It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write. Sometimes I go through phases when I barely write at all, which is hard when so much of my identity is in being a writer. I envy the kinds of writers who go up to their lovely writing lofts every day and write for hours and hours. I’m just not that kind of writer, I guess. I thrive on creative bursts, so when creativity is lacking, I have a hard time forcing it. I’m not very disciplined. But today I’m finally sitting down to get words on the page.
So what have I been up to?
I’m not working right now. For a while, this was a struggle for me. I felt a sense of purposeless, of failure. Jobs I applied for didn’t work out, which was impactful on my self-esteem. I struggled with questions like: Am I not good enough? Why doesn’t anyone want me? What am I even good at? And then I got pregnant. Since I’m planning to stay home with the baby, I didn’t want to start a job that I’d be leaving in a few months. So I decided to stop the job search and to just wait for the baby. But here’s the thing: waiting turned out to be very hard. I felt the purposelessness very keenly, very acutely. I began to wonder: What is my purpose? How do I bring meaning into my life? Continue reading “Searching for Purpose”
Many of you have heard Rob’s and my good news: we’re expecting! I’m 14 weeks along, so just beginning my second trimester. After a miscarriage, pregnancy can feel like a tentative and uncertain thing, but as the weeks have gone by, we’ve become more confident and I’ve allowed myself to get excited.
But I feel like there are two people living inside my head right now. One person is more happy than she’s ever been before: I can’t wait to have a baby and February can’t come soon enough. That person, though, is wracked with self-disappointment and anxiety. Pregnancy and mental illness can be a bad combination. Continue reading “Anxiety: Giving Myself Grace”
This month marks five years living with Bipolar Disorder. On one hand, I can’t believe it’s been that long. I can still remember sitting in that physiatrist’s office, smelling that cinnamon candle, and hearing the diagnosis for the first time. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve had Bipolar disorder for a lot longer than that. I’ve been taking time to reflect on these past five years. Life is a lot more complicated than it once was. I’m a different person now. Life has forever been altered. All of that is true. But what else have I learned about myself?
Continue reading “5 Things I’ve Learned about Myself After 5 Years with Bipolar Disorder”
When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I was shocked. It was good to have an answer to why I was feeling the way I was, but I didn’t know how to process the news. I remember sitting in the psychiatrist’s office, stunned into silence, as she began to explain the first steps in my treatment. A part of me was relieved—an answer, finally!—but the rest of me was completely numb to what she was saying. Continue reading “How do we talk about mental illness?”
“What can I do?”
That’s a difficult question to answer when you’re depressed. You want to say a magical formula—“do this for me and I’ll feel better”—but there isn’t one. You want to be able to respond positively since you’re grateful for the care that went into that question, but you can’t. You even feel a little guilty that you can’t give a satisfying response.
“What can I do?” is probably the best question my husband can ask me when I’m depressed. It’s unassuming and empathetic. It’s also incredibly frustrating, because sometimes there just isn’t anything he can do. But what else is he supposed to say? I guess I’m glad he asks it, even when I don’t know how to respond.
I was recently asked what depression feels like. I didn’t know how to answer. I told my friend that it it’s a physical feeling, a heaviness—if hopelessness was tactile, that would be it. I didn’t know how else to describe it, except in obscure metaphors that might only make sense to me.
So it’s difficult to answer “what can I do?” when I can’t even articulate what my depression feels like. Usually, I end up answering the question with: “Just pray for me.” Sometimes, that’s the only answer I have. Continue reading “Pray for me”