There's something rather peculiar to knowing you are leaving. Especially knowing that you're leaving for an uncertain amount of time, a year or more. Six months ago I never would've expected such a thing to happen. Yet here I am, about three to four weeks away from departure to an entirely new adventure.

I got a job as a photographer/retoucher in Africa, for a studio/agency. How insane is that? Very insane, I would say. Especially for silly little me, the one who used to always change his mind about everything, the one who used to be scared of his own shadow.

I remember back in 2003 when I was just on the verge of beginning my certificate in visual arts at Sherbrooke University, Darién told me something that stuck with me. Quoting Lost In Translation, he said that, much like Bob was for Charlotte, he wasn't worried about me. That I would find my path. That I just had to stick with it for long enough and that life would lead me (I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea). And here we are.

There's so much yet to do:
  • move out of my apartment
  • get my visa for the Ivory Coast
  • receive all the vaccines requiered(about 6, altogether)
  • see friends at least one last time
  • get together with the whole family one last time
  • pack
  • determine which cameras I'll be bringing
  • acquire some equipment
  • replace my dying iPod (as much as I truly want to discover new cultures, I'll die if I just get to listen to Ivorian music)
  • ideally shoot and edit another short movie
  • cancel my gym membership
  • switch or cancel my mobile phone plan
  • finish shooting the third roll of film and send the three rolls to Tik Lun for our joint art project
  • enjoy every second possible
  • meet with my great uncle and great aunt so they can tell me their stories of when they lived in Africa
  • hug people and tell them I love them
  • have as many yoga sessions as possible
  • start a travel blog

I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff here, but that's just a general list. More will come up, in time.


Sleep (Or lack thereof)

I have a big problem with sleep, so it seems. For a certain while, I'll be able to sleep normally, without problems. Then will hit a patch of insomnia, intermixed with nightmares and certain nights of oversleeping.

Before, I used to be able to carry on even if I hadn't slept properly. I would be able to go by my day to day business normally, only feeling kinda tired in the process. In general though, I would be able to manage without a hitch.

Nowadays, it's another story. If I don't sleep properly, I just can't do anything proper during my day. I skip work and only manage to do very little during the day. Also, insomnia is always, ALWAYS accompanied by a certain apocalypse feeling, a sensation that doom is upon us, that gloom is right inside my very own body. I would imagine that insomnia allows depression to travel my entire body, to scour my veins looking for more cells to infect with its darkness.

I guess that this feeling is only exacerbated by the fact that I'm sitting in between at the moment. In between cities, in between lives, in between states. I'm moving back home soon for the summer and then for studies. I might be going abroad for a contract but nothing's finalised or confirmed yet. It's as though life was on hold at the moment.


The Rollercoaster Days

In the previous post, I mentionned something regarding the fact that this blog is an excellent venting point for me and that it proved exceptionally useful in the rollercoastery days pre-diagnosis.

What I didn't mention was what that diagnosis was. I'm pretty certain that this will be no surprise to anyone who's ever read any part of this blog, but I'll still write a little about it.

I'm bipolar.

I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder (bipolar II, to be precise) in October 2007, after having 'lost it' during the summer 2007 and asking my general practitioner for a psychiatric assessment. At first, the doctor didn't seem very keen on the idea. Not until I confided all about the grand ideas I always had in the back of my mind, about the fact that I oft felt that I was harbouring a magical power, etc etc. That little tidbit of info alone seemed to change his mind on the psychiatric assessment.

Lemme tell ya, it's quite an adventure to be 'psychiatrically examined'. At first, I was met by a trio of psychiatrist in what they call the 'liaison' module. Their task: determine whether or not I should be there in the first place. Their way of determining: carabining you with questions. Where have you been? What have you felt? What have you been doing? Sum up the past 10 years of your life for us. Let's make a timeline of it all. Oh you've not accomplished much during all that time, have you. Oh dear, that's quite a lot of changing and switching, etc etc. I know they weren't judging in the very least, but it's quite scary, depressing and humbling to look at the previous 10 years of you life on a blackboard and realise that you haven't completed anything or amounted to very much in all that time.

I had three meetings with the psychiatrist at the liaison module before I was transfered to the mood disorders' clinic for another assessment. A different one. A very scary one.

Imagine the scene: you are in a waiting room. Someone comes up and calls your name. You follow the person to a room. They open the door. There are 5 people in the room waiting for you. They're sitting in a circle. They are all ready to ask you questions and listen and take notes.

Here's a rundown of the team:
  1. Psychiatrist
  2. Intern in psychiatry
  3. Psychiatric nurse
  4. Social worker
  5. Psychotherapist

And so the interview begins. An hour straight of questions. Then they ask you to step out of the room while they discuss and deliberate on your case as well as refer to all the data the peeps @ liaison amassed on you.

