So, non-sorta-book related. But definitely related to me.
I recently had a convo with my best friend and we were discussing my "people gravitating" personality at signings and such. She was surprised to learn that when I'm in that "mode", I could actually be having a bi-polar episode. In other words, my brain is firing on every single cylinder at an extreme rate. I'm charismatic, I'm sharp and witty--able to entertain and make the party. That's not really a full-picture of who I am, as a person.
Here's the thing many are not aware of when it comes to some mental illness (because that is what depression in any of it's forms is...an illness). Sometimes, it's not always easy to tell if someone is in a emotional crisis. They always think it's when the person is down, sad, not wanting to meet the day, staying in bed or just dropping off the radar.
Sometimes, it is opposite end of that spectrum. Full of energy as if bursting with it. Socializing with everyone and having the best time possible. Their minds are going a million miles a minute and everyone is amazed at this dynamo of a person. Their creativity may be a hyper-level as well. Able to complete a book in days. Edit in hours. Crank out short-stories or poetry on the fly.
That too, is an emotional crisis when you have bi-polar depression. That's how it is for me. In my Shadow-Keepers stories, I talk about the Void. Where if it is kind enough to restore one to life, it always has a price. This is my creative way of saying what it's like for me.
With me, my creativity is my life-giving resource to get through my days. Writing is my therapy and a much needed one. But when depression is my own personal "Void", it's like part of me is dying. I can feel it to the very depth of my soul. And I am desperate to fight my way out of the void. The void yawns wider after I've had one of these highs from bi-polar.
The higher the fly, the lower the drop.
So after events like RT that are several days long, while I'm flying through it and finding amazement among my peers, I know that the fall is going to hurt. I know that my Void will want a price for giving me life. No brain, no person can go at that level for any substantial amount of time. The human mind is just not engineered that way. The "normal" (and I use that term with a smirk...) mind keeps a happy medium between the highs and the lows. Normal depression may bring bring low back to the normal, but with bi-polar, we swing way beyond the normal. Extremely polar opposites hence the name. I also have PTSD and that makes those lows very hard to get past.
I, and others that suffer from bi-polar-ism, have incredible highs and then we have devastating lows.
So, back to the point. No one knew I was having a crisis at that event or any others before it. No one knew that when I took all those bathroom breaks, I was having a bit of a break-down. I was either crying or throwing up as my brain chemistry ran the gambit. Sometimes, all that was needed for the anxiety of it was some quiet time away. Other times, it manifested in my throwing up, killing some of those high made influences in the act of it. Heaven help me if I hadn't eaten in awhile. Dry heaves suck. I don't sleep for days. I don't think I had 6 hours total the whole time and that was with dealing with my personal life while RT was going on. I wouldn't have slept regardless.
You all had no idea I was in a crisis, how could you? You just saw someone that was on their game. In their zone...and I was. But it's one that I knew I would have to pay the price to.
After this last event, I was barely able to function for days. I was dragging, I was depressed and I had to force myself to focus on even the simplest of tasks. But I've dealt with being me for a long time, so I still posted positively on my social media sites, presented myself as professionally as I could for my day job. But as with all my lows, my health took the hit too. I developed a cold, headaches, nausea and my energy level was zero. I had one instance where I completely blacked out and was dizzy. But I made it through. And today, I'm back to my "normal" level in the middle.
The problem with all this is very simple: If you meet me in a less stressed situation, I may not be the same "person" you met at an event. I might be more reserved even withdrawn. I can't promise that at the next event I won't be high. I can't assure you I won't be low. I can't commit to be in the middle For lack of a better way of saying it. I may just be me...
But that's wrong too.
I'm always me. When I'm high or when I'm low. Or when I'm riding in the middle of my wonderful yet complex mind. I'm still. Me.
It's not easy to get to know me and it's even harder to understand me. The few friends I have, completely do and I am so grateful for that. Family has tried their best, but I'm one very complicated person. After all, it's hard enough to fully understand ONE me, much less...THREE me's. It's EXTREMELY hard for me to make long-lasting friends or even have relationships. Such is the nature of the disease. it's been an issue for all of my adult life. But in the last few years, I've come to terms with it--it's not completely me that's screwing up every single relationship, it's the illness having a big hand in it. And I am honest and tell people, welcome to my roller-coaster. Hope you know how to strap in...rather than hide and fake my way through my days to those closest to me.
For those that have read my books, you suddenly have a light bulb go on when you see I've laid all of this out in my characters. A split personality of three-- one dark, one crazy and one that everyone loves. See...write what you know.
I don't know why I felt the need to write this. Maybe it's to spotlight the least known end of the depression spectrum, since I met so many of you. I really hope I didn't just shoot myself in the author foot and now events are rushing to remove me from their attending author lists. Please don't. I can promise you, even without the high, I'm pretty cool. I'm also asking not to be "observed" or "whispered about" to try to look for the signs at the next event. Please don't. Just let me be me, and you be you. I REALLY didn't put this out there for future speculation.
I love my books. And I love my readers. I love being an author and a part of this wonderful writing world, even if it complete frustrates and babbles more days than not. But writing and creating are LIFE SAVING to me. They are my medication beyond the ones I'm prescribed. I need them. As much as the RX. On the days when I'm having a low and sitting here crying to look for some light in my void, it's as simple as a person saying they read my books or a fellow author sharing my teasers. Or hell, just doing something silly with one of my fan-fiction characters in social media and making someone, somewhere, somehow....laugh. I gave what I don't have myself at the moment, as a way to finding it in myself when I need it.
I'm always in some sort of crisis. Some are big. Some are small. Some are not there or barely at all (gee, went kind of Dr. Seuss there...). All I ask, as anyone who suffers from a mental illness should, is just respect and know that it's my crisis to deal with. Just know I'm quirky and diverse and every single one of you are so important to dealing with it all. And help in ways you may not even be aware of...just by being here. Even if you're silent. Even if you're not. Just don't look for the signs of where I am in my mind...
Just be willing to respect the pathway I'm taking and know it's going to be a very interesting trip. And all I can hope is you're willing to help me when I fall or applaud me when I run... Or just let me find my footing on my own.
Because, it's just me...
Thank you and take care.