Letter to Yohanna Abdullah from her favourite bipolar Noor Baizura Rahmatullah on Maal Hijrah
“This girl, likes to meet me when she is high, when she is low, ahhh actually whenever she can get a chance.
Despite her charming ability to meet up and talk to anyone she gets a great joy from talking to me because she knows that I understand exactly what she is talking about and how it feels like. I’m not just another keen listener listening to a story and nodding at appropriate times, without really having experienced the severe roller coaster ride of bipolar disorder.
So in the middle of a busy schedule, two jobs, training language skills in a hospital and doing real estate and cooking up plans for a next educative art gallery collaboration about mental health by Club Heal at NLB… And getting permission from my boss to write an epic story for her upcoming book…
I had to meet my genius, famous Shakespeare in the making friend Yohanna Abdullah.
My hospital admission days bedmate, psychiatric ward roommate and recovery period playmate.
And in the middle of a giant plate of pasta and classic and good cheesy pizza she told me a breaking news…
“I’m in my high”
This is major news to most people. But when you are like two Ninja commandos with history of many battles with episodes of bipolar wars, which is ongoing like in some nations. It’s not new news. It’s old news, with fresh juice.
If you don’t get it. Don’t worry. You are not alone. Like I said. You need to have gone super commando deep inside the mass of your brains to be able to fully comprehend. And even the doctors who treat us, haven’t even been there before.
And Yohanna asked me this…
“what do you do to curb the high? ”
Yes, while half the world will risk doing crimes and going to jail just for a little taste of high…. People like Yohanna and I have an ecstacy making factory in our brains that can send us to nirvana, without inducing foreign chemicals into our bodies.
So I tell her like it is.
1) getting high is okay, as long as it looks like motivation and inspiration.
But it is not OK if it starts to look like obsession, possession or addiction.
2) It’s normal to compare, compete and complain. But if you feel like a hamster running at full speed in any of the above departments, you need to chill the heck out.
3) it’s okay to feel great. To some extent it is even encouraged. But if you start to feel like an overconfident narcissist prick and think you are God, superhero or around the same wavelength…. You also need to have a reality check
4) sometimes you might be in such a good mood you feel like getting everyone gifts, like Santa. Or you feel like money grows on trees and you start to give it away, shop till you drop or make impulsive grandiose decisions. Bad idea. Real bad idea. Ever heard of save for the rainy days? Yes, when you spend like this. It’s like doing a divine rain dance, and a huge thunderstorm is approaching and gonna rain real soon, so please hold your horses with the spending.
5) if you feel like you can’t consider yourself insightful enough to recognize your symptoms, buddy up with someone you trust, who can keep an eye on you, so that he can warn you before you get out of line. I repeat, someone you trust. Who has your best interest at heart. Not some psycho manipulative abusive relationship types of people in your life.
6) if you haven’t slept for a few nights, tell someone. If you need to go out, bring someone. Don’t go out alone and risk having a fainting spell all by yourself alone in the middle of nowhere.
7) pick a hobby, sport, recreational activity to do what you love in a positive and conducive environment. Using your energy to do something productive to calm your mind, exercise your creative muscle, or physical and mental strength goes a long way, In Helping you focus your energy on good things.
😎 stay away from stressors and triggers. Is it spicy food which disrupts your bowels or mood, caffeine which makes you jumpy or have poor sleep, is it a naggy relative, or a rude colleague, a certain place, group of gossipy people, dark places? What is it that puts You in a bad mood or starts draining your energy, stay away from it.
This list can grow, but I’m turning in for the night. You can edit however you see fit.”