mckarlie

I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

Always a choice….?

It’s easy to be sad. It’s my default setting, except when I’m manic, then I’m the happiest person you could possibly meet. But for the most part, feeling like shit comes easily. So often I accept my miserable fate, curl up on the couch and stare at the tv for days on end. I don’t shower, I don’t eat, I don’t communicate with anyone except those I live with and even then it’s minimal. I wear my greasy hair like a badge of despair, my body stops aching for food and my mind stops ticking over and accepts that television will keep me connected to reality, ha!

Then I realize, I’m not helpless at all, I’m just giving in, giving up on trying. There are a thousand opportunities every day to make my situation even a little bit better. Have a shower, you DO feel better afterwards, even if a little. Eat some soup, your body is in starvation mode. Call a friend, a good one who will be ok if you sporadically cry. Go for a walk, a little bit of exercise really does have a positive effect on the depressed mind. Do SOMETHING. Do ANYTHING, just stop feeling sorry for myself and hibernating on the sofa, if I give in it will beat me.

So I’m torn between self indulgence and self awareness. I think of all those people I got to know during my hospital stay, those people who really don’t have a choice, those who can’t chose to change things because they don’t know how or simply can’t. Then I feel lazy, and that feeds the guilt and isolation, oh what a silly circle I have myself running in.

I think we often hand over our choice as the price we pay for depression. We forget we own our own will, we become slaves to our own emotions and let them lead and guide us into the murky swamps that track the tormented mind. So fuck it, today I’m having a shower, going for a walk and getting some work done. It may not sound like a lot to you but it’s a darn sight more than laying on the couch like a vegetable. Never forget you own your own will.

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9 Crimes – Damien Rice

When a song captures your mood and you listen to it a hundred times over, this is where I am.

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Stuck in the mud

Logically, I know it will get better. Logically, I know that the despair I feel right now will pass. Logically I know that things will change. There is little room for logic in the tormented mind, there is nothing but haze and darkness and tears, so many tears. I have been a champion for positivity so many many times, but right now I feel so low that I don’t exactly know how to myself. One step forward, two steps back, three steps forward, two steps back and so on i dance with my guilt and sadness, my own emotional carousel that I want so desperately to get off of.

I guess being bipolar means that there will never truly be an end to the dance, just harder bits and easier bits good bits and bad bits, which is much like life for every single person out there. I know I’m not alone in my grief, I know there are many others out there feeling just as low, or even worse than I feel right now. It brings me no solace. More than anything, I feel utterly alone, hence I decided to write. I decided to write not for sympathy or a pat on the back but for myself, it’s the best tool I have to figure things out and I can’t keep swallowing my sadness in hope it will pass through me, I need to feel it and stare it down and shine a light on it and analyze it. I need to take it all apart so I can put it all back together, and this is the best way I know how.

I keep replaying mistakes I’ve made and reliving the guilt and negativity associated with them. I play things over and over in my mind, bathing in the murky puddles. I would make myself a martyr if I had any real strength, but right now I’m empty and alone. I know there are people that love me, people that need me, and that does (on paper) make a difference, but not in my heart. Usually the people I care about prop me up and keep me positive even when things are hard, but when the chemicals wont do what the chemicals are meant to do I end up like this, a lump of bitter despair. I don’t blame the people that damaged me in the past, I blame myself. I convince myself that I deserved all the things that were done to me and that this is not just PTSD and depression, it’s me and i’m fucking broken.

This too shall pass, and it is not my intention to bum anyone out, I just had to confront what I’m feeling at the moment, and what better way than this eh?

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I’m baaaack!!!

Hello my lovelies. As you may well know it’s been a few months since I have posted. Unfortunately I spent some time in hospital, then after coming out we had issues with our internet and got fed up with our ISP so we changed to a different company who then screwed us around for 8 weeks. Then we found out the place we’ve been renting for five odd years is about to be sold so we decided it wasn’t worth getting the internet back only to pay an exorbitant fee to move it to a different address so i got myself a dongle to access the internet. It’s a bit like going back to dial up but at least I can do basic browsing and keep in touch with all of you dear souls.

