I haven’t posted in a long time, but there is something I would like to say.

I haven’t posted anything in a long time, but I want to say this:

I really do not like how anyone with a serious mental illness are being classified as.

The first thing that I learned when I became a CPS is that I am not “bipolar”, I’m Marques Brooks.

You see this not only in the mainstream media, but also you see it in a lot of the popular blogs, and with mental health professionals, doctors, family members….

We are people.  Not labels.

Introduction to the new you.

“Make more promises
and don’t let fear keep you from
always keeping them.”– Tyler Knott Gregson

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve written in here, or shared anything. As you guys know who have been following this regularly, June was my birth month. Normally, it is almost always usually a bad month for me. These could be for various, selfish reasons of mine, or legitimate ones for me. This time around, I think back on this birth month, and I find it a victory.

As I said in the last entry, I have kept consistent with everything that I had said. I have been adapted a light workout, went to the CPS training, and continuing to plan for a comeback in the fighters that I do play. This is also being done while also reshaping how I want to spend my time.

Also, this month, I attended one of the new premier recovery models in Georgia for training: The CPS Project. CPS stands for Certified Peer Specialist. This is an individual with a mental health or dual diagnosis that is trained to go into mental health and/or medical facilities to work with those people that have severe mental health or dual diagnosis (individuals that not only have a severe mental health diagnosis, but also a substance or drug abuse problem).

There are many roles for this this position, but the main purpose of this position is to be a guide to those that have severe diagnoses. Think about some of the things that I’ve said before as I was volunteering and now employed at. The types of people that I see on a daily basis have been completely broken by the aspects of life in some way, shape, or form. It’s the CPS’s job to guide theme back to a reality that they want, so that they can lead fulfilling lives.

As I entered the training, I looked at the schedule to when and what we were learning on what day and what time it was. I was delighted to see that a good bit of the material on the second week of this was already covered in my paraprofessional courses that I took prior to coming here. There were people from all over the state here. All these people at some point in their lives were once broken, like myself. Hell, you could say that they were broken multiple times with the ages of some of the people in there. I truly think that for everyone who attended that training, they got something out of it. It didn’t matter what their comprehension of the material was, or if they were a good reader or not, even if they didn’t know all the answers, everyone got something out of it.

I actually had a tough time in the second week of the training. I was really close to 30 years old, and as a 20 something, it was so strange. Here I was, about to start a new career, in the mental health field, when last year, I was broken, and not really ready for it. Also, on my actual birthday, I got an email from someone that I have not heard from in a good amount of years, and that triggered some thoughts in me that stuck through me not only through the end of the training, but also into the birthday weekend. I don’t really want to go into it here (maybe another entry I’ll go in depth in it), but in short the impact of that email really messed with me.

And as I entered the week of the 4th, I had something still bothering me, but I couldn’t just place it. As the week went on, I just started having serious feelings of loneliness. It came to ahead on the weekend of the 4th. It seemed that everything made me that lonely. And because of this, I went back to some of my past behaviors.

And this is where this training helped me. A lot of the core concepts of this training revolve about a consistent path to recovery. In my job, and thanks to the help of this blog, I’ve pushed myself to a level of functioning where I can help others. However, I think that I wasn’t really continuing with mine fully. I sort of felt like this throughout the training and after it. Personally, I think you have to have the time to be able to process the emotions and feelings that come about when symptoms or feelings come about. After all, feelings are very natural to all people, thus they have to process and then ultimately move on from them.

So from the loneliness I felt, it lead me to withdrawal, and from there, it lead to an unshakable anger. I never vented my anger like in a completely serious fashion before, and I decided to do such for once. I’ve always held back when it comes to anger, and not so much when it came to my depression. I know in the past, I would have serious tantrums and on occasion become extremely violent. So as a result, I would just always suppress it.

