Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hello. How are you?

Friends,

I am procrastinating. Yes, I am well aware that this will have a not so good consequence for the rest of my week.

I left my career in academia, two years after being laid off from my prestigious university. I'm now a startup founder, which requires a balance of high discipline, structure, flow, and focus. Don't laugh.
I mean, do laugh. I think that my even attempting to do this is somewhere between hilarious and courageous. But then again, so is being bipolar.

Back to that balance composition. I have varying amounts of flow and focus at different points in the day.  I'm accustomed to it. I used to ask myself ten years ago whether what I was doing (or not doing) was bipolar or not bipolar or bipolar or not bipolar.

It took me years and years and years to accept that everything bipolar, it's just the extent to which you are managing, ignoring, or having fun with it that defines the bipolar-essness.

My procrastination is about to end, but before I go, I want to share a little mission I'm on. I was cleaning up my bookmarks and found the folder labeled "BP." It was within a folder that was within a folder. I buried this folder. I was "afraid" that "people" would see it.  Imagine that. Now "Bipolar Resources" is a bookmark right up there on that main bar.  Right next to "Banking."

You've come a long way, baby  Hello! How are you?

I went over to Bipolar Planet website, which by the way saved my life, and so I was shocked and saddened to see that it was abandoned in 2009.  A very nice person left the parting message below. That no one could step up to manage it is in and of itself telling.

There is a blue list of blogs on which "Polarimbi" appears among the blogs that start with "P." I used to go to these sites. And I felt so much better afterwards. Sometimes, I'd give advice. Other times, I would just cry.  Most of the time, thankfully, I'd think: I'm doing ok. I'm not doing that bad.

I've decided that I am going to make my way down this list and say hello to everyone. Will keep you posted!


The Land of Upside Down



There are a thousand and one different ways to describe what it's like to be bipolar.

And all of them are true at some point or another.

With blog posts, it's only when I finish writing, when I have a sense of what this post was about, do I create a title. I titled this "The Land of Upside Down" and found this mustard yellow book cover.. Apparently it is a book that is out of print and I have yet to look about the author, but in case I don't get around to that:  Thank you, Ludwig Tieck.

Being bipolar is much like having a computer with an unpredictable processing problem. Sometimes it can go on and on and on, problem free. Other times, it just crashes and you need to restart. Sometimes the restart might require closing down a few applications. Other times, the entire cursor is stuck. Won't do a damn thing. Restarting involves shutting the whole machine off.

Being bipolar means that not only do the usual strategies fail, the process itself can be excruciating emotionally. It takes an incredible amount of self-talk, awareness, support, and confidence to even be in a place to cope.

There are periods in everyone's life when operations, when your central processing unit, stops work and needs repair.  Financially times are hard. Work is stressful and demanding. A child is ill or a partner has a relative who is battling cancer. Sometimes all these things are happening at once and life just sucks.

Being bipolar means all the above is happening, you need your laptop to have full functionality, and but the goddamn machine, like yourself, decides it doesn't want to cooperate.

You cannot run away.  The more frustrated you get, the worse you feel.

You cannot sleep.  You are dead set on finding a solution. You are obsessed.  You're not sleeping until you figure this out.

You look for comfort. You want a drink, you drink that. You need a smoke, you smoke that. You want to buy something, you buy ten of that.

As a result, you're exhausted but cannot rest.  This is called being overtired. You are so beyond tired but it is impossible to put your mind at ease.

Nothing makes you feel better. The words people are saying around you -- it will get better, what's wrong -- they all sound like Snoopy characters.

You take a deep breath and you look in the mirror.  Shit.  You can't remember if you took your meds. Fuck. You meant to refill your meds and you forgot because there's way too much going on.

Done.

You declare defeat.  You do one of two things: You crawl into bed or you become convinced that the only explanation for your laptop is that it contains secret files and classified information. Or does it?

You have crossed over the edge. Welcome to the Land of the Inside Out, Upside Down:  Bipolar episode #4,321?  On The Scale: Yucky but not ugly.  Not yet. But who's counting?


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sight Setting

January 2014

This is a photo from my birthday two years ago, during a trip to Puerto Vallarta with a companion who I've been with for over four years now.  

He is a wonderful guy, he knows everything about me, but he doesn't know Polarimbi. 

And every morning and every night I struggle with how, when, where, why I should tell him. 

I am so afraid of seeing that light go out in his eyes, the widening and then, inevitably, the sadness, and then the fear of a future that has suddenly become uncertain.  And then the look of panic, restrained, of what's to come and when IT, if ever, will come.

It a dreadful scenario to imagine, so dreadful and sorrowful that I choose to live in silence than to devastate him. This space is a tightrope between protection and deception. It is a line that wobbles back and forth, and I struggle to stay on.  

