Don’t what? Shut up. 

I bumped into one of the nurses who saw me through ect the other day. She told me not to let depression get me down. If that isn’t already a medication advert catchphrase in the USA, it really ought to be. It should also be permitted for me to smack anyone who says it to me. Not that nurse though, because ag shame she was being genuinely nice. 

Don’t let depression get you down, don’t let conjunctivitis spoil your view, don’t let syphilis drive you mad… 

PS thanks for all your lovely comments on my last post. And my blog just turned two. Happy birthday, blog. 

Published by

blahpolar

battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

226 thoughts on “Don’t what? Shut up. ”

  1. Don’t let cancer eat away at you, don’t let paraplegia cripple you, don’t let death keep you from living life….

    Idgets. Well meaning idgets but idgets anyway.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Oh yeah, depression always makes me feel so UP! Congratulations Blah, we are blog twins! Love and hugs, girl. You realize you’re posting, which means you’re feeling better!!!!!! Yaaaay!!!! Xxxooo

    Liked by 2 people

  3. wow. If it’s that easy, maybe I should try it. Why didn’t I think of that before?! And maybe my additions can be, “Don’t let ADD distract you from what’s important,” and “Don’t let poverty keep you from living the good life.” I like that last one a lot. Creditors beware. As if I had credit cards.~DM

    Liked by 6 people

  4. HAPPY SECOND BIRTHDAY!
    At first I spelled that “Bitchday” – hmmmmm, Feudian slip?
    Dunno.
    It’s great to see another post from you.
    You have my word that I will NEVER use that catchphrase with you, nor shall I say “Hang in there” for that makes me think of, um, people hanging themselves!

    Lucy sends you slobbery kisses, and I send you my love!
    XOXO

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Happy Blogaversary. And yes, it’s already an advertisement here, along with countless other phrases. Fucktards. Even if the mean well, but still. Fucktards.
    Feel free to smack them in the face with a fish. I’ll record it and put it on YouTube where we’ll become famous and then we can really take over the world, Pinky and The Brain style.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Happy Birthday to your blog Blah! I always enjoy your work. Yesterday, I was trying to explain to a relative what my issues are. She was giving me the standard “just do it” “choose to be happy” lines of bullshit. Finally I told her that there is an element of this that is in the brain (just like a little bit of brain damage). She looked at her autistic son and suddenly it made sense to her. I’m glad I got through to her, but hell, why can’t people just deal with what we are saying? I hope you are feeling ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello everybody. I’m afraid I have some tragic news about Blahpolar. On Thursday I received a phone call from her friend and neighbour. Blahpolar chose to leave the way he lived – on her own terms. I can’t even convey how devastated I am by this. I know that she has a devoted group of followers here and I thought they would want to know. Those of you that only knew her online, she was genuine. She was a lovely, generous person who found time and energy to help others in their struggle, even as if she was battling her own demons. Lately she was feeling worse. It was noticeable, despite her trying to play it down (I suppose she didn’t want us to worry, which we were doing anyway). You know that she didn’t go down without a fight. She tried every medication and therapy that was available to her. I also had high hopes for ECT but the breakthrough just never happened. I miss her and I will always be grateful that she was a part of my life.

    Liked by 11 people

  8. Hi blahpolar followers,

    if any of you would like some kind of contact, you can get in touch with me.

    Blahpolar was one of my best friends, she was the most amazing person ever and I miss her terribly. I don’t know what else to tell you, but if any of you would like to talk don’t hesitate to get in touch. I know she was very popular in this blogosphere and I suppose that some of you have come to know her beyond the comments section of this blog.

    This place here gave her solace and an understanding crowd when no one else would get what was going on with her. It was some sort of therapy for her and she used it as an outlet in moments when she felt misunderstood by me and her other friends who have almost no idea how bloody freaking horrible it is to live with depression, bipolar, and ptsd. I wish I could have helped her more. I know you helped her a lot, so please accept a BIG THANK YOU for being there for my dear friend in desperate times. I can’t thank you enough. She was very grateful to have you guys.

    Much love to all of you.

    Liked by 14 people

    1. Goodbye, Dear

      Having never met, still I love her soul,
      My suffering took a lesser toll,
      Now grief forces me to walk alone
      Gripping my hand, it won’t let go

      I wish I could have made her laugh
      One more time, lighting her darkened path
      Laughing, with that beautiful tone
      Then turning, and,

      Deciding to stay one more day
      There really is nothing more to say
      Like all friendships I think my own
      Fleeting as sand,

      And yet somehow, it’s forever
      There were no magic words for her
      To make her well, no prayer to pray
      Sun sets, ending another day

      Now grief leaves me to cry alone
      Gripping my heart, it won’t let go.

      ~Deon Mumple

      Liked by 10 people

    2. My heart is broken. That piece of her that resided in a warm folds of my heart, will forever remain vacant. Nothing and no one could ever replace her, or what she has done for me in my personal life and my struggle with this all too often fatal disease.. I don’t think I will ever be the same again. The world has lost a beautiful, talented soul. I hope she has at last found some peace.

