So lately I’ve been thinking about how to use Tumblr as a marketing platform to reach out to teen readers. Then I realized I don’t think that I can. Tumblr’s great to retreat to when I need more personal advice, but I don’t think it’s so great as a marketing platform for anyone. The people on there fit the ‘misery-loves-company’ phrase perfectly, and it honestly makes me very angry.
My therapist told me I should use the depressing parts in my novel to hook them, but honestly, having to do that makes me a little sick. These are the same people who will post triggering pictures in innocent tags (like ‘bipolar’ or ‘mental health’) with a complete disregard that those pictures will affect someone negatively, like me. I then realized these people are content with misery.
I get it. Mental illness sucks, but it angers me to no end when people don’t even try to find happiness. I remember speaking with one boy on Tumblr who absolutely refused to acknowledge that his parents were just trying to help him, who believed everyone hated him, and kept reminding me that he hated himself too. It made me angry because he came to me for advice and was throwing it all back in my face. You can freaking change your thinking, even though you can’t change the way you feel. You can work to find happiness, even when depressed. You can’t sit around waiting for something when a slice of heaven takes a battle to have. I understand depression makes you think and feel these things, but this is why you go to therapy and listen to your therapist’s advice when he/she tells you to separate yourself from your mental illness.
I have no sympathy for people who drown in negative thinking while actively refusing to do nothing about their thinking and insisting they can never be happy when they haven’t taken a single step toward working for that slice of heaven. People like that infuriate me because even while I was depressed I was fighting to get better through therapy, ballet, work, and medication. I didn’t lie down and die. There were days where I let myself drown in the feelings, where I wanted to die, but not once did I consider stopping my medications, no matter how much they weren’t working for me. Happiness was something I wanted, and I knew that for someone with a mental illness, obtaining it would not be easy.
Why do some mentally ill people not want to be happy? By actively refusing to take a single step toward happiness, people are essentially saying they’d rather drown in misery while making others miserable around them (and yes, we do need to be considerate of those around us, even when ill. Constant misery can make others miserable) rather than trying to find some way to be happy.
If you can’t take care of your emotional health first, don’t expect others to take care of it for you.
Sometimes I ponder why the most vulnerable of us often find ourselves afflicted with mental illnesses we don’t deserve. Imagine dealing with the death of a loved one. Your depression starts out as a symptom of grief. Soon you come to terms with the loss of your loved one, but for some reason you can’t shake this deep, aching emptiness within you. You try to tell yourself it’s because you really haven’t gotten over your loved one’s death, but then the pain just persists. You can’t push through it, or move on from it. Something dark has grown in you, and you steadily begin to lose yourself. Your appetite dies, your sleep either becomes too much or too little; out of nowhere you think you’re worthless, unloved, unneeded; you might want to die, you might not want to do anything at all. Your symptom has turned into the syndrome. Not only are you grieving your loved one, but now you’re battling another monster known as mental illness.
My fibromyalgia was already bad enough to deal with and depression is a common symptom of pain, but then when does the symptom become the syndrome? My fibro was getting better, but my mental health was declining, and I couldn’t understand why, when before I valiantly fought through my fibro.
But someone like me can only take so much before she breaks.
I’ve learned, through mental illness, what an incredibly sensitive person I am. I don’t even have to know you and your pain will strike something so deep within me that I’m compelled to tears. While I am better, I am still easily triggered by anything that has to do with death or suicide.
When you’re depressed and suicidal, you don’t think how traumatizing the feelings are. You’re used to them. Your brain has tricked you so well into thinking you want to die that you accept being suicidal without question. You want to die. You crave it. You want to end your pain because your illness doesn’t want you to see a way out.
Now that I am better, I look back on those feelings, and a heavy pang spears through my heart. I could have given into those feelings, and I wouldn’t be right here telling you all this. They’re terrifying feelings. I’m terrified that I felt that way. Sometimes I want to cry just knowing I did because the truth is that I am still vulnerable to feeling that way again. All it would take is for one of my medications to stop working, and I could go from screaming that I don’t want to die to wishing I would the next day.
