I haven’t posted much lately because it’s been scary inside my head. There’s a fine line between sharing my practice of bipolar disorder and giving voice to the blackest symptoms. When self-loathing and unrelenting despair become the landscape of my mind, there’s no scenic overlook. While I strive to be honest here, I also know the scenery will change as my brain rolls on down the road, and that perspective provides a much better photo op.
While I attended Lutheran Hospital’s out-patient program, I stopped taking medication for Binge Eating Disorder (BED). We needed to see if it was causing my headaches and contributing to the irritability and rage. Subsequently, all the BED symptoms poured back in—food mania and uncontrollable bingeing. I gained 15 pounds and hurt all over.
BED creates a downward (outward?) spiral—more weight causes less activity which gives all that food more permission to stick around. I was already morbidly obese, but was at peace with my body. Without the Vyvanse, negativity and self-hatred stuffed my head like a Christmas turkey. The spiral became a hopeless vortex.
Nothing in my bag of tricks helped. Death fantasies dogged me, but I knew two things would always stop me from actually taking my life—my cats (who are getting old) and the book I haven’t written. In a weird perversion of logic, I decided that I’d better get cracking on that book if I wanted it to be a party favor at my funeral. At least I’d have a project to work on.
So, this past weekend, I stayed with my friend, Lily, in Minneapolis and met with another friend, Jinjer, to talk about her experience of self-publishing.
And a very bipolar-ly thing happened. Being with these friends, who love me unconditionally, traveling out of the struggle of my everyday life and into a few days of watching Netflix in jammies and spicy tea in handcrafted mugs, jolted the positive neuropathways awake. The hateful Muzak in my head stopped. My friends’ tender care helped me remember myself. All the bits and pieces that BED and depression tore off me, fluttered back like Monarchs to their winter home. Art happened.
And a book will happen.
While I knew Jinjer self-published at least two books, I had no idea one of her many talents was designing books. So instead of beginning a steep learning curve, I gawked at a path as smooth and clear as asphalt. She will take my manuscript (when finished) with the accompanying artwork and midwife it through the process. I started working on the second draft as soon as I got home (and also started back on Vyvanse).
This book is my legacy, not a parting gift. It’s proof that I lived and survived bipolar disorder, BED, PTSD and whatever acronyms stick to me next. Like this blog, it speaks to the speed of landscapes passing through a traveling mind.
I’m still on an Adventure. And I’m making my own Atlas.