      Liked by 11 people

    3. I don’t think I speak just for myself – Blahpolar left a legacy here. In my eyes she was the biggest, brightest, boldest human being to roam this earth. I think it’s important to honour life before death and as such I say, she altered the course of my life with only two words…. “you matter”. And to me, she will always matter, constantly and daily because she is treasured in life and in death. But I will miss her in the most horrible of ways

      Liked by 10 people

      1. Thank you so much for your words, they really mean a lot to me and are a great comfort in my grief. I miss her so terribly. And it’s so soothing to know how many lives my friend touched in so many ways. She mattered. And means so much to all of us. I wish I could have had her in my life for a little longer. Many hugs, you can always talk to me here or on deadonthesofa@gmail.com – it’s nice to be in touch with you guys, you were a very important part of her life and provided a safe space for my awesome friend to discuss and vent.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Ulla was brilliant and beautiful and helpful and sometimes hilarious and sometimes sad, and always encouraging. Her research helped me figure a lot of stuff out about myself too. I prayed hard for her. I’m so sorry.

          Liked by 6 people

        2. She was a gift. A treasured gift and my world will never be the same again. She was intelligent, talented, so funny and witty and wise beyond years. She could bring comfort and guidance to a catastrophe with only 2 words. A warm spirit that shone bright. And brave? Courage I admired. Perseverance where others would have given up a long time ago. As I’m heartbroken, I do know the depression she had. In that respect I can say I’ve walked in her shoes, and I am happy for her, relieved that she no longer suffers. That she has found peace. Now she has passed into a spirit world, we must watch out for signs from her, trying to get our attention. From Thursday last week my car has been playing up. On Tuesday I took it into the garage. They checked everything out and found there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. And since then, the day I learned of her passing, it has not played up. I’d like to think she was trying to get my attention. I don’t know if you think along those lines, but I found great comfort in the thought.

          I am grateful for your contact details and will most definitely be in touch. And you are most welcome to contact me at picecesofbipolar@yahoo.com. My mother took her own life 20 yrs ago. I know what it feels like to be one of the ones left behind. So any, any, time you need someone to talk to, someone to just listen or need to vent, please contact me. A burden shared is a lot easier to endure xxx

          Liked by 8 people

  9. Because of the medications I’m on, it’s very, very hard for me to cry. Despite that fucked-up side effect, the tears came through when I read the news. All I can say after reading these stunningly beautiful, loving comments is that I feel the same way as all of you. She reached out to me through emails even when I knew she was struggling… just to see how I was doing. She sent me pictures of Solo to cheer me up. I felt like she was a real friend despite her living on the other side of the world.

    I feel some guilt because I encouraged her to try ECT only because it helped me when nothing else did. I was praying my ass off that it would help.

    I hope I’ll meet her in a much better place where she and I can hang out with her mom and my dad, and shoot the shit.

    Pieces, if you’re reading this, I want to thank you for letting me know…your comments here are amazing and I truly believe that she’s reading each and every one. She knows how much of a loss it’s going to be for us to be without her in this crazy world…there can be no one else who can make us laugh, learn, and think the unique, brilliant way she has done.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Thank you dyane for your words, they mean a lot. It’s a great comfort and very moving for me to read such awesome things about my dear friend. She was the best. I miss her so much. She really cared for you and her other blog friends, and she was painfully aware that it’s the small things that can make the hugest difference in someone’s life. Don’t feel guilty about the ECT. She would have hated for anyone to feel guilty. She was a very independent and resolved person. If there’s anything we can do for her it’s to accept her choice and continue to love her and cherish the memory of her friendship for the rest of our lives, and – like you said – hope that we can one day just hang out with her again and shoot the shit. If you’d like to get in touch one day, you can send me an email on deadonthesofa@gmail.com

      Liked by 5 people

      1. A belated and huge thank-you , deadonthesofa, for your incredible comment.

        I read it right after you wrote it a few days ago (and I looked to see if you had a blog but it didn’t pop up, so I assume you don’t have blog — by the way, that is an amazing Gravatar image you chose!)

        In any case, I’m definitely I’m hanging on to your email.I”m at dyane@baymoon.com

        What you wrote me (as a close friend of Ulla’s) REALLY helped me sort out my feelings. Thank you, thank you again for taking the time to let me know not to feel guilty about Ulla & the ECT. She was one of the most brilliant people I encountered, and of course I gave her shit for being such a gifted writer/smartypants whenever I could. So yeah, I knew she wasn’t oblivious to the risks and to the fact ECT might not be the helpful treatment we hoped it would be.

        I’m definitely doing what you suggest: accept her choice, keep on loving her, and I’ll never forget her. You sound like a remarkable friend, and she was lucky to have you, and she still is. Much love to you, and I’ll be around the online vigil later today and hope to “see” you there if you’re up for it. 💜 Dyane

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Fuck. I don’t think there is anything I can say (except thanks to Pieces for letting me know).