So rather than look down, I've decided that I must look upward and beyond. I've set my sights on a dream. What keeps me going? I draw from a reservoir of faith and hope. And I keep it filled by using every tool I can get my hands on.

If you are in pain, try try try to look up. Think hard and dream about something big and beautiful. 

Set your sights on that.
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Thursday, February 12, 2015


Writing is a good thing.  It is such a good thing. I am thankful that I know how to write.

I almost forgot, not having written for years, under the pen of Polarimbi, how much I love and enjoy it.  How much writing has helped me.  How writing gave me a voice when I could barely speak.  How writing gave me order and organization in the middle of chaos.  

I think that when you are trying to make sense of emotions that make no sense, you need all the tools of communication you can find.  You need to know that you can write whatever you want and no one close to you will judge you.  You need to know that you can write whatever you want and that total strangers know exactly what that pain and frustration feels like.

I must find a way to give this skill and facility to my son. It is such a powerful tool in life, the saying is true, there is power in knowing how to write.  To write well, to flow, feels like cutting through the stuff that suffocates.  I feel like I am moving through something, I am in charge of where I go with my words, I am accomplishing something that only I own.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2015

I am still here, folks. Life is good. I was laid off, but actually, I think it was some form of divine intervention.  That job, my Rock of Gibraltor, served its purpose.  The university, the environment, the people, the work I did -- were agents of healing and strengthening.
I honestly think, that all that circuity in my brain that got fried through life's emotional trauma, was restored and rewired.  Yeah, I'm still bipolar. I know, I can feel it when I miss even a morning of medication. I'm not stupid enough to declare myself "all better now." 

It's the acceptance, the so-fucking-what, the knowing when to tell, when not to tell; when to retreat that I think I've become pretty good at.

I'm in a healthy, supportive relationship.  More about that later.

That little boy is now a teenager, taller than me wearing size 12 shoes.  And he knows that his mother his bipolar.  And we still laugh, and smile, and hug each other.  And he says, "You're still a great mother, Mom."

A good note to end on for today.  Time to go get him.

Yours truly,
Polarimbi

Monday, August 26, 2013


I want to be here right now, breathing in the moist air, the moss, the earth.  I am in the third week (?) of a depressive episode, and wading through it.  I am in a relationship with someone who doesn't know about the dark side of me, so I can't really talk about or share my struggles with him. The task I continually face is disentangling what is "his," what is "mine," and what lies at the intersection, what feels like a crossroad. It's like the roots underneath these trees, stubborn and intertwined with everything in my life.  I wonder what has become of the others who used to blog years and years ago, they are no longer there.  I wonder where they are.  I am still here. I am still surviving.  I am one of these trees. I will live on and weather this storm. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

Spring Fever

Hello again, loyal friends and followers of Polarimbi! Apparently,I checked my stats and some of you are still out there. Wow. Thank you.

Warming up. It's been so long since I blogged, a year I think, that I need to start off saying something rather risk-free, mundane, and cliche like...well well well, it sure has been a while. Then I'll be ready to say something like, "Howdy! My name is Polarimbi. Today my mood is...grayish brown with a pink tint." 

Pineapple Upside Down cake. Sometimes there is just no word to describe The Mood: Up, down, these uni-directional terms just don't cut it.  Now, upside down, inside out, that's getting a little closer. Bitter, sweet, sticky, that makes it even better.  TIP: Try using a combination of those latter terms the next time you are sitting with your psychiatrist. See what he says, watch the one eyebrow go up as he says, "That's interesting, now tell me more about that." 

Meds check! Meds check! Current psych meds: Lithium, Wellbutrin, Trazodone (I feel like I'm forgetting one...hmm).  Meds for high blood pressure:  Metropolol, Amlodoine, Clonidine.  Meds for eyes:  Zaditor, TheraTears. Meds for vitality:  Emergen-C (Pink Ribbon, lemonade flavor); Cranberry to keep the UTIs away. Current side effects: fatigue, dry mouth, dry sense of humor.

Random news flash! In the years that I have been away from blogging, looking for love, mostly, several high profile people have come up as bipolar:  Catherine Zeta-Jones; Charlie Sheen; and Jesse Jackson, Jr.  I want to find love in this club, love in this club....

Good news.  I have still managed to keep my job at the prestigious university with the country club like setting.  I have been able to do this because: 1) I'm freaking smart; 2) I'm nice and people like me; 3) I have amazing colleagues who are open-minded, flexible, and well-educated; and 4) I like the work that I do. I have been able to work from home on those days when I feel like our friend here, Gollum.












