What this really is…is a love letter to myself.
I have bipolar disorder. I know it’s just a sentence but it took me an entire year of chewing those words in my mouth to finally spit that out.
And they were bitter to taste. But bitterness is good for nothing. It leads nowhere. But I tucked it into bed with me every night; I let it keep me warm. I let it keep me from getting close to others, and I let it invade every thought.
For the longest time, I was in perfect denial. I was so convinced that it was a weakness within me. Something that I could weed out, shake out like the dirty dregs at the bottom of a coffee cup. I managed to blame it on everything and everyone around me. It was my friend’s fault that I got so unnecessarily angry, it was the place I was living; it was the school I went to.
So I wandered, fitting myself into some corner of the world, trying to make sense of it, convincing myself that I was absolutely all right. But no matter where I went or who I met, this disease, this illness vested itself within me, growing like fungus.
For those of you who don’t know, bipolar is shifting between the extreme of depression and mania. It’s sort of like I’m on a suspension bridge of total normalcy, and the balance teeters one way or the other every few times. Depression is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.
I wish there was a way to explain the depth of the misery I feel when I am depressed. I am unable to leave my bed. I am unable to feel any semblance of motion, of motivation. It’s like being dead when you’re alive. And I become insomniac, watching the sun come up and set with a sleep schedule that knows no schedule.
There were mornings when my heart broke thirty times before I even left my bed.
I just begin to feel distorted…like I am drowning. And I curl into a ball like a child, afraid of the world, cynical, and exhausted with every moment.
The sadness hits me with the fervor of knives and the ferocity of hail, ripping my skin apart. It is a raging sea, salty on existing wounds and creating cavities where there were none before.
But that’s just what it feels like on the inside.
On the outside, I appear fine. Maybe even normal. I muster enough strength to keep going, because I know it’ll end. Despite everything, I keep going because I am waiting for the normalcy, and maybe even the mania.
I don’t have extreme mania, but I do have hypomania. That’s a milder version, thank goodness.
If depression is the worst thing, then mania is the best thing that has happened to me. Or that’s what it feels like anyway.
It’s like being drunk on every delight of the world. That’s when comedy lines come to me so easily, like they’re physically forcing their way into my brain. That’s when my creativity explodes, splattering ink everywhere. That’s when my thoughts begin to race and I am riding at the top of the sky. Everything is sunlit and sparkling.
I am heat and heart.
I am fireworks and hot coffee.
I am the view that takes your breath away on your morning jog.
I am hyperbolic. I want to constantly be overwhelmed by things.
I am superwoman, I am glorious, I am arrogant, I am confident. I am everything. I am alive with every element of my body. My self-esteem breaks through roofs. I am shaking with thoughts, with ideas. I grow five thousand arms that are able to carry the weight of everything, even the weight of the world. Everything I think turns into poems and I begin to have rambling thoughts that run into each other like jagged rocks and I drive three hundred miles to the beach just to watch the sun rise and I could run three thousand miles in a second and I could spit fire from the gathering of grit that are my thoughts until I burst at the seam into explosions.
And when your heart is beating so very fast, it’s hard to hold onto anything at all.
This is the relentless buzz I ride until normalcy takes over…and then my depression hits again.
But I’m sick of writing about pain.
I don’t want pity but I want understanding.
It took me so long to realize that I wasn’t crazy, that I wasn’t worthless, that I deserved happiness like any other ordinary human being. Because that is what I am. A human being.
Depression isn’t sadness and mania isn’t happiness. They are parts of me, an illness I have that medication and therapy can save and has saved even in the past semester.
I am already doing so much better.
I’m writing this because this is something that we as a society and as a community need to talk about.
You see, Indian girls don’t get depressed, they don’t have mental illnesses. Even my own family is wary of accepting something so extreme, so alien to them.
But isn’t that what I am? Alien? Alien in India because I am too American, and alien in America because I am too Indian. Alien because I am too much of a tomboy to be a girl and too much of a girl to be with the boys. Too loud, too rebellious, too complicated, too open, too foul-mouthed, too angry, too clumsy, never dainty, never put-together, never submissive, never whole.
Being told that your pain is not real, is not normal, is unjustified does little to efface it. Because trust me, it feels real. It hurts, it takes a toll on your sleep, your appetite, your concentration, and your relationships.
We as a society need to talk about mental illness more, need to address that it’s perfectly alright to have. It is perfectly normal. It is never the person’s fault. And it can be treated and assuaged just like a broken leg or a more serious cancer can.
We need to openly acknowledge it because millions of people suffer from it. And some of those people are on this very campus.
What this really is…is a love letter to myself.
I had a really freaking hard year. So many doctor visits, so many hours of self-doubt, so many stumbles that I pulled through because of the good grace of my wonderful friends and family.
