My Bipolar Experience Submitted by Flaco

By Kim Shannon on 8:25 AM

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( Photograph taken by post author, Flaco )


"Everybody hurts."
-Michael Stipe



A very true statement indeed. From heads of state to trashmen. From kings and queens to court jesters and clowns. People hurting, is as natural, and consistent, as the sun rising. Feelings of immortality, and indestructabilty, are most certainly not; natural feelings. It is not, the sad people we observe, and ponder : "How do they do that?;" but rather the overtly happy ones. That stands out more. Larger than life, get noticed.


My Bipolar diagnosis began when i was 20, in post-adolescence. I am now 35. I had a lot on my table in my 1st year of my music school. Upon coming to the MDJunction Bipolar support group, I noticed a plethora of people with a very similiar diagnosis story, as mine. Early in post-adolescence, with the demanding grind of the 1st year of college, creating a frenzied pace with little sleep. Meeting an overwhelming amount of people, while keeping up an exhausting pace, the likes of which hadn't been seen for somebody, until that point in their life, takes it up a notch.


In therapy for so long, my woes and hurt, were the topic du jour, and nothing was out of the ordinary. When magically, one day, all of them were gone, that was, out of the ordinary. Not normal. The other side. Manic. I felt indestructable. That's when we got the inkling that I was Bipolar. One visit later to a doctor, and it was confirmed.

- Flaco

All They See Is Me (Lindsey)

By Kim Shannon on 11:47 AM

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.








My story is in the form of a poem... I hope that's okay. This is my life with bipolar 2 mood swings.






All they see is me….
By Lindsey






When I feel you coming
it is like a tidal wave that slaps my face,
and captures my breath.
I can’t run from you, I can not hide.



I have to face you,
as if I am in a field
all alone
and I am being hunted.



When I have been captured
it is disabling.
You take possession of my soul.



You rob me of myself,
my emotions,
and my thoughts.



I take on your feelings
and your judgment.
No matter how grisly it is,
I am forced to cope with it.



You drive me to be your abettor,
in all the shameless acts
that you perform.



You leave my loved ones to
pick up the ruins, when you
have had enough and gone.



When you depart,
I am left crumbling
with little explanation.



I am weak and I am drained.
I have nothing left to put forward.
All you cause is pain and heartache.



I try to hide you from the world
and detest it when
you suddenly peer around the corner.



The majority of the world has never met you.
Some are intrigued,
most despise you,
and the rest
are worried by your presence.



You are a part of me,
and I am accepting that now.
Not everyone is that willing.



I can not seem to control you,
no matter how hard I try.
For now, I just need to live with you.



I am not sure if
everyone can
live with us both.



Not many see you
for who you truly are.



All they see is me.






- Submitted by Lindsey







Christmas Bigotry - BAH HUMBUG!!!

By Kim Shannon on 11:45 PM

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They were putting on a stupid celebration in the park (you know - one of those festivals designed to do nothing but empty your pockets) and I stopped to watch a bunch of kids all dressed up in reindeer costumes singing on stage. I was listening to the words they were singing and realized that one of my favorite songs from childhood is nothing but a verbal beat-down on people who are different...

You've got a kid that's a complete and total social reject because of a physical deformity with which he was born; nothing he can help. (Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose; and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows).

The other kids exclude him, make fun of him, and mock him (All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names; they never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games)...

UNTIL..... the "poor" reject kid gets thrown into a situation in which, due to the nature of his disability, he's the only person able to perform a certain task (Then one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?").

LO AND BEHOLD, the disabled kid's suddenly the MAN OF THE HOUR - and due to his new-found fame, finds himself with all the other kids riding his coat-tails (Then all the reindeer loved him, and they shouted out with glee, "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history!").

WHAT??? Are you fucking kidding me? This is socially acceptable folklore? We, as a society have the balls to encourage our children to buy into the notion that unless they're inherently USEFUL, it's perfectly acceptable to make a mockery of the disabled members of society?

I don't see anything in there about the other reindeer APOLOGIZING to Rudolph, do you?

Now I know why everyone calls ME on drunk-karaoke night... They're using me for my
disability...

Visions of Sugarplums (smashed on the wall)

By Kim Shannon on 3:28 PM

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Kicking off my BAH HUMBUG series, here's my first gripe about the holiday season:

Retail Clerks - BAH HUMBUG!!!!!


If ONE MORE fraudulent well-wishing retail clerk proclaims "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Holidays!" to me, I think I'll explode.

