Feb 08, 2014
I really feel great helping other people with mental health issues. I think it is somehow a way for me to repay all the help I have gotten. I fought the system I thought was set up to control me. Now, I see it is to free me.
So I've been bringing up the idea of speaking publically at my school about mental illness. My psychologist has already welcomed me to speak in his drug/medicine class about mood stabilizers. The way it came about wasn't easy, but I got invited to speak in an all-girl dormitory on my school's campus about eating. It would probably be me and 4 girls considering how interested I was in dormitory-organized events as a Freshman. Well, anyway, the focus of the presentation was supposed to be about eating. I am not always the greatest eater as far as diet is concerned, but a lot of the time that has to do with money. I don't always eat great when I'm feeling alright, and well... when I am unwell I'm either eating very little or things that barely qualify as food. I rarely am eating too much. So in that sense, I can relate a lot to what many girls with eating problems do. I eat to little, because of my feelings in particular. The mood I have is often not so much in my control, but not eating makes it worse. In that sense, like an eating disorder, it begins to snowball. I feel worse, I eat less-- the cycle continues.
Some part of me feels sort of hypocritical when I come out and speak on this issue. It's kinda weird, as if I were saying, "Yeah you ladies should get it together... but yeah I don't eat either". I know my main issue is with weight and self esteem. Even before my own mental health. I really hold onto some old thoughts about being smaller, teased about it a lot when I was younger. Part of me still feels that way. I relate a lot to the way Kurt Cobain felt throughout his life. I once saw in a documentary how much he cared about his body size. Wore multiple layers of clothing, was sometimes teased and called gay because he looked effeminate, Very relatable. I guess some good may come of it. I would like to learn how to speak about mental illness, to become a little better at wording what it is like-- what the emotions can be like. I like helping others, and it helps me a lot to be able to speak of something I care greatly about. I had a nice email exchange with a friend over the last few days. I generally write out about 5 times as much as the other person. But if they see it as beneficial, that is why I do it. I guess I've had backlash from going too overboard with the mental health ramblings to some people (generally via email). That, I think, is an entirely different subject and experience than normal hypomanic behavior. I should allow myself to go as in-depth as I want with the mental health stuff. My late uncle who lost his life during his battle with late-diagnosed schizophrenia and early-diagnosed alcoholism wouldn't want me to quiet myself. I am honored that I was visited in a dream by him. My mother lost both of her brothers to alcoholism while they were still young. Tom, who struggled from a much earlier age, remained untreated for both his alcoholism and schizophrenia his entire life. She told me she wished that he would appear to her in a dream. I told her everything that happened, which was less in event and more in mood. We were standing in the outside courtyard of a church. Kind of like the church I went to when I was a young kid in Florida (where he used to live as well). It had those multiple archways, a single story catholic style outdoor area. I don't know how to describe it. It was really ornate and looked very old. But anyway, I appeared in the dream speaking with Tom. We were talking about my bipolar. He was asking me how things were going with me and the medicines, and I was telling him well. It was just that moment. We were having a moment. He died before I was a teen, so we never had much in the way of deep conversations. I was having this conversation with him as a man, as an equal. It was amicable, we both seemed to understand the other side, and we both knew that. Amidst the rest of the family moving around and talking, I remember us just connecting for that moment like, "Hey, how are things going with the medicine? You feel alright?" In just a moment, I received guidance and love. I know no one else in my family who has had a severe mental illness. And for one moment, I got to speak with one about it. It brings me tears when I think about it, because I really feel like he is up there looking down at me right now. He was much healthier in his dream than I remembered seeing him in real life. He was alert and happy, it seemed. Collected. Not in a drunken slump staring off into the floor or wall. Coherent, alert, alive. I made sure to tell my mother everything I could about it, because I truly feel like dreams are messages from God. In fact, I know they are. I am glad that I have recorded it, so I can look back and never take that message for granted. I know my mother deserved to hear about it. Now that I think of it, I wish I could tell my Nana-- his mother who has survived him. Sadly, my parents have somehow convinced me that keeping the mental illness a secret from my grandparents would prevent it from upsetting them. I have mixed feelings about that. I don't really care about saying, "yes it is possible your genetics contributed to the fact I am bipolar." If that is the case, then their parents and their gradnparent's genetics are as much a factor.
... I finally just got calm about this and thought the the solution. I really just want to tell my Nana that Tom came to me in a dream saying things were going to be okay, and was giving me advice. She knows that I am going sober from alcohol and has commended me on that, telling me that she knows it is not easy. I can just say, "Tom came to me in a dream and was guiding me through the changes I am making in my life. He seemed better than I have ever seen him. He was so much better looking, but we stood together there as if I had seen him yesterday." That is all I need to say.