Part 2. My Match.com Experiment – The Good, The Bad, The Dating and The Ryan’s.

Read Part 1: A Year of Being Single-ish and Dating Bipolarhttps://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/10/23/my-match-com-experiment-a-year-of-being-singleish-dating-bipolar/

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The smell of coffee is consistent.  I wake up, feed the cat, plug in the percolator and return to the bathroom wash my face and brush my teeth. The strong, Columbian aroma wafts through the small house, reminding me that the day could very well be fresh and beautiful. That’s what I can count on each day.

It’s funny what stands out when you lose everyone around you. My mother and grandmother died within six months of each other. My father died in a plane crash. My husband and I separated and he took Cosmo the Corgi. I did still have Bella and Fat Kitty.10410776_532955400171270_6262248663261944341_n

This is the longest time I’ve spent alone by choice. The bed is all mine. Food has to be thrown out now and then because it goes bad with no one else here to eat it. There is no chance of the hot water running out in the shower. No one finishes the last of the ice cream without replacing it. The temperature is set to what I prefer.

And, there is silence. Lots of silence.

There is also my phone, to which I seem to have grown addicted. It’s as if it’s my lifeline and my only contact with the outside world. I loathe this.

I’ve learned things while on this monk-like sabbatical: how to do things for myself, my own company is pretty good, the $3.99 that it costs to upgrade to Pandora One is worth every penny, electronics are causing a form of ADHD for me, I should probably unplug more often, I don’t have to be in a full-time relationship, and I’m ok with that. With the availablity of foot massagers, riding mowers, power tools and vibrators, women can chose want over need when it comes to having a man in their lives.

However, my cooking has been heavily downgraded. Cooking for one sucks ass. I get by on bacon, eggs, Evos organic frozen meals and protein drinks. Plus, wanting a man is a completely different thing than needing.

I decided to date and put a profile on Match.com after a marital separation and a six-month break from seeing anyone. Read part one here: https://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/10/23/my-match-com-experiment-a-year-of-being-singleish-dating-bipolar/

I’ve had relationships with mostly Virgo’s during my lifetime. I’m a Libra and as much as I’d love to think astrology is nonsense, there are far too many coincidences to completely dismiss it. I’ve been told that one of my worst matches is a Virgo. Historically, I’d have to agree. Two of my best matches are Gemini’s and Leo’s, and Match.com kept sending me Gemini’s and Leo’s.

When I broached the subject (after much hesitation) of going on a date with someone else to my husband (Virgo), he was not happy. We were separated (for our second time) and I’d bought a house alone. My psychologist suggested I learn to be alone before I even considered dating, so I took her advice. Jordan and I were still close and I was supposed to be thinking things over, but in truth, as much as I loved him as a person, I wasn’t in love with him. There was no pull to get back under the same roof again, I felt we were irreparably broken and he knew that.

“You’re going to ruin everything if you start dating other people!” He said. “What happens later? If something comes of it? We won’t even be allowed to be friends! No man is going to put up with that!”523051_385318521498652_1263586097_n

Me: “When have you ever known me to have a man tell me what I can do or who I can or can’t be friends with? You never managed.”

I work from home as a writer, editor and webmaster when I’m not on the road. Other than the gym and the grocery store, I don’t get out much. Meeting people my age is nearly impossible due to living in an older community and working in a younger profession.

After Jesus & Babies, I’d decided that it would be smarter to play the proverbial field and date several people at once while keeping them all at a distance. If I were a man, I’d have been labeled, “emotionally unavailable”.  Half the time I’d force myself out on a date whether I’d felt like it or not just to get out of the house.

I was unsure about sex with potential dates. I’d been married for nearly nine years. How exactly did dating work these days? I was a solid decade past the game-playing years. I’d decided to play it by ear.

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“I have a lot of boyfriends; I want you to write that. Every country I visit, I have a different boyfriend. And I kiss them all.”
— Anna Kournikova

dogjokes2Date #2 was the Mexican guy who didn’t look a thing like his profile picture…so much so that I walked right past him in the restaurant. He was a lovely man, but the owner of “sommer teeth”. Sommer here and sommer there. That’s a deal-breaker for me. Additionally, he was about 35 pounds past the “athletic and toned” body type he claimed. He seemed like an amazing person but as someone who keeps herself up, I just could not see that working. Yeah, I’m shallow. I’ll own it.

A woman appeared in my daily dating matches and ‘she’ ended up being a he in very convincing drag. I briefly wondered if I should be dating women instead. After all, look at some of the facts: Women are all a little crazy. You fall for how a person is, not their gender. And, head is head, no matter who is giving. But I love being treated like a lady, having the doors held, and I love men. I sighed. Maybe I needed to rethink that statement. Perhaps I should be having meaningless sex with women.

“The only thing we have in common is that we’re both wrong for each other.” –Nick Nolte, Cannery Row

After date #2, there were the Ryans. I went on dates with three guys I rotated for drinks, lunches and coffees – all named Ryan.  I had them in my phone according to their profession. Lawyer Ryan, Doctor Ryan, App Genius Ryan.

IMG_20140416_122842I saw App Genius Ryan (Gemini) for a while. He was rather spot on with his photo-to-real life ratio. This was a good thing, considering his picture was strikingly handsome…even if he did resemble a Ken Doll. When we first met at a place that had the NCAA tournament on their big screens, he said, “Let me sit with my back to the TV, so I can talk with you and not watch the game.” Two points for that one. His father had been a famous newscaster, so he’d grown up in the entertainment business. He created apps for corporations like Panera and Home Depot and worked from the gated mansion he called home.  Ryan was a single dad with two kids, black Irish with dark hair, blue eyes, a pale complexion and ridiculously positive. He seemed overly positive to the point where it was quite strange or like he was hiding the fact that he could be the aforementioned ax murderer. I like upbeat people, but uber positive can be annoying.  It got boring, fast. My sarcasm and jokes didn’t just go over his head; they hit a 90-degree angle going over. He would send me puppy memes. PUPPY MEMES.

I’d caved and told him I was bipolar about 5-6 weeks into our dating. He didn’t say anything at first, and then he looked at me and said, “Thanks for sharing!” in a chirpy voice. I almost blurted out, “Are you fucking kidding me?” Instead of his normal texting morning, noon and night, I didn’t hear from him for several days, and then he texted like nothing had been said. That was my cue to shut off.

 

Up until that point, Mr. ThanksForSharing was spontaneous and fun, treated me extremely well (opened car doors, pulled out chairs, took me to great places, wanted me to text when I’d gotten home to make sure I

ltnlfz (1)was okay, called when he said he would) and I’d avoided any real conversation because I didn’t want anything other than fun. I’d gone without it for so long, fun suited me just fine. I was shocked at how little I cared or thought about him, however.  He was the first guy I’d had any physical relations with and I think I chose him because I felt he would be safe, he was sweet and he was very, very pretty. He supposedly had a dog. I never saw it or any evidence of a dog. Maybe he killed and ate it.

Dating Bonus: I discovered Osho at this time and a couple of kick ass restaurants.

 

“My philosophy of dating is to just fart right away.”— Jenny McCarthy

No-Profile-Photo-Spanish/Jewish-Lawyer-Ryan (Leo) from New York stuck around until he didn’t. He’d been a prosecutor in the area with many upset families sitting behind him as he put their loved ones away, so he’d elected to keep himself off the Internet and had no profile photo at all. He was nearly 40 and “never been married”. He sent me a very interesting email, so I broke the no-photo/never been married rule.

I figured as long as he didn’t have leprosy, I’d see the date through since he was one of the few who got my dry, sarcastic humor and gave it back just as hard.  He did not have leprosy. He was nearly four years 1315638892854_7541266younger than I, but looked four years older and worn out. He was the least pretty of the men I’d dated and this was the one who would become a boyfriend for a little bit because of his personality. (The word “boyfriend” was his idea. The first time he referred to me as his girlfriend, I went into panic mode for about 5 days, thinking, “How in the fuck did I get here? We were just meeting for drinks in St. Pete. I am not ready for a boyfriend…”)

Ryan was razor sharp and a former wrestling fan. He was able to put the little that I’d told him about myself together and figure out who I was. On date two he nonchalantly mentioned he’d “seen me on the internet” and added, “Personally, I thought the pictures were hot.” I stared at him like he had two heads. (I was not used to this attitude. Quite the opposite, actually.) “No, really. They are. If someone I worked with saw them, I’d be like, yep, that’s her…hot, right?”  He’d also read some of my bipolar blogs and was aware of my condition. He told me his mother was bipolar and his grandmother had committed suicide. Instead of running far, far away, he asked to see me again. This was after verifying I was medicated.

10730918_698105876952597_867081696540635750_nHe was sarcastically hilarious and a brutally honest gentleman. “I really like you. You’re like a dude in a pretty girl’s body. It’s like…perfect.” Despite currently being a corporate attorney, he had a ton of ink, including a full sleeve tattoo hidden under his suit and tie and a sizeable Black Flag tat on his forearm – plus a fetish for horror and indie movies, and he had as many books as I did, or more. He had no kids and absolutely didn’t want them, which suited me just fine, but I got the impression that he went through life very independently and wasn’t a caretaker. I wasn’t sure that could work. I’m independent as well, but there are times when I need a lot of attention. It’s a lot to handle and not having a nurturing personality or being willing to deal with it or adapt would not work. He was also somewhat delusional about being “athletic and toned” but he asked me to help him out, so he cleaned up his diet, hit the gym and changed pretty fast in 2 months.

I never knew what was up with him. He would go AWOL (“People just wear me out…”), yet would make a real effort to see me or say goodnight.  Additionally, he had an irrational fear of anything real in life at times. “I don’t want to know if a girl farts or bleeds or…no. I don’t want to see any evidence of any of that. It all needs to be spotless.” Yet he was insistent upon dating an athletic female who spends part of her day sweating. For someone near 40, periods freaked him out as if he were a teenager.

Because of his irrational pussy-phobia, I became completely paranoid and sex was always “unfinished” on my end.

5825379855_e997cd937c_mDating bonus: He was a former Marine captain and taught me to load magazines, shoot and lock a .40 caliber Beretta, and then barked at me while timing how fast I could do it. “C’mon! Lets go! I thought you were a bad ass?” Secondary bonus: I also learned to paddle-board.

He later admitted to being more and more agoraphobic and dealing with issues that included depression, yet he didn’t want to take medication or go to therapy.  He also had serious abandonment issues. There’s only so much you can do for someone who isn’t willing to help themself.vLLv9

We parted ways in what must be the most chivalrous ‘dumping’ I had ever received. “You deserve better and this is all I have. I thought I was ok. That’s why I was on Match. I thought if anyone could do this for me, you could… and I like you, a lot. I really do. I just can’t do it.” Despite the abundance of flaming red flags, I’d stuck around like an idiot because I myself have mental issues and understand being abandoned.

In hindsight, I was an idiot, but he was a decent person and funny as hell. At least he understood that “thanks for sharing” is always meant as sarcasm.

Don’t date lawyers. They’re not happy people. Also, don’t date someone nearly 40 who has never been married. There are problems if a man makes it to that age and not one single person in the entire world wanted to marry him.

My friend was pissed. “What a douche bag! He should have told you how bad his issues were from the start!”

Fair point. I certainly try to do that.

Two people with mental issues don’t mix well. Chances are this can happen, with 25% of the USA having a mental disorder, and he was date #4.

I was also seeing someone else on the side the entire time because I wasn’t ready for the whole boyfriend gimmick. Ryan lived over an hour away in Sarasota and was AWOL just enough not to notice. Or care.

I have a bit of a commitment issue/phobia and abandonment issues myself. I love the idea of stability and a partner in crime. I hate the idea of boredom, monotony and sex getting mundane, especially the latter. It’s taken me until just last year to finally commit to buying a house. I could always pack up and leave when I rented and it wasn’t my issue if something broke at 11 pm on Friday night. I am not sure if this is just the way I am or if it’s from being raised by my father, having so many male friends and being one of the very few females in a male business. I may have turned into “a dude in a pretty girl’s body”. Now if only I could have an orgasm every single time I had sex and pee outside while standing up.

My friends tell me it’s not me, it’s just that I’m not with the right person, so that’s what makes me want to bolt.  My therapist confirms this.

 

“I want someone who gets me.  I feel like I deserve that.” – Rae Dawn Chong in Jeff Who Lives At Home

 

mban1006lBodybuilder Dr. Ryan didn’t make it past meeting for coffee. He was a nice person with a super impressive physique, but he was not for me. He worked specifically with…….wait for it……..schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. During the course of our cappuccinos, he casually mentioned how many people he’d Baker Acted (involuntarily committed). I said nothing, but I was uncomfortable. He went in for the kiss after and I deftly ducked it. Plus, despite what I look like, I generally don’t date bodybuilders. I have respect for their hard work and discipline, but it’s not my thing. I prefer smaller, leaner and fit/toned.  He kept asking me out again afterwards and I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him how fucked up I thought his comments were until a while later. The lesson in there: Be careful how you say things. You never know who to whom you’re talking or what they might have. He was a nice guy and better suited as a friend.

 

“It’s not who you want to spend Friday night with. It’s who you want to spend all day Saturday with.” Woody Harrelson, Friends With Benefits

 

My third date’s name: Ryan. My fourth date’s name: Ryan. My fifth date’s name: Ryan. This was a possible advantage for my concussion-addled pro wrestler brain.Sept14

I joke. I’m not that forgetful.

Yet.

Being part Scotch/Irish, I’ve always loved the name Ryan. My first dates name wasn’t far off: Brian. It’s enough to make you appreciate…Joe. It became a huge rib with my friends. “So, how are the Ryans?” Ha fucking ha.

(Fun fact: The name translates to “little king” in both Gaelic and English.)

 

“Most people are together just so they are not alone.  Some people want magic.  I think you are one of these people.” –Broken English

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Date #6: Then there was TOM! Whoot! Broke the Ryan Cycle. Tom (Gemini) worked for the NSA. Yeah. I dated the enemy. He pulled up to the restaurant in a sleek BMW, had a handsome face, and was exceptionally fit (an Orange Theory addict, which is kind of like CrossFit) with a way of thinking outside of the box.

He was dark a Cuban stunner and single father who was sweet and smart with some interesting stories – the ones he could tell me. (Our government can truly be fucked up.)

Him: “Are you free on Thursday?”

Me: “I think so.”

Him: “Not anymore.” (Guys, take note. This is the way you should talk to a woman.)

