I had someone tell me once, “Fitness isn’t all there is to the world.” And, although, I knew that, I didn’t comprehend what that looked like or how does one practice that kind of lifestyle, until life told me to take a seat with a cast on. It was during this time I learned fitness wasn’t everything in life. Fitness no longer always became the focus for which I identified with. That changed my perspective on everything else, and it also made room for everything else I had to deal with.
I believe fitness has helped me to manage my bipolar for over a decade. The first time I was diagnosed I didn’t want to believe it. I think it’s not uncommon to say that before I was diagnosed, life was better. But, that isn’t necessarily true. I want it to be. However, I understand that the notion of my life being better in the past is most likely stemming from not having the diagnosis in the first place since I can’t unknow what I know. Nevertheless, the moment when fitness became unavailable for me, it was easier to see how difficult it became to stabilize my mood swings and irritability in general.
I used fitness as a crutch for many things like anger, depression and the void. There were times I genuinely enjoyed gym-hopping because I naturally thought it was healthier than barhopping. But, those hourly long sessions five or six times a week at the gym were where I chose to avoid certain life reflections. So, rather than cut myself with a blade or fracture my hand on a solid wall, I would train to injury repeatedly. I was using a different method to continue to hurt myself.
When I couldn’t train for a period, I had to learn to sit with my passions. I had to observe my pain and find times for when I could adjust in healthier ways. I had to find new ways to regulate my recurring moods, triggers and symptoms. This was one of the most difficult things I had to do, despite allowing myself to feel what I feel when they arise. It took a long time for me to realize that not every feeling will remain and not every thought was something I had to believe in. I also didn’t realize in the way I trained my mind and body reflected my pain, avoidance, passion, anger, sadness and loneliness.
I’ve been a queen of silent pain, abuse and trauma. I’ve been cold and brutal many times, not only to myself, but to others as well. Once I started to transition from a masculine approach to more of a feminine one, I learned how to become softer and not have a meltdown. With changing my mindset, from being open to change and flow while being less critical, clarity came along with ease and it reflected in my training styles as a form of better awareness, in and out my fitness, and life itself.
I haven’t been in the best state of mind. Lately, I’ve been trying to adopt different approaches such as talking gentler to myself. My therapist says, “Try coddling yourself as you would do a young child that you actually like.”
I’m up with the moon throughout the month and down in the soil all the other times. Occasionally, I wake up passive and on other days I wake up aggressive as fuck. I’ve come to terms with my mood disorder. It’s behavioral, it’s learned, it runs in the family. A few years ago, I’ve become aware of many effects and suspected my actions may or may not have been completely me. Things have gotten to the point where even the most basic functions of existence do not seem basic anymore.
I lost who I was. I think this is the way it goes, right? Aging. I’m not sure who I am anymore, aside from a maturing woman who’s both lovely and extreme. I must admit loudly how I’ve been working on how to manage my mood swings for years and for a good part of my life, exercise and writing have kept a slight handle on the swings, but every day the things that used to work then haven’t been working now. I’m puzzled.
So, I’m older and in some ways, I absolutely adore it and in other ways, I don’t think I enjoy it because the short-term memory keeps failing me. It dissolves. I think because there’s something in the water, something in the air, you know, there are things in our food we can’t pronounce, and that shit doesn’t allow our minds, bodies or spirit to function at an elevated level. It’s like people hit a certain age and they flatline. I feel there’s so much working against me in general, and this goes back to how I’m not in the best state of mind.
Over the years my discipline and motivation have taken a dive, so much so, it frightens me. There are plenty of details in between, some you guys know and others I won’t bother getting into at this time. Still, I’ve been trying to find my new normal concerning everyday life. I’m going back to the basics on everything and am currently on a search to reestablish some things I used to love about myself, that now feels like the vanishing of a short-term memory.
I feel like there’s a sport psychology book calling my name out there somewhere.
