I Am Bipolar

“Now there's some sad things known to man
But ain't too much sadder than
the tears of a clown
When there's no one around” – Smokey Robinson

When I first heard those lyrics they did nothing for me.  Just another oldies song from my parents’ youth that I enjoyed.  Of course I was too young to understand what those words actually meant. 

My parents did the best they could at the time, I do realize that now.  Having to raise six kids not everyone was going to get equal attention.  By the time I was old enough to start helping out around the house my three older siblings were out on their own which left me as the oldest in the house.

My little brother and I were as opposite as could be.  On the surface I was the calm one and he was super hyper.  We also had nephews who were just as wild as the Tasmanian Devil.  To say we pushed my mother to the edge of breaking would be an understatement.  My mother was strong enough to endure the stress we caused her, however, I can not say the same for one of my favorite aunts.

All I knew was that she was “sick” and we should pray for her.  My mother had told me that she had enough problems with those younger than me so I wasn’t allowed to have problems.  I was the good child and I needed to help her.  I love my mother so of course I said yes.  Now the meaning of the lyrics became clear to me.

I became that clown.  My grandmother use to say, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  My family loves to laugh and I figured if I could be the cause of that laughter it could serve as medication for me as well.

Even though I was surrounded by people I often felt alone.  I felt I did not fit into my own family.  For years, once I found out what it meant, I actually thought I was adopted because I was so different.

When everyone wanted to run around and play outside, I wanted to sit and read a book.  When it rained and everyone complained about the weather I loved it and would be out in it if I could.  Everyone else could sleep for hours and I could never sleep longer than four hours.

I learned to burry my feelings deep inside.  I kept them bottled up as I projected a happy persona to the world.  I was helping.  My mother never had to worry about me, I took care of myself as well as those I was responsible for, my younger siblings, my nieces and nephews.  As the years went on the list grew and I was willing to do it if it meant keeping my mother sane.

Upon entering high school, unknown to anyone, I had attempted to kill myself three times, thinking the world would be a better place without me in it and no one would notice anyway.  As tough as I pretended to be on the outside, inside I was a coward.  Make no mistake, unless you have been to that point, you have no idea what real strength it takes to follow through on the act of suicide.  For those brave enough to succeed, I feel at peace for them, their suffering is no more.

Because I became an expert in hiding my feelings I was able to spot others attempting to do the same.  I knew what they were feeling and wanted them to know they were not alone.  I became a shoulder to cry on, and ear to talk to, a hand to pull them back from the ledge.  Helping others, all the while, unable to help myself, living in a constant state of fear.

That deep cold dark fear exist to this day.  After everything I’ve been through from those days to now, learning that I have clinical depression and bipolar disorder, learning how to control it, without medication, I thought I had overcome that fear.  One night, during a family discussion, I found out that that cold overwhelming fear never goes away.

A family friend had mention that his mother and sister has bipolar.  It was stated by my family that if someone who has bipolar is not taking medication then they are a danger to themselves and others.  When I heard that my stomach dropped to floor and an ice cold chill ran up my spine.  Fear wrapped around me and bundled me tightly in its grasp.  I was afraid, genially afraid in the one place I should have felt safe, surround by the people I should never fear.

My life from childhood to present flashed before my eyes in an instant, fear threatening to consume me.  Suddenly anger took over, quickly burning away that fear.  I was ready to explode, but that was due to having anger issues that is deeply rooted in my family.  I was ready to fight, a product of both sides of my parent’s families.  I was being pulled in many different directions, a product of my bipolar.  All of this in a time span of five seconds.

“I have bipolar,” I found myself saying.  “And I don’t take medication for it.”

Silence filled the air briefly then the conversation continued on, with me sitting back not saying another word on the subject.  It took three days for that fear to subside but I realized that it’s still there, lingering in the shadows of my mind, never to leave me.  I took a deep breath and a few other realizations came to me.

I know that some people do need medication, they can not function without it.  Others, however, do not.  It’s easier to take the medication and go through life without seeing the real world around you but what kind of life is that?

I am friends with both types of bipolar.  One needs the medication.  I can tell when it’s not taken because there is a slight change in attitude and while most people will never see that change, it’s clear to me as night and day.

Another friend was in that state of the world passing by.  Trusting the doctor, medication that was not needed was being taken.  Just like any dependency, there were withdraws as they slowly came off the meds, having them reduced.  It was an adjustment but a weight was being lifted as they understood they were not alone when they needed to weather a storm.

