Through the eyes of a phoenix.

Like many, mental illness compelled my life into chaos. The ever daunting prospect of enduring an existence dominated by uncertainty slowly detached any sense of belonging I had once had, and just like that I was alone. Much to my despair, isolation was no cure and I quickly found myself desperately searching for something else: a reason. A reason behind the chaos and disorder my life had fallen in to. I knew there was only one place that I could turn to in my quest, a place countless others had gone before. I turned to science.

And there, I found my answer. Do forgive me, it might take some explaining.

The voyage of scientific discovery is a spectacular journey. By embracing ever greater abstraction science continues to illuminate the seemingly unfathomable, distilling from reality its very essence and introducing new and wonderful passages of thought that penetrate through the most esteemed academic, philosophical and poetic minds of the age.

One such abstraction that surfaced in the 19th century and ignited furious debate was entropy. Entropy, in its simplest form, is a measure of disorder: the greater the disorder, the greater the entropy. What was particularly fascinating was that upon its understanding and application it revealed a very mysterious quality to the universe; in a natural system entropy will always strive towards a maximum. Order naturally decays into disorder.

Since the beginning of time this fundamental law has applied to every level of measure; from the colossal workings of our solar system to the intricate network of biochemical reactions that orchestrate life itself. That of course is not to say that there is no order or complexity in our cosmos. We experience, create and often yearn for such order in our lives, but it comes at a cost. With order comes inevitable disorder, providing one of the greatest demonstrations of how every atom, quark and sub-atomic particle of this universe is entwined.

The consequences of this interconnected change is the delightful efflorescence of matter that not only facilitate our existence, but surround it in a world bursting with ecological beauty and diversity. Each and every kingdom of creation having been hoisted out of the darkness; erupting, flourishing in the face of eventuality.

For we are but gazing through the eyes of a phoenix; born from the ashes of disorder into an improbable world of spectacular wonder. From chaos comes order, comes life, comes love. And I am reminded of the enchanting words written by Friedrich Nietzsche, “You must carry a chaos inside you to give birth to a dancing star”.

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award

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I am utterly speechless. I can’t begin to express how humbled I am to have been nominated for this award, especially as the nomination comes from the wonderful Tempest Rose who has been nothing but a huge inspiration to me, and whose fantastic blog “Nonsense and Shenanigans” has never failed to cheer me up when I’ve needed it most. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Since entering the blogisphere I have seen this award go to a number of exceptionally deserving writers, and I never thought for a moment that I may one day be considered for it myself. However, somehow after 6 short weeks of blogging and 8 meagre blog posts I find myself sat here with a big, stupid smile on my face. It’s all rather surreal, and I feel truly honoured.

The rules of the nomination are as follows:

  1. Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

 So, moving swiftly on to number 3, here are 7 facts about myself that you may or may not know:

  1. I am a self-confessed Potterhead. For as long as I can remember I have loved the books, and given the chance I could probably recite all the films word for word. A couple of years ago I tackled the Potter marathon with a few of my close friends and fellow Potter lovers, watching all the films back to back, and somehow finding the time to play the Harry Potter Scene-It somewhere in the middle of them all too. It was 30 hours of pure awesomeness, but certainly not something for the faint hearted. I am also the tremendously proud owner of a signed letter from JK Rowling herself, after she responded to a letter I wrote to her back when I was in primary school.
  2. I love to juggle. I could spend hours lost in the rhythm of juggling, and hours more learning a new throw. Juggling balls are where I’m best although I’m hoping to move on to knives eventually, just as soon as I manage to stop hitting myself in the face with juggling clubs…
  3. I can do a standard 3×3 Rubik’s cube in a minute and a half, and can also complete the bigger 4×4 and 5×5 Rubik’s cubes. Sexy, right?
  4. I’m utterly determined to learn all the countries of the world. I managed to get up to naming 140 of the 196 countries, but the last 50 are proving to be a bit of a struggle!
  5. During my travels around Eastern Europe, I was offered a job in Russia as a junior music producer. I was very, very tempted.
  6. I’m extremely interested in lucid dreaming, and continue to spend a lot of time dedicated to understanding and practising it. The rough idea behind it is developing the ability to control every element of dreams, resulting in vivid experiences unlike anything comparable in the real world.
  7. I used to have a crippling phobia of beards.

