EIF #2 — The Global Warming of My Mental Illness (A [Very Long] Poem)

Author’s note: Hey everybody! I am super nervous about posting this because 1. It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything resembling “poetry” on this blog, and this particular poem is super long. 2. It’s a really vulnerable piece I wrote during a manic episode earlier this year, after coming out of a really dark depression.

The first half-ish is pretty sad, but hopefully it’s worth the read.

TW: Brief, non-descriptive death mention.

Please let me know what you think in the comments!


Desperately ill,

The ink, oh, it spills from the corners of my mind.

Black fades to white,

A longstanding fight with the monsters in my mind.

The harsh winters, they nip at my fingers, and so I light a fire.

But I stand too close to the flame.

And oh, the fire burns, but oh, so do the words, as they tangle my throat and on them I choke,

But nothing, nothing hurts like it used to, ’cause even the burns, I’m used to.

When everybody leaves you.

You are alone,

And nowhere is home.

And everything new is just something else to get used to.

And people are sure to abuse you.

And they’ll use you.

Til you’re not you.

Just a “used to”.

Til you don’t even know what you used to be.

So, if You will,

Oh, I’d like You to spill,

Just a splash of truth on these lies.

Maybe it’ll get me through the night.

Just tell me, how long must I fight?

And tell me, is this even right?

And am I enough to survive?

The summer comes but once a year,

And every year it gets a little colder.

And the harsh winters, they nip at my fingers.

It’s too cold to light a fire.

So, as the ashes smoulder,

I pull my sweater closer,

But try as I might,

I can’t win this fight,

It’s forty below and I can’t see the light!

They told me that all brokenness, no matter the level distress, will all be a means that leads to an end, and if that’s the truth, I’ll will be such a good mess at the end, when I’m dead.

They say that brokenness makes you stronger.

But I’m just getting bitter,

The battle gets bigger.

And the summer gets colder.

And fall just gets greyer.

And I truly don’t think that this spring will come.

But soon the year will end,

And then what?!

What is the point? I scream to the void,

Is anybody listening? Am I just making noise?

Oh, what is the point? I scream to the void,

Am I alone in this thing?

Come back, and answer me!

You’re the one who created this brain that I’m hatin’ and my demons, they refuse to leave.

My winters get harsher and summers get colder and You’re awfully bold to assume,

That I, just a girl,

Can handle this world,

With nobody’s hands to hold,

Or is it me that’s being too bold?

I stand on a rock,

And I scream up at God,

And I must be a sight to behold.

The King of Creation must feel devastation when He sees my desolate soul.

But if I’m gonna fight,

He should turn on a light,

‘Cause a battle in darkness seems a one sided fight.

So give me a knife, or give me a pen, give me a weapon with which I defend myself.

And a light for my path couldn’t hurt.

But now this is greedy,

I’ll stop being needy, but please, just answer my cries for help!

And He said,

Trust in My plan,

This isn’t the end,

Bitterness leads only to bitter ends.

You can be bitter or you can be better,

You make the choice now, it’ll serve you forever.

This battle is almost over.

Victory is nigh.

And yes, you are strong to survive.

So, take your madness and turn it to light.

Oh, you’ve had the switch this whole time!

Power, it spills from the ink on my quill and I no longer shake in the cold.

My hands they may tremble, for but a moment,

But only ‘cause I’m growing old.

A life was lived long and to full.

The earth, oh, she creaks beneath my feet,

Signs of a weathering storm.

But I’m not alone anymore.

And together we weather this storm.

So in the harshest winter, the cold still nips my fingers,

But I use what made me bitter,

And I let it fuel my fire.

The fire, it is warm, but it does me no harm,

I stand far away from its flame,

The words come out fast and they make sense at last,

And they no longer choke me inside.

I put pen to paper and become a narrator of the stories I have in my soul.

So what I learned in the seasons is that even when it gets colder,

The summers will get warm again,

It can’t stay cold forever.

And you must not surrender.

March on in the darkness, and don’t ever quit ’cause the moment before you surrender, is when you’re the closest to light.

