When you wake up one morning and look in the mirror, and all you see staring back is remnants of 4 years of ups and downs, job loss, lost loves, lost friendships, the wear and tear of countless different medication combinations; the fear as you look around your room in your parents house that THIS is what you let yourself become after you swore to yourself after your first hospital visit in 2006 when you were diagnosed that you were NEVER going to let THIS happen. THIS was your worst fear.
You were so very fortunate that you had some of your family and a few other friends and loved ones,that hadn’t totally given up. Despite your writers block and the fact that you had let your beloved websites turn to shit, you had written a few things here and there when inspired, or if asked by other friends and bloggers, but nothing close to what you had been doing before with your sites. The immediate reaction,
“Just give it up. Throw in the towel because there is no way to resurrect ANYTHING!!! It’s too far gone now.”
And so I did the “poor me” thing, locked myself away from everyone and everything, and sunk deeper. I had two more back procedures done to provide more pain relief within 3 weeks. The day after my last procedure, I woke up and grabbed my iPad, a notebook, and a pen.
I HAD A PLAN!!!!
I had spent so much time worrying about having writers block and being down because SOME, not all, the posts I had written and submitted to various places were rejected, that I forgot about the whole other side of social media. The side that helped me with Ask A Bipolar when I first started writing for them. The part that had brought even more amazing people and advocates into my life and we all became such good friends. We started our own little group and as our advocacy voices grew, so did our “behind the scenes” friendships. We were always in contact and we had so many inside jokes. That’s the beauty of the Internet and social media these days; it doesn’t matter where you are physically located, you can be all over the world, yet you can all be in the same place too. My gosh, it was so obvious it should have whacked me over the head a long time ago.
Sounds simple right? I had been out of the loop for so long that I had not been keeping up with the various new pages and organizations on Facebook and the new authors and advocates and such on Twitter. I didn’t have to be WRITING to still get back into the swing of things again. Having isolated myself for so long and only briefly signing on to the various social media accounts to share a post or retweet something here or there really wasn’t helping me. I had the websites Facebook pages set up so whatever I posted there automatically was posted on Twitter, so I rarely signed on there, even though I had tweets going. And the group of advocate friends, I missed them dearly.
So that is where it began. I started making lists of people I had heard a lot about, but didn’t know personally, I began researching different organizations that I was beginning to see a lot more about, and just started putting myself back out there too. After spending so much time alone and sinking further into isolation, I tried to think back to what I did the last time I had felt so alone, and what I did to change that, and the answer was, I found Ask A Bipolar. With Ask A Bipolar, I didn’t always have to write, but I did communicate and socialize and network, and when I was able to, I did write.
BACK TO THE BASICS
The key that I was missing here was so simple I just kept overlooking it because I thought there had to be something greater or better to pull me back up because of how far down I was. But it really isn’t. It’s all a matter of going back to the basics. I just had to sign back on to Facebook and Twitter and start reading, researching, following along, and interacting.
THE HUGE RELIEF
Since I have put this new plan into action, I have felt an enormous sense of relief. I don’t constantly feel like a failure because I didn’t get a post up that day, or I didn’t get all the emails answered. The self imposed pressure is gone and I’ve actually been able to write MORE. Well, when I say more, I don’t necessarily mean lots of posts or any books any time soon. I just mean that in the last couple of months, I’ve written a bit more frequently than I have in the last few years.
Well, I have my plan started and I have follow through with what I have and then build on it. I’ve learned that I can’t keep expecting to go from faceplant to 100% functioning overnight. It’s going to take a step by step plan and it’s going to take my dedication and patience and perseverance to keep going. So, I have to stop hiding from the world and I need to continue working on social networking as I have been doing.
I will continue to try and write submit things again. If I am fortunate enough to get it selected, then I will be honored. If I get rejected again, I will try again when I feel the time is right, but I won’t let the rejection stop me. I’m just taking it one step at a time.
When you have bipolar, you WILL have crashes. Some will be worse than others. Some you will bounce back quickly from, some will take longer. Some you will lose a lot, some you will lose very little. Some of you will hurt others, some will be forgiven and some won’t. The aftermath of a crash is never pretty. I wish I could say otherwise.
I know that this crash has been by far my worst crash ever. I have lost a lot of things, most of which I can never get back. There are a lot of things that I miss and I wish I had done differently as well, but, I can’t change the past, I can only change the future. I just hope that this plan will work better than any of my others.