He warned that my husband could easily track me with my phone or purse if he got upset. “Trust me, it’s easy. I see it all the time.” Hmmmm. I believed him. This wasn’t the guy to piss off, and if I’ve learned anything in life, I’m not good at not pissing people off.536863_534650899898746_2059641054_n

He treated me very well, had me meet all his crazy friends who were as loud as I am…and he adored his mother. His ex had had a mental health issue, so he was well versed in the variations. When I told him I was bipolar, his response was a long pause and then: “I would never have guessed that if you hadn’t told me. You seem so stable. Bipolar is a chemical imbalance, right? There are medications for that.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. There truly aren’t many people who understand this, or just how physically BP affects you. It’s not just mental. I told him I’m more stable than probably 90% of the world thanks to the meds. Tom was as warm as No-Profile–Photo Ryan was reserved. He was gorgeous, smart and sweet. He was a caretaker and problem solver. He had money, was attentive, listened, paid attention to me and took me to some great places in Tampa Bay.

I got a daily gentle reminder from him: “I definitely want to steal more of your time.”

Me: “Persistent, aren’t you?”

Him: “Well, considering the target…”

10665367_10152451668553931_1533682502272673198_n (1)And yet…I couldn’t get into him. One day, I was looking through my joke collection to send him something fun (because I probably had nothing to say) and realized they were all too sarcastic or edgy. We didn’t share the same humor. He’d raved about his favorite film and I rented it just so we’d have something-anything-to talk about. I found it mildly interesting at best and overly drawn out. Part of the reason I’d kept seeing Tom was because of Ryan. I was afraid of jumping in too fast and this allowed me to keep emotional distance from both. It was half-hearted at best and oddly enough, I never looked forward to seeing him – it always felt like an obligation.  Tom and I never got past meeting at the halfway point for dinner or drinks. It’s the longest I ever dated someone without getting past second base.

Dating bonus: My Spanish got better. La practica es buena.  He was also one helluva kisser.

I cut him loose when it got more serious with Lawyer Ryan and half regretted it about a week later when it all no longer was. Tom didn’t seem to take it well. My house is probably bugged now. I’m typing this very quietly.

He also took a lot of selfies. I kind of hate that. And he sometimes worked out twice a day. I don’t even do that. Overkill.

My therapist’s verdict on Ryan/Tom/Ryan thing: “This is good. You’re making better, smarter choices in men.”

“Huh? I am?”

“Yes. You’re learning.”

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“In a relationship there’s always one who kisses and one who is kissed.” – Parting Glances

 

There was a brief long distance non-thing with a man who was looking for a slave. In my newly formed “Fuck it, I’ll just enjoy life and say yes to things I don’t normally say yes to” state of mind, I went with it. As someone with an active imagination and an appreciation for being submissive, I learned things. For example, who knew there were vibrating nipple clips available out there? (Non-dating bonus: I *may* own some now.) Nothing physical happened with that, but the conversations were interesting – to say the least. They’ll make for fantastic writing material in the future.

I took a month and a half off from dating to reevaluate. Loosely translated: No one even remotely interesting came along.

Let the learning experiences and dating bonuses keep coming!

TO BE CONTINUED…Part 3: Prince, or Ax Murderer? https://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/11/15/my-match-com-experiment-prince-or-ax-murderer-dating-bipolar-part-3/

 

Read Part 1: A Year of Being Single-ish and Dating Bipolarhttps://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/10/23/my-match-com-experiment-a-year-of-being-singleish-dating-bipolar/

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COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS WRITING/BLOG MAY BE COPIED OR USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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Ps. To everyone I dated who reads this blog – which I think is nearly all of you – you know my policy on being honest on here, so please realize I’m doing only that and there are no personal jabs.

My Match.com Experiment – A Year of Being Single-ish and Dating Bipolar. Pt.1

Dating Bipolar: Don’t Ask Me No Questions, I’ll Tell You No Lies – Part 1

“Don’t you worry…you’ll find yourself. Follow your heart and nothing else.” –Lynard Skynard

I was putting together a complicated desk lamp that came in pieces and had an unusual bulb. Realistically, the bulb was supposed to simply click into the piece, but it wasn’t. Each time I slid the pieces together, it wouldn’t fit. I tried another way. Nothing. This kept happening, despite me trying to force it. About to give up, I flipped it over and thought I’d give it one more shot. With a click, it all came together beautifully. I thought to myself, this is how dating should be.

10659363_558137154319761_573970518791320977_n My hand hovered over the keyboard. Click. I’d just joined Match.com. I certainly hadn’t planned it an hour ago. It just happened.

“You are going to end up old and alone!”

Yes. Yes, I know. I’ve been told that by everyone I’ve ever dated as I walked out the door.

I decided to date after a long, roller coaster marriage that was in a one year freeze with a separation before permanently ending. I thought I owed it to myself to try it out. In my lifetime I’ve never had a relationship while stabilized. I’ve never dated as diagnosed.

Actually, I’ve never dated.

Every relationship I’ve ever had was one borne from convenience and because I had no one else. My family life was nearly nonexistent for most of my life, and rocky on its best days. I would try to make a relationship that worked…a “create my own family, so fuck you” sort of thing. When it failed, I jumped right into another one. The only relationship that was not that way was my marriage to Jordan. Being that I was from New England at the time and he from across the continent in Alberta, Canada, there was nothing local, convenient or inexpensive about it. A visa, green card, waiting periods, dealing with the immigration nightmare and not being allowed to work in this country put a huge strain on us, but we weathered it. The wrestling and entertainment business was another huge strain. We managed that, too. Moving often, not having family around, no steady paychecks, sharing an office and deciding not to have kids for some of those reasons caused more strain. We actually had to work hard to be together, which is why we lasted so long. Much of our strain united us tighter but some didn’t. I don’t regret a minute of it. However, being undiagnosed with bipolar disorder had its effect on our marriage and everything got blamed on my disorder. This translates to the whole of the failure being solely on me. I’ll readily admit I was no picnic to live with without the meds, but not all that went wrong was the fault of a genetic disease.

By the way, it is never okay to ask a couple when they plan on having babies or why they don’t have kids. That’s akin to asking, “So, how much money do you make? Oh, and how big is your dick?” Just don’t do it. It puts people on the spot and usually one of the two is not completely at ease with the idea of being childless. After a while, I just started to respond, “Oh, gosh…no plans on kids. I like my vagina just the way it is. How’s yours, by the way? Still blown out pretty badly?” 

August 2014 marked the one year point since I bought my house. I ventured out into the dating world with major trepidation after waiting six months. How could I explain to people what I do? What I had? When exactly do you bring up the fact that you’re bipolar in a dating situation? After the appetizers so your date can run away screaming before the main course? After sex? Maybe you never mention it and surreptitiously swallow your pills on the side?

What do you do about the fact that the medications that stabilize your emotions make you somewhat emotionless? After a lifetime of making (often irrational) emotional decisions, I was all of a sudden a level-headed, logical being…and I had no idea who the fuck this person was.

Among other things to control my bipolar disorder, I see a therapist, who makes me feel normal. She said as far as relationships go, I should be a delicious cake all on my own, and my partner should only be the icing. He would be complimentary, but not necessary. Wanted, but not needed.

My husband had been amazing. He was one of the kindest, funniest, smartest people I’ve ever met. He was handsome, in great shape, smart, driven and has always been there for me no matter what or how awful I’ve been. He’s the one who encouraged me to write honestly (“Oh, God no. I can’t put this stuff out there. This is more naked than I’ve ever been without clothes. I can’t.” “You should. You need to. It’ll help others.”)mime-attachment Yet I felt something was missing, although I did’t know what. He was (ultra) negative with his personality and it tended to trigger me in a badly. He’d cling to a belief in a close-minded way and never consider any other possibility to the point of insulting anyone who thought differently…religion, politics, workouts… It was his way or no way, and resentment set it. Things became a power struggle. We would bring out the worst in each other. Half the time I’d acquiesce to avoid another fight and hate myself later. I’d come out verbally swinging the other half of the time. Simple tasks like going to the grocery store or gym would degenerate into an argument nearly every time. With my immediate family dead and his in another country, we were all we had, so we stayed together and fought every day.

It was a rather unhealthy co-dependency. We were not a good team, or the icing to each others cake. If we were on The Amazing Race, we wouldn’t have made it out of the first airport.

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My (our) therapist’s verdict: “I like both you and Jordan…but I don’t like you together.”

I found I enjoyed living alone once we split. As soon as I got into my house, I felt relief at the peace and quiet. We originally agreed we wouldn’t date others, but months later, I was confused as to what I wanted. I felt stuck in gridlock. I wanted to move ahead but was afraid to let go of him. He accepted me as me, entirely. He was also a good friend and the only family I had left. However, we did a lot of damage to each other and wasn’t sure moving past it was possible, or that I even wanted to try.

I’d never felt more alone than in September while packing by myself while he worked a wrestling show the weekend before we moved. I had spent Christmas by myself, got blamed for an accident with one of our dogs (who tore his knee out on my watch because I’d taken him to the dog park) and dealt with a case of pneumonia alone so strong I wasn’t sure I was going to survive. At the six month mark, I didn’t know if I wanted to be solo full-time any longer.

I’ve toyed with the idea of avoiding relationships and becoming a nomad with a string of guys in various cities (Texas boyfriend. Saskatchewan boyfriend. Irish Tour Bus boyfriend) like some of my male entertainer friends managed to pull off. Being that I’ve been a destructive person-or rather, that I have a destructive disorder-I wondered if it was even fair to try dating again. The absolute last thing I wanted to do was hurt someone else.

However, I missed romance. I missed conversation. I missed the “partner in crime” aspect of being with someone I connected with in some way. I felt life was passing me by…one ComicCon at a time.

“I think I’ll get saddled up and go looking for a woman. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days. I’m not picky. As long as she’s smart and pretty, sweet and gentle and tender and refined and lovely and carefree.” –Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

I watched the movie The Wolverine while at a hotel in Connecticut. Mariko sat across from Logan, who’d stuck his chopsticks upright in the rice. “Don’t do that. It’s a bad omen. It reminds us of incense at funerals.” Later, Logan does it again. Mariko removes the chopsticks and shakes her head sadly. “I don’t expect you to understand. You’re not Japanese.”

How can I expect a man who isn’t in some form the entertainment business to understand what I deal with every day?
When I talked to a couple of my male wrestler & cosplay friends about this, they suggested that dating outside the business is a good thing – to keep the mystery. Just deal with the fans, aches and pains and let them stay in the dark. It gives you more to talk about when you’re not in the same business.

I’d written this excerpt an earlier blog: “I am so fucking fucked, it’s fucked up.
There. That’s about my entire story in a nutshell. I am broken. Completely broken, and like shattered shards of glass, anyone who comes near me walks away bleeding. So, I have become more and more of a recluse, afraid to have friends or relationships, because I know I’ll just end up destroying the people I care about, which kills me inside and makes me—once again—want to kill myself. It’s a fantastic pattern, isn’t it? And that’s what being bipolar is.”

Feeling shattered for so long and like I had nothing to offer, I think I just wanted to see where I stood in the real world-the one without spandex, 28-year-olds hitting on me, and camera lenses. 

My first kiss outside of my marriage was with one of the You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out kids who was now about my age. We’d done a convention appearance together and I went out with him after. Then I went on a date with a young marine who had PTSD so bad that he said he couldn’t sleep…instead, he drank. Nothing came of either of those situations other than friendship. 

So, on a Sunday night, I clicked JOIN on Match.com. As I was filling out my profile, I decided not to tell people what I do, limiting my career to a vague “writer, comic book model and former athlete”.

This is where a girl goes when she doesn’t frequent bars, doesn’t want to date co-workers, doesn’t want to date out of her age group and doesn’t want people to know who she is until she decides to tell them. For the first time in my life, I’d like to have someone know me before they Google my boobs.

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My problem has always been that I’m not attracted to many people. Sure there are a lot of good-looking people around, especially in the Tampa Bay area, but I lean 60/40 towards wit and intelligence. (Sapiosexual. Google it.) If that’s not there, it doesn’t matter how pretty someone is…I can’t get into them. Once I walked around a 3-day comic convention looking to see if there was anyone I’d sleep with if we were the last two people on Earth. Out of all the celebrities, fans, rock legends…not one. That’s not a knock on anyone – it’s just a deficit on my end.

“That’s the trouble with falling in love with a dream girl. They have a habit of becoming real.”  -Nicholas Cage, Lord of War

162922890QI put up a handful of “me being normal” photos and I was off and running.1920575_446830105450467_372946613_n

Within a few minutes of joining the site, my inbox was flooded with emails. 151 more the next morning. I soon realized I’d have to quit my job if I wanted to go through them all or date.

Most were crap. I felt obligated to write back to most until it got too tiresome and I realized it was screwing up my odds. If you write to people you don’t like, they send you more of that exact type.

Match.com puts all the stuff no one likes to talk about front and center. For me: Wants kids? Probably not. Spiritual not religious. Politics: Middle of the road. Looking for tall, gainfully employed in a real career, witty, loves pets, no smoking, no drugs, athletic and toned. Race? Whatever. Hair color? No preference.

As it were, “athletic and toned” has a broad definition on Match.com. It ranges from bodybuilder to “I played football for a semester in high school”, but it mostly means they worked out twice a week and weren’t serious about it. I realize fitness isn’t the highest priority when you’re dealing with CEO’s, app developers and doctors, so I had to be more open-minded. As with everything, there’s a trade. For this, less fit meant educated, intelligent, traveled and financially stable.

I was still getting emails from 27-year olds, too.
Half the men my age seemed on the defensive, clearly having been hurt before. The other half looked like shit. It was a shame. There were some really witty, interesting people who just didn’t keep themselves up.

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“Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion.”
— Scott Adams

I created a system for narrowing down all the replies. Any spelling or grammatical errors I crossed them off my list (unless English was their second language). I don’t care how hot someone is. If he can’t figure out ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, no deal. I also crossed people off who took themselves too seriously on their profile, wrote that their spare time was filled watching sports or who wrote an entire profile dedicated to any female reading it. (“My favorite thing? Coming home to YOU.”) Seriously? He wrote that? Piss off. I can’t even imagine the type of woman who would fall for that kind of crap. Wait, yes I can.
Additional cuts: Guys who had no profile photo, guys who only had photos with sunglasses on, guys who only had one photo up and guys who had 11 photos of the same exact selfie in a different shirt. There were also guys who were extremely religious and wrote all about Jesus and church on their profiles. No can do.

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Then there were the bad profiles: the ones who were negative, bitter, railed about women who were looking for free dinners or the one guy who insisted he and his date would “go Dutch” so no one got their feelings hurt and to keep it fair. In other words, he didn’t have a job.