The madness that chases you down and threatens to bury you now is the very same madness that summons your sadness, but can also bring joy or delight.

So harness the darkness and drag it behind you until you can set it on fire.

And the fire will burn,

But no, it won’t hurt,

And oh, what a sight to behold!

The warmth and the light will fuel you at night,

And you will be safe and sound.

Spring brings new life to the world,

And the summers will get warmer,

So, even if the winter sends a chill through your bones,

Don’t fret,

Every season comes to an end,

And fall will put things right again,

But only if you remember,

That you must not surrender, as a pen must have a holder, and your story begs to be told, in only the way that you know.

And only your madness can turn all your sadness into a light.

Mental Health Monday #4 — Personal Update

Hey there friends!

We are back with the forth instalment of this series, but today I don’t have any skills to share (well, I have lots to share over the coming weeks, but not today), instead I’ve decided to take the advice of my therapist and share something kinda vulnerable.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m on new medication, and today’s post is about that. So if you’re sensitive to medication posts or anything like that, feel free to click off, no hard feelings!

I think I’ve mentioned in old posts that I’ve changed medications a lot over the years. I tried Zoloft and Cipralex which both made me break out in massive hives, and then I was on Wellbutrin and Abilify, which didn’t do much for me either way.

Then my old doctor switched me to Cymbalta, which helped a lot for a while, but in the end it was making my manic episodes worse.

I was almost at the point of giving up on medication altogether, and then my new doctor put me on lithium for my new diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and I started to see some change. I had more motivation, and I actually wanted to do things for once. It was nice to feel “normal” for a change, but the side effects were a lot to handle. I was dizzy all the time and couldn’t sleep, I was nauseated and hallucinating, and my doctor said I should try something else.

So along came Seroquel XR which made me EXHAUSTED and dizzy, and I thought my depressed episodes were getting worse, but my doctor actually upped my dosage this past Friday, despite sounding counterproductive to me, and you know what? I think it might be working.

I am still super tired, and now I’ve got the added symptom of restlessness, but I’m actually way more motivated than I’ve been in a long time. “Happy” is still a stretch for me, but I’m doing okay.

So, I guess the point of this post is to tell you that it may be frustrating finding the right medication, or the right doctor, or the right therapy, but it’s worth hanging on for.

Again, I’m still not where I wish I was, but I’m getting there. Don’t give up. You deserve to get help, too.

If you’re on psychiatric medication, what are you on? Does it work for you? How many times did you have to switch before you found something? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your stories!

As always, and especially in times like these, stay safe, friends.

Until next post,

Paige 🙂

EIF – Songs I’ve Been Digging Lately

Alrighty folx,

Full disclosure, I took this idea from Facebook. Not sure where the term “FIF” came from, but the first time I ever heard it was on the Game Grumps’ Lovelies Facebook group.

Over there they use the term “f— it Friday’s” but I am trying to use less swearing on this blog (it won’t be completely devoid of swearing, but I know harsh language like that offends a lot of folx, so I’m trying harder to be more inclusive and make y’all feel comfortable here!) so I’ve decided to change it to Eff It Friday’s for this blog. Not sure if this will be an every week thing, but I’m going to try it out and see how it goes! It won’t always be playlists, by the way. That’s the point of Eff It Friday’s.

This list is so long, and there are so many more good songs that I could add, but I tried to keep it as short as I could.

Here’s the actual playlist on Spotify.

My music taste varies heavily in terms of genre and era, but I’m going to try to categorize to the best of my abilities here.

