Tuesday, 5 January 2016

My Bi-Polar Ice Caps Are Melting Everywhere And The Carpet Is RUINED.

"My" bipolar. I say it as if I own it but mostly it feels like bipolar owns me. Relentlessly exhausting, confusing, and incredibly impacting. Especially these past few years. Only yesterday I learned that major life events and traumas trigger people with bipolar and other mental illnesses? Wow.

I'm on three different medications for "my" bipolar. Sometimes four - occasionally five. Being crazy is fucking expensive. And annoying. Debilitating, embarrassing, etc. I'm considering donating a kidney to pay for my meds but my kidney is probably bipolar too. Anyone want a bipolar kidney? It never knows how it's going to feel from one day to the next.

I don't want to have bipolar. There's no cure - displeasing. I don't want to feel depressed, disillusioned, anxious, suicidal, manic. And I have all these other labels too. Ugh. Mental illness, get it orrrfffff. A magistrate told me I should get a case adjourned because bipolar and I calmly said, "Well I didn't do this because of bipolar. I did this because I was incredibly hurt. And angry." Which therein lies a certain conundrum. Which parts of me are mental illness and which parts of me are just being a plain old fucking arsehole?

                                                              - Carrie Fisher

Looking back throughout my whole life I've been intensely high and intensely low. To deal with my highs and lows I often got high, which exacerbated my highs and turned them into lows until I got to the point of Siri what even?

Stigma is bullshit. Stigma continues to flourish and thrive. People don't want to "out" themselves as having particular kinds of mental health issues. My brother wrote in his suicide note that he didn't want the stigma of getting help. So he didn't get help. So he died. These days when my mental health is getting relentlessly brought up and yes, used against me in a court of law so help me god .. it makes me furious. And sad. And really, really fucking mortifyingly embarrassed. It's fun to be around the crazy chick but it's not so fun being the crazy chick.

I've been parenting my children all this time unaware of this stuff in my head and heart. I've made extraordinary mistakes that I'm so ashamed of. Angry, irrational, and irritable. Taken out my feelings on other people. The rates of family breakdowns that result of a person having mental illness is huge. Ugh. All of this I'm only starting to learn now ... I didn't know before. I just want to say sorry to everybody. Fuck.

But hey us people with manic-depression are in good company, amirite? Are we geniuses or we deluded? Deluded geniuses? A woman told me recently she broke up with her partner because he had bipolar. I didn't say a word - too embarrassed. I'll just never talk to her again, that'll solve it!

My love couldn't and didn't save my brother. A million owies. I don't even know exactly what was "wrong" with him .. none of us will ever really know because he's not here anymore. He had horrific, debilitating depression. Severe sleep issues .. and I'm guessing intense anxiety. A few times he told me he wanted to study philosophy, not sure if he did. Stubborn guy always thought he knew everything anyway. A lot of the time Cam did - possibly too smart for his own good. I did some reading last night about grief "disorders" because I'm feeling worse about my brothers death and it's impacting me so badly some days it's just not right. I know there's no normal. But there is a basic line where shit gets drawn and we kind of need to see how far removed we are from the norm. In the past seven years I've had about five of the hugest traumatic experiences of my life. No wonder my brain short-circuited and my heart broke and my Soul exploded into flames. No fucking wonder.

I know, I know. There's way too many picture quotes in this particular piece of writing I'm doing right now. But some days I have no words to express how I feel. Like millions of other people on the planet, I find life so excruciating sometimes I can hardly bear it. Some of us can't bear it, and they leave. It scares me how understanding and accepting I am of that so I keep fighting and the thing about fighting like a warrior is you gotta know your limits. Some days we need to not fight. Just let the sky and the feelings and the light and the dark simply wash over us and wait for it to pass.

This is how I feel at the end of most days:

A complete shambles, limping into bed, often shaking uncontrollably from weeping, this dreadful pain inside me to my core that I can't bear so I don't bear it. I go to sleep instead and hope for a better day which inevitably comes.