What's so merry about bumper to bumper traffic, retail stores all decked out with tacky decorations covered in glitter (I don't care if they ARE made by the children at Meeting Street School - they're still ugly), screaming children who are obviously out of the control of their oblivious parents and the same 'ol same 'ol carols blaring out of every speaker you pass??? Nothing merry about any of that to me.

And why is it that the other 11 months out of the year, I can't get ONE of these asswipes to acknowledge my royal presence, yet during the holiday season, they all feel the urge to be my close buddy??? Gimme a break. They must be working on commission.

Merry Friggin' Christmas... grumble grumble.

Temptation - (Monica)

By Kim Shannon on 7:32 PM

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I am a 36 yr old mother, wife, teacher with bipolar type I disorder with rapid cycling.

The following is a diary entry posted on Thanksgiving. It is amazing how I can literally SEE the workings of my mind in my writing. The following day after the posting my thoughts were better, even regretful for all the negativity I wrote and the exaggeratedness of the entry. But that is how I think from one day to the next. My moods can change in HOURS and that' s why I document it in my diary. It is amazing to see the workings of my bipolar mind at work.


DIARY ENTRY:

Today was a holiday. supposed to be family...sharing..etc. I made my turkey...homemade gravy....potatoes....all the fixings. Delicious.
We had an unexpected visitor come by who stayed all daylong. I didnt really like him because he was one of my hubby's old druggie friends. But I said, what the heck...i cant be selfish on Thanksgiving. He ate, stayed...and stayed. Little did I know I had let "the devil walk in to prey on the weak" so to speak.


I am a recovering cocaine user..never a lot..just an occasional user. I cant be around people who have it. I just cant. I've been trying so hard and have gotten very disappointed in myself for even taking the drug to begin with. I never knew what it was about coke...I just liked it. I wonder if there is a sincere connection with BP and cocaine cravings or usage. Not just because of the self-medication, but because of chemical driven reasons.


I had never done a damn drug till i was 33. I wish i never had at all.



This friend later offered some coke to ease the turkey "fullness". I refused. My hubby did some like nothing. It kinda bothered me...but I said nothing. After about 3 hrs later, he offered again, and I took some. Man, all the rush came back. The high..but also the depression. The hate....self-loathing and guilt.


How could I stoop so low, especially at such a delicate time in my life? I dont want pity or comfort...but i am a horrible mother and person for this. I know better. I would like to know of anyone else suffering from BP who has had this problem to write me please.


I cant stand myself anymore. I really can't. Why am I so weak? pathetic. I hope I do not lose the respect from my friends as I write this as I am writing it because I KNOW other BP's must encounter this dilemma but are too ashamed to bring it up.


Needless to say, I stopped a while later, and the damn fucking "friend" left at fucking 2 in the morning. I dont mean to sound harsh...but I hate these old loser friends that show up every so often. Usually they don't get past the door. I can spot them right away and shut the fucking door on them because after all....i'm the crazy bipolar bitch. I literally slam the fucking door on them. I don't give a shit. They are shit in my eyes. No good for anything. No ambition. No job. Just good for causing problems.


My hubby had a major drug problem in the past and had been good since marrying me.


Yes, I did marry the bartender , got pregnant, did drugs, had unprotected sex, spend like hell, got a BMW because "I deserved it"; told anyone off that disagreed with my views;but I did manage to finish graduate school with honors ironically---in the most severe manic episode in my life. But my hubby and I can't have temptation. I have to "guard" my household from these "friends" who show up out of the blue. My hubby isn't strong enough to do it, so was I..until today.


I have stooped so low its just overhwelming. So besides all the issues with my son who was just diagnosed with high functioning autism this past week....my issues with my sex addicted husband...being the sole provider of the family....I also have to protect and isolate my husband (and myself) from persons carrying temptation with them. This is too fucking draining.


I actually thought about suicide today. I don't mention this to be a whiner. I actually hate people who think like I am right now and also say they want to end it. But i am on that wavelength at the moment and now I know how those people feel wanting to end their lives. I know I won't do it....but the thought to be free from emotional pain was just alluring. But I just think of my kids and I fall apart crying. The torture. I always am the strong one. i just can't get a grip right now.


As I write this crying like a weakling, I have to keep thinking "God doesn't give you more than you can handle....God doesn't give you more than you can handle." There has to be a reason for all of this.