Bipolar disorder is a traumatizing illness. Mental illnesses in general are traumatizing. You start out with one problem, and then for some reason that problem makes you sick, and you wonder why others don’t get sick from the same problem. My brother went through a traumatic divorce, and while he was depressed, it was just a symptom. He pulled himself together and now he’s better. Me, I just cracked under the weight of stress and the depression spiraled out of control until it became its own monster.
But there is nothing I can do but to accept it. I accept that it makes me a deeply sensitive individual. I accept that I could become sick again. But most of all, I accept that it has given me the power to empathize so deeply with other people that I would do anything to soothe their pain.
I earned the Sunshine Award from Writer Block! Follow her blog! She offers fantastic writing advice, from creating stellar characters to creating stellar plots.
As with the previous award, I will choose three people at the end of this week.
Last, I wanted to let you guys all know that Shannon Thompson’s book, Minutes Before Sunset, is out! Buy it here. Paperback will be coming out shortly! You can also buy it for the Nook and most e-readers/e-reading apps.
While I am a very sympathetic, sensitive person, I am getting to the point where I have hardened on some things in regards to healing from psychiatric illnesses. Refusing help because you are afraid of stigma is one of the biggest things that rankles my nerves raw.
The stigma is real. I get that. But you’re not helping the stigma by refusing to reach out.
The above quote does not mean you can fix your mental illness through your thinking. It simply means that the way you think about things can help the way you feel about them. I accept my bipolar disorder as any other illness, and because I do, I don’t feel so bad that I have this disorder, which allows me to accept it so that the next time I’m depressed, even severely depressed, I’ll know what I need to do in order to take care of myself.
In any case, by refusing to reach out, you are damning yourself to becoming worse. Close friends and family don’t want to believe in your illness? Seek help elsewhere. This will take work on your part, but you WILL be able to find at least one person willing to listen to you. Even at my severest I found people, people I didn’t know too well, that I was able to talk to and they were able to fuel my thinking about my illness by telling me their stories as well. Hell, go online and reach out through chat groups and allow this reaching out to fuel your thinking.
I know a lot of introverts use the internet as an escape from their illnesses. And that’s great. It’s good to have a blog you can dump your feelings on as a way to find others similar to you. What’s not good is using misery to find misery.
On Tumblr, in the mental illness tags, teens will post incredibly triggering pictures claiming they help them cope. Those pictures are not helping in the least. If they were, you would be getting better. I’m not going to post any of them, but I can tell you triggering pictures are only fueling whatever it is that is going on in your mind that made you post the picture: self-harm, suicidal ideation, anorexia, bulimia, ect…
Pictures like this enrage me because it is almost an active defiance of a refusal to get better. Depression makes you not want to get better because depression doesn’t want you to get better–or mental illness in general–but that is why you have to reach out in a healthy manner. When I was suicidal, I would go to online chat groups with others who were. We wouldn’t even talk about suicide. We would talk about everyday life or how to cope. Heck, what helped me most was helping others who felt on the brink of attempting, and my suicidal feelings would disappear after that. I didn’t let myself stew in those feelings. Why the heck would you want to? They’re terrible.
The point is don’t actively refuse to get help because of your thinking. Stigma be damned. Be one of the ones to help remove stigma from psychiatric illnesses. More and more people are beginning to understand, I can promise you that. People who don’t want to understand aren’t worth it, and you need to realize that.
I was supposed to do one of these posts when I received 100, but things happened quickly and I had other posts I wanted to do. In any case, thank you each and every one of you! So am I going to do one of these every time I hit a milestone? No. I am doing this one because I want to start doing giveaways.
When I reach 200+ followers, I’m going to do a giveaway. It might just be something small. It might not be, but it’s going to be a freaking giveaway. I’m hoping that this giveaway can be done at the end of this week. You’ll just need to keep an eye out.
In any case, thank you everyone for enjoying my posts, commenting on them, liking them, linking them, and reblogging them! I promise every post I create will have as much quality as the last post!
Since this week has been the busiest I’ve had in a while, my fibromyalgia is starting to emerge to punish me in the form of flares that crawl just beneath my skin and fatigue that has me in a chokehold at work. I might not be making any appointments today, but at least my boss knows I have fibromyalgia and will understand.