So I vented out, how lonely I felt, and why I felt that way. And it got better, then, yesterday, I figured out the product of where those feelings came from. I had a problem with narcissism when I was in my late teens and early 20’s. I could actually make an argument that this manifested a lot sooner than that in my early teens, back to when I was initially diagnosed. For some of you that aren’t familiar with narcissism, it’s a severe interest in yourself. Some of the things that can stem from being narcissistic is a bit o sociopathic behaviors. I’m not proud to admit this, but I feel like that I have not addressed this very thing before yesterday. It’s not like I’m a bad person or anything like that, because I’m not. It’s just that the correlation from how I act when I do have symptoms and this very thing I failed to seriously address will keep me from the next levels of a good life that I want. It keeps me from the future bonds, hopes, and dreams that I am now going to pursue.

I would have just continued how I was doing, but the training taught me that there are many people like me, who are leading successful, fruitful lives. Sure, they have their struggles, and symptoms along the way, but the thing is that mental illness is just a small part of then, and ultimately a small part of me. Something else that this has taught me is that this training, in using your own struggles of recovery to change lives, is that this can be used in everyday life. Take a look at this blog. This is one example (though at the time I can’t write as much as I used to) of this. This weekend, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about mental health and recovery itself. Also, you meet people where they are is a big thing in this training. Some people are at the point that they just aren’t ready to accept that they really need help to get their life back together. So, a big part of my job is to hold on the hope for them, until they can hold on to it themselves.

This is not just in the places I’m employed, this is also in everyday life. People all over suffer somehow. I think the ultimate thing about this training is that I get a chance to show the world that people with mental illnesses CAN recover. They can lead great lives, and they can be productive people in the community from being broken. Just by my experience alone, because of this training, I can now counter the one thing I hate being: inconsistent. People in my fighting game circles say this, friends, and probably family say this. However, while I am fully aware of my parts in it, I also don’t think they understand why things were like this. I was generally ill, just like someone with cancer or the flu. I wanted to do things and in a consistent manner, but I wasn’t there mentally yet.

Now I am at that point. I want to say that this training is a big part of that. Sure, I can’t really fix all that the past that I’ve messed up, but realistically, I don’t want to. It has all been a part of my experience. And, it is that experience, that will change a life or two. The quote that I put up is something that I will be doing big time moving forward. I hope you continue reading too!

Quick read on Mindfulness.

Quick read on Mindfulness.

I’ve been on the DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) form of treatment for quite sometime now.  Even though that it was primarily used to treat those with Borderline Personality Disorder, it has helped me very well in taking my coping skills to the next level.  

This article from TWLOHA slightly touches of the foundation of DBT, which is Mindfulness.  Think about taking a subject, and being able to just accept it.  You don’t have any reaction to it, thoughts, opinions, or anything of the like.  This something that is easy in saying.  This is hard to master, as I’m finding out.

I hope you enjoy the read!  I know that I said that I would have a big update post ready, but I got hired by my psychiatrist’s office!  Therefore, my time is stretched thin.  However, I will find some time to write about what has happened since that last huge post that I made!

Empathy: The Great Equalizer.

Empathy: The Great Equalizer.

This is a great read about how empathy can affect a lot of lives, including our own.  One of the things that is not in abundance in this world are people that can look at a given situation through another person’s point of view and take that into their lives to make their life better.

One of the things that I pride myself on and has been a big help in my personal recovery, is being as mindful, and empathetic to others’ situations.  Because of this, I feel like that perhaps there I have changed a handful of lives, and ultimately, I changed my own life because of this.  So, if you are suffering from any mental illness, I invite you to take a few minutes and read this.

There are also links to a test that I guess measure how empathetic you are as well as how sympathetic you are.  I invite you to take these and see where you stand!  

Expect a new entry with how I’ve been doing in the next week or so!

Beyond The Hope. Beyond The Freedom.

The words hope and freedom have a lot of meaning in my life. I’ve gone throughout the years searching for these and their meaning to me in my life. As I go to deeper depths in battling my perfectionistic ways, I sit here now typing, ready to challenge these words as they have applied and do apply to my life in this moment.