- Submitted by Monica

Living in Technicolor

By Kim Shannon on 5:37 PM

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We're always telling people to share their feelings... "Don't be ashamed," we say, "Having bipolar disorder is not shameful and it's not your fault!" However... those of us that stick to that line of reasoning and start talking to others about our disorder are still a problem for the general public. AARRGGHH!! Damned if you do, and damned it you don't. Some douchebags take issue with people who DO publically share the knowledge that they are mentally ill. Especially those who announce it for all to hear (like me!) .
There have been many accusations chucked at me, but the most frequently used accusation (by a landslide) is “You’re an attention seeker”. What the general population doesn’t know is that THIS attention seeker went through ten years of hellish episodes and denial, denial, denial before I accepted that something was mentally wrong with me. The reason for the denial??? I thought I was an attention seeker. Ha! And I thought all my problems were so insignificant that if I did try to get help, the doctors would laugh at me and say "Do you need a little attention ? Ha Ha Ha"...
I have always been fairly open. The VERY DAY I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1, Rapid Cycling with Mixed States, I went out with my friends and told EVERYONE IN SIGHT! What I was seeking was general reassurance, naturally. (DUH!) I know that left to my own devices, I would have self-destructed. I openly discuss my mental illness because I'm working on SELF PRESERVATION; NOT ATTENTION! Jackasses.
Another reason I am open (especially now) about this is because I don’t want people like me to be tarred and feathered, then labeled "seekers of attention". Manic depression is an illness, like diabetes; like any incurable disease that needs to be treated ... There's just something about mental illness that makes the general population blink from the glare and look the other way. We are falsely accused - we're told "You're bringing this on yourself" or that we're doing something to cause ourselves to spend all our money, talk really fast, not sleep, not eat, fight with everybody, cry, think of dying... Yeah - you're right "Einstein"... all of that stuff is something I love so much that I intentionally bring it into my life... Asshole.
Bipolar, as you probably already know, is something that's difficult to explain. BUT IF MY EXPLANATION HELPS JUST ONE PERSON TO UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THIS DISORDER AS A REALITY, THEN I'LL SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE EXPLAINING IT!
There’s more to this than documentaries interviewing fuzzy haired artists. And more than the mental wards you see on 20/20 or 60 Minutes. It isn’t all crying in your bed, sitting, being mentally ill. Nor is it running down the streets half dressed (although I have done a fair amount of that, too). Our life revolves around taking medication and coping with the problems that go along with it.. Pills for the Mentally Interesting have pretty tragic side effects. I really don’t blame people when they go off their meds.. It seems to me that they'd prefer going insane over having side effects like the dreaded Lamictal rash from the pills they're taking. I've been tempted to throw the little fuckers down the toilet too!
But because of the hundreds of thousands of banner-waving depressives, boasting about their “meds” and wearing t-shirts listing their mental problems, people get nervous about it and put it on their politically correct list of "Things You Must Never Talk About". They raise their eyebrows. "Taking medication & mentioning it means you’re proud" they say. You’re showing off. You’re oh-so-fucked up.
Well, I've got news... I have a label for YOU too: "IGNORANT" How DARE they put a label on me?? I'm not a fucking dress on a rack at Macy's... I'M HUMAN!!! (I just live in technicolor while they have to settle for a black & white world)

From Manic To Depressed In 0 Seconds - (Patricia)

By Kim Shannon on 4:00 PM

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I am 37 years old married with one son. I was diagnosed May 2008 after years of being misdiagnosed first they diagnoed me with severe depression and put me on antidepressents which blew the bipolar way out of control . I can go from being manic to severly depressed in 0-0 seconds. I have put my family through pure hell i am a good frienf who is fun to be around i love spemding time with my family but when i am depressed i just lock myself in my room and dont want to be around anyone. And then there are times when i am manic i clean everything i shop and spend alot of money and it is then that i am so happy to be around. I am so blessed to have found this site and my family here everyone understands and there is not judging i wish i had found it alot sooner than i did. I Love You All


- - Submitted by Trishy

They "Get It"

