The Importance of Diversity Readers

The Importance of Diversity Readers

Why You Should Consider A Diversity Reader

Even though I have found a new job, it does not pay as well as my last job, and the hours are not yet consistent because of COVID. While I’m personal training a few people on my own to help make up for some of the lost income, it still isn’t enough. I was going to use my last job to help pay some of my tuition for physical therapy school so that way I don’t graduate with a heaping pile of debt, but that went out the window when they laid off roughly 50% of their staff–and I was one of those unfortunate victims. So now I am going to offer diversity reading services, which I will officially release in a tab on this website when the contract is finalized.

So what is a diversity reader? A diversity reader is someone who goes through your manuscript and makes sure that you’re accurately portraying marginalized characters. For example, if you do not have bipolar disorder but are writing a character who does, I could go through and make sure you’re portraying this character in an accurate manner that doesn’t play into stereotypes those with bipolar deal with on a daily basis (we’re crazy, we’re dangerous, we’re irresponsible, we should be locked up). Even if you do have bipolar disorder, not everyone with bipolar disorder experiences it the same, so I could offer some inspiration you otherwise may not have thought of. Of course, you’re still allowed to have creative license with whatever you write, but the point is that books have gotten much more diverse than even just twenty years ago, and what was acceptable then is no longer acceptable now.

I’m going to tell you why I chose diversity reader over editor–and it isn’t just because editing is more work. I watched the final season of 13 Reasons Why and was sorely disappointed with how the show treated Clay’s panic disorder, which I was recently diagnosed with. They treated his disorder as if it were more of a burden to others than to him and that he was absolutely batshit crazy, excuse the language. His friends called him Clay Cray, and the show never once addressed that this is not okay and that it’s ableist. Yes, in real life, people are ableist, but the point is that when Clay revealed he had panic disorder since he was a child, his friends should have apologized, and that never happened. We are all in control of our actions, but panic disorder can make you feel disconnected from yourself and can make you black out. I have felt disconnected and even suicidal, but I have yet to black out, thankfully.

I also was not happy that they made him lose his mind, grab a gun (or was it a taser?), and threaten to shoot a cop. People with panic disorder are more likely to implode than to explode. They could have shown him imploding instead and still have him wind up in-patient. But now people who watched the final season, especially impressionable teens, are probably of the opinion that this is how people with panic disorder are–ticking time bombs ready to go off at any minute. I understand the show is a drama, but it’s like they did minimal research or didn’t actually get someone with panic disorder to vet it. It was insulting. So this is what made me consider being a diversity reader to earn some extra income.

Diversity readers do not exist to censor your work. Our feedback is just that–feedback. Feel free to take it or leave it. I don’t care what anyone says about diversity readers. If you’re a white person writing from the perspective of a POC, you better darn well get a diversity reader who is a POC because a white person’s experience is NOT the same as a POC’s experience. It’s the same with being neurotypical and writing from the perspective of someone with a mental illness. Mental illness changes your brain and your thought processes and how you experience the world, even when you are stable, and a neurotypical person cannot possibly understand that, even with all the research in the world.

So once I get my contract written out, I’ll write an updated post with topics I’m willing to look over.


The Time I Tried to Kill Myself and Failed (Obviously): A Realistic Discussion of Suicide

The Time I Tried to Kill Myself and Failed (Obviously): A Realistic Discussion of Suicide

Content warning: suicide, suicidal ideation, and even discussion of an attempt 

The way we experience the world is nothing more than the sum of our brain chemicals–and at any given moment, these chemicals could go awry, affecting how we perceive the world. Through zero fault of our own, a jarring shift in our perspective of the world upends our current sense of safety and security. According to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults are afflicted with a mental illness of some kind. 3.9% of the adult population in the year of 2015 reported experiencing suicidal thoughts. While it’s not mentioned what percentage of those are the result of mental illness and what percentage are the result of situational, I’m going to concentrate on those who experience thoughts due to mental illness because I still do not think it is as understood as it should be. Any time I see neurotypicals speak of suicide as a result of losing a loved one to it, it’s generally in the context of a vague situation–and frankly, I don’t want proselytizing about the beauty of life from someone who has never been paralyzed by plans bulleting through your mind. Or even from someone who wanted to kill themselves because of a divorce or some other situational event. They’re not the same. I would know, as I almost went through a divorce last year. I was able to talk my way out of those feelings, but I can’t do it when I’m suicidal because of my bipolar.


My first real attempt occurred during a bipolar mixed episode, where I was both manic and depressed at the same time. I was feeling intense despair at the loss of my hypomania the day before and also intense despair in general, especially because I could not understand what was happening to me. At the time, I didn’t see an end to it. Despite all the self-awareness in the world (I have been told numerous times in various hospitalizations I am unusually self-aware), that was not enough to act as a shield against my brain pummeling me with suicidal thoughts. It was not enough to keep my glands from secreting suicidal hormones. The feeling was quite terrifying, and in that moment I was planning what to do.

What would be the most painless way for me to go?

No painless ways exist. I researched it years prior. I think there is one painless way, but it would have required ordering some strange things off Amazon.

So I decided to drink myself to death. I was already familiar with vomiting from drinking too much, so it couldn’t have been much worse than that. That was from three drinks with 40% alcohol. Keep in mind, I don’t drink that often, so I don’t have any resistance built up in me.

Now if I recall, my choice of poison was a vodka that was 50% alcohol. I ended up drinking like five mixed drinks with more than a shot’s worth in each one. I also had a lesser percentage after the five, just to finish up an older bottle. I really thought that would do me in considering my low tolerance. At the very least, I thought I’d throw up. A few months prior, I took like three shots of fireball back to back and was laid out by the toilet, so surely 50% alcohol was going to do something to me.

So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And all I got was drunk; I also had to go to the bathroom quite often.

Other than that, I didn’t vomit or even feel nauseated.

Turns out mania makes you more tolerant to alcohol, meaning you have to drink more to get drunk. It’s likely due to the increased metabolism, which made me drop twenty pounds without trying over the 6 month time period I was rapid cycling (let’s be honest, I really only wanted to drop 5 lbs.).

Anyway, did I mention I was alone during this whole trying-to-die affair? Well I was, at least until my husband came home and I admitted what I tried to do–either that or I half-lied. I don’t remember. What I do remember is staying in bed and him checking up on me. I also remember thinking about how ambivalent I was that I didn’t succeed. I might have been somewhat disappointed. It’s not like I was any less suicidal and had become filled with a renewed sense of thankfulness for the overabundance of dopamine that kept the alcohol from doing me in.