Love?  Oh, I've been seeing someone for quite sometime (I am being purposely vague about what "sometime" means). And no, he does not know about IT. Gasp! And IT is starting to weigh on my mind. Obviously I've not had any episodes, breakdowns, or breakouts to raise the alarm or question, but I feel that eventually IT has got to come out. In the beginning, I felt that IT would get in the way of someone being able to know the "real" me. In my experience, whenever someone does find out, how I am viewed is pretty much over. Out comes that microscope. If anyone has a story to share when that has NOT been the case, boy, I'd love to hear it. So wish me luck and courage as I navigate this one.

To be continued.


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Imagine the Scream


Imagine a radio. 
Imagine wanting to tune into your favorite station. 
Imagine hearing traces of that station, but not clearly. 
Imagine trying to manually tune into your favorite station. 
Imagine knowing the exact frequency, but each time 
You attempt to tune into its signal
You somehow miss it.  

Imagine getting frustrated.  
Imagine getting really fucking frustrated. 
Imagine everyone telling you how to tune a radio. 
Imagine telling them to find their own damn radio station to tune.  
Imagine telling them you know how to tune a damn radio.
You are an expert at this, in fact.

Imagine people looking at you with horror, with helpless looks. 
Imagine feeling helpless. Imagine feeling scared.
Imagine wanting to take the radio and throw it against a brick wall. 
Imagine, for a second, what it takes for someone to scream like this:


Imagine yourself like this. Imagine feeling like that.
 Imagine feeling like this for a minute, for an hour, for a whole day.  
Imagine your screaming going on for more than one day. 
Imagine this feeling, consuming you, for more than a week. 
Imagine not knowing how or when it will stop.
Imagine screaming until nothing more came out.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

STICKY SUBSTANCES

Dear Polarimbi Readers,

I am in the midst of a meds shift. For those of you who don't know what that is, it means that I am going off one med and restarting back onto a previous med that had stopped working some months ago, but had been very effective in managing my depression. My doctor and I are hoping that it will be effective again after giving my body some time off of it.


In the meantime, while I wait for this chemical dance of imbalances to work itself out, I am stuck and it is yucky. It makes me grumpy. It makes me tired and I cannot tell whether what I am feeling is due to allergies, my staying up too late, procrastination, or sexual frustration. 


Ugh.  


Some years ago I posted about a mood shift feeling like I was wading through peanut butter. It is still, just like that.

Lately I have begun to wonder whether I will find another relationship of the long-term, unconditional, feel-good variety.  I feel pessimistic these days, and I fear that as I get older, it will become harder.  This attitude may be a function of my mood, but the reality is that we humans do tend to get set in our ways, with every sun that sets and rises. 

The only thing that seems to get better, stronger and clearer, is my writer's voice.  And that, is a damn good thing to smile about.  So if I'm going to be in peanut better, I might as well throw in some jam, eat, chew, and mull on it.



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Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Dear Polarimbi Readers,

I have not posted for ages, quite literally, years. And for that, I must apologize, especially to my old friends and supporters.  I am back, and I have a lot I want to share and say in the hope that doing so will help in some small way.

I have aged in my absence, but I am certainly more wiser, more experienced and more capable of managing this crazy condition. It is a terrible beast, but I have it on a leash, for now, the most part.  I know myself more; I have, for all intents and purposes, found myself.  And I like myself.  And that is a good thing.  (Now where I want to go with myself, raises a whole other set of issues and questions, but we will not take these on for now). 

I have found that I have aged, physically. My poor body has been punished by unrelenting waves of turmoil and nauseating ups and downs.  My poor heart, I have loved and I have lost. I have had my heart stabbed and broken and broken again and broken again. It is on the mend right now, but it still pumps, and it is a muscle that is now stronger.  And it does still feel.  My poor blood, it runs but it struggles at times, I now have hypertension that must be controlled with medication.  And so my poor liver, having to filter all those fucking pills, I diligently take my meds and I take on all their side effects, I have accepted that this is what I must do to stay within My Manageable Zone, a zone of blips and trips,  in which I am still able to function, to mother, to work, to live life, proportional to the events that occur. I have, like many like me, gone off my meds, intentionally and unintentionally, with a rather disastrous set of consequences, including a second hospitalization and field trip to Cloud Cuckooland. 

What I didn't have before but now have, as I explained to a friend, is a barometer that constantly measures and monitors whether what I am feeling inside is indeed proportional to what is happening outside.  And I have to adjust that barometer if I am feeling super high or super low.  I work at all this, all the time.  And none of it is easy.

At the moment, I am in a mild depression. It is, thankfully, not to the point where I am sitting on the floor of my shower in a fetal position. Nowhere near that, fortunately.  It is what my son calls, sucky. It sucks. Everything feels and tastes blah. It is feeling down in the dumps. It is low speed and high drag.  I have learned to inject a dark sense of humor when I'm down like this. Like the time I told my sister, when she asked how I was doing, that I was playing around in the mud.  She thought that was hilarious, and we both laugh-cried. Now one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things I have also learned over the past couple of years is to have faith in the saying, “This, too, shall pass.”  I really do hang onto those dear words, and hanging onto them for dear life has helped me from dropping into the abyss.

