And so it begins, the journey of my own recovery. I mean… my second recovery, my mental health recovery. How many times does someone get to say that in a lifetime? I thought the recovery from drugs and alcohol was going to be the big one… the only one. I guess I was wrong.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 16 I thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal and that I’d be able to just drink away my symptoms. Again, I was horribly, horribly wrong. As it turns out bipolar disorder is a much bigger deal and it wreaks havoc on the life of the unsuspecting victim.
It started with having all sorts of wild business ideas and 3-day energy binges where I just couldn’t sleep. It felt as if sleeping were a betrayal to all that I could get done. We only get one life after all! What was everyone else waiting for? … Then came the depression. The months and months of depression. It looked like laying in bed, not wanting to leave the house, not showering for days, endless tears.
I’m not sure why I’m writing in past tense… this last year I had what was the most remarkable time of my life mixed in with the most horrific. I felt as if I was literally losing my mind as I tried to keep my shifts while working a minimum wage customer service job. My mental health was seriously declining after a huge manic episode where I spent all of my savings on a brick and mortar business, which inevitably failed the minute depression took over. That by far has been the largest and most damaging manic episode I have had to date. Although some would say taking a loan of $4000 and drinking myself silly would be another.
That same year I also landed a book deal and an agent and it felt as if everything I had been wanting for so long was finally coming together. Literally… people dream of getting representation and selling a book, and here I had done it, only I felt riddled with fucking anxiety and fear and the only thing that seemed remotely plausible at the time was to drink enormous amounts of caffeine and try to burn the whole damn thing to the ground.
Sometimes, I wish I were different and I could just fucking enjoy something for once without having to destroy it.
I self-sabotaged for an entire month. Thirty days of avoiding and creating and doing anything else other than writing a damn book. But something kicked my ass and I got it done and handed in on the deadline because this time failure would hurt more than any of the other moments in my life. I had wanted to be a writer since the age of 14 and despite the fact that everyone in my life thought it was impossible… I was set on achieving it.
So the book got handed in but I had spiralled into another manic episode followed by a nervous “calm before the storm.” And this is where I sit… typing this and vowing to myself that I will no longer watch romantic comedies and picture myself as the lead character who clumsily stumbles through life somehow making it work. No, I vow to become an active participant in my own recovery. Because one person can’t live off of just cooked grocery store chicken and ice-cream… and getting out of the house more than once every two weeks seems like it’s important.
Join me if you will as I embark on recording my mental health recovery. It might get hella weird, but I guarantee it won’t be boring.
You are loved, you are worthy, and you are blessed.
Whiskey Stevens. xx