Either option does not take away the fear we live with.  Will those I love understand when I say I’m bipolar or will they look at me like the monster I know myself to be?  Will those I interact with daily treat me differently, afraid themselves of what they do not understand?  Worst yet, will I be taken away somewhere, locked up like a caged animal, no longer a human being?

These fears are very real for us but another thing I realized, we need to educate non M.I.s about our condition.  We do not need to live in fear because living in fear is not living at all.

Whatever your M.I. do not keep it to yourself, tell someone.  Talk about it, answer questions they may have.  You will feel a huge weight lifted if you do.  I know it’s hard, it’s hard for me, but we can do it.  I’m tired of living in fear, aren’t you?

Depression


Artist Solar-citrus made this meaningful comic about depression and how it can effect anyone, anywhere. Don't be afraid to talk about it and seek help if needed, and don't forget those around you may be suffering in silence. Here are a few more important words from the artist followed by the comic...


“You would be surprised with how many people in your life could be going through depression at this very moment. People hide it like a paper bag over their heads out of fear of being judged, made fun of, seen as weak, or just not taken seriously. Depression should not be taken lightly, it holds us down from our purpose and potential in life. Those who tell you that it doesn’t exist have never experienced depression in their life, therefore not understanding the symptoms and how it’s something that cannot be fixed in a day! So if you think you are depressed or if you think you know someone else who is, please talk to a friend, a family member, or anyone else in your life that you trust - never overlook the possibility of seeing a doctor for more professional help!! Your feelings are real, your feelings are shared upon millions. Don’t hide it, talk to someone about it. With the right help, you can rediscover your confidence and begin life anew with our undying love and support!


We are right here!!”









 

I Am An American


“I'm tired of being labeled. I'm an American. I'm not an African-American. I'm an American. I mean, I don't know where my roots go to. I don't know how far back they go. ... I don't know what country in Africa I'm from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana. I'm an American, and that's a colorless person, because we're all people. I have lots of things running through my veins.”

Recently Raven Symone made the comment above and has been attacked by the Black Community.  I find this sad but have to call into question as to why they are attacking her.

First of all people, you need to understand the difference between NATIONALITY vs ETHNICITY because there is a huge difference.

Nationality is where you were born.  It’s where you are from or where you call home.  Nationality can be changed because, as I said, it’s where you call home.

Ethnicity is your race and despite what people want to believe there are only three races: Asian, Black, and Caucasian.  When you learn the difference you won’t sound so stupid when you try to use labels, because after all, we are all human beings.

I have always like Raven, she is a great comedian and actress.  American fell in love with her on the Cosby show and from the sounds of it, she fell in love with America as well.  She came up in a time when you were PROUD to be called an American, when it meant something.

I agree with Raven, I am a human being and I am an American.  If you feel the need to add any more to that than you need to take a hard look at yourself and ask why?  If you use anything else in front of “American” then go ahead and stop at that word and leave American off, because if you are an American then there is nothing else that matters. I AM AN AMERICAN AND I AM PROUD TO SAY SO.

#IAMANAMERICAN #ravensymone

God Bless America


"God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home."
 
When I was a kid I was told it was against my religion to pledge to the flag but I should always respect it. I did as I was told.

Until I was in the 5th grade I had thought God Bless America was our National Anthem. Being the 80s I was told by all my adult figures how I was suppose to hate Russia. One teacher even told me those dirty Russians wanted to kill me, a kid, because I was a free American.

I learned to love my country, take pride in her, and know in my heart we lived in the best place in the world.

When we did "Duck and Cover" drills I was scared but my teacher would sing, God Bless America, and it soothed me like a protective blanket. I don't know if it was the lyrics or her voice but the song ALWAYS chokes me up to this day.

When I think about the lyrics today, however, I'm filled with a mixture of pride and sadness. My child will not know the same pride I felt at her age. Day after day I see my country slowly dying. She's bleeding out and it seems that no one can stop it.

We were great once so what happened? Where did we go wrong? Standing up to stupidity and bullies use to be a good thing yet now, the cry babies have taken over.

Advice I got from my parents, aunts and uncles use to be to STOP being a cry baby but now that's all we see.