That’s not how bipolar disorder works. That’s not how any mental illness works.

I hate empty platitudes directed toward the mentally ill who are either suicidal or have attempted suicide before. 

In all my time of being suicidal, it has never helped to know people love me. I know that, but I am not some thing that exists for the enjoyment of others, to have my joyless existence (when I’m ill) feasted upon until I’m a husk who cannot enjoy life because she has no energy from being so exhausted living for other people. To all of the neurotypicals out there, you might think you’re being helpful by insinuating that if we cannot live for ourselves, we should live for others, but you’re not. Living for others is exhausting. Your brain will just not let you see the good in life, which is why medication exists in the first place. When you’re mentally ill, suicidal feelings are also not a choice, a flotation device you choose to grab on to when life simply becomes too much. I didn’t just think, ‘Gee, suicide sounds great right about now to put an end to this bipolar nonsense.’ The feelings hit my head like a wrecking ball the morning I woke up feeling overwhelmingly confused about where my head was.

So am I in favor of suicidal people being able to euthanize themselves then? Absolutely not! When you are suicidal, you are not in your correct frame of mind. None of your thoughts are rational. That’s why it’s important for suicidal people to never be left alone because that’s all you can do is keep a suicidal person safe. Like depressive peaks, suicidal thoughts aren’t forever, even if they feel like they are.

You can be depressed every single day of your life and never experience a single suicidal feeling. It takes a particular toxic chemical mixture to elicit suicidal thoughts, and once that mixture has either settled down or the right chemical has been added or removed, the thoughts do just go away in a snap. Thoughts of self-harm are much the same way. Why do I want to hurt myself? I don’t know. Mental illness in itself is not rational.

It has also never helped to know that I have a future. Yeah, okay, I know that, but I don’t care in the moment because I feel freaking miserable. There is nothing in the world that can outweigh the misery of mental illness. And please spare me the sentiment that I just need to keep getting up every day and keep trying. What do you think I have been doing? While a lot of people don’t like the label, I am high functioning, but it doesn’t make my illness any less severe. In fact, it arguably makes it more severe because I’ll be pushing myself to do things I shouldn’t be doing. I won’t take mental health days, even when I know I should.

Inevitably, all that pushing lands me in the hospital sooner or later.

I simply won’t mentally care for myself because my perfectionist streak makes it somehow seem a sin that I stay in bed all day, only getting up to use the restroom.

Also, keep trying? As we speak, even though I’m currently at baseline, I have been rapid cycling some time  since near the end of last year, probably the middle of fall or something. I thought it was my period, but to my displeasure, my pdoc revealed it wasn’t. Now I’ll be back on the med merry go round again.

Neurotypicals with their empty platitudes will never understand what that’s like, to think you have found your golden ratio, only to be battered with the realization it’s not enough AND it’s also causing health issues. I mean, I started out on a med that made me crazy manic, and then got put on another med that made me hypomanic, but went unnoticed until I crashed into depression three months later, and then got put on a med that gave me awful panic attacks, and finally switched to a new doc who put me on Lamictal, which worked for three years before stopping for good.

That’s the thing. I depend solely on medication to keep me balanced. Bipolar disorder is not one that can go without. There are those who try to manage without using meds, but they still have plenty of episodes. And those who claim they’ve stopped meds and haven’t had problems since? They were either misdiagnosed, are lying, or eventually slip into a depressive or manic episode.

My rapid cycling likely isn’t as severe this go around because I do have Lithium and Depakote racing through me. But here’s the thing: They can’t be increased. Lithium has most likely given me hypothyroidism while I apparently have Depakote toxicity or something. My skin is dry, I have dandruff, my hair looks like Hagrid when unstyled, I’m pretty sure my cycle has either been disturbed or has stopped altogether, I have gained weight that kind of makes me hate my body (for my comfort, I always have to make a point of saying I’m not overweight), and I might have some digestive problems. Who knows?

I am not bitter about the hand I was dealt, despite sounding it. I am a realist who despises inspirational quotes, financial advisors, and life coaches–especially all of the aforementioned who have published trite books. They never consider that life is sometimes so horrifically abysmal and impossible that no amount of “advice” is going to fix the nightmare that is your life because sometimes no matter how hard you try, how hard you fight, life is unkind at the best of times and an absolute Karen at the worst. But keep in mind I said sometimes. So telling me my life is in my hands, solely to do what I please with, is unhelpful.

Mental illness robs you of any control you have over your life. Medication gives it back, but certain mental illnesses will need a rotating cast of it.

Today I still look at my attempt and feel absolutely disconnected from it. I don’t mourn my decision. I don’t revel in the outcome, grateful I didn’t die. I don’t chastise myself for doing something so foolish, promising that I’ll never do it again. Truth be told, I am terrified that any future attempts will be future successes. Or future attempts will land me in the hospital. Not all psychiatric units treat you kindly once you’ve attempted. One patient was put in handcuffs, and not the soft kind, when she was walked from the ER to the unit. She was by no means a criminal.

Bipolar disorder has a high suicide attempt rate, more than 50%. Its successes are also high when compared to other mental illnesses, like clinical depression. If any of you knew Steve Cash of his Talking Kitty Cat channel, he had bipolar disorder and unfortunately succumbed to it. I won’t say he died of suicide because if he didn’t have bipolar disorder from the start, he wouldn’t have had suicidal thoughts. So bipolar disorder killed him. Bipolar disorder might kill me. Apparently my life expectancy is shorter thanks to it, for whatever reasons.

By the way, I do believe life is mostly beautiful in spite of how tumultuous my 20s have been. Here’s to my 30s!


Where I’m At With My Writing

Where I’m At With My Writing

Five years ago I finished a novel currently titled The Glorious In-Between, which originally concentrated on what it meant to be asexual as a teen. Then it evolved from there because you can’t have only that defining a book. Sexuality itself isn’t a story. It’s a defining characteristic that can complicate a story, so I’ve built it in layers over the years. 2018 was the last time I touched the book, and then this pandemic hit, I got furloughed from work, and I found myself with plenty of time to sit down and get back to it. I said I was going to prioritize the third book in The Stars Trilogy, but the future of my current publisher is unknown thanks to COVID, so my books can only be purchased through Lulu or in print on Amazon.

