blogs, life, mindfulness, San Juan, Puerto Rico, self-esteem, writing

Psychosis Round 1 Story

It all began at a small liberal arts college in upstate New York–Ithaca College. 
I was in the first semester of my third year and I began to fall apart in October.
I started going on nightly walks to look at the moon and somewhere along the line reality and fantasy mixed and then I started thinking that the moon was affecting my fertility and menstrual cycle. This was one of my many delusions. I also believed that I was being persecuted by a friend of mine and that that friend (who had access to a gun) was out to get me. So I was experiencing delusions and I was also paranoid.
One night, I couldn’t fall asleep because I kept thinking about my friend who was “out to get me” and I had a panic attack. My roommate was very startled and it took me a while to calm down. After that, she didn’t trust me again and I felt terrible about what had happened. 
I began to feel restless every night (mania) and I would walk and go to the gym and walk more without needing any rest. I also developed a crush on a classmate when was gay and when he rejected me I immediately wanted to go back home. I decided to return home to Puerto Rico–things only got worse from there.
When I returned home I developed another crush on a person I who I had liked during high school. Even though I hadn’t seen this person in years, I was convinced that I was in love. This was one of my strongest delusions because I landed in the hospital because my psychosis revolved around obsessive thinking about X person. My experience at the hospital was a frightening one–I hope everyone knows that I’m talking about a psychiatric hospital. I saw all sorts of different people. Some that appeared normal to me and some with serious mental issues (even on my delicate mental state I could discern who was hallucinating and who was simply there because of other issues.) I was at the hospital for a week and then I returned home. I was prescribed a cocktail of Abilify, Celexa, Klonopin, and Depakote. My obsession with x person persisted for several months after but at least I wasn’t experiencing a full blown psychosis like I experienced prior to going to the hospital. 
My first psychosis was followed by psychiatric treatment (visits to a psychiatrist and continued medication) but when I was convinced by a family member that I didn’t need to take my meds, I stopped. Six months later I experienced my second psychosis. I’ll write more about that in a different post. 
My purpose in writing this is to inform others about what people with bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders go through and why it’s important to follow treatment. I hope that I haven’t scared anyone although for me it was a scary experience. I could write pages and pages about psychosis 1 but I don’t think it would be good for an internet audience. 
So I’ve kept this short and sweet and if you have any questions I would love to answer them.
Stay tuned for psychosis round 2! 

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life, mindfulness, poems, writing

Starlight

“My life, you electrify my life”

-Starlight
I think it was a matter of wrong timing. All of the signs were present, i just didn’t notice them. I regret not noticing them because now it’s too late. I don’t have you. I can’t have you. It is forbidden. Some days all I think about is you and the song Starlight starts playing in my head, “I just wanted to hold you in my arms…” The truth is i wasn’t ready–back then–to confess my love for you. And now that I have it’s too late. I think it was a matter of wrong timing. I was too young when perhaps it was a good time. All I know is I fell in love “a través del tiempo” I fell in love with the passing of time and in retrospect remembered you. Two years went by of me repressing memories of you and when they finally came up in a psychosis it was definitely the wrong time and place for a proclamation of love but nevertheless I proceeded. I don’t regret it. Only that I wish I had said it earlier. Right now I want us to conspire to re-ignite, like the song goes. But life is not a song. And you are not mine. 

blogs, mindfulness, poems, self-esteem

Tired

I’m listening to David Bowie and I think, “why not write?” 

But I’m tired.

Tired of life.

Tired of this nothingness.

Tired of waking up every morning.

Tired of trying to figure it all out.

So today, I don’t want to write.

When will I want to write?

I don’t know.

I just know that I’m tired and that music alleviates my soul and I wish I could be a hero one day like the song goes and write something worthwhile. 

blogs, books, life, mindfulness, short stories, writing

My attempt at a short story: “Return to Paradise”

Based on true events: names and places have been changed for privacy concerns. 

Return to Paradise

Christina Livingston is a 21-year-old student coming-of-age currently. She is a cat enthusiast, art lover, grace-needer, culture advocate, truth-seeker, and a hopeless optimist. This is what my blog, “Child of Vision,” has as its description in the “about” section. What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I have bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed recently and am just coming to terms with what it means to have bipolar and how it affects my life and those around me. This is a little part of my story that I would like to share with the world. It all begins when I was 14 years old and fell hopelessly in love with my social studies teacher, John Fairfield.

 

John is six feet tall, he is a ginger, has rosy cheeks, and a bright smile. I am five feet tall, have long dark brown hair and brown eyes—I also have rosy cheeks. When I first met John he was 33 years old and in his prime. Life had not yet given him wrinkles as battle signs, he was still—if you will—a kid. I was a kid too. As a matter of fact, that’s how he referred to me.