So, the last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster for me and the family. My hospitalization was crazy and intense but after I came out I was deeply inspired and started writing my novel. I’m still not done but happily I have interest from my friend’s literary agent already so I’m feeling really positive about that. It’s my first full novel, I’ve started a lot of projects over the time but such is the bipolar mind that many tasks started go unfinished, but this has been a labor of love. While I was ill i spent nearly every possible moment I could reading, that was always my issue with being a ‘writer’ – i wasn’t sure of my identity as such, could never decide on exactly how i wanted to write and what message i wanted to purvey. After reading dozens of books and spending time with some of the most amazing ‘characters’ i’ve ever met in the hospital, i finally had a clear voice and started with my story outline and started to fill it in. I wont go into the details of it at the moment but I’m feeling really positive about the work. I know so many people who want to write just so they can call themselves a writer, and I suppose I can understand that but I find it brings me more joy than anything else in life (aside from my lovely kids of course) – i’ve been writing poetry and songs and short stories since i was a wee one and it always pours out of me and provides such catharsis.

Now, my Mother. We have had our ups and downs over the past few months but I’m most pleased to share that things are going quite well. Writing that letter was the best thing I could have done, and I’m so pleased I didn’t send the first version of it, the one laced with disdain. She is still a passive aggressive nut but her heart is in the right place and she knows she let me down in the past and has been trying her absolute best to make it up to me. She still has a bit of denial as to just how much she neglected me when I was younger and some of the atrocities that happened under her watch, but there has been SOME acknowledgement from her and even that is a miracle and more than i could have dreamed of. We are both flawed individuals and have realized we need to cut each other some slack. I do admit I get pangs of jealousy when I see her interact with my half siblings, but i’m also delighted that she saw the mistakes she made with me and corrected them with my siblings, she has been a much better mother to them than she was to me but she was 13 years older when she had my sister than when she had me and she had a partner there unlike with me, albeit a drunk partner but still, she had a bit of support. So my sister is 20 now, my brothers 18 and 17. It’s been so lovely spending time with them all, we are slowly rebuilding the relationships we lost over the past few years I hadn’t seen them and they are really sweet and quirky people. We’ve even taken to having Sunday roast dinners at Mums, how very domestic and functional of us! Unfortunately my Stepfather is still drinking, and my Mother is still miserable in their marriage, but I don’t think either of them is capable of the change it would take for them to be truly happy together. It breaks my heart watching my mother scrimp and scrape money together because he is spending hundreds a week on alcohol. He has had a long history of being caught drink driving and recently got his license back after losing it for 12 months and copping a rather huge fine. Because he is a consistent repeat offender he now has an interlock device attached to his car, is that how you spell it? I don’t know, I’m only aware of them because of some reality show I occasionally catch on telly. Basically, it’s a breathalyzer built into his car, and he has to blow into it to start his car and if he has any alcohol on his breath it wont operate. It also gets him to do random breath tests while driving, and if he doesn’t breathe into it it causes his horn to start beeping and his lights to start flashing and then once the engine is off it wont start again. It’s demoralizing that it’s taken such an extreme measure to ensure that he doesn’t drink while he drives but it is what it is, he got into an accident when he was about 20, he was drunk and driving in a rural area with his then girlfriend and he crashed. She passed away and I think he’s been trying to drink away the memories of that ever since. It’s such a shame because he’s almost two people, sober he is a very quiet and kind man who works hard and loves kicking the soccer ball around with his grand children or picking tomatoes with them in their garden but when he’s drunk he’s an absolutely vile creature full of hate and vitriol. I will never forget the abuse I suffered at his hands but I have finally forgiven him because it was eating me up inside and holding onto it just wasn’t worth it. I think it will always hurt a little but I had to let go of the hate, and slowly healing has started to occur.

Anyway, that’s the highlights. I have really unreliable internet at the moment but will be checking in with as many of you as I can. I’ve missed interacting with you lovelies. Peace xo

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What effect do you have on others and do you give a shit?