Well, now I’m going to have plenty of time for the foreseeable future since my position as a personal trainer was eliminated entirely; I am without work. It’s honestly been gutting because I loved that job. It also doesn’t help to see “essentials” teasing “non-essentials” when, in reality, essentials aren’t any safer. After all, people in my husband’s industry (trucking) have been losing their jobs and having pay cuts. Physical therapists are also essential, but many have been furloughed, depending on where they work.

Since receiving that news, it’s been hard keeping a regular writing schedule. I am at a chicken-or-the-egg scenario right now. It’s hard to know if depression is stemming entirely from the loss of a job I was passionate about, or if my bipolar disorder is tipping downward (again), or if it’s a mixture of both and the job loss sped up the process. I’m also undergoing a dosage change with my Depakote and am currently waiting on confirmation about whether or not I have hypothyroidism, most likely caused by my Lithium.

There’s really no point in guessing. All I can do is accept that this is how I feel.

I am the type of person who experiences her emotions all at once when disappointment strikes, and so my heartbreak doesn’t last long because I’m not trying to push away the pain. Yet, anyone else would look in on and me and be convinced I’m taking the loss of my job extra hard. After all, I am in a much better place than others who have lost a job since I live at home with my parents. They’re not putting any pressure on me. All of my debt has also been paid off, so I owe nothing for the foreseeable future. I have PT school to look forward to, which could, for all I know, make holding any job impossible anyway, even though it is a flex program.

I was born anxious. It doesn’t take much to flare it, and it’s been my fuel lately.

While I am done with the first round of revisions of TGIB, I have been struggling with that hollowness common with depression, which has made doing further work on it difficult. But I added a new plot thread to up the stakes for my MC since my query letter on AbsoluteWrite was torn to shreds and revealed a rather glaring flaw in the storyline itself–at least in my opinion. Now my second pass will be checking to make sure the plot thread has been developed appropriately, along with adding a few other things to add some color to the story (McMansions, anyone?). Then another pass through to cut down on words and probably, hopefully, one more for proofreading. It has been beta read in the past, so I might seek out one more, unless having the synopsis looked over is a sufficient enough guide for any further edits the book itself might need.

A secret I don’t think I ever told anyone is When Stars Die only ever had one beta reader.

Hopefully all of that will take about a month or less.

Right now I am gaining distance from TGIB, but it’s been hard to do anything at all productive otherwise. I should be making notes of things to keep an eye out for in TGIB. I should also be coming up with another title because TGIB no longer accurately describes the book. I should also be preparing my query letter and synopsis for When Stars Die, just in case things do fall through with my current publisher. I’ll see what small presses are out there. Otherwise, self-publishing it is.

I also finished outlining a brand new novel, although now I’m going to have to edit the outline itself because I decided to change who my protagonist is going to be. So that’s another thing I should be working on but is hard to do.

I get it. It’s an uncertain time for everyone and rough for some. I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. It’s just maddening, as usual, that you have things that can keep you productive, but you’re being held back by the voice of mental illness living in your mind.

At least I have made progress since this all started.


Turns Out My Bipolar Disorder Has Not Shut Up

Turns Out My Bipolar Disorder Has Not Shut Up

So prior to 2018, I believe I enjoyed three years of pure stability. Then 2018 came, and the one medication I was on just for bipolar, Lamictal, stopped working entirely. I wound up in the hospital, had my Seroquel upped (which then became for my bipolar AND still for my sleep) because I was manic. Of course I learned during that hospitalization that mania is much harder to treat, and even more so because I was rapid cycling and would wind up in mixed states (mania and depression at the SAME TIME!). So I got out, had my Lamictal upped, and it still wasn’t doing anything.

I stayed out of work for a little bit to deal with everything, with nothing improving, then went back to work. Lo and behold, I started experiencing symptoms of paranoia: impending feelings of doom, that something-bad-is-going-to-happen-but-I-don’t-know-what feeling; intrinsically knowing that no one is following me but still being freaked out by people; and just in general being terrified for reasons I could not explain.

That landed me in the hospital again when I told my therapist. 6 hospitalizations thus far in my life. Let’s hope no more. Then I got started on Lithium, got diagnosed with a non-specific personality disorder (which actually never became official because I really don’t have one), and threw a fit in my therapist’s office one day upon release because I was still rapid cycling and angry the Lithium wasn’t started out at a larger dose so I could get off the merry-go-round sooner.

Rapid cycling is honestly THE worst type of bipolar to have because you cannot predict your moods from day-to-day. One day you’re planning on getting a lot done, and the next hour or even day, you don’t care to do any of it and are planning your next suicide attempt–and when you’re mixed, you are so angry.

Rapid cycling is the Cthulhu of bipolar.

Eventually my Lithium was upped…and it seemed like something was trying to happen.

My highs weren’t as high, but my lows were crushing, plummeting into this black, disgusting sludge, a low I had never experienced in my time of having this disorder. I was so apathetic I couldn’t even be in my usual active suicidal state. I was passively suicidal, as my therapist said, which she said could be worse because it meant you had no survival instinct. I was also angry. Livid. Furious that I felt like I was being strung along, be made worse.

She was right about my passivity. A car could hit me, and I wouldn’t have moved. I got into a nasty mountain biking accident that could have been worse without a helmet and if my hip weren’t already jammed–it was un-jammed after striking the ground with an unquantifiable force–it likely would have been dislocated. My recklessness made me continue on with the ride. My deliberate recklessness made me get into the wreck! I was just reckless, okay? I remember once being so manic in 2018 that I was hauling 80 on a 45 mph road and started swerving. If someone had been in the other lane, I would have crashed. I am a goody-two-shoes lady, and I drank in public–and while driving. Thinking about this behavior in a more sane mind horrifies me; it’s bone chilling.

That’s what bipolar disorder is. Bipolar disorder is no joke, which is why I don’t take kindly to “cutesie” jokes about women being bipolar.  It’s sexist for one, entirely dismissing a woman’s voice. In any case…

So Depakote was added and that brought me back to a little bit above baseline. It seemed like I was finally on an even keel. That happened December of 2018.

Then some time in the middle of last year I started having some problems again. The first time it happened, I thought it was my bipolar disorder, but once I hit my cycle, the depression went away. And it kept going this way. Roughly two weeks before my cycle, some minor depression, then normalcy.

I thought it was pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder and didn’t bother doing anything about it. The depression was mild enough that I could still function–and I wasn’t suicidal so that was a plus. I was also going to be seeing my primary in a couple of months, and I knew the only thing that could treat PMDD was birth control. So I was prescribed birth control December of last year and waited until I had my natural cycle before starting in January.

