In dealing with bipolar disorder, I feel that I live life in extremes. I’m not just mad; I’m so irate that I’m trembling. Not only am I sad, but I’m devastated and my whole world has been plunged into darkness. I’ll see your “happy” and raise you, “I just blew my whole budget on this really cool skull figurine.” In only three easy payments of $59.99, I have to dig myself out of another financial pit. My current dilemma is staving off this intense reaction to just kill all of the content to Itsy Bitsy Inklings and start anew.  Sometimes starting over is a good thing, but I know that this desire to delete comes from a place of self-loathing. I want to get rid of all of my thoughts regarding myself because “I’m not interesting enough” or because “I’m always too negative.” I mean, who am I to think that people will give a rat’s ass about what I experience anyway? The muffled voice you hear in the back corner of my mind is trying to scream, “I do! I care!” She’s been bound, beaten, gagged and thrown in the corner in hopes of concealment, but she’s there. She’s my self-esteem.

There’s a truth that I too often forget when I’m writing. Sure, I want to make a difference in someone’s life who might be experiencing some of the same things that I am and who, also, just needs to know that there’s someone else out there that sometimes feels the way they do. I would indeed love to help to alleviate some of the stigmas that are associated with mental illness. Have I mentioned fans yet? Oh my God, would I love to have an audience, but the person I’m truly writing for is me. I don’t say this as a selfish person. It’s just a fact that your first reader is yourself. Does that mean that I like all of my posts? No, not really. What it does mean, though, is that I found something useful in them at the time. Yes, there are times that even my most negative of posts have given me hope.

Pay no attention to the little tattered figure behind the curtain! She’s nothing. That’s what the negative-Nancy that thrives in my mind says. She’s wrong though. That bruised, used-up — maybe even a little singed — girl is who keeps me alive. Self-esteem is hard to keep when you’re battling demons. I like to think of mine as a warrior. She battles ice, fire, storms, darkness, and all manner of monsters. She gets her ass kicked every day, but she’s always somewhere in the back of my mind saying, “You can do it! You matter!” The only trick is to hear her, but don’t ever doubt her. She’s been conditioned to take on hell. She’s built for extremes.

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