I’ve recently been taking more chances, I stepped out of my comfort zone and pitched a few articles for a mainly mens site as they advertised for writers. The way it works is they have a forum, with different threads and areas for different stages of pitch and editorial. You post your pitch to the thread and then a moderator or administrator responds with feedback on how it could be improved and then it gets discussed at their meeting and either more feedback is given or it moved forward for publishing.

The problem with this forum format is that every man and his dog has access to your pitch, and there are some heavy egos in play in this place. They have a “karma” system where people give and take karma depending on whether they like what you say, I’ve been a member for just over a week and i’m currently minus 7 karma, haha! It’s all because I dared be a female with an opinion. I made a pitch, albeit not my best work but I was just having a crack, and a few douchebags jumped all over me. They were really harsh about it and basically were begging for moderator approval themselves. The fact is, they aspire to be a moderator and feel they should give ‘advice’ when the fact is they haven’t even had any articles published themselves. Crazy right? One of them came in and told me the title sucked, the material is overdone and my sources were shit. I said hey, that’s pretty harsh and a shitstorm erupted.

Since then, there have been some lovely people comment on the post and some really truly terrible people comment on the post, and it makes me wonder – how much do we think/care about how what we say and do affects other people?

My main issue with the site was that the “advice” i was being given was done so in a belittling fashion, he then claimed that he was just a writer trying to discuss ideas with another writer but that isn’t what happened. It’s about their egos, and let’s remember how hard it is to create something and put your ideas out there AT ALL, it’s horrifying lol and to have people be SO negative about it is just unnecessary.

I’ve noticed most people tend to fall into one of two categories – some people are self aware and think about how they affect other people, and genuinely care. This is not to say they don’t mess up sometimes and hurt other people, but generally they tend to be mindful of people’s feelings and keep a track of how they make people feel. And then there’s the people who have self esteem issues and feel it necessary to bring others down to make themselves feel big and strong. They come in swinging their big opinions round like a dick in the wind and make sure they let you know that they’re better than you somehow.

How many people do you know that are the latter? It’s not something that’s specific to men, women do it just as much but in this particular scenario I’ve been dealing primarily with men. It’s their boys club and I’m a crazy emotional bitch for standing up for myself.

I often muse over why we can’t all just get along, I’ve written quite a few posts about this. I truly believe if we are all a little more self aware and try to care just a little more about others, than the world would be so much better than it is. Sure, we all have our issues, I’m bipolar, i have social anxiety and i was abused as a kid. I have self esteem issues and don’t feel good enough sometimes, but I try not to take that out on other people, i try not to make others feel small to make myself feel better.

Maybe you’re someone who does this but doesn’t realize, that’s why i think it’s important for all of us to take a step back sometimes and just think about how we act, how we treat people and what motivates us. That’s really key, what’s behind our actions? It’s what i’ve been using to try and combat my bipolar, sometimes it’s hard to draw a line in the sand and know what behaviours are mine and what behaviours are stemming from the bipolar, so i step back and analyze what and why, try to figure out if i’m being reasonable or if it’s my condition acting on my behalf. If we all did this, we would make more of a positive impact than a negative one, and just imagine how much nicer life would be if our interactions were more positive than negative.

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Doing things that scare you

I’ve spent a lot of my life making grand plans, wanting to do things but never quite doing them, or doing half of something. I place a lot of the blame on my mental illness, for years I was told I suffered from¬† “chronic depression and anxiety” but a year and something ago I was diagnosed as bipolar. So I do have a tendency to start something while manic and then trail off when a depressive episode hits, this has happened to me more times than I can count because when a depressive episode hits I can barely get out of bed or go to the shops to buy milk, but when I’m manic I feel like I can take on anything and often do.