 

“Hey kid,” he liked (or I presumed he liked) to say. I, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy hearing this. Kid? I’m not a kid, I’m a young lady. How wrong I was. Like John, life had not yet given me the battle that I needed, the one that would make me strong and disciplined. I was at the stage in my life where my biggest worry was what color nail polish I would paint my nails that day.

 

I knew the first moment I locked eyes with John that there was something different about him. He was an intellectual. He was smart—smart beyond his years. Perhaps not smart in experience but definitely full of some kind of wisdom. Was it spiritual wisdom? I don’t know. To this day I can’t pinpoint it because, as a matter of fact, it just turns out that I don’t know John well enough to say who he is. I, as cliché as it sounds, fell in love at first sight. I know, ok. I know it is ridiculous and absolutely unrealistic but that is what happened.

 

After taking a year of social studies and witnessing the power of his speech, the direction he gives his students, his passion for what he does, I was completely under his spell. It was a kind of witchcraft, I like to say as I look back. It was as if somebody had rolled a wand and cast a spell and it was a love spell and I could not get out of it for anything in the world. I fantasized about him, I enjoyed going to school just to see him, but I couldn’t do anything about the way I felt. I didn’t say anything either. I kept my feelings to myself (this would later prove to be my undoing.) John had a girlfriend—a student who had recently graduated—a beautiful twenty year old named Vivian. She was breathtaking. And of course, I know this because I looked her up on FaceBook and found her profile pics to scroll through.

 

So I forgot about John. Well, I didn’t forget but I repressed him. I repressed all of my memories of him, the time he locked eyes with me in one of my gym classes, the time he high-fived me and I felt the electricity in my hand, the time he said I love Chrsitina—in front of the whole class. I now suspect he said it as a fatherly figure. I now suspect he wanted to be a father figure to me. I now know that he treats all of his students like “his kids”. I now know that there wasn’t sexual tensión between us, only the desire for him to perhaps get closer to one of his students that he was fond of.

 

I perceived it differently. I perceived it as “he might like me” and finally “he does like me.” But of course, I didn’t act on it. John has a girlfriend. And I don’t come between two people.

 

 

“John. John Fairfield” I cried to one of the ladies in the psychiatric hospital I was in. San Juan Capestrano. A psychiatric hospital in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. She had asked me what was wrong and all I could answer was “John.” I was sick. I was very sick. I was sick because I had let all of my repressed memories pile up and explode in a psychosis. I was in the middle of one.

 

Two years prior to my hospitalization in a psychiatric hospital I was studying Advertising at NYU. Everything was going well, or so I thought.

 

After I had moved on from John’s class, at 15, I started to worry about college and the SAT’s, applications, etc. I wasn’t thinking about him. Still, I knew he was in the back of my mind. Still, I knew he was very much present in the subconscious. After I graduated high school I had the privilege of attending my top school. So I went. My first year was a disaster, my roommate and I barely talked and I developed anorexia as a result of my suppressed homesickness and the feelings that I wasn’t dealing with: feelings that involved John and that I very much missed him and that I wanted to go back home to San Juan, Puerto Rico and proclaim my feelings of love for him. But that didn’t happen. I just stuck through my first year, and my second year, but in my third year something strange happened.

I was beginning to obsess about a boy in my English Lit class—Peter. I began to feel like I was in love with Peter because he was the most handsome guy in all of NYU. What I didn’t know was that I was in the beginning of my three months of psychosis before my hospitalization. I called my sister, told her I wanted to marry Peter. I called my grandfather, told him I wanted to have a baby with Peter. Peter was gay. And I kind of knew it but I had to hear it from him. I messaged him on FaceBook, saying that I had “feelings” for him and that I had developed a crush. His reply was, “Christina, you do know that I’m gay, right?” I was shocked. All of the repressed memories of John came rushing to me and I knew what I had to do. I had to go home and profess my love for him. See? I was knee-deep in psychotic thinking. One minute I was thinking about Peter, the next I was thinking about John. It should suffice to say that I was in the middle of midterms and I was sleep deprived and stressed, to add to the bunch.

 

 

“JOHN,” I cried. “He is my husband and I miss him. We are married and I want to see him.” My first day at San Juan Capestrano was hell. I was disoriented, I didn’t know what I was doing there, I wanted to see “my husband.” One of the program coordinators later told me, “How could you be in love with a man you haven’t even sat down to have a cup of coffee with?” She was right. I was in love with the idea of a person. I wasn’t in love with John. I was experiencing a mumbo-jumbo of deluded thoughts and manic thinking. I had not yet been diagnosed with bipolar disorder so I was not medicated. There was a chemical imbalance in my brain that had been untreated and I was experiencing a psychosis as a result of a lack of medication. When I got out of the hospital I spent six months absent from university, all the while heavily medicated.