I’m the furthest thing from a gold digger, but if I’m taking the time to know someone, get dressed up and meet him, he is damn well paying for dinner or drinks. Call me old school.

Two out of three guys listed “Long walks on the beach” as something they enjoy. Holy cliché. “I enjoy long walks on the beach…after anal.” At least that is honest.

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Then there were the…interesting…ones. One guy was a Latino painter with the screen name PassionatePainter and a photo of him reclining on his side – naked – with just his bits covered and a gayer than gay look on his face. His byline: “Do you have passion? Real passion?” He kept emailing me to ask why I didn’t want to meet him and then stated that clearly I was missing out and not ready to experience…Wait for it…passion.

LowSelfEsteemGentleman. (Names have been changed to protect the delusional.) “You probably won’t write back, but maybe you will.” Yeah. I need that headache. I can see the future already: Me constantly reassuring him that my tour schedule won’t include other penises. No thanks.
ChubbyAndCan’tTakeAHint: “I like you. I hope to hear back soon.” (I didn’t write back. Ever.) Day 2-46 a new email each day came through along the lines of this: “I was wondering why I didn’t hear back from you? I think your (SIC) pretty. I hope to hear from you soon.”
ImMuchOlderThanISayIAm: “I read your profile and think we have a lot in common. Here’s my number. We should meet up.” This person usually looked like my grandfather.
IHaveNoShirtOnAndWillBoreYouToDeath: “Sup? We should meet.” That’s all. Nothing else. This guy usually was shirtless, jacked and/or shredded and boring as fuck. I’m sorry. That’s rude. I meant that he was wit-and-charm-challenged.
IHaveNoIdeaHowToTalkToGirls: “How is your day going?” I’ve never met you. Why are you asking me that? I am not lying when I tell you that this type of reply is the majority of what came to me. Eloquence at its best. Guys, there is an entire profile there and most women LOVE to talk about themselves. Try reading it and picking 1-3 things to hone in on and talk about in your intro email. Other than her tits/ass/feet/WhateverItIsYouHopeSheIsWillingToUseOnYou.
You’re welcome.

HeyArentYouAprilHunter: Shit. Yeah, I got some of those, too. “Why are you even on here??” Um…the same reason you are? In my twenty years in the wrestling business, I’ve dated a grand total of three wrestlers. Before that, I was still in the entertainment business with fitness and modeling and dated mostly “civilians”. One of the wrestlers I dated was also an actor; the attention we got just walking through an airport or standing in line for a coffee was ridiculous. We couldn’t go anywhere without people stopping to talk or snap photos. He seemed unfazed by the attention. I hated it. When I’m not April Hunter, I am not April Hunter.

I even got an email from a guy who went to the same college as I in Pennsylvania. Small world.

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“I’ve always liked smart women but it’s been an expensive hobby.” Javier Bardem in The Counselor


Chemistry isn’t compatibility. Chemistry is when you physically click together, regardless of how good or bad you are for one another. Compatibility is generally sharing the same values and balancing each other out. That can occur without chemistry.

That said, if you fill out your Match.com questions honestly, half of that will be taken out of the equation, since you’ll be matched up according to compatibility. So, 50% of the work is pretty much done for you.

“It doesn’t hurt to ask. Sometimes the most beautiful girls are the loneliest.” – Jaws 2

I selected some men in the age range of 37-45 and began talking with them, based first upon their profile photos and what they’d written. Everyone I met, other than two, should have listed “average” as their body type instead of “athletic and toned”.
This is where online dating worked in my favor. I got to know their minds first. They had to write something witty or intelligent enough to make me want to write back.

“The biggest aphrodisiac in the world is someone who likes you and isn’t afraid to show it.” –Mark Manson

First there was a guy I call Jesus & Babies. More on that in a moment. He was my first Internet date and I was fairly concerned he’d be an ax murderer. He wasn’t an ax murderer. He sent a very sweet, bright email about how he was about to quit Match.com, but it sent him my profile and his heart skipped a beat when he read my profile, etc, etc, etc. (I suggest you use this line in the future, guys. It’s a solid one.)
Before we met, he asked, “Do you really look like your pictures?”

“Uh…yeah. Why wouldn’t I?”
“Ha. You wouldn’t believe how many don’t.”

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I was surprised when I saw him. He resembled the adult version of a pretty boy band singer (or the twin brother to actor Michael Vartan). Tall, blond hair, blue eyed and extremely fit. He was actually much better looking in person than in his photos, thus ruining it for a good portion of my dates after him, and a ridiculously profound kisser. He looked like the beach volleyball player he was on the side, not someone who spent his days in Tampa General Hospital. Apparently I was okay too, because he hugged me, kissed my cheek and exclaimed in his Louisville, Kentucky southern accent, “My word, you are beautiful!”

I asked who he usually dated, and he rattled off a tirade of frustrations. Most of them were 20-30 pounds heavier in person or who looked a decade older. I would find this to be a common theme for many men. Ladies, don’t lie or put up out-of-date photos. You’re eventually going to meet someone in person, so there’s no point. Plus you never know who is going to like you for you. Some guys are intimated by someone too pretty and prefer a few flaws here and there.

He also said he only dated Latinas. I’m always taken as Spanish. I told him I was Latin, not Latina…he said “Well, you look like you are and that’s what I am attracted to.” He was a wine expert and somewhat of a chef, with a talent for throwing together anything and making it taste incredible. He ate like I did; low carb, high protein and red wine. He also used paper towels torn in half as napkins, something that was just a touch “white trash” and reminded me of home.

However, he was legitimately fucking insane.

After our meeting, I hadn’t even pulled out of the parking lot when he texted me.
Him: “Oh, my. I want to see you again. Like sooner than later. You’re brilliant and insanely beautiful. I’m overwhelmed with my thoughts right now. No one has ever grabbed my attention like this before…you are different. When can I see you? Tonight?” I pretended I was busy for the next day or two and set a time in the future.

My friend Kyle (who met his fiancé on the same site) texted afterward: “How did it go?”
Me: “Better than I expected. Good looking, smart as hell…has a career…he’s probably an ax murderer.” Kyle: “Sounds like he might be ok, but don’t buy the first car you drive.”

Sage advice, my friend.

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Jesus and Babies: “I’m yours until you break my heart. I’m pulling my online dating profile.”
Me: “Um…are you sure? That’s really sweet, but we just met…everything is new…” I thought he was rushing everything. And I had no plans to pull MY profile.
Jesus and Babies: “Yes.”

His hot streak was a nice change after a marriage that was lacking in heat and compliments. (My husband rarely (never) said anything nice because he felt my fans said it, so I didn’t need to hear it.) He thought nothing of picking me up and throwing me onto a bar stool or against a wall somewhere for a make out session. However, you know how game recognizes game? Well, I’m pretty sure he was undiagnosed with bipolar disorder, amongst other things. He was sharp as a tack, but in a way that seemed to be looking for weaknesses. He would also flash between happy and outgoing to moody and withdrawn.

He earned his nickname because despite reading “Spiritual, not religious” and “Kids: probably not” on my profile, he insisted on contacting me and then spending our time trying to convince me we should have children who believed in Jesus. (#KentuckyProblems.) During dinner, he had the annoying habit of staying glued to the basketball game, yelling at the TV for Louisville. I couldn’t help but think, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, scream at TV’s.” One day he’d be all over me nonstop, the next two would be silent. I can’t do hot and cold. It’s too much like the household I grew up in. He flipped out on me when I told him.

1613924_10201776557790783_1761733339_nMe: “Well, maybe we shouldn’t see each other anymore.”
Him: “Really? REALLY? Oh, that’s great. Not again.” Of course it was my fault. Did I mention that he had Mommy Issues and at 39-years old, had never been married?

One day after blowing me off for basketball (“Can’t. Two words for you: NCAA Tournament.”), I’d had enough. I just shut it all off. I have a weird ability to shut down after enough disappointment. When he texted a few days later and asked me to dinner, I no longer cared, had started dating others and had decided to push him as to why he ran cold. “Seriously, just tell me. I want to know. You won’t (can’t) hurt my feelings.” He denied it at first, and then told me he’d decided because I didn’t accept Jesus into my life and didn’t seem to want to have babies (with him), he was not okay with our situation. “I’ve waited long enough for a child. I don’t want to be a 70-year old dad.” He also didn’t like that I wasn’t “low key.” He seemed horribly uncomfortable with women whom he thought would get attention in any way. (The irony is, when I’m not being paid to get people’s attention, I don’t crave any attention.)

I wouldn’t contact a flame-haired comic book model with huge boobs if I had a problem with that. Would you? Thing is, he’s not the first baby crazy guy I’ve gotten. Not even the third. Something happens to guys when they hit a certain age…or I bring out the crazy-for-babies types.

At one of our dinners, I had casually mentioned something about mental health and his response: “Those people get addicted to their meds and really don’t need it. It’s all psychological.” Considering he was in the medical field, I was kind of floored by his comment.

My therapist’s verdict: “Do NOT date this guy. Sleep with him if you want, but don’t date him.” I didn’t end up doing either.

This was my very first online dating experience. Or maybe I should refer to it as my first online learning experience. I felt it was too soon to sleep with anyone after my husband and I wonder if that’s why he was so odd towards me. After Jesus & Babies, I decided it would be smarter to date several men at the same time, not get sexually involved with any of them and keep all at a distance. Just have fun and be straight up about everything. 

“I have a lot of boyfriends; I want you to write that. Every country I visit, I have a different boyfriend. And I kiss them all.”
— Anna Kournikova

Onward with the learning experiences!

To Be Continued…Part Two. The Good, The Bad, The Dating, The Ryans. https://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/11/04/my-match-com-experiment-the-good-the-bad-the-dating-the-ryans-part-2/

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS WRITING/BLOG MAY BE COPIED OR USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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He Said

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He said, “I’ll be there tomorrow.”

Excitement. My heart beats. I smile.

Then panic. I did not like the fact that someone had the ability to make me feel this way.

If he can make me feel happy, he can make me feel sad.

That scares me.

A lot scares me.

Having control is key. Key to focus. Key to life. Key to sanity.

Someone else making me happy is not having control.

 

When I was safe inside a relationship, there was control. There was the comfortable glide. There was security.

This is none of that. It’s up, it’s down. It’s long distance. It’s uncertainty.

It’s gut wrenching solitude.

It’s a hole in my heart.

It’s wanting. And not being able to have.

It’s being attached to the phone.

He exists in there when he’s not here.

His face, his words, our moments.

I had wanted unplug more.

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How did this happen?

I’m usually so careful. Removed. Warm, yet cold. It’s hard for me to really care.

I’ve gotten it down to an art.

Smile. Converse. Drink wine. Ask them questions about themselves.

Even if it’s boring, act interested.

Eye contact. That’s what you have to do.

Sure, sure. Let’s do this again soon.

Let me check my schedule.

Oh, damn. I’m away. Maybe another time?

 

I’ve become more and more like a man in so many ways. I was raised by a man, I work with men, I have turned into one.

I’m not selfish. It’s self preservation.

Truth be told, most people aren’t worth it.

There exists a carefully cultivated fuck-you shell around me.

It intimidates.

Purposefully.

“You’re nothing at all like I’d thought you’d be. You’re smart…sweet.”

I know.

It’s a common comment I hear from people who make it past the muscle. The blunt truths. The loudness. The vibrancy.

I have a lot to give. I can’t afford someone who takes.

I only want real in my life. Not so easy to find.

 

He was different. His words alone were atypical.

He saw things differently.

He was strong. He was used to being the one to do the intimidating.

He had his own uniquely cultivated shell.

He got into my head. I couldn’t get him out.

I tried. I gave up.

Gave in.

 

We were a lot alike. 

Maybe too much alike.

 

He said, “You’re so different than I’m used to.”

How?

“Well…you’re like a guy in a pretty girl’s body. That’s what I like, though.”

Really? Someone who views sex as sex? Someone who swears far too much? Someone who lives on steak and bacon? Someone who takes no shit, will shove people out of the way and not think twice about punching another in the throat if there’s cause for it? Someone who would rather go to a shooting range than a romantic comedy? Someone whose dog holds more value than all the jewelry she owns? Someone who watches Das Boot and knows who Yngwie Malmsteen is? Someone who hates malls? Someone who doesn’t give a shit about designer labels? Someone who doesn’t cook very often?  Someone who believes “Great mind talk ideas, good minds talk events and small minds talk people”? Someone who “gets to know herself”…often? Someone who believes the word ‘cunt’ should be used as a noun, adjective and verb? Someone who only half-heartedly cleans behind the toilet?

 

He said, “How bad are you? I’m asking because I really like you and want to know.”

Extreme. Rapid cycling. Out of my mind. Crazy. Bipolar.

Medicated.

He said, “Okay.”

And it was.

 

He said, “I’m being recruited. The job is across the state. I have my second interview this week.”

My gut twisted.

I wanted to run. But I didn’t.

But I wanted to.

 

He said, “I’m not sure if I’m taking it yet.”

I allowed myself to breathe.

For the moment.

 

He said, “I’m on my way.”

And I smiled.

 

Then one day he said, “I can’t do this right now.”

Why?

He said, “I can’t give you any more than this. I can’t give you what you deserve.

There are issues about myself I’ve always had. I’ve been working on them and thought I was all right. Mentally…I’m not.”

 

I suddenly realized that I’ve been him before.

I’ve done this to others.

 

I hated how it felt.

I felt raw and ripped open.

 

I’d hated how I felt when I did it to others.

It’s taken this to make me realize what I’ve done.

What I’ve done to those around me.

 

I wanted to help him. But I can’t. 

I know from being me that only he can help himself.

 

He said, “I’m sorry.”

And I was right.

He made me sad.

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Truth or Lies?

lie

The problem with being around a writer is that you never know how much they’re taking from you. I steal – or am “inspired” – from many around me.

I take from people’s stories, personalities, problems and conversations.

Anything and everything can be material; I’m always observing. Nothing is off limits.

Bad decisions make the best stories.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with friends who have begged: “Please do not write about this, April. Okay?”

Or someone will hover over my shoulder as I’m writing. “What are you…?”

“Nothing.”

“Yeah, right. Let me see…”

“You smell like drama and a headache. Get away from me.”

So, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.    

 

April 054

 

There is a fine and sometimes blurry line between fake fiction and real non fiction.

 

“She kissed him and tasted cigarettes and disappointment.”

“Are you taking your medicine?”

“No.”

“But you’re depressed.”

“Good. That means I’ll be inspired.”

—-

Being single at fifty-two was confusing. She sipped her wine. Looking at the online dating sites seemed unreal. Half the men her age seemed on the defensive, clearly having been hurt before.

