The Truth of Bipolarity

A very good friend, who knows me so well, texted me a link to an article earlier.  It really spoke to me.  All I could text back was that little sobbing emoji.

The article was this and if you are familiar with Glennon Doyle Melton, you are blessed, and also, you are smart (for reading her words).

What stabbed me in my heart when I read it, was this…

“So often, people’s lives are presented to us as before and after stories. It’s always: “Look! My mess is fine because I’m ALL BETTER NOW! Ten steps to FREEDOM! Look at me, I’m FREE!” Sometimes it feels like it’s only okay to talk about your Cinderella story when you’re at the ball. When the tough, ugly parts are over. When everything is shiny and happily ever after, promise!!

But there is no ball. There is no point in which you stop working and just brush your long pretty hair and flit around, untouchable.”

And she’s so right.  We want there to be a distinct before and after.  I really want this to be the AFTER where I’ve got my act together and I feel great and wonderful all the time.  But no.

So I’ll acknowledge that I haven’t been around much for a while.  It’s been about a year and a half since the shit hit the fan.  It hasn’t been 100% bad ever since then, so don’t misunderstand, but it’s been harder than it’s been in a while.  And because I’ve kept it so private, I now remember what it was like before I came out of the bipolar closet. The secrets, having to make excuses, the false sense of shame–but having done nothing wrong.

I was hospitalized shortly after New Year’s Day last year.  First time in probably a decade.

Since then, I’ve had to scale back some things in my life that aren’t number one priorities and doing so with out giving much of an explanation…well some people can be real jerks.  Which is funny, because I’m sure if I’d been honest it could have been received with an understanding heart. Maybe.

I really wish this was the AFTER.  But it’s not. And that’s ok. Because that’s not how it works.

The same friend who sent me the article told me sometimes it’s hard to be brave. And she asked me “What would Glennon do?”

So here I am. Continuing to tell you my story.  (Because that’s what Glennon would do).

A couple weeks before Christmas 2013, rats got in my car.  Rats.  I’m so serious.  Like, my car was parked in the garage and overnight they went into the interior of my car and ate the shit out of everything. It was a nightmare.  It was disgusting, and you should have seen how upset the guy was at the carwash who had to detail my car.  My children ride in this car (it’s a minivan for crying out loud) and there was just a family of rats in there partying and living it up and destroying it.  It was disgusting and a total nightmare.

I was already nearing the edge of instability after two deaths in my family, as well as two family friends committing suicide–it was a rough year–and the stress and extremely strong emotions of rats, dirty filthy rats, in my space, just shoved me closer to the brink.

Around the same time as the rats, our six month old puppy, who we thought was a Catahoula-mixed breed, turned a little nasty.  Well, quite nasty.  He became really aggressive, snapping and snarling, trying to lunge at kids playing in the street when we’d take him on walks.  In the end, he tried to go after one of my sons and that was it.

The puppy, who was at least 55 pounds by then, was also showing signs of illness.  Just days before New Year’s Eve he had started to lose hair in one section of his back, and had large growths on his front paws.  Something was not right.  It was all happening so fast, everything was spiraling out of control.

I want to give a disclaimer here when I say: I DID ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING I COULD FOR MY ONCE VERY SWEET DOG.  So have mercy when you read what happened next.

I researched, called and spoke with many people about options for him.  But no one would take him.  Apparently no one wants to TAKE a dog.  Not when he’s aggressive, and sick.  And my husband and I felt it would be irresponsible to give him to a friend or even a stranger, because of his clearly aggressive behavior.  I had made an appointment, as a last resort, to take him to the SPCA but they couldn’t take him for ten days.  Then, after the incident with my son, the doggy ran out of chances and something had to happen immediately.  All answers pointed to one specific shelter, a large, well known shelter here in Houston.

I took him there, he lunged and growled at all the other people and the other dogs.  Something that was unlike him just days, barely even weeks earlier.

I loved him, he was mine.

Once it was our turn, the representative told me, in a very dull and matter-of-fact manner, that “He is aggressive, he is sick, he will be euthanized, it’s $50.”

Just like that.

It was devastating.  After fighting with the shelter staff, speaking to supervisors, and trying to do right by my dog and right by myself, I knew it was the only option, but more importantly it was (and I still believe it was) the right choice.  I cried some real tears that day. The look on that puppy’s face when I left him in the kennel stays with me.