    This has been my abiding fear. In fact I dropped her a quick note last night and I have been thinking of her for days but always at the wrong time of day to message her. Now I can’t get that chance back. I have tried to limit my contact to quick emails because I lost both of my parents in July and did not want to pour my grief on her when I know how much she still ached over her own mother’s death. We were however in regular contact.

    A year ago I traveled 16,000 km to spend a week with her. I was planning to go back next year. I am fortunate to have photos and memories of that time. My connection with her was born of both the mood disorder and our queerness. I do not make friends easily, especially in queer spaces – but she was an instant soul mate. It was as if we had known each other forever – such a comfortable, natural friendship. But over this past year I could feel her slipping away and knew that there was so little I could do.. So many times the silence from her end was frightening.

    Now it is complete. I loved her and my heart is broken.

    I was an administrator on her other site and this is a link to post I wrote for her in January when she had posted a dark piece here. It’s the best I have to offer. The photo at the header is the beach at her village and the tree is the one she planted for her mother where she “shared” a coffee and cigarette every morning. The poem is Breyten Breytenbach… we listened to him in English and Afrikaans while sitting in her house one night. I’ve collected most of his books since returning from South Africa.
    https://beachpickings.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/a-gift-offered/

    Liked by 11 people

    1. RG. Even though I know the torment she was going through, I still am in shock. I’ve been crying all day. I loved her with every bit of who I am. I spoke to her on the 18th August. And we agreed in jest that we must meet. I made her laugh. I know she needed that. She was slipping away, you’re right.

      Today is one of those days I wish away.
      I’m sorry for your loss RG. xx

      Liked by 10 people

      1. It’s a loss for everyone who knew her, on line or in person. Having abruptly lost both parents in July, back to back, this is just one more desperate loss. I’m just heart broken. Keep in touch. DM me on Twitter and I’ll send you my email.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. RG, so sorry for all your losses. I suggested to Yve that we all get together here on Sept 10th to share our fondest memories of Blah. I really should have written “honour Blah’s life” instead of “death”, but I’m grief-stricken, and I just really want to give her a proper send-off. I know you have wonderful memories of spending time with her in person. Let’s shine the spotlight on her. She’d loathe and love that ;) xx
          https://myspanglishfamilia.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/an-invitation-join-me-on-sept-10th-to-honour-blahpolars-death/

          Liked by 9 people

    2. I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re the only person from here that I actually “know” (well, I think I do because we talked about you and if it’s you I also know your name :) ) Thank you for your beautiful words and for being an understanding, compassionate friend to my dear friend. If you’d like to get in touch you can do so anytime deadonthesofa@gmail.com

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks for reaching out. I’m not sure I have the mental energy to compose an email. Unless she had other guys who traveled from Canada to visit you may well know who I am. My name is Joe. If you were a friend of hers I was wondering if anyone knows her brother. I’ve been thinking about him. I found him on Facebook but it doesn’t look like he’s been active there since 2015 and my Facebook presence is limited. I did write a little piece there about my loss. For some strange reason I had been thinking about getting a tattoo for the first time in my entire life over the weekend. Feels like a message from beyond weirdly enough.
        My gmail address is jmesch78@gmail.com.

        Liked by 4 people

  11. I spend a lot of time thinking of my Bipolar Tribe and hoping that they are ok. I’ve been thinking about Blah a lot recently, and had set aside some time this afternoon to send her an email and see how she was doing.

    This news is so devastating. I only knew her here on WP, but I already feel her loss intensely. I will absolutely never forget her or her familiar comment “Stay strong Mate”.

    <3 Love you Blah

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Thank you for your words. Each and every one of you are such a huge source of comfort for me right now, it’s just awesome to see how much she was loved. And thanks for being a mate for my friend <3

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Blah, I miss you. I’m heartbroken at losing such a beautiful soul, but I’m so relieved you are no longer hurting. Although we never got to meet each other in person, you will always hold a very special place in my heart. I will never delete the messages I have from you on my phone. They will remind me what a beautiful, brave warrior you are. You fought this fuckin beast with all your might. You saved, and served, so many others who fight similar battles. You are my hero. I love you.

    Liked by 10 people

  13. I am so sad about this loss to our world. I don’t know if she won the fight, or lost it. Either way, I pray she is at peace and in a much happier place. For all of us left here, I pray we pull together and hold each other up. Some of us, myself included, are fragile, and need to keep a hold on this life. RIP, Blahpolar. Fly with the Angels.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. It’s a huge loss. And good question. I really hope she won this struggle and is now hanging out somewhere with her mum having a Jack&Coke and a smoke and feeling on top of the world. I’m sure it’s important for her that we’re there for each other. Thank you for your words. You can email me anytime at deadonthesofa@gmail.com

      Liked by 2 people

  14. What am I to write now? How do I begin? 2 years ago, I had just lost my brother to this Bipolar monster… My e family a vital member blah was, stood by me and helped on my healing journey… Gosh, she selflessly edited the memoir I wrote for him and it was ready in 30 days oh my oh my oh my… Please the vigil is here on her blog or another blog? I am currently going through issues but this news is one mighty blow to them all… Oh Dyane oh you and us all…

    Liked by 8 people

  15. THANK YOU everyone! I’m overwhelmed and touched to the bone by your love, and respect, and words for my friend blah. You’re a great community. <3 We must keep being there for each other. Everyone matters. And you're not alone with your grief. Much love.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank *you* – what you wrote above says it all. Sending you my love and a huge hug, I must say Ulla really had the best taste ever because she surrounded herself with friends like you. Xo

      Liked by 3 people

  16. Thank you for all your wonderful comments. It is obvious that she have a gift for helping people. I know for sure that she helped me heal. I can’t really write much more. It doesn’t come easily I don’t want to write clichés. I just want to say that she was one of the most important people in my life.

