Another episode, another journal. Except this one is going to be very different…
For one thing, I won’t be able to burn it when I later decide that what I’ve written is going to cause me shame when I’m feeling better. My ‘higher’ self won’t be able to smugly decide ‘no, that never happened…oh what an active imagination you have Bipolar Lush!’, shaking my head fondly at myself for my wonderful creativity while I toss the leaves of paper into the fireplace. (I have many beautifully designed and expensive notebooks that were originally intended for journalling, yet now lay half empty in some forgotten drawer because I didn’t like the content and decided to erase history in this way). For another, this one is going to be out there for people to actually read.
Although the thought of allowing even just one person access to my f**ked up mess of a mind absolutely TERRIFIES me, I’m choosing to do this for 3 reasons:
- On the off chance that anybody does stumble across this, I hope it can help answer some questions that I wished I had answers for when I was first diagnosed. Not just the bland, boring ones I googled obsessively like ‘bipolar symptoms/signs of mania/am I actually just an alcoholic?’, but real life situations that someone may actually relate to, and know that they’re not alone in this.
- Despite this being online and available for all to see, I’m quietly confident that nobody will actually read it, and I will therefore stay anonymous and the world will be none the wiser that I am actually just a big old mess. I can continue to pretend that all is well and it’s less risky than me leaving an actual journal lying around and a real life person stumbling across it. Cringe…
- I need this. So many things have changed for me lately; so many jigsaw pieces have somehow just slotted into place for me and after a horrific recent episode, probably my worst one yet (possibly not – the evidence of any others are now embers in the fireplace…) I’ve decided to really commit to this whole wellness business. Because it sounds great!
So, in a few months I’ll have done so much ‘self-work’ I’ll be fixed, yayy! 🙂 I imagine myself rising with the sun, spending 2 hours practising yoga on the beach, reading inspirational books and becoming one of those calm spiritual women who enthral everyone they encounter with their wisdom. I might even take up running, in between creating amazing art works which I will then sell at crafty markets every weekend, and people will complement my lovely ‘energy’ and my enormous gem stone rings. I’ll be like Lily Tomlinson’s character from ‘Grace and Frankie’, except more ethereal and not a stoner. And half her age. I’ll have to fit the parenting thing around my new lifestyle of course, but I’ll have such freedom I’ll be able to work around school pick ups and drop offs. Simples!
If only life was that easy…
8 Replies to “Well this is a first! Must be the mania…”
I do exactly what you do with the journals. I used to wonder if I should leave instructions in my will to immediately destroy my boxes of journals. I don’t even have a will, actually, but I still think about it every now and then.
What I’ve found out online is that the more support you get and the more people you connect with, the less you feel shame about what you post. Sooner or later, you become proud of joining this incredible community of like-minded people. It’s so worth the “risk.”
I was obsessed with hiding my identity, but after a couple of years with no one finding this blog, I figure I’m safe. Now I’m writing a book about the whole experience, so there goes the whole anonymity thing. I’m OK with it now.
So nice to meet you! 💕
Thank you for being my first comment Shawna, so lovely to meet you too! 🙂
I’ve only recently begun to read posts from like-minded people and I can see what you mean – it has absolutely helped me to be kinder to myself and understand more about the illness. I’ve spent many months literally hiding under the duvet in shame, and only now am I accepting that the illness is responsible for so many of my demons and bad decisions. It doesn’t absolve all the guilt/shame of course but it’s definitely helping me and I feel a little stronger now. I hope some day I’ll feel as proud as you!
Wow the book sounds so exciting – such a great idea! I’ve actually been looking for books for either my kindle or on audible and I’ve not had much luck. Well, only the factual ones which can be handy but I’ve often wished there were more about people’s experiences rather than the boring stuff. I can’t wait to read it!
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Thank you, BL! What kind of books are you looking for? More about bipolar or addiction issues? For blogging to remain sober, there is Mrs. D Is Going Without and Mummy Was a Secret Drinker. I’m guessing because you put “lush” in your blog name that alcohol might be part of your experience. 😀
Self-love has been the answer to my own recovery, even when it feels counter-intuitive. We were raised to blame ourselves, and that gets us nowhere. I took on responsibility for all kinds of things that were really just part of the learning process. Letting go of all that blame and guilt is an ongoing process, but it’s so worth it. 💕
You’re absolutely right – alcohol is a HUGE part of my experience! Funny you should mention ‘Mummy was a Secret Drinker’…I’ve recently listened to the author’s audio book and it really resonated with me. I loved it! It’s actually what inspired me to start this blog. I’m now working my way through your own blog and I feel you could’ve written those words about me.
I find reading books about people’s experiences are so much more beneficial for me, but I really struggle to find books that address the combination of bipolar and substance abuse. It’s a huge aspect of the illness but it’s only ever briefly touched on it seems. I’m currently off the dreaded booze for 29 days but am finding it increasingly difficult and I didn’t expect to at this point. It’s tougher than I thought!
I absolutely agree with your comment about blame/guilt. I was raised in a very Catholic household in Ireland so shame was an enormous part of my life for a long time, and it’s very hard to shake. There was a perverse pride in feeling ashamed, like I wasn’t ‘good enough’ unless I was dutifully feeling appropriately ashamed. It’s a really tough thing to shake! But I’ll get there, I’m determined to this time 🙂 xx
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So you must be up to 30 days by now. It was years before I could to 30 days! It’s enough time to see how much better life could be without the alcohol. Congratulations!
I don’t know of any books offhand that deal with bipolar and substance abuse, though many of my friends are both. They seem to rely on blogs of people who are experiencing this. Just imagine how many people might find your blog and say, “Finally! Someone understands what I’m going through.” And maybe you have a book inside you that needs to be written. There certainly is a need for it.
Wow, that perverse pride thing is so on the mark. I used to try to punish myself, thinking that that would finally snap me out of being complacent about drinking. It didn’t work. It really was cultivating self love that began to turn things around for me.
I’m so honored that my blog is helping you. It’s amazing how much we have in common with other people in the blog world. I never would have guessed it could be so fulfilling without trying it myself.
Good luck with your blogging. 💕
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I have a similar set of half full notebooks.
And I’m passing the link to a friend who has just been diagnosed
Thank you 🙂 I hope your friend is doing ok. Truly accepting a diagnosis isn’t easy.
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He has his moments 😳 but he has a safety net of folk who are looking out for him