You’re Just Like Me: Raeyn from The Bipolar Blogger Network

This week my guest blogger is Raeyn, the main person behind the great site The Bipolar Blogger Network! I love her because she so open about her illness on her blog and below. Its nice to see  another one of us helping and healing others with their openness. HEY RAEYN!!…

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So you have a mental illness… Which one?

The only one diagnosed so far is Bipolar II disorder, rapid cycling style (aww yiss). While I feel there are other sub-issues, my psychiatrist doesn’t want us to get ahead of ourselves.

When were you diagnosed, and how old were you?

I initially came to a diagnosis just before my 29th birthday. But the hospital lost all my paperwork, said I’d never attended any appointments (!!!), and it took me another year to pluck up the courage. I got handed back to the same dingus who said there was nothing wrong with me when I forced the issue, so it wasn’t until just after my 30th birthday that I got my official diagnosis. That was February 2012, so I’m very new to being ‘officially’ bipolar!

How do you cope with your mental illness?

Knowing was a huge thing for me. Growing up poor in America meant we had no health care. Being in the Air Force in a job with a top secret clearance meant I couldn’t have a mental health disorder and keep my clearance, so I drank a lot instead. So yes, knowing — that was the first thing to help me cope. It enabled me to validate my broken brainedness after long years of being treated like I was some sort of hysterical drama queen. Being able to actually get medicated was the huge next step; it’s wonderful when the little nagging hateful voices (not the psychosis sort of voices, mind) are shut off and not able to drag you back in the muck, and to have the rough edges smoothed over. Otherwise, I do as I ever did — I craft, I write, I socialize as my spoons permit me. I’ve been applying CBT to myself since I was a teenager, so I’d kept myself limping along for a long time. Being able to do more than limp… glorious.

What are 3 words that you would describe how your illness makes you feel?

Annoyed, vulnerable, exhausted.

What are some ways you relax from your illness?

Relaxing… I’ve heard of this concept. *chuckles* It’s not something I’m terribly good at, as one of my main coping mechanisms of yesteryear was to DO ALL THE THINGS!! so that I was too distracted to let the depression side of bipolar kill me. I’m slowly figuring out how to be kinder to myself and slower going, so it’s fairer to say — what do I enjoy doing to keep me busy? I knit and crochet, I play video games, and I try to write a little bit every day, even if it’s just journalling. I socialize with my friends online, which is very spoon-friendly for the exhausted introvert sort.

What is some advice you would give to your fellow soldiers fighting this fight?

Do get involved in blogging communities, whether it’s just reading other peoples’ blogs, or communal blogging, or writing your own. For many of us, this is certainly self-therapy on all accounts. Getting out our stories, and seeing the stories of others is a constant positive reminder that none of us are alone. While our individual struggles are unique to ourselves, we have our struggles in common and can lovingly support each other because we can appreciate what each other are going through. If you can stand forums, then that’s probably always good too; just having some sort of community support of a nature that best suits the individual is truly a key factor in staying healthy. For some, it’s going to a physical group for therapy, for others… well. Really, just don’t isolate if you can help it. I know that’s hard when our brains are so often lying to us about everything.

Do you have any books, websites, writers, shows, music, ETC that has helped you cope that you like to share?

I’m the main person behind The Bipolar Blogger Network, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that as a resource. I definitely make a point to look for new-to-me blogs via WordPress.com’s tag search when I’m feeling human enough to consider looking for new people to engage with, and sometimes I’ll just google around to find other bloggers (though, I’ll admit, I feel most at home with the WordPress folk). Mainly, I just try to keep as busy as chronic fatigue will let me, which means lots of desk-based activity (most of which I’ve already covered, hee hee).

Tell us your blog or how we can keep in contact with you?

Blog-wise, I can be found at The Scarlet B. There’s a contact form on the website that comes right to my email box if anyone wants to message me specifically, and an oft-neglected Twitter account as well. Warning: contact at your own risk, ’cause I do get rather chatty!

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If your interested in being featured as a B.U.L.’s(Bipolar, Unemployed & Lost) weekly GUEST BLOGGER, please email the above questions and answers to bipolarunemployedlost@gmail.com. We will feature your Q&A! I’d love to hear your experience and motivation to fight these horrible diseases.

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