bipolar is and isn’t

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Bipolar disorder is a serious disease. It’s not fun, nor trendy.

Bipolar (for me at least) means consistent medication, dose changes, and getting adequate sleep to stay well.

Bipolar means periods of extremes. Mania and depression, then mania again, and so on. A cycle through the seasons. It doesn’t mean: Let me yell and pull my hair out, and then giggle uncontrollably thirty minutes later.

Mania is a state of the brain. It seems rather misunderstood as a whole. It’s important to know that being in mania doesn’t make someone a maniac. 

I took the liberty of looking up “mania” on dictionary.com. Here’s the super informative definition:

(1) excessive excitement or enthusiasm; craze: ex: The country has a mania for soccer.

Okay.. so in second place:

(2) Psychiatry. manic disorder

Mania. I had no idea what it was until I experienced it firsthand.

In my psych class at Clemson, I remember we breezed right through it. Which is fine, lots of material to cover-I get it Jorgensen.

I scribed in my notes something of the like: mania- affective disorder characterized by euphoric mood, excessive activity and impaired judgment. 

While this is true, I had no grasp on what this would entail in real life application. It was simply a multiple choice answer on a test.

It wasn’t until my nonchalantly jotted bullet point became my reality that I understood.

Bipolar disorder freaking sucks. It’s not something I can ignore and say, “Just..stay there, I’ll deal with you later.”

It’s really hard. But I have learned a few things.

It means living with haunting and embarrassing things I did or said in the past.

..But It doesn’t mean I have to dwell on them day in and day out…and I don’t (anymore).

It means I have a serious condition that needs to be addressed and managed.

..But It doesn’t mean I think of myself as some sub-human specimen who can’t do what everyone else can.

It has made me manic, but not a lunatic.

It has made me depressed, but not completely hopeless for eternity.

When someone has a physical condition, most of the time they don’t feel the need to confess it under their breath. Unfortunately, mental illness is a different story.

Even the word “bipolar” is so harsh sounding. If I tell someone out loud that I’m bipolar, I’m often greeted with a look of I can’t believe you just admitted that out loud. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue…kind of like most things that are expected to be kept to ourselves.

The prenotions that come with the idea of bipolar are so strong.

Like I’ve mentioned in a post before, when in high school, I remember hearing random, uneducated slams against bipolar here and there…I thought semi subconsciously, I am so glad that I’ll never have to deal with something like that! I’m so normal. Bipolar people are weird. Bipolar people are psychos. 

Then it hit, and I was now the aforementioned “psycho.” But really, I was just ill.

I’ve also told of how a “well-intentioned” woman advised me to never share with anyone that I’m bipolar. To keep it a secret for my own good. That she was looking out for me.

So, thanks lady who I haven’t heard from since! Your recommendation is actually the reason I started this blog.

I’m doing the exact opposite of what you told me to do, because I think more highly of the human capability to understand than you do.

The truth is, my secret could’ve ultimately killed me- and my life is far more important than my pride or appearance.

 – Laura

everything is alright

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Give me a reason to end this discussion,

To break with tradition.
To fold and divide

“Are you feeling fine?”
Yes, I feel just fine.

– Everything Is Alright; MCS

OCD–Obsessive Compulsive Disorder–a disorder that can go hand in hand with bipolar. Like Liam and Miley, they just can’t stay away from each other for too long!

I need to stop watching E! news forever.

A sped-up mind (bipolar) needs more to think and worry about (anxiety/OCD).

So OCD may not be what you think if you’ve only heard it talked about on TV. It doesn’t always equate to clean freak. It’s more than some extreme organizational habit..

OCD is literally as described… obsessive, compulsive thoughts. Unwanted, persistent thoughts.

And these thoughts don’t have to be grounded in what’s worthy of being thought of. This is the annoying part.

For me, it can be counting. Counting the hours of sleep I got. Over and over in my head. 6. 7. 7. 8. 9. 7. Feeling like I can’t carry on before knowing in that exact moment something so trivial to the trajectory of my life.

It shows up in my hypochondria. Anyone who has known me at all knows that I’ve always had an irrational fear of sickness. Emetophobic compulsive thoughts used to keep me out of school when I was younger. Seriously.

I obsessively wash my hands. Douse hand sanitizer. Won’t touch door knobs with my bare hand unless I absolutely have to.

If you knew me in high school, I was the girl who always had a pack of gum. Well, it wasn’t so everyone could ask me for a piece– I know, very hard to believe. It was because it helped ease my anxiety at the time in some weird way. I chewed, on average, 7 pieces per test. I was finally able to break somewhat from this habit.. thank goodness, my jaw seriously wanted to kill me for a few years there.

My friend Kate (her blog, click!) talks about her anxiety/OCD in fight or flight terms–which I hadn’t thought of before. But it’s so accurate. If you relate, you know, you either stay in the moment and fight it, or you run away.