This exhaustion is why I got depressed in the first place. I hated how being busy negatively affected me. I hated that I couldn’t be content with a busy week because of the fatigue and the pain. I hated this because I’m working toward becoming a teacher, and if I can’t handle a week like this, there is no way I can become an English teacher. But I’m content with whatever happens in the future. I’m not worried about it anymore. I’m taking each day at a time, and if fibro wants to inhabit my body because I’m a hard worker, so be it.
I knew being as busy as I was would eventually do this to me. I had to take ibuprofen during work yesterday to get rid of bear-trap pain. I may also need anti-anxiety meds to calm my body down when it starts freaking out because it’s so busy. I wouldn’t mind those meds at all because it means being able to do more than what my body is currently capable of, and that would be another dream come true.
I would love to go home and work on Stolentime, but what I need more than anything right now is a hot bath and a nap. Maybe some tea. A soft blanket. Something to self-soothe me.
Right now I’m at work and plan to take a break every hour if the exhaustion and pain start to affect my work. Thank God my job is no McDonalds. I would have died already. But anyone who has a chronic illness be it mental or physical can understand the natural fatigue that can creep in because illness itself is so exhausting.
As it were, I need to get back to work. I seriously wish people wouldn’t look intently at the car if they’re not going to sign up for it. This is my territory.
Did I mention I am stable on meds now? I have no idea, but if I didn’t, now you know. My magical cocktail: Trileptal, Seroquel, and Abilify. The Trileptal controls the mania, the Seroquel does the same and helps me sleep, and the Abilify treats bipolar depression, which is so difficult to treat for most of us.
I can’t believe how happy I am now. I know it’s not because When Stars Die has a publishing contract because if that were the case, depression would still be breathing down my neck, and I’d know it. I wake up every morning, thinking, “When am I going to be not sleepy so I can live?” instead of, “I just want to sleep all day because everything feels stale and pointless.” It’s terrifying to know my brain chemicals are fully in charge of my mood–one blip, and I could wind up depressed all over again. But it’s beautiful to feel this way. I feel like an immensely different person: confident, driven, motivated, loving, sensitive, artistic.
For anyone who has ever suffered from a mental illness that took a while to treat, it truly is the little things that make a big difference. I have my appetite back. It was so strange feeling hungry for the first time in a long while. I couldn’t pin down the sensation until my stomach started growling ten thousand times. I’m also not tired all day long. I used to yawn hundreds of times each day, begging to go to bed so I could just sleep away everything. I have energy. I just want to do things all the time now and I view sleep as a hindrance to productivity–but I do sleep because I know I need it. If I were manic, I wouldn’t even care.
Because I have my appetite back, I no longer struggle with irritability and anxiety. I feel perfect, just cheery, optimistic, hopeful, ready to take on the day. When I was depressed, the fight didn’t feel like it was worth it to me, but now that I’m better, I realize the fight was definitely worth it, and I hope to remember this the next time I’m depressed. As my therapist says, “You are going to feel better because you always have felt better.”
And to think that it was just at the beginning of last week that I still struggled with suicidal ideation.
Okay, so Amber Skye Forbes loves attention, but The Dancing Writer is my brand, and so I’m trying to build off that. I talked a little bit about the monicker in this post. In any case, I’m going to admit I love attention. When I’m going out to work or anywhere at all, I dress as a pseudo Lolita: either sweet or casual or a little gothic. I love the attention I get from it, I’m not going to lie. As someone whose self-esteem was crushed by depression, it really does help me when I get outside affirmation from others. I mean, my self-esteem is pretty much back now that I am no longer depressed, but the attention, I still love it.
I like the attention because I want to be noticed as a person, and I think we all secretly do but are afraid of the social stigma of being called attention seekers, or, even more unkind, “attention whores,” or narcissists. As long as you’re not walking around thinking you’re the best darn thing on the face of the planet, I see nothing wrong with wanting attention. I’m not running around screaming “Look at me! Look at me!” I’m wearing my favorite style of clothes and enjoying the attention I get because of it.