By Kim Shannon on 5:00 AM

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                                                        MDJunction Online Support Group
I need to take a minute to tell you about the online support group I visit every single day; MDJunction. Let me tell you something people (NO BULLSHIT), without the support of the people in this group, I don't know where I'd be.
I found MDJunction purely by accident; I was surfing the web during an especially severe manic episode, and ended up clicking a link which brought me to the site. I had never participated in an online support group before, and didn't really know what to expect. Luckily, this site allows you to browse through the posts and check out the site BEFORE you create an account (which, by the way, is free). I checked out some posts, watched as other members responded and knew right away that this place would eventually be like a second home for me. I was 100% correct. I found them at a time when I was at the point of giving up... I felt alone, misunderstood and overlooked. Once I started posting, I knew immediately that I most definitely am not alone... And that's what I needed to hear.
I have met many wonderful people (all having bipolar themselves, or having a bipolar loved one) who I can honestly say I consider true friends. It doesn't matter what time of day or night, there is always someone posed and ready to lend you a shoulder if you need one, or make you laugh after you've had the shittiest of days, or just to keep you busy when you don't feel like being alone.
There are also many people there who are reaching out for someone to relate to... Why not help someone know they're not alone? I recommend this site as a tool for anyone with bipolar disorder. In these forums, the people really "get it".
WHAT MEMBERS OF MDJUNCTION HAVE TO SAY:

"All I can say is that this has been the best place ever. It has been six to seven months since I joined, and I have learned so much. I now believe in myself and accept myself on a completely different level. The people on MDJunction has been so supportive and accepting that I have been able to adopt it into my personal life. That has reduced a lot of stress in my life. Thanks to all." (bunny_fly)

"MD Junction is my second home, Where my friends are always ready with advise , compassion and a kind word or two. Where I can always be myself never having to put on a brave face or smile if I don't feel like it. Thank you MD Junction" (mpmom)

"I joined this site when i hit my ultimate low. Joining has helped me connect with others who understand me and how i feel and has helped me keep some sanity in my life. Suzanne" (sisters4life)

"MDJunction to me has been the helping friends of understanding that I have needed. I feel now as if someone else it the world understands the things that I am going through. I feel less alone and happier. Here I can let out all my emotions and get support from many people who have been in similar situations. It really has been a life saver for me!" (Amanda78)

"MDJunction to me is somewhere i feel safe i feel i can be myself and not be judged. I love the fact that i get to see that im not alone in what i am going through and i also get the chance to help others on their journey through guidance and communication. I would truly be lost without MDJunction... to me its my savior, my personal place to go where i don’t feel so alone anymore in the world." (Storm6751)


And the list goes on and on.... Do yourself a favor and at least give it a peek. Guaranteed you'll love it there as much as I do.

He and The Lieutenant (Terry)

