Watercolors

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Happy World Bipolar Day (old post from earlier this year) – possible triggers

Self ReflectionDear everyone who reads this,

Iʼve realized something lately. I donʼt want to be the girl who hides anymore because sheʼs ashamed of who she is. For the last couple of years, life has been hard for me. Actually life has been pretty hard for me in general, but the turning point and what i feel comfortable sharing is this. People keep asking how I’m doing and where Iʼve been, and what my life has been like for the past two years. Well, you may not like the answer so you shouldnʼt have asked if you canʼt handle the truth… and if you didnʼt ask Iʼm going to tell you anyway. If you donʼt like it feel free to not talk to me, Iʼm better off anyway. Not to sound bitter or rude, but thatʼs also the truth. So here it goes I guess…

In college for the first year or so i was happy. I was on top of the world and I believed I could do anything. I felt confident, comfortable in my own skin and at times even beautiful. But in reality I was somewhat spoiled and selfish. I took things for granted, even people, well especially people. I recognized in some sense I was blessed, but didnʼt fully understand or appreciate what exactly that meant… or how lucky I was. I forgot how at any moment life can change for the worst. That all you care about can be taken away from you.

My stepdad, who I call my father, had been around since I was 13 which was a pivotal point in my life. He saved my mom, brother and I from being homeless for the second time in my life. I was grateful for him, and much to my regret I didnʼt express it as often as I should have. Sometime in 2012, he had a heart attack and flatlined in our garage. I literally saw the life leave his body and thought itʼd never come back. This was the second time I witnessed someone I love almost have their life taken from them. by some miracle, he was revived and his soul again entered his body… but when his soul left his body for even that short moment, I think a part of mine left with it.

After that, my mental heath was deteriorating day by day, and along with it my relationships, including the most important relationship, with myself. I started doing bad in school, started to have daily panic attacks, and I started numbing my pain and fears with the daily use of marijuana. Yes, my dad was alive, but that experience made me realize that death was a serious thing, something that is inevitable and I didnʼt want to face the hard facts of it. I was at war in my mind. I questioned everything and anything. My illogical worries were endless and it was almost to the point of paranoia. Sometimes Iʼd ride the bus to school, and have to turn around and go home again because of my severe anxiety. I became concerned for my own well being so I started to see a counselor and talk about what was going on with me, because deep inside I knew something was wrong. For a while I thought this form of therapy was working, but I knew in my heart that there was a bigger issue I just didnʼt know what it was. I was at war in my mind and trapped in my body. I questioned everything. I had a million and one thoughts, ideas, and feelings running through my head all at once. I would get like six hours of sleep in a week total, which isnʼt good in itself. I was in a really toxic relationship…it was coming from both my end and his. We were both somewhat mentally abusive to each other. That was an eight month relationship and the whole time I would have anxiety attacks and heʼd call me crazy or make it worse on me by telling me Iʼd never get better, even if i sought treatment. I was also insecure because he kept comparing me to his ex and kept telling me he loved me then taking it back. Meanwhile, we were smoking massive amounts of weed all day everyday. So i just got worse and worse.

I started withdrawing in all aspects of my life. I wanted to crawl inside an underground cave and live my days out, alone. I knew I was hurting people including myself, even if unintentionally and I couldnʼt handle it. I was stuck in a whirlwind of chaos inside my mind, which sometimes is the worst place to be stuck.

In the spring of 2012, instead of just thinking about suicide, like I had been since I was 13, I attempted it. In all honesty it was kind of a half assed attempt, but iʼm glad it was. I wonʼt go into the super duper details, but looking back now it was was selfish, and yeah, some people say itʼs “the easy way out”… and you know what? Theyʼre right. I did see it as the easy way out. It was an easy way out. I was always feeling the constant turmoil in my mind, and I had a profound desire for eternal peace. Honestly, I was happy to take my life. I didnʼt want to be in pain any longer. I couldnʼt talk the roller coaster of life or my internal roller coaster anymore. For a while I thought I was getting better from going to counseling… so I stopped going as often as I should have been. One day I had a fight with my boyfriend at the time and with my family. So i went down to my room, held my cats for a while, and wrote a suicide note to my loved ones that was mostly just cruel. I walked down to the river and found a perfect spot to do it. I sat there smiling and touching the water for hours. I was just soaking in the fact that soon, when darkness hit, Iʼd finally be at peace…something I never truly had in my life. When darkness finally came, I jumped in the river and tried to swim out to the middle in hopes of getting swept away under the current. As soon as I hit the water, it was so cold that I flopped back onto the bank and just laid there. Then I tried two more times. “Damn my reflexes for betraying me” I thought to myself. I decided to sit longer, and after about an hour I gave up.