Ninja Dog

It was definitely a turning point.  I remember a little bit about that night, New Year’s Eve, spending time at home with my darling husband.  We watched a movie and ate Chinese food.  The kids went to bed early.  I know I talked to my doctor twice over the next couple of days about the depression that was caving in on me and he sent me to the hospital.

But really, I don’t remember much of anything until January 5th.

I remember I was in a group session, in the hospital, and it was my turn and all I could do was cry about the guilt and how terrible I felt about the boys having a mother in the hospital.  (The guilt really sucks).

I hate the hospital, but it’s a good, concentrated time to get my meds right.  To get my mood right.  And it helped.  I was only there for about fours days and could notice a difference and was feeling better, which is amazing–and quick.

Getting out is hard.  In my experience, the first day you’re out can be (in it’s own way) as hard as the first day you’re in.  (Think about that).  My first day out was a disappointingly rough day, mentally.  It’s like, you’re feeling some level of “good” but then you get out, and you don’t feel so great all of the sudden.  You’ve been in this controlled, secluded environment with priorities and responsibilities directly surrounding your mental health. And now you’re out and the world smacks you in the face.  It’s just an adjustment.  And that’s ok.  Life and mental illness are not solved by a trip to the hospital.  Getting out is hard, but oh so good.  My husband and children are so beautiful and I loved seeing their perfect faces and hugging their precious necks.

Life moves on. With or with out you, it keeps going. And it was time to re-adjust and take better care of myself. So I had several triggers and shitty things happen, that’s life. Time to adjust, recoup and move on and to be healthy doing it.

I know drinking alcohol is bad for me. Drinking alcohol, especially on a regular basis is about as useful as not taking my meds. (So basically, it’s not useful AT ALL). So I spent every single day of 2014 alcohol free. Much to the surprise, amusement, curiosity and concern of my peers. Hardly anyone knew I was hospitalized, and I kept almost all of these related details private also. Most of my friends didn’t know it had been a wine-and-beer-free-year until the year was already over. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. I recommend it.

People sometimes want to know what it’s like to have bipolar disorder. It’s more than depression.  It’s more than mania. It’s a lot of things.  It’s the little things.  It’s the day-to-day things that no one knows about. It’s frustrating at the very least.  It’s incredibly inconvenient at the very, very least.  It really sucks to be feeling okay and to be loading the groceries into the back of the minivan at Costco and all the sudden feel an overwhelming depression wash over me.  And wanting to leave everything I just bought in the shopping cart and drive away as quickly as possible.

But of course I don’t.  I trudge on.  A lot of days are good, though. No trudging. Some days are joyful and happy and I truly love life. And then, some days, I’m trudging on through the daily task that someone with out bipolar also does, it’s just that I’m doing it with this extra weight.

Some days I feel steady, sturdy, stable. Not up, not down.  Just right.  And that’s the truth.  There’s a lot of days like that, thankfully. Sometimes I don’t even think about it.  I’m a person.  I’m a woman.  I’m a mom.  I’m a wife.  I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend.  I’m me.

It’s hard it is to admit I’m not in a permanent state of AFTER.  That everything’s not sunshine and daisies and Cinderella’s happily-ever-after-kind-of-feeling.  I wish I could say the world’s most encouraging words, but I don’t have that.  What I have is truth and reality. What I do have is the ability to share my story and to have compassion for others and perspective on life and people.  I know some days are good and some days are not.  I believe that by talking about dark secrets, bad times and by talking about my less than AFTER type of days, I can take away it’s power over me, leaving me victorious.


Filed under Advocate, Bipolar

Interview Series: Hilary T. Smith

Finally!  Here is the final interview from my Author Interview Series.  Hilary T. Smith, who wrote Welcome to the Jungle was kind enough to answer a few questions.  Please also check out her latest work, here.

Welcome to the Jungle Front Cover

1. I love what you say about the acceptance of meds. Here’s an excerpt that stands out to me;

“Ideally, the purpose of medication is to bring you back to a normal, familiar state of mind—back to your baseline mood. The purpose of medication isn’t to change your personality or turn you into someone you’re not, but allow you to be your fullest, happiest self without malfunctioning brain cells getting in the way. The perfect combination of meds should get you to a place where you sigh with relief and say, “I finally feel like myself again!”

In my opinion, the issue of medication is extremely controversial and is one of the many misunderstood aspects of bipolar disorder. In your experience, what is the most misunderstood aspect of bipolarity?

