Goodbye Homie; Goodbye Ulla

*lights a candle*

This is going to be a bit all over the place but I’m going to try to say goodbye. She knows I was the type of person to be all over the place so I guess it’s okay.

My Homes,

I understand why you did it. I really do. Your brothers and sisters knew your torment. There were times I felt so helpless to be honest. But you always made me believe that every chat or every chuckle was worth the immense effort it became to you. It became so draining to participate in normal life things for you. But you tried. You tried for us, your friends. Your tribe.

I feel like I let you down. I wanted to do more. To be that rock you were for me. I could always turn to you when the world was at my throat; when the demons were at my feet. Grabbing at me. Now I have to face them on my own.

But you’re at peace now; this was all I have ever wanted for you.

You’re free.

You hated it when I would complain about my weight. Looking back, it feels so stupid now. You always encouraged me to keep writing; to keep painting. Thank you for believing in me especially on those days I had no hope for myself.

You were my gangsta, and I was your blood. We were homies.

You complained that you were old. But you were so badass. That’s a fact. You’d send me the best music. You had fucking good taste. And I loved that we both crushed on LL Cool J. Why you crushed on him I don’t know. 🙂 Makes me smile just thinking of all the drool we lost to that guy. PS. Thank you for keeping all my guy and lady crushes TOP SECRET. Thank you for never judging my taste either.

Oh Ulla, as I’m typing this, I still can’t believe that it’s true. I keep looking at our old chats, I send you “I love homes” messages but watch silently as they don’t deliver. It breaks my heart. You always responded; you were always there.

I’ve been wanting to paint a picture for you for the past two weeks (to send with the flashstick I still needed to send to you). Something abstract, something nobody would understand- just like this fucking illness. I wanted it to give you hope because your sense of hope disappeared long time ago. In fact, the real Ulla seemed to only come in flashes towards the end, I used to tell you to leave the hope for me. I had it in the bucket loads for you. I had hope that you’d come back to us.

You fought so hard.

Please know that you were never a burden to me or any one of us. You were loved. And it’s because of this love that we’re making such a fuss.

Thank you Ulla.

Thank you Blue, for all that you’ve done for Our Lived Experience. Thank you for the back and forth emailing, for doing the interviews (probably from your couch). Thank you for keeping us going, for keeping me going.

So many times we’d talk about meeting. I said I’d cook and you’d make the coffee. We’d sit together on your stoep. You’d obviously have your smoke and I’d watch and you take it in and exhale. All I wanted was to be in your space- to be next to you, to care for you. I guess I’ll have to hold onto those memories that never really happened.

I’m sorry for not being able to save you.

I love you Ulla. I always have, I always will.

Your gangsta,
Your blood.
Always.
Yve

**For those of you interested, I’ll be painting a series of paintings as a tribute to Ulla (Blahpolar). I want to sell them and all profits made will be donated to the clinics she went to in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. It will be an ongoing project. Spanglish Familia will be helping with the setup of a gofundme account.

I’ll use some of Roughghosts pictures and some she sent me. If you have anything specific in mind, let me know.

I work in oils and mainly use a palette knife. I am however flexible with my tools.

She always encouraged me to keep on painting even when I wallowed in self doubt. How stupid of me. Her mom used to paint shells btw. Anyway, I’d love to use my talents to remember her fondly.

You can see my works here: http://www.yvettehess.com

yvetteyadams1@gmail.com**

Advertisements

Celebrating the little things

It’s easy to get stuck into thinking you won’t be able to achieve your goals. Many know me to be a positive person and generally I am. When it comes to my own issues, I often put myself down, like so many of us do. You know how to motivate others but struggle to do the same for yourself.

I just came out of a mini depression. I call it ‘mini’ because I didn’t attempt anything and I survived without my psychiatrist. Positivity is key in this sensitive time for me. I took time out from writing as advised by my blogger friend Kitt O’Malley and just focused on sleeping. I haven’t been doing that so I decided now is a good time. (Two of my children are away on holiday).

I slept and slept. My nanny took care of the baby and i just loaded washing between naps. I literally slept it all off.

Today, for the first time I read a few chapters of a book. I’m going to do a little dance now. *twirls* I could actually read. Being able to focus to read the words off a page is something a lot of adults take for granted. My mind also didn’t dart from one topic to another whilst reading. Usually I start reading and complete to-do lists between sentences. (This made studying at varsity extremely difficult).  I decided that being able to read, even if it was just for today, should be celebrated. So thank you to my blogger supporters and thank you to me, myself and I for giving myself that time off to heal.

My current read is YOUR VOICE IN MY HEAD by EMMA FORREST. It’s a memoir about a feisty woman with bipolar disorder who meets lots of famous people and swears a lot. She also has many troubled relationships. 

This is one of the five books I bought while manic. It’s actually the second time I’m reading it but now that I’m ‘present’, I should enjoy it.