Let’s tackle the latter first. When I think back to my childhood and through my adolescent years, I feel like I had a ton more freedom. Even after I was diagnosed, I still had quite a good bit of freedom. I didn’t take advantage of it in a negative, or positive ways. That’s to be expected just because if the sheer notion that I was (and, for all intensive purposes, still am) young. If I were to be a bit more descriptive about those years, even despite what happened to me to shape my endeavors whilst in those years, I would say think of a scale with no weight on it. On most days, I was okay with being average. The reasoning for that is that if I didn’t get too high, then I could sort of “deal” with the lows. Again, I was young during this time, and the thing about it was that it was a failing strategy back then.

Even today, I do have quite a good bit of freedom granted to me.  I would like to think that I’m a lot smarter than I was in my childhood (perhaps not by a lot).  Last year, I was just glad to finally get into a stabilized situation in my life.  In a sense, I don’t think I’ve had more stability at any point in my life than I have right now.  This brought a new found appreciation in having this sort of “complete freedom” that I had.  As you may have seen, I have been in constant limbo on if this is enough.  In my heart, I don’t think it is enough to just have appreciation for whatever freedoms are granted to me anymore.  The thing about it is, I always felt a huge sense of guilt when I talked about freedom at all.  This also goes for in my blog.  I know that somewhere, something, or someone had to sacrifice for my freedom.  It could be as close as my family or friends.  I can also be as far as those around the world fighting for their freedom.  Maybe I have become more aware that not everyone is afforded freedoms that I have, and that, perhaps in the past, it is my fault somehow (not so much on the worldly scale).

I did not really believe in the world hope for an extremely long time.  As someone who has an illness that at any given moment can make it seem like that there is no hope, it is a really difficult concept to grasp.  To believe there is an outcome that is in your favor all of the time is a draining concept to the mind of a manic depressive.  I can probably speculate that anyone that has had a fit of depression has felt this way in their life at some point.  It is really that hard to grasp for someone for a mental illness.

There is however a way that it can happen.  One with a mental illness has to have something so destructive done by their hands, and also a miracle happen.  Please note that is just my belief, and it isn’t because I have had both of these things happen to me.  The thing about is, with how easy for someone with a mental illness to relapse, a lot of the times when they cycle or show symptoms of whatever illness they have, a lot of the time they really are not aware of what they are doing during said cycles.  If something destructive happens to where they are made aware of what happens when their symptoms happen, then they can possibly get that help they need.  From that help, they can get hope that they can turn things around.  There are also moments where because of the illness, unfortunate things can happen to a person just because they really cannot function like a human being.  If you add the amount of abhorrent ignorance there is in the world, it can lead to situations that a miracle would need to happen.  If this miracle happens, I feel like a new appreciation could possibly happen, to enhance their situation, lives, and the lives around them better.  Let us be honest here as this is again, an ideological way to look at building hope, as everyone is different as well as there are more untreated people with a mental illness than are those who are in treatment.

Now I think about hope, and for the longest time I was in limbo about it.  It was a new feeling to me, and it left me asking, “what is next?”  Now, I ask myself, “what is hope if I can’t help others build hope up in themselves, too?”  Considering my position in life, I feel like that it isn’t enough anymore for me to hope.  I want to see if I can build hope in others in some sort of way.  Even with my illness and those days where I will feel utterly hopeless and defeated, I still think that maybe if more people had a little hope in their situations, the world would be overall better.  I feel the same way with freedom.  Maybe in some way, I could help with that too.

I know that the world is cruel.  There is a lot of ignorance, judgment, and an overall lack of objectivity in the majority of the world.  There are injustices, people being hurt and broken every minute perhaps.  I don’t know, I guess where I am right now, is I want to not only enjoy my personal journey through life, but also help people enjoy theirs as well, especially those like me.  A lot of us like me are those geniuses and prodigies that a lot of the world would call weird, crazy, or psycho.  I’ve also have been called these things over my life as well.  And while everyone cannot be saved, I guess maybe with this blog, and hopefully in the future, one person will read these words, or hear me speak, or anything like that, and be better by them.