I don’t have too much pride to admit I’ve literally ran away from anxiety inducing situations in the past. Literally ran away… because I just had to get out of there.

Yesterday I decided to “fight.” I was in the grocery store line having just worked out, I was out of breath, on the phone, and carrying a basket way too heavy (should’ve gone with the cart). The man in front of me had something wrong with his transaction, so I’m waiting for another clerk to come help the completely normal, nothing out of the ordinary, everyday situation.

It was taking too long. Claustrophobia. I’m short of breath, imagining myself fainting on the floor. My head starts spinning and my heart picks up. I hang up the phone in a hurry, and seriously contemplate just leaving my basket on the ground and walking out of the store to get fresh air.

This example is seriously so ridiculous, sorry for that–but I know people with this kind of anxiety could be able to relate.

..A lot of it has to do with control. Not being able to control exact details of even the simplest situations gives me anxiety. Yes, this is super frustrating.

But this isn’t always the case.

I go through weeks, even months without this kind of anxiety. I prefer those times.

I also have this thing where I feel like I have to confess everything to someone. Like how I imagine a devout catholic at Confession (I’m not catholic.. I don’t know) But I feel this compulsion to confess things that.. aren’t even worth confessing. It will be on my mind until I do.

So I realize people who are reading this and have never experienced anything similar are most likely thinking, “Laura has more problems than once anticipated!” Eh well.. you’re probably right! However, this all really isn’t entirely uncommon.

More recently in life, I’ve found I’ve been at peace with a lot of things.

But this is new to me…so my brain is trying its absolute best to find a way to self-sabotage. I’m not used to things going well and staying well. That sounds really dramatic, but it’s how I feel.

Therefore, when things are great, my mind projects my anxiety onto something that’s undeserving.

This feeling of constantly needing something to worry about and stress over..  I think someone can relate to that.

I really want to change this.

My brain wins a lot. It’s the bipolar, OCD, and anxiety cocktail kicking my butt momentarily.

But it’s just that–right now, not forever.

Because I’ve already found ways to alleviate some of these symptoms, and I’m going to keep trying to figure this deal out. Stepping back when I can to be rational really helps. Simple, but hard to do. Talking with people who “get it” has really helped. This blog outlet definitely helps me as well.

That’s all I have on this…tryna break with tradition.

XO- Laura

peace

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A sense of peace acts reciprocally by virtue of conflict.

It ebbs and flows with the seasons. When intentions are contorted through every lens, our dissonance succeeds.

It seems to almost always result from a series of surefire misunderstandings.

And I hate that.

Why can’t anything seem to fall into place without some surprise conflict?

Peace.. It often seems unattainable. Especially if you’re wed to overthinking like I tend to be. OCD thoughts keep me prone to worry.

Peace is something pretty hard to find or feel. Hoping for it can feel like waiting for what’s not even real. And most times it seems Murphy’s law will always win out.

How can we find peace in the thick of misunderstanding and conflict? Things can turn sideways, 0 to 100, for endless reasons I won’t try to list.

Becoming tangled proceeds the chance to inhale. My tendency to shoot from the hip doesn’t help either.

I realize I’m being vague, but it’s because this doesn’t seem to apply to just me. It appears pretty dang universal.

Misunderstanding. Conflict. A lack of peace.

I certainly don’t have all the answers of how to have peace in hard situations or even mundane ones.

But what I have found is that peace doesn’t have to be circumstantial- even though it certainly feels this way most days.

I’m human. With that fact comes failing people- and hopefully we know this to be true of everyone. We all fail, and we also have all been and will be failed.

This actuality has helped me understand that peace can be a possibility, even though at first glance it seems to suggest the opposite.

What I propose is that we give ourselves and each other some slack.

When we stop being so hard on ourselves, maybe there will be peace of mind.

Once we stop looking to ourselves or to other people for all of our comfort and answers, maybe there will be peace of heart.

We are fallible.

There is a peace in knowing that control over every detail is out of our hands, and in another’s.

But this only comes if we trust that these same hands are working everything together for our good.

Only then is weight lifted and peace gained.

XO- Laura

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27

crystal baller

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“Can we try and take the high road though we don’t know where it ends
I want to be your Crystal Baller
I want to show you how it ends” -Crystal Baller; Third Eye Blind

Don’t we all sometimes wish we just knew the future. What will happen to me? Will my life pan out how I meant for it to? For someone who can be prone to anxiety and just general wondering, I’d love to know where I’m going to end up.

I have big dreams, but will I actually achieve any of them ?! .. Idk!

Even taking it year by year, I never could’ve guessed what 2015 brought me.

Meeting the most important person to me, outside of family. Meeting the most important people to him. A new school. Resistance in school.. but thankfully a medication that works, though not perfectly. A finally completed fall semester of college. This blog. New friends. One sick grandparent, another in great pain. The realization that my small buddy since second grade, Chester, is 14 and on the major decline. Some difficult decisions to make. Some goodbyes. A sad one and well, an angry one.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.. thanks Charles Dickens (but mostly Tubthumping). 