I’d like to start by saying that I wrote Welcome to the Jungle when I was twenty-three, and my understanding of mental illness and its treatment has shifted somewhat since then. Subjects like medication are much more complex than I presented them in WTTJ; although it would be nice to have a medication that eased your mania/depression while leaving every other aspect of yourself completely intact, that’s not how it tends to work.

With that in mind, I think the most widespread misunderstanding about mental illness in our culture right now is that it is a purely biological problem (those malfunctioning brain cells!) with little or no importance given to culture, family, lifestyle, environmental issues, and one’s own beliefs about oneself and the universe. In our rush to prescribe medication to make the bad feelings and behaviors go away, we leave the context unexamined and unquestioned.

For example, many people take sleeping pills because they can’t otherwise fall asleep at the “proper” time and are in danger of falling behind at their jobs. We have a (societally-produced) expectation that every person should sleep in a single eight hour block and get up for work at the same time each day. In a culture that valued working and resting at one’s own pace, would those people still need medication? Is the insomniac the one with a problem, or is it our industrialized society?

I won’t rant at you too long (oh wait, I already have!). Suffice to say, I think that context is crucial when discussing mental illness of any type.

2. I was diagnosed over eleven years ago, and have researched bipolar disorder extensively as well as am living it myself, and I find your book, Welcome to the Jungle, encouraging and enlightening. (Not to mention, I laughed out loud at your sarcasm and wit.) For example, “You didn’t get diagnosed with bipolar because you’re ugly or because the doctor doesn’t like you. Let’s face it— he’s uglier and his personality needs improving”


If you knew then—at your own diagnosis, what you know now, what piece of advice would you give your newly-diagnosed-self?

To be easier on myself.

Even now, I sometimes feel guilty and stressed that I can’t keep the same pace of life as “normal” people. If I have trouble sleeping for a few nights and lose a day or two of productivity, I feel bad about that–holding myself to a modern, industrialized standard I don’t even believe in–when what I ought to do is accept myself and know that I’m okay.

You’re not “bad” if you can’t work at 9-5 job, or if you need more sleep than other people, or if you don’t live the fast-paced life that seems so normal in our culture. You’re just you. I still need to tell myself that all the time.

3. What is the most important thing you want readers to get from your book, Welcome to the Jungle?

I want readers to feel like they have permission to question things and arrive at their own understanding of what is happening to them–and frankly, to use their imaginations. A mental illness diagnosis can be a devastating and disempowering experience, and it takes a long time to unpack it and figure things out. I want readers to have the critical tools necessary to make good decisions about things like medication and lifestyle changes–to least start that conversation.

4. Tell me about what helps you gain a healthy perspective in your day-to-day life?

Nature is an incredible friend. A few hours in the forest is a great way to get perspective on life. When you’re walking in the woods, everyday concerns start to look really superficial.

5. Tell about a time when the stigma of mental illness affected you.

Recently I was house hunting on craigslist, and was shocked to see roommate posts with comments like “no dogs, couples, or anti-depressants” and “we are a vegetarian, pharmaceutical-free household.” This is insulting whether or not you are taking psychiatric medication. It implies that people who are living under the label of bipolar or depression are necessarily going to be troublesome roommates, or are somehow inferior to their “pharmaceutical-free” counterparts.

Our current housing laws make it very hard for people living with serious mental illnesses to find safe, stable shelter. We’ve made it practically illegal to live on a low income; there is far too little affordable housing, and you can’t pitch a tent in the woods without getting harrassed. People who could otherwise find ways to cope and live with dignity are criminalized. If you can’t or won’t play by the rules of industrialization, there’s no place for you. That’s a tragedy.

6. Who inspires you (and why)?

I’m inspired by anyone who lives with compassion for all people.

7. What does STABILITY mean to you?

Stability means living in right relation to your values; knowing where you stand; not chasing after all the “shoulds” society pressures you to pursue; flowing with changes; feeling love for yourself and all others. For me, that has nothing to do with bipolar.


Thanks again to all of the authors who participated and worked with me!

Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Mrs Bipolarity, Uncategorized, Writer

Demi Lovato on GMA

So happy to see Demi Lovato on Good Morning America speaking about her experience with bipolar disorder AND she has a new book out called “Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year

I love to see this.  Click on the picture to check out the interview.  Blue hair and all.

demi lovatoThankful,

Mrs Bipolarity

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Remember NFL player Brandon Marshall who was fined for wearing green shoes in a game last year–in honor of mental health awareness week? 