    Liked by 8 people

  17. I am reposting this comment from the Invitation thread. The most recent shots on my flickr feed are primarily from the eastern Cape. I was and am always careful not to post any personal images, but there are many shots from my visit with Ulla.

    I do have a terrific photo of Ulla but will not share it because there is someone else in the shot. However I am happy to share my Flickr account. Because I had a cardiac arrest a couple of weeks after my return from South Africa (long flight, clot), I have not even processed a fraction of my shots from my trip. The majority of the Eastern Cape shots are up and I did not include any shots with people in them or the front of her house of inside (I always wanted to respect her privacy and that has not changed). There are shots of her funky stoep, the fantastic view from her house, the beach, her friends farm/antique shop and street shots from East London. Plus lots of shots from our trip to Addo Elephant Park. There are some Cape Town shots woven in but I’ve barely even started to work on those. If anyone is interested check out https://www.flickr.com/photos/jm_schrei/

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I recognise some of them, I think, some areas at least, from photos she showed. Do you know the friend who drew the symbols for her on the floor of her house?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I resumed my flickr account just to see them, and I must thank you. Not only are they beautiful pictures, they make me feel closer to her. Some of them feel so familiar, because they are similar to some she had sent me, or I have seen posted, others are real life over there, bits and snippets of her life there, which I so often wished I could be a closer part of. Thank you for sharing them.

      Liked by 4 people

    3. Your pictures… I recognize every place. I took so many pictures there myself but yours are so much better. We went to Addo every time I visited. We never tired of it. Just watching elephants for hours.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks. I only upload the decent images and then I load many with an eye to taking part in “game” and “theme” threads on the Pentax Camera forum. It’s the beach and the view from her stoep that I will associate with her. And the black & white cracked windscreen street shots from East London!

        Liked by 3 people

  18. For those of you interested, I’ll be painting a series of paintings as a tribute to Ulla. I want to sell them and all profits made will be donated to the clinics she went to in the Eastern Cape. It will be an ongoing project. Spanglish Familia will be helping with the setup of a gofundme account.

    I’ll use some of Roughghosts pictures and some she sent me. If you have anything specific in mind, let me know.

    I work in oils and mainly use a palette knife. I am however flexible with my tools.

    She always encouraged me to keep on painting even when I wallowed in self doubt. How stupid of me. Her mom used to paint shells btw. Anyway, I’d love to use my talents to remember her fondly.

    yvetteyadams1@gmail.com

    Liked by 8 people

  19. *lights a candle*

    This is going to be a bit all over the place but I’m going to try to say goodbye. She knows I was the type of person to be all over the place so I guess it’s okay.

    My Homes,

    I understand why you did it. I really do. Your brothers and sisters knew your torment. There were times I felt so helpless to be honest. But you always made me believe that every chat or every chuckle was worth the immense effort it became to you. It became so draining to participate in normal life things for you. But you tried. You tried for us, your friends. Your tribe.

    I feel like I let you down. I wanted to do more. To be that rock you were for me. I could always turn to you when the world was at my throat; when the demons were at my feet. Grabbing at me. Now I have to face them on my own.

    But you’re at peace now; this was all I have ever wanted for you.

    You’re free.

    You hated it when I would complain about my weight. Looking back, it feels so stupid now. You always encouraged me to keep writing; to keep painting. Thank you for believing in me especially on those days I had no hope for myself.

    You were my gangsta, and I was your blood. We were homies.

    You complained that you were old. But you were so badass. That’s a fact. You’d send me the best music. You had fucking good taste. And I loved that we both crushed on LL Cool J. Why you crushed on him I don’t know. :) Makes me smile just thinking of all the drool we lost to that guy. PS. Thank you for keeping all my guy and lady crushes TOP SECRET. Thank you for never judging my taste either.

    Oh Ulla, as I’m typing this, I still can’t believe that it’s true. I keep looking at our old chats, I send you “I love homes” messages but watch silently as they don’t deliver. It breaks my heart. You always responded; you were always there.

    I’ve been wanting to paint a picture for you for the past two weeks (to send with the flashstick I still needed to send to you). Something abstract, something nobody would understand- just like this fucking illness. I wanted it to give you hope because your sense of hope disappeared long time ago. In fact, the real Ulla seemed to only come in flashes towards the end, I used to tell you to leave the hope for me. I had it in the bucket loads for you. I had hope that you’d come back to us.

    You fought so hard.