The other half looked like shit.

—-

“Mom died. You need to come home.”

That’s how he had ended up back in the tiny house, in a tiny Nebraska town full of tiny minds.

—–

Florian was only culturally Hispanic, because she found she’d had to translate a menu for him in the restaurant Paella. It was a culture Abby had quickly learned to appreciate after a small town, white bread upbringing chock full of aprons and meatloaf. His was one of café Bustelo and cigar factories.

She felt the heat emanating from his body as his full lips bit hers and brushed softly against her ear. He wrapped his hands in her hair and pulled her roughly into him in full view of whoever cared to watch in the busy parking garage. He pressed her against the car, burying his face in her neck. She liked the way he felt. She liked his dark eyes and aquiline nose. She liked his passion for life.

The next day Abby returned his text in Spanish and said, “I’ll make you learn this.”

“I know…I’m a bad Latino. I’m sure there are many things you can teach me. That’s why I’m keeping you.”

“Oh, are you? We shall see about that.”

“See we shall.”  

“Mind the gap.” The tube doors slid open and people rushed in as we shoved our way out, surfing along with the teeming throng of black and grey clad bodies pushing up the stairs. The grey-white tiled walls dripped with dampness…

She’s  late. Again.

Not because she’s high maintenance. Because she doesn’t want to go.

Procrastination. Stomach churning. She hates this.

Self revolving, self serving, selfish. Me, me, me. That is what she sees when she looks at them.

Far too stupid to be whores. They’d rather give it away like sluts. For attention.

“Look at me! How fabulous I am, right?”

Stupid, stupid girls.

Narcissism. Borderline personality disorder. Mommy and daddy issues. Undiagnosed bipolar disorder.  All rolled into one room multiplied by 35.

This is the entertainment business.

It won’t make you crazy. Crazy makes it.

He wrapped his arm around her from behind and in the filtered twilight, she could make out several skulls and the Virgin Mary on the colorful tattoo that ran from his shoulder to his wrist. One of many he hid under his crisp suit and tie during the week. He wasn’t one for words or sentiment. When he did speak, it was matter-of-fact, blunt and stoic. 

His was a character of contradictions. Punk rock and golf. Independent art and million dollar contracts. Athletism and exhaustion. Chaste and carnal. Impatience and biding. Supercilious and open minded. A love of food and an empty refrigerator.

She found him brutally direct and completely unreadable.

He dumped the Big Gulp cup with change out on his tatty blue blanket and counted. Thirty-eight dollars. Not bad for the day, but not good either. Most of it had been earned on his last trick, a coup des gras magic levitation combo. He’d waited until the New Orleans streets were packed with happy drunks. Timing was everything.

“I wish we could make more money,” he said to the scruffy brown mutt lying at his side. Sam was never far from his side. Her bushy tail wagged easily despite the conditions they lived in.

“Do you?” 

Rodney looked up. An old black man with a milky eye that stared off to the left stood before him. He wore a starched white uniform and had a Creole accent. Sam didn’t growl, which surprised Rodney. “I’m Claude. I work at La Richelieu and I enjoyed your act.” He reached down and scratched Sam behind the ear. “Tell me…have you ever thought about voodoo?”

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness and a large medieval contraption was before her. Leather straps, metal, cuffs. A sign read “Please tip your attendants. These rooms are not self cleaning.” In the corner, a blond was kneeling in front of a middle aged man sitting on a dark purple vinyl couch with khaki pants around his ankles and his hands on the back of her head.

She worked with the church, spending her nights taking calls and heading into the cold to pick up strays and search for lost pups. On this night, she’d found a little white dog with big, brown eyes and took him back to her place. He didn’t stop trembling until she wrapped him in a blanket and fed him.  He ate like there was no tomorrow and wriggled into her ankle afterwards in happiness. He wasn’t in bad shape, really. He couldn’t have been out there long because he was still groomed. She pet his soft white face, cradling him as he kissed her cheek and nose. Walking outside, she crossed the dusky yard to a sizable wooden pen. As she neared, the barking and snarling coming from it hit a fever pitch.

She kissed the little mutt on the head and then dropped him into the pit bull den as bait.

The left side showed me immediately why she’d survived and I hadn’t. A truck carrying long metal tubes had lost several.  One went through my windshield. The glass was a crumbled spider web splattered with blood and bits of skin. The metal was perfectly intact.

And it could be found pierced straight through my chest.

Mark Twain’s advice is to “write what you know” – which can be taken or mistaken in many ways.

 

 

With or Without You…

(Written spring of 2013)

It’s such a cliché. When did we become a cliché?

We never did conform to anyone else’s rules.

We always colored outside of the line…but now we’re THAT.

I told you…I never wanted to be that couple sitting across from each other at the restaurant,

Not talking. Not looking at each other.

We became THAT.

 

Loyal. Kind. Negative. Criticizing. Witty. Smart. Nitpick. Divide…and Conquer.

My mind races and I can’t sleep.

I never could. Thoughts come faster than I can get them down.

Being this way…It’s a curse. It’s a blessing.

I know.

I know people don’t get me. They can’t. 

I know I may die young.

I know I’m smarter than most.

I know I do dumb things.

I know my father was this way, too.

I got this from him.

He said, “I will never be happy.”

Well…I have trained, read and learned.

It’s simple. You decide how you will see things.

I know I can be happy.

I don’t think you can.

When you are already past the age of where you could be dead, every day is a gift.

What should I do?

I don’t want to live like this. But I can’t imagine life without you in it.

We are two good people who bring out the worst in each other.

You look at me, but you don’t see me. You see an illness. That’s all I am to you now.

 

I don’t want that.

The constant reminders…

I don’t want to be looked at like that.

 

A dog loses his leg and learns to walk again.

Right away.

No one is in his ear, all day and night, telling him what’s wrong…how he’s a poor thing…there’s something wrong with him.

He just gets up and walks. 

Before this, I was just me. I’m still me.

And I’ll be fine.

Without you…I think maybe I can walk again.

 

Life_goes_on_edited

Reblogged from BipolarBlogging:Why Suicide?

Why Suicide?.

via Why Suicide?.

This is reblogged from BipolarBlogging. I found this to be very spot on and if you’ve read some of my BP blogs and are trying to understand the complexities of bipolar disorder, this explains suicide perfectly. Sometimes, however…nearing death makes you appreciate life and LIVE IT even more. I’ve found this to be very true for myself.

When every day could be your last…that’s when you truly live.

Chapter 16: Bipolar For Life. Alone.

 

aafsnet“Don’t explain. Your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you.”

I am alone.

It’s liberating really. For the first time in a long time, I can do what I want, when I want. I don’t have to wait around for anyone. I can say what I think without risk of hurting anyone’s feelings. For the first time…it really IS all about me.

IMG_20140129_083118_resizedHowever, every time I’m in line at the grocery store, I feel like it’s screamingly obvious, with my frozen gluten-free pizza and two bananas that I am living solo and going home to watch an entire season of Sherlock in one shot. When my new car insurance binder came, it hit me in plain black and white English: “Female, Single”. I thought maybe it should just say “Separated, Confused”.

My last bipolar blog left off with a bit of  a question mark, since I was in an open ended experiment: Marital separation, working on fixing a place up to live and dealing with issues related to medications.

Newly solo and avoiding pretty much all aspects of the opposite sex in anything other than friendship has been an adjustment for me but it’s a conscious choice. I didn’t want to repeat the same patterns in my life. You know…taking up with another relationship before the first was over. I wanted to have time to just be me and not have anyone else thrown into that mix.  

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I’ve been living alone now for 4 months and am finding many things about this new status lovely. I bought a little villa and made it my own this autumn. You may recall me lamenting about the disastrous state the former owner left the yard in and how much it cost to fix overgrown bougainvillea full of thorns (yanked and replaced with palms), sand with fleas (sodded), a rotting blue-grey deck with no shade and a sagging fence. It’s now beautiful and there’s an outdoor room I call My Sanctuary. All the plants, rocks, solar lights and water-and-dog proofing of furniture were well worth it. Plus the garden saves me money and tastes better than anything I could buy. I am so grateful to the fans who sent things off my Amazon wish list or Lowes gift cards. It was well spent on a special mix of peace and sanity (whatever that might be) and I thank you deeply.

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Other activities have helped; I started fiction writing classes in December and love it. I’ve discovered that I have a rather twisted mind and penchant for bloody deaths. I don’t exactly feel creative like I did before being on medications, but when pushed by others or inspired, I can still pull it out of my ass. My writings run the gamut from futuristic science fiction, politics, poetry, children’s stories, memoirs, to fitness & nutrition. tumblr_me0mb9M9YK1rj11who1_500_largeSpanish lessons are now on my agenda again. Esto me hasto feliz. I even tried a new recipe, coconut chicken. It turned out fabulous. Normally, I survive on coffee, protein shakes, bacon and eggs, liquid pasteurized egg whites, rice chips, unsweetened applesauce and whatever is around that can be eaten raw, like bananas, almonds and dates. These are kind of big things for me as compared to the past year.

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I’m also in quite a few comic books coming out soon.  THAT is truly living the dream. 

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However, most of all, in my quest for feeling normal (notice that I don’t say BEING normal), I may have finally hit on a mix of chemicals that makes my own mix of chemicals stabilize correctly. I was diagnosed bipolar (which USED to be called Manic-Depressive, but they changed the name because people were confusing it with “Depression”) over two and a half years ago and it’s taken me THIS LONG to get sorted out.

Here’s a glimpse into the ordeal. A small glimpse… The good Doctor W: “Lithium. This will fix you. No change? You’re still a lunatic, huh? A sleepy lunatic? Ok. I’ll add in the mood stabilizer Lamictal. Feeling better? Yes? Good. Oh, after a while that sometimes happens…you get used to it and a depression hits. Let’s go back to some Welbutrin for your anti-depressant in there too. I know you don’t want to gain weight…Welbutrin is the only one that doesn’t cause weight gain or loss of sex drive, so relax. Migraines that make you puke as a side effect? Let’s do Topamax. I think you’re not sleeping. Let’s try a bunch of shit that makes you a zombie all day long and then settle on Xanax which you won’t really use because you hate drugs and you’re just going to find that GABA, magnesium & 20 mg of melatonin work better  anyway. OK, let’s stop the Lithium. Crap, it messed up your thyroid. I didn’t say “ruined”, I said “sluggish”. Well, technically, yes…that means it’s ruined. I’m putting you on Cytomel. Still sluggish? Let’s lower the Lamictal and raise the Welbutrin. No? All right…you might need Abilify ($$$) or Nuvigil ($$$$$$$$$$$$) but let me try something first. I have a feeling this will work and it’ll be a whole lot less expensive if it does. Let’s double your thyroid meds and see how you feel.” Bingo. It was the Cytomel thyroid medication that did the trick, of all things. After playing around with all the psyche drugs, simply doubling my thyroid med that is what woke me up. I lost 15 pounds, which is probably a few too many since people keep asking me if I’m getting ready to do a fitness competition, but it’s a side effect. Another side effect: nothing fits. After buying a house and Lamictal, I can’t afford clothes!

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The chemical journey is not over; my doctor said medications will be an ongoing experiment for life. The human body gets used to something and then it’s time to mix it up again, especially when it’s a neurological something. To make matters so much worse, bipolar drugs are far from an exact science or even close to accurate. It’s not like diabetes where you monitor, use the correct medicine, live life. It’s as fucking crazy as we are. Perhaps, one day, they’ll get it down to more of a science like they have with diabetics? (Comparatively speaking, of course. I am not in any way saying that living with diabetes is easy at all.  I’m saying that if most of us could control our disorder by diet and exercise, life would be good….and much cheaper. Even daily blood testing and shots would be an upgrade. A lot of cardio issues come along with bp that most don’t know about in the forms of heart and lung issues. We tend to die young.) I can only hope…

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I’m a rapid cycling manic. I have been my entire life, which means I am on the crazy, daredevil, ass kicking, outspoken, stay up all night, workaholic, “yes-I-can-fly-to-a-foreign-country-that-speaks-no-English-alone-tomorrow” end of bipolar disorder. Trust me…it’s the better end. Being through a year and a half on the other side of that spectrum was terrible. I’ve never dragged so much in my life. Fog Brain: you feel like you’re in a tunnel full of thick, endless fog and you can’t see anything in front of, or around you. There is no future. It’s exhausting to merely survive without actually living. No creativity. No memory. My Bipolar Gift, gone. I’ve never just NOT given a crap…apathy isn’t me. This shit is unreal, and anyone who tells someone with depression to “just get over it” should be kicked in the junk, hard, and repeatedly.  Trust me, if they could, they WOULD. Sadness is not the same as depression. This is completely chemical. I’ll take manic any day of the week over depressed. At least you can get things done.

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During this time, I realized that I could pull myself together for a few hours or even an entire weekend if I had to do a show, shoot or work a Comic Con and no one knew. It was the ever-present work ethic…no matter how bad it gets, I simply will not cancel. Sometimes I’d lie in bed until it was time to go and cry, then I’d pull my shoes on, swipe on lip gloss, caffeinate until smiling, and get on with it. I’d usually feel better once I was out anyway. The energy from fans and artists picked me up. There was plenty of time to fall apart when I got home on Monday.

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This part of the journey has been an eye opener too. I’ve never been one to be depressed much, let alone a year and a half, so that was really hard. Most of my closer friends don’t bother with me any longer. I was always up front about having this, but when my disorder became a reality or I got emotional, they were there for me less and less and that’s when I needed them the most. It was a truly heartbreaking learning experience. I’d like to say if I were in their shoes, I’d have done the same thing…but I wouldn’t have. Loyalty means a lot to me.

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“Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.” -Paulo Coelho

Other than having Bella and Fat Kitty as my main companions (they’re not too good at Jeopardy), random things going wrong in the house and wandering aimlessly through life at the moment, I suppose I’m OK. Through my blog, people have come out like crazy to me about either being or living with the disorder and I have made a handful of new bp friends. Most are completely opposite of me, falling on the more depressed side. I’ll be honest; I was afraid to be around bipolar people. I didn’t want someone bringing out the worst in me. I’ve seen some drama in the locker rooms with the undiagnosed.  I can see it now, like an ex addict knows a coke head. Most recently I was on a wrestling show where a girl had a misunderstanding with a special needs fan who wanted to buy an autographed photo that escalated so loudly and so quickly that it grew violent. Tables were dumped. The fan ended up crying for a long time afterward. The promoter and she were nose to nose, promoter was a hair away from hitting her just to shut her down, and I was ready to back the boss up if needed, as she is a close friend. I did NOT want to be in that position and I did not like how I felt about it; how it changed the energy in the entire room. But this new group has not been like that at all. We check in on each other and talk about things you just can’t talk about with others…a little Crazy Crew. Those who aren’t afflicted can be sympathetic and well meaning, but it’s hard to get it unless you ARE it. I find comfort in that.

