Finally, a blogpost!

Here I am after 5 months of not blogging. I stopped blogging after one of my closest friends and compadres committed suicide. It was a major shock to the system for me. And I suppose I could go on and on about it- how I went through two breakdowns partly because of the event. But. I won’t. 

Instead I’ll just briefly fill you in on what happened in this short while. Firstly, I was hospitalized twice. I know. It was majorly stressful and I wasn’t coping. I was arranging an art fair with two other ladies and then when it came closer to the launch date, I fell ill. I spent 9 days in the hospital. It was long but not long enough to make a big impact. It did, however, save my life. I was on Ketamine and had 6 sessions. December came and I appeared to be doing well. Then, boom, another episode. This time I was admitted for 21 days and had to have ECT. I had 5 sessions in total and although I regained my sanity, I lost many memories. I’m sure others can relate. 

To cut a long story short, I recovered and I’m still doing well. 

People know that I’m a public person; I love to share. So when I was offered a business partner position on the condition that I drop the bipolar label, I was taken aback. I wear my label proudly and it doesn’t bring me shame in any way. I believe that we need to talk about Bipolar disorder and work to eradicate the stigma. But the person who offered the partnership isn’t of the same opinion. They believe that the contract condition was added to protect the image of the business. I took the weekend to decide what my next steps were. Do I take the offer and close down my accounts and keep things clean or do I reject it and continue in my plight? 

This badass decided to reject the offer. Whoop whoop! I feel proud that I stood my ground. I feel like I honoured my feelings in that I stuck to my guns, to what I believe in. 

Did I lose out? 
Not in my books. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself knowing I couldn’t tweet, Facebook or blog about my life (in the open). 

This is a victory for me and I hope a victory for us all who fight the good fight. 

Stand you ground,

Yvette

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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**

Artwork for Ulla

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.

yvetteyadams1@gmail.com

An Invitation: JOIN ME on SEPT 10th to Honour ULLA’s Death — Our Lived Experience

I’m struggling to write this, so please bear with me.

Two days ago I found out that one of my closest friends and the co-founder of OLE took her own life. Ulla, or Blahpolar as she was known to most, was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I don’t want to write too much – but I do want to invite you to join us as we (with other bloggers) celebrate her life  on September 10th, World Suicide Prevention Day, on her blog:  (https://theblahpolar.wordpress.com).

Yvette

 -Originally posted on My Spanglish Familia: Dear WordPress Community I am overcome with grief upon learning of Blahpolar’s death. I assume, many of you are too. Please join me and Yve on SEPTEMBER 10th, 2016 – World Suicide Prevention Day – on Blahpolar’s blog (link to her last post here) to honour her beautiful, brilliant,…

via An Invitation: JOIN ME on SEPT 10th to Honour ULLA’s Death — Our Lived Experience

Anxiety killed the cat

My anxiety killed me, dead.

I really struggle with the anxiety part of my bipolar disorder and we’re beginning to think that it’s an issue all on its own. My last post spoke about my obsessional thinking patterns. I brought this to my psychiatrist’s attention  on Wednesday. (There was a cancellation so I could get an appointment sooner than I’d planned).

Some context: I’m enrolled in a writing course where I’m learning how to successfully write my memoir. Lately, towards the end of the course, I’ve been struck with debilitating anxiety.

I explained how I thought that maybe it’s psychosis as I must be delusional. My thought processes are affected. And bonus, it’s affecting my memory.My psychiatrist says that my anxiety may be the cause of all of this.

It’s more than just writer’s block. I am the one who is blocked.

Even writing this, I find that I’m struggling to string words together. I’m at a loss for words even in the simplest of situations. In social settings, I find my body temperature soaring (evident in my glasses steaming up) and I need to remove my glasses or scarf till I’m settled.

I recall experiencing this anxiety when I was studying at varsity. No surprise that I dropped out. Does this mean I won’t be able to achieve anything?

No need to answer that. I’m throwing out questions for myself to think about.

One thing that came out of the session was that I was adopting other people’s definition of success as my own and using it in turn to define who I am.

So, if I don’t submit 10 000 words  by the 15 July, I won’t get my certificate. And if I don’t get that certificate I’m going to be a failure, because I never graduated like everyone else. I made my happiness depend on that certificate, this upcoming submission. My livelihood depends on it. I have nothing else, if I do not have this certificate. I am nothing if I do not get this certificate. 

These are the kinds of thoughts that I constantly grapple with. They overpower all that I am and I am left, broken. Apparently it’s a combination between severe anxiety and low self esteem. The latter, I assume I need to fix quick-quick and in a hurry. These are the times I wish I were manic, just for the feeling of being invincible. Just to have that taste of power. Because right now, I’m yearning to feel that power and drive I had so many moons ago.

I’m sure some people, especially those without mental health issues are thinking, “Get it together.”

I wish I could. I wish it were that simple. But I’m trapped in my own head.

This anxiety has me questioning my very existence.

 

 

Obsession

One of the things I haven’t read much about when it comes to bipolar disorder is being obsessive or having obsessing thoughts. I obsess over little things like if the windows are closed at night to big things like what are people thinking about me. I know it seems stupid and possibly childish but paranoia, at its worst, can be quite overwhelming if it spins out of control. 