Keep dancing,

Yve

A whole lot of official stuff

So, I’ve merged my two blogs into one, http://www.yvecorner.wordpress.com. I recently ‘came out’ of the bipolar closet and decided to blog under one name. It was frustrating and often tedious to duplicate stories, trying to remove my name and details for confidentiality. It became difficult to be myself, by withholding so much of me from the world. Bipolar disorder is part of me, it’s sometimes an enabler, and on many of occasions it’s been a destroyer. More often we only worry when the destroying part of the story is around. Believe me, I’m not blaming the disorder for my failures, I’m blaming my lack of knowledge and people in general for not understanding mental illness.

Anyway, that’s a post for another day.

The other official happening in my life is that I have enrolled with Writer’s College South Africa to do a course in Memoir writing. I know that my writing is enjoyed by many, so I believe it’s only fair that I improve on my skills- to give you, my readers the best version of me and this voice I’ve been given.

And finally, I decided to launch a Facebook page (here) where I’ll share posts published, but also share my other favourite bloggers’ insights, some resources about the disorder and where to seek help. Other bloggers are better than this than I am, I prefer just putting a face to bipolar.A sweet face. Maybe I will be able to get you to realize when you or someone you love needs help- and I’ll share ways on how to possibly help them.

My aim with my blog is to give you some sort of window into my life- maybe provide some insight into how the disorder influences the decisions I make, my lifestyle choices, why I complain (read ‘vent’) etc. I want you to see how normal I am- but also how exceptional my visions and talents are, to see that my darkest days are just as intense.

I am cursed with a gift and blessed with this curse.

Words, rhymes, feelings, colours, intensity and death.

All me.

P.S Remember not all bipolars are the same, but we do share similar traits.

Thanks for following!

Tweet me: @yvette_adams

Why being crazy is so lonely, to me

I’m writing this post keeping in mind that I do not know all there is to know about the condition of the government psychiatric facilities in South Africa. I been ‘fortunate’ to be on medical aid. I’ve never been to a facility. You know, a facility. I should have in think back on what i’ve done, where I’ve been, especially in my mind. But this ‘fortune’ of having medical aid does not take from the loneliness from having a mental illness.

It’s isolating.

I’ve told a few of my closest friends, but all they offer is empathy. Of course it’s genuine and I appreciate it. It’s just.

I feel like I’m crazy when I try explain the kind of thoughts I have- the sensitivity I displayed to every change that happened in my life; the fact that I shattered to a million pieces, inside and kept it to myself. I kept the torment inside all these years and felt lonely and scared to share it, to whisper to any ear that would listen. I was so scared of their reactions. I was scared of being put away. I was scared of disgust. I kept it all inside, to keep people close. Some people, who didn’t give a damn about me anyway.

When I tell my husband about the versions of me, the psychosis, my super powers, he doesn’t understand. But he knows.

I want another bipolar to tell me I’m normal.

Am I am not normal now?
Now that I fit.
Fit into type 1?

I read blogs because they account the daily transactions between us and the ghost inside.

I used to think that I would die at the age of 23. I was paranoid for many years that because I saw the digital time 23:23 quite a few times (on a VHS machine), I would die at 23. I became so paranoid that it became a bitterness, and of course I never celebrated my 23rd birthday. (P.S I was not medicated). I’m 28 now. And every year, I live is a surprise to me. After numerous suicide attempts I think it goes with the territory. But, when I look at blogs by older bipolars and fellow mental illness suffers, I know I may not die. It’s inspiring.

That’s profound to me.

I may not always be ok.

But I may not die.

I feel lonely here in South Africa. I want to make a change. I don’t want others to feel this loneliness- the voices won’t ever be able to make up for this kind of loneliness. I urge South africans to be as vocal, as helpful, as genuine, as compassionate as those abroad, like the likes of Kitt O’Malley, Glenn Archibald and Dyane.

(Blogging from my phone so functionality is limited but, here are their blogs:

http://glenn2point0.wordpress.com/

kittomalley.com

http://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/ )

They’ve inspired me to come out, stay medicated and most importantly be me (which is a whole a lot of awesome things).

I’ll continue to connect, follow and tweet other mental health activists.

When I do die one day, I want my children to remember me, the real me- the fighter, the passionate Yvette… Who happened to have Bipolar 😉

Xxxx

Great News: I’m coming out!

I’m coming out the bipolar closet! Ah, what a sigh of relief. I could burst with excitement!!!!!

My hubby and I had a conversation about disclosing a few days ago. He knows I’m an extremely passionate person, and I really do enjoy helping people. In addition to that, by revealing who I am, people will be able to connect the illness to some of my past behaviour but also realize that the person I am is not defined by the illness. I know of many people who can’t imagine me being bipolar, because “I had it together”, but if they knew the truth, maybe they’d had have less ignorant ideas of the people who bear this cross.

As mentioned before I’m writing my memoir, and this has really motivated me to write more, and try to remember the foggiest of times.

I feel like I’m going to get me life back. The best version of my life, this time around, I’ll get to remember. 🙂

I’ll be merging my two blogs as not to lose anyone. Ah, please wordpress, don’t let me down!

Looking forward to catching up with everyone on the new blog!

