I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder (and paranoia + off features) nine years ago. I’m lucky I’ve responded pretty well to meds -even if I have to take a lot of them. I forget how sick I really am and tend to attribute episodes with run of the mill shit in life.
While it was a very healthy decision, “normal” people don’t check themselves into their hospitals behavioral health center (aka psych ward). In 2012, after the loss of my Papaw, I spiralled into a terrible mixed episode were making cereal was very complex, my paranoia lead to flee a grocery store because I thought all the customers were following me, and I felt like my obsessive mind was going to force me to hurt myself.
So I committed myself, under my psychiatrist’s care, to a 72 hr observation + medication stabilization period. Aside from desperately missing my husband (who I was free to call any time 9am-9pm and came by nightly during visiting hours 6-8 pm) and my phone, I felt safe. It was a time out. Someone else set the schedule and I knew my brain couldn’t back me into a self harm corner.
They upped my lithium and when my blood level was at a therapeutic level, I felt so much better and confident in going home.
Today when I am having bad episodes, I have to ask myself if I should go to the hospital again. I have to be the one to stand in between my mental illness and my own safety.
Besides, we got to color for occupational therapy!
(Oops! I’m a day behind!) My chronic illness and pain journey led be into an extremely dark depression for nearly a year. I’m not exactly sure it’s ever going to pack is bags honestly. While I’ve lost so much to the pain it also lead me to a revelation- I can be whoever the fuck I want!
I wouldn’t say I was “the new Carolyn” because I just finally embraced the parts of my I thought people wouldn’t approve of. I live in the heart of the South, deep in the Bible belt so I just don’t see a lot of people like III wanted to be. But, I realized my disability MADE me weird. My pain left me with a fierce desire to live the life III wanted in the small window of low pain I had.
If they’re going to stare at me I’m going to give them something to see! I returned to my love of punk music and it’s ascetics. The featured image of my sitting in my wheelchair was taken outside of the debut concert of Green Day’s “Revolution Radio” tour. 😉 My hated wheelchair had earned me front row seats! I had fun added tons of black, grey, & white and distressed jeans. Of course Chuck Taylor All Stars! I picked up makeup again after about 10 years. I felt confident enough to get my first tattoo! * I’m getting no. 6 on Friday! 😜
Top L-R: My Chemical Romance’s Killjoy Party Poison’s logo; Totem style orcas in honor of all animals facing cruelty; Geo style of a beagle in memory of my late dog Buck; Bottom: Awareness ribbon butterfly in teal for Trigeminal Neuralgia – my neurological facial pain disease.
None of this was to copy anyone out any one style. I realized who I was through expressing myself appearance. Dressing to make myself happy and exploring makeup styles gave me the confidence to mentally reframe how I thought about myself. Like how my wheelchair went from a big sign of my failures to a something that enabled me to see my favorite band of all time-ever!
I think the strongest- most important!- realization was -to quote a My Chemical Romance song (my second favorite of all time-ever band) – I’m (not) Okay! That I didn’t have to accept and be grateful in some way of my disability. I can love the good parts of my life and still be angry as fuck about the other parts. I don’t have to pretend on the outside.
Rant: I blog about makeup so taking photos are important! CRISP photos! I have pretty bad hand tremors. It’s from the pain, from my bipolar meds, and simple genetic inheritance. I have to take 2-3 photos to assure I’ve got a good image.
It’s not just sharp photos. My favorite restaurant serves the best thai coconut soup. To my frustration and embarrassment one day I shook so bad I couldn’t take spoon to mouth without spilling it all. I had a little cry and said fuck it- and drank it with a straw. Win. When I get blood work the techs always think I’m nervous and scared of the needles. Random people comment on it occasionally. Like I don’t notice it myself??
