2011: KO

This has been a big year for me. Huge. It has certainly been rough. Another hospitalization under the belt, the loss of three more jobs, 15 more medications that I’ve crossed off the list to try, and I know I could go on forever lamenting about how 2011 wasn’t my year.

Instead I’ve decided to consider what I’ve accomplished.

At first, the only thing I could think of was that I am now able to make a mean pizza (dough and all) from scratch. That doesn’t sound like much, but you haven’t tasted it! That is something I’m pretty proud of.

In the realm of food, I’ve made huge improvements this year. I’m eating vegetables, broccoli, and a multitude of other things that I never imagined I could ever like. I’ve really wrestled the portion of OCD that was trying to control what I was eating to the ground, which is excellent.

I joined the Seattle Weaving Guild, wove my first rug, legitimately sold my first pieces of art, built a loom in my living room, applied for my first grant, and started this blog. Some good, solid advancement in my creative endeavors, certainly more than I did on that front the year before.

I helped (as much as I could) with wedding arrangements as a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding while being severely depressed. That one alone still shocks me a little bit because of the fear I had at the time that I couldn’t do it.

I found myself a therapist.

I found myself a psychiatrist.

I taught Luna (our dog) 3 new tricks, including shaking hands.

I “came out” to many friends and family members as being both a bisexual individual and having bipolar disorder.

When the time came, I chose to be hospitalized again instead of choosing violence or suicide. Anyone who has had to make that decision knows that in the moment, it is not an easy one to make.

I tried the path of modern medicine & pharmaceuticals again, despite my inclination not to, and my psychiatrist respected the decisions I made about them.

I applied for state disability (even though I felt ashamed) so I could still put food on our table.

I’ve put one foot in front of another to drag myself out of the obnoxious pit of depression, even if some yucky squid-type creature is down there and going to pull me back down again.

I am making an effort to be more open about having bipolar disorder.

I completed 6 months of documented mood charts that will help me identify patterns in mood changes and other possible triggers.

I got a new job, one that I have actually been enjoying!

Together, these things make me feel strong. Even though it was a difficult year, that just means all the more triumph when I’ve defeated it.

2011, consider this me punching you in the face*.

*Que that terrible "I Get Knocked Down" Chumba Wumba song.

The thing I saw this year that truly amazed and inspired me was my boyfriend’s reaction when I began to get seriously ill this spring, and when that triggered an episode of major depression and hospitalization.

He could have bailed on me, made me feel guilty about disrupting our lives (and especially about losing my job), or he could have let bipolar disorder (which has been there all along, he just hadn’t seen it in full bloom yet) shake the foundation of our relationship.

Somehow, he didn’t do any of those things.

He has been supportive and reassuring in a way that I didn’t know was possible. This year I’ve been channeling his strength and patience, and somehow that paid off.

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4 responses to “2011: KO

  1. Fantastic! You have made some serious strides this year! Selling your first piece is nothing to baulk at. I think Van Goth went his whole life without selling anything. And his sole dedication was to art.

    I’m so proud to hear that another person with bipolar disorder has come into the light. You inspire me to be strong and hold my own. And to challenge every stereotype there is.

    And you forgot that you started blogging here on a regular basis!

    Yay! You can hardly say that 2011 was a year waster. Here’s to a magnificent 2012 for you! I wish for you to have many happy returns!

  2. You actually had the self discipline to keep your mood charts? I would, but what if I did it wrong? Am I a little high, moderately high, or very high? Am I low, and if so, how low? Am I mixed?

    How do you achieve objectivity, or would you say that the charting helps give you the objectivity?

    • This is where I praise the OCD traits that have stuck with me since childhood. I have a specific time of day where I work on the charts, and I do so quite obsessively. Keep an eye out, becuase in about two weeks I’m planning on having “chart week” -much like shark week, only less violent. Equally as graphic (get it? charts?) but less sharks.

      In the interum, I’ll say that it actually really helped that I started the charts when I was in the throes of major depression, and quite suicidal. It was pretty close to scraping the bottom of the depression barrel, so when it came time to judge things, I had a very extreme starting point to compare everything to.

      The method I’ve worked out is a bit on the complex side, so again, if you’re interested please make sure to check out “chart week”! That’ll be taking place all week on my blog from March 19-23, 2012!

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