advertisement

“You’re such a SPAZ!!” Bipolar II & Freedom of Speech

“It’s not my fault the world is in slow motion.”

“You are such a spaz!”

Pick any one of my friends and they’ve all said that to me.  Multiple times in my life.

I’ve always had a quick mouth to match my fast mind.  Chronic hypo-mania lives in a body built on speed.  You walk fast, think fast, move fast and your speech can be one major indication of potentially having a mental illness like Bipolar II.

Often times your rapid speech can be mistaken for ADD or ADHD, and a lot of psychiatrists might throw that diagnosis out there before Bipolar II.  As a culture, we tend to over-diagnose children with ADD or ADHD, and it can be harmful when a person may be suffering with Bipolar II 'cause there is a HUGE difference.


General

Bipolar II: “I’m OUTTA Here”

“I’m outta here.”

And that’s what I would do.  When I was out with my friends at some party, bar, anywhere. When I heard the voice in my head saying I’m outta here, I was out.  And I’m not one of the “oh goodbye see you soon," or, "good seeing you,”  blah, blah.

“Just tell us next time you bolt. I worry.”  My best friend was serious.

“Don’t worry.  I’m sorry. Sometimes I...


Bipolar II

Bipolar II and Run DMC

The first tape I bought was Run DMC's "Raising Hell."  I was in 5th grade.  Every night I would put my headphones on before bed and listen to the beats.  Those beats of rap seemed to match the intensity in my brain, resulting in a calmness that allowed my mind to rest.  It’s weird 'cause blasting rap music seemed to be the only thing that matched my brain.

Music has always been crucial to my mental health.  It wasn’t until later in life, when I  started reading Tupac’s lyrics, that I realized the syntax of the language and beats he used could manifest a mood disorder.  Sounds crazy but my observation became more acute when I worked in inpatient psych wards in Los Angeles, CA County Hospitals.

The patients were drugged to the max, tranquilized to the point that they could be extras in Zombie land.  New patients, who were manic and not yet pumped with five different cocktails of meds, would ask me for music.


Bipolar II

Bipolar II and the Incredible Hulk

My poor mother.  I don’t know how she did it.  I won’t say I was a violent kid, but I had a serious unknown short circuit.  When I would get angry over something minor or major (usually minor though, sad to say), I would get this bolt of lightening through my skull and lash out like the Incredible Hulk.

Looking back I feel bad about some of the violence I inflicted on my family.  I think back and there were times I would lash out over practically nothing.  I wanted to do my laundry and would freak if my mom was kind enough to do it for me.  God forbid if someone moved or touched my things. God FORBID!

One time it was bad.  It was my turn to practice the piano and I was anxious (like all bipolar II people) 'cause I had a lesson in an hour and didn’t practice enough that week to get by without my teacher making my life hell, so I told my sister it was MY turn to practice and to MOVE.

“Ask me nicely.”

“No, move.”


Bipolar I

Bipolar Mind, Bipolar Body: Being A Life-Size Yo-Yo

I don’t know why I even try to manage my weight when I am a walking, life-size human yo-yo.

Weight is a challenge for all people, everywhere.  I fundamentally believe we live in a nation obsessed with weight.  We can’t go anywhere, do anything, or watch anything without food, fat, diet, exercise, or weight management busting up all over our face.

I did an experiment where I wrote down from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed how many times something weight related crossed my mind.  Here goes…



Bipolar II

Job Security or Insecurity

My job sucks -- like bad.  But when I think about it, most of the jobs in my life have sucked, and I’ve had to deal.  I’ve never had a job that fits my needs. Or my mind.  Having chronic hypo-mania can be a difficult condition to manage in the work force 'cause you can multitask and complete tasks faster than the person next to you, BUT that same ability to excel at an accelerated pace leads to problems.

You finish your work wayyy before your co-workers do and people notice so they dump more work on you.  You think so much and so fast that you get bored really easily.

I took a good look at my employment history and it's laced with bipolar tendencies.  I almost have to laugh when I look at my resume; at how I’ve worked all over the place.  The only consistency in my life has been my writing.  I’ve written over 600 poems and a book and am still struggling with my “work…job…career…”  I’m not sure what to call it anymore.


Bipolar II

“How Many Men Have You Slept With?”

“How many men have you slept with?”

“Uh…”

“Five...twenty...sixty...?”

“Umm...”

When I was first evaluated by my psychiatrist, and finally diagnosed with hypo-mania, I didn’t have an answer to that question.  I still don’t.  A lot of people, men and women, have no idea what their “number” is so I never really felt bad about it.  But…it's a sad flag of reckless behavior which, as a hypo manic individual, has never been tempered.

Promiscuity became somewhat normalized with shows like "Sex and the City" and characters like Samantha Jones, however, when it's a part of your real life, it can be hazardous.


Bipolar II

It’s Not You It’s Me, It’s Not Me It’s Them

I’m probably gonna say something a lot of people don’t want to hear, but when it comes to helping a loved one with a mental illness, if they’re not ready to get help there is really not much you can do about it.

I had lunch today with a friend's friend who has been in and out of psych wards, and she read my book, so thought I could be of some assistance in the matter.  I was useless.  But I didn't feel bad about it. I sat there, saw the look on her father's face, and felt bad for HIM.

People try to help the ones they love but often times, depending on the type  sickness a person is experiencing, all the love in the world won't do much.  It’s a terrible situation.


Bipolar II

Suicide, Skid Row & Tacos

I’ve never been suicidal, but have certainly acted suicidal.  It’s part of my disease.  It’s kinda ridiculous when I break it down.

My thought process is somewhat funny to me. I think to myself, I have wayyy to much to offer in this lifetime and so much to do, so how can I even imagine offing myself?  I can’t. My manic, inflated self-esteem that produces grandiose ideations about myself keeps me alive.  HOWEVER, that invincibility that characterizes manic people has gotten me in some serious trouble.

Before I was diagnosed and medicated, I lived in New York City.  I would fly through the streets, hitting up that club or meeting that new person, and looking back, although I was not “suicidal,” I acted suicidal.  My invincibility made me put myself in suicidal situations.  There is a big difference between the two but both of them can end badly.  It’s kinda scary.  Mostly because I am thirty-five years old now and things haven’t changed.


Bipolar II

What It’s Like To Live With Bipolar II

On April 14th, 2011, Catherine Zeta Jones came out to the world, explaining that she suffered from Bipolar II Disorder. Merely a year later, on June 15, 2012, Jones made an appearance on ABC’s "The View" and Joy Behar inquired about her experience with Bipolar Disorder. Zeta briefly responded to the query then moved onto promoting her upcoming film.

Now here we have a problem. We live in a society that often times manifests fears and ignorance about mental illness and here is a prime example of an opportunity to clarify Bipolar I versus Bipolar II -- which unfortunately didn’t happen.

With a celebrity-driven culture, we have a window to engage in an open dialogue about mental illness and recognize the fundamental differences between Bipolar I and Bipolar II, but we don’t capitalize on them. Mr. "Tiger Blood" Charlie Sheen has displayed blatant manic episodes live on national television and YouTube, yet everyone just calls him “crazy.”

Such examples leave us at a loss to educate and communicate to the public about this relatively unknown disease.