Okay, rant over. I hate my shaking hands, but my blog has some pretty crisp photos! Pro tip: octo tripod! 😜🤘🏽
Is this polish or Polish? I’m going with the former. I’m in a bit of a chronic illness brain foggy day so this association is a little shallow possibly. I thought of NAIL polish. I’m in love with punk and my dress is certainly reflective of that. My clothing color palette is black, grey, pink, and white. Lol
But, I simply LOVE my black nail polish! I’m almost always wearing Wet n Wild’s (cruelty free!) 1 Step Wonder Gel in Power Outage! Even better- I love it chipped to hell! Granted the chipping is a bit extreme in my photo. 😜 I feel the most punk polished in ratty black polish, dirty chucks, and distressed jeans!
*Purple laces- chronic pain Awareness
*Teal chucks- trigeminal neuralgia awareness
Natty- adjective: (especially of a person or an article of clothing) smart and fashionable. Synonyms: smart, stylish, fashionable, dapper, debonair, well dressed, chic, elegant, trim
WHAT? I’ll have to admit that I do NOT know this word! This might be a bit of a mental leap, but I think of makeup. Shock for anyone who knows me! I love playing with makeup and experimenting. I’m never quiet as happy as when I’m on an Ulta haul! But, back to the word of the day. My love is almost entirely for drugstore makeup. Gasp! I “only” own two high end products. Drugstore products are amazing and they get looked down on simple because my bronzer cost $8.99 from CVS and not Too Faced’s $30 bronzer. If something is affordable, “cheap”, it immediately gets the stink eye! So, I can be just as smart, fashionable, and stylish in my Nyx as you can be in your Urban Decay.
These photos were taken for my blog, Beauty and the Beagles, that focuses on cruelty free, drugstore health and beauty. Yes, I was wearing chipped black nail polish. Still am!My makeup might be “normal”, but I am punk in my heart! 😉 At least it’s cruelty free! ;P
Uniforms can help groups feel a sense on unity and connection. It can be a short-handed way to know whose one of your “kind”. This can be ultra ridged or super informal. I’d like to talk about the latter.
My biggest passion in probably music- most punk and hardcore. My ultimate favorite bands are Green Day and My Chemical Romance. Our uniforms- band tees, bracelets, buttons, patches, and more- give us a sense of pride that in a small way we can represent the ideals of our band’s music. It might just look like basic band merch from Hot Topic, but we wear it with pride. We have symbols-images- that others in the fandom will recognize us by even if we don’t speak the same language or live on the same continent.
In my imagination, I can run.
There are no bipolar thoughts.
There are no OCD driven actions.
This body can carry life.
My body is strong.
My mind is reliable.
This version does not know the weight of pain and illness.
That imaginary person isn’t me and we all have to wake up and face reality.
Today’s prompt made me think about circumstances in my own life- my experiences over the last eight years of severe chronic pain. In the end it has left me distant. Remote. Removed.
I don’t get out much. The places I do go are fairly finite. I don’t hang out with friends offline. We see my parents about once a month. Pain is the reason. My pain either keeping me from driving or the meds to stop the pain are kicking my ass. In the end I have this feeling like holding your hand over a hot stove remembering how much the last time you touched it felt like. Hurt like hell. I have to weight out if -in the end- the pain of the burn is outweighed by the benefits from the outing. Some times the fear of the pain is too strong.
“Luckily”, we live in a time where nearly everything can be done online or over the phone- that old fashioned talking to people thing. 😉 I have strong support systems and great friends on social media. I can window-shop and source shiny new makeup online. This week I found a woman, Donna Owens, with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome who teaches yoga for the chronic illness community. “Yoga, My Bed, and M.E.” She just wrote a book full of poses and sequences for all levels of abilities. I bought the Kindle reader version and have used it a few times this week. Pretty cool connection.
So, eight years on I have found a system that works pretty well for my limitations. Lately I have been able remotely shortcut the distance that exists in my life. I’d like to substitute the synonym REMOTE for DISTANT. A remote site can be an island, but it can be fully connected to those on the other side of the wire.
Hi! My name is Carolyn and I live in Alabama with my husband Chris and our two cats and two dogs. I’m a chronic back pain and Trigeminal Neuralgia warrior who also is passionate about living cruelty free, makeup, beagles, punk rock, Bob’s Burgers, and creative writing! My goal is to participate in WordPress’s daily Prompts and I’m sure other ideas will come from there. Why not click follow and see what does on?