Thinking about how 2016 is just around the bend.. I’m becoming more excited to see what’s next. I’ll be going to school again in the Spring semester (HARD knock on wood). I’ll be further along in some healing processes. I have a lot of wonderful things to look forward to.

My perspectives have changed..kind of a lot.. over the past year.

Trust more, worry less. The art of letting go.

Something I’ve majorly shifted my view on, is negativity. So I’ve never been one of those people who’s like ~*positive vibes only guys*~ ..AND hopefully I never will be!!! (Though I order my beanies from these people often)

I’ve actually considered myself a bit of a pessimist all my life– until this year, maybe this month, even.

But, I have decided that I’m no longer putting up with unnecessary negativity in my life. That my relationships are going to be two-sided, and hopefully my friends will see me as just that.. a friend.

I’m not perfect in this area, of being the greatest friend at all times, at all. AT all.

Yet I’m having a lot of realizations about what and what not to put up with in life.

Sometimes, it’s out of my control.

For example, I literally have no control over my diagnosis of bipolar… hopefully if you’ve taken away something from my blog or talking to me you know this by now.

It’s something I have no choice but to accept. I’ve gotta really put in an effort each day and in each season to take care of myself–with the help of my team of course. (Because really, bipolar needs a team to manage, so thank you fam. I’m dedicating a whole post to y’all very soon)

But do I have to accept everything? I’d say no, I can control certain things and make necessary decisions about what I allow to dictate my life.

This year, I’m consciously letting go of negativity.

People that cut me down.

Unnecessary situations.

Unwanted memories of the past.

Just… the dumb drama that has come about recently, that stems from irrationality and pettiness.

Everyone in my family is pretty cut and dry, except for me. I’ve always wanted to see the grey that complicates things. To attempt to justify why people act the way they do. When truthfully, maybe they just really are the way that they are.. and they won’t change, because they don’t even necessarily see a need to.

My family and experiences– they’re all teaching me and helping me to let go. To attempt the high road. Something I’ve regretfully never ever been great at.

But there comes a time to grow up. To not care what trash people will spew about you. Because well, if you’re someone like me, who takes no bull, they certainly will. Let’s count on that.

Trying to keep in mind that people will never know the full story, only manipulated truths.

Here’s to the future and, hopefully, the eventual high road.

Putting trust in God, while looking ahead towards the future and saying bye to what hurts me.

XO- Laura

calm to ill

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“And like the sea
I’m constantly changing from calm to ill” -Sleeping Sickness; City and Colour

Is is okay for someone who blogs mostly about looking through a positive lens and advocating for hope to say they’re discouraged?

My goal in this is to be as real as I can be. Because if I’m not being honest, I figure why would it even be worth the read.

I have to admit that sometimes the stigma and misunderstanding with bipolar seems so great when I feel so small.

Like one voice that’s being drowned out.

Like no matter how far I reach to spread awareness, there will still always be people making a mockery of my disorder.

If you’re reading my blog or seeing my social media profiles and thinking I’ve “conquered” my bipolar, you’re wrong.

Some days are great. This year has been amazing overall. I have so much to be thankful for.

And others days I find I fall apart.

This week is emotional for me as the end of the semester and finals are here. It’ll be my first completed Fall semester of college ever, even though I began back in 2012.

It’s funny.. I used to be obsessive when it came to school. From elementary to high school, and even at my completed semesters at Clemson, I didn’t settle for anything but perfect.

I remember not being satisfied with my 98 on a spelling test in Mr. Jones’ 5th grade class. I took less challenging courses than I could’ve in high school to ensure that I was one of the best, and that I’d get an A.

Things changed.

Because then, my heart got broken. My spirit changed. My diagnosis came out of nowhere. Storms came and went, then came again. My withdrawals from college. Three Falls, all for different reasons–but all stemming from my bipolar. My perspectives changed.

Now, nearing the end of my semester at Queens, I’m facing some.. not so amazing grades. Getting by, but not excelling.

In a way, it’s humbling and freeing. In another way, it’s discouraging and a disappointment. It’s success compared to the past three years. It’s failure juxtaposed with my old standards.

My medicine makes it difficult to go to class when not feeling well, which is sort of often. My tendency to mania makes me easily distracted. The fact that I’m almost 22 and taking gen eds makes it hard for me to care.

With the end of Fall semester comes the reality that Spring semester is next, the dreaded season every year. Because I know what’s ahead. A slowed down brain, less energy, a general fog, fewer words to say.

I probably won’t be writing in this blog much, since I’ve had writer’s block every Spring I can remember.

I don’t want a pity party, but I would like some prayer. While I have Christmas to look forward to, my favorite time of year, I know what’s coming after, and I’m gonna be honest, I’m scared.

