Last Week I Lost my Best Friend: Losing Pets

Last week I had to say goodbye to my best friend Sweep. If you have been a follower of this blog or my YouTube channel in the past, then you will no doubt know all about my fluffy little man. We have had Sweep as a huge part of our family for the past fifteen years, and got him when he was just two years old! Losing such a huge part of my life has been horrific, and as someone who has been lucky enough to never have really experienced grief of anyone in my immediate family, I must say that I have not really been sure how to deal with it. Because that is exactly how I considered Sweep, he was more than just an animal, he was one of our family and gave us all so much joy simply by being a part of it.

Over the past fifteen years things have changed massively, and Sweep was even around before I stopped having contact with my biological father – something that most people cannot claim as that was an awfully long time ago! He never liked my Dad, and would always growl and back away from him. I swear that dog was like a personal sensor for douchebags – we could’ve rented him out to single ladies on the pull and made a fortune!

But I digress, point being he was the most loving and well natured dog I have ever encountered in my life. He was tolerant of children – no matter how hyper or annoying they could be. Which was extremely lucky for me as child Emmie used to enjoy putting his fur into ponytails and dressing him up like a baby! But he never snapped or growled, he was just happy to be spending time with you and was more than happy to do whatever, as long as he was nearby.

I suffer with bipolar disorder and the highs and lows that come with it. Remember those annoyingly hyper children I was just talking about? Unluckily for Sweep, that meant that this was a personality trait for me way up into my late teens and even early twenties. But he was still more than happy to be held as we danced around the living room, or I climbed a climbing rope with him under one arm as he looked on confused. I loved that little dog, and I know that he loved us all equally in return.

The depression that comes with bipolar disorder is crippling. It is more than just sadness, it is more than just hopelessness, it feels like there is nothing. Nothing left in the entire world, and that even taking your next breath is pointless. I feel alone. I feel broken. I feel worthless. And I feel unlovable. Sweep could always see these moods coming on even before I did somehow, and would always be sure to position himself close to me so that he would be nearby if I needed him. Sometimes just having someone with you is enough to get you through the next minute, and through to the next. Talking isn’t necessary sometimes, and having him there to cuddle up to me made me feel like at least somebody needed me.

Things often took a much darker turn when my moods plummeted like this and when I was (mainly) in my late teens, I would often engage in self harm to help myself to cope with everything going on inside my head. I never, ever performed any of this behaviour in front of anyone else as it was an extremely personal experience to me, one in which I felt like I had failed in my life by having to rely upon it in the first place.

However, I recall one time when I had come home for the holidays from university, my then boyfriend had travelled home to see his family and I was home alone while my parents were out at work. Sweep was in another room, and I had taken the opportunity of being alone like this to get some of the pain out. I began my ritual of unpacking my “tools” from the box I always kept nearby carefully selecting the items I felt that I needed.  When I finally had everything laid out in front of me neatly as I always did and took the deconstructed razor in my hand, all I remember seeing through the tears was that white fluffy figure jump up onto my knee and start licking the tears from my cheeks. He wouldn’t move and just waited until I stopped sobbing, when he eventually curled up next to me and we both fell asleep. I’m not suggesting that anything more severe would have happened that day, but thanks to my little guy, I have a few less scars on my body than I would have had if he had not been there that day.

As he came to the end of his life, Sweep had really started to show the signs of old age. He never suffered, don’t get me wrong, but he could no longer see or hear and he was struggling to stand up for long periods of time. His sense of smell had all but gone and we practically had to hand feed him so he could find his food bowl. It was a shame, but he gave everyone so much joy that they were more than happy to help him in any way that they could. Sweep always went everywhere with my Mum, after I moved out and she would come to visit me in my new place, Sweep would always be in the car with her whether she had just been out running errands or had been to work.

By the end, it was the nicest thing we could do to give our Sweepie a peaceful and painless end and as he drifted off to sleep in our arms I could see the stress and pain leave his face. He looked so peaceful and happy as he lay there. Although he may not be here physically, I always carry his collar around with me and cuddle up with his blanket at night while I watch the television when I get home from work – as well as greeting his box of ashes on the table when I go to visit my mum. It may seem silly to some people, but it’s how I can cope with losing my best friend. I don’t necessarily believe in heaven, but I do believe that wherever my little Sweepie is now, he isn’t struggling anymore. So thank you Sweep, for the best fifteen years of my life. You saved me in so many ways and stayed by my side when most people deserted me. I hope you are happy and free wherever you may be, and I’ll see you soon little man. I promise, I’ll bring you some chicken up with me when I get there!

 

Romance Vs. Bipolar Disorder

As long term readers of this blog (or subscribers to my YouTube channel) will know, I suffer with bipolar and anxiety disorders. Understandably, bipolar affects my life in many different ways and one of the more frustrating ways is that it can make maintaining relationships virtually impossible at times! Love can be like a sickness at the best of times however when you also throw bipolar disorder into the mix, things suddenly become a lot more complicated.

The highs and lows of bipolar are very difficult to deal with and lead to people who suffer with the condition to constantly have to reconsider just what it is that they are feeling. Is that the quick and enticing rush of new love, or is it just the beginnings of mania? It can be very tough to judge and so can be even tougher on their partner. If we can’t even work out how we are feeling, then how can we expect our partners to do the same?!images

Now don’t get me wrong, mania can really help you to feel amazing if you are in a good relationship, as every little feeling is heightened by a hundred percent and it all seems more intense – in a good way. However, if you are a bad or dangerous relationship, then these feelings can be extremely hazardous. If you have your rose tinted bipolar goggles on, then it can be difficult to see what is right in front of your face and can make you stay in a relationship that you don’t want to be in for even longer.

I have experienced amazing relationships that have started during periods of mania and everything felt so intense and amazing, which gave me the confidence that I wouldn’t necessarily have had otherwise, to continue and push things further. However, I have also had relationships that I have stayed in for way too long, long past when I was no longer happy, because during periods of mania, I would convince myself that “things aren’t that bad” and so I would stay.

When you are manic it can be difficult to separate yourself so that you can truly see all of the shit that you have surrounded yourself with for what it truly is. During this stage and get past the teenage-soppy-Romeo and Juliet style feelings that you have going on, and see the world for what it actually is. This is why it is vital that you learn your own warning signs, in that you can feel when an episode is coming on and so can fight against, or accept but at least be aware of what is going on so that it doesn’t control your life too much this time.

downloadI find it easier if I can keep track of my moods, whether that be through physically writing it down, or by using an app (there is seriously hundreds of mood tracker apps, just have a search!), whatever works best for you. Bipolar does not mean that we cannot fall in love, or that we cannot feel – hell, if anything we feel far too much! But it does mean that we have to be a little more careful when it comes to our own hearts, and more importantly, someone else’s.