I’m one person though, one who tries to do too much a lot of the time, who trolls people a good bit (you guys have no idea), and who breaks occasionally for no reason whatsoever.  However, I think I can do something, and that something is better than nothing, right?

An ultimate fear that I face, and I ultimately don’t know what to do about it.

There is something about being in a better place in your life that makes you think long and hard.  Maybe perhaps that isn’t with the majority, but with me, being able to think is one of the primary things I kind of pride myself on.

When I was in worse times, I didn’t think clearly, the lows and the highs were very severe.  The consequences were that I did lots of damages in many parts of my life.  To give a short example of this, I was at one time a very talented percussionist and composer of percussion music.  Because of my illness, and not treating it properly, I decided to give it up.  I don’t really have any regrets about giving up music, but I often think about the damage I did while I was at the heights of my musician days.

Even beyond that, I still did some serious damage while I was learning to become a fighting game player.  I was still untreated for the majority of those years.  Now that I am better recovery wise, I always think about those days.

One of the things that I know for a fact is that there is no cure for bipolar disorder.  I will always cycle through mania, depression, and in between the two for as long as I live.  I do take my medicine everyday, and I now am in therapy training in tools that will help me identify, cope, and stabilize my own moods in conjunction with my medication.  Hell, even now, I actually started using Lumosity in an attempt to up my brain functions.  So, I am doing all the right things in terms of my recovery.

Even then, I still have severe attention problems, and I still have eratic behavior.  It really bothers me when I get called weird, because I know I can’t do anything about my behavior at times.  I don’t mean any harm now by my eratic behavior.  The morbid thoughts are very few and far between, and most of my eccentrism is playful and lighthearted.  In the times where I would dissociate or I was at my worst, it stemed from things that happened to me sexually from when I was a child.  Then the eratic behavior I experienced in manic states, especially with women would be aggressive, and sexual in nature.  To compound things, I would have an extreme fear of men that would lead me in the past to act aggressively towards any homosexual male.  I am not a homosexual myself, but in those times I would pretty much want to fight any male that would hit on me.  Now, I just respectfully tell them that I am straight.

I wanted to describe these thngs to you because, as I improve in managing my illness and moods, I think about it, and today, I think I have a fear of literally opening up my heart to anyone.  This fear manifests a lot in my outings.  Part of the reason I feel this way is that even though I’m better at this, I feel like I can’t know when I will cycle and what will trigger the cycle not even 40% of the time yet.  So to me, it means 60% of the time I don’t know whether I’m depressed, manic, or in between.  It takes me now about a day to process and adjust to a cycle and identify the trigger to it.  For example, I cycled from mania to depression on Tuesday, shortly after I wrote the last entry and published it.  It was because of a looming feeling of loneliness that perhaps accumilated because of winter.  To compesate, I try and reach out to people.  Then the problem I just mentioned arrives.  If I am not clear about my thoughts, or in addition, my attention gets diverted, I lose the clarity in them, and the message I want to convey gets tainted.  You can even see it in my past entries.  If I get distracted, I tend to stroll off topic, and while eventually I get back on topic, it sometimes takes away from the message I really want to send.

In friendships, I feel so distant because of this.  I can dance most people’s socks off and meet people through it.  I can post up a clip of a combo on my YouTube channel and gain friends through that.  I can even write my fragmented thoughts on this blog while spreading all the awareness in the world about the world of mental health and gain following through that.  But what is the point, if my feelings can’t get through at some point to those people?  In this phase of my life, as I’m heavily involved in the betterment of my own life, I am also wanting to leave anything I do better than it was to the best of my ability, and I know to do that, people will have to see how serious I am, and what moves my heart.

