I’ve been out of hospital for a few weeks now and during this time I’ve been rattling my brain just to find myself- find the taste of life within the marrow of my bones. As mentioned in my post on my other blog OLE, I’ve been drowning in self-doubt. After an episode, I always seem to struggle to pick up the pieces sprawled across the floor. You know, pieces of myself, my soul and my sanity.
In this past episode, although I did not go full manic, I suffered an intense internal pain. My world had been turned upside down and I felt like I had been turned inside out-bearing my raw flesh in all my naked glory (and shame) for the world to see. I felt vulnerable. I still do. Here I am, mother to three boys, who cannot seem to “get it together”. Where was the glamorous, confident Yvette their father fell in love with? Where did that man-eater, vivacious woman where the attention of men sat like a string of pearls around her neck? Okay, maybe it’s good she left. But where was that girl who was so sure of her worth?
She slipped into the depths of depression- and died. That’s at least what I feel has happened. I feel like she dies a painful death with every episode. And after every death comes the (mostly) painful rebirth of a soul that needs to not only learn about the world again, but about herself. Learning and redefining likes, dislikes, passions, boundaries, limitations, expectations. All of this, while trying to manage (balance) rearing children with their own needs and loving a supportive husband.
My therapist suggested I attend local art classes to address several issues. One of them being learning to
take make time to nurture my needs- for now my creative needs. Career needs come at a later stage. I’ve always known that I am a creative person, but I never felt safe and sure of myself to explore those needs. My father asked me once what I wanted to be when I grow up. Young little Yvette enthusiastically answered that said she wanted to be an artist. He quickly pooped on my parade and said that artists are poor people and I wouldn’t want to struggle, would I? I decided then and there to find something else that would make me rich and I ended up studying Accounting (hahaha). Although I ended up changing a few directions at university, I stayed in Commerce and never gave myself a chance to explore any other gifts I had. I gave up on those gifts and what I didn’t realize is that I gave up on part of who I was, who I AM!
I am a creative, artsy fartsy type. There, I said it. I love colour and I feel what I write. And now that I’m painting, I feel what I paint. I can feel! Oh, to be alive! It’s scary to start a new blank canvas, but now I know that my ability to create has been rekindled, I’m embarking on a journey of self-discovery. This time, with vigor. I brave the anxiety and paint through the uncertainty that may arise in the pit of my stomach. The feelings of nauseating numbness are slowly being replaced with excitement- butterflies flutter from the sheer joy of filling my cup of self-love. Oh yes, because I am learning to and embracing the idea of loving myself first! I have somewhat complicated triggers and because I have put myself last for so many years- I never developed the skills to be able to identify what makes me ill. So, it’s an exhilarating feeling owning my own wellness. I’m at a loss for words, but every time I think about losing who I am and this bringing me back to life, I get so emotional. I sit in tears as I type this. I stand on the brink of a reawakening.
What has even more amazing is the amount of support I’ve been getting. People in my art class, my art teacher, my friends and of course my family all believe that I have something. And for the first time, I’m beginning to believe they may be onto something. There must be something to it, if every time I paint my soul is set alight and it’s fueled by this passion. Oh yes I say again, I am alive!
This is what I’ve been up to:
Look, I’m not saying I’m great at this. I’m saying I’m having the time of my life. And I do get nervous about what people are going to say, of course. And I stress about how will I pay for the next class, I worry about if I’ll make a mistake, I worry about what to wear etc. I’m a naturally anxious person.
But when I’m in it, I feel like I belong. I have a space in this world and I’m worthy of it. So yes, I have my episodes, Bipolar Disorder does that, but I’ve discovered more to than just the ups and downs- I’ve learnt to find myself beyond the illness.
This is freedom!
Let me know what you think.
P.S My father and mother are now my biggest supporters 🙂 My mom even a sponsors a class once a month.
P.P.S Sponsoring me is easy to do. You can buy vouchers at Mica Vredenburg to pay for equipment or to pay for my classes. I’ll call it late/early birthday presents.