You know when you have been feeling rough, but you don't really know how rough you have been feeling until you feel better? I'm feeling better! Guess what? Feeling crappy is ok. I am giving you permission right now to feel rough. Stop, take a moment right now and take a deep breath. I will do it too...1, 2, go! In breath, Breathing deep into my belly - it is fucking awesome how easy it is for me to forget to do that. Right? Mind blowingly easy. Crazy!
What a weird design of the body. We breathe without having to think about it. I am grateful to remain living, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the part of my body that just does it for me. (the autonomic nervous system? Someone let me know if that is the thing?) I am glad to be alive and all, but I am surprised when I stop to breathe. Like, to feel myself actually breathing.
There's been a lot of stuff going on and I have been having feelings and stuff - while knowing that my feelings weren't completely real. I have been observing them and not acting on them, just telling people around me that I was having them and observing them. Being bipolar definitely includes this skill. Well, reinforces it. I have been the type of person who would have huge feelings - that type that is a regular human - a human being.
Feels would occur and then I would want to do something about the feels. Sometimes after I did the thing I would often feel like what I did wasn't the best thing. But I kind of knew that I had to do it? Maybe? Never did I doubt that I deserved to have those feelings. They were real. I had them.
When I went crazy* I got this thing called depression. This was very different from being a teenager and feeling big feels of sadness and remorse. "The incredible lightness of being" became available to me when I was 12 or so, but this wasn't that. This was...well, it was nothing. It was almost beyond words.
Guess what? It was a gift. Fuck that Pollyanna bullshit, this was a legit learning experience. Hardcore. I had feelings, yet, I couldn't DO anything about them.
The last two weeks have been weird. It's a lot of work to tell folks I have the feelings, while actively not putting weight towards the feelings, and still communicate that I am experiencing them! Guess what? I didn't post as much during this phase. Who knew that would be a thing? In the past I would tell the social media that something was going on, I wasn't sure why this was different. I had lots of feelings, lots of asking why, how, what to do? But I couldn't figure out what was the thing to do, and that was exhausting.
So I did nothing. Talk about perfectionism! Wow. Yet, I know that humans get sick.** I tried to be easy on myself and know that my fellow Honest Outliers would forgive me. I allowed myself to do nothing. Having a feeling doesn't mean that I have to DO anything.
Do I have to throw a breakable item across the room to express my anger? Nope. Depression taught me this. Should I yell at people I love so much that I regret it later? Nope. Being bipolar taught be how to do this. How to be better at it, really. This was how I leveled up on that mindfulness crap that everyone loves to talk about. Depression taught me the difference between a thing that has to be said out loud and a thing that has to be acted on Right! Now!
Not posting meant that I had shame, what I was going through wasn't that interesting to people, but - ! this is the important part! - , I didn't want to. This is a symptom - this wasn't me simply feeling. A thing in my brain said "I don't wanna. I can't do that. My fingers are concrete. My words are buried under the rubble. I am too exhausted to go and dig them out. I don't have the ability to do that." I didn't. I couldn't. I am often trying to explain to folks the difference between clinical depression and having feelings of depression.
This last two weeks have been a mixture of both a 'regular' feeling of sad and tired, mixed with 'real' hard-core depression. The fascinating aspects of this meant that I felt like no one would want to read about this experience. I didn't have the energy to write about it anyway, so what did it matter? Well, it does matter.
People need to know about this experience. I think that it changes the world. This is my manifesto - not writing a huge thing in one sitting, but living my life and telling people about it. It changes the world.
Being depressed is like being buried under rubble, under water, without sun. It is quiet down there. Taking a deep breath today was the first sign that I was back. That I came up for air. Take a deep breath. I will too.
*had bipolar type one symptoms emerge with a huge, dramatic set of symptoms that had to be treated and changed my life- see, saying "went crazy" is shorter and easier. yeah.
**When people get sick we don't expect them to just get over it and go to work. When we get sick we somehow allow people this little bubble to go over there and do nothing. I will post more on this in the future. Maybe a book. Maybe a novel!