Tag Archives: mania

The Rise and Fall of the Fairy Queen: My Bipolar Journey

The Rise and Fall of the Faerie Queen, My Bipolar Journey

 

People have inquired about my personal journey through the extremes my illness brings.

Let me elaborate.

Right now, in this moment, I own success.  My feet are grounded upon the Earth I was born.

Yet, often I desire to be more than myself, to be better, grander– magical.

The only caveat is I must let the elixir of strength and wellness seep from my daily cup.

Only thus-seemingly so, so simple, yet profound.

This temptation to ascend to the high places, to cast away my mere humanity, eats away at my resolve, bit by bit.

Until, one day, I give in and set aside my daily pill.

At first, nothing happens.  Why would it?  Who but the sick need to take such bitter daily droughts?

More days pass- elixir forgotten, resolve long chipped away until it exits no more.

Soon, life’s toils are easier to bare, smiles easier to wear.

Feet no longer on meager ground, but standing in the clouds;

I succumb to the glorious promise the elixirless world offers.

 

And I transform into the Faerie queen,

Glittery Green and sparkling Gold.

I ascend to my lunar throne, gravity no longer pulling me down.

My magic enables feats of super fae proportions-

Novels appear, ideas and plans reproduce into grand schemes.

They go off into my land singing my praises,

“Look, see this shining soul?  Isn’t she the picture of health? She didn’t need the sooth-sayer’s cure after all.”

In a short span, these bright birthed plans have assembled a court of sentient admirers, clambering for my presence,

offering hedonistic experiences and endless resources.

I look down upon the Earthly realm and revel in this weightlessness, this ease of creation.

All is perfection.

 

But, my own admirers, my well formed schemes, start jealous whispers-

rumors of cracks and faults in my pearlescent  walls.

I attempt to banish them, but they clasp on, one by one, until I cannot see above them or around them, and I must be hypervilligent of their barbs.

Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day; no rest or succor in sight.

No escape from the schemes and plans and seemly courteous thoughts-

Now abandoned of sentience and clamped upon inch of coppery skin.

 

Until-

I fall from this gallant throne,

fall not to Earth

but past it, beat upon meteors and rocky rivers,

Until my feet crash through Jupiter’s atmosphere.

This hyper gravity strips away my wings and fairy crown.

I now must swim through leaded air as a mere mortal-

Nay, a sub mortal with empty sycophant schemes dangling from ashen skin.

My eyes only see a few meters beyond myself in this graphene muck and mire.

Gravity, who once lifted my wings and helped me soar above in the lunar land,

now adds a triple weight to every breath.

Every action, every motion forward is stolen by this massive weight.

Until, I can move no more.

 

Alive, but deadened in this Jovian Hell.

Not free to escape, but free to ponder my release.

What release is possible?

What path may lead back to Earth,

back to the human realm?

In this moment, my once grand courtiers, schemes and plans reanimate;

they scream devious paths, knives, and chemical concoctions.

“Cut us off- dare not take a breath, End this leadened rule!

Stop this existence;

You must – you must!

You abandoned all; you are alone.

Hope is lost.”

And I close my eyes.

Still…. Still… waiting for the nothing.

 

Yet, I hear a faint jingle penetrating the Jovian air.

A soft hand lifts my head and I open my eyes

to find the order of white knights, snake-crossed and succor full,

offering soft words of wisdom and capsules of elixir.

I drink and a doorway appears.

Dare I enter?  Dare I cast off this beastly burden?

Hands appear from beyond the crossing-

hands of friendships forgotten and valiant mental warriors

beckoning for me to just lift my arms and grab a hold.

Do I?  Do I trust the help unlooked for?

Do I continue to drink the elixir

and allow the hands to carry me through?

 

Yes, I grab hold.

Inch by inch, step by step,

I am pulled through the passageway.

As I cross through the portal,

these hands pluck off the misguided plans, schemes and sychophants.

Wise words guide my bleeding soles to Earthly soil

and a glint of hope kindles,

blazing away hyper Jovian gravity.

I am just me, yet again.

 

And I declare my promises to stay grounded.

To accept the Earthly realm as my only home.

Not to stray- to listen to Wisdom;

not to quit the elixir mending my heart and soul.

In this acceptance is solace.

For without, I shall surely rise to greater and greater heights complete grander and greander feats,

and fall further and further

until I disintegrate and there are not the pieces to patch together into a whole.

 

I choose hope over dazzle,

Strength over magic,

And wellness over exuberance.

 

I choose me.