Life is bullshit hard, ridiculous, absurd, surreal, brutal, confusing. It's why I eat entire cakes and be a loudmouth and sing in public and talk to strangers and don't just say my prayer to a Higher Power, I DANCE my prayer. Ever danced a prayer to God? It's fucking exhilarating.

In conclusion, this post is terribly self-centred and selfish. Because I didn't write it for you - I wrote it for me. To see who resonates. Et, tu? All of us out here silently going about our troubles and struggles. I want you to know that you're not alone. But actually, right now this very minute, I want me to know that I'm not alone.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

The Hermit Crab.

I like hermit crabs. I am one. Scuttling here and there. When it's time to move to another shell you look out hesitantly both ways and then RUN FOR YOUR LIFE towards another shell. A bigger shell, a different shell ... one you've decided (after much agonising) that you'll just be better off in.

Imagine all those poor hermit crabs who are just too scared to change. They stay stuck in the same shell for the rest of their lives. They grow so big that the shell becomes a part of them or they become a part of the shell it's too hard to even know by now. Too late. They're so wedged stuck they'll just die in that shell unless they complete an angry-hulk-smash hermit crab move and rear up and break the entire shell with its whole body. Change is hard, we usually have to be so sick and tired of something until we change. All those complacent, playing it safe hermit crabs out there. Days and years pass while it tells itself it's ok, it is MUCH safer to stick it out with what you know you think you can do these things Nemo but you can't.

Recently I made the biggest hermit crab nudie run of my life. It's a brand new year now but last year after the safety of living in one house for many years I busted out and lived in five separate houses. One of those was a hotel for a while when I was technically homeless, living it up like Lindsay at the Chateau Marmont except without the booze and drugs. It was uncertain and terrifying but there was a free buffet breakfast every day and I took my regular table for one near the window and drank two coffees each morning followed by a chaser of bacon so crispy I almost felt ok about living in a hotel.

Change is painful and daunting. Sometimes I ache to go back to my own familiar shell with my familiar people and cook familiar roast chicken and watch familiar tv and go to my familiar bed with the familiar beautiful sheets I picked out and just live the rest of my life out like that. Nothing wrong with that. It would have been easier. But it's too late to go back now. Zed's dead, baby.

For a multitude of reasons I followed my instinct and busted out. Scuttled across town to a new shell, a new life, a new beginning! Wow. For about two months I was doing great .. but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Such bad stuff happened I wanted my old shell back please god can I go back to my old shell. I don't like it here. It was so lonely and dark in that shell I can't even describe. The only person I could tell was my brother and he packed up all his shells for good. He don't even need no shell now.

Japanese artist Aki Inomata sympathised with the crabs who get forced out of their homes. Competition for the perfect suitable shell in Hermitcrabland is rife. Every crab needs a shell to hang their teeny crab-hat. Cook up a few Krabbie patties. Light a few crab cigars .. watch crabporn unhindered.

So Aki made the crabs some shells herself, using 3D printers, all crystalline-like. Aki made crabs their own shells. Tiny magical castles, buildings, structures modelled after cities from all over the world.

Isn't that one of the most magnificent, creative, beautiful, and deeply moving things ever?

Aki sees a connection between " .. not only moving shells in personal circumstances, but the crab's plight being similar to migrants and refugees changing their nationalities and the places where they live." A timely art piece considering half of the worlds population is on the move right now to escape war, poverty, murder, rape, genocide.

On a personal level, I'm finally happy with my new shell. It overlooks the beautiful part of town, I'm five minutes from the big smoke of Katoomba, I love my art deco fittings and the fact that I feel like I live in a hotel now because you sort of do when you live in a block of apartments. Good and rich and fulfilling things ONLY are to happen here. My key unlocks my own door, now. I'm very grateful and lucky and yes, even blessed. It's taken me a while to find a suitable shell but here it was all along. And here am I, living in it.

I'm a hermit crab and a moth and a caterpillar and a butterfly all at once. Taking risks and changing big things. It's been freakily scary and I don't want to be scared anymore.

So I'm not.

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