So... I vanished. Again.

I've done my usual, I'm afraid.

Whenever I feel particularly crazy, whether I'm feeling depressed or as though I'm racing towards mania, I tend to hide from the world. It's unhealthy, unhelpful, and causes strain on all of my relationships, but still, I run.

People don't like it when I do. To them, it feels like I'm saying I don't believe them when they say it's ok, that they can ride out the roller coaster of my emotions. And, if I'm honest, I am saying that, just not with the same connotations that people are reading into it. The only person to not run-a-screaming was a youth worker, well used to mad behaviour. To me, it feels like protecting other people, and myself. There's a million and one reasons for it, but mostly, it's because my experience is that when people see beyond the carefully crafted exterior, they run.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not violent, nor cruel. But I'm exhausting when manic and at times self destructive when depressed, and it's honestly ok that people don't cope well with the sudden shift into acting like someone else. We all cope better when the people we love fit into their pigeonholes- person A is quiet, person G is flirty, person J is the one with the good advice. When that suddenly changes, it's jarring. At times it feels like there are three distinct personality types living in the one body. I don't begrudge people not being able to handle it, because it's jarring for me, too.

This year has been about looking inwards for me. Lots of soul searching, lots of hunting out clues behind my behaviours. I honestly don't think it's helpful to say 'this behaviour is dumb and I'm gonna change it', because I need to know why I'm doing the things I do. And it staggers me how much of what I do, both good and bad, comes down to protecting myself from the potential hurt of people vanishing. So instead of stepping out and admitting that I need help or support, or that I'm struggling, I curl inward, and suffer quietly.

Both online and off, I worry that I'll be depressing, or irritating. And I wonder how many interesting or helpful thoughts or ideas are lost out of that fear. So I'm going to try and post more, if only to remind myself that it's all good. What I post here doesn't need to be perfect, it needs to be honest. That was the goal I set myself with this blog, and hiding isn't honest.

There's a belief in weight loss that until you accept yourself for where you are, until you find the good in yourself and love yourself unconditionally, nothing will change. What you hate or fear about yourself, you empower. Maybe that's true of mental health, too. What if, instead of treating my bipolar like some dark little secret, I embraced it? What if instead of grumbling about the down sides, I looked at the positives? How many famous, creative souls are bipolar? Quite a few. More and more, it's becoming accepted understanding that there's something about bipolar, or mental illness in general, that can lead to a more creative person. What if I embraced the good, and embraced who am I right now, instead of lamenting the fact that all gifts come with a downside?

How much better would the world be if we all took a moment today to look in a mirror, meet our own gaze and said 'I love you, right now, just the way you are'?

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