 

Today, I dream of going back to NYU and being an independent person. I dream of walking in the city by myself, free of delusions and obsessive thinking. But that’s just not the case for me. So I am in Puerto Rico, studying English Literature at the University of Puerto Rico, aspiring to become a professor one day.

 

I take Abilify and Celexa, I avoid scary movies, I try not to think about my hospitalization, although sometimes it’s hard.

 

I still think about John. I still have “feelings” for him.

 

Last time I saw him was at my friend Irene’s graduation and he looked handsome as hell. He said hi to me and I blushed furiously.

 

Today, I try to stay positive. Today, I work on thinking about the present rather than the past or the future. Today, I have bipolar disorder. But today, it is under control.

 

I am currently working on my obsessive thinking, including John and other ideas I get obsessed about (this is characteristic of bipolar disorder).

 

However, I am grounded in reality, I know that I am not married, I know that John has a girlfriend (a lovely teacher who I hope he is very happy with).

 

I wanted to share a little part of my story. To raise awareness, prompt questions, and inspire others to seek help.

 

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this little first-person snippet.

 

Signed:

 

Christina Livingston

 

blogs, life, mindfulness, poems, San Juan, Puerto Rico, self-esteem, writing

And so it goes…

Universe, if by any chance you are listening to my words and prayers, give me a sign (ha! If only)

So I’m supposed to study, work, study more and more, study for your masters, study for your doctorate, be a professor, never find love. 

Never find love.

That’s how I feel right about now. Like he will never love me. Like he doesn’t know I exist. Like I will never see him again.

Sorry to wax poetic but love is love and love is everything we have in this world. 

“love will keep us together” goes that song.

It’s a great song but I can’t trust this to be true.

I will never find love, I think to myself. 

And I know I’m just being dramatic but I don’t want all of the fish in the sea. I want one special, lovely fish that is taken. Does that make me a horrible person? I don’t steal people from people. I don’t want to. I’ll let them be. But there is a tiny part of me thinking, maybe, just maybe, something might go wrong. Maybe, just maybe, things will be different. But that is unrealistic thinking, of course. But hey, I’m not a very realistic person. 

And so it goes that I am alone, and so it goes that I will never find love, and so it goes that I will write. 

“Love will keep us together”

But only in my dreams. 

blogs, life, mindfulness, poems, self-esteem, writing

So I will write…

Today I couldn’t stop my tears from rolling down my eyes. 

Today I wasn’t strong enough to hold them in.

Today I prayed for strength and looked for it inside of me.

Today I saw you even in the lights lining the streets.

Today I wished you didn’t exist.

Today I wished I didn’t exist.

Today I wished I could evanesce.

Today I wished I you could evanesce.

Today was the kind of day where you just want it all to go away–the kind where you just want to cry yourself to sleep because you can’t hold it together.

Today I have bipolar disorder, tomorrow I have bipolar disorder, forever I will have bipolar. Today wasn’t a happy manic day. Today was an I’m very depressed day. Today, thankfully, is almost over. All I will have left are the words written on this page. 

blogs, mindfulness, poems, writing

Poems I love: You are tired (I think) by E.E. Cummings

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

blogs, books, life, mindfulness, San Juan, Puerto Rico, writing

What should I write my Bachelor’s thesis on?

A list of ideas that might work:

1. Are Puerto Rican’s violent?

2. The Phenomenon of Love in Luce Lopez Baralt’s “Luz Sobre Luz”

3. Puerto Rican Emigration: A 21st Century Phenomenon 

4. On Tuntún de Pasa y Grifería: African Culture in Puerto Rico

5. Guillermo Rebello Gil and Millenials in Puerto Rico… or something around those lines having to do with his writing 🙂

However, since I study at a university that is Spanish speaking, writing, etc. It’ll most definitely and obviously be in Spanish!!!

blogs, life, mindfulness, San Juan, Puerto Rico, writing

On my major

After two years studying English Literature in Ithaca, New Work, I returned home to Puerto Rico and began studying Humanities, I subsequently changed my major to psychology and then biology in an effort to please my grandfather. I quickly realized that what was truly for me was Humanities, so now my major is back to being what I knew, in the beginning, was my love. I aspire to get a Master’s/Doctorate in Puerto Rican Literature because that’s what excites me. I look forward to it if they accept me in the Centro de Estudios Avanzados in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. If not, I’ll be doing my masters on something else, elsewhere, but my dream is to bathe in my country’s literature, history, and culture. I absolutely love it. So let’s see. I first have to get my bachelors and crossing my fingers I can get into my top school and master in whatever I desire. That’s my dream for now folks. Lesson learned: don’t change your major for anybody and do what excites you. Study what you are passionate about. Even though I’m not close to graduating yet, I’m currently thinking about my bachelors thesis and I have so so many ideas!!! I’ll later post a list of ideas that I think I might be able to go for as a humanities major. We’ll see.