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What I’ve learned from being (possibly) bipolar

What I’ve learned from being (possibly) bipolar

I’m okay today…I’m calm, I’m focused, I’m not emotionally distressed, I’m not depressed. But I don’t know how long it would last. I tend to cycle…I’m okay now, but in two weeks or so, I might be depressed, sad and melancholy. It’s just the way it has been.

I remember stretches of melancholy as a teen in high school. I chuck that up to just general angst and was my way of dealing. By my second year of university, I spoke the words ‘I think I am depressed’ for the first time. I didn’t quite understand it, I was very sad for long periods of time. It mostly had to do with school, I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t engaged with the course I was studying. Over time this feeling built up and two years later I had left and was never going back.

There was some euphoria, some utter terror and a lot of worry. I was the happiest I had been in years though, and I have been growing happier since. But I still cycle. Some days I’m good. Some days I’m bad. Since I have lived with this for a few years now, there are a couple of things I have learned from being possibly bipolar.

  1. It will pass. Whenever the dark cloud gathers and everything seems deary and the world feels like a terrible place. I remember…it will pass. Eventually I will be feeling normal again and life will go on.
  2. Something might be wrong. Often when I get depressed, especially for an extended period of time, it is a clear indication that some part of my life is not right. Perhaps there is a decision I’m putting off, or maybe I’m busy doing something I really should not be doing. In any case, it is a clear sign for me to pay attention and resolve the matter.
  3. An incredible amount of energy will probably be released when I come out of it. I find sometimes that after the dark cloud passes, I’m suddenly hit with epiphany after epiphany or I have a manic sense of creativity and productivity.
  4. Use the energy you have. I have learned to work with what I have. If I am dark and agsty, I would channel that energy into making some art, or making something cool. Or gather all that dark energy and focus it into work and being productive.
  5. Don’t take it too personally. I look at it like the weather. It is not something I have an incredible amount of control over. I wake up and realise am depressed. I don’t take it personally, I don’t feel bad about it. I sit with it, I let it be, I move about my life regardless.


The other week, I had just come off from a 6 week stretch of ups and downs. I had been depressed more than often. I felt myself getting depressed again and I got pissed and said to myself, ‘fuck that, I’m not going to be depressed anymore’. I seem to have been fine since. Its not a cake walk everyday, but I focus on what must get done and push on those. It seems to work.




Earlier this year I read a great book – Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown. And it clarified my thoughts on an idea that has been dancing around the edges of my mind.

I like to do many things. In varsity, I did so many different things…taught dance school, involved in church activities, led cell group, designed on the side, attended classes, had a social life, etc, etc.

I liked doing many things because I liked the rush of being busy and trying to cram a thousand things into an impossible space of time.

Over time, some things fell away and I became more focused. My life was centred around designing and trying to make a living from that. For the past few years, I have been very undisciplined with my work. I would take on as many jobs as came my way, while trying to work on my personal ideas and projects. The price of this indiscipline was I was always frantic and at the mercy of my clients, and email. I burned out regularly as evidenced by my blog posts around mid year, every year. I never had the chance to slow percolate ideas and projects the way I really wanted to.

Last year however, I had the experience of being able to work on one project for months, building it from the ground up and designing multiple collateral for the idea. It was a nice change of pace from trying to fit 10 things into a month of time. I liked it, the pace of work was both challenging and easier. Challenging because it takes discipline to work in this way…pushing past resistance and fighting distraction. Easier because I didn’t feel so frantic and rushed. Better because my quality of work was higher.

As the third month of the year begins and we continue to plow through, I want to make great impact this year. I recognize that that means working on the right things. But you can only know what the right things are if you know what you truly want and what is important to you. Then you can identify what paths of action would take you there. You can sacrifice short term gain for the long term goal, and move steadily towards your aims. But this way of doing things is not always natural and is something we must develop a discipline in. You have to decide where your greatest level of contribution is, and where the greatest need is and where the two intersect. Eventually, you can do less and achieve a lot more, because the essential few things have a great pay off.

Having many options and opportunities is a blessing and a curse. Its great to be able to explore all these possibilities, but at some point, you have to close off some doors and focus on the essential few. Otherwise, your energy will be scattered in too many directions and you will not make any impact.

Focus on the essential few.

The Cool_002


In light of the just aired/released/bootlegged extremely emotional ‘what-the-fuckery’ episode 9 of the 3rd season of the medieval fantasy series ‘Game of Thrones’, I present you the second edition of ‘The Cool’ series.

  • Ever wondered what would it look like if the houses in Game of Thrones were present day multi million dollar corporations? Shutterstock shows us.
  • French graphic artist Mike Wrobel re-imagines Game of Thrones characters in the 80’s and 90’s
  • A collection of 20 of the angriest reactions to Game of Thrones Season 3 episode 9
  • The four types of Game of Thrones fans
  • Some deep words from Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan commencement address
  • Annoying comments by clients turned into posters
  • Picture credit

Quotes #2

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery — isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

How to get The Heart of A Lion

These are the iterations of the BXDI #1: Heart of A Lion tees. They go at R200 a pop, and are mainly available to people who can get to me directly, so essentially those around hatfield/pretoria/jhb. To lay your hands on these beauties, here’s what you gotta do.

Place your order: facebook inbox me, sms me (0736604717), email me ( or go over here and message me with the subject as ‘BXDI #1: Heart of A Lion’. Write in the body in this format:

Name: John Doe

Design/Size: B/Large, D/Medium

Location: Address

Pay: I will be collecting cash up-front. You can give me cash, or deposit into my account (Otoabasi Bassey, Absa Savings, 9138764743. Branch code: 632005), reference your payment as ‘yournameBXDI.

I will be compiling orders between now and the 5th of August. The shirts will be ready to be collected/delivered by the 19th of August (along with some free stuff).

Oh, and a maximum of 50 shirts would be made, so order as early as you can.

Hope you like it 🙂