So I’m 32 years old, I have half of two bachelor degrees, a few certificates not worth much and am currently working on another degree. I’ve been writing on and off since I was a child, starting mainly with short stories and poetry, then songs and poetry and essays. I recently completed a manuscript and showed it to a friend who now wants to pass it to their literary agent, something that scared the shit out of me. I’ve also been pitching ideas for cracked.com – not a site i read all that often but a friend showed me a link to writing for them and i thought it would be an interesting challenge. Since then I’ve been researching freelance writing jobs online, I’ve submitted a piece to a celebrity gossip site and had an offer to write for them. I did it more to see if i could, it only pays $25 an article and I’m not that invested in celebrity gossip lol but i wanted to know if i could.

I think when you have a mental illness so much of your energy goes into just coping, just existing, that the thought of putting ourselves out there, opening ourselves to possible rejection on a mass scale becomes a ridiculous fantasy. But I’ve decided I need to push myself, I need to do things that make me uncomfortable, otherwise another decade will pass and I will have little to show for it. I enjoy writing immensely, it brings me such joy and peace and gives me an outlet for the abundance of thoughts and emotions that are racing through my mind at any given moment, so why not push myself and maybe make some money at this? I know I’m not crap, but I also know I have a long way ahead of me, that I’m not yet the best writer I can be, but the only way I’ll get there is by doing it more and more, by experiencing trial and rejection and different types of writing and formats.

If you have a passion, I implore you to go for it. Don’t believe that success is for other people but not for you, I believed that for so long but now I realize, it CAN be for me, I just have to TRY. I have to be willing to accept the good and the bad and genuinely put myself out there. Follow your passion, restore hope to your life and really try. So what if you don’t become the best of the best, at least you’ll have given it a shot. When you’re old and grey do you think you’ll have more regret over the things you tried and didn’t succeed at than the things you never bothered to try at all? I have a feeling it will be the latter. I also know that a part of having a mental illness is accepting a fate of misery, but it doesn’t have to be that way, if you do something you love you’d be surprised at the effect it can have on your well-being in general.

So I’ve decided to let my friend show my manuscript to his literary agent, if nothing else I’ll get some helpful feedback. It’s scary but exciting, and I’m proud of myself for finally trying. That itself improves my mood greatly, and hey, if I get negative feedback it will make me feel shitty, but that will pass, I’ll pick myself up and try again.

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Do you feel like life owes you?

My upbringing was a bit of a clusterfuck. Not the worst of stories but not the best. Half of the time I was with my Mother, she had me when she was 20, my father ran off, apparently he was a drug addled sociopath. The other half of the time I was with my Grandparents, religious, consistent, steady folk who would do almost anything for me and loved me immensely. My Mother treated me more as a best friend, a handy accessory to keep her from being lonely. I was a glorified puppy, taught to do tricks in front of her friends, spell big words and cook my own breakfast at 7. Her first husband molested me when I was very young, her second husband beat on me and called me every name under the sun, she then abandoned me effectively, so I have my lion’s share of issues.

I know that the reason I have a mental illness is partly because I inherited it from my Mother and partly because when a child grows up without feeling safe, their brain doesn’t form as it should. When a child has to watch every word and every action with dire consequence, synapses don’t form as they should.

In my twenties I formed the opinion that I deserved what happened to me when I was younger, I made excuses for my abusers such as ‘i was a difficult teenager’ and ‘i was out of control’. In my late twenties I saw a therapist who really got me, and we made some great progress before I stopped seeing him randomly (as I tend to do with a lot of things). He got me to see that no matter how badly behaved a child may be, they NEVER deserve abuse, and the abuse was probably the reason I acted out in the first place. This lead me to a place of anger, I had had this anger throughout all of my twenties, but it had been directed at the general populous, but now, now it was directed specifically at my Mother. Why not her husband? Well, he’s an alcoholic, he has a rampant disease, and while his actions shouldn’t be excused, the duty of care was squarely on my Mother’s plate.

So throughout my twenties I was angry, and this made me act irrationally, with little thought of consequence. I felt like I’d been dealt a shit hand and everyone could go and fuck off. I was only concerned with kindness when it concerned my inner circle, which was ever changing (as so happens with us bipolar folk) but I was fiercely caring of those I chose to be my inner circle and felt great loss when either they moved on or I ran away, I often ran away from people in anticipation of my perceived rejection forthcoming.