Poems from the Past: The Ease of Smiling

This I found on my other blog. I think I was going through a mixed state. I had load of energy to write many dark pieces.

The ease of smiling

has made my healing

Somewhat misleading.

I thought it could

Heal my heart as it should

And not taint my spirit as it would.

In fact.

My smile begged me to appear

Happier and dry that forsaken tear.

Smiling can be so damn deceiving

Never quite revealing,

The raw state of my bleeding.

Whose Bipolar is it Anyway?

I’m writing this piece with my husband in mind, not to challenge him, but to challenge the issue of the stigma of mental illness wrapped tightly in a blanket of shame and the ownership of that blanket.

For those who have been sentenced with this illness it is hard enough trying to pick up the pieces after a psychotic episode, let alone face the judgement of the world in our bare state of mind: vulnerable to the sting of any harsh comment. But what if you’re ready to tell the world, “Screw you! I suffer from a mental illness and I can function.” and your supporter may not share the same excitement? What if they harbour a similar shame; maybe a shame that disguises itself as concern for your well-being when you come out? Or maybe it’s a shame attached to them in that they’re scared to be associacted with a psychopath; well, okay, not psychopath, but someone who is not always in control and needs to be medicated?

Is this not my bipolar and my shame? Or are you sharing your illness with your supporter, so much so, that it’s a joint account of events and eruption of emotions? Am I selfish in wanting to tell the world that I’m an activist; or a wannabe activist and not consult with the person who saves me from myself ever so often?

Do you need permission to tell the world, if the illness runs through your veins, not theirs?

I carry the burden. I carry the bipolar. But I also see his fear when I’m not all there. When I’m gone, and all he has is, a monster.

Poetry from the Past: Two Sides

I ebb between self-harm and neglect
Eclectic voices sound with bated breath
The darkness creeps slowly back,
She’s here to swallow my soul.

Why won’t she leave me be?
I have found happiness, love and seek her mercy
I have sweet souls to protect
If I lose them, I’d have nothing left.
Oh two sides- just leave me, whole.

Taken from Yvette

Poetry from the Past- Sadness loves me Still

Sadness loves me still
Through this pain
I have no will.

She breathes me in
All of me, whole
I cannot win.

I fill her lungs with my broken-ness
Fueling her
And in that
She beams a dark, grey
Like a stormy cloud in May.

Inside her, through her
I see the world as a shade of black
Wet
From tears
And fears
Like the feeling of being sole survivor in a crash.

She loves me still
Her love dispiriting
Leaving me drunk with her pain
Leaving me crippled from her mind game.

Taken from Yvette

He is supportive when I am bipolar

Besides the occasional ‘mommy guilt’ I feel every now and again (this happens less often when I’m not depressed), I sometimes feel guilty for having such a wonderful husband.

I know, I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking, ” Yes, Yvette, you’re in the honeymoon phase of your relationship, of course your husband is wonderful.” I disagree. My husband is not wonderful, not all the time. He’s a human being, like me, and so I recognize his faults. I do, however acknowledge his excellent ability to care for me, in my down days and also in my mania he steers me in the right direction (which implies steering me away from shops and the ATM on my spending sprees).

He is supportive when I am bipolar.

I pose those together because I want to highlight the relationship my husband and I have which I believe keeps this marriage going.

My husband is the carer only to my illness, bipolar. He is aids me in making logical decisions and ensures that I take my medication when I am not compliant. He does not argue when I attack him out of the blue; curse at him or scare him with the things I see or powers I have during psychosis. He thinks for me. This may sound drastic, but I’d rather not think when I’m depressed. He gives logic, life, where I only see, think and feel death. His logic is reason in my mania, where the empires I build in my mind have no foundation.

He treats the illness, which happens to live inside me.

In my well state, he is able to discern between the illness and me. In the same breath, I can also discern between him and the physician/ nurse within. When I’m not well, it’s sometimes difficult to do this; I know that I find it frustrating and mostly condescending when he asks me if I took my pills; urges me to go to bed to increase my sleep intake. Mostly, in my darkest hours I am embarrassed that I behave the way that I do and that he is obligated to look after me. I know I hate him when I am unwell.

But that hate is just a reflection of the the turbulence inside.

When I’m here. and present in the real world, I know that every element of my illness is and was drawn to his inherent caregiver nature. It’s a side of him he does  not expose to the world. So his secret doctor nature treats this enigma. What I’ve come to learn is that that part of him was drawn to my illness, just like the need and passion a doctor has to rehabilitate his patients. But the physician is only part and parcel of who is. If I did not see it this way, I’d still be embarrassed, even in periods of being healthy. Not feeling like equals, I can predict with certainty, is damaging to a relationship. We’ve survived that kind of torment too, but as a couple- separate to the illness.

I trust the physician in him more than I trust the monster that lives in the heart of me.

It is thanks to this, I’m the best version of me with him: medicated and loved!

Marriage

Feel free to share how you manage the illness and your relationship with your carer.

Take care of yourself!

-Y-

*Image take from Dr Brenda Wade