I want my country back. I am an AMERICAN damn it! and that still means something to me.
#IAMANAMERICAN

From A Pilot's Point of View

Sitting in the cockpit of an aircraft, getting ready for takeoff. Your fingertips gently glide across the wheel, touching every smooth curve of the handles, firmly gripping it as your other hand drifts down toward the throttle.
A shutter flows through your body at the touch of the throttle. All this power at your fingertips and you are in control. Slowly you push forward, increasing the power to the engines. At first they whine, asking what is going on but just as quickly they are silenced at the knowledge that soon they will be where they belong, in the air.
You have been cleared to take the runway. It’s time to visit your second home, the clear blue sky. Excitement fills your soul as you pull onto the numbers at the end of the runway, the starting point for this journey. You’ve done this a thousand times before but the small flutter in the pit of your stomach makes you feel like it’s the first time all over again.
Quickly your mind races as you complete your checklist. You are moments away from flight, yet it seems like an eternity. There are hundreds of things that can go wrong but they are out of your control. You focus on the one thing that matters, taking flight.
You hear those magical words, “You’re clear for takeoff.” Moment of truth, time to fly. You push the throttle forward as far as it will go. The engines spring to life, roaring with excitement. The aircraft bounces up and down with joy, begging you to take your feet off the brakes so it can take to the sky.
“Not yet,” you whisper, knowing the power needs to build up just a bit longer. The time has come, the power is up, it’s time to set this bird free.
You release the brakes. The plane thrust forward, picking up speed with each passing second. The ground speeds behind you until it’s just a blur. Gently the aircraft lifts off the ground on its own, giving you permission to pull back on the wheel. Slowly, gently you take to the sky, flying, gliding through the air. Higher and higher you climb.
A sigh of relief escapes your lips as you turn gently away from the runway. You can’t help but smile as the sky welcomes you home with open arms.

The Storyteller

I ...believe the art of Storytelling is dying.  Not many people want to read a book anymore, finding entertainment by means of television or movies, but centuries ago, long before the written word, there were Storytellers.
These people told stories in such a way that when they spoke, everyone around them listened.  Children were both educated and entertained by the Storyteller.  Cultures passed down their history and heritage through Storytellers.
Not only did every village have their own Storyteller but there were also traveling Storytellers that brought stories from far away.
Many people would come to listen to the Storyteller as he told his tales.  The words would capture your heart as your imagination put you in the middle of the story.  Today, people who can tell a story like that are rare.
Writers today want to tell you every little BORING detail, in a sense taking the reader out of the story.  If a reader can not be IN the story, surrounded by the characters, living their lives, walking in their shoes, suffering along side them side by side then what’s the point of the story.
As a Storyteller I give you just enough to make you use your imagination to fill in any gaps, making the story unique to you and you alone.  No one else will see what you see, feel what you feel, smell what you smell, and wonder the way you will wonder.
When my story is done you will be left in awe, satisfied, yet wanting more.  Your imagination will grow hungry, longing to be fed and as a Storyteller it’s my job to feed that hunger.
Sit down and get comfortable for I’m about to tell you a story…

Life's Highway

I wrote this on March 27, 2011. I realized I never published this on my blog.  No I wasn't high on anything. I was on my way to work when this came to me. This is how I felt and I'm sure you can find many metaphors in this.  What is your opinion of this?


Life's Highway

I'm driving down the highway, fog surrounding me, Garth Brooks singing about a Dance on the radio, and I am the only car on the road.
As I fly along, going over the humps, I notice there is nothing around for miles. No entrance ramps, no exit lanes, miles and miles of lonely highway.
I look down at my speedometer and there is only one speed, full on 80.  Seems to me I’m going nowhere, fast. As I come over the next hump the highway splits off into three different directions
Straight, a whacky sharp curve to the right, and another whacky sharp curve to the left. My wheel can not turn so I continue on straight but I can see where those other two curves lead, up, over, and then back onto the main highway.
My heart begins to catch up with my car as I approach the hump. This time I fly forward at the sudden drop of the road, falling toward the highway, swerving as I touchdown.
Another hump come at me fast as the fog begins to lift slightly, allowing me to see just a little further away. Still miles and miles of nothing.
Another car comes racing by, passes me easily, before disappearing off into the distance.  Alone I drive on.
Things start popping up on the feeder road but I have no way to get to them.  They fly past me in a blur.
The song ends but starts playing over. Everything around me is a blur. Nothing but highway coming at me. My speedometer now reads 101.
My heart slows down but the highway does not. A light flashes across my windshield and I’m at a four way stop.  Where do I go from here?  Where do I go from here?