It's been nearly three years since I started Bipolar Courage, when I was expressing setbacks writing my semiautobiographical novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. I was in a depressive episode when I started this blog, as a distraction and a tangent. My first blog post was about how I get through depression.
Then, I started vlogging as Bipolar Courage. To date, my only edited video on the channel has over 32,000 views. It showed in 7 minutes elevation into mania (a compilation from over a month).
The rest of the videos, over 700 of them, according to YouTube, are raw, unedited and improvised. It was less stressful for me to improvise, as then it was less of a performance, so less anxiety. Processing something that I felt I needed to process. Very similar to how I do my therapy, only I talk with more detail about more private stuff to my psychologist.
My therapeutic journey with my psychologist will be ending sometime this year. After two years. I have processed most of the trauma now.
I recently edited the captions in English for some of the most viewed videos. This is very time consuming and intensive. I didn't make any money from YouTube. It was a mutually beneficial exercise - for myself to process and to share what I've learned and for viewers who appreciated my insights.
People have said to me that it's amazing I am so productive. I look more productive than I actually am. I have limited energy, in bursts, so I can't keep up the advocacy while also working on my books. I have pretty much said everything I need to say in that format now anyway.
I still have bipolar disorder (rapid cycling, type 1) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but they are more manageble now. I still get triggered, have times when I experience suidical ideation, have high and low moods, have shutdowns, but they are less intense and mostly less obvious to others.
I am still unable to work full time. I still have permanent impairment and disability. I am still on a low income. I am still a vulnerable person.
After some recent events including cyberbullying and being knocked back by ACC for compensation for PTSD (they acknowledged I have PTSD yet dismissed at the same time, by assessing me below threshold, for stupid reasons such as that I wrote a book), I am burnt out.
ACC did pay for my therapy though, which only came about because a psychologist strongly advocated for me. It's tough to fight a system that is set up to fight the vulnerable.
I am familiar with burn out as I experience it pretty much chronically but it flares up more at times. I am burnt out with my part-time job. I have started three weeks leave from work.
My employer visited me recently (I work remotely as a part-time merchandiser) as she was worried about me (I recently needed a week off work with a mood crash). We agreed that I have tried too hard to be conscientious and I need to make sure I take a few weeks leave at least every 6 months.
I have worked for this company for nearly 3 years and this is the first time I have taken more than a week off at a time.
It's hard to let go of messages drummed into me when I was younger that I am being lazy if I need a holiday, rest, sleep-in and self-care. It has been something I have gradually been learning to do: self-care. Including sleep, shower, self-massage, walk, music, creative hobbies like painting.
I have demonstrated improvising some paintings on Bipolar Courage (YouTube). My psychologist said the painting of Flossie Fluff was interesting as it showed the full mood shift from shutdown and depressed to elevated and euphoric. The intense processing was like running a marathon. I don't try be a professional artist as art is my therapy and trying to churn out what people want is just another recipe for more burnout.
It's been very hard for me to let go of the advocacy journey. I expressed my frustration and my being triggered with the ACC compensation process - which has dragged out for nearly a year. Abuse of power and unfair dismissal are some of my biggest triggers.
Social media, my art and my books are some ways that I have had a voice, when denied a voice. I am exhausted. I need a rest. My advocacy journey is pretty much over.
I am taking a small holiday this week to visit my sister. I hope to visit a wildlife sanctuary and photograph some birds I've never seen before. Perhaps even some tuatara. Also hope to meet up with an online friend who has had similar yet different struggles to me.
Then continue writing my books. I hope to publish my second memoir, Bipolar Courage this year. It is mainly about an intense connection with an autistic man, that came about because of my advocacy journey. I already know what the story; it just takes me a long time to process and compile it to reveal what I want to reveal about the connection of two complex individuals.
Then, I want to continue writing Soar Purpose, the sequel to Pet Purpose. Somewhere in between, I want to upload some of my amateur bird and flight themed photography from my walks to my new website soarpurpose.com. I also want to continue reconnecting with playing piano. I don't have the energy to do lots of things, so shift between limited projects.
I will announce when I publish my memoir Bipolar Courage, but otherwise, my advocacy journey has come to an end. It's time to let go.
I turn 50 this year and I hope to publish Bipolar Courage before my birthday. I self-publish so that my voice is not altered and I don't have the added pressure of deadlines. It takes as long as it takes. Soar Purpose will probably take a few more years. Such challenging projects and the compelling need to tell my stories keep me here.
Thank you to those who have supported and encouraged me in this journey.
HOw I have been today
I expect this will be my last video and blog post until I announce publishing Bipolar Courage. It has been a process of shifting gears to new projects.
Xanthe finds creative expression including writing and painting to be therapeutic and helps her to manage her diagnoses of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).