What I haven’t yet mentioned until now is that I was on a generic of Loryna at the beginning of last year, but it put me in a state of chronic depression and agitation, so I quit it, and those problems went away. But I was put back on Loryna last December since my primary told me sometimes you can have a different reaction to a generic.

It seemed the Loryna was working. I didn’t have any depression or aggression or anxiety or any of that. But then five weeks, I believe, into taking Loryna, the aggression started to occur, so I quit that thinking it was the Loryna, which I don’t even know now. It did not take long for me to feel like I was going on an even keel again.

Then things stopped making sense. My cycle is naturally irregular to begin with, so I don’t know if this was January or February. But I thought things were going to be okay, until the depression hit me in the MIDDLE of my cycle and lasted a total of three weeks–so it stretched two weeks beyond my cycle. PMDD has a very specific criteria that states the depression MUST occur prior to the cycle and end right before. So I figured it was my bipolar…until I got better again.

Then near the end of March, the depression was latching on to me again. But I decided to pay more attention to my mental states because it was starting to get very confusing. This depression, after all, hit me some time after my cycle and ended just this past weekend. These last two depressive cycles have also been markedly worse, but, again, with much confusion, not a typical depressive episode because being around people made me feel better, made me feel safe. Energized, even. I usually want to be alone.

So now I’m grasping on to all of the symptoms besides depression to make sense of the semi-head scratching revelation my psychiatrist told me yesterday over the phone: mixed episodes characterizing hypomania and depression with rapid cycling back to my baseline.

Take some Depakote in the morning now.

I suppose that makes sense. It has to make more sense than PMDD at this point because you can’t have PRE-menstrual dysphoric disorder without having depression BEFORE. Otherwise, it’d probably just be call Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and I don’t think I’m some brand-new special case. It was likely just happenstance that it happened before initially, or fluctuating hormones could have been influencing the rapid cycling. What clued her to my possible state was when she asked me what my other symptoms were, and the first thing I told her was aggression.

Aggression can be part of depression, but it also turns out hypomania isn’t always fun, especially when you’re browsing Facebook, inhibitions lowered, and setting your vicious claws into people whose comments you perceived to be, well, dumb. It’s not always endless amounts of energy you want to use productively. Sometimes it’s being aggressive and blowing up when your tea kettle reaches past the boiling point, a thing only possible in those with mental illness. Sometimes it’s yelling at your boss at the fitness desk where there are members and suddenly realizing you’re not yourself without a Snickers bar. Sometimes it’s blowing up again with even nastier curses with members around. And, sometimes, it’s just ranting and ranting and blowing up and having anxiety.

But part of being in a mixed state also means the depression part takes away your desire to do anything productive with that energy–so that’s probably why you’re aggressive. You also want to self-harm. Why? Who knows? That’s the brain. That’s bipolar disorder in a nutshell! And of course you don’t look forward to much. Yet, you can be distracted, something that’s very hard for me with straight-up depression. I suppose that’s good; however, it has to be constant distraction.

This thing is confusing, so I wonder if if the generic birth control was ever a problem to begin with or if bipolar disorder just started practicing the art of masking once I got some decent meds in me. After all, without those meds, this problem would be so much worse.

I am in a stable spot, but that can change. Even so, I hope it’s under control by then.




CW: Sexual Assault

I never thought I was going to be bothered again by what happened to me a few years ago. In fact, I never thought I would need to talk about it, but with the #metoo movement going strong and the Kavanaugh hearing, I need some catharsis. In fact, it’s not those two things alone that have made my assault start to bother me again–it’s the comments people have made regarding assault in general.

I’ll admit I am neutral on the Kavanaugh hearing, but what I am not neutral on is that a movement does not need to be made over the minuscule amount of false allegations that occur. In fact (statistics included), even a man is more likely to be assaulted than accused. I do know two men who have been falsely accused of things that they never did, and I believe them 100%, but I still stand by what I say because victims like me have been silenced time and time again. Look at Brock Turner. There was no justice.

False allegations should end in jail time, but #himtoo is a disgusting mockery of the #metoo movement, and I think that’s what scrapes me raw and divulges buried memories I thought I had come to terms with.

No. I did come to terms with them, but because people are horrible and don’t think about how victims of assault must feel when they make their disgusting comments, it’s upsetting. The #himtoo movement is the worst of all, and it’s even more terrible there are women who have decided to jump on this movement. I don’t care if Kavanaugh is in the right. I care that that hashtag has all sorts of nasty implications for victims.

No. You do not need to worry about your sons being falsely accused. You need to worry about them being assaulted. Especially your daughters.

Stop it. It’s sick and it’s absolutely cruel to the even greater number of victims of sexual assault.

The justice system does need to do something about false allegations. Lives are certainly ruined over them, but, again, they are a minuscule portion, and proponents of #himtoo want to ignore how victims are afraid to come forward, want to mock real victims of sexual assault to begin with, and take that mocking one step further when, especially men, write how careful they have to be around women anymore. How they have to have a consent form with them. A body camera. Make sure to not put themselves in compromising places where they may be accused of assault.

We’re not asking that. Consent is not a hard thing to grasp. If she does not want you touching her, don’t!

I’ll tell you exactly what I’d do if a guy grabbed my rear in public: Slap him, kick him in the shin, or stomp on his toe. I’ve done these things before. But I know not all women have it in them to do this. In fact, I didn’t have it in me the last time a man put his hands on me because I was on the clock. Which is absurd. I was just doing my job, training a client, when an older man decided to rub my back and put his hands in my hair, making me freeze and feel ungodly uncomfortable. In any other place, I would have turned around and smacked him, but I wasn’t sure if I was even allowed to retaliate in that way to a member.

I don’t care if he didn’t mean anything behind it. I did not want to be touched at all in the middle of doing my job.

I told the lead trainer about this, but unfortunately the man left, so I had no way of being able to identify him. Now there are some older men who like to pat me on the shoulder or the back, but I know them, have chatted with them, and I know what their intentions are because they probably see me as a granddaughter sort of person. I know other women would not be comfortable with that, and they have every right to voice that, and what you don’t have a right to do is call that woman a prude.

There are people out there, men and women, who do not want to be touched by anyone save for loved ones for a variety of reasons, and it’s sick to me there are people out there, men and women, who think those people need to get over it because it wasn’t ill-intentioned. We all learned in elementary school, and hopefully from our parents, that no one has a right to put their hands on you. You do not have a right to put your hands on anyone!