Before the love of writing started I began with reading lots and lots of books – all kinds really. Then for a few years came book reports. I enjoyed breaking down a story as well as making drawings for the report cover, particularly as a way to stand out from the rest of the classmates. After book reports I started to write around the age of 9.
I wrote short stories back then, mostly horror because my family was big on watching horror films and I needed an outlet for my reoccurring nightmares. So I wrote and wrote and each time I felt my heart become more and more alive. I remember I enjoyed writing not just because I felt full of life, but because all my teachers said I was good at it. And whenever someone gave me constructive criticism I was determined to get better. Eventually I won a writing medal at elementary school because of that attitude.
In Junior High I would go on to write graded screenplays for the entire class to act out on. By seventh grade I turned my attention to deeper writing like journaling and confessional poetry and during this time short stories were put on hold (and for the most part still is) as my writing began to take on a form of therapy. With being a loner and feeling like an outcast from family and school, I learned to create friendships with my writing. Then in later years, I learned about blogging.
So, even though I wouldn’t change a thing, it wasn’t until very recent that I realized I tend to write predominantly when I’m feeling glum (manic), bitter, displeased, enraged or dispirited. Then of course there are the feelings of when I’m hyped, full of mania (highs) and excitability with huge shots of adrenaline when I train before, during or after. Once in a blue I write when I’m happy, obsessive or in love too, but my heart lies with writing sorrow first. So what’s the dilemma?
One dilemma is I believe I’ve limited myself to writing with and/or about certain emotions, so when I’m actually happy I find it difficult to write or get inspired to write.
During the time I was on a mood-stabilizing pill I stopped writing for 3 months completely (which is absurd), not just because it changed my persona to a degree, but because I had less bipolar episodes, less sadness, less excitability, less highs and lows. I was somewhere in the middle, but not quite. I wasn’t necessarily happy, but wasn’t necessarily sad. Maybe neutral? But it made it difficult to find any drive to write. Now, I’m trying to come up with solutions and creative ways to write about anything and everything to push myself over the boundaries I’ve created.
The second dilemma aside from finding inspiration through negative tone emotions is I started working on a book (a novel). But, the problem for me is I stopped writing short stories decades ago, so I doubt my abilities since I’ve been out of practice. Writing in narrative, I find to be more difficult than say, writing a poem, prose or a blog. This is another challenge I’ve been trying to work on AND I’m open to suggestions from anyone who is kind enough to share.
God. I apologize to everyone. I haven’t been inspired lately. I write on the side when I can (and I suppose I can put up all my Part 2 postings that were to be continued despite how awful they read?), but it’s hard to feel like I can write something blog-worthy and share it with the rest of you guys. I can only write from the heart or what I’m personally experiencing at the moment so I’ll share some recent events with you’s. How’s that? Thanks for reading!
I’ve been on an interesting ride these last few years when it comes to seeing therapists and psychiatrists. At the age of twelve I was diagnosed with Depression. I had old features, black circles under eyes, razor cuts on my arms and protruding ribs from starving myself at the time to show for it. However, decades later it seemed I’ve graduated a few years ago (2013) because now new psychiatrists and therapists have diagnosed me: Bipolar. This explains all the wicked instant mood swings, triggers that were really landmines and how come many of my relationships as well as friendships have failed.
Of course I debated with these so-called experts about nature and nurture because I’m suspicious of everything and everyone that isn’t me. I debated about all the things that come from my family’s blood and all the things that come from social disease and conditioning. Still, in the center I fought with myself and knew the truth: There were cracks in the instances and in between all these instances is where I was getting worse.
I’d go into subterranean dark places for leisure, fun and to isolate myself from the world. I’d write in essays, poems and prose my suicidal ideations which continued from childhood. I’d meet with a new friend called anxiety again and again and again questioning the past, present and future concerning everything that became (or was) broken. Was I going to make it another day in this physical realm? My other good friend (since I was 5) came knocking hard on my door and I’d go through all my cycles of chronic loneliness, hopelessness and meaninglessness and stare at the bottomless grief that arrives to taint and place a million holes in my mind, spirit and heart.
