I originally wrote this blog post in December 2018. Reposting here as I won't be renewing the domain name on the other blog. I published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice in 2021.
It's now 8am. Alarm has gone off for me to take my morning meds. Usually I would crash back into a deep sleep. But currently I've been in hypomania and awake since 2am being productive with creative projects. I woke up early a few days ago and typed for 6 hours straight writing the first draft of the final chapter for my semiautobiographical novel, Pet Purpose. Usually I struggle to get out of bed before midday because of how bipolar 1 disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and my medication affects me.
I originally wrote this blog post in January 2019 on another blog. Moved to here after deciding not to renew the domain name. I completed my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice in 2021, which took a long time as it involved weaving in meaningful coincidences.
This kind of thing happens to me frequently - meaningful coincidences aka synchronicities. I find them fascinating. But them my analytical mind starts wondering if I'm getting manic again because they happened A LOT when I was in a mania episode - think something or hear it in a song then something would happen at the EXACT same time that fit it. So then I believed I could see the future. It felt very spiritual.
My brain is currently struggling to be organised enough to speak or write, so I will probably keep this short. Because I am exhausted and I have been getting breakthrough mania and mixed episode symptoms. And also because I am waiting for sedation to kick in enough for me to go back to sleep as emergency self-care.
I grew up in a fundamentalist christian church that preached that illness was demon possession and oppression. They also preached that gays were going to hell and other things that I don't believe in anymore.
Many years later I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, which has episodes of full mania and severe depression. I have also been diagnosed with PTSD from trauma. When I was involved with the church, I was a very sincere Christian. When I had euphoric highs, I was told I was filled with the Holy Spirit. It certainly felt very spiritual. When a psychiatrist first asked me if I had 'highs' I told them that it was God. People in the pentecostal church I grew up in enjoyed getting 'high' on God. When I was suffering from internal torture and distress, I was told it was demons and that I needed 'deliverance' (exorcism).
I had a big bipolar mania episode two years ago. I'm still recovering. I told my psychiatrist that the medications were like putting a bucket under the Huka Falls. The Huka Falls is a powerful waterfall in Taupo, New Zealand that could fill an Olympic sized swimming pool in sections. You can hear the roar before you see it. The intensity and energy of emotions being released that had been shut down with PTSD was so powerful that it was a huge challenge to try to harness.
Today I burned 15 journals I'd filled during a bipolar mania episode nearly two years ago. I flicked through them and condensed the essence of the journals into one page of some of what mania with trauma was like. I have been diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and they amplify each other. I was back on medications but it took MONTHS to try to get the mania under control. I've summarised some of what it was like below, based on skim-reading the journals before I burned them:
Today I burnt 15 journals. Journals I had written during months of a mania episode after going back on medications for bipolar 1 disorder two years ago. I was encouraged by my psychiatrist to journal rather than blurt out all my disjointed thoughts on Facebook. So I filled over 20 books, mostly school exercise books and scrapbooks with colourful scribblings, often in felt tip pen rather than biro.
I had felt an extreme need to express myself at the time. I understood what I wrote, but it would have been complete nonsense to anyone else. Trauma was a recurring theme in amongst all the mind-maps, associations and symbolism. I was trying to process my trauma and calm my racing brain. Often my brain was racing too fast and was too disorganised to write, so I painted brightly coloured abstracts instead.
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).