As I was walking home my mom and friend drove by and thatʼs when my friend started yelling. They just kept shouting “FRIEND! Friend! Whatʼre you doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING FRIEND?!” My mom sat there and stared straight ahead for a while. finally she calmly stated that i needed more help than anyone close to me could offer. i needed to be put in the hospital. i said something like FU iʼm not going anywhere but home. Thatʼs probably the hardest part of the story for me, is disappointing, and scaring people I loved the most…it is what Iʼm most ashamed to say.

After that I started going to counseling for a bit. That whole summer and spring seemed to be looking up despite me failing MANY classes that spring. I spent the summer with my best friend and my family. I did mushrooms in the park, molly on a moonlit night, and smoked marijuana on the daily. I traveled to California and met my biological fatherʼs mother and father for the first time. It was also the first time I ever saw a picture of him. I swam in the ocean, drank a lot of vodka, and soaked up all the sun that I could. When I came back I took a trip to Seattle to be with the person I had always loved ever since 7th grade. When I got there things were looking up, and then started to turn sour like they always did between us. Despite everything, I mostly got what I was looking for which was closure. When I came back to Spokane, I did something that I havenʼt done in years. I went to church. Before I went though, I asked God to let me feel him, and speak to me, guide me to my purpose, and help me find myself again. Well, he answered my prayers, and not in the way that I expected. I guess God doesnʼt work like that though, does he? Anyhoo, I felt God that day… and for three days after that I felt him the whole time, found pieces of myself, and went a little crazy.

I went manic. I didnʼt know it at the time, I just thought I was feeling really good, and that the universe was finally deciding to embrace me, and I was embracing it back. It felt good… too good. I didnʼt sleep, and I didnʼt eat. I rode my bike and walked everywhere. I drank a lot of whiskey and beer and smoked, and danced, and sung, and gave art away, wrote songs, and poems, made a facebook page, invited people to my house for art parties, traded things I had for things I wanted, bartered, and talked to random people… anything and everything thatʼs what I did.

On September 15 or 16th of 2012 my mom and I had a fight again. I was so mad I told her I was just going to run away to Seattle to be with people who loved me. I claimed that since she “hated” me and “couldnʼt deal with me” anymore then I would go somewhere where people could. Stupid me for thinking that, my mom is one of the only ones whoʼs ever truly been able to accept me or deal with me…

I started packing and bringing my stuff up from the basement. Everything. I put it all on the lawn because somehow someway I was moving that night. Around the evening, after tons of friends and family showed up and tried to get me to understand, my parentʼs called the cops. The cops talked to my family and I separately. They knew something was wrong with me, but didnʼt tell me that. They made me feel like they were here to help me, and were on Team Chelsea. Little did I know that everyone, I felt later, was against me…. In all actuality they were on Team Chelsea the whole time, I just really didnʼt know it, I guess, until now.

After the cops left, my family told me I needed to go to the hospital and get checked out. I told them, “sure if you get your heads checked out too, because Iʼm not the crazy one.” ( Itʼs actually funny to me now, maybe I have a dark sense of humor, but besides feeling shameful, my behavior that night makes me laugh a bit too.) Somehow, I think my brother, finally convinced me to go. So my new boyfriend, my mom, my dad, and my brother I think all went to the hospital with me.

Many details of the hospital Iʼm just going to leave out because Iʼm still somewhat ashamed of some of my behavior, but Iʼll just say I had a GREAT time at the hospital, and no thatʼs not sarcasm. I gave many of the docʼs quite a laugh because of my odd behavior, elevated mood and friendliness.

Then at like 4 am, I was transported by my parents to the actual mental hospital. The workers lead me to believe thatʼd Iʼd be working with them, and not actually be imprisoned there. They didnʼt bring it up though, I just assumed and they went along with it to get me to stay. I was very confused since they made put patientsʼ attire on and gave me a room and such, but it didnʼt really hit me until my family was asked to leave. I freaked out, not violently, but it did resemble something from a movie scene.