So it’s not hard to not put your hands on a woman or a person in general. If she’s drunk, don’t touch her! If you do, help her get home, put her to bed, be with her until she sobers.

Overall, I care that there are women out there who think much of us in the #metoo movement are being bothered by a little grope, and they’re mocking us and telling us to not be babies. No. It’s the consecutive gropes by too many men. That builds up. It isn’t just the one butt grab in a bar. It’s the multiple ones that have occurred over the years. Real assaults. Rapes. Even one grope rankles my ability to feel safe.

So what if one little grope doesn’t upset you. You do not represent the vast majority of people out there, many who would feel disrespected. I didn’t like when that old man put his hands on me; he was not respecting me nor my boundaries and did not take my job as a personal trainer seriously, as I was blatantly with a client.

I did call the cops against my assailant though. I pressed charges. But I pulled them because I was blamed. My assailant was a man I saw as an older brother because I frankly don’t have much of a relationship with my current one. I adored my boss, so of course I wanted to get to know her boyfriend well. I guess he didn’t see me that way. He saw me as a plaything he could mess with behind his girlfriend’s back.

My boss was the one who blamed me. She said she chewed out her boyfriend and he was crying, but that wasn’t enough.

He did a few things to me (a lot of groping all over), most minor in comparison to the assault that led me to calling the cops. I never said anything about them because I found out from my boss her boyfriend was beating her. And I was even warned not to say anything by another person because not only could she end up hurt, but I might have as well. So I was living with an undercurrent of fear–and I had to deal with him a lot. I made it known I didn’t appreciate it–but I suppose I wasn’t firm enough because I was afraid to be.

Unfortunately, she is still with him to this very day.

But when I did call the cops and my boss eventually found out, that’s when things fell apart. Her boyfriend and I texted. To me it was completely friendly, exchanging silly jokes. Apparently those jokes weren’t jokes to him, so she saw that as evidence that I was enabling him to keep going. She even told me that on the day I was assaulted, I was bent over a certain way, just inviting him to do what he did to me. But I was trying to gather things together for an event and simply wasn’t thinking about how I was posturing myself because it was a skort, so I wasn’t worried about anyone seeing anything unseemly.

What really gets me about the whole thing is that he assaulted me at our place of work. He knew I had a fiancé (now my husband). He has a girlfriend for goodness’ sake! After it happened, I was a little shocked, but I played it off as no big deal. However, the next day (or it might have been the same day), I was at an event and opened up to my co-worker about it. She pointed out the seriousness of it and told me I needed to go to the cops. And of course that’s when it hit me that I needed to because the next step was rape.

It was traumatizing because of all the little things he did that culminated to that one grand moment. I felt stupid and naive and why didn’t I stop it and why did I let him grope me or touch me there or say that to me? I won’t go into details, but I can remember nervously saying, ‘Are you trying to rape me?’ And he replied, ‘You know you like it.’ I’ll emphasize again it wasn’t rape, but I’m positive that would have been the next thing.

Of course what ultimately landed me on suicide watch was being blamed. I was already in a bipolar depressive episode, so imagine being accused by someone I held in such high regard.

Oh, and he was stalking me, and I didn’t realize he was doing that until I found out he’d been at the mall for no reason other than to see me.

So when I see people making comments about what we as women need to do to avoid assault, trivializing any kind of inappropriate touching, wanting to scrutinize victims of assault and put precedence on the minute amount of false allegations instead of encouraging victims to come forward, mocking us for wanting to be victims, telling us to just carry guns, and then having the audacity to wonder why we didn’t immediately come forward, I can’t help but to get nasty with those people.

It’s the internet, I get it, but those are real people making real comments speaking thoughts they truly believe. And I can’t help but to hate those people. I can’t help but to hate every person who chooses not to be sympathetic toward victims of assault, who chooses to say we’re being whiny by even labelling ourselves as victims. I don’t consider myself a survivor. My life wasn’t in any danger during that moment, but I am still a victim because I never received any justice.

I don’t walk around with a chip on my shoulder. I don’t wear a cape of victimhood; however, I casually acknowledge I am still a victim without making a big scene about it. I’m not living in victimhood, but that doesn’t make me any less of one. After all, victims don’t need to be a certain way to be one, and people seem to think victims are bitter people who won’t move on. People thought that about Ford just because she was laughing in a few pictures. What do we need to do? Live our lives in misery for us to be believed?

You could argue my justice is in the life I’m continuing to lead, all the good choices I’m making, all the good in my life, but real justice would have been making him face the consequences of what he did to me and his girlfriend.

She lied it was an allergic reaction to a bee sting, then admitted later it was from her boyfriend. Apparently he was a drunk.

I don’t know what kind of person he is now. I really don’t care. But I know I’ll never seek justice for it because of the way accusers are treated.

Twenty years from now I will be thinking about it. Thirty years. Forty. To my grave. It won’t be on my mind every single day. It’s only things that trigger me that bring it to the surface. I believe I’ve recovered from my PTSD. I only get angry about it now.

It is important to have a fair trial, but what would I have gained by accusing my boss’ boyfriend of assault? What would have been my motive? It should be rather telling that I pulled it. And most of us don’t report it or retract our statements because of the very real victim blaming that exists, the way courts tear victims apart just so the lawyer can win a case for the assailant. And it’s even harder when there’s little evidence, save for your story and others who would have been able to testify how abusive he was, not just to his girlfriend, but even to her friends. I suppose other evidence would have been my suicide watch and my later development of an eating disorder because I wanted to disappear and didn’t want men looking at me that way anymore. I also had a difficult time being intimate with my husband and had a few panic attacks and crying spells and nightmares and flashbacks.

That was stupid to believe men would turn away from me. Even at less than 100 lbs. men still catcalled me simply for being female.

There is no justice for many of us who have been victims. So you must understand why we’re so angry, why the #metoo movement was started. And it’s not just for women. Men are victims as well. And they don’t get the justice they so rightfully deserve, whether their assailant was a man or a woman.

So #himtoo can die in a supernova, and all the people supporting it can be consumed by it. I haven’t a kind thought for people who don’t want to try and be at least somewhat sympathetic over why a person may still hold a grudge.

