Um, hi. It’s been awhile. Like maybe a year-and-a-half while. Which is totally my fault. Obviously. I stopped writing. And I probably worried some of you, and I am so sorry. I’m okay. I’ve been (mostly) okay since my last post in the fall of 2017. I’ve had a couple of really not okay moments and I will get to those eventually, but for now I wanted to try and explain why I stopped writing and why I am starting to write again and how I hope you’ll be interested in reading.

I stopped writing, largely, because I started to feel better and I felt less and less like talking about being sick. I didn’t have to think about or feel my illness every minute of every day for the first time in over a year. Continuing to blog about it felt counterproductive.

While I could have written about getting well, frankly, it felt boring and also more like purposeless navel-gazing than writing about being sick. Writing about being sick felt like it might be helpful; it made some meaning out of the madness (pun aboslutely intended). Without that larger purpose, I felt lost in terms of what to write about or why to write it.

I also had a bit of a shame hangover (hat tip, Bren√©¬†Brown). I shared a lot on this blog, about my mental health, my guilt/fear/shame as a parent, partner, and human, and my struggle to accept and make my way through life as a person with “late onset,” or at least late-diagnosed, biopolar disorder. I was broken when I started this blog and I stopped writing when I had reassembled enough pieces to feel capable of moving forward from not exactly where I left off but close enough to be my life.

And I did move forward, and I do, but I’ve also taken like a million steps back and fallen once so hard I almost died. But I didn’t and I’m okay but not always or in the way that I’d like to be. Being well is a struggle, every goddamn day, it’s a struggle. And I’ve found some things that are really, really helpful to me. Also, things that are particularly unhelpful. I’ve got some thoughts and ideas and tips and tricks and questions and answers and questions without answers that are still useful to ask. I’m back at work. My oldest is about to finish kinder and the twins will start pre-K this fall (?!). I am the ringmaster of the shit show that is our family of five. I’ve started taking epic hikes and gone to two meditation retreats and one in-patient psych ward and my weekly pill organizer could kill a horse.

I am okay and not okay every day and most often at the same time. And I’ve been thinking I’d like to write about that. That it might be helpful to know that getting better is always just that and sometimes it involves getting worse, at least for awhile. I have absolutely no answers to Any of the Things, but I can point them out and write about them in a way that might make them more approachable, less scary, sometimes funny, and always shared. It’s not just me and it’s not just you and none of us can do this alone.

So, if you’re not still totally pissed at my for disappearing for 19 months, please come back. I promise I’ll write as often as a mentally-ill, working mother of three kids six and under can, which I hope is often. XOXO, A

The voices in my head

Everyday I listen to the voices in my head. They tell me what needs to be done and how, what can wait and until when, how I’m feeling and why, whether life is good, just okay, or fucking awful.

Trouble is the the voices have a nasty habit of sending mixed messages (like your maybe middle school boyfriend who called you last night but won’t look at you today). Even more disturbing, I have no idea which, if any, of the voices are mine: my authentic voice reflecting my true wants and needs. So much of my personality and approach to life has been shaped by my perception of other people’s expectations, my desire to please, to be praised. 

Do I find my job intrinsically satisfying or do I like it because I’m good at it and recieve regular positive feedback?

Do I work out almost daily because I want to feel strong and healthy or because I want to be perceived as attractive by others and fit into clothes of a certain size?

It seems like it must be mostly external motivation because the things that will be good for me but won’t necessarily earn me praise from others are the ones I always put off or avoid all together: taking that nap, being still, leaning in to uncomfortable feelings, just doing nothing for a day (not that that’s really an option right now but maybe it is and I just can’t fathom it).

But how, after 36 years, do I figure out which voice to listen to? What if they are all wrong? What if it’s not a voice that I’m looking for? What if it was, but it died of neglect years ago? 

Sometimes I don’t recognize my own life. I look around and think, “How the hell did I get here?” “It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.” Or maybe it was. I honestly don’t know. It’s like missing something you can’t remember ever having.