Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Madness is the gift that has been given to me

Several years ago while living overseas I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Once upon a time it was called manic-depressive, which is a very descriptive name because you get manic, and you get depressed.

To be honest, I think that being happy and sad is just called: LIFE, but for some people it's a lot more intense to the point that getting by becomes a real struggle, that decision making is impaired and for some it seems like there is no way out.

For me, its all about knowledge. Knowing that I had a disorder meant that when I was overwhelmingly sad and unmotivated I didn't go searching for a reason why I should feel bad, (exploding any perceived faults in myself into reasons why I was a terrible person who deserved to feel bad) instead knowing that it was a sign that my hormones were out of whack, that I needed more sleep, that I needed to exercise more, that I needed to take on less stress, that I needed to eat better, or all of the above.

No! don't listen to the crazy goth in the skull mask!!
My case is quite mild, and yet there are weeks when I really have to convince myself that having a shower isn't just an okay idea, but mandatory. Those weeks/months/whatever really suck, but they are manageable.

It's different for everyone and I can't speak for anyone else who has additional struggles like this.

Why bring this up?
Last week I found an old sketchbook which had survived the culling process I went through a year or so ago when I threw out anything and everything related to a very dark time in my life.
It was full of drawings, words and some depressing (but witty) haikus. Haikus were my favourite way to get things out...

I was surprised at how detailed and creative my art was, how full of colour and symbolism, and it was obvious that a lot of time had gone into the creation of some pages.

I was impressed with my creative work ethic.  Frankly it bordered on the obsessive.

I was slightly saddened by the recent (the past three or more years) slackening of this intense creativity (I believe its called MANIA hahaha.) but this was overwhelmed by the complete rejoicing I  felt in the fact that I couldn't even remember the last time I was as low and full of self loathing as I had been then.

The nicest part of the whole experience was tearing up dark memories, and realising that the place I am now, was where I had hoped to be then. That the work I did at the time, the efforts I went to, the sacrifices (which seemed so huge at the time) were all in the right direction, because they led me to a place where I am happy more often than not, and capable of being the master of my own emotions (most of the time... pregnancy doesn't help with that!)

So goodbye crazy Eleanor, and hello manageably crazy Eleanor. (I don't think that's a word) The differences might appear subtle but they make all the difference.
Now I just have to get back that creative drive, without the late nights, the obsessive movie watching and emo brooding.

To life, to life, l'chaim!


  1. That's one of the great things about journals (art or words)--we can see how much we've changed and progressed. :) And on a side note, manageably is a word!

  2. nice.
    So brave for surviving and so important to talk about.

  3. love this post. the honesty, bravery and that it's so real. I hate the stigma that still exists so it's so important to talk about. well done.