I don’t care if Kavanaugh was truly innocent because his life wasn’t actually ruined by the accusation since he was still appointed to the Supreme Court. But if his life had been ruined and he was truly innocent, I still don’t think a #himtoo movement deserves to exist because it has too many unsavory implications for real victims of sexual assault. Women are capable of being accused as well. Ford would certainly deserve to go to jail for it, there’s no doubt about it, but these false accusations are dealt with more easily since the accusation is already there and the accused has time to defend themselves. Yet, again, for victims of assault, many of us never come forward for the very reason we are afraid of not being believed.

What really. needs to be the focus is encouraging victims of assault to come forward and receive their well-deserved justice. People argue false accusations make it more difficult for real victims to come forward. That’s not true at all. What makes it difficult for them to come forward has nothing to do with a person falsely accusing someone and everything to do with the fear they will not be believed. Ford, after all, was torn apart, and it’s commonly known she received death threats. That’s what we’re afraid of. That’s why we won’t come forward.

I Want to Talk About Dysphoric Mania (or Mixed States)

I Want to Talk About Dysphoric Mania (or Mixed States)

Before I begin, I’m going to try to reel this blog back in and let it be a lifestyle blog, talking about whatever is going on in my life, whether that’s the writer side of things the student side of things or what have you. Put simply, I’m going to try and let this blog flow naturally from whatever I feel is relevant to talk about at the time so as not to alienate those who have been reading this blog for a little bit. I’d also like to try and blog a bit more regularly, but there are no promises.

The last time I blogged was at the beginning of April, probably a week or two before I started slipping into a little bit of depression; however, it was relatively mild compared to what I was used to. I still had some motivation to do things, even though it was less than it usually was (so I had zero motivation for work, just for school), my appetite was unchanged, and I didn’t have the usual fervent desire to sleep in really late and go to bed as soon as I could. (But I was binge drinking on the weekends, so there’s that.) It was just feeling down and grouchy and irritable and a little bit burnt out. A busy work day made me more irritable than it usually would–I railed against it, in fact, screaming in my mind, “I don’t want to do this! I can’t stand this,” but being able to do it anyway, so could it have really been depression?

In fact, I thought it was all just mere burnout. Once the semester ends, I told myself, and I get some breathing room, I’ll be back to normal.

Of course, that didn’t exactly happen. Even when I started precalculus I still had some of the depression, but it was starting to dip more into anxiety at that point, so I thought of speaking with my psychiatrist about getting put on an anti-anxiety medication. And, no, I didn’t call her right away. I didn’t feel it urgent enough and told myself I could wait until August to have it taken care of. I simply thought I just needed a chill pill so the pressures of getting into a DPT program didn’t seem so much.

Then, out of nowhere, I started feeling good. Really good. Things were falling into place. I was doing great in precalculus and doing much better than I expected. Things at work were going great–my clients were building back up again, my Pilates class was building up since it was moved from Friday to Wednesday. Observation hours were going great. I started at a skilled nursing facility, so three settings in the bag. I was able to fit in more physical activity.

I thought I was just gaining a new lease on life and finally accepting that I was not a fraud and that I really am an awesome person capable of doing awesome things so there is absolutely no reason for me to feel insecure or worry about how intelligent I am to handle the hard sciences and so on and so forth.

After four good days though, four days that felt perfect, I began journaling my thoughts, and I realized what it was: hypomania. It makes rational sense since such an episode can precede or even proceed depression. And so it was then I had to admit my depression was bipolar depression. It also explained my ability to suddenly be on the AMT for a lot longer than 30 minutes and then following it up with a session of resistance training and still having energy left over to do more and more things.

Prior to this, I’d been stable for a little over three years. I thought I had put bipolar disorder behind me. I thought I had finally developed the strength to be able to overcome any ensuing episodes. Turns out I was really just in remission and was tipped over the edge from all the stress in my life. I’d argue it’s positive stress, but even good stress is still stress.

So I’m on week six of this roller coaster of hypomania/mania/dysphoric mania, and I’m not going to lie and say it’s all awful–some parts are just really freaking awesome. I’m almost done with a rough draft of a contemporary YA novel, and I’ve been on a hiatus for over two years! Granted, I’m on medical leave, but even if I weren’t, I still likely would have started writing a novel. Even when I was at work I wrote enough poetry to make an anthology. You’ve gotta do something with the manic energy, after all. You can’t just let it get pent up.

So the jarring reality that I’m a bipolarite for life is daunting when the future, that is me being in PT school, will allow for no slip-ups.

But I don’t want to talk about depression or hypomania or even mania. I want to talk about dysphoric mania because I don’t think it gets spoken about enough. I’m going through a little bit of dysphoric mania right now, luckily without any suicidality–but I feel down and want to cry but with the energy to do things (I didn’t want to come home from biking and would have biked all day if it weren’t for the fact that I’m married and have a husband who needs me. And if it weren’t biking, I would have wandered off somewhere else, likely blowing more money from my savings or going to bars or something. I really did not want to come home).

Depression gets enough attention. I believe most people have experienced some sort of depression throughout their lives, whether it’s situational or clinical. The percentage of people with bipolar disorder, however, is small (2.6%) and may be bigger since a lot of people don’t seek diagnosis for it or are often misdiagnosed because they are unable to grasp when they’re manic. In contrast, 6.7% of people experience a major depressive episode at least once in their lifetimes. But 15% of people will experience some form of depression. So while there are those out there who believe you need to suck it up, pull yourself by your bootstraps and move on, no one really talks about dysphoric mania because it is so unlike depression.

It is the type of mixture of mania and depression that can get you typecast as crazy.

It is the type of state that made me attempt suicide by trying to drink myself to death (I didn’t even get to the point of throwing up since you can drink so much more and be fine when you’re manic, but not like I knew that!) and being absolutely ambivalent that I failed. I did wind up, for the fifth time, in a psychiatric ward convinced I’d be healed of the mania by the time I got out. I’m so used to being more depressive than manic, but when I think about it, there was a time when I was hypomanic for three months when I was on Abilify, but it never ping-ponged because I was blissfully unaware. I simply thought I had developed a hyperthymic temperament. If I had been aware, my mood likely would have started undulating the way it has been.

In my normal depressive episodes, I wouldn’t have even had the energy to do something like that. Or it’s more like I wouldn’t have had the motivation. I could think about it, even make plans, but I never would have followed through with any of them because dying itself takes a certain amount of energy. But with dysphoric mania? All those dangerous impulses you’ve had cycling in your head are suddenly a manic hamster on a wheel, and you just choose the most appealing way of hurting yourself to stop the insanity.

