This website is far more than just a platform for me to bitch, whine, complain, and publicly rant and rave about my life, my illnesses, injustices, and my own personal causes. Sure, this site did start off as me just posting my random thoughts on completely random things, like public transportation, office dramas, Hollywood catastrophes and celebrity mishaps, and just some plain old funny things that happen to me daily (I’ve always said if it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all). However, as the website began to grow, I decided to take it in a direction that was close to my heart and something I had been searching for for quite some time.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2006, I knew very, VERY little on the illness. I scoured the web for as much information as I could find. At the time, I didn’t personally know anyone (or, at least they hadn’t shared with me) that had bipolar so I was feeling very isolated and alone. I did find a website called Ask A Bipolar (which I now run) that was able to help me get some first person insight on the illness, but otherwise, the information highway called the World Wide Web did not have very much else to offer me back then. After writing for Ask A Bipolar and getting to know some people with the illness, I decided that I wanted to write more about bipolar disorder and my other mental and physical health struggles, like eating disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, PTSD, etc. I could write about them through Ask A Bipolar, but the format of that site did not allow for much freedom to do just that so I began using this website for that. Of course I still write about random things, but I also write pretty freely about my experiences with my own mental health issues in hopes that others will read and feel less alone with their own illnesses. That was what I had been looking for back in 2006 and could not really find very much of.
Why am I reiterating the history behind the “making of bipolarhotmess.com?”
Yes, I absolutely have told the story in many different posts and other places, but today, January 23, is a pretty special day in the history of bipolarhotmess.com.
Why is January 23rd such a special day?
January 23rd is an anniversary that would not have been possible if bipolarhotmess.com did not exist.
What would not have been possible?
Where I am today might not have been possible. I might not have ever been to California, met any of my colleagues at International Bipolar Foundation, opened myself up to new experiences, stepped out of my comfort zone, and never have opened my heart and taken a chance on someone that could have left me more broken than I could ever imagine handling.
This website has grown so big, I mean, I never ever imagined this many people would ever find my site and not just find it, but actually find it as helpful, inspiring, and relatable as you all have told me it is. I have come to know a lot of people because of my website. I have seen some of their obstacles, tried to help in any way possible, I have talked with many people who were at a very bad place and helped them find their way back to level headed, and am still amazed at how many emails and messages I get from you guys with your stories of inspiration, or words of encouragement from you all when I’m struggling.
Those that have sent me messages know that I do read every single one and I personally respond to each one. Many of you have even established a pretty good friendship with me through social media and messages. About two years ago, I received a message from someone who was looking for some encouragement. Several messages were exchanged (it’s quite crazy actually how all those messages went) and after some time, we began to talk on the phone and through FaceTime. I do like to get to know as many of my readers as possible, but for some reason, this one was different.
One year ago, this man stepped on a plane in California and flew to Chicago to meet me in person. Yeah, that was a HUGE chance on his part too. (I mean really, flying from California to Chicago in JANUARY!! The cold. The ice. The snow…..) Now, at the time, my back was in terrible shape and I was having some steroid injections later that day, and for those of you that are familiar with O’Hare Airport and how crazy and busy and huge it is, you can understand why you normally don’t park and walk to baggage claim when picking someone up. You just pull through and pick them up on the lower level outside of baggage claim. I had every intention of just swooping him up because it would be easier. However, as I was pulling up to the airport, something in my gut said “park.” So I did. I wobbled (yes, with chronic back pain you “wobble” a lot, not “walk”) to baggage claim and sat down to wait. He didn’t know I was waiting there. He was prepared to meet me outside, so I was really going with the element of surprise.
I received the text from him saying he had landed and was headed to baggage claim. Those 5 or so minutes that it took for him to get from the gate down to baggage claim felt like hours! I looked up and saw this really, really tall guy walking toward me and it took a few seconds for my brain to register that it was him. As soon as it did, I stood up and took a few steps toward him. He looked at me (it took him a few seconds to register that it was me too) and I looked at him (yes, I know it sounds so cliche, but it really did happen like this!) and that was it. I was in love.
Now, I would love to hear his side of how this whole first meeting went, but I think it was pretty similar.
January 23rd marks the one year anniversary that my CJ got on a plane to Chicago and we both went out of our comfort zones and took a chance. Obviously I would not be writing about it if it ended up being a disaster. But, this amazing man put himself out there, took a chance, and let this Bipolar Hot Mess into his life. This past year has been filled with so many exciting things, some very unique “hot mess moments” (I am so blessed to have someone who can laugh at those moments) and hopefully another year of love, laughter, excitement, adventure, and success.
CJ has not only been my love, but my best friend too. He has helped me heal some wounds, has gotten me out of my little comfort zone, he has challenged me to be a better me, encouraged me when I needed a little boost, and has been an incredible sounding board whenever I have asked. He has encouraged my writing, my website, and my advocacy work and is not embarrassed or ashamed of what I do. I could not ask for anything more. (Ok, maybe we can cut out the 2,000 mile distance, but, let’s not get too ahead of the game lol).
Without bipolarhotmess.com, I would not have met CJ and my life would be a whole lot different now than it is. I know he took an incredible chance when he got on that plane last year, and I hope that I have given him as much, if not even more, of the happiness, love, encouragement, excitement, fun, and laughter that he has given me. This year he has some really amazing things ahead, and I can’t wait to cheer him on as much as he does for me in all of my endeavors.
I love you to the moon and back CJ. Yes, our story does seem surreal at times and like it was from a movie, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for taking that chance. You and “Dude” mean the world to me.
Your Baby Girl
PS – I guess it can be safely said then that my website DID accomplish what I intended it to do…. And even more!