I will not lie however.  The other half of my fear of really opening my heart to others in many ways stems from being afraid of my own illness itself.  To be honest, I’m afraid of the damage potential that I can do.  If I fail at not managing myself properly, I could potentially hurt a ton of people in the process.  It has happened in the past.  I didn’t treat my illness properly, and people saw me differently, and eventually went away from me.  So, because of that fear, today, I keep my distance.  I do have friends, a great deal of them one would say, but I don’t open all the way up.  I guess I get scared because of those two things.

My therapist says that I need to accept that this illness is a part of me at some point.  That way, it will help me to explain it to peers, and anyone else I come across. I guess what she is getting at is to become one with it, and treat it like a physical one.  Maybe if I keep on my treatment plan, I can accept it.  I guess right now, I’m just really scared to open up now, but I can’t keep being scared at the end of the day.  Perhaps, it would be helpful if I knew who I could turn to other than my care providers.  A know fact about me is that 85% of my friends are significantly younger than I am.  That shouldn’t matter, but in a way, it kind of does.  While I’m at a point in my life where I’m rebuilding my brand, looking for outlets to better myself and the endeavors that I partake in, and improve my treatment plan, I can safely say that the majority of those people only turn to me for fun.  Honestly, this isn’t to say that there aren’t people that can be there for me, or that it is wrong to think that way of me.  After all, when it comes to nightlife, I usually plan my weekends during the early week and know what is going on.  What I’m getting at though, is because of their youth, it makes it even harder to open up to them in the terms of my thoughts, and that’s because of the fear of my illness that I have, and a warped thought in my mind that the people that would want to be there for me really are not ready for the “monster” I see myself as because of my illness, and thus, I don’t really want to taint their lives on my account, because I have done such in the past.

So there you have it.  This may very well be the most concise and to the point entry I have ever written in my 5 and a half years of recording my thoughts when being bipolar.  I know that in time, I will come to accept this illness, and make it a part of me.  In this juncture, i have to.  Otherwise, any progress i have made will start to manifest to regression, and then I could possibly die by my own hand due to that.  I think anyone with this illness struggles with this very dilemma like I am right now, but for the most part, there is always something, whether it be children, a spouse, a family member, etc, that motivates you become one with your thoughts and be able to take control of them.  I guess right now, the answer maybe still blurry for me, so the best thing I can do is to keep grinding.  Perhaps one of you can comment and share some insight, or if you are reading this from seeing the link pop up on your Facebook or Twitter news feed, give me some insight on this problem.  I guess this is my way of saying that, I’m lost, and I need some guidance.

A commentary about the people close to you, and defining roles in your recovery plan.

A commentary about the people close to you, and defining roles in your recovery plan.

The link above sends you to an article I read a few weeks ago.  In the article, the writer goes in depth about how a bout with depression lead to him losing somenoe very dear to him.  The thing about it was that instead of getting the necessary help that he needed to get, he actually used the relationship he was in as the sole outlet that would heal him.  Ultimately, both of them pretty much broke, and it lead to a shattered relationship.

I have had this happen to me on multiple occasions.  The one that hurts the most happened to me about 3 years ago.  Now, there were no relationships involved or anything, nor did I like anyone in a romantic sort of sense.  However, I did have some pretty close friends.  One day, I cycled into a 3 week depression, and the culmination of it was that I almost had another suicide attempt.  Well, my best friend at the time caught wind of that, and she didn’t take it that well.  Seems that the next year and a half took a toll on her, and ultimately, we ended up leading diminished roles in each other’s lives.

Now that I’m better, I think about it, and I wish that I had her friendship back, now that I am doing the right things in my recovery.  However, as someone who is a mental health patient, I wonder how hard it is to really reach out.  I can understand the apprehensions someone could have in reaching out to anyone in their past.  After all, you wonder if they can forgive the damage that has been done, and a legitimate question has to be asked in this case too in the sense that is there future damage awaiting them if they choose to associate with that person dealing with their mental health issuses.