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To those who have quietly emailed or approached me with your own bipolar admissions, thank you. I want you to know that you’ve helped me as much as I’ve helped you. I feel there’s something normalizing about knowing that you’re not in this alone and that what you do and feel, others do too. There are nearly 6 million with bipolar disorder in the USA. Sounds like a lot, but in the grand scheme of the population, it’s really not since in comparison, 26 million have diabetes.

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I will always be in transition. I absolutely love doing the comics and cons; being around all that creative energy is amazing. Artists, writers, fans and meeting interesting people in entertainment is a wicked cool fringe benefit. On the other hand, I’d love to move away from everything else soon. I’d like to start the next chapter of my life career-wise, but I’m not quite sure what that is yet. I’m feeling restless and would like to start transitioning sooner. Writing…nutritional healing…motivational speaking…any of these could suit me plus a host of other things. Add in lawyer, veterinarian, mediator, PR and acupuncturist.

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“A man can endure anything except for a succession of ordinary days.” -Faust

This is part of being bipolar. We have a lot of interests that suit various needs. My biggest fear: having to choose just one and choosing wrong. I’ve done it before and it’s why I have four careers now that include pro wrestler, model, writer, webmaster, sprinkled with some acting, nutritional healing and fitness competitions. I get bored. What I love doing today, I may abhor tomorrow.  My fickle mind is only like this with careers, thankfully. Maybe because being self employed, I’m immersed in what I do twenty-four hours a day at times, so burnout is easy.

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As for a personal life, there is a difference between alone and lonely. I’ve always loved my own company especially with the pets here. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss things sometimes, too: Companionship. Conversation. Someone to eat with. Romance.  Romance is kind of a big one.

The mantra that plays over and over in my head is “Today is as young as you’ll ever be.” Admittedly, this is not the greatest mantra when you’re a female in a looks-based business.

I’ve been getting hit on a fair bit out of nowhere lately (mostly by men who are far too young) when I’m not scaring the opposite sex. Apparently I intimidate people, which is why I’ve sat home so many weekends in my life. While I’ve generally brushed off the attention, it’s made me ponder what the future might be for me.

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If I’m truly honest, other than an open mind, no kids and a worldly education, I feel like I don’t have much to offer someone else; I still feel a bit shattered. I went through a period after being diagnosed of utter relief  – to finally know I wasn’t just a hot tempered, redheaded Italian-Scottish Philly girl – to utter despair when I realized it was a mutherfucking DISEASE with no cure, a lot more to it than just wild mood swings…and I’d be on bank-breaking meds for life.

For LIFE.

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I became obsessed with getting educated on bipolar disorder which sometimes made me even more miserable in addition to an expert on the subject. I literally became Bipolar April. My husband seemed to blame everything on that. It seemed that I wasn’t his wife any longer. He saw me as a person with a disorder and all that went wrong with us was my fault… due to me. I also became an obligation. I felt he was there because he was a good person and wouldn’t abandon me..but didn’t want to be.  It all really messed with my psyche. I must have heard the bp word thrown around the house ten times a day. Was I THAT toxic? I thought about killing myself…many times, in truth. Not because I wanted to die, but because I didn’t want to live like this. If you’re not able to sustain the most basic of relationships without being a poison, what chance do you have? Why bother? Why be alive if all you’re going to do is ruin people around you? My psychologist, who had been seeing both of us (and now just me) assured that the pendulum swung both ways. I’m not sure I totally believed her. If the bp person is causing the most damage, isn’t it ultimately their responsibility to keep the relationship healthy? As hard as I tried to push him away, he wouldn’t leave, so… 

So.

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Having been trained to never take praise or criticism personally, the entire situation threw me. That’s easy to do when it comes to your profession or people who don’t know you. They don’t matter and are often either trying to kiss your ass or bury it. When it’s someone close whom you care about, it hits harder. During this educational period, I stumbled upon two things that changed my entire outlook. The documentary “Of Two Minds”, which focuses a lot on “the bipolar gift” and a graphic novel called Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me. I saw EVERYTHING differently after these two things, which portrayed the disorder in the rare positive light while remaining realistic. The cloud lifted and I realized that there are real benefits to being bipolar at times, like being a card carrying member of Club Van Gogh.

But when it comes to dealing with others, it still makes me feel like damaged goods. I’ve told a few people what’s up and they truly scare me when they say, “Oh, its ok.” No. No it’s not. Between losing ‘tolerant’ friends who say (to others of course, I have to find out second hand) “She’s a great person with a good heart, but sometimes really hard to be around” to partners who say, “You’re not who I thought you were….you’re a completely different person than who I met,” it makes me gun shy to be around anyone. I put up walls. I want to love you, but if I care about you, I will push you away. It’s for your own sake. Trust me. Because I’ll hurt you and I won’t mean to…and you’ll hate me for it, turn from sweet to bitter and abandon me. Rinse. Repeat.

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Someone recently asked me if I change when I live with someone. It made me think. No? Yes? I don’t think I do, but I suppose that’s not true. However, when you’re manic-depressive, there are always changes and they don’t always show themselves until a certain level of comfort is achieved. It’s weird being a generally positive person with a negative disorder. I wonder if that made the swings even more significant when they happened. 

If the fact that half the people I’ve dated still talk to me and think I’m a lovely person and the other half wouldn’t piss on me if I were on fire, that’s probably a safe indication that yes, I have changed inside relationships just a tad.

I’ve never had a relationship while on meds. I don’t know how I would be now, stabilized. Probably…stable.

Speaking of the manic-depressive thing, I wonder if I’ve picked the wrong men my entire life because I was choosing people that suited my needs on one end or the other of a wide spectrum cycle. Then when I swung the other way, I realized…it wasn’t what I thought it was? It certainly makes sense. Now that I’m balanced, I wonder how different relationships would be.

I ponder these questions and find myself more and more isolated at home. Which isn’t good, I know. But I don’t know how to get out of it. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know much.

batman62I do know that I don’t want life to pass me by. I love romance, love kissing, love love. I miss all of it. While I’m in no rush, I don’t want to get old and go without it. I don’t want to be in a relationship where neither person has anything to say to the other at a restaurant. I have been there. It wasn’t fun.

I got a staggering response to my bipolar blog…and a big chunk of it was from those who have lived with bipolar people. We ain’t easy.

Let me clarify that: We are hellish and amazing. When things are on, they’re ON. We are the life of the party, more fun than you thought possible, smart, witty and charming, the best sex you’ve ever had. When they’re bad, it’s horrific. It’s a fucking impossible nightmare that can cost you sleep, your job, your credit and sanity to live with. Being bipolar isn’t a choice. It’s genetic and incurable. Despite that, we want what others have; to love and be loved. We want what everyone else wants. Should we be denied relationships?

Not only does bipolar disorder have a wide spectrum, like Autism, it varies wildly between people who are medicated, unmedicated and holistically medicated (which I don’t believe actually works for 99.9%, but can help). A person could have bp, be balanced on meds and generally fine and productive. Someone else could be a reckless gambler, serial cheater, abusive or a drug addict. (Or really special and all of the above.)

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It takes a special kind of person to stay on that emotional roller coaster that it is to be with someone who has bipolar disorder.  A saint, to be exact.

So this brings me to three questions:

-Should you break up with someone who has it?

-If you have it, when should you tell someone?

-What about children? With a solid chance of passing it on genetically, that’s a rather meditative conversation to have. I suppose there’s a possibility in the future that the chemical choices could be more exact, or even a cure. OK…probably not a cure. Not with all the cash they’re making in this country on meds that are $200-$500 a month EACH and you need 3-5 of them.

It really, really hurts to be alone when it’s not your choice. It really hurts to be abandoned. It really hurts when you’re going through something and there is no one there for you. This is when the dark thoughts usually come.

That said, I cannot judge what a person must do to save themselves or their children from a bipolar partner. All too often, pain and abuse becomes “normal” and it’s hard to walk away.  Relationships have plenty of ups and downs on their own without adding in a mental disorder. You have to do what’s best for you and yours. Bipolar doesn’t go away. It never leaves. It will be that way FOREVER. Too many of us refuse their diagnosis or medications, which puts others through living hell and is completely irresponsible and selfish. I was harsh before when I said leaving someone with bp was the wrong thing to do. Perhaps it’s not. But giving them an ultimatum to get sorted out or else might not be a bad suggestion. That’s how I ended up sorted…and now, I’m grateful.

When do you tell someone? Blurt it out right away over the quesadillas and give them a fair chance to run before the main course arrives? Wait until they get to know you and casually mention it after sex? Never? Swallowing pills surreptiously when no one is looking or claim a heart condition?

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What if you do and they’re just like the hoards of ignorant out there who think bipolar means something along the lines of radical weather changes or being moody? Do you go through all the trouble explaining cardio afflictions, early death, serotonin/melatonin chemical imbalances, sleep disorders, medications, costs and side effects…or just let them be ignorant?

What if you tell them…and they are bipolar too? Do YOU leave?

These are questions I have no answer too. Maybe you do.

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As I write this, am I doing great? Some days no. Some days I certainly am. Do I feel better? Yes. Are my meds and therapy breaking me financially? Yes. Are they worth it? Fuck yes.

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…….…..Do I have abs? Yup.

Silver linings, my friends. Silver linings.

I am bipolar, and I always will be.

 

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

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Thank you for reading. Let me know your thoughts on my questions.

Get caught up on Part 1 & 2 of this story on the links below.

Read Bipolar Blues & Manic Depressive Madness (The Intro): https://aprilhunterblog.com/2013/08/28/chapter-14-bipolar-blues-and-manic-depressive-madness-the-intro/

Bipolar 2-The Dark Side:https://aprilhunterblog.com/2013/11/05/chapter-15-bipolar-2-the-dark-side/

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Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me. A Graphic Memoir. http://www.amazon.com/Marbles-Depression-Michelangelo-Graphic-Memoir/dp/1592407323

“Of Two Minds”. (Amazon & iTunes). http://www.amazon.com/Two-Minds-Terri-Cheney/dp/B00CMUXO54/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1388886195&sr=1-1&keywords=of+two+minds

Breathing Isn’t LIVING.

I wanted to take this blog to say a very heartfelt THANK YOU. I feel very fortunate to have such amazing fans and friends. My gratitude is more than you’ll realize. So many of you have gone above and beyond what a fan or friend typically is, it has floored me at times.

Just…thank you.

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In winter, an abundance of potential lies beneath the ground. You can’t see it, but you know it’s there. If you were to unearth the seeds and bulbs that have been planted, you would sabotage the emergence of grass, flowers and food in spring. So, you wait and allow them to be nourished by an unseen source.

This is not any different than YOU, as a person. At this time of year, we do too much. We wear ourselves down and forget to stop, breathe and enjoy.

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We also reflect back on the year before…often with dissatisfaction.

Don’t. Guilt is a wasted emotion.

You’re like the ground, always. You have within you untapped potential.  With commitment and work, amazing things can emerge whenever you want them to.

Regardless of age, you can always grow, understand and live life more fully.  The day you stop learning something new every day is the day you die. Just because you are breathing does not mean you are alive. Every single minute means a fresh start can be right NOW.

No matter how shit your day is going, never forget that there are several dozen people somewhere in the world who would trade everything to have your life.

Live in the moment. Be happy in what is around you.  “There are flowers everywhere if one chooses to see them. – Henri Matisse”

Merry Christmas, Lovely Kwanzaa & Happy Solstice!

Chapter 15 : Bipolar 2 – The Dark Side.

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” — Robin Williams

Like this? Please donate! Amazon Wishlist Link:  http://a.co/4AUJWBt

Please note: This blog in itself will be bipolar. Meaning you’ll see both sides of truth. A pendulum swinging back and forth between two extremes. The writing is as much a conflict as the subject is. Don’t try to dissect it…there’s no point. It is what it is. Please don’t feel sorry for me or comment sympathetically. I honestly hate that. This is a blog about something a lot of people aren’t aware of, with stories as examples. Nothing more.

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“Some things are better left unsaid. That’s the stuff I usually like to blurt out right away.”

Year 2013

The response I had to my first bipolar blog was interesting, to say the least. A lot of you are bipolar too. Sweet. Let’s be crazy together.

I feel that I’m in a unique, self employed position to tell my story and that I have a responsibility to do so for a reason. Bipolar Disorder is portrayed pretty badly to the public, usually as mental patients in hospitals who can’t function in society.

As difficult as some periods are for me, I’ve never missed a booking and I’ve been one of the most reliable entertainers in my professions even before I was on stabilizers. (Actually, I missed my first booking last month in September for Shine Wrestling because it was my moving weekend – and if you keep reading, you’ll see why.) As hard as relationships have been, I have plenty of people I call friends.

(Interestingly, I lost two “friends” over the first part of this blog. Better now than when I need them.)

Read Part 1 here:  Chapter 14: Bipolar Blues and Manic-Depressive Madness. The Intro. http://wp.me/p2O0oj-8V )

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I’ve never been in a mental hospital. (Yet!)  I work hard, I get things done and I’m extremely smart, resourceful and reliable. I’m the polar (ahem…polar, get it?) opposite of the stereotypical “lazy centerfold model” which is why I’m still around after all these years. It’s purely a business to me, one that I’m grateful to be a part of and enjoy most days. I hide my ups and downs well. I put on my makeup, stand up straight, affix a radiant smile and no one notices anything. At best, on a rough day, they just think I’m a hot tempered redhead who won’t put up with not being paid or fucked over. People think I’m strong. And I guess I am, but it gets to the point where everyone starts leaning on me – and I’m not infallible. It can be exhausting.

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There are lots more people just like me out there, too. Well, there aren’t that many hard working models or wrestlers, admittedly, but there ARE people in the world just like me; ones you likely interact with every day.

I have a therapist, I’m on meds that have shitty side effects and I certainly have my moments. But I function.

And I am what bipolar looks like.

I promised you stories, didn’t I? More salt in the wounds? Well, I do try to keep my promises. In order for me to keep my word, this is a very lengthy blog. There was just no way to keep it short. If you read the entire story, HIGH FIVE.

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Wondering…

If you’re wondering what it feels like to have Bipolar Disorder, have you ever done Ecstasy? There you go. The mania is the high; the depletion and exhaustion from the low afterwards is the depression. Ironically enough, it’s caused by the half of the same exact chemical swing; serotonin. Bipolar Disorder is just a chemical imbalance of serotonin and melatonin, which pretty much affects everything we are.