Advertisements

May Flowers Bloom: National Mental Health Awareness Month

05132016-35

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Whether you realize it or not, you know someone who struggles with mental health. Statistically speaking, 1 in 5 five people fall into this category(1). Statistics also state that 1 in 3 people suffer from heart disease (2). If you were one of these people with heart disease (or one of your loved ones), chances are that you wouldn’t hesitate from reaching out for help or posting something like this to your Facebook/twitter feed, “Send positive thoughts, my Dad had to go to the ER for angina (chest pains).” Or if you needed to change your medications to lower your blood pressure, you wouldn’t think twice about telling your boss the reason for the doctor’s visit, or tell your coworkers the purpose of those pills you take during lunch break.

Same goes for diabetes. Diabetes affects 29 million people in the US; that’s 1 in 11 people(3). It develops either through the failure of the pancreas to make enough insulin, or the body not using insulin properly. Either way, diabetes is managed through medications, educational counseling, nutrition, exercise, community support and close monitoring by a medical professional.

Diabetes and heart disease are caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. It all starts with genetics, by environmental stress, including nutrition, can compound any underlying biology. Neither one of these illness can necessarily be “cured.” One doesn’t simply, “snap out of” a diabetic trance or lower their blood pressure by “taking a deep breath.” These facts are accepted and understood.

Yet, when it comes to mental illness, stigma and misunderstanding still seem to rule the day. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, to name a few, are caused by (more or less) a malfunction of neurotransmitter chemicals within brain circuits and sympathetic nervous system. Like the other two diseases, mental illnesses are also compounded by biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Some mental illnesses have been linked to abnormal functioning of nerve cell circuits or pathways that connect particular brain regions. Others are caused injury to certain parts of the brain.
Just like the other diseases, mental illnesses can be managed through medications, nutrition, exercise, community support and close monitoring by a medical professional.

Yet, you probably won’t see someone post, “my anxiety is running high, I need to adjust my medication,” or “Send positive thoughts, my Dad went to the ER because he hasn’t slept in three days.” A person who lives with a mental illness is less likely to notify their employer out of fear of losing their job. Instead of saying, “I’m seeing my doctor to adjust my bipolar medications,” they are more like to give an excuse. Instead of reaching out to friends when anxiety gets too overwhelming, the are more likely to disappear, to delete their Facebook or twitter account for a while.

Why? Why is it that we can accept that someone with diabetes has a MEDICAL condition that needs treatment with daily medication, but someone who is depressed needs to “just snap out it.” Where is the fear to reach out to our bosses and friends coming from? Why isn’t it a part of the normal dialogue?  And why won’t insurance pay at the same rate for mental health treatment as diabetes or high blood management?

A big part of the collective fear and disparity comes from the media. Historically, mental illnesses have been misunderstood and therefore portrayed in a negative light in films and TV. Also, whenever a violent crime with mass casualties is committed, often the first action is to rationalize the actions with, “did the person suffer from a mental illness?” Statistically, a person with heart disease is more likely to commit such an offense, but no one reports that person who shot up a school was suffering from high cholesterol. Also, people with a mental illness are more likely to be the VICTIM of a crime rather than the perpetrator. There is also the myth/misunderstanding that someone with a mental illness is somehow less mentally capable of completing tasks (not true!).

So, May is national mental health awareness. What can YOU do? Be aware of the myths and stigmas surrounding mental illness, and REJECT them. EMBRACE the current scientific research that demonstrates the need for community support and a PART of that community. SHARE this information to promote awareness. REACH out to your friends and family and let them know that mental illness is NOT something to be ashamed of, but instead, taken seriously and managed through love and support. UNDERSTAND, that a person with mental illness is a PERSON first, who has an illness second (just like a someone with heart disease is a PERSON with a malfunctioning cardiac system).  And if you suffer silently, paralyzed by that collective fear, don’t. SPEAK up, don’t be afraid to tell your inner circle. More than likely someone in that inner circle also shares this fear. WRITE to your congressman today and demand federal parity for mental healthcare. Tell them to support the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016. It is unacceptable that people are turned away or don’t receive treatment due to the lack of access.

It is only through these actions that mental illness can be normalized and treated as the medical disease it is. Let’s, “snap out of,” this cycle of ignorance and fear, and promote a better understanding and acceptance.

-K.M.Clark, a person who conquers symptoms of bipolar disorder (most) every day.

  1. http://www.nami.org/
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetesfactsheet/
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
  4. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-causes-mental-illness