Your flights of thoughts are not fun anymore. My flights of thoughts include biking, writing, studying, reading, writing, writing, writing, more reading, wanting to go out biking but it’s too late, listening to music on full volume pretty much all day, occasionally coloring, cooking, cleaning–there’s always so much to do, do, do, and never enough hours in the day. I don’t want to slow down. What is slowing down anyway? It’s all about speed! Also, sometimes impulsive spending. My bike was an impulsive purchase, but one I made knowing I still had plenty of money in my savings.

Yet, during dysphoric mania, the thoughts darken to slitting your wrists, drowning yourself, jumping from a tall building, drinking yourself into a stupor, doing something absolutely reckless that makes you high but also has the potential to kill you, speeding really fast while raging against all that is slow and crying that you’re like this and why do you have to be like this and wishing you were just plain-old depressed because when you’re down it’s actually burdensome to be full of energy and you wanna claw off your skin and cry while exclaiming everything is so wonderful and jump of a cliff while realizing you have a book to finish and–

My dysphoria today makes me feel down and sad, but it doesn’t preclude me from wanting to do something about the energy. That can be a blessing and a curse, but I made it a blessing because I went out and biked for several hours instead of hopping on over to a bar and drinking myself into a blissful slumber. I cried a little bit (tears mostly leaking from my eyes) when I found myself at a creek and started wading through it because the sadness is just so profound, but I got back on my bike and continued on a journey that was still thrilling. There were times throughout this little trek that Iwished I could bike so fast I’d go flying, so I took a few calculated risks to get that rush, but there were times that I did temper it when I came upon an especially rocky area that could damage both me and my bike.

I have been very fearless as of late. I know I’m still at it when I wake up in the morning and ask myself if I’d still like to go skydiving, and if the answer is yes, then I know I haven’t found my way back to the rational world.

Sometimes dysphoric mania, however, can leave you not wanting to do anything, so the energy is a winding buzz of caffeine x100 that makes you want to scream–so you sometimes do–and tear your skin off because all you want to do is sleep but you can’t without downing a higher prescription of your sleep medication than what you normally would take. It was this type of dysphoria that made me try exceedingly hard to die by overconsumption of alcohol.

It’s not fun. It’s moments like these that make me want to reestablish some semblance of normalcy. I’m going to be honest: Hypomania is absolutely fun, even with the rage and irritability. Mania itself isn’t so much because the energy is too much, and when you’re in a situation where you have to temper it (it’s much easier to control when hypomanic) you might appear bizarre to the people who know you: you cannot stay still so you pace or rock on your heels or snap your fingers, you’re not controlling your rapid speech, you’re an excess of you (my morbid sense of humor was slightly out of control when I was observing at the VA), you scream in your car to release some energy, you sing really loud to release some more, and when you are in a situation where you can indulge the energy, you’re looking for thrills that will tear the most out of you, even if you are aware you will look absolutely absurd.

You can also survive on much, much less sleep. I nearly went the entire night without sleeping but decided I should probably try because the energy was starting to become unbearable; however, I survived on roughly four hours of sleep without any issues. Even hypomanic I still have some sense to try and get in at least six or seven hours. Normally, I need more than that because the Seroquel takes longer to drain from my system, but it drains from my system within 30 minutes to an hour upon waking versus the three hours it normally takes so that I stop feeling groggy.

I get mixed at least once a week, sometimes more depending. Last Wednesday threatened to do me in with a mixed state, but I biked like a maniac and was able to ward it off. I even brought myself down to hypomania the next day from having done so. So of course I went out and bought my own bike. What a great coping mechanism!

I become a completely different person when I’m mixed.

Right now I am sad and want to cry and am silent and when I do speak it’s in bursts of short chatter, but I am also thinking about how much I freaking love mountain biking and my mind is obsessively fixated on practicing on the mountain biking trail at the Augusta Canal so I can then go mountain biking at Bartram Trail of Clark’s Hill and I desperately want to do it tomorrow but I also want to mark out the path I’m going to take to work and need to bike that so that way there are no screw-ups that make me late for work or put me in any kind of danger and I bought myself a mountain biking outfit that I’m really thrilled to get and really want to start a mountain biking club and–

And that is the state of my mind right now.

Some days I simply feel crazy.



Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: What It Is

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: What It Is

Mothers Matter–Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

When we think of PTSD, we often think about war veterans who have gone through a traumatic experience while defending our country. However, it is not just war veterans who can develop PTSD, but survivors of any traumatic event. Bipolar disorder alone can trigger PTSD because of the severity of the episodes. In fact, if you Google PTSD and go to images, it’s primarily war veterans, but from what I have observed, we don’t seem to talk about it in other instances. In fact, we often treat the traumatic event rather than the PTSD. I couldn’t even find a picture on Creative Commons Flikr that didn’t relate to war veterans and PTSD; thus, the picture on the left is the best example I could find that expresses PTSD outside the PTSD war veterans experience. What war veterans experience during this disorder is often going to be different from what non-war veterans experience.

PTSD is a disorder for those who have experienced any form of trauma, whether it be the episodes of bipolar disorder (or other disorders), spousal abuse, sexual assault, labor and giving birth to a child, surviving a natural disaster, witnessing horrific violence, or any other event that has a severe impact on a person’s psyche. Some people can develop PTSD after the event, some months after it, or even years later.

So why do some people develop PTSD and others who have experienced similar trauma don’t? There doesn’t seem to be much research into this, but PTSD is not genetic like bipolar disorder or something thereof. PTSD may develop in individuals who are more sensitive than others. It may develop in individuals who already have a mental illness. For example, someone who already has an anxiety disorder can be pushed over the edge, as an anxiety disorder often manifests itself again when anti-anxiety meds wear off if it’s chronic anxiety. There may be a personality trait that makes individuals more likely to develop PTSD than others. These are simply my speculations.

What are the symptoms?

  • Intense fear, helplessness, and horror during the traumatic event.
  • Intrusive thoughts or images about the event.
  • Re-living the event or that it’s happening all over again.
  • Triggers that make you remember the event and invoke an intense reaction.
  • Recurrent nightmares or distressing dreams.
  • Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations that remind you of the event.
  • Avoiding activities, people, or places that remind you of the event.
  • Unable to remember something from the traumatic experience.
  • Distance from people or difficulties trusting them.
  • Difficulties experiencing or showing emotions.
  • Feeling your life will never be the same again.
  • Difficulties falling or staying asleep.
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger.
  • Difficulties concentrating.
  • Survivor’s guilt.
  • Being jumpy or easily startled–flinching.
  • Hypervigilance.
  • Symptoms lasting more than a month (this isn’t necessarily an absolute factor, especially if you meet a lot of the criteria above even after a few weeks of the event occurring.)
  • Experiences interfering with normal activities, like work, school, or even social activities.