Those 9 days were terrifying. I had nurses (male nurses, mind you) following me everywhere at first.) They gave me pills and food that made me feel terrible. I felt like I was in a daze half the time. The first few days I had a stalker, heʼd follow me everywhere and I had to have a nurse escort him and another escort me everywhere just so he couldnʼt get to me. A few times they wouldnʼt see him standing outside my room waiting. Also I didnʼt know what the other patients were there for. I mean if I knew
I was mental it wouldnʼt have bothered me as much, but I was there thinking I was the normal one, so all these people that were dealing with things similar to me was very frightening. My psychiatrist was a dick for the first 6 days or so. I gained 20 lbs in 9 days because of the combination of their nasty food, the amount of food they made me eat and how often, the fact they didnʼt let me outside, and the medications they had me on. I only had a few minutes a day for phone calls, and only like an hour or two for visitors.
When I got out I was still a little unstable. I wasnʼt on the right medications and I had to switch psychiatrists because mine moved away. He was the one I hated at first but grew to love. He diagnosed me with severe GAD, ADD/ADHD, and Bipolar 1 disorder within minutes of talking to me. I was constantly switching meds to find the right fit, so I still had a lot of ups and downs alongside the overwhelming guilty and shameful feelings I had bottled up. Only very few of my friends stuck around. Approximately 3. Some wanted to, but I could tell they didnʼt fully understand so I just isolated myself. Also some left without giving me any explanation. I also dumped the one person who was there everyday for me besides my family because I felt he deserved a normal functioning member of society as a mate. I felt worse than I had ever felt. I felt like I should be locked up forever in a padded cell and never see the light of day again….

Now itʼs about a year and half since all of that. A lot has happened. My Dad died, I became homeless again. Then I had an apartment, and had to find a new one six months later. Iʼve ended a relationship, and got into a new one. My mom is moving away. Iʼm turning 23 in a few days and Iʼm learning how to be comfortable in my own skin again. I have dreams and goals. I am happy with the life Iʼve been given, and what has been taken away (well not happy with it, but I see it as just another chance to grow.) Iʼm probably the happiest Iʼve ever been. I still have my days, mostly due to my anxiety. Days where I canʼt get outside of my head, but I have a good support system. Iʼm on a mood stabilizer for Bipolar Disorder and I take an anxiety medication as needed, but only as a last resort. I also take a medication for the side effects… which it seems to not be working because I still have that 20 lbs I gained and then some… But Iʼd rather have that side-effect than hair loss. 😛

Sorry this was so long, but itʼs been a long time coming. I hope that you found answers to your questions. I hope that Iʼve at least helped someone feel like theyʼre not the only one, and helped someone feel better about who they are, because writing this has made me feel a lot better.

WHAT IʼVE LEARNED:

~Be yourself, you shouldnʼt have to hide.
~Find the true meaning of compassion and take the time to walk a mile, hell even a block in someoneʼs shoes before you judge them.
~Surround yourself with positive energy… friends, family, hobbies, places whatever positivity means to you.
~Let people love you, truly love you… and let go of the ones that donʼt. I always say you canʼt be loved for 100% yourself if you chose to not show people 100% of who you are.
~Seek the beauty in every day.
~Smile at everyone or do good deeds, even when you donʼt want to, because you donʼt know who needs it the most.
~My illness is a part of who I am, and shaped my character, but does NOT define me. ~Donʼt ever take anything for granted.
~NEVER be ashamed to ask for help.

HOW I COPE:
~I laugh… even when i donʼt want to.
~I take naps like a child.
~I cuddle my cats.
~I sing.
~I take my medication. haha
~I see a counselor and peer counselor, and also do group therapy.
~I joined a mental health community online.
~I listen to music on the daily.
~I meditate.
~I take photographs.
~I walk.
~I cry when I need to.
~I write.
~I practice compassion.
~I encourage myself and others.
~I set goals, and dream dreams.
~I do art.
~I talk A LOT
~I pray.
~I read.

My diagnosis and what they mean:
Bipolar 1 disoder, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

Bipolar 1 Disorder, which is also known as manic depression disorder.  I like this description better because it elaborates on the illness a little more than just saying “Bipolar”. Also many people get Bipolar disorder confused with multiple personality disorder, which is false. Bipolar disorder, or Manic depressive disorder is characterized by periods of depression, and also periods of mania. Depression is different than normal sadness one feels, itʼs ongoing unlike the natural sadness we sometimes feel as humans, and a lot of times when someone is depressed they donʼt know why. When people are sad they can pinpoint what event in their life happened to made them feel sad. Thatʼs not always the case with depression. Depression is also characterized by insomnia, anxiety, lethargy, anger, overwhelming guilt, memory loss or loss of concentration, loss of appetite or overeating, and also suicidal thoughts or actions.  People often say to depressed people to just “get over it.” What they donʼt know is that often times youʼre adding fuel to the fire. So be careful what you say.