    Please know that you were never a burden to me or any one of us. You were loved. And it’s because of this love that we’re making such a fuss.

    Thank you Ulla.

    Thank you Blue, for all that you’ve done for Our Lived Experience. Thank you for the back and forth emailing, for doing the interviews (probably from your couch). Thank you for keeping us going, for keeping me going.

    So many times we’d talk about meeting. I said I’d cook and you’d make the coffee. We’d sit together on your stoep. You’d obviously have your smoke and I’d watch and you take it in and exhale. All I wanted was to be in your space- to be next to you, to care for you. I guess I’ll have to hold onto those memories that never really happened.

    I’m sorry for not being able to save you.

    I love you Ulla. I always have, I always will.

    Your gangsta,
    Your blood.
    Always.
    Yve

    **For those of you interested, I’ll be painting a series of paintings as a tribute to Ulla (Blahpolar). I want to sell them and all profits made will be donated to the clinics she went to in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. It will be an ongoing project. Spanglish Familia will be helping with the setup of a gofundme account.

    I’ll use some of Roughghosts pictures and some she sent me. If you have anything specific in mind, let me know.

    I work in oils and mainly use a palette knife. I am however flexible with my tools.

    She always encouraged me to keep on painting even when I wallowed in self doubt. How stupid of me. Her mom used to paint shells btw. Anyway, I’d love to use my talents to remember her fondly.

    yvetteyadams1@gmail.com**

    Liked by 10 people

        1. Very happy to have made you smile today! So sweet, thank you for thanking me, lol. No one like her, anywhere, ever, and never will be. Warm hug for you.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thanks love. Hugs and love right back. Hope your day was good with the birthday celebrations?

            I did some painting. I’m pushing my boundaries. I feel a lot more driven to paint funny enough. To learn. To grow.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Yay for more painting! The day has a slow pace and I’m thankful for that. We’ll likely head out to the Toronto Zoo tomorrow because the weather was overcast and rainy today. I can’t believe my oldest is 9 already!

              Liked by 1 person

    1. She would be the first to tell us to not feel like we let her down. I’m also second guessing myself but we talked honestly about death, suicide and our previous attempts. We said to each other that whatever happens with each of us it will be a personal decision. It was easier to say back then than living it now, though, that’s for sure.

      Liked by 5 people

  20. “If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life” – Pablo Neruda

    “Strongs” she told me time and time again when life would slap me in the face. That became my favourite go-to phrase for expressing sympathy, empathy, and a little compassion to others who were having a particularly hard time.

    I used to joke and call her Profesora (Professor, in Spanish) because, well, she was like a “walking encyclopedia”. I sought out her blog, this space, and her words to learn more about bipolar and to meet and connect with other people who got it, who understood how frustrating and tiring it is to be held hostage over and over again by the varying symptoms of depression and mania and everything in between.

    Ulla, bravo! On creating this safe space to be ourselves and try to figure things out together.

    I have so many fond memories of Ulla – here on her blog as well as connecting via email and other ‘chat mediums’. I had what I call ‘premonitions’ before her death. Every day it seemed I had ‘reminders’ of her. The last time we communicated was on August 19th. I emailed her my manuscript of a children’s book I wrote. She expressed her approval. I ended off our chat with “So nice to hear from you”, and then last week the reminders were strong: first I read about a tourist attraction in South Africa, then I had 3 or 4 new followers that all happened to be from South Africa, but the strongest premonition happened when a young woman, named Ula (one ‘L’) started following me on September 1st (very likely the day she passed).

    I thought “How strange and wow, what a coincidence”, and I thought about emailing her about it, but never did. The guilt of not reaching out is still there, but it’s subsiding, because the truth is living the way she was living – as she saw it – was just too painful.

    I’d like to dedicate a few songs to her.
    Artificial Nocturne, from Metric, a Canadian band. She loved this tune.
    Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay, because it’s an awesome tune and I know she loved this band.
    Ahead by a Century from The Tragically Hip, Canadian band.
    “You are ahead by a century
    And disappointing you is getting me down”
    Ulla, you felt like your feelings were too heavy for us to carry and too broken to help you put back together, and that you were disappointing us. Not true amiga. I’m not disappointed. I respect your decision. It hurts, I can’t lie, but I respect your decision.

    Today is bittersweet. Bitter because I’m formally saying goodbye to my friend, Ulla (Blah). And sweet, because today is my oldest son’s birthday. I think I need a little umami to balance it out a bit. I’m a Foodie at heart and I remember asking Ulla if she had a choice of all the luscious and tasty food on the planet what would be her last meal and to my surprise she responded “a cheese sandwich”. She loved her a simple yet delicious cheese sandwich.

    So here I am, present with all of you – those who loved and respected her – and I offer a humble toast, with some hot cocoa and a delicious cheese sandwich, in memory of my treasured tribe member…

    “¡Salud!”

    I can see her grinning and maybe rolling her eyes at how cheesy I can be sometimes. I know, I’m not an academic, just a warm-cup-of-cocoa kinda person who would often seek out silly banter on her blog. I always looked for the humour amidst the fuckery that living with bipolar disorder entails, and I know she valued that about me.