I do want this Spring to look different. And I still hold to the hope it can be. Though the truth is there’s no cure or stopping my alternations. The cycle will go on, always. It’s just a matter of managing it.

I’m thankful that God doesn’t change, even when my circumstances do. The only constant among my variables.

He gave me the best family, friends, and boyfriend, who I know will help me when things get a little dimmer, as they always do and it inevitably will.

XO- Laura

yeah, forever!

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“And we’ll always be friends forever, won’t we?” -Tod

“Yeah, forever!” -Copper; The Fox and the Hound

This post is a tribute to my best friend, Allie.

Even though we’re a little ways apart right now– she’s at Appalachian State and I’m in Charlotte, I know that we will always be friends.

So I wanna take you back to the beginning of our friendship.

Allie and I connected right away, and let me say, it wasn’t because of me. It’s because Allie has a way of meeting people, finding a way to relate to them like only Allie can, and really caring about that person– right off the bat.

We first met back in the fall of 2011 because of our ex-boyfriends and their bands. ..So thank God for exes! Y’all rock. You both brought me one of my best friends in the whole world.

While we hardly spoke two words that night and later admitted we were both intimidated by each other (lol), for some reason, over a year later after much talked about double dating that never actually happened, Allie decided to reach out to me on Facebook asking to be roommates at Clemson.

I was so pumped! Of course I wanted to. I wasn’t getting stuck with a rando and she seemed awesome. Shortly after, I was a little manic, because this was the end of spring right before the summer of my psychosis. We went to target to go shopping together in the summer, and ended up talking for hours, not realizing the cart of all our stuff had been STOLEN and taken back to where they reload everything back into the store. Don’t worry–we managed to salvage our plastic owl plates just in the nick of time ; )

We became quick friends. And I could not wait to live with my new friend Allie in the dorms.

.. Then everything with my psychosis and hospitalization happened, and I couldn’t go to Clemson that fall with her like we thought.

Allie had to live by herself in our little corner dorm, until someone moved in eventually from the overflow rooms.

I was devastated. But the good thing was that when I got better, I was able to go visit her at Clemson. We went to a football game together. We went as each other’s dates to the first Autumn shag because wdgaf. I even moved some of my stuff into the dorm on my side.. which totally isn’t allowed. It was the best break possible from the mundane of being at home all day everyday, while everyone else was embarking on their first semester of being away at college. To go see this friend– that was what I looked forward to. The first time I came to visit, she had this waiting for me on our door:

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We went to an Ascend the Hill concert. Ate an abnormal amount of Mike and Ikes out of a vase in the dorm. Laughed until our stomachs hurt. Played mario kart. Giggled and conversed with drunk people on the elevators. Drove to the nearby Bi-lo whilst blasting alternative rock classics. Hung out and talked about life with our RA, Emily. Didn’t have the perfect Pinterest pottery barn/Anthro room. It was great.

We were both getting over our exes together, since we broke up at basically the same time.

…And then came spring. Time for me to actually become a student finally at Clemson. That’s when my first major depression hit me like a ton of bricks.

As I’ve written about in previous posts, I was gripped by absolute misery, for reasons I didn’t really know or understand at the time. I didn’t know I was bipolar. All the sudden I was gaining weight, unable to take care of myself, and just wanting to be alone.

Allie’s no psychiatrist (obviously–she was 18, even though she’s now ironically studying psych), but she was the closest thing to exactly what I needed that semester. Even though I’m sure she missed the easy-going light times with me, she had to accept that that wasn’t our reality anymore. And I don’t think it seemed like there was an end in sight for her when it came to my complete numbness.

I never opened up about my depression once, so there was no way of her even being able to address that specifically. But, as my best friend and roommate, it was so painfully obvious how depressed I was, and I knew she was concerned about me.

But here’s the thing everyone, what she didn’t do, is she didn’t give up on me. Even though I know there were times where she was beyond frustrated, didn’t know what to say to me, etc… she ultimately just decided to be my friend. And that was exactly what I needed at that time.

Instead of trying to fix me, she’d leave encouraging notes for me to find around the room. It was obvious I was struggling with self-worth, so she’d put a post it on my mirror saying “You are BEAUTIFUL! And I love you so much! -Allie.” In my closet would be another verse. On my pillow I’d find different notes.

She’d invite me to anything and everything. And always wanted me to come, even though I’d literally just stand there so awkwardly, while people were probably thinking to themselves.. why is this lovely, bubbly girl hanging out with this.. complete downer?

She realized that slapping a bible in my hand and telling me to come to church and campus ministry wasn’t working. And not that those things are bad.. they are great! But Allie soon realized that like I said, I just needed a friend.

I know it was difficult for her, and we talk about this all the time now.. But I hope she knows for sure that I will always be grateful for her loving me through everything that year– when I felt I was unlovable.

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She showed me through her perseverance and her character who Christ is. She wasn’t embarrassed of me. She wanted to listen. To just be there.. To be present. She brought her disney princess personality to the dark grey of my life. She made herself available in a year that I can promise you.. was not easy for her either.