Pop/pop punk/pop rap:

  • If You Want Love – NF
  • Doctor Doctor – YUNGBLUD (EXPLICIT)
  • I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Want To Die Anymore (Not explicit per se, but the subject matter is kinda sensitive)
  • Like I Wanna Die – Kev Ghost (EXPLICIT. And mentions of medication)
  • ilomilo – Billie Eilish
  • “The Take Over, The Breaks Over” – Fall Out Boy
  • Morph – twenty one pilots
  • Vegas Lights – Panic! At The Disco
  • Crazy – Makeout
  • High Hopes – Panic! At The Disco
  • The Hype (Berlin) – twenty one pilots
  • California – YUNGBLUD (EXCPLICIT)
  • Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save The Scene and Stop Going to Shows) – Fall Out Boy
  • hope for the underrated youth – YUNGBLUD
  • Champion – Fall Out Boy
  • I Love Me – Demi Lovato (EXPLICIT. Also mentions of eating disorders)
  • Someone New – Hozier
  • The Village – Wrabel
  • Hate Myself – NF
  • Why Worry – Set It Off
  • GUY.exe – Superfruit
  • Alibis – Marianas Trench
  • Migraine – twenty one pilots
  • Now I’m a Baby – Garrett Watts
  • Friends – Jesse McCartney
  • Bills, Bills, Bills – Glee Cast
  • Popular Monster (cover) – Social Repose (EXPLICIT)
  • Save That Shit (cover) – Social Repose (EXPLICIT)
  • Truth Hurts – Lizzo (EXPLICIT)
  • Strawberry Lipstick – YUNGBLUD (EXPLICIT)
  • finally // beautiful stranger – Halsey
  • Yours – Jesse McCartney

Christian:

  • Save Me – Jason Lancaster
  • Scandal of Grace (I’d Be Lost) LIVE – Hillsong UNITED
  • Reckless Love – Cory Asbury
  • Through All of It – Colton Dixon
  • Happy – Matthew West
  • Never Gone – Colton Dixon
  • The Generous Mr. Lovewell – MercyMe
  • Word of God Speak – MercyMe
  • How He Loves – David Crowder Band
  • Worn – Tenth Avenue North
  • Difference Maker – NEEDTOBREATHE

“Oldies” (Sorry, Mom and Dad!)

  • The Joker – Steve Miller Band
  • Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
  • Heart and Soul – Huey Lewis and The News
  • Everyday – Buddy Holly & The Crickets
  • Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
  • Happy Together – The Turtles
  • You Make My Dreams (Come True) – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  • Africa – TOTO

Soundtracks:

Basically all I’ve been listening to in terms of soundtracks recently has been the Hamilton soundtrack because I recently watched it for the first time, but I just picked a few of my favourites for this playlist.

  • My Shot – Hamilton (EXPLICIT)
  • You’ll Be Back – Hamilton
  • Wait For It – Hamilton (This was the first song from Hamilton that gave me chills!)

Let me know what you guys think of this idea and whether you’re interested in more of these “playlist” type posts.

I’d also love to know what you’re all listening to! Feel free to drop a comment below! 😀

As always, and especially in times like these, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, friends!

Paige

Mental Health Monday #3 — A Few DBT Skills (TIPP & cold water)

Hiya friends! Welcome to third instalment of my mental health Monday series.

To be honest, I nearly forgot about this handy little acronym, though it’s one of the first skills I learned in DBT! The TIPP skill is great because it’s about basically tricking your body, which tricks your brain. Both TIPP and the Cold Water skill are great for when you’re experiencing extreme and potentially dangerous or harmful emotions that you need to change such as anxiety or anger.

T – Temperature

I – Intense exercise

P – Paced breathing

P – Paired Muscle Relaxation

Temperature. The idea here is to cool your body down. Take a super cold shower. Put an ice pack over your eyes and cheeks. Put your face in a bowl of ice water (another skill I’ll discuss at the end of this post!)

Intense exercise. Exactly as it sounds. When we experience strong emotions, our bodies create excess physical energy, that can lead us to being impulsive or doing something harmful. So, go for a run! Walk on the treadmill at a brisk pace. Lift weights. Do Zumba. Make sure you get your heart rate going and work up some sweat!

Paced breathing. Take big, deep breaths in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth for even longer periods. I learned a technique a few years ago called the 4-7-8 method for breathing. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds (make sure to count your Mississippi’s!), hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds through your mouth. Do this 3-5 times until you feel calmer. 

The paces breathing especially is honestly a God send for anxiety, but works well for anger and sadness as well. Probably other things too.