    She’s likely rolling her eyes even more right now, thinking lightheartedly “Hey, comrade, stop making this about you, it’s my vigil”.

    ‘Tis comrade Doritos, ‘tis your vigil indeed. ‘Twas a fucking pleasure knowing you, however short-lived it may have been.
    And wherever you are, I truly hope to meet you there someday. Con mucho cariño y mucho amor, your Spanglish amiga – Jill.

    NOTE TO TRIBE: I’m really sorry that I couldn’t figure out how to paste photos here in the comments section. I know many of you wanted to know what she looked like and after seeking Yve and Joe’s opinions we decided on one photo that Joe took during his visit with her last year.

    https://myspanglishfamilia.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/its-september-10th-goodbye-ulla/

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Yes, she did like simple food. I think both of us treated food like something that has to be eaten to not feel hungry, but not much more than that. The last answer I got from her was a smiley face. 24 hours later I got the call from her neighbor.

      Liked by 3 people

  21. I’ve said so much already in my posts yesterday and I will probably say more, so brace yourselves if you follow me. After seeing a video today that finally made me cry, for myself, for all of you, but primarily and angrily for Ulla, anger is finally starting to surface. Because the world was too late, because we are working on it, big steps forward have been made, but not enough to save this incredible, generous and huge hearted person who was suffering so much. Not enough, not soon enough. For her sake, for your sakes, in her name, let us drive the awareness forward, further, faster. Goodbye Ulla. I fucking tear up just writing that. Fuck it. I’ll fucking miss you mate.

    Liked by 8 people

  22. FOR ULLA: BECAUSE YOU BELIEVED IN ME

    The following contains quotes from Ulla, aka Blah from Blahpolar Diaries, in italics. I have no hope of reaching the fresh mash of locutions I feel are needed to remember her, so I used quotes. She wouldn’t want anyone putting words into her mouth anyway.

    Her death tastes like a handful of her medications: bitter. I gobble it down *gulp, gulp* in one bite but it chokes me and makes me sick.

    “I believe that our tears honour our dead, but it’s got to be real.”

    Oh, it’s real. Too fucking real. My brother suggested twice that the news may be some sort of sick joke. However much I hope to see an email from Ulla telling me that rumors of her death are largely exaggerated, I know I won’t see it. I knew it the moment I read the news: Blah is gone…

    Are you still there? 5 September 2016, 06:53 a.m. That was my last message to her. I try to not think that the message came through too late. That I should have written it 24 hours earlier. I try not to think that it was there on time. That she saw it, and that her reply was her suicide: no, I’m not there.

    “I’ve lost myself along the way and I’d like to find myself again, even if it’s just to say goodbye.”

    Ulla may have felt lost, but she helped me find my way. She helped a lot of people. Through her ups and downs, her crazed periods and her vomiting, she kept us updated with her sharp observations and raw honesty.

    “True compassion is rare and horribly underrated.”

    Yes. And she had it in spades. She was always there when I cried help. She gave and gave, so much. If only she could have given as much to herself, I think. If only..

    “Chief amongst the things I’m never going to write about in the memoir I’m never going to write, is a chapter I won’t be calling ‘Grandiose Schemes and Ensuing Fuck Ups’. Because ja….. If selective memory deletion ever becomes a thing, I’ll be trampling people on my way to the head of the queue.”

    And I would say no, no, Ulla. Your memories make you who you are. I like who you are. And she would tell me she doesn’t but she loves me for saying it.

    “So, tribe, how are you doing? We might be the only people who can ask each other that and just tell the truth. No pretence, no sinking feeling, no feelings of guilt when the truthful answer is, “up to shit” more often than not. Here we all are, intense and extreme people, people who other people often think have our heads up our asses, but here we are and we’re so fucking compassionate.There are days when this tribe – you – get me through it without me melting down completely. There’s a lot more I could say, but I won’t, because I’d fuck up my reputation for grouchiness. Seriously though, thank you.”

    In the two years since she began her blog, we climbed on the Fuck Bipolar Train with Blah at the controls. Her acerbic wit drove us on as she stoked the fires with her dragon breath. But she never kidded anyone. Ulla didn’t want to die; she just didn’t want to keep living.

    “I feel the need to preface my answer by telling you that this isn’t a threat, just a statement (a weather report, if you will) – I don’t want to be alive. Oh dear, I shouldn’t have said that, I should never say that. Yes I hear you…. It freaks you right out, it’s unfair on you, it breaks your heart, it’s not a rational conclusion, it’s selfish, it’s… It’s all of that and more and now you’re hurting too. Ah I’m sorry, I’m sorry. You care because you love me and I open up because I love you, but this particular conversation only ever has one conclusion. It causes you distress and me loneliness.”

    It was – is – hard to read. I wonder if she left a note, but why? She left hundreds of pages of notes right here. How could she be more eloquent at the end, when it was so obvious that the deeper she sank into depression the less she wrote?

    “I get very silent when I’m feeling very fucked.”

    And silent she went.