Now look what he and his wife have done! His wife, Michi Marshall, has partnered with OPI (love me some OPI) to create a new lime green color for mental illness!


Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 6.47.17 AM Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 6.47.25 AMFor his entire Instagram post click here:

Need some nail polish? Why yes, I believe I do!

Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Mrs Bipolarity

Happy Birthday to

Today marks one year here at!

It’s been a great year and I genuinely thank you all for your support.


And although it’s been a great year, today is a bittersweet day for me. I attended the memorial service for a beautiful woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend… And so many things to so many people.

In the words of her mother “Bipolar disorder didn’t get the best of her. Her family, friends and loved ones got her best!”

It is however a stark reminder of why we need to fight stigma and educate people about mental illness!

Join me in celebrating life, recovery and stability. But let’s also celebrate the storms in life for they also make us who we are.

Continuing to fight the fight!

Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Mrs Bipolarity, Uncategorized

How Are You Doing? Bipolar Edition

Some one just asked me how I’m doing.  How I’m doing…in life.  Like, in general.  How is my life going in relation to my bipolar disorder.  A fairly simple question;  “How are you doing?”

But in my head there was a BAZZILLION different angles to respond and ways to answer.

How am I?  What do you mean, HOW AM I?  Do I start at birth or from when I was diagnosed as bipolar?  Oh no, wait, should I start at when I started showing signs of bipolar disorder?

Either way, I’m still trying to answer the question.

“How are you?”

Well.  Um.  I’m good.

I’m genuinely happily married with three adorable kids.  I have a place to live that more than meets my needs.  I have a psychiatrist who is FAH-bulous.  Family and friends who are awesome. My prescriptions are currently working well for me.  God is awesome.  I’m good.


I’m good.


But it hasn’t always been that way.  I was diagnosed in 2002.  Started to get a glimpse of stability in 2004ish and by 2005ish things really lined up.  My husband is my constant.  He keeps me grounded, together and reminds me of who I am.  He gets me.  He understands that even when I’m depressed it’s absolutely not an inadequacy on his part, but an inadequacy on the part of the chemicals in my brain, those little shits.

Pregnancies where hard.  Yah.  But that’s to be expected, I think, not taking the same medications I normally did.  That’s hard and a huge adjustment.  Not to mention hormones.  Oh the HORMONES.

But, I’m good.  I mean, I think I’m alright.

I always used to say “I’m stable” but what is stability? I mean REALLY. What is it?  I thought I knew.  I think I know… How long do you have to feel “good” to then be allowed to say you’re stable?  Now, I’m careful how I say that.  I’ve learned.  Sometimes it feels like life’s balance is teetering at the edge…maybe into stability…whoa whoa…and now BAM into a depression so deep you can’t see straight, or a mania so high you can’t stop soaring (in a bad way).

So when someone asks me how I am, referring to my bipolar, I guess the answer is… I’m still here?  I’m good.  I’m still fighting.  I’m good.  Each day is a new day.  I’m good.  I can still count my blessings. I’m good.  On the good days, it’s easy to say… I’m good.  And on rough days I can still remind myself that THIS. WILL. PASS.  I’m good.

Are you…good?

Able to say I’m good,

Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Mrs Bipolarity

World Bipolar Day-March 30

Today is World Bipolar Day!

Y’all, this is what it’s all about!  Spreading the word of truth about bipolar disorder. I started to share my story and to talk about the reality of mental illness.

I want people to know what bipolar disorder REALLY is, and to fight the stigma that’s so heavily associated with mental illness. We’ve got to fight it!

Please feel free to share your story or tell me what World Bipolar Day means to you!

World Bipolar Day

Your Advocate,

Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Mrs Bipolarity, Uncategorized

A Fear of Being Well

It was my first psychiatrist, who told me I had a “fear of being well” and honestly, I thought that was absurd.  But to some extent, looking back I can see I was clinging to bipolar disorder as my identity. It was all I knew, and who was I with out it?

Unfortunately, I didn’t know who I was with it either.  It sounds kind of gross to me. And kind of ridiculous for me to cling to such mayhem and dysfunction!  However, it’s common (I know that, now) and it was definitely true for me, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

He was right. But, instead of clinging to the “fear of wellness,” how amazing it is to cling to the desire of stability?  To cling to the hard work of obtaining stability and to eventually cling to stability?

Easier said than done?  Yes.  Perhaps so.

Worth the work?  YES!