We moved into an apartment together Sophomore year as well with two other friends (shoutout to Jess and Kara!). And well, this semester turned into a total nightmare for both me and Allie.

Allie was getting help she needed for an eating disorder that I didn’t even know she struggled with until a few weeks leading up to her leaving Clemson. She decided on the journey of taking care of herself and taking a gap year. I was in a huge mania from my bipolar, and then soon after, really medicated, making me an unbearable human to live and deal with.

I was a zombie when Allie needed me. While I know she understands that I couldn’t really help it, it hurt me to think back and realize that I couldn’t be there for my friend like she was for me.

Allie transferred to Appalachian after her time off, and she’s happier than ever and more confident in herself. Which says something, because I always thought she was the most confident person I knew. She inspires everyone she comes in contact with, and is incredibly open about her struggle with her both her eating disorder and her passion for helping others with their mental health. She became a mental health ambassador and started a club at Appalachian–called Appsi–for promoting positive self image.

Anyone who is lucky enough to know Allie can attest to her pure heart, bright smile, compassion for people, boldness, deep faith, and just.. her realness.

And that’s why she means so much to me. She’s real. She never cared about what our friendship would mean concerning her reputation. Because let me tell ya, if there’s anything I wasn’t at Clemson that freshman year, it’s that I wasn’t cool, popular, or fun to be around.

Allie didn’t care..

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Her heart for serving the hearts of others outweighs most all else. And she’d tell you otherwise, but I’m here to tell you, SHUT UP ALLIE, it’s TRUE!!!

I’m so thankful for this amazing friend who stands by me. Now that we are both out of Clemson and in much better places in our lives, we’re able to reflect back and be like.. wtf were we doing there.. and just laugh at ourselves, but also we learn.

Because even though neither of us got it all perfect (um especially me) we will still always be there for one another.

Because well, this is what we all need more of!!! Genuine friendships. And this is the gospel lived out, what she did for me. Yes, erasing the stigma is great and it’s what I aim for.. and there needs to be change regarding mental health policies and what not.. but these friendships and commitment to others can be what really gets us out of the pit.

I can honestly say I’m not sure where I’d be without the angel God sent me in Allie back when.

I love this girl with my whole heart! And she deserves any and all recognition she gets. K, No disclaimers, Allie 🙂 

Thank you for being you, Belle, and for everything you do for the ones you love.

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(^^If you haven’t figured out our pose yet..)

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She painted this for me for my birthday last year. Aaaaand Idk who is who because we are both constantly dying our hair lolol.

XO- Nemo

>> “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

>> “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24

is this all your plan

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Aging anger brings me to my knees
My heart still hurts and I need forgiveness
And is this all Your plan? Answer me
My heart still hurts

And I give you control
This sleeper, has lost his way- Hands; Returning

There is something we all have in common.

Though it varies eminently, it’s certain. It doesn’t know race or social status.

It’s suffering. 

It’s not about if, it’s about when. 

It’s the job a dad got laid off from. It’s the boyfriend who broke a heart and never spoke to her again. The boyfriend who broke a heart and still keeps her on the leash of emotional abuse. It’s a denial letter from the dream college. The falling out of a friendship.

A mother who passes away unexpectedly. A mother who passes away after holding on for so long. Divorce. Affairs. A relentless bully at school. An incurable condition. Depression. Suicide. The news you have cancer. Your child has cancer.

It’s domestic violence. Broken homes. Drug addiction. Alcoholism. Giving up a child for adoption that you couldn’t take care of, but wanted to so badly. Having an abortion and enduring the aftermath and judgment. Hatred. Racism. Severe financial problems. Sexual assault. Senseless violence. The ongoing wars. The sex-slave trade.

The world is broken. 

And life’s not fair or always kind.

When I was at my darkest moments, I just found myself asking God.. why? If you truly are such a loving God like I’ve learned about all my life, why let all these circumstances destroy us? It seemed cruel. Malevolent.

And it made sense to me that so many turn their back on God after pain.

I did.

Back in 2012, I said God, I don’t know if I believe in you anymore. Why would you allow this crippling depression in, just to torment me?  If you truly loved me, why wouldn’t you just take it away? In 2013, I asked similar questions about being bipolar.

And as I see tragedies unfold, in rhythm as they do, I find myself asking again– why? Suffering doesn’t pick and choose. And yes, “bad things happen to good people.” Every single day.

“If you have faith, God will take away all of your suffering.”

.. Is not true. And actually, He never even said that.

He gave us a different promise.

Eventual redemption entirely from this messed up place, if we choose Him. And can I add– it doesn’t have to be done perfectly. Because we are saved by grace, not by whatever we think we do at the community bake sale that’s surely worthy of our escaping hell.

It’s a promise of a place where there will be no more hurt or sickness or death. 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. . 