And finally, my nominations for inspirational and completely amazing bloggers go to the following…

http://proudlybipolar.wordpress.com/

http://susanirenefox.com/

http://lookingforthelight.me/

http://bipolarcodex.com/about/

http://dogandhydrant.wordpress.com/

http://obscureddreamer.wordpress.com/

http://suddenlybipolar.wordpress.com/

http://kittomalley.com/

http://bipolaronfire.com/

http://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/

http://mydualities.wordpress.com/

http://bipolarblogging.wordpress.com/

http://aminddivided.com/

http://bipolarforlife.me/

http://amygamble.wordpress.com/

I know many of these blogs have been nominated for this award before but I couldn’t help but acknowledge them again as I love each and every one of them. They’re all wonderful writers and beautiful people, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. I apologise to anyone I may have missed from the list! There are many, many more blogs that I thoroughly enjoy and could easily name another 15 writers that are more than deserving of this award.

Again, a huge thank you to you all for the overwhelming support; you continue to save this particular bipolar bear from the chilly depths of depression 🙂

The red pill, the blue pill, or neither.

The box of pills has been sat on my desk, unopened, for about a week now: staring at me, tempting me, pulling me closer. I have no reason to resist; up to this point I haven’t taken any medication to regulate my mood swings despite having more than enough reason to, for I only have to look at the lingering scars to remind myself of that. But still I sit here in two minds about it.

I was given the option of two different drugs: Fluoxetine (otherwise known as Prozac), and Quetiapine. The main difference between the two is that Prozac is an antidepressant whereas Quetiapine is an antipsychotic, one more specifically targeted for such conditions as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. For this, and a number of other reasons, I felt that the Quetiapine was far more suitable for what I was experiencing, and as a result, they are the drugs sitting so ominously on my desk.

Why do I keep hesitating then? What is it that I find so frightening?

Probably the most obvious barrier I face is that for a lot of the time I feel relatively normal. I have ups and downs comparable to everyone else, and can get through days without too much difficulty. Admittedly these days are getting fewer and fewer, but it’s so easy to forget how bad things can be when you’re just trying to focus on enjoying the good times. It seems so unnatural to be taking something every day when there are days I can certainly do without it. I understand that’s not how it works, nor do I feel ignorant as to the severity of the matter, I just find it difficult to accept that there’s something so fundamentally wrong with me that this is something I need to take in order to function like an ordinary human being.

There are elements of myself that I’m afraid of losing by starting the Quetiapine; little quirks and characteristics which I fear I will learn were only ever symptoms of a chemically imbalanced brain. There’s even parts of the disorder that I worry I’ll miss; I’ve come to love the spur of creativity and exhilarating spontaneity I become driven by during a manic episode, to the point where I almost yearn after it during long periods of normality. Deep down I know that it must be sacrificed in order to prevent the long episodes of depression that currently dominate my life, but still I’m struggling to let go.

For me, beginning the treatment is indisputable acknowledgement that I am bipolar, and I just don’t feel completely ready to admit that to myself yet. Regardless of this, I’ve decided that I can’t expect to improve without taking steps in the right direction, and this is undoubtedly one of them. I’ll be starting the course of pills shortly after finishing this post, and I will endeavour to keep a diary over the upcoming weeks to document how it affects me. The psychological hurdles are always the most troublesome to overcome, but I only hope that they will also prove to be the most rewarding.

My story.

Everyone has a story. Mine is relatively short, but it has certainly had some interesting chapters, and as I embark on my second year of university I’m taking the time to look back on what it’s been like to try to come to terms with having a mental illness. I will be posting about how I came to be where I am now, and the ongoing recovery I find myself facing in the hopes that maybe just one other person can find comfort in knowing they are not alone when fighting their own battles. There are ups and downs to all of life’s situations, and I’m hoping my posts will do their bit show that, but first I’m afraid it might take a few serious posts to give you a bit of background. So here we go, this is the beginnings of my story.

“Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life… while striving to achieve his or her full potential”