Since my revelation that it wasn’t my fault I’ve started caring much more about people in general, but I still feel like I got a raw deal. I see families, hanging out together and looking after each other and my soul feels empty, I feel so cheated. I see people with loads of money and fancy things who seem together and beautiful and I feel envious, sure I have my own little family and boy are my kids amazing, my man is a good man and i’m not hideous looking or anything like that, but i see these beautiful fancy people and feel entitled to their life. On the odd occasion I buy a powerball ticket, part of me secretly believes I deserve to win more than some people because of the shitty life I had as a child, ha! I’m serious, this is what goes on inside my head.

I think some of us with PTSD, bipolar, trauma, whatever it may be, I think we can often get concerned with what we don’t have instead of focusing on what we DO. I have enough money to pay my bills and feed my family and even go on the occasional holiday, which is more than a lot of people can say. I have a steady relatively drama free relationship with a man i love, i have two amazing children who love me dearly and are amazing people, yet i still often get caught up in what i don’t have, what i deserve etc

Even if you don’t have the things I have, you have the things YOU have. Each person is different, but just the fact that we made it through these things is a beautiful thing, there are so many people out there who don’t make it through. There are kids who don’t get food every day, there are kids out there being beaten bloody right now and no one cares about them, there are so many shitty things happening in the world at any given moment that we have to take pause and put things into perspective, yes what i went through was bad but by no means do i have the monopoly on pain, by no means is my pain more important than anyone else’s and when I start feeling sorry for myself and feeling entitled, I need to remember those things.

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Just stop for a moment

Sometimes I feel like i’m standing in the middle of the world’s busiest motorway, cars whizzing and whirling past me, wind blowing me backwards and forwards in a violent sway. Cars honking at each other to hurry up or slow down or move over or move round, DOOF DOOF DOOF from the subwoofers that people install in their vehicles because standard bass just isn’t enough. Constant chatter from everywhere around me, negative thoughts and mantras stuck in my head like glue, my brain a gelatinous magnate that attracts such thoughts like flies to a corpse. Sometimes I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs ‘why can’t we all just get along’ – a thought to which people roll their eyes or turn up their turny uppy noses. We live in a world where if there isn’t a fight people will find one, even if you agree on a point a person can find a way in which you agree differently and thus have a problem with each other. When the fuck did everyone become so hard and unwilling to bend? When did we all become so concerned with our causes and making sure everyone knows our thoughts on our causes and bending others to our own will?

Some might say that life is hard and to suck it up and get on with it, but i choose not to live life that way. Life is hard, but life is also beautiful and amazing at times and if we could focus a little less on shouting our opinions and forcing our points and maybe listen to what’s going on around us, listen to what other people have to say, life would be less like grating a piece of steel wool and more like it’s meant to be. Maybe we could have more positive encounters than negative.

I don’t go out looking for a fight but if one is thrown at me I will defend myself accordingly. But the fact that I have to do this is taxing, social media has given people just the right amount of anonymity to purge their opinions and thoughts and feelings on perfect strangers and act as if it’s their given right. If the devil is real he created facebook, never has such passive aggression and general whining come together in one place in such a way that it makes me want to not have any “friends” at all. I’d rather watch my cat lick itself than spent an afternoon on facebook, it seems far more productive and much healthier for my social well being.

Some people are just intent on being negative, in finding the bad in any given situation. If that’s you, then FINE, be as you are, just don’t shit on my doorstep and call me a hippie because I give a fuck about other people. Roll your eyes and call me your names because it makes you feel better, it makes you feel like you have some semblance of control in what is in fact a big old cluster fuck of randomness and the only control we have is over ourselves, how we act and how we treat other people. What we contribute to society and what we take away is completely up to us, if people treat you miserably it’s probably because you are miserable. Given, I sometimes feel like I’m not treated fairly but then I realize I’m feeling sorry for myself and when I actually think about what is the root of someone’s motivation if anything it’s apathy as opposed to callousness. But we take exception and get offended over so many little things that we just don’t need to stress ourselves over.