My mom told me a story a while back about my older brother, Wes. When he was undergoing excrutiating treatment for his childhood cancer, he was so weak and sick one day– but he looked up at my parents and he said to them, “It’s okay. God is with me.”

Even though you suffer, just like me, it’s possible to let God hold you and walk with you through that pain. To hold on to the hope that your hurt can be restored.

Sometimes, we let our suffering beget suffering. It’s just our bitterness, spiraling. We justify our decisions because of “what we’ve been through”…And then we ask why, after we’ve walked away, He isn’t giving us everything we think we want and deserve in life.

There’s one thing I know for sure about God now. And it’s that He’s not a God of hate, but of perfect love. That He’s not just idly watching his creation fail. He’s the artist whose work we question constantly, though it isn’t even finished yet.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

We weren’t meant to understand everything that happens or the why. It’s beyond our comprehension right now. And maybe, just maybe.. even though it sucks in the moment, the God who knows all things knows what’s best for us, way better than we do.

“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” -Isaiah 40:28

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” -1 Corinthians 1:25

The cards we’re dealt can be thrown away..torn up. Or, they can be dealt back in a way that reaches for something greater and beyond just ourselves.

I have found purpose in my pain- to try to help others by raising awareness about bipolar disorder, and to tell how faithful my God is to me.

On a rabbit trail, I know it’s technically not a “sound apologetic argument,” but I can’t seem to look at the beauty of the people and world around me anymore, and still question that there is someone higher than us that handcrafted it all.

Even through my pain, I believe it. I believe He’s good. That He has a plan not just for me, but for every person, that I can’t see or understand yet.

“On the day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

. .

All my fears swept away
In the light of Your embrace
Where Your love is all I need
and forever I am free

. .

I’m believing for the day 

Where the wars and violence cease
All creation lives in peace

. .

No weeping

No hurt or pain”

XO- Laura

september 2014

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I had to go through hell to prove I’m not insane \ Had to meet the devil just to know his name – Ghost; Ella Henderson

September 2014.
My mind does everything to auto erase this month from my life.

And this is going to be the hardest post for me to write and share.

September 1st. I’m on my way back to Clemson from Athens, the UGA/Clemson game. I’m crying. I’ve just instantly forgiven him, chalking it up to a mistake he made that I didn’t want.

Friday the 5th, my mania is rising. I had plans with this aforementioned lowlife to watch the Clemson homecoming parade. No answer. It’s just hours before rush blowout. I wait at the coffee shop behind my apartment for 2 hours by myself. No answer. I walk down to Main Street, he’s there.

There’s a confrontation. Some welling of tears. Some actual tears. I’m walking back to my apartment, hoping he follows me to see if I’m okay. Of course, he doesn’t.

It’s 6pm. I go outside to watch the parade from my 3rd floor porch with one of my roommates. I just want to go to sleep. I take a dose of zquill and attempt to go to bed for the night. I don’t want to think about him. I don’t want to deal with rush blowout. I don’t want to hurt. There’s that ache that just doesn’t go away. I just want rest.

I lay in my bed for about 45 minutes, my roommate Megan opens my door. “Get up! Come out with us.”

I end up getting out of bed, but can’t find the energy. There’s still pain in my chest and stomach. I just want sleep. I can’t handle this night. I take another, this time unmeasured, swig of zquill.

All the sudden

The world is fuzzy.

I almost

have a smile on my face.

The pain starts to

slip.

I go to my next door neighbor’s apartment, and I start bursting out in tears. My eyes are having trouble staying open.

“Laura are you okay? Are you.. sober?”

She takes me back to my apartment. The bottle has maybe a few doses left. Somehow I sneak that, too. I looked up on my phone “how much zquill is too much zquill.”

Even in my most messed up state, I’m not trying to die.

I asked my roommates to go sit on Bowman field with me. The one in front of the clock tower. A few girls came and sat there for a little while. I’m pulling out the blades of grass. I’m looking towards downtown and at the sky. The clouds are a vibrant pink, blue, and purple. Like nothing I’ve seen.

At some point I’m at Chipotle with them, hoping no one notices anything strange about me.

We go back to the apartment, and I decide I’m going to the BYX party.

No you’re not, we’re taking you to the hospital. One of my roommates is crying.

I grab my bible, and somehow a stuffed animal got there, too. I was playing music in the lobby with about 6 other girls with me (I think).

The nurse is asking why I tried to hurt myself.

“I didn’t,” I told her.

And it was true.

So I’m hooked up to IVs. My dad is coaching my old high school’s football game when he gets a call. He and my brother and my brother’s then girlfriend drive down to see me.

I’m allowed one visitor at a time.

I tell my brother what had happened to me the week before. The anger and hurt in his eyes is so real.

They let me out of the hospital with my dad the next morning. “We’re taking you home,”

No, this isn’t about to be another failed semester at Clemson. I told him I’m fine, I can handle it. I will start taking my medicine regularly again.

