How pushing myself to the emotional maximum almost cost me my full sanity

Posted by Alicia Williams on

We are all brainwashed by a multitude of things. Capitalism, "Push-through it" culture, "it's not that bad" culture, that "someone has it worse than you, so you should suck it up" culture, and so much more. 

I personally am brainwashed by all of those above and maybe even a few more. 

I'm also brainwashed by the toxic notion that having bipolar disorder is some of the worse shit in the world to have. Like, no doubt, I'm not playing, I really believe it sometimes. 

It's probably why for years I play this game of stop and start with my medications that ultimately end up leaving me in a place worse off than I was when I started them (because let's be honest, I'm not weaning off of them, I just stop cold turkey the moment I feel better). 

Maybe as this series continues, we can get into the brainwashing and how I developed these thoughts and feelings but for the most part I feel awful at the fact that for years I functioned with the disorder without meds and now I can't go a month without everything falling apart without them. It's crippling, and sad, and makes me feel a multitude of things but that's not what I want to talk about most. 

I mostly want to talk about the art of convincing yourself that despite everyhting that is happening in life that you have to still show up with your big girl panties/ or grown man pants on and push through like everything is okay, even if you feel like the world is crumbling on top of you. 

That's it. That's my issue.

The walls crumble and instead of stopping or slowing down, I adapt, crawl, scoot, however, I can to continue to push through because at the end of the day I have bills to pay, events to attend, people to support, friends to hang out with, people to keep up with, images to uphold. 

But after a while it all spins out of control. 

People will tell you time after time that more than anything you have to do what's best for you, and show up for yourself, but what are the actual steps to show up for yourself when you just can't any longer? What is best for you when you can't stop thinking of the worst?

TRIGGER WARNING: Going forward I will be talking about fertility and miscarriage. 

It's a bit difficult for me to share because it's so fresh, but I know sharing is apart of healing, and the space I hold online has always been centered around healing so here it goes.

I suffered a traumatizing miscarriage.

Not saying that all miscarriages aren't traumatizing but this one was swift and painful and left me feeling like I had been lifted and shifted by a tornado then placed to pick back up the pieces of my life without any sort of protective insurance. 

Full disclosure, I've always been terrified of the thought of being a mother despite how many compliments I get about being so nurturing and caring. I've often felt that maybe I wasn't cut out for it due to the constant rejection I felt from the piece of shit partners I often found myself fused with. But this time was different. I was ready. To not only stand up for myself, but for my unborn child and our future. But just as swiftly as I romanticised of the amazing journey I was about to embark on with my partner, the power of CHOICE was snatched from me. My pregnancy was ectopic meaning at any time my tube could burst and I could have a ruptured tube and my future plans of motherhood be shattered completely, and the narrative went from you and me to you OR me. 

I dealt with it the best way I knew how, followed the doctors orders, took a day off from work and kept it pushing. I told myself, "It's just not the time." "You ain't gotta be sad you weren't that far along anyways so oh well.."

Minimize. Compartmentalize. Push through it.

The usual.

But for some reason this trauma I couldn't shake. Ultimately it pushed me into a manic state, and what went from a few days with light sleep turned to weeks watching every hour of the night. 

I couldn't sleep. I didn't eat. I didn't leave the house.

Then I couldn't stop sleeping. I couldn't stop eating. And I didn't want to come home. I wanted to be everywhere but alone because the thought of being alone was too overwhelming. 

I only spoke about it to three people and outside of sharing the news I didn't want to speak anymore of it. The end. Bury it. Let's never speak of it again and move forward because what's not acknowledged doesn't have to be addressed and what's not addressed doesn't exist. right?

Wrong. That's the problem. Burying our issues doesn't make them go away and as cliche as it sounds, and as basic as the advice may seem, someone needs to hear it. BURYING THE THING WILL NOT MAKE IT GO AWAY. Pretending it didn't happen won't mean it didn't. 

The only way to heal it is through it. And that's what this journey is about. I almost buried myself into a mental numbness, and many of us do just that. Believing that just one more drink, one more night out, one or two extra classes, an extra work shift, anything to keep our mind off that thing will make us better. The better comes from the acknowledgment. The better comes from the sorting. Sit with it. Feel it. Address it. Consume it, but don't allow it to consume you. Because the longer that you run from it, the longer it will run with you. 

I thought I was managing well, pushing everything into it's own tiny compartment to deal with later or more than likely never again, when the smallest things started to bother me. 

"Hey, I'm just checking in on you" messages felt like an invasive pry into my already fragile mental state. More than anything my friends started to tell me how incredibly mean I had become just in the smallest exchanges, and for me I know the meaner I am, the less control I feel I have over myself and my emotions. Anger and defensiveness are always the first line of attack for people trying to upkeep a facade that everything is okay, if they are paranoid that people are on to them. 

And in all honesty, I have no issue with not being strong, and being vulnerable, but at what point does vulnerability become preyed upon weakness?

So I went back to therapy, back to my psychiatrist and released all the words I could conjure about everything trapped inside my head, the judgements, the minimization. And that's when once again, I found that my own willingness to try to push through so hard would push me into a place where I once again lose my choice. My psychiatrist urged me to seriously take a break. Not a weekend to binge watch Netflix and nap, but to truly remove myself from all of my life's norms and try to reconnect with the meaningful things. I'd lost pieces of myself throughout the journey of just "being okay" about everything, and now this new circle is about bringing it back. Back to a place where I can find joy in the little things. Back to the place where life's joy's don't overwhelm me because I anticipate the worst to come from them. A journey of reconnection and restoration. To reclaim my ability maintain and uphold myself, to never once risk losing my power of choice again. 

1 comment


  • ❤️ is all I can say. This is REAL. I’m speechless that though we may go through different events to get us there the feelings that we as people experience are the same.

    Samiria on

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