The human brain exists in such a way that we used to have to fight for survival. Shelter, food, these things were never guaranteed, so as we evolved we had to be mindful of how to survive. Now, in today’s current society, most of us do have a roof over our head and enough food to get by so that part of the brain goes searching for something, and a lot of the time what it finds is a fight where there isn’t one. The urge to defend ourselves from something that isn’t an attack, the urge to be heard when all we need to do is speak, not scream and flail about like our lives depend on everyone hearing our thoughts.

I try to have positive experiences with people but sometimes it’s like pissing up a flagpost. Nothing good can come of it and you end up covered in your own pee. I do truly wish everyone could just get along but I have my brain stem connected and realize this is never going to happen, but I do genuinely think it could happen on smaller scales if people just chilled out, put themselves in the other person’s shoes and showed some grace and thoughtfulness when interacting with other people.

 

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From high above

I’m not your clown to tease

You’re not my lord to please

Although I wear a smile

Don’t find me juvenile

I don’t sit high above

Watching as I judge

I wear my heart upon my sleeve

In love and kindness I believe

But you see me here as lame and weak

Superiority, do you seek

Can’t you see, that I’m just me

And we can all act differently

One not wrong and one not right

This doesn’t need to be a fight

We could possibly just get along

Find a place where we belong

But some are filled with hate and spite

And if you’re different, you’re not right

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How often do we impact others negatively?

It’s often chaos while dropping the kids off at school, made worse at the moment by the fact that most of the car spots are taken up by tradesman working across the road. A car exited a spot and I went to drive into it but the massive car in the spot behind decided to move up, even though she had a spot, and took my car park. I beeped, and she waived her hands in the air at me and said something I couldn’t hear, her response was aggressive. She had a massive car and I have a tiny one, so i couldn’t really compete. My point here is, why did she feel it necessary to do that? We all have a thousand choices every day where we can choose to be an arsehole or choose to be kind, every little interaction we have may impact another person, and this negatively impacted me, it put the start of my day off to a shitty start and now i’m in a crap mood. Maybe on another day I would have been able to just shake my head and get over it instantly, but today, it made me angry/sad.

I come across quite a few people who look down their nose at me, they seem to think because i am bubbly and a little muddle headed that i’m not bright enough to notice that they are looking down their nose at me, but i notice everything. I analyze everything, i’m a constant worrier and contemplate human actions and comments a great deal. I rarely use facebook anymore because for a person as sensitive as i am, it’s just not a good idea. It’s all whining or passive aggression and pictures of what people had for dinner, but more so, passive aggression. I unusually made a comment on a friends status this morning, in good humour, and one of the people that tends to look down their nose at me made a further comment, almost to point out how puerile i am, and while i don’t really care what this person thinks of me, it has me thinking – why do i attract so much mean behaviour?

Do others find this? Do others try to be friendly and find it symbolizes them as weak? I think this is my main problem, I try to be friendly and i joke and am over sensitive, all of these things, and when a person who craves superiority of any kind smells this on another person, they exploit it. Fundamentally, I know that this says a lot more about them than it does me, that they have a need to feel better than others because they are inherently insecure or have some kind of superiority complex, but it doesn’t stop it feeling unpleasant.

I used to be like this, because of insecurity i would act coldly and quite nasty towards others at times. But this was in my twenties while i was working through a lot of pain and trying to find who i was as a person, for some it seems to be a permanent state of being.

If we all took a step back and considered how we affect others, how we would feel if something we are doing to someone else was done to us, the world would get along a lot better than it does. If instead of taking someone’s car park we realize it’s a nasty thing to do and stay where we are or look for another, if instead of making snarky comments we keep it to ourselves, a lot of people would be a lot happier than they are now.

We can’t all be perfect all of the time, and sometimes we are going to act like a dick, but maybe we need to take responsibility when we do and rectify it when we can. At the end of the day, people need to get along. There are so many many reasons out there why we shouldn’t get along but we need to refocus on all the reasons why we should.

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