Thursday, March 30, 2017

World Bipolar Day...

There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter.  Which luckily, I am.

Today, on the birthday of one of my favorite artists, the world celebrates, embraces, and acknowledges Bipolar Disorder.

Who is this artist?  Dear old Uncle Vincent (van Gogh), of course!  The Numero Uno in mad artists.  While we may never know exactly what caused Uncle Vincent to loose his marbles, it is indeed possible that he suffered from Bipolar Disorder.

So what's the point of celebrating a mental disorder which quite frankly scares the bajeezus outta most folks?  Because you probably know a good many people living with, dealing with, suffering from, healing from, and recovering from this disorder.

The International Society for Bipolar Disorders celebrates each year on March 30th to bring the world population information about bipolar disorders that will educate and improve sensitivity towards the illness.  There's some great information on the World Bipolar Day FB page as well. 

Ok, so what does this have to do with me?  Why after nearly a year's silence on the blog am I finally posting, but it's about this and not art?

Because after twenty years I am finally ready to accept my diagnosis.  And with acceptance, lend my own voice to the fight to end stigma against mental illness.  There is nothing wrong with people who suffer from a mental illness.  There is nothing wrong with talking about it.  There is NOTHING to be ashamed of!!

One of several mental disorders I suffer from is Bipolar Disorder.  Specifically, Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder.

What on earth does that mean?

It means I am up most of the time.  Sometimes I am up up up UP but I am rarely down.  And even more rarely very very down.

It means I am impulsive and fun, hyper and jumping all over the place.  It means I am doing a million and one things but struggle to finish them.  It means I am snarky and downright mean.  It means that I am a different person at any given point in a day.  It means 4 am bed times and an IV of caffeine.  It means that the struggle is real and I am terrible to live with most days.

It means blog silence for a year because I just couldn't find the motivation to keep up with it all.  It means wanting to do projects but not being able to carve out the time, the concentration, or the motivation to do them.  It means holing up in my studio and not "people-ing".

It means my brain is like an internet browser.  Seventeen tabs are open.  Nine of them are not responding.  There are thousands of popups and where the hell is that annoying music coming from?

It means me.  It is the source of my creativity, my manic energy, my struggle, my demons, my love, my heart, my soul.  It is what has made me become the woman I am today.  Would I change it if I could?  No.  For those who have never walked the path can never know the brightest parts of oneself nor the darkest pits.

I'm a little better now.  Every day is still a struggle and I'm always interested to see how it'll go but I've gotten some much needed help and I am starting down the path to a better and more manageable me.  

That being said... it's important that we, as a community, as a society, as a species stop being afraid of the unknown.  Of making those who suffer from the unseen hide in the shadows.  Just because people with mental disorders don't walk around in a cast doesn't mean that we aren't ill or that we're just sad.  Stop the stigma, the shame, the bullshit.  

"There's a fine line between madness and creativity." as the old saying goes.  I have walked, bounced, pivoted, recoiled, rebounded, oscillated, fluctuated, and occasionally pirouetted on that line.  

And today I'm here to tell you to raise your glass, cause I'm raising mine, to those who live, suffer, manage, create, get by, walk, and manically run with this mental illness. 

You are beautiful, you are amazing, and remember... while you will be too much for some people, those aren't your people!!!  Don't let anyone, and I mean anyone, make you feel bad about yourself.

Much love.




 

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