Those cracks in the instances became clear as well as my past history when I was going through one of my most tragic experiences at the age of 12 – signed over to two mental hospitals for over six months – I was fed medication for the supposed imbalances in my brain. First was Prozac, and then came Lithium. And of course, I didn’t agree with medication being fed to anyone less than 18 years of age, but my mother didn’t share the same views as her 12 year old. I had zero control as any kid does at that age and was subjected to doctor’s tests, special diets, wondering what was love and how did it look like and was it true I wasn’t normal and these two medications would be the cure everybody else was looking for?
Prozac made me hyper – so hyper that cartwheels became my favorite thing to perform. I couldn’t stop! However throughout the day I’d have hallucinations (of what? I don’t remember anymore – but I’m sure I wrote about it in a lost book for the universe to know) and during the night when I closed my eyes to go to sleep I’d have white flashes come over my eyes like strobe lights. And when I finally fell into deep sleep, the nightmares were horrible – once I dreamt of giving birth to a demonic alien baby. (Why would a 12 year old dream of having a baby?)
After the hyperactivity, doctors thought to give me Lithium because my grandmother took it and they had reason to believe it succeeded. (I’m not sure how?) But something tells me this was all a plot for me to lie on their silver platter to undergo a Spinal Tap procedure. Lithium had its own issues and the dosage was higher – I had to take it 3 times a day. With this medication came weekly blood work because mercury and other dangerous things a doctor wouldn’t inform you about were concerns. Then there were countless yeast infections my tiny body couldn’t handle. Lastly, long-term usage meant my kidney and thyroid would be altered, better yet, damaged to a degree in the future.
So every time a current psychiatrist or therapist would bring up the idea of medication to balance the chemicals in my brain – it’s not a wonder why I would say FUCK NO for years on end! But a few months ago before bringing on the New Year, I made one of the biggest decisions of my adult life and figured I’ll try medication to stabilize my moods and prevent sudden manic highs and lowly lows. The reason why I decided to try it is because I’m committed to fixing all aspects of myself.
Then again, who’s to say I need fixing if it’s not someone outside me like a relative, a partner or a societal authoritative figure who keeps claiming there’s something about me I need to fix?
You know what’s to come. You hear war drums. You heard about the hunter in me. You know I’m butter toffee. You heard I bruise egos. You know I’m blacker than Negroes. You heard I have a million sins. You know I don’t fix things.
You can’t stop yourself. You like the pains and welts. You know the sum of what’s to come. You love my Puerto Rican in your rum. You like the ecstasy and high I bring. You enjoy how I leave you on brink. You like the bountiful sex I give. You love me so much to forgive.
You know exactly what’s to come. You can hear the bass and thrums. I can’t bring you safety baby. I’m high, low, manic, crazy. I’m not stupid to guard your heart. I can’t even blueprint my art. I can’t be like you: Lost in love. I’m dead inside – a little too tough.
You know shamelessly what’s to come. Interestingly enough you’re off the cuff. I’m going to hurt you like the others. I’ll haunt like the suffering of mothers. I’m going to give you a world of hurt. I wouldn’t be able to without teamwork. You heard of ruin and what’s to come. Now you’re my next chewing gum.
This title will be deceiving to some as there are types of professions that’ll give you the girlfriend experience automatically for their own reasons, but I picked this title because it describes my experience perfectly. See, when your own therapist is trying to give you the girlfriend experience and it doesn’t involve great conversation, an evening gown, a sugar daddy or walking away with an orgasm – you have to question what is going on because some people like myself actually want real therapy.
I’m not looking to sit in somebody’s office and talk about what’s happening throughout my week on a weekly basis. I don’t want to gossip about my life so the therapist could live vicariously through me. I don’t want a girlfriend to laugh with that’s presented as a therapist to have offset conversations about my future with. I don’t want to sit under jarring lights and speak about my opinions or views about my relationship and how does it feel to live with my partner and his two kids.
