“Is everything alright?”
“Are you OK?”
Follow me around for a week and you’ll notice people ask me those questions. Rather than go into a long explanation of what swims around inside of my head, I simply reply, “Nothing” or “Just tired.”
The statements speak truth, mostly. There is probably nothing wrong. I’m probably just tired. I’m probably just going through an elongated state of depression. It eventually cycles away – like it always does – when I experience the state of hypomania typically associated with people who have a Bipolar Disorder II disorder.
I was diagnosed with 2011, began meds – this awful drug called Seroquel – shortly after, but then quit the meds when I realized they weren’t helping and messing up my sleep cycles.
If you looked close, you would have seen the signs. I mean, I have my moments of megalomania, ridiculous visuals of self-worth, and a gross overestimation of my own talents and abilities. Then, even as soon as an hour later, I seemingly float like a child, attempting to find what was taken from him.
This never-ending cycle drains me. My interests and hobbies lose value, leaving me constantly looking for ways to take my mind of the endless thoughts of worthlessness. Notebooks on my floor filled with ideas that started, but never finished. I lose track of what I want, even struggling to decide if I’m going to eat or just lay in bed to sleep.
Only a few people knew about this fact, and I really didn’t enjoy talking about it. I feared what people would say or think about me. I never considered it a weakness or a strength. It was something I’m going to live with until I died.
Nope, Delos. Can’t let them know you really are crazy.
Then a blog post written by AJ Mendez Brooks – better known as AJ Lee to pro-wrestling fans – appeared in my inbox for my daily articles to read. I read it, and immediately thought: “Hey, you’re not crazy. Rather, you have a gift if you choose to accept it.”
Brooks also has a Bipolar Disorder – one she properly harnessed into a successful career.
Before I accepted the states of depression, quit on hobbies, interest, and stopped attempting to reach my goals. Instead of trying to move forward, I laid in my bed with my iPad, looking for something to watch that would not really do anything other than pass the minutes until I would go back to sleep.
You can truly imagine the lack of desire to do anything, especially following a day of teaching where the use of energy – whatever little I have at the start of the day – is drained to help students who need me.
After reading AJ’s post, however, I started to try and embrace the crazy.
The doubt in my head remains. The feeling of hopelessness sticks. But in these moments, I bide the time. Biding the time until that moment when I can unleash it in a beautiful explosion of light, positivity, and emotional highs without fear. It is in those moments of recklessness that some of my best ideas come together and the most gets done.
I realized that when those moments come and the energy surges into me, I cannot waste it.
I use it to fuel ideas – like writing this post. I use it to see friends that I normally wouldn’t have the energy to see, not because I don’t want to, but rather because a lack of motivation and energy. I use it to really dive deep into helping my students achieve great things.
But there was one line from her post that is sticking with me:
“And when I desired something, there was not a person on earth who could hold me back. I could walk through fire if it meant making my dreams come true.”
Through the moments of depression, I move forward, taking more time for myself than I should ever be allowed to, waiting for myself to spring into action – any action. It fosters a heightened sense of self-awareness, which – according to my mentors and others – makes for a potentially good teacher (I’m still slightly above replacement value in that sense).
More importantly, it brings my emotions to the forefront. It is these emotions that make me real and, I hope, relatable to a lot of people. It allows me to listen without prejudice to others feeling emotional highs and lows. It allows me to offer a genuine shoulder to cry/lean on when things get hard.
So in short:
“Is everything alright?”
“No, but it will eventually.”
“Nothing at all. Getting by.”
“Are you OK?”