Everything around me seemed to catch on fire but yet I survived. Even though all I could do for a while was stand still, and run my fingers through the ruins.
I was quiet eyes and mute lips. I was tiptoeing around myself, afraid of revealing any sign of messy, afraid of letting anyone know that I was hurt, and that I needed help. Thinking that I was weak when I was the strong one all along.
This is a love letter to myself because I am so strong. Stronger than anyone will ever know.
Optimistic despite the tirade of negative thoughts that hit me like bullets. I am taller, even after all the nights I spent curled in a corner, crying without an excuse, with a small frame in my mind that knew that I had something to live for.
This is a love letter to myself because I went through hell and I came out the hero of the story. I picked myself up, learned how to breathe. Inhale. Exhale.
I kept going, I tried my hardest and I survived.
This is a love letter to myself because I love myself.
I love myself. I know it’s just a sentence but it took me an entire year of chewing those words in my mouth to finally spit that out.
If you have your own personal story to share, you can do so anonymously at artofmentalhealth.com
I Am a Ukrainian - Support the Ukrainian People
German designer Anke Domaske and her fashions made from milk
"We have developed an all-natural fiber consisting of a very high concentration of casein, with a few other national ingredients—and in only two years,"
The fabric, called Qmilch - which merges quality with the German word for milk, not only feels good but it is actually beneficial to one’s health.
(Source: New York Daily News)
ALL LOVE IS EQUAL is a Kickstarter-funded project that depicts same-sex couples in various countries. Braden Summers traveled the world creating work in the UK, France, India, Lebanon, Brazil and the U.S.
"A large driving force behind creating this series was actually less about affecting the gay community directly, and more about giving the general population a way to relate to gay imagery which is devoid of sex, victimization, or banality - themes that might usually prevent some folks from connecting."
From Amnesty International Switzerland
I wish there was a way to explain the depth of misery I feel now.
I wish there was a way to share it truthfully without silence engulfing sentences, erasing them like they never existed.
I just start to feel distorted.
I begin to gasp for air like I’m drowning.
And I’m so scared. I’m so scared. I’m so scared.
Because I know this will end, that the memory of it will shrink like dirty water evaporated, without leaving a stain.
But I know it’ll come back.
It’ll come back with the ferocity of hail and the fervor of knives.
I know it’ll come back to rage inside me like the monster of an enveloping sea, so salty on my wounds, so bitter in it’s power, and so mighty… enough to submerge me whole.
And the worst thing is I’ll never drown.
No matter how hard I try to, my body wills me to make me resist.
And so I do until I wash up on the shore, defeated and minute but so painfully and resolutely alive.
And what would be so horrible about a final and succumbing sleep that will put the wheels of my wind to an infinite rest?
That will keep them from gearing like sandpaper against the gritty dust of thoughts?
That will give me a sweet taste of sensible mercy?
Kayden’s first time experiencing rain (x)
"Another global shift in awareness and consciousness occurred on December 7, 1972 when the crew of Apollo 17 spacecraft took a photo of Earth from outer space. It showed us all how relatively small, fragile, and interconnected our home is. It is one of the most widely distributed photographs in history." -Wilford Welch, Tactics of Hope: How Social Entrepreneurs Are Changing Our World
Fortesa Latifi - Boys Will Be Boys
(And Why That Is The Stupidest Thing You Could Ever Say To A Little Girl)
While walking around on the High Line, my friend and I came across this lovely guy typing away at the bench. There was a buzz of people around him.
What the roving typist, or to use his real name C.D. Hermelin does is type short and memorable stories for people to take with them.
If you walk around the city, you’ll see a lot of little businesses like this one differentiating themselves on the venue or the product. This guy is able to set himself apart by offering people stories. Everyone loves stories.
He’s got a typewriter, an imagination, and the perfect setting -sunset on the High Line. Hope he’s raking in the cash.
a version of you
How many brilliant writers do you think are out there who never enter writing competitions? Or cinematographers that simply direct their fantasies on their begrudging ride to their monotonous job? How many artists leave their paintings in the basement while they balance their budget to make next month’s rent? How many small businesses don’t get the right amount of money to introduce themselves truly to the world? How many people are out there who’ve never seen the world outside of books and magazines and their own dreams because they’ll honorably put it back for their families and their jobs and their proper life route?
It’s so frustrating to think that there’s a version of you that could exist if it had gone all right. There’s a version of your life where you did have the guts to tell someone you love them, a version of you where you quit your job and opened that restaurant, a version of you that didn’t let a friendship die out of pride and time. If it had been a second later when you received that e-mail or phone call, if it had been the right temperature, if it had been the right bar you went to, or the right town you moved to. Then that version that could’ve…would’ve been real.
But then you might be wondering what the other version that slipped your grasp had in hold for you. Maybe there is no right version. Maybe this is the right version. Maybe you’ll make this the right version.