The good news is that PTSD doesn’t have to last forever. It can be treated over time, then become nonexistent; however, you can relapse. Medication can be effective in treating it, such as anti-depressants. Yet, in people with bipolar disorder, the traumatic event can trigger an episode, and even with medications, PTSD makes it much harder to come out of these episodes. There is also cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapist will help the individual change their thinking about the trauma and and its aftermath. It can include homework assignments, such as listing out what you think trust is. There is also exposure therapy, which helps the patient have less fear about their memories. There is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. This helps with reaction to trauma. You can go to group therapy as well to be around other people with PTSD so you don’t feel like you’re alone. (Source)

PTSD can affect anyone. If you have PTSD, make certain you have a strong support system. If you know someone who has PTSD, be that person’s support system.



Suicide is Not Freedom

Suicide is Not Freedom

hotlinesI’ve written about suicide plenty of times before; however, there is no such thing as writing too much about suicide, especially because it is a topic that constantly needs attention–along with mental illness.

Robin Williams’ death was absolutely tragic to me. Like me, he suffered with bipolar disorder, which has a 20% suicide rate. He also suffered with substance abuse and was more likely on the depressive spectrum of bipolar disorder. It was like the death of Ned Vizzini all over again. Why was it this way? Robin Williams was one of my favorite actors because of the humor and humanity he brought into all of his acting roles. He may have been an actor–a mere actor, some would say–but clearly his death has hurt thousands of people. For days after his death, my social media was flooded with people upset and shocked. I have never seen such mass sadness over the death of a celebrity before. I didn’t see it with Michael Jackson, and I have certainly never seen it with any other celebrity. I didn’t even see it with Ned Vizzini, even though I was mourning his death.

Suicide, I think, is the most tragic way to die. When people attempt or commit suicide, they’re experiencing intense feelings that they cannot help. If there is no one to intervene, to talk to the person about his/her suicidal feelings, more likely than not that person is going to attempt and/or commit suicide. And this is the thing about suicide people do not understand: Mental illness can be fatal. I’ve seen plenty of articles mention that it is not the suicide that kills you. It is the mental illness itself, and this is something I strongly believe in. Suicidal ideation is often a symptom of a mental illness. I’ve suffered with suicidal ideation. If it weren’t for the strong support group that I have, I most likely would have made an attempt. I’ve thought about attempting plenty of times, too, whenever I came across something so unbearable during a depressive episode that made me think things were never going to get better.

When you’re suicidal, you’re delusional. Imagine being on Ambien. A dangerous side effect from Ambien is that you can do stuff while asleep on this drug. For example, there have been stories of people who have driven while on this drug. I also had one man tell me he made some sandwiches while he was on this drug.

Suicide is like being on Ambien. You have no idea what you’re doing. You’re not thinking through things logically. It is IMPOSSIBLE to think logically while you are suicidal. Feeling suicidal is not a decision or a choice. Committing suicide is not a decision or a choice. You’re basically intoxicated on your own mental illness, and as we all know, people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol can’t exactly make reasonable choices. This is the same thing with suicide.

This is what suicide is not:

  • Cowardly
  • Brave
  • Selfish
  • Romantic
  • Liberation
  • Stupid

I want to touch upon the liberation part. There is a meme going around the internet as a tribute to Robin Williams. It is a picture of Genie from Aladdin. It says, ‘Genie, you’re free.’ While well-meaning, it is a dangerous message to send to people who struggle with mental illness and struggle with suicidal ideation as a symptom of that mental illness. Suicide is not freedom. Suicide is tragic. The idea that suicide is somehow liberation romanticizes suicide AND mental illness, neither of which need this. I am also tired of people saying that Robin Williams is in a better place. HERE ON EARTH needs to be that better place, and that starts with removing the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness.

Too many people are afraid to talk about their suicidal feelings because many out there think it is stupid and selfish–and this is what they often tell people who are suicidal. This, in fact, makes the suicidal feelings worse because telling suicidal people this does not make them feel any better or get rid of their suicidal feelings. People also need to stop saying that if such and such person had just gotten help the suicide would not have happened.


It took me an entire year to find a medication that would give me long-term stabilization for my bipolar disorder. I was also seeing a therapist. During that year, I cut, I temporarily retreated to alcohol as a way to get rid of my feelings until it soon began to make me feel worse (this is something I have NEVER told people), and I idealized suicide…a lot. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness with lifelong medication adjustments. Even when I found that stabilization, I’ve still had to have my medications adjusted. I had to go up a little bit on Seroquel to get me out of a hypomanic episode I was going through for two weeks. I had to start taking a second Klonopin to help with my irritability and anxiety, as my body became immune to the current dosage.

I am not naive enough to believe I will never suffer from some sort of bipolar episode ever again.

People always say it gets better. Well, when you have a lifelong mental illness, it does…then it doesn’t. Chronic mental illness doesn’t get better; it only gets treated. It’s like Hazel having to use Phalanxifor to keep her stage IV thyroid cancer from exploding out of control. Her cancer didn’t go away. It didn’t get better. It’s only being treated to prevent the tumors from growing. Granted Hazel probably has a higher probability of dying much sooner than someone with a mental illness–or maybe not–but the point is that you feel better, but your mental illness is not gone. It’s still with you, waiting to act up again if your current dosage stops working or your medication stops working period. This is when you are most vulnerable to suicidal thoughts is during that period where you have to have your dosage bumped or have to go through the merry-go-round of finding another medication that will give you long-term stability.

When I was hospitalized a second time, I met a woman who had been hospitalized eight times because her medications would stop working. During that time, she either had a severe episode (bipolar type I) that warranted hospitalization, or she attempted suicide. I met another who suffered with severe depression and had attempted suicide multiple times in spite of being on medication. Sometimes people get off their medications once they feel better, as they mistakenly believe their illnesses have been cured. And then sometimes medications make you feel worse before they make you feel better.

There are a myriad of factors surrounding suicide that don’t always involve this person not seeking help.

Mental illness is not something you can get over. Mental illness does not discriminate, no matter your lot in life. Mental illness is a cancer of the mind. Suicide does not discriminate, either. Last, suicide is no one’s fault.