I don’t want to wait outside the therapist office only to hear loud laughs coming from behind closed doors because I want to KNOW and I want to SEE and I want to HEAR real therapy happen. You know – the kind of therapy that leaves you crying, reflecting and even feeling lost in your own world by the thought-provoking questions and thoughts that should occur.
The truth is I don’t need to share my present or future plans with this therapist. I don’t need the option to have a family therapy session. I don’t need to replace a girl who is a friend because I don’t have any current (real life) girls who are friends anyway. I don’t need my therapy session to be fun or lighthearted. I don’t want to be in a niche I believe my therapist has – some kind of Women’s Club.
So the question is: What do I want from therapy?
I want to stay stuck. I want to stumble. I want my thoughts to dig in their own graves if it means I’ll find a better understanding of myself. I want to cry (if it goes there). I want the therapist to do their job. I want a therapist to put in time and effort by taking real opportunities to intentionally ruin my day with childhood trauma and life-altering questions. I want a therapist who wants to make a difference in every client’s life. I want to walk away from the therapist appointment feeling like I had a great therapy session and not like I had a fucking girlfriend experience. I’m not there to be coddled. I’m there for serious matters.
What I want from therapy is very specific and it has to be because there isn’t any other way to go about it. I have a family history of mental illness. Some behavior is learned, while others are given to me directly by blood. I notice sometimes I’m managing okay, and other times I have to accept that I’m not. I was diagnosed as a twelve year old kid with Depression. Now it seems I graduated to being Bipolar. It is important for me to understand my illness, my blessing and my curse. And it’s super important for me to understand my behaviors and tics and why I switch into two different types of people without any awareness as to when it’s happening.
The point to all this is: I remember clearly telling the lady who performed my evaluation exactly what I want(ed) as well as the first time I met and spoke with my therapist.
My therapist has a good nature about her (at times) despite being very different from me and my own life. Still, I want a good therapist. And I will get a good therapist because I’m not settling for less and because I’m not going to stop searching for one. And as I walk away from the therapist office once again thoughts start to balloon collectively but singularly at once: Why is it every time I’m early to my appointment and lounging in the waiting room I see the same aged clients (late 20’s- early 50’s) strolling out of my therapist’s office? Why are all these women – whether they’re young or old laughing every time they leave the therapist office? And why are all the therapists’ clients’ women?
Now the time has come where I believe I’ve fully given this woman enough of my time. I’m never getting those months back. Of course this is a learning experience for future therapists and future standards I’m going to set right in the beginning of my first therapy session which takes place next week because this bitch doesn’t play. I did my goal: I stuck with a therapist for about 6 months because I’m like most men in the world – I have commitment issues. Nevertheless I learned a lot. Therefore this is where I break up with the girlfriend experience who is my therapist.
Some Final Notes
Some people have a problem with breaking up with people. Fortunately and luckily, I do not. I enjoy it, and frankly – welcome it! I think about how my life has been about one big confrontation. And luckily for me I love confrontations because it says a lot about the kind of person you are (or not). I go on and think about the bases I have to cover in case this therapist decides to fire away questions because she doesn’t like my basic answer which is: There’s something missing in our therapy sessions.
Along with confrontation I think about liberation. Breaking up with a partner, wife, husband, business partner and such can be a fantastic release, even if it hurts initially. I think about the freedom to speaking your mind and expressing what it is you really feel and think about right after moving on and never looking back because if it was good for you, you’ll still be in the relationship or in my case – sitting in a seat across from my therapist who wants to get paid to do half ass work. I’m not wasting my time to get half ass results. If a person isn’t driven for success by giving out quality work then why should I (or any other client) be around?
If the other clients don’t understand this, that’s not my problem, and as is, not every client wants what I want. Some actually want to be coddled. However, I’m leaving this therapist because I have self-love. I wish she understood what it is she’s currently providing by not providing. As a therapist, she should put in time and effort into improving and evolving her client’s lives unless they specified to have a girlfriend experience.