Turns out I can’t handle it.

Each day I take more than my prescribed dose. It isn’t on purpose. I don’t even know what I’m doing. I’m mixing up my prescribed twice a day medicine with my as needed one.

Apparently I took a girl in my biology class to coffee on that next Thursday. An event I can’t remember entirely.

I’m so disoriented and uncoordinated that I take a digger into the pavement walking back to my apartment. Coming back from maybe or maybe not going to class. I can’t remember, but I have a gash on my shin.

I’m a walking zombie. People are yelling at me. My roommate is yelling at me. “I don’t know how to help you, Laura.” Is all I remember. The rest is white noise.

My mom comes to Clemson to check on me with her best friend. The plan is to keep me in a hotel with them. It’s September 11th. I beg them to let me go to FCA, telling them I will be fine.

So they let me. But I’m not fine. I keep taking the medicine, and thankfully one of my roommates sees me from across the auditorium. I’m raising my hands in worship, and then I get a text from my mom to come outside.

I finally do, and long story short, I’m in a hospital again. Less than a week from my last visit. Drinking liquid charcoal (yeah, like the art supply) to absorb the chemicals in my stomach. Praying I don’t develop the deadly rash my mood stabilizer can cause. Accepting it could end badly.

The nurse sticks a needle in my arm, but forgets to hook an IV to it.

My mom is crouching by my bed all night in this dark little hospital room.

Miraculously (literally a miracle), I’m let out the next day to come home.

I don’t fight it this time.

Soon after, I’m getting texts from that guy’s mom, saying it’s my fault. That I asked for it. It has to be violent, and this wasn’t.

I hardly hear from anyone at Clemson, except to be told I’m not a victim. I get a phone call from an old friend on September 26th, finding out apparently everyone has the story wrong.

My favorite month, turned to one of my greatest nightmares and demons.

For maybe different reasons than most,

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – Anne of Green Gables

It’s crazy to be writing about this a little over a year later, next to Eric in his truck on the way to celebrate Thanksgiving in Ohio.

Im so thankful for another chance at life.

While I’m thankful for break, turkey, turned leaves, colder weather, friends and family.. I think this is what I’m the most thankful for this year.

XO – Laura

how silence can kill

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I can’t help but notice the endless battle for air while being swept by the tides of complacency \ My knowledge is accountability \ And I have to do something. -Sinking; Hundredth

I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have messaged me all saying almost the exact same thing.

The gist is this: “I’m so glad you’re writing this blog, because I would never have been able to. Thanks for sharing your story, because I see myself in your posts.”

Some of these are people I’ve known from high school or college or just however, and others were complete strangers to me. Very few also have bipolar disorder.

The struggles mentioned ranged from depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders.. and just being a freaking human who has issues from time to time! Like don’t we all!?

I’m so glad that all these people decided to reach out to me. All with similar but at the same time totally unique stories. It has been nothing but super encouraging to me along the way, and I’m thankful for every message I get.

I don’t expect everyone to start their own blog. That’d be absurd if I did. I know you’re all like…I don’t have time for that. If you do want to start one, that’s great! I’ll read it.

 What I do want- is to actually start the conversation, instead of talking about starting the conversation. 

Sydel Curry brought this quote to my attention when she shared my blog a little bit ago:

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation about illness that affect not only individuals, but their families as well.” -Glenn Close

It’s true, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. More unashamed conversation. If you read along with my blog and you’re like, that’s great and all, but there’s nothing I can do about it sorry..

There is.. how about just talk about it with someone! And I don’t mean talk about my blog. I mean talk about mental illness and mental health. 

We’re so scared of mental illness. And I don’t know why.

Actually, just kidding, I do.

We’re scared because it hits way too close to home for us than we’re willing to admit, and we’d rather it just go away. The problem will surely disappear if I don’t acknowledge its existence.

And then, like clockwork, things happen. Horrible things. Things in our world like school shootings. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. Columbine.  Movie theater shootings. The Dark Knight. Trainwreck. In the case of the high school my brothers attended in Boston, a school stabbing of a high school freshman. This list is only the tip of the iceberg in tragedy.

It’s heartbreaking. And it’s so easy for us to be angry. I’m angry. Believe me when I say this hurts me. I don’t understand. I cannot comprehend what brings a human to that kind of conclusion about our world and their life.

Mental illness is serious.

Demonizing the mentally ill who cause these kind of tragedies, and then just waiting for the next one to happen is like shooting ourselves in the foot.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

Before you get ahead of yourself, I’m not justifying any of the mentally ill shooters that we’ve faced in the U.S. I think they were wrong. I think they were insane. I think they were selfish. I think it’s cruel what has happened to all kinds of innocent people. I think they didn’t get the help they needed. I think they should be held accountable for what they’ve done. Though most already end up pulling the trigger on themselves.