I will have a lot more to say and stories to share, my friends, but for now, I will leave it at this.  I am also learning to appreciate the fine skill and art of stopping. Of stopping so I can sleep. Of stopping so I can eat.  Of stopping so I can tell myself that everything is going to be ok. 

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

FACE MASKS

So I joined Facebook.  Uh huh.  With very mixed emotions about the implications of consequences yet to be experienced.

I wonder if it is possible for a stranger reading through this blog to find me through Facebook, and ask to be my friend.  I wonder what I would say.

For me, strangers are not frightening. I am not afraid to reveal myself, my secrets, my dreams to a total stranger.  I do not have to wear a mask.  I do not fear their judgment.

But family?  Friends?  Colleagues?  The thought of them reading this blog is frankly, terrifying.  The stuff of nightmares.  I might as well waltz naked into the office.

It is a complete paradox to me, that a journal that might help my loved ones to understand me better, is something that I would rather share with strangers.  It is a paradox, that wearing a mask is what I must do with those who are closest to me, to manage, at certain times, the turmoil that lies beneath.
____________________

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

SOLDIER ON!
I had a great first half of this year, but a rough and tumble summer followed. I suffered a few fractures from an episode and a nasty, unnecessary, costly custody battle; but I am far from broken. On the contrary, I have come out of this stronger and wiser.  My son, a real trooper, and I, closer than ever. I found this journal entry below, buried in my draft posts from last year, much resonates for me still:


Stress Fractures (written in 2009)

Stress can do all kinds of things. It can warp perspective. It can create cracks in a friendship. It can distract and disrupt. A stress fracture can be so crippling to the point that you ask: Do I give up or give in?

Everyone is saying to me: Polarimibi, don't give up. Hang in there, you
will get through all this. You will come up on dry land.

I don't think I will give up, giving up is not a choice. Yet the reality is that I am in a whirlpool of enormous stress, and stress triggers all kinds of changes in the chemistry of my brain.  Stress, however, can also motivate, and create a laser like focus that carries a person over the finish line.

I see what is happening in my brain as a blessing and a curse. Some parts of my brain are working very well -- on the left, I am finding words to connect and describe the complex happenings in my life. On the right, other parts of my brain are paralyzed, uncertain, and murky.

My sister-in-law told me that in Кыргызстан, in her culture, it is well known and accepted that in times of great stress, one side of the body shuts down, and the other takes over, and carries the full weight.
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am back. I am alive. I am breathing.
I survived. I am crossing. I am loving.

I am me, myself, and I.

I am writing poetry! I am doing very well.
How and why? Another blog post. Another day.

Today is a beautiful day. Always a day for poetry.
That is how I keep flowing, in darkness and in light.
Poetry is an outlet for the profound and the mundane.
Fascinating forum for understanding and misunderstanding.
Read on face value, read between the lines, sex through subtext.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

YO, ANYONE OUT THERE?

Helloooooooo! Where is everyone? I went click clicking to visit some blogs and hardly anyone is home. One blog was removed entirely. Another experienced a divorce, but seems to be coping pretty well. Impressive. Another lost a son, hasn't posted in months, Understandable. Others just haven't written or posted in a very long time.

I am not sure what this means, if it means anything at all.

I am writing because I am utterly bored.

Current performance review / status: Operating and functioning somewhat, maintaining job surprisingly, laughing and smiling occasionally, spending frugally, sleeping fairly. divorcing in progress. Living, ranging from satisfactory to minimally satisfactory.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009


FLOWING

"Just go with the flow," he said, "Stop trippin' on what everyone thinks."

But sometimes we do trip on the tripwires, and the flow of life gets jammed up, nothing flows in the brain,
and I am paralyzed by the uncertainty of what comes next and the fear of
what everyone thinks and wonders about me.

And then what happens when the financial flow is cut off? The feeling of being drained while being in a holding pattern of not receiving support because the soon-to-be-ex-husband is paying the full mortgage while praying (to a God he doesn't believe in) that someone will buy the house, and then not being able to pay rent because of not receiving support and having the parents pray (to a God they fervently believe in) that their daughter's house will sell so that I will have a place to live.

And then, a miracle. A breakthrough to get things flowing again -- an offer from a family of four willing to move into a 2bedroom 1 bath house, a disclosure of humiliating debt, a negotiation to stay afloat, an agreement to preserve stability.

Keeping things flowing while trying to achieve, staying afloat, and finding stability is the goal. Mental, economic, physical.

Next up... flexibility and force.

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