    “So I swallow the pills, keep regular hours, get some exercise and basically live (mostly) like a model fucking bipolar patient. All I can see of the future is a dim road to an unhappy death. I have one dream and that is to go quietly very fucking soon after my dog does.”

    My uninformed mind is playing tricks on me now and imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios. The unexpected death of her dog, Solo, that drove her over the edge. Giving up on that dream and leaving Solo alone. Even taking Solo with her.

    Who found her? How did she do it? Where will she be buried? All things I may never know.

    “I don’t believe that the dead suffer, I strongly believe that the living dead suffer every single moment of their lives.”

    A paradox, then. I love her enough to not want her to suffer, tho that means I suffer myself. I’m not sure I give that willingly. I hold it out with one hand, full of love, and snatch it back with the other, full of loss. She is right; I have become the living dead.

    “Everybody dies and there’s no way of thinking about it without being sad, and we should be sad when someone we love dies, because they’re worth being sad about.”

    Yes, you are worth it.

    “I haven’t learned not to rail against the very concept of death forever. It’s inevitable and personally, I think I will welcome mine when it comes. I’m not remotely interested in immortality.”

    You are immortal, Ulla, in what you gave me and each person you touched. Knowing I will never read another post from you, another message, another joke, is one of the most horrible truths I’ve had to face. But I aim to live up to what you said to me: “you’re stronger than I am”. Not because the universe needs some proof that you were right.

    But because you believed in me.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. I can answer some of your question. Solo is not dead. She is currently at one of Ulla’s dog-loving friend’s so she is taken care of. Unfortunately the friend can’t keep her permanently so she will need to be rehoused. Solo was there when it happened, though. Another villager was going around the village at 3 am and he heard Solo barking from inside the house. She never does that when she’s inside. We suspect that’s when it happened. And in the morning UIla’s friend and neighbour found her. It breaks my heart. Solo was my therapy dog too. I would love to take her in but my circumstances don’t allow it.

      The neighbour told me that while Ulla rarely left in the last few weeks, on the day before her passing she walked around the village greeting neighbours, having a chat with her friend and settling her account at the store. So I think her made was up at that point. Hopefully this will provide some closure.

      Liked by 9 people

  23. I was devastated on hearing the news … Only accepting the finality of it when her brother phoned and confirmed. So many what ifs and if only … Torturous. Your fight is over now Ulla … May your next journey be the radiant light you couldn’t always see in yourself 💔

    Liked by 9 people

  24. I last “spoke” to Blue on the 29th of August. I told her that I was planning a trip for us to Rotterdam. I knew by her response that I should be worrying… She simply said, “Lol”. There was an uncomfortable feeling in my spirit during our last chat, and now I know why.

    I wish she had reached out. But I know when you’re in it, you can’t. Ulla knew we loved her. She knew how important she was to us. She also knew that she had no other choice (or at least, that’s how I imagine she probably felt). Even if she had reached out, what could any of us have done to help her? To stop her. Would stopping her have been the right thing to do? I believe Blue did not want to burden us with the gravity of what she was going through. Perhaps she didn’t want to endure the guilt we might have put on her, had she reached out and told us of her plans. I think it’s because she loved US, that she didn’t tell us what she planned to do.

    I’m sure many of us noticed how quiet Blah had gone. I knew it was a warning sign. The past week or two, I’ve been going onto my browser, and Blah’s page is one of my “frequently visited” sites. My brain kept saying, “Click on it. Check up on her.”, but my spirit stopped me. Sometimes I get so pissed off when I ignore the signs, and obey my spirit. The same thing happened when I had my second son. I KNEW, in my spirit, that he was going to die. The whole 12 days that he was with us, I disassociated from the rest of the world. It was just him and I, in this little bubble of love. We were a part of the world, but apart from it. We participated, but were absent. And then he died. And the moment he died, in the back seat of my car while I was driving, I knew he had passed. I convinced myself he had just fallen asleep. But I knew. I knew. I just couldn’t face it.

    I believe we all know, in a spiritual dimension, when we are going to lose someone we love. We don’t always see the signs, or listen to our spirit. I have had a few experiences that might seem a bit strange, but I’m pretty sure my tribe-mates will get it… I’ve had premonitions of friends’ death – I dreamt once of a college friend – in my dream, he was killed in a car crash – a few days later, I watched the news on TV. I was 19 – I never used to watch the news… And the first story was of a light aircraft that had crashed into a road in my friend’s home town. The third name they read out on the news, of the passengers who had died in that crash, was my friend. A few months later, he came to me in a dream. He was happy, and smiling, and he told me that he was OK.

    When I was four, my uncle passed away. He was 21. Motorbike accident. Probably my first, clearest memory, was of a dream I had of my uncle shortly after his death. I dreamt he was in a hot air balloon. He was smiling and waving goodbye to us all – we were at my grandmother’s house in my dream. It was a happy dream.

    Ulla, I pray that you will come visit me in my dreams so that I can “meet” you face-to-face. I will end with the last, unread message I sent you after I found out you had left us….