I think as writers we need to get it into our heads to seek attention. We’ve got books to sell, after all. If we don’t become attention seekers, how can we expect to succeed? Plus, I have a brand I’d like to build, and I’d like people to know both my name and my brand because I’m going to use my brand for more than just books.
I want to be loud, noticed, and remembered. I don’t want to be some afterthought to someone’s day. But I don’t want to be remembered just because I’m a writer. I want to be remembered because of the things I do for people, or the things I will do for people. I’m not doing things for people just for that reason, but it’s a plus if I can go down in history somehow.
Where did this craving to be remembered come from? I think it came from depression. Depression can turn fatal if not treated–don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Not everyone who is depressed is suicidal, and vice-versa, but you can become suicidal if you’re the type to dwell on who you used to be before depression sapped the life from you.
When I was depressed, I felt insignificant. I felt like I’d never leave any mark on this world and that my illness was going to sap all my potential of ever being someone who can make a difference in people’s lives. So I guess this fervent desire for attention is my way of laughing in depression’s face, saying, “Yeah, you tried to get me, to kill me, to drag me down, but I’m going to show you I’m not insignificant, and you’re going to regret ever coming into my brain.”
Wanting to be noticed is my way of fighting. Looking back on how I felt during depression, I realize what a traumatizing illness bipolar disorder can be. Some people, I believe, can develop PTSD from being depressed or suicidal or manic or going through psychosis–it’s that frightening. I don’t think that will happen to me, but I do have my worries of my meds not working anymore because I love the person I am when I’m not depressed. I hate the person I am when depression has me.
So, Stars, go out there, seek attention, be loud, make a difference, and don’t hide.
Stars, I’m actually waking up three hours early! Instead of 12 or 1 o’clock, I’m waking up around 8:30 or 9:00. This is either because I have a reason now, or I’ve found the right medicinal cocktail. My therapist and I think it is the latter because yesterday was the first time I wasn’t irritable in the morning, I wasn’t tired at all throughout the day (until night, obviously), I didn’t feel depression trying to drag me down, I was able to eat more and not feel cramped in my stomach, and I was able to just bask on Cloud 9. I don’t think it’s because of the super incredible news I received. I mean, I sobbed when I found out I was in the recital (tears of joy), but I still felt depression stalking me. I don’t feel it stalking me. I don’t feel its dark shadow.
I think I’m still fighting anxiety a little, just the anxious feelings that come on for no reason, but there aren’t any anxious thoughts accompanying the feelings. They’re just there for whatever reason, and, for me, I’d frankly prefer anxious feelings with no anxious thoughts over depression with anxious thoughts any time. Sure, it’s still uncomfortable, but I’m not snappish and irritable now. Usually talking with my parents irritates me, but now I find myself speaking with them without that irritability present.
In any case, yesterday was the first time I felt fantastic since being manic. But I’m not manic–I think I’m finally happy. It’s odd, too, because I’m on 2 mg of Abilify (this is a child’s dose. I’m 22) and have only been on it for six days. I’m 5 ft. 5, 114 lbs, and have a small frame. I also have a fast metabolism, which is why Seroquel doesn’t give me the munchies, for those who understand medications. So perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that the Abilify is working.
I’m going to admit it’s wretched that my mind is totally dependent on pills to balance it, mostly because all pills have the potential for serious side effects, but for now, I’m just going to be grateful I’m balanced out. Depression has had me trapped for almost two years and now I’m finally seeing the light again. I’m excited about life. I want to go back to work and be sociable so I can make appts., which turn to sales, which means commission and demo money for me along with my minimum wage. I am even picking my hours back up–just for the summer. During the school year, I won’t do more than 12.
It’s just such a relief to be breathing now, when I’ve been holding my breath for so long. Therapy helps too. As well as positive thinking.
I know there is a possibility of me becoming depressed again (or even manic) because bipolar disorder is often a lifelong illness. But I won’t think about that. For now, I will enjoy the life that I have and appreciate the small things that I never appreciated before all of this. I will even think about Emilie Autumn who is currently kicking bipolar’s butt and being fabulous all the while.