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Bipolar Disorder is technically classed as a disease, as it’s a chronic illness and controlled by daily medicines in order to function. It also attacks your respiratory and circulatory system. Most people with BP tend to die young (before age 50), either naturally or unnaturally.

Despite this, with other disabilities, when you’re having a bad day, you’re just having a bad day. With Bipolar Disorder the first thing out of people’s mouths is the insultingly ridiculous comment, “Did you take your meds today?”

My advice: Never ask that question. Never. It’s equal to asking an angry female, “Are you on your period?” If you get something thrown at you, it won’t be mania. It will be YOU.

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The Bleeding…

I almost killed my dog Bella once, not that long ago. By accident. You might remember a few years ago when I talked about her emergency surgery, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention how it happened.

Let me prelude this story by saying that you should understand that my pets aren’t just animals. With not having children, they are furry family members. Bella follows me around, sleeps in bed with me and is my constant companion.

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In a fit of rage, I dumped Jordan’s desk. He’s a costume designer. I never realized that the puppy would think the pin-cushion was a toy. The next morning, Jordan found the cushion under my desk with chewed up pins all over. I opened her mouth and found some bruising around her tongue. I fed her bread and peanut butter to coat her stomach and immediately took her to the vet. An x-ray showed there was a pin lodged sideways in her stomach and could pierce through at any moment. A very costly emergency surgery ensued.

I remember the nurse asking, “Do you want pain meds for her? They’re extra, but…”

“Give her whatever she needs.” Her brown eyes looked up at me as if to ask what was going on.

I was devastated.  Still – I didn’t fix anything.

That’s not the only time I’ve hurt her. When I was trying to housetrain her, she would take forever to go and every little noise scared her. She preferred to pee on the carpet in the warm comfort of the apartment. One time – I think I was late to leave for something or just hungry – I  snapped. She had been taking ages and I started pulling her towards home. She flopped down on the concrete in protest and I dragged her body along by her leash. She’s forgiven me, but I haven’t forgiven myself.

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I have zero recollection of what the desk flipping episode was over. None. It could have been stubbing my toe.  These are semi-blackouts. I do remember flipping the desk. I remember being crushed over Bella. That’s it. Nothing else. This is normal, because I don’t remember any of episodes, or at least not in detail. I’ve actually sat and tried to search my brain to remember things and cannot. Jordan says he wishes he could video me & play it back. I’m grateful he doesn’t.

As a rapid cycling manic, I was up to several episodes a day at one point. It was bad.

The thing is, I’m not a terrible person. But I can do terrible things. It’s not only horrific and damaging, but afterwards the realization leads to the depression that comes after the mania.

There is nothing worse than realizing how badly you’ve hurt someone or something you love. It’ll gut you. Imagine this…over and over and over again.

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Crossfade “COLD” 

“What I really meant to say is that I’m sorry for the way I am.

I never really wanted you to see the screwed up side of me, locked inside of me so deep, it always seems to get to me. 

I never really been wanted you to go, so many things you should have known, I never meant to be so cold. 

What I really meant to say is that I’m sorry for the way I am.”

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The fights are horrific. I have a vague awareness that I’m getting out of control when it starts, but almost nothing can stop it. Jordan used to be able to. He would use humor. That would almost always disable the explosion. But after a while, he changed. The man I admired so much for his kindness and patience became me. He stooped to my level and everything about him I wanted so much to be, to learn from, admired…it was no more.

It’s like fighting with a 12 year-old version of your worst self. You can’t get through to him, nothing gets resolved, because that’s how you’ve trained him to fight. The fights escalate to another level. One time the police showed up when I was screaming at him in the parking lot. A neighbor called because they thought he was abusing me. Embarrassing. The damage and cruelty and violence you can’t come back from.  That’s just on the inside. Never mind the wreckage around you. Broken plates, holes in the wall.

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And, it never ends. In your moments of sanity, you realize that you’ve ruined another life. Just like that. If it’s someone whom you know is a good person, a decent person – but they’re now biting, angry, defensive, unable to say anything without sarcasm and eye rolling, mimicking – living with this fact, knowing you’ve turned him into that, it’s enough to make you die inside.

Medication didn’t completely solve us, because I’d come back to Florida from my Mom and Grandmoms after he had held everything down smoothly at home and completely take it out on him that I had to come back, when they clearly needed me in Philadelphia. They weren’t eating most of the time and my half-blind grandmother had started falling and hurting herself – and there I was in Florida every other week having to work and be at home trying to save my marriage when I should have been taking care of them. No matter where I was, I was in the wrong place, and wracked with guilt.

I’ve pushed Jordan so close to the edge, he actually turned to me and said, “You know what? Why don’t you just fuck off and leave when your mom dies?”  Hurtful, but not undeserved – I had shoved him from behind into the door frame. Everyone has their limits and Jordan has always been very good to me. If you can make a calm, cool and collected Canadian snap, you know you’ve pushed pretty damn far.

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I’m torn between wanting to love people and wanting to save them from me. That season finale of Dexter that everyone hated? I got it. I understood it. It’s my life. I push people away on purpose if I like or care about them and try to keep them at arm’s length.

Choose Life

Exactly how many times have I contemplated suicide? Oh, more than you and I can count together. More so as a way to end the suffering. End the fact that I’ll be on meds for the rest of my life. End the fact I destroy the ones I love, who love me. End the fact that I’m self destructive. The way I see it, someone’s life is her own to choose what to do with and when there really is no way out, when no matter where you go or what you do, it won’t change anything in the future.  Sometimes your options are limited. You either live or die. That’s purely your choice. Yet, I go on. I know that life is a gift. So, I try to live each day with gratitude for what I have. Because at the end of the day, I do know I’m fortunate and I am grateful.

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I have never really had much for patience. I move, think, read, drive and talk faster than most people, so I tend to get annoyed with the slowness. My Mom had Aspergers Syndrome (high functioning Autism) and it wasn’t a good combo. We had a very rocky relationship my entire life until I got on meds just less than two years ago, about eleven months before she died.

Our relationship changed for the better once meds were in the picture, thankfully. As before meds, I had little patience with her, took a lot the wrong way and in turn, treated her badly. I flipped out on her after she was diagnosed with stage-four cancer. I stopped talking to her for several months over believing (what I now know isn’t true) that she favored my brother. “Fine! I hope you die alone!”

Yes. I said that. If there is a hell, there is a special place waiting for me there because of those words. I’ve also called her “the worst fucking mother in history.” That hurt her until nearly the day she died.  I stayed up late one night, feeling awful, and wrote a long letter about how sorry I was for saying it and recalling all the excellent Mom Moments that she did for and with me. Only then did she get over it, and asked me to print out a copy. I’m extremely grateful that she was very forgiving and I learned a lot from her in that way. But the fact that I ever said any of it is terrible. Seriously, when I play these things over in my now stable mind and read them on my screen, it makes me cry. How the FUCK could I have done these?  I’m a horrible person. What the fuck is WRONG with me? Who does this shit? The worst part is that it can and probably will happen again one day. The guilt I feel makes me feel sick at the pit of my stomach and will never, ever go away.

When I think it over so I can try to learn from it, I don’t know what I was thinking…well, I wasn’t thinking. I was reacting to what I emotionally PERCEIVED a certain way. This is what it is to be Bipolar. We perceive things differently, react more emotionally. Even if what I was reacting to was correct (and it was – there was a valid issue I won’t go into), any normal person would wait and try to calmly talk it out or give space or whatever it is normal people do.  I wouldn’t know.

Not me. I blew up, called everyone everything, backed it up with abusive emails and told everyone to never talk to me ever again. And then I didn’t…for a long time. And meanwhile, my mother was dying from cancer.

Not that I’m blaming all this on BP, but you can see how having this BULLSHIT DISORDER can really mess with you and those around you to the point where it ruins lives?

I knew it was wrong, but couldn’t stop it from escalating. There’s a difference between losing control and being out of control.  When the mania takes over and is going 100 mph into psychosis, it doesn’t matter if it’s my mother, my husband, my dog…it’s like, “terminate on site”…and the worst part for me is just a few short hours later, it’s like it didn’t happened. I can’t remember all of it. But to them, it’s like they barely survived an assassination attempt.

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Interesting Fact: In the late 1800s, Jean-Pierre Falret, a French psychiatrist, identified “folie circulaire” or circular insanity – manic and melancholic episodes that were separated by symptom-free intervals.

The Misery…

I fucking hate the fact that this controls every aspect of my life. Work. Sleep. Breathing. My energy levels. How much money is left over after getting my prescriptions. How I’m treating those around me. If I’m inspired to work or if I have to drag ass and force myself. I’m very guarded, wary of letting people close to me. I’m afraid to make friends or have real relationships, I don’t want them to see that side of me, knowing they’ll end up shunning me. People always SAY they’re tolerant until they see something they don’t like, and then they forget all about that so-called tolerance. It’s ridiculous how many uneducated idiots claim ‘tolerance’. Not to mention insulting, considering how most think “bipolar” simply means moody.

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If you want to know what it’s really like to live with the physical aspects of BP, read Spoon Theory (“But you don’t look sick…”). It’s written about Lupus, but can be applied here as well: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

I’m afraid to get into relationships, knowing I’ll end up ruining it. Because…what’s the point? Or, if they do stick around, I’m afraid I’ll hurt them in some way. I feel completely broken inside. Defective might be a better word. It’s not a good feeling. How is there any kind of future when this is how life is? It’s genetic, so I dare not have children. I’m pretty much destined to be alone for the rest of my life, so facing that hasn’t been an easy pill to swallow. Or five per day. Sure, with meds you can control it. But only so much.

So, how I feel at this moment is that it’s mostly eradicated me as a person. I find I’m more and more isolated to protect myself and others from me. This, of course, is depressing. I have to force myself to go out and do things. Perhaps this will change in time, but it’s my current frame of mind. (However, I’m bipolar. Attitudes are mercurial around here.)

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The Fucked Up Accolades…

When I write manic rants or flip out on twitter and say what I really think about things, I get SO much positive feedback, and now I know why. Because I’m crazy and able to say and do the things that most people WANT to but cannot or won’t.

Like the time I went to the outdoor rock and wrestling fest to support Jordan’s show. It was 98Rockfest, a big deal in the Tampa area. Each high-end band was to do a 20-minute set, with a wrestling match in between over at the ring. Then back to the stage. The band going up after Jordan’s match did “mic check…check, check” all through his match and their post show promo, which was being taped for TV. It was irritating and disrespectful. At the end, Jordan actually asked him politely on his microphone if they could give them a few minutes just to finish up – and the band responded with “I don’t think so! Fuck you!” The crowd cheered for the band side.  I had been hot before, but at that point, I saw RED.

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Once that happens, I don’t have much control left and I have no fear. I walked over to the stage in my sundress and platform sandals, scaled up the back of it, walked right on stage right up to him and ripped the mic right out of the guys’ hand. (Note: this was the warm-up roadie for the act, not the band.) He got in my face and told me to get off stage. “Or what? You’ll hit me? Go on…do it. All the guy asked for is a few minutes to finish up – this is the wrestler’s time right now, not yours. A little professional courtesy would be nice.”

“Get the FUCK off the stage.”

We were nose to nose. Actually, I was a bit taller than he was. “Sure thing, fuckhead. And your mic is coming with me.” I jumped down and took the entire apparatus with me, stand and all. The wrestling side of the crowd started cheering, everyone had whipped out their cell phone cameras and then I realized I was probably in deep, deep trouble. I’d just lost my shit and jumped on the stage to confiscate the Marilyn Manson, Shinedown, Alice in Chains mic. Surely the police would be coming in a minute for me?

The venue wanted to shut the wrestling show down immediately. It was a very hot, long day and half the guys hadn’t had their chance to perform on what was the biggest show of the year with more press attending than ever. I was the most hated person in most of the locker room. The rest couldn’t stop thanking me enough. One of the guys said, “Fuck, you’re my fucking hero.” The others just stared at me then looked at the floor like I was missing my nose. Or…my mind. Including Jordan, who gave me an earful, then avoided me like I was a plague that he might catch by association. The remainder of the day was completely strained.

I didn’t get arrested and the show went on. Howard, the well-respected wrestling promoter, talked some sense into them, they watched the tape back and saw what was going on and made a deal with the venue for more time (and respect) next year. The band Adelitas Way, whose roadie it was, publicly apologized to all of the wrestlers while on stage and tweeted me: “We’re very sorry. That was someone who worked for us, not our singer. We apologize.” Howard actually invited me back this year, but I think I’ll sit this one out.

Maybe these things aren’t right, but they certainly don’t feel wrong or undeserved at the time.

I never bullied anyone. I never started a fight. I’d end the fights or be the one who stopped the bullying. I have absolutely no tolerance for bullshit.  My nephew was groped by an older boy in the woods on the way home from school. My family couldn’t do anything about it since the boy was underage and his father was a higher up on the army base. My dad asked me to handle it. I went to that kid’s class and said the principal wanted to see him. As soon as he stepped into the hall, I slammed his head against the wall. It took three times before he split open. I was suspended. My dad picked me up and got me ice cream. The kids name was Jody. Who names a boy Jody? My nephew was never touched again. My brother got the piss beat out of him and a concussion in Philly when two boys cracked him with a bat. I gave it some time and waited for them. I beat them both badly and broke one kids nose; they never came near us again. I saw them while out with my brother a few years ago at a movie theater and we had half a laugh about it. They knew they deserved it. Being military, we moved a lot. Kids would fuck with us. Always. You either learned to fight back or you got bullied and tortured. I never started trouble. But I found out fast that as soon as I cracked someone in the nose – in front of the entire school – the testing stopped.  Suspension was a small price to pay for being able to walk down the halls in peace for the rest of the year. Or, until we moved again. Whoever coined the cliché “violence doesn’t solve anything” clearly didn’t remember what high school was like.

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I took that theory a step further once I grew up. In several different cases of road rage where someone has messed with me, I’ve gone out of my way to make sure they think twice about ever doing it again. I’m that psycho that’s been fucked with on the road, follows that person and pulls them out of their car at a red light or in their own driveway. I’ve pepper sprayed a car ful of guys following me home on various occasions (once managing to pepper spray myself in the process  – horrible!), kicked out two different windshields, ripped a car door off its hinges. It doesn’t matter to me. When I’ve turned into the Incredible Hulk, it’s too late. Shit is getting smashed.