Because I have a lot of guilt and shame issues, I obsess over what I think people are saying about me and even what they are not saying about me. (Like they’re not saying I’m a good person). I obsess about my worth. I obsess about the way I look. I obsess about my weight.

Paranoia finds itself in every day situations. Let me give you an example. I know a lot of people and so communicate with many of them on Facebook or whatsapp. While chatting to them, I’d have secret conversations happening in my mind where I imagine or “manufacture” things the other person is really saying with their messages. I obsess over reading between the lines constantly. It quickly spins out of control and I find myself completely detached from the actual conversation AND my mind is filled with negative what-ifs and so on. I’m become engrossed in the conversation that happened in the background.  Scary thing is, I can justify every bit of these thoughts, in my mind of course. I feel as if people are out to get me, hate me and so forth. I hate it. I loathe chatting because of it sometimes. 

According to an article I read online, paranoia is a symptom of psychosis. Gah. Really? Other symptoms include:

  • Disrupted, disorganized, or hard-to-understand speech or thought patterns
  • Hallucinations
  • Unrealistic beliefs
  • Difficulty managing daily activities
  • Difficulty knowing what is real and what is not

Ah yes. I relate to these above. 

It’s hard to accept symptoms let alone hide them. It’s hard to accept, that I’m mentally ill when you read the hard, clinical, truths. But I know it can be managed. I take my antipsychotics and go for therapy. 

Do you struggle with unshakeable paranoia? 

Prosper,

Yve

Blue flame

Slowly moving.  
Sensually gliding. 

I’m engrossed. 

So just dance!

Your blue is-

So intriguing

So misleading. 

Your heat 

I can’t touch. 

I can’t have. 

I can’t hurt. 

Oh to embrace you! 

Oh to feel your freedom. 

Just to be!

Self love and motherhood musings

Since my last little episode, I’ve recovered quite nicely. Relatively speaking of course. 

I’ve taken a few showers. Yesterday I even made myself breakfast. Boom.  

 
Caring for myself is so much effort when I’m depressed. Sometimes loving myself is one of the most difficult things to manage to do. I think it’s rooted to my upbringing and being molested. I never felt good enough. So often I have negative questions in my mind like, “what makes you worthy of looking after yourself?”. 

This in turn means I run on “empty” often. I don’t pour enough love into myself to give it in a healthy manner. Because I do give love. I give my everything. I give too much which leaves me with nothing. No energy or want to love myself. You know, I can’t even remember the last time I put on lotion after a five minute shower. It’s just shower. Get dressed. Finish and klaar. 

I can’t blame the three kids. I can’t blame the husband. I can’t blame my parents. I can only blame myself. I’m stuck in a world of complicated psychological mess and I need to get out of it. 

How do I do it? One way I thought of was taking ten minute showers. I know it seems stupid but that extra five minutes can seem like a luxury when you have a two year old banging at your door, “mummy, mummy, mummy!” 

I need peace. Not necessarily quiet because that’s just impossible. 

I need the peace of mind to find ways of looking after myself. 

I need freedom. Not necessarily freedom away from the kids, because duh. I’m a mother. But I need the freedom to love myself. Without the guilt. 

Guilt is painful. I’d starve myself if I could just for my children. I hear mothers say things like that all the time. I love my children fiercely but I can’t can’t can’t sacrifice myself or who I am for them. That’s my opinion. I give them my all, daily, but there comes a point where I see women give themselves away in the name of motherhood. Is that motherhood? I know my mother did that. She gave her everything and ended up being so bitter. She’s great now but I think she had it wrong- like many of us sometimes do. I think it’s part of the reason why I can’t show this weight. There are other reasons but I’m not focused on myself anymore. There is no me. There’s “us”. “We’ll” be there. “We’re” running late. “We” can’t make it. My baby making days started early. I just turned 21. So I missed out on quite a few great years because I had to be punished for having kids before marriage. 

Ok, Maybe I’m bitter. But that’s besides the point. I’m married now and although I’ve grown since 21, I still feel pressures from the online world and soccer moms to be a certain kind of mother. Like Maz from Caffeine and Fairydust referred to in one of her post. Moms with Instagram filtered lives. Moms who do no wrong. Moms who aren’t wearing slippers in the car on the way to fetch the kids. Moms who aren’t suffering from anxiety and panic attacks daily. Moms who know how to deal with tantrums and crying fits. 

Basically moms who have their shit together. 

I’m not that mom. But I’m feeling the pressure to be that mom. I’m feeling the pressure to need to give everything up to fit into that box. 

I try my best not to judge others, especially moms who don’t seem to get it right. I know how it feels. I judge myself and I’m particularly hard on myself. Why? That’s therapy convo. 

I’m tired of mothers judging one another. In fact sometimes I get tired of being a mother. It happens. There are moments when I want to throw in the (dirty) towel (into the washing basket). But I don’t. You simply can’t. You think you can, but you can’t. You love them way too deeply. Every mother loves their child so deeply in a way that is sometimes too difficult to understand. 

You will never be able to understand it. (Pity). 

But you can embrace it. 

What did I want to say with this post?

Self love is important. Don’t lose yourself in motherhood. 

Live it up,

Yvette