By Kim Shannon on 8:38 AM

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He opened the door to the waiting room. Ambled in, self-conscious and uncomfortable. If he was being watched, it was for pity not because he commanded the eyes filling the antiseptic room. An aging hip had robbed him of his proud swagger.
His hand also twitched in his jacket pocket. The old man kept his hand in his pocket in public. A vanity to hide the truth that there were less and less years he could look forward to.
He introduced himself to the receptionist, surveying the room as he did. Sitting down beside the Lieutenant, he measured him in a glance.
“Hello,” he said, extending his hand.
The Lieutenant looked at him. His shoulders were broad. He was tree stump stocky, face like driftwood.
Then he returned his hand, “Hello.”
The Lieutenant was reading a magazine. His eyes drifted back to the page.
“Bloody awful magazines in these offices. Nothing a man wants to read.”
The Lieutenant didn’t notice or didn’t hear him.
“So you’re in the military, eh”
The Lieutenant gazed at the crags on the old man’s face. Water began flowing down his face in rivulets. The Lieutenant ignored the streams and responded, “Yes, I am. How did you know?”
“When you’ve been around as long as I have, you develop a keen eye for people,” the old man explained. “The razor-sharp haircut, your military bearing even though you’re not in uniform. You called me sir even though you didn’t. Pretty obvious to an experienced eye.”
The Lieutenant’s military bearing was tattooed through to the marrow of his bones. It was that tattooed marrow that kept him from going to military doctors.
“What are you here for?” the old man asked. “You look like there should be posters of you in these offices.”
“If you don’t mind me saying.”
“No. No, not at all. Thank you for the compliment,” the Lieutenant replied. “Just routine.”
The Lieutenant turned his attention back to the magazine in his hands.
“That’s a strange magazine you’re reading.”
“Excuse me, Sir.”
“Chatelaine, I mean. Can’t be of much interest to a guy like you.”
The Lieutenant hadn’t been reading the magazine. He was trying to put together a puzzle. Words floated across the page. Sentences scrambled and made no sense. He didn’t know what the article was about or what magazine he was reading.
The Lieutenant saw a photograph of a sofa. “Oh my wife wants to redo our living room. She wants me to help so I’m reading up on decorating.”
The man with the failing hip seemed to accept the Lieutenant’s explanation.
“Women are like that. Always wanting to change something. Never satisfied.”
His voice was thunder loud to the Lieutenant. His sentences an avalanche.
“Would you mind speaking a little slower? And a little quieter?” He asked. “A bit of ear trouble.”
“Oh certainly. Didn’t mean to bother you.”
“Oh no, you’re not bothering me. It just that loud noises sometimes . . .” and the Lieutenant’s voice drifted off.
“I was married once,” the man carried on. “In Spain about 25 – 30 years ago. We stuck with it for three years but in the end she couldn’t keep up with me. Tight deadlines and mad rushes to planes are a photojournalist’s life. But not the foundation of a long marriage.”
“Anyway, we had a baby boy and that made travel together unwieldy to say the least. So we went our separate ways.” He was relishing the chance to tell stories again. To someone who hadn’t heard them.
“Where’s your son now?” the Lieutenant asked out of politeness.
The Lieutenant turned his focus to him. Suddenly an exquisitely aimed pickaxe pierced him between the shoulders. Deep and through the spine. Exactly placed.
Plasticine blood seeped from the wound and slowly stained the chair he was sitting on. The Lieutenant looked at the old man’s face. Blood spittle came down his chin.
“He lives here now,” he answered. “He teaches history at the university.”
“That’s a kick in the ass isn’t it,” he continued. “My son spent years uncovering the secrets of the dead, now he’s got a living, breathing fossil right in his own home.”
“’Course I have better stories,” he laughed. The emphatic laugh of someone who enjoyed his own humour.
The Lieutenant cringed at the sound. Boulders of laughter bounced off his eardrums. “Yes, I’m sure you do. With that kind of exciting life I mean.”
The Lieutenant forced his eyes to the page, wanting to look preoccupied.
“Do you have any children?” he asked.
“Yes we have two, preschool.”
“Funny thing. I didn’t see my son for 25 years,” he said. “Now I have three grandchildren who I spoil just how I didn’t want to spoil my son.”
He laughed his laugh again.
The Lieutenant glanced up at the laugh. Blood gushed from the old man’s mouth, ran from his nose, oozed from his eyes.
“None of this is real,” the Lieutenant said, not realizing he spoke aloud.
“Pardon me,” he asked.
The Lieutenant fixed a blank gaze on him.
“I don’t think I heard you properly --- what you just said.”
The Lieutenant didn’t respond. He didn’t hear him.
A long silence --- a silence that made the old man and the withering hip uncomfortable, not in control. A cold silence. He didn’t know how long they didn’t speak.
A nurse appeared at the door to the doctors’ offices. “Lieutenant Cross? Doctor Ellis is ready for you now.”
The Lieutenant rose stiffly and offered his hand to him. It was briskly shaken. “Nice talking to you. Enjoy your grandchildren.”
“That I will,” he said. “That I will. Good luck to you. Tell that doctor to take good care of you. We need men like you.”
“Thank you sir.” And the Lieutenant crossed the room and followed the nurse.


- Submitted by Terry

Truth or Fraud (Terry)

By Kim Shannon on 4:35 PM

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i am a fraud. a convincing, conniving fraud.
i wake up a fraud.
i sleep and dream a fraud.
i eat as a fraud would. mashing food down my gullet with no taste or want.
i’m a fraud without a seed of omnipotent braggadocio.
i'm a damn good fraud. warding off suspicious eyes and ears to the ground.
but i think sometimes the opposite is true.




Then the fraudulent uprising of a life spent searching the wrong answer to the right question or the right answer to the wrong question crawls between my skin and sinew. it's a conundrum i'm still working out.



i am the fraud that i regularly wish would leave the world alone. it's a stone i drag behind me without end and every once in a while it overtakes me. telling the world profoundly, "you're just a fuckin' fraud, all make-up and no image in the mirror. you've got no capacity for any real emotion, for any dog emotion. your entire life has been dedicated to hiding behind the walls of big words, dubious intellect and smart ass sarcasm. it's just not anything that anyone should admire. your empty, shallow and a facade is quickly melting."



the grindstone, the gravestone is my burden. i roll it up the hill and i conquer it temporarily. then it rolls, carving devastation in its path. in some ancient Greek mythological nightmare this is my life. the unburied Sisyphus, the angry gods, the punishment of never ending up and down that contemplates which is worse – life or death.



call me Sys, a nickname, a shortened life, a fraudulent effort to act noble in the world of dread.

- Submitted by Terry

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