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The REASON I get the positive feedback was already stated. And the REASON people don’t say or do what I do is because people aren’t supposed to do or say these things outside of Hollywood movies. They value their relationships, jobs, marriages and don’t want the repercussions of “speaking freely”. Whereas I bear the brunt of that with every outburst.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

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The Side Effects

People who are bipolar generally loathe admitting anything is wrong. Me…I couldn’t wait to get fixed. As a holistic practitioner and advocate for natural meds and diet choices, I wasn’t so eager to get on western prescription medications, however…until there was no longer a choice. Admittedly, they serve their purpose. I now make clear decisions, not emotional ones. My walls no longer have gaping fist holes covered by photos and no one gets shoved into a door frame unless I wish to shove them. In other words, I have choices now, which is a first. However, I knew there would be side effects and there are. Some big ones.

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First: Loss of memory, cognitive issues, lethargy, brain fog and speech problems. I just do dumb things like put the salt and pepper in the refrigerator, go into a room and forget why I’m there or dump my protein powder into my glutamine container instead of my protein shaker, even though I’m looking at both right in front of me. As for my speech, I can’t recall words. I know what I’m trying to say, the words are right there and I’m gesturing, but they’re not coming to the surface. It’s utterly frustrating. When you earn a living doing things like live promos in the ring or having to think on your feet, it can cause serious anxiety. Every live show, I go through a mini panic attack and pray I’ll be able to remember my spots. I feel like a once sharp knife whose blade has gone dull. In “Homeland”, Carrie stopped taking her meds because she felt she missed the attack due to her senses becoming sluggish. I can relate.

Second: Numbness, vertigo, back and joint pain, migraines so bad I vomit and now have to take ANOTHER medication just to prevent them.

Third: The meds are expensive. I mean, EXPENSIVE. And while they work, they don’t work quite right.

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Fourth: I’ve lost the passion for things I love. For me, this is the biggest issue. I could tolerate the others, but this one is killing me. I used to read a book a week. Now I can barely concentrate on one and I struggle through it for four or five weeks. I love music – and forget to play it. I’ve always enjoyed photo shoots to the point of scouring online portfolios for new photographers, finding ones with talent and being willing to shoot for trade to get them started just so I can try something creative. I haven’t done that in ages and almost cringe at the thought of shooting. It mostly feels like work.

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Yoga. Crossfit. Spanish classes. Going to the pool. Driving to the beach. These things all feel like work now. Documentaries and movies have always been my escape. I no longer have the attention span to finish them half the time because the drug mix has caused a form of ADD that is driving me insane. More insane than my normal insane, anyway. I’ve tried to offset it with natural supplements like magnesium and GABA. It’s lessened, but not by much. I’ve always been creative…and now I’m not. This is bothering me beyond words.

The only things I still enjoy is spending time with my pets, writing, TV series I can get absorbed into and learning. I’ve always enjoyed learning something new every day and still spend time researching anything that interests me. But I feel like a shell of my former self. And I don’t like it.

For someone whose motto is “You only live once – and life is meant to be LIVED”, this is really fucking hard to deal with. Watching my Gram and Mom die slowly and losing my dad in a plane crash has all changed me dramatically. If I’ve learned nothing else, I know that we can die at any moment and no one wishes they’d worked more in life when on their death bed.

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In that last year, my mother went from a boring caterpillar afraid to go anywhere to a butterfly who couldn’t spread her wings wide enough. She lived more with cancer than she did in her entire life while healthy. I pushed her into that, not giving her a choice. Tired or not, we got on boats, drove into the city and went to museums, took pictures, visited friends, got on roller coasters, took horse and carriage rides, went on a whale watch and stayed at a B&B in Cape May.

I’ve always lived like this and feeling like a caterpillar fifty percent the time just isn’t me.

I don’t have much of a choice either. Live out of control like a hurricane – or live in a fog as half the person I once was. Those are my options. It’s the reality of being bipolar.

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Not one to just accept things, I’m trying to find another way to both stay balanced but feel better. I’d like to back down the dosage of Lamictal a bit, but I’ve heard it’s very dangerous and causes all kinds of neurological issues if you don’t do it in tiny increments. Screwing it up can bring on full rage, seizures, sleep disruptions and constant vomiting. Who has time for this? I’m self employed and have to work. But again, what are my options? So, I guess I’ll do site updates ahead, find a couple of weeks between travel dates and lock myself in my house to do this chemical experiment and hope for the best.

If you’re bipolar enough, you can qualify for disability, because many can’t hold a job. For me, I can’t work for anyone else. I need to be self employed. That’s why I still do what I do. It allows me freedom. The issue now is NOT being able to. How can you write if you can’t remember? How do you work if you can’t concentrate? How do you create if you don’t feel creative?

So my quest is to find enthusiasm for life and function again while staying balanced, even if I have to endure seizures and puking to do it.

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The Reality…

Take a plate and throw it on the floor.  It shatters into little pieces.  So you tell the pieces you’re sorry.  You might feel better, but the plate is still broken. Even if you manage to glue it all back together, it cannot be unbroken; ever. This is what my relationships have always been. I cannot figure out how to stop breaking the goddamn plates.

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My psychologist has advised (or prescribed) living alone for a while. I guess I really AM fucking off after Mom died. So that’s another thing I’m going through as well. Eight years of marriage (and the part-time loss of one dog) will be on hold with a trial separation.

I have no family left and Jordan has none in this country. The stress and costs of getting two places and buying double of everything from furniture, car insurance and dog food has been absolutely brutal. He got the Christmas Story leg lamp. I kept the Achmed-The-Terrorist bobble-head.

Our moving weekend was the same as the Shine Wrestling, and this is why I missed the pay per view. We were just overwhelmed with cleaning, packing, IKEA trips, setting up two different places, hiring movers – and then trying to factor in traveling and shows? Something had to go. Luckily, my boss at Shine is a good friend and an understanding person who has been aware of everything for a while.

I decided to finally buy a house and found a very small place in a cute neighborhood with a fenced in yard for Bella. I’ve been keeping busy with planting things and fixing it up. It’s my first house. Admittedly, it’s comforting to know where I’ll be living next year. This is something I’ve never been sure of, having grown up military and been a nomad my entire life.

Much of the house was in need of updating and the outside was completely neglected. I’ve become obsessed with fixing up the yard since I hope that will be where I can spend some serious time. Huge, thorny bushes running rampant, dead grass, a half-collapsed fence, a deck that’s seen better days, overgrown trees. But it has potential, and I’ve always really wanted an “outdoor room” kind of space; a retreat. Overhauling a yard is very expensive, I’ve found out. Shockingly expensive. I’m spending my paychecks at Lowes. But it’s keeping me busy and the improvements are incredibly cheering.

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Moving. Med adjustments. Separation. Trying to hold down some kind of work. Finally realizing that both my Mom & Gram passed away last year (they died within 6 months of each other) because I have no one to talk to about any of this who understands the whole story; what it’s like to live with me…it’s been challenging. To say I’m shattered is an understatement. I feel alone and lonely. They are different. One I enjoy. The other, not so much.

And I’m tired. Very tired. I’m tired of everything being harder than it needs to be. It’s been years straight of taking care of Gram with dementia, Mom with cancer, fighting to get the rest of the family on the same page and failing when I wanted to help her holistically instead of just medically and the volatile home. It’s all been too much.

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I barely had the energy to pack and move. I think right now, I need to hole up and do nothing, unless it’s fun for a while, like comic cons or lunch with friends. Just sleep and be left alone to recuperate and find out what I love again. This is part of the reason I decided to do the blog. It’s cathartic. I really do have no one to talk to about these things, so now I’m talking to you. If you’re still reading, that is.

I hide things far too well. I’m a master at it.

Emotionally: I’m done. Mentally: I’m drained. Spiritually: I feel lost. Physically: I smile.

Crazy isn’t stupid, and I know I just need some time.

Despite feeling terribly isolated for stints, I’m just stupidly hopeful enough to look to those silver linings.

Que sera, sera.

“The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.” Joesph Campbell

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Like this? Please donate! Amazon Wishlist Link:  http://a.co/4AUJWBt

COPYRIGHT APRIL HUNTER. NO PART OF THIS BLOG MAY BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

On a final note, I want to say that I’m extremely grateful to many of my friends and fans, who have been helpful, and wonderful with my housewarming registry. It’s appreciated more than you can imagine, and I could not do all the repairs, updates AND downsizing décor without you. Thank you to Jordan for encouraging me to start this blog last year. Other than my Mom and Gram, he is the only person in my entire life who has never abandoned me no matter how many times he may have wanted to and he’s one of the best and kindest people I’ve ever met.

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The Next Bipolar Chapter:  https://aprilhunterblog.com/2014/01/30/chapter-16-bipolar-for-life-alone/

Some Really Cool Stuff –

WATCH THIS. This doctor does an online YouTube blog on how to control your “inner hulk”. His info is REALLY good. Bipolar Advantage Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOYYpJ2lAJwcBonFRin_PyQ

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Watch this amazing documentary preview: Of Two Minds – http://www.oftwomindsmovie.com/ 

If you want to see more, it’s available on both Amazon and itunes.

A book you might want to read is “An Unquiet Mind” by Dr Kay Redmond.  She is bipolar she knows firsthand what she’s talking about.

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Here is a BP newsletter you can subscribe to that’s also full of info about various things relating to dealing with the disorder. http://bipolar.about.com/?nl=1

Top 10 Misconceptions about Bipolar Disorder: http://akorra.com/2012/06/04/top-10-misconceptions-about-bipolar-disorder/

 Hopefully these things help. I know they have for me.

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Lastly, I’ve read about Nuvigil and Provigil working well as a BP drug. It’s not approved for this use, so getting insurance to pay for it would likely be a huge hassle, but if you’re up for the challenge, it’s supposed to eliminate the exhaustion and make people feel alert and clear. I can’t afford it and wish I could. I understand it’s around $510 a month. Even half of that would be too much with all the other prescriptions, but it’s supposed to work wonders. If you can, more power to you, I hope it works. Let me know if you try it.

I think the way America is the only country that runs a For-Profit healthcare system is very sad. Too many can’t afford the medicines and therapy they need to feel better and simply function. Over half our incarcerated have mental illnesses. Access to proper medical attention and affordable meds could prevent so many problems. Sadly, we are not likely to change anything soon. Since medication for life is an issue, retiring to another country is definitely a serious consideration in the future.

Contact info: comments@aprilhunter.com

www.AprilHunter.com

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She said

There’s a difference between

 

Starving

and

Staying hungry

 

Loving a memory

And

In loving memory

 

Living your dreams

And

Daydreaming

 

Struggles in life

And

Struggling to live

 

Screaming at me

And

Screaming my name

 

Doing time

And

Running out of time

 

Being damaged

And

Being broken beyond repair

 

Losing control

And

Being out of control

 

I said to her

There is a difference between

 

Loving that I know her

And

Knowing I love her

-By Kirk Olsen

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Chapter 14: Bipolar Blues and Manic-Depressive Madness. The Intro.

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Bipolar 1: THE MANIC INTRO

“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Bipolar Blues & Manic-Depressive Madness.

Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t want to see me angry.

I reached for the glass of water and swallowed the pill. I try to remember to take it the same time every day, but I’m not always successful. I take pills in the morning. I take a pill in the afternoon. And I take pills in the evening. I have the option of taking an additional pill at bed time to shut my brain off, but it’s highly addictive, so it scares me. The lithium has ruined my thyroid, so I take another pill for that. If I’m not careful, it can also can ruin my liver, brain and kidneys. That’s just ONE of the harmful drugs I’m on. You might wonder why I’d take something that could kill me? It’s because that without it, I will destroy everyone around me.

I am so fucking fucked, it’s fucked up.

There. That’s about my entire story in a nutshell. I am broken. Completely broken, And like shattered shards of glass, anyone who comes near me walks away bleeding. So, I have become more and more of a recluse, afraid to have friends or relationships, because I know I’ll just end up destroying the people I care about, which kills me inside and makes me—once again—want to kill myself.

It’s a fantastic pattern, isn’t it?

And that’s what being bipolar is.

What’s so frustrating is that I’m a good and decent person. Mostly. And hurting others is NOT what I want to do, but it IS what I do. My heart breaks all the time for what I’ve done. Living with myself is a form of torture some days. I’m tugged back and forth between wanting to love people and wanting to protect them from me.

I’m a humanist. I believe in equality for all and treating people like you want to be treated. When I turn into the Hulk and can’t abide by this – then I have to live with the results of the disaster I’ve caused that I can barely remember…but the damage is all around me – it makes me want to curl up and die. Hurting others whom I love and having no control over it makes me want to kill myself because that’s the only way I can make it stop.

The truth is something I’ve had a hard time putting down on paper. The reason is because when I’ve gone back and read what I’ve written, I think I sound like an asshole. I tend to glamorize my stories if they’re for the public unless I’m writing under a different name or anonymously.  I’ve realized I sound like a jerk for thinking some of the thoughts I’ve had.  If I were on a reality show with some of the things I’ve done, I’d have been voted off first. But regardless of how I may come across, I promise to tell only the truth on this page. Clearly, from my chosen career path, I’ve never been much to give a shit what people think. If I didn’t have a thick skin, I’d have crumpled up and cried myself out of the business ages ago. As I’m getting older, I care even less.

I know there are more out there just like me.  What I DO care about: helping others. So here I am, naked once again. Except this time, I’m really stripped down to nothing.

“My pain is self chosen. At least I believe it to be. I could either drown. Or pull off my skin and swim to shore. Now I can grow a beautiful shell for all to see. The River of Deceit pulls down…” –Mad Season

I think that anyone who is bipolar has considered suicide at some point.  Living with this illness can be just too much to bear at times.  Bipolar disorder has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Some studies have determined that as high as 50% of people with bipolar attempt suicide, and 25% are successful.  I don’t think even most types of cancer carry that much risk.

It’s a good indication of just how difficult this disease can be.

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A common misconception is that you can “become” bipolar, or something can turn you that way. No. You can’t. It’s strictly genetic. You either were born with it, or you aren’t. End of story.

My friends are pretty clueless as to what bipolar disorder is or how bad it can be. Sure, people know the term. But they have no idea what it IS. I’m going to tell you…no matter how fucking embarrassing this is. Because people should know, instead of saying, “This weather is so bipolar!” without having a clue as to what it actually means.

If I meet someone who is familiar with it, they usually tell me someone they knew had it while rolling their eyes and saying, “They broke up. He was bipolar.”

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It’s staggering to me that people have to wonder why we kill ourselves. They know nothing about the disorder, have no clue how to respond to episodes, don’t bother to educate themselves, just dump people on the side of the road who have it and then tell all their friends why it’s not their fault. Well, if you don’t know how to deal with it then maybe it IS partly your fault.

