I’m a writer, editor and film-dabbler living in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It’s one of those Top Beautiful Places to Live in the World destinations where tourists come to laugh at our colorful money and remind us that we say, “Eh” and “Aboot”, but are really chill and kind people. It’s not all maple syrup and Mounties.
Its a contradictory climate: gorgeous and sunny one day and bone chilling windy the next (usually in the same day.) In fact, I would diagnose Victoria as bipolar just on weather alone.
I also have bipolar, but docs didn’t always think that. When I moved elementary schools in Grade 6, I was diagnosed with major depression. I didn’t take meds, but I did talk to this shrink every week who had a kids’ craft table in his office. Not creepy at all.
I had a breakdown in my first year of college. It happened during a literature exam. “Turn over your exam and start,” the professor said. I flipped it over and looked it over five times until I realized that all of my energy had been diverted from my Exam Killer Mode to my Cry Like a Baby for No Reason Mode.
I sped home to my bedroom and covered the sunny window with a sheet. Until it rained. That’s when I started to feel better. I enjoy relating to my city.
Quick psychology tip: Do not give anti-depressants to people with bipolar. It fucks their shit up (as one doc actually said to me.) It exaggerates the highs and the lows. Bummer.
So, a few years of anti-depressants mixed with working a job at a grocery store pulling in close/open shifts six days in a row, mixed with a diet that consisted of one Michelina’s microwavable pasta and a tall can Arizona iced tea a day, mixed with all my filler time manic (in which I was led to believe that I was the Internet Night Watchman, started an epic novel about me as a sock puppet superhero, and drafted a plan for spreading love where the world needed it most; rush hour in front of my house.)
The body just can’t take that abuse (ask fellow bipolars Hemingway and Picasso) and I crashed. Yes, the day after my 25th birthday I started a six week stint in the hospital. Not that hospital… the MENTAL HOSPITAL.
Cue Twilight Zone riff.
It was difficult, yes, but it made me a better person. I even have Cognitive Behavioral Therapy triangles engraved into my hippocampus. Huzzah.
Contrary to popular belief, if you are a creative person, it is not stolen from you through meds or therapy. It gave me more material to talk about and laugh at. My sister has schizoaffective disorder (a wonderful cocktail of one half schizophrenia and one half bipolar), my cousin has bipolar and my parents have battled depression.
So you see, I have quite the resume.
Oh, yeah, three years later I found a lump on my right nut and was diagnosed with testicular cancer. So, I dealt with that, too. I now am bipolar and uniballer, and was just told I beat cancer.
Despite my wars on the medical fronts, I’ve lived a solid life. I manage bipolar extremely well now by living healthy and not giving in to the mindgasm that is mania. I have a girlfriend I’m absolutely bonkers in love with and have shared many fun and funny adventures. I’m a straight A student, one of those that gets involved in their university extra-curricular activities. I just made a super literary journal as Editor-in-Chief for “This Side of West” (thissideofwest.uvic.ca – I made this, too!) If you’re bipolar or have some mental illness and afraid to do things, suck it up. You can do it. I had a staff of 46 and I made it to the end without killing someone with a spoon. If I can do it, you can do it better. Just picture the world naked.
This blog started from an assignment in class. Isn’t that sad, that they would teach this in third year journalism? I have recently graduated with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a Minor in Journalism and Publishing. One of my easiest journalism classes instructed us that the future of the universe would be everyone blogging and connecting with one another, none of this trolling business at all. Didn’t see that coming.
So I started Rock the Seesaw with the niche intention of talking about mental illness the way I do. People really clicked with it and that made me feel like I was helping. This is quite possibly the best feeling in the world. Better than lying naked in a bathtub of lime Jell-O with a straw.
Now, the site covers life itself, because your life is not defined by what ails you (mental illness or “normal” problems). Everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) deals with most of the same things, and that’s what this is about.
Caution: You may relate with me. If so, this is working perfectly. If not, I’m crazier than I thought.
Oh, geezus, I just rhymed. Give me that spoon.