These are three of the top practical things to cling to:

1. Communicating with your doctor.  I cannot express this enough.  I say it all the time.  I feel very strongly about it.  Be you own advocate!

2. Healthy relationships. Out with the old, in with the healthy. It’s true that other people, negative, and abusive people will bring you down.  Don’t let them do it.  Change your phone number.  Do what it takes.


3. Taking your meds, and taking them as prescribed.  ‘Nuff said.  Ok, actually, I have more to say.  Take your meds as they’re intended to be taken.  If you don’t like something, tell your doctor immediately.  (See #1). If you’re not taking them properly they’re basically useless, so take ’em right! Do it. And do it right.

Don’t let fear of anything, especially a fear of wellness, get a grip on you!

Hang in there friends, it’s worth it,

Mrs Bipolarity

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Blog For Mental Health 2014

It’s pretty simple really.  I’ve committed this blog towards mental health and by joining this project I’m publicly declaring it.  If you don’t know me yet, I’m a thirty-one year old wife and mom of three darling boys.  I was diagnosed in 2002 with Bipolar Disorder. It took me a couple of years, several medications, and two doctors to find a level of stability that I’ve managed most of the time since then.  This blog is about me.  It’s about bipolar disorder.  There’s some unsolicited advice thrown in.  I talk about God, and how great He is.  I try to be upbeat and encouraging without being fake.  Life is hard sometimes and sometimes you just gotta be real.  And that’s what you can expect from me.  (Maybe a little sarcasm too).

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

Blog for Mental Health 2014

Please click this link to participate in the Blog For Mental Health 2014 project and join a community of basically a gazillion amazing people (don’t quote me on that number) who are blogging to eradicate stigma and to educate people on mental illness.  Do it.


Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Advocate, Mrs Bipolarity, Stigma, Writer

It’s a Year End Recap

How does one recap an entire year?

To recap a year seems impossible.  This year was so good yet so rough.  For fear of sounding like a total sap I won’t tell you that no matter how crappy some life events may be, and how trying and tumultuous my moods might get, as long as I have my husband to live life with, it’s alright with me.  (It’s good I’m not sappy, much).  I’m thankful for my immediate and extended family and dear friends and never want to lose sight of the blessing that they are.

We had two deaths in the family only a few months apart.  And random series’ of events that were little…but big at the same time.   I believe no matter the scale of the event, stress and worry definitely affect my mood.  I had several triggers this year that threw my mood into a funk at best, and a tailspin at worst.  As always I communicated with my psychiatrist to keep my mental state healthy!  It’s a ongoing “battle.”  Some days it’s a walk in the park and some days it truly is a fight for survival.  But it’s worth it.  Worth the fight.  ALWAYS.

In January, my grandfather passed away.  I was able to see him shortly before he passed.  It was a beautiful last memory, as far as these things go.  I have peace.  Our twins turned two in February and in March our fourth baby niece was born– A MAJOR HIGHLIGHT of the year.  Sweet precious girl, we adore her so!  April was a big deal because Mrs Bipolarity was born! April was also the month my Grandmother passed away. Sad times. Hospice is hard and I struggled with my mood. May… what happened in May…?, and on to June when our oldest son turned four years old.  How did that happen?  I have no idea how time goes this fast!  July… I might have turned thirty-one but I’m not confirming anything.  Autumn rapidly approached and my annual cycle of depression started lurking.  Plenty of “mini-trauma” (as I call things some of the things that trigger my mood).  Finally, Christmas and New Years sneaked up on me and here I am.  Still standing up–neither strong nor week–but at least I’m standing up!

One of the highlights of 2013 was coming out of the bipolar closet.  One of the best things I’ve decided to do.  I know it’s helped a lot of people, and that’s why I do it.  I do this to help people and to fight stimga.  When I get discouraged, and think about stopping–someone comes to me with a story of encouragement and reminds me how worth while this journey is…and onward I march.

Thank you.  Each of you, reading this now.  I thank you.

mrs bipolarity head2013 was full of high-highs and low-lows of life, but I think everyone (bipolar or not) experiences that! I wish you contentment (because that’s better than happiness), stability (whatever that looks like to you), peace (because who doesn’t want peace?), self-awareness (you betta recognize!), the tools to fight this never ending fight, and above all I wish you to find what you’re looking for and that God blesses you richly in 2014.

Happy, Happy New Year,

All my best,

Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Mrs Bipolarity, Uncategorized