    “I’m sorry. I miss you already </3 "

    Liked by 11 people

    1. I chatted to her almost every day, even only to send her a funny pic or a bad pun. Isolation was always the worst aspect of my depression so I made sure she felt that she is not forgotten. Her answers have indeed grew shorter lately, sometimes it was just a smiley or “lol”. I knew she was struggling, I just didn’t know it was that bad. She said that she would never do it while her dog was alive but I also know that in that dark moment no promises matter.

      Liked by 9 people

    2. I’m like you, Lola, I wish for her to visit me in my dreams. I don’t know what to say except strongs and hugs for you xx

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I want Ulla to be happy first, and second, selfishly, I want her to be happy and come visit my dreams. Wait, is that appropriate? ::smiles devilishly:: Probably not, but I bet she would like it. The comment I mean. And I bet I’d like the dream too ::smiles devilishly again:: Ulla owes me a walk on her beach holding hands and a shot (or a bottle or two) of hard liquor sipped from her own unique shot glass, damn it. I want that dream, and whatever happens after the walk.~DM

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I wanna walk on the beach too :( Maybe you can write a poem about it, about your walk on the beach and how it would go? I’d love to read that poem :)

          Liked by 1 person

  25. I will make one comment and go to sleep. It is the middle of the night here. Ulla and I had a friendship that was not so much tied to our mutual bipolar diagnoses but to our love of literature, writing and being queer. A copyeditor and proofreader by trade she was always my first reader. She insisted I write. She saw me publish off-blog, contribute to several print publications and publish an intensely raw and personal essay/memoir. I ask myself if I let her down. Not in any big way that would have changed her trajectory. That was not within my power. But there are small things I wish I had done for her while she was still alive to share them.

    I loved Ulla for who she was. Who she is and always will be. I entirely respect and understand her decision that life, as she was experiencing it, was not worth living. I can also yell at her, even now, and say “Fuck you!” but I mean that with love. Fuck the illness that took her joy away. She held on much longer than most mortals would. No one of us can judge the pain she was in. Many of us have probably touched it at times. I know I have. And I also know that to talk of childhood trauma and demons is bullshit. Regardless of what her past may have held, she was not haunted by a rational darkness. People with apparently picture perfect lives chose to end them and some with hellish experiences survive adulthood unscathed. Working in human services I have seen it all.

    Ulla was a survivor. She was 46 years old. Old enough to decide for herself when enough was enough and as her friend I will seek to honour her memory.

    And oddly, the weekend before I learned of her death when she was already long gone, I was haunted by the sudden strong desire to get a tattoo on my forearm. I have never had any desire to get a tattoo. Both of my (adult) kids have one. And Ulla, she had lots. As soon as I can afford it, I think I will get one too. For her. I don’t know where else the idea could have come from.

    Shame Ulla. Ag shame.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. I think Ulla would secretly enjoy that you’d get a tattoo in her honour 😀 It was about 15 years ago when we had each other’s names tattooed on our lower spines. Years down the line, Ulla had my name changed into designs and found it rather amusing that I’d kept mine as just that … Ulla.

      Liked by 8 people

    2. Last time I visited her we both got tattoos. Not matching ones, though, we laughed at the idea. I have several tattoos myself and I plan to tattoo one of Ulla’s tattoos next to the one commemorating my mother.

      Liked by 8 people

  26. Dear Ulla,

    Let me sit down at the gig am doing this day, and steal a few mins to finally brave it to write something here on this your special day. Remember when 2 years ago I wrote that post about you being my hero and heroine? And when I asked you for a more friendly name to use for you and you told me to chose? Ans that I chose John because I am Mary? And that even when you told me you were a john I said I didn’t care? That I loved you with my spirit for who you were and not what you were? Oh dear me… Hmm am not commenting because I fear any dragon’s toast you know… Am grieving out as you cheered me on in August and September 2014.
    At last I see a foto of you, and although I can’t see the blue bright eyes I read you had, I visualize them. So cool and cute you look, so reachable and unreachable..
    Ah Ulla, because I almost did it successfully myself in 2009, I can empathize with your decision…

    Pray tribe, can someone tell me if Solo is still alive or not?

    Xoxo to our grieving selves all the way from Cameroon

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Solo is alive and at Ulla’s friend’s.

      Ulla always looked cool. I’ve met her first ten years ago and despite being a young straight bloke I thought she was the coolest-looking person ever.

      Liked by 8 people

  27. I wrote this a few days ago:
    http://www.thescarletb.com/2016/09/08/her-name-was-ulla/

    I have to add that, in a way, I took Ulla for granted. She was this cornerstone of the Bipolaratti and like, even knowing she was having a hard time, she was a strong and stubborn person and I thought she’s outlive us all. I might not have been the most regular commenter or anything, but like… she was there, and I valued her existence. I’m going to still be doing that even if she’s physically gone from the world. After all, nobody truly dies as long as someone is around to remember them. Looking at this thread, looking at all the loving comments and thought-provoking stories, I think all of y’all feel the same way. So rest in peace Ulla, but know that you’re still with us nonetheless. <3

    Liked by 10 people

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