I would be lying if i said that I did no damage, or I am any more capable of doing serious damage to others because of my illness.  I’m still repairing the damage I’ve already done from 16 years of being untreated mostly.  I guess the big thing that this article did for me, was to remind me that I am sick, and I do have to take care of that sickness, just like if I had the flu, or cancer.  It’s so easy to skew a person’s support for what we need while trying to recover individually, but I guess this reinforces that I need to take responsibility for me, not just for myself (I am the most important thing to me, but just saying), but for anyone who I am involved with from here on.  It should not be their job to be to be the sole catalyst of our salvation.  It is important that they do walk with us, yes, but we have to be more resposible for managing whatever mental illness we struggle with.

I do get it though.  With me, the two things that get me even to this day are being frightened and being confused.  Whenever I’m frightened about something, I instantly get triggered and cycle to depression.  Alternatively, when I get confused, I instantly cycle into mania.  In both of these cases in the past, I would look for someone to calm me down.  Being that I had bad issues with males in my past, I would turn to females in my life to calm me.  When I saw that they could not calm me, I would get frustrated even more, leading to more morbid thoughts.  Back then, I look for that calming down from others as my therapy, and in hindsight, that is a wrong an unfair thing to expect out of anyone.

It’s my job, to manage my feelings, and get the proper help to manage how I feel concisely.  Now, I just need people to walk with me.  That is more important than them being my salvation.  Eventually, I’ll get it down to where I can be my own salvation, in a sense, but, it is stil important to have people walk with you through your journey, you know?

The next man up.

The next man up.

Have you ever heard of a novel that got turned into a movie called “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story”?

Well the link above was the author of that novel.  His name is Ned Vizzini, and as of Thursday, he is now passed away via suicide.

He was 32 years old, and suffered with depression throughout his life.  He left a loving family behind, including a wife and son.  He was also an advocate who would speak a lot about mental health.  He would wittingly write about his depression.  Now, I personally did not know about this man until this morning while checking my Associated Press app on my phone.  Now, I can say that I have watched the movie version of his novel, but I have not read the actual novel itself.  Perhaps I will find a copy and read it soon.  However, here are some quotes from him.   See if some of these resonate well within you.

“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“How can you live without stars? What keeps you from thinking about yourself all the time?” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    The Other Normals

“There’s so much more for me to be doing. I should be a success and I’m not and other people – younger people – are. Younger people than me are on TV and getting paid and winning scholarships and getting their lives in order. I’m still a nobody. When am I going to not be a nobody?” 
―    Ned Vizzini,    It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Personally, these were a few that just stood out to me.  I’m sure that there are some that will stand out to you as well.

If you have been keeping track of the days, you would know that this day is the last day of the Lines Project.  Something that I posted about last Sunday in my blog.  I am dedicating all my lines today to the family of Mr. Vizzini.  There is this thing in sports(which I am an avid sports fan) that they always say when the stars get injured, namely in football.  That saying is “Next Man Up”.  This means when someone goes down, the sub is expected to fill in and things should run the same.  Think about it with this story.  Yes this is the loss of an advocate to the mental health community, as well as a loss to those closest to him even more so.  This could be a way for us to get ther word out there to those ailing to get the proper treatment, so that they will not have to think that suicide is an answer.

I know I can only do so much by writing in this blog, and tayloring it to really be beneficial to anyone who is ailing from mental illnesses like I am.  I also know that my recovery is also important.  I am generally a young fellow at 29 years old, but even now at that age, I do understand what it means to feel like you’ve destroyed everything and be trapped in a vicious prision in your own mind.  Maybe that gives me an insight into promoting more mental illness awareness all over everywhere when I can.  I do think that eventually my one voice will change something.  Maybe some of you reading this are at an advanced level of your recovery, or know more than I do about mental illness.  Let’s take this man’s death as not one where there is sorrow and mourning of a great and budding young author.  Let’s take it and get to a point where we can save a life, and carry his soul on our backs as we try and get people like me, like others who suffer from any mental illness back to a healthy state.

It is my belief that the individuals who are suffereing right now, maybe some of those who could change this land.  Let’s step up, K?!

RIP Mr. Vizzini.