Takes some practice, but I would highly recommend it!

Paired muscle relaxation. Breathe in and tense the muscles in your body, notice how that makes you feel. Then, when you breathe out, relax all that tension, and notice how you feel when you aren’t all tensed up. I recommend starting with “easy” muscles like hands, legs, toes, shoulders, etc.

For the cold water skill, it doesn’t actually have to be ice water, but make sure it’s cold. Hold your face in a bowl or sink full of cold water for somewhere between 15-30 seconds.

Scientists say that this triggers a response in your brain called the “dive response”. 

It tricks our brains into thinking that we’re actually quite literally diving under water, so to compensate, our brains will send signals to our heart to slow down a bit. Blood flow to our extremities get slowed way down, and instead the blood gets redirected to more “vital” parts of us, such as the brain and heart. 

Alrighty, friends! That’s all I have for today.

Like I mentioned last week, I’m on new meds again and I’m so tired, so writing is a bit harder than usual but I’m trying to stick with it.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have, but keep in mind, I’m not a medical professional, and I’m still learning myself.

Keep your chin up.

As always, and especially in times like these, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, friends!

Paige

Mental Health Monday #2 – An Apology and a DBT skill (Wise Mind ACCEPTS)

Hi again, friends!

Sorry I didn’t make a post last week. I bet you thought I disappeared again, but I didn’t.

These last few weeks have been rough. I’ve changed medications twice since I wrote last, I think, and I’ve had a lot going on mentally and situationally.

Today is day two of Seroquel and it’s kinda kicking my ass, honestly. I’m exhausted and having a bit of a rough day mentally, but I decided that if all I get done today is this post, then that can be enough for me.

So with that said, I’m going to write about this skill in DBT called Wise Mind ACCEPTS.

If you recall my last post, I talked about the difference between wise mind, emotional mind, and reasonable mind.

Wise mind is the place where reason and emotion meet.

ACCEPTS is an acronym. It stands for:

A – Activities. 

C – Contributing.

C – Comparisons.

E – Emotions.

P – Pushing away.

T – Thoughts.

S – Sensations. 

These are all distraction techniques, but the acronym is a helpful way to remember them. In no way are you meant to do all of these things at once.

Activities can be things like exercising, cleaning your house or bedroom, watching your favourite movie, or starting that new show you’ve been meaning to watch, or reading a book. The point is to do something you enjoy.

Contributing can be things like volunteer work, or donating things you don’t want or need anymore, or messaging an old friend and giving them words of encouragement, or heck, even go hug someone you love.

Comparisons are when you think back on old situations and appreciating how far you’ve come. 

Emotions. Try to evoke an emotion in yourself other than the one you’re feeling right now. If you’re sad, watch a comedy that will make you laugh. If you’re angry, listen to your favourite happy or sad song. The point is to feel another strong emotion other than the one that caused you to use the skill in the first place.

Pushing away is about setting your current emotion aside for now. This doesn’t mean forgetting about it or avoiding it forever, but if you’re unable to deal with your present emotion, try to find a way to think about other things.

Thoughts are about distracting your current thoughts. Start counting, whether you just want to count to 10 or 100, or count the colours you see in a room, literally anything you want. Or if numbers aren’t your favourite, try to remember all of the words to a song you know, or focus on the words in a book. It’s all about focus.

Sensations are about creating new physical sensations in your body to distract from emotions. You can do this by holding an iced cube in your fist, taking a warm or cold shower, getting someone close to us emotionally to scratch your back or “pet” your hair. Squeeze a stress ball. Eat spicy food. Stuff like that.

These things help distract us from our current situations and emotions until the emotion is “cooler” or more calmed down, or the situation feels less overwhelming, and we can (hopefully) return to it in wise mind.

Alrighty, friends, that’s it for me for now because I feel like garbage. Hopefully you find some help in posts like these. Feel free to ask any questions you may have, but keep in mind, I’m not a medical professional, and I’m still learning myself.

Keep on keeping on.

As always, and especially in times like these, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, friends!

Paige