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Thoughts on Insanity and Other Things, Olivia Rodriguez

I used to get offended when people used the word “crazy” when referring to someone’s actions; in other words their actions were comparable to an insane person’s. My response was always the same, anger and frustration at their insensitivity, even if they weren’t referring to me, it still hurt, particularly if they knew of my diagnosis. And it was always someone close to me, a family member or a  friend. In a heated discussion once, someone said “At least I’m not the one who is clinically insane,” referring to my Bipolar I diagnosis.

That stung like a blunted knife to the chest. She knew everything I had been through and continue to endure on a daily basis, yet she felt it necessary to conclude an argument in that way.

These days I am much more apt to walk away and stay away from people who aim to hurt me with their judgments. It has caused me great pain to stay away from my family, but it keeps me sane. And it’s not only family, but friends as well, who would rather judge, than listen to anyone else’s voice but their own.

I once read in a psychology article that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Well, in that case, I could name tons of people in my life who are insane, and I’m not one of them!

This article may seem like rambling thoughts to you as you read, and it is a little, but it’s just that I’m in that kind of mood lately, you know, the kind where you wish you could be anywhere except here. Yet, you know that if you were ever to leave, you would want to come back immediately.

Last week I was sick with Laryngitis and lost my voice completely for a good three days. A woman at my daughter’s preschool asked me if it was a relief to not have to talk. I thought it was an odd question at first, but the more I thought about it, it made sense. Yeah, it was a relief to not talk, and rather listen, be the audience for once, not the orator. It made me more conscious of the need to listen, fully. I always hate it when I try to have a conversation with someone and they always cut you off because they think they know what you are going to say. And guess what? I used to do that, too. So, I have made conscious efforts to listen to people, because everyone has something valuable to say, even if they’re not saying it. The most important details of someone’s life are the ones they don’t say, but rather show through their actions. You can tell a lot from someone by what they do, instead of what they say.

Okay, this is where I end my rambling. Like I said, I am in one of those moods, and writing helps me see the clarity. I could tweet all this, but it would take too many tweets and I am sure I would lose followers. LOL. Thank you for reading and enduring. Keep on keeping on.

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About Olivia: I consider myself to be a Bipolar Survivor; a woman who was diagnosed with Bipolar I at age 20 after a manic episode, which was in all aspects, a textbook manic episode. I continue to struggle with mood swings, but now, nine years later, I have the upper hand! Take that mental illness! I am a mother of two funny little girls, a wife, an educator, but above all, an honest person looking to share my story so others may learn a little something, and possibly even laugh.

Olivia Rodriguez

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Mood Swing, S

2/25/15

Mania.  I am manic as hell right now.  I can’t sit still.  Nothing is enough. It’s insatiable.  I smoke too much, want sex too much, shop too much.  And it’s never enough.  Never.  I have to keep going, keep seeking out pleasure, and it’s like it’s not even my decision.  It’s like it’s happening to me.  I’ll take mania over depression any day, but where is my happy medium?  Where?  Mania is uncomfortable.  Not able to ever be satisfied is painful, really.  This is why go on shopping sprees, engage in lots of sexual behavior, like hardcore sexual behavior, because we want more.  We need more stimulation.  More, more, more!

I don’t know how to fix this.  I’ve been trying for years.  It’s like we NEED to go shopping; we need it.  But then I’m ashamed when the bills come, when all the packages arrive in the mail (I don’t want to interact with people in public.)

I feel guilty once the mania wears off.  I feel like a piece of crap.  My depression sets in, and I hate myself.  I just don’t know how to fix it.  Anyone else have advice?  I need some.

3/16/15

I am depressed.  I’ve been in this low for a while now.  The shopping sprees have resonated, the bills have come, the guilt to the point of crying has set in.  I feel like a piece of crap.  I should be a responsible adult, and I feel anything but.  I feel like a horrible wife, a horrible mother, a horrible person.  I am at school and just cried during my free period.  I can’t do this anymore.  I can’t go on.  At least, that’s how I feel right now.  I yell at my husband, I yell at my kids, and then I feel extremely guilty and depressed and ashamed about it, and I cry and dwell on what a terrible person I am.  I need help.  I don’t know how to get out of this.  Show me how.

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Amelia Lehto (1)

Without You, Amelia Lehto

The memory lingers like an ice cold chill down your spine. Sometimes it is a slow, vague image that bewilders you. Sometimes it is so intense that you can imagine yourself standing in those child-like shoes again.

A grown woman finding herself as defenseless as the days that it had happened. At the time it was as if it were normal, expected almost. What else is there to do but be in that moment. And so it goes on and on, following like a shadow at high noon.

At times it is welcome like, “Hello old friend, it is you again but look at me now. You were there once but I didn’t need you because I am fabulous and fierce.” Other times you wonder just how much fabulousness and fierceness there could be had those times never happened.

Time is an incredibly powerful and fearful thing. It demands your attention whether you welcome it or not. You grow older, wiser and see the experiences you once had grow smaller and more insignificant. Those times may be smaller and insignificant; but they are the ones that transform you and challenge you.

You’re an adult now with your own children. Your own experiences to guide you in what may or may not be safe. You are their guardian, their protector and their mother. You know first hand the evils in the world. You do what you can to raise those children in the most protected and loved place you can. Because you were once a child without you.

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Amelia Lehto is a STIGMAMA Regular Contributor. Learn about her work and writing here.