But when will we learn just how important this issue is, and admit how close to home it hits for us? I think we read the headlines and just cross our fingers that it won’t happen in our neighborhoods or our schools. That it’ll stay at a safe enough distance. So that we can mourn, but not do anything.

After all the terrible tragedies that have gone on, do you think it’s easy for the mentally ill to want to get help or to speak “unashamedly” about their condition? I know for me, these times made me want to crawl in a closet and never come out. Because I was so fearful of what people would think when they found out and saw me and all they could think was, bipolar. 

In reality, there are people all around you every day who face mental illness. Studies say half of these people are going untreated.

One of the driving forces behind my blog is this statistic.. according to the dbsalliance, as many as 1 in 5 patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide.

With 5.7 million adult Americans with the disorder, that’s a lot of casualties.

If you were told that that was your fate, a 1 in 5 chance of survival, what would you do with that reality? Would you crawl in a hole, or would you just pretend everything’s okay?

Maybe you would you consider doing something about it.

I’m saying we need to start talking.

I’m not the 1 in 5.

XO- Laura

fury

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You will never know you weren’t a king

Until your limbs are firmly fastened in their chains. – Sound and Fury; My Epic

Here’s the thing, sometimes, I have a lot of anger. 

I can get really angry, really fast. I know what you’re thinking..noo you? The bipolar girl? Angry? Say it ain’t so.

While some might expect this to be my constant state, they’d be wrong. The frustrating thing about people knowing you’re bipolar, is your real emotions being discounted. All reactions can be considered a result of the illness.. Even though any other human would also be upset and probably react in the same way. (i.e: It makes sense she would do that! She’s bipolar.”

No, what happened was just genuinely upsetting in any context for any person.

I would consider myself a generally happy spirit, though I might not always be bouncing off the walls with my joy in a field of dancing lilies and rainbows. You see, I used to always be jealous of that girl who could just be nice to everyone. You know her. No one ever had anything bad to say about her. She loves everyone, and everyone loves her.

I realized a while ago.. I can never be that girl.

For one, I’m not a bubbly person all the time. Actually, if you know me, you know my normal speaking voice is somewhat monotone.

I’m sarcastic when I shouldn’t be.

I laugh at inopportune times.

I get carried away with my words easily.

My filter needs some work.

I’m always right. Ha, no, just kidding.

I can never be that girl because well.. I have a temper. 

I would be lying if I told you I don’t get out of my mind angry at times.

I think my anger is why I have always found an outlet in music. Heavy metal, heavy rock, pop punk, metalcore.. yes, I know I don’t profile the genres. But I listen to it just as much as your next gauged tattooed nose pierced mosher. Though no *side note* I’m not your music snob who refuses to listen to “mainstream” either loooool.

While I never go out searching for something to be mad about, when confrontation comes my way, it is near impossible for me to be quiet about it. Holding my tongue was never something I excelled at.

Does this mean you should be afraid of me? Um, no you should not. I am 5’3 and would never hurt a soul or take it to any other level than me getting super angry in my room. And you know what, it pisses me off quite honestly that many of my fellow bipolar have paved that stereotype for me because they didn’t get help. So thanks, guys. Now I’m a little girl who feels she has to prove to people she’s not violent.

By the way, please don’t joke with me about that.. while I might not say anything to you in the moment, I promise you, it angers me, a lot. Because I would never physically hurt anyone.

Why do I even feel the need to type these words? Agh..

Anyway, this past week for me has been one full of anger and frustration. While the details are unimportant, let’s just say I reached a breaking point. I’ll be the first to tell you, that I am not perfect. I say things in the moment. I have trouble holding grudges. It’s not easy for me to just let go.

So I was talking to my mom and Eric this morning, and I’m rambling about all the things I’m mad at the church for. Because let’s be honest. I get pissed at Christians, often. I have lots of opinions that should probably always stay in my draft.

After about 20 minutes of this conversation, my mom just finally said to me, “Laura, I know you don’t want to hear this, but I think you’re just really hurt. I think you are taking it out on all these issues, because you feel you’ve been wronged by a lot of Christians over the years.”

I thought about it for a second.. and was like yup, you’re absolutely right. I am angry, I am bitter. And listen, typing to myself at this point, even though I feel this way, strongly… that is not God’s best for me.

While I am hurt, and that is valid, I cannot just take it out on the entire church. Yes, there’s a group who has hurt me. But God is greater than all of that.

His church is full of imperfect people, so why do we expect anything less than the corruption we see.

In my anger, it’s not until I reach the end of myself that I realize how much I need a perfect God. Who is never mad at me. Who loves me even when I’m screwing up. Who loves the people that I hate.

Anger and bitterness is drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

So.. If ya need me, I’ll be working on trying to let go of some of that anger, and instead reaching for forgiveness.

XO- Laura

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” -Proverbs 15:1

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” -Ecclesiastes 7:9

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” -Proverbs 25:28

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” -Romans 12:21