since her, I have not fallen for anyone else since.  As a matter of fact, even though I dated someone briefly last year, I still have not let my heart be wooed by anyone in the way that this one person did.  Even though now I am mentally stronger than I was back then, I don’t know if anyone can handle me the way that she did.  As unfair as that sounds, I truly do feel like that at this point.  I am a very complex person, who has to think two steps ahead most of the time because if I don’t, I may mess up and ruin a life.  I don’t want to ruin lives like back then.

That is the first thing I realized.  I have to open up to more people.  This blog is always open, and for the few followers that I do have, they get an open view of how my mind works.  That’s not what I mean though.  It isn’t enough.  The above there is one example, but I don’t really mean in the context of finding love.  I mean in the context of healing myself first and foremost.

I have started counseling, but even the counseling I’m getting is going to be finite.  So, eventually, I will have to be able to be open with people outside of this blog, and counseling.  I’ve gotten a false sense of security  because of my popularity in the area that I live in.  As I’ve said in the past,, most of those people I believe see me as a clown or entertainment, and the big thing is that for some reason I thought that would be something I enjoyed.  It turns out that I am a lot more than that.  I really have to open to the world, and perhaps share my story to people outside this blog and outside of the area I’m in.  In the circles I’m in, it isn’t appropriate to really pour my heart out or anything, but in more intimate settings, I would like to find people to really share some of my fears, insecurities, and my heart with.

Also, there was another post on reddit that struck me.  This one asked from the perspective of people who do not suffere from mental illnesses, how do those who suffer from depression look to you?  There is one comment and one quote that stuck completely out to me.  The comment tackled the well known saying that you hear a lot in mental health circles.  Actually, perhaps this is heard in all parts of life.  “You are in control of your own happiness”.  I don’t think this is true for the majority of people that have any type of mental illness.  However, I can actually say that perhaps one day, I can be happy. Speaking purely for myself, I can take the medicine that I’m on, and I can go to all of the counseling that I can, but even now, it does not stop.  I cycle just like any other person with bipolar disorder.  The cycles may be less severe, but they are definitely still there.  They don’t stop, but the things that I do in the cycles are minimal.  I’ll never be able to tame them full.  I’ve learned to be objective about things lately, so I can at least rationalize things to a point where I can try and stop some of the severe thoughts, but I do know that that statement doesn’t apply to everyone.  Everyone’s illness affects them differently, and some don’t have the means to cope with them like I do.  So, it can be rough for people.

Then I saw this quote which gave me a new goal to strive for:

“The true opposite of depression is neither gaiety nor absence of pain, but vitality – the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings. It is part of the kaleidoscope of life that these feelings are not only happy, beautiful, or good but can reflect the entire range of human experience, including envy, jealousy, rage, disgust, greed, despair, and grief.”  – Alice Miller

This leads me to explain the title of this post.  If you are into anime, you know that the title is part of a meaning of the “Ring Of The Sky” worn by Tsunayoshi Sawada, the main protagonist in the anime Katekiyo Hitman Reborn.  I relate greatly to his character in the sense that he eventually got over his shortcomings to protect his friends and family.  When Reborn hits him with the deathparation bullet early in the anime, he starts becoming more confident (well he had no choice, he’d die if he regreted anything).  Eventually, he rises up and becomes someone who he never thought he’d would ever become.  But I relate to him because I’m at a point now where I can fight the regrets that I have in my life.  I also have no clue what my best form looks like whatsoever.  This is because I always hold back something now.  Thus, I have a lot of regret in my heart.  I have to get over it somehow, and perhaps I have the tools to do just that.  I want to be able to have those spontaneous feelings, and not have to curse it on being bipolar for once.  I’ll fight to get there too.

Even now, though I do feel like a clown to the majority of people that I’ve interacted with since I’ve experienced downtown and the bar scene, I guess some people really do feel like I make their nights better.  Also, now, because of the high volume of people that I know, other people network and such, and that’s a cool thing that perhaps I can do.

I guess the big thing I want now, is to grow.  I was very careful with my words in this one, because I wanted my message to get out.  Even then, I’m still fighting.  I know that perhaps I’ll do something great someday, but I know that maybe getting out things like this, is a key step into doing those.