EXTRAHO MORSUS CANIS
A weblog based on my past and ongoing personal journey and the various reflections and philosophies I have developed along the way, with specific emphasis on practical, real-life tools and techniques for empowering people with mental illness & addiction.
In a 'nutshell', I have lived BiPolar for nearly 30 years, with periodic, ongoing Depression throughout much of that time. I have always struggled with anxiety and stress-related disorders of both the mind and body, spending much of my life living away from towns and populous areas in order to maintain a functional level of being. Attempts to live in metropolitan settings etc resulted in pretty dramatic & damaging breakdowns, none of which I dealt with to their full extent..
Fast forward nearly twenty years, a few toxic relationships and the deaths of way too many beLoved Ones later, to late 2009. The big one.. I had the mother of all breakdowns and not only completely stopped functioning, but somehow left my body and couldn't get back in. I spent the next couple of years desperately running around after it, trying to maintain the uni course I had moved interstate for, trying to be the creative person that demanded, but unable to catch a hold and wriggle back into my skin.. Slowly everything slipped away, and I didn't know how to stop it...
Somehow I pushed my hand up. Asked to be excused. Somehow I got the words out, and the right people moved in with swinging lanterns and my Long, Dark Tea Time of the Soul finally sensed the possibility of seeing another Dawn...
Fast forward another few years and I don't consider that I am "suffering from mental illness" any more. That's not to say I don't suffer (none of us get out of that one!), but nowadays I deal with it on more of a healthy lifestyle level and try to integrate my Mental Health (MH) strategies into my day-to-day activities and overall Lyfe strategy. I'm in a completely different place to four or five years ago, and it has taken no little effort to get here. I'm still surprised!
This didn't happen by just sitting around waiting to "get better." Some people do recover from Depression, but I will probably not be one of them, and I'm OK with that (and I quite like being BiPolar now). But the thought of being at the mercy of that Big Ol' Blakk Hol' for the rest of my life just makes me suicidal. And I'm sick of being suicidal. I had to make a commitment that if I wanted to get anything out of this (my) Lyfe, I had to take things in hand and just work with what I had. I didn't like the rules of the competition, so I moved the goal posts and changed the way the game was to be played.
The day I stopped grieving for the life (and skills and abilities and memories!) I had lost, and started seeing it as a new white page, all ready for me to write my story afresh, I realised what an opportunity in disguise this whole thing could be. If that's how I wanted to see it. And I did.
To get to the integrated state that I'm aiming for is a long-term thing. But if I can do it, anyone can do it. I hope you will travel with me as I explore the useful, doable and occasionally highly profound tools and techniques that continue to greatly assist me both in and out of my times of mental chaos. Much of which has incidentally helped me grow as a person in the doing.
We are not alone. We are more than our thoughts. We are worth the effort.