Would we tolerate this with Autism, which is also a highly difficult disorder? Or is there a push for education and awareness? People who have bipolar disorder severely enough can qualify for disability because it can be impossible to hold a job, so it’s something the world should know more about.

That said, I will fully admit that those who love us and stick by us are saints.  We are not easy to live with and it takes a certain type of person or an awareness and knowledge how to deal with it and how not to take things personally. To those who hang in there, I applaud you because there are so few of you. The majority of the world walks away and washes their hands clean. You pretty much have to go into “silent mode” when an episode (that’s the official term for it) happens and just refuse to take it personally no matter what horrible things are said or what expletives are screamed at you. It’s not you. It never is.

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Like Autism has its wide spectrum, so does bipolar disorder in a sense. Manic episodes can range, as can the severity and types of bipolar disorder. I am Bipolar 1, which is extremely manic with crazy episodes. I have a more severe rapid cycling version of bipolar disorder. Insane stuff that makes Silver Linings Playbook look exceedingly tame. When left untreated, these episodes happen more frequently and can scar the brain and cause tissue loss. I was up to several a day at one point. Mine are deranged, yet no one sees them except the people who are absolutely the closest to me. Even semi-close friends can’t see me being bipolar. Many don’t even believe it when I tell them, because outwardly, I can be so friendly, outgoing and sweet. That’s my other side. And it IS genuine. When the very few people in my life don’t give up on me, it’s always the same reason when I ask why they don’t piss off for their own self-preservation: “Because you have a good heart. You’re a really sweet person most of the time.”

Most of the time.

This is part of the reason I’ve always had pets who are much more than just an animal to me. They’re Therapy Service Animals. Without them, I’d be lost. They are there licking the tears and ready to curl up against my leg when everyone else leaves.

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I can’t stand the fact that my illness can dictate every aspect my life, but I do not want to be a ‘victim’ to it. I’ve decided that the question is this: Am I bipolar? Or do I HAVE bipolar?

As soon as I got on medication, my family relationships improved drastically. Every person in my family has stopped speaking to me for a length of time at some point in my life. Friends, too. I thought it was them, of course. But the common link was always me.

This was my mother’s last mission when she was diagnosed with cancer – to get her unstable, uninsured daughter to the doctors and have her mental health sorted out. And she did. She looked me in the eye and said, “This is why I’m still alive after three years when they gave me six months. God has given me this purpose, because I need to take care of you.”

My father was bipolar. It was called manic-depressive then. He had multiple suicide attempts and reckless behavior until he finally succeeded in 1997. After retiring from the Army as a flight instructor, he became a firefighter in California and battled wildfires by plane. One day, he flew his OV-10 Bronco into a Hollister mountain. “Pilot Error”. Sure. He called everyone to say goodbye the day before. There wasn’t enough of him left to fill a large envelope. He once said to me, “I’ll never be happy.” Dad was the most honest, fair person I’ve ever met. He was such a good person that despite being a massive fuck up, he had two funerals; a west coast memorial where he’d lived for a few years and an east coast one where he grew up, and all three of his ex-wives attended. He also self-medicated with alcohol to the point of being an alcoholic, which is why I’ve mostly been afraid to touch the stuff. To me, it’s all a drug. Meth or liquor…it’s all the same. If it alters you to where you’ll kill or hurt someone else, it’s a drug.

One time, in full mania, because my mom kept arguing instead of knowing how to shut down in order to dismantle it, he grabbed a BB gun and shot her in the hip at close range while she was doing the dishes. It broke the skin and had to be dug out. My little brother ran under the kitchen table, curled into a ball and started screaming. I ran into the laundry room. We all ended up there and my dad grabbed a hunting rifle. He aimed it at my brother and I. My mother shoved us behind her. Last minute, he lowered it and shot through the floor. My brother and I would look up through that bullet hole into our house from the basement until we moved. Another time, I slammed the bathroom door. I was about eight or nine. I can’t remember why. He broke the door open and I was behind it. The bottom of the door wedged up over my foot, breaking all bones on top. They never took me to the hospital. My uncle said this was a regular Friday night. It’s no wonder I grew up always ready to fight or defend myself. As awful as those stories sound, when my dad was being good, he was great. Really great. But when he wasn’t, he was scary as fuck. I realize now that I never knew if he was going to snap and kill us or himself, and that’s the environment where I grew up, 

Their fights were legendary. Eventually, he left. My mom would have stayed with him forever. She was one of the loyal ones. He took me, my mother got my brother.

My step-mother and I had been squabbling non-stop. He called us into the dining room, loaded a pistol with one bullet, spun the chamber, pointed it at his head and pulled the trigger. I left after that. Russian roulette was the last straw. He’d been raising me since the age of twelve off a military base in Alabama, but my senior year of high school, I moved back to Philadelphia. Living with someone who is bipolar – it was a challenge.

Those with bipolar disorder are much more affected by environment and energy than most. Colors, sounds, arguments, negativity, the news, room decor…you name it.  They’re very in tune with what’s around them and will react. That’s why all of these things need to be considered and controlled.

Not one person around me had ever figured me out. My mom and grandma had always known something was wrong, but they’d taken me to therapy only to have me misdiagnosed as clinically depressed or with anger issues.

You know how you feel there’s something wrong with you your entire life, but you just don’t know what it is? No? Well, that’s what I’ve felt like since I was a young kid. Is it cancer? Am I dying? Why do I feel so horrible and tired when I do everything right? Why do I get sick so easily? Why do I have bronchitis all the time? I eat well, I get enough sleep, I don’t do drugs or alcohol, I work out and do plenty of cardio. I was exhausted to the bone. The doctors were telling me I was perfectly healthy other than asthma. So I began to think I was a hypochondriac and everyone around me agreed and began teasing me about it. But I still knew deep down that something was integrally wrong.

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Ever since I was a teen, there were always thoughts & plans of suicide. Cutting my arms up and down with knives and blades just to see how deep I could go. When I’m not tanned, you can still see those silvery scars. Depression so exhausting, I just can’t seem to sleep it off. Being self-employed with a strong work ethic, I never missed a booking. I would drag myself out of bed, cry until the very moment I got on stage or to a shoot, clean up my makeup, paste on a dazzling smile and get through it. Not one person ever knew. I was a professional to the core…and it made me hate myself even more at times. Why couldn’t I just be myself and be left alone to heal? Not have to go out there and expend energy I had to pull out of my ass because there was none to begin with.

I was also misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This is why I walked away from WCW and never pushed for WWE. I was too exhausted to travel like that. The non-stop, all hours, always delayed traveling is what kills you with WWE and WCW. It’s brutal. When I got off the road with WCW, it was so bad; I was tested for Lupus multiple times and told I had an auto-immune deficiency. I was offered a contract with WWE and had to politely turn down, too afraid I’d never be able to keep up or stay healthy. They gave me two more tryouts after that and I took them, but knew I’d never be able to work for them. People who are in great health who can get by on four or five hours of sleep suffer tremendously. I’d probably have been hospitalized after a few months…and I know that about myself.

I was misdiagnosed again as clinically depressed and given an anti-depressant. That’s the absolute worst thing you can do to someone with bipolar disorder. It swings them severely manic. Things got worse. Whereas I was occasionally alienating people beforehand, I was now ripping everyone’s heads off in my life over things so small and unimportant, I couldn’t even remember it was that made them stop talking to me in the first place.

You hurt everyone around you. You hurt yourself. And for the longest time, you have NO idea what’s wrong with you, just that you don’t feel in control and you don’t feel “right”.  With bipolar, your mind speeds, thoughts come faster than you can compute at times. I always carry a notebook so I can write things down. My brain never shuts off, so sleeping is extremely difficult. When I do, I don’t feel like I did.  Then there was uncontrollable anger.

Jordan finally figured it a year and a half ago. In 2009, he said he was leaving, that he couldn’t live like this…then Mom was diagnosed with stage-four cancer a week later. He bit the bullet and decided that going at that time wouldn’t be the right thing to do. But he gave me an ultimatum while we got “separated while living together”: That my violent behavior and impatience was unacceptable, so get fixed or else. Out of desperation to not have another failed relationship, let alone one with one of the nicest people I’d ever met – and to not be my father – I started seeing a therapist with him who casually mentioned that I should get a brain scan and perhaps the behavior was being caused by bipolar disorder. He started researching it while I traveled back and forth to Philadelphia to take care of Gram and Mom. The more he researched, the more it all clicked together. I took two tests and scored off the charts and was finally correctly diagnosed.

It was a huge relief to finally know what was wrong after all these years. Dealing with it mentally…that’s been a whole ‘nother issue. There is no cure. This will never go away. I will be on medications until the day I die. Which could be sooner than later thanks to a host of issues that come along with this like respiratory problems, severe sleep disorders (due to racing thoughts and lack of being able to actually shut off and “rest”) B-12 deficiencies and the aforementioned torture of living. I’ve been seeking as much information as possible and have become a bit of an expert on this topic. I’ve also been searching for others who are going through the same thing. I read other bipolar blogs-what these people are doing to themselves and others, saying, thinking…and for once in my life, I feel a little bit normal. Not normal, NORMAL…but normal in that there are others that are like me out there. Good people with a shit disorder that turns them from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. My only real choice in this matter is to elect to live as healthy as possible, eliminate as much negativity from my life as I can and watch my surroundings. Plus be on point for when something is coming on.

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The medications have been an ongoing chemical experiment. For someone who is holistic and doesn’t subscribe to western Big Pharma policies of “a pill to cure everything” it was a real slap in the face. I resisted at first. Admittedly, they have helped tremendously. At a cost, of course.  The main medication is an anti-seizure which doubles as an anti-psychotic. This acts as a mood stabilizer and its main side effects are moderate to severe back, neck and joint pain. To a beat up wrestler with back, neck and joint pain, this is not fun. But it’s a lifesaver. However, I’m even more drained now.  I have an inbox full of emails I don’t have the energy or drive to answer. Half the time I don’t feel like talking to anyone. I have to force myself to see friends. And those awesome manic highs I used to have where I’d write all night? Gone. I’m on so many prescriptions, it freaks me (and my wallet) out. However, I feel clear. For the first time in my life, I can think clearly instead of emotionally. There isn’t any more ridiculous fighting.

When I get my medications refilled, I affectionately call them my “crazy pills”. For once, I can choose to flip out if I want to. Or not. But I have choices, which is a first for me. Despite the damage already having been done, things around me are more peaceful and I’ve spent a lot of time this year apologizing to people in my life that I’ve hurt. Some have accepted it. Others never answered. I’m OK with that. I just wanted them to know how sorry I was for any hurt I caused.

While most of humanity can only access a small portion of their brains, there’s a valid theory that those who are bipolar can access much, much more. This is why they’re usually of quite a higher intelligence and extremely creative. This is also what causes the racing thoughts…and the irritation and impatience with others for not being able to keep up. In my case, I can sometimes do complicated math in my head in a split second without thinking about it, or while the girl at the cash register is still struggling to figure out how much change to give me. If I’m not exhausted from not sleeping, that is.

There’s a positive flip side to being manic, too. Being able to stay up all night and work very creatively and productively. Arguing efficiently. Most bipolar engage in a lot of risk taking, which can be a good thing, because we don’t have the fear others have to keep us from experiencing life. Like a nude photo shoot on the roof of Caesar’s Casino in Vegas, or leaving everything behind to jet off to Japan for a few months with absolutely no capability of speaking Japanese. We also don’t take shit. As much as this can work against you, if you can control it, it can certainly work in your favor.

As with anything, there’s always a silver lining.

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However, if you can’t control your inner Incredible Hulk, it will control you. You’ll ruin yourself and others like an IED explosion. Bipolar people not only have health issues and often die young, but they also tend to have issues such gambling, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, debt, spending, violence, making (often bad) decisions that are purely emotional, on top of the fact that we perceive things differently…the list can go on. You can destroy everything you are in a single weekend.

Worst of all is that you black out. Much of it you don’t or can’t remember. All you know is that there’s a huge fucking mess around you…and you’re not quite sure how it got that way…but you have a terrible gut feeling it had to do with YOU. The flip side of THAT is the depression that sets in afterwards, which is another story.

Bipolar Trivia: The symbol for this disorder is the ‘comedy/tragedy’ theater masks.

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So.

How fucked up am I? Well, it goes beyond smashing coffee mugs, although there’s been plenty of that. I’ve gotten into more fist fights than I can recall. With both females and males. I’ve kicked out not one, but two car windshields in fits of rage. I pulled a guy out a car at a stop and pepper sprayed him and his friend in the face (and myself in the process). I jumped on stage at a huge live rock concert and threatened to beat the shit out of the mic check guy because he was being rude. (He really was.) I’ve ripped a car door off its hinges, punched holes in walls, thrown tables and sofas over. I’m strong anyway, but I become scary, super-human strong when I’m manic. I wreck shit. I’ve spent a lot of money fixing and replacing things.

Ever since I was around eleven or twelve years old, Mom used to call me Jekyll and Hyde. My family went through buckets of Spackle  I told my mom that she was the “worst fucking mother ever” while she was dying from cancer. Yeah. I did that.  I’ve said the horrible things to the people I love, the ones who love me. I’ve driven many away for good.  I almost killed my dog when she was a puppy. By accident.

There’s more, but these are a few of the stories I’ll tell you about.

This has been my entire life for as long as I can remember. Don’t make me angry.

There is a saying that life isn’t black and white – it’s shades of gray. And this is generally true except for bipolar disorder. It’s always black or white.

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I have soft spot for The Incredible Hulk. I get him. He’s smart. He does what he feels is right at the time, despite the destruction. And he can’t remember it afterwards.  Then, dejected, he retreats away from everyone to be left alone. He is classically bipolar.

In The Avengers, there was a scene where Dr. Bruce Banner was entering into the battle as himself and the others were worried that he needed to turn into The Hulk first. The insinuation was that he needed to get angry first to make the transformation. Dr. Banner smiled back at them and said that the secret to his control is that he is always angry.

There is no cure for bipolar disorder. People are delusional if they think there is a way to fix it. But learning control – that’s the key.

This started out a blog just for me, for my sanity-if I have any of that left. Then I told a few people about it and they kept pushing me to write and publish it. Some were also bipolar.

This blog got VERY long, very fast. This is just part of it.

There’s more. Much more.

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NEXT:: BIPOLAR 2: THE DARK SIDE – https://aprilhunterblog.com/2013/11/05/chapter-15-bipolar-2-the-dark-side/