Thirty-something minutes later, they ask you back in the room. Diagnosis falls. "Sir, we believe that you have bipolar II disorder." You feel a mix of fear, sadness and relief. They talk of treatment options and further meetings with psychiatrists. You walk out of there with a booklet on the disorder, an appointment for the following week with the Intern as well as a prescription for mood stabilisers.

It wasn't very easy at first. Mood stabilisers are a serious matter. There are side effects and scary facts and blood tests to be had to monitor that they are not killing essential bits of your system. But almost a year and a half in the treatment, I must say that they have saved my life.

I've changed so much in the past year and a half. No more crazy highs and insane lows. No more freaking out on people, no more losing it and spending complete afternoons pulling my hair while lying in bed staring at the ceiling, no more believing that I'm infused with some sort of a divine power that makes me invincible.

When all of that leaves you and you start becoming (more) stable, you start realising who you are. You realise what you want and what you don't. You also realise how you were before and what you did to people. Let's just say that you start feeling pretty silly about little things and little facts of your life.

And then, as you live through it and ponder it and accept it all, you realise that the past belongs to the past. That it's all you've done that brought you where you are now. You end up realising that, in the end, it's all okay.


Quiet Return

I've been ill all this past week. Tonsilitis. It seems that, as we get older, the childhood illnesses we used to be able to brush off in a single movement can now bring us down entirely.

I kinda had it coming. I had been feeling rather unwell for weeks and wasn't doing anything regarding it. Even if my tonsils were swollen, I would just tell myself: 'tis viral, 't'will go away in a jiffy'. To go away it did, only to come back with a bite a bit later. This game of hide and seek went on for about a month until a bit more than a week ago, when I came down with a gigantic case of fever. This made me decide to go and seek some help. Goooooood thing I did.

During the past week, as I was completely unable to work or do anything, I had plenty of time to think. I got to thinking that I wanted to start blogging again. I used to enjoy keeping this blog, it always turned out to be a good venting point for me, especially during the rollercoastery days pre-diagnosis (oooh, I might need to fill you in on that. Next post, I promise).

Quiet return then. And the reason why I didn't just start a new blog instead of continuing one that has been dormant for 2 years? I don't want to erase the past anymore. Everything written here is stuff that I felt or witnessed or went through. So why part with it?


Change of Plan (once more)

Well. What can I say. I need to be adult and think about my future instead of butterflying from interest to interest. Passion alone doesn't pay the bills, so it seems. And at 25, I strongly need to start thinking about the rest of my life.

I'm changing direction. Exit Photo, Enter Computer Science. My photo classes have made me realise that I love photography to bits, but being in it constantly kills my love for it. Also, with everything I've seen about "the industry", I am quite certain I don't want to work in it (or fight with all my might to try to wiggle and lick/suck my way in).

And so, right now, I'm making efforts to be admitted in college in a technical computer science program. And then, once I'm done, I might even try my luck at computer/software engineering, who knows. At least, when I get my degree, I should be able to find a job that'll pay my rent.

It has to be noted though that this is not so much of a tradeoff. I've always wanted to study computer science. I meant to study in that field right after high school, but being annoyed at everyone telling me how to live my life, I decided to study something else just to spite them. Now, 8 years later, it's time I set things back on track.

I'll always be an artist though. My love for photography and music will not be put away or take second place. I'm realising that one can have a career in one field and passions/interests/hobbies in another field. It doesn't matter. Who knows what I'll be doing in 6 years? Maybe I'll be a programmer for a company and feeling great because I'll be contributing to something. Maybe I'll be on tour with Dolorès and working with Pierre on songwriting the second album. Maybe I'll have computerart/photo exhibitions somewhere. Maybe I'll be doing something else altogether. I might even be working/living in Tokyo by then! Or maybe I'll come back to being a writer. Who knows? No one.


Well, I Guess It's Not Perpetual Motion After All!

As usual, when I stop blogging, a lot happens in my life. This time being no exception, a lot has indeed happened. Apart from the usual school turmoil and general stress, my love for photography has only but grown.

I decided to try and apply for entry at the Design School of UQAM. It's kinda hard to get in, they accept only 60 peeps a year. I'm working on a portfolio now and I'll try my luck. I used to always be petrified at the sheer idea of daring to apply there and then it dawned on me that if I don't try, I'll always regret not trying.

I am in love. I know, I've written that a few times before but I am starting to think that until this, I didn't know what being in love really was. Being in love is not about feeling bad or having doubts, it's about feeling free and wanting to be better. It's about wanting to just explode because you're always so happy, so warm when the other is near. It's about knowing you've found true love. It's the feeling you get in your stomach when you stand close to the person. It's all about sharing the little things, making coffee for the other, taking a walk, falling asleep together.

Isn't it funky how when you're well there's not all that much to write?