The only way I can describe mania, without looking it up on wikipedia, is that itʼs an overly elevated mood. Itʼs pretty much the opposite of being depressed. Kinda if you were like on ecstasy. You do or say things you wouldnʼt normally do. You often talk really fast. You donʼt sleep or eat in some cases. Many times people who have went through a manic episode claimed to have spoken to God.  To be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, an individual needs to have had a manic episode at least once.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Anxiety feels like a million thoughts in your head buzzing around. They feed off one another and are often times are illogical. When Iʼm having an anxiety attack, I stiffen up, I cry, hyperventilate sometimes, and I often donʼt want to be touched. After an anxiety attack I feel like I ran a mile, and my muscles ache, and then I feel guilty.

Another thing that many people donʼt know is that often times, like in my case, one mental illness accompanies another. So, yes, you could say I hit the jackpot. ;]

Sorry this was so long, but itʼs been a long time coming. I hope that you found answers to your questions. I hope that Iʼve at least helped someone feel like theyʼre not the only one, and helped someone feel better about who they are, because writing this has made me feel a lot better… And to those of you Iʼve now scared away, fair well!
❤ Chelsea Diane Lee

Original Artworks

Michael’s “Daughter”

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Doing what I loved to do best that summer… hiking at home.

I’ve been waiting to tell you this my whole life…
to tell people just to educate && hopefully inspire…
but mostly because this is waaaaay cheaper than a therapist.  

I’ve been told by a few people that told this whole event that you’re about to read makes me brave, && that it takes balls to do what i did.

i think it’s funny because i feel like many people who have been in the same situation would do the same thing out of desperation, like i did.  It didn’t matter if i wanted to do this… i wondered too long about where i came from.

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Hemet. Outside my Uncle Steve’s backyard.

Just to be clear…
i’m not looking for pity, or for people to feel sorry for me.  I just feel like i’ve held it in so long that i need to let itout… 21 years of holding something like this hurts.

First of all lemme give you a background story, just so you’re not as confused.  

In 1990, my mother Malia Lee (at the time) was managing an apartment complex in Hemet, California.  She already had one child, my brother, Brandon Michael Lee who was around 6 or 7 years old at the time.  She was separated from his father && was living as a single mom, but was living happily nonetheless.  She soon befriended a tenant of hers by the name of Michael Wilmuth… Supposedly he was talk, dark and handsome.  He had glasses, brown eyes that turned into crescent moons when he flashed his big white teeth, && quite the intelligent mind…
My mom was happy… she wasn’t looking for love, especially in him… just a friend.  But one night, just like many other nights in this society,  they were hanging out, drinking && talking…one thing lead to another &&…
9 months later on April 2nd, a tiny premature little girl was born in Hemet Valley Hospital. My mom named her Chelsea Diane Lee. This girl is me…

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Baby Chelsea

When i was 1 year old, my mom issued a paternity test against my father Michael James Wilmuth.  The test came back 99.9% positive.  Since my mom refused Michael’s marriage proposal, && even tho that piece of paper said it all, he has consistently denied me my whole life… even now.

Growing up without a father until the age of 13 is not something i often speak of.  EVER.  i definitely don’t let people know it bothers me && i never seek to advertise it, nor do i want someone else telling my story… Not even to my hero,my loving mother.
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Feeling lost during my teenage years. A lot of my art reflected this.
Wheni was younger &&i’d see kids with their fathersi would come home to my mother’s loving arms soi could cry.  I stopped that a long time ago… at least in front of people.  Since I look NOTHING like my mom or my brother, my brother used to tease me thati was adopted, even tho he secretly loves me.  I grew up being ashamed, insecure, angry, humiliated, denied, ugly, lost, uncomfortable, && i felt utterly unloved && unwanted…i feel this way sometimes even still… especially when it comes to men.
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Ugly, different, little girl. The tie-dyed  sheep of the family.

Anyhow, an opportunity arose this summer for me. My uncle Steve invited my mom && i to a family reunion in the town of my

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Driving by the outskirts of Hemet.

birth… i suddenly knew what i HAD to do… && i grew more anxious && excited as the days passed by…

I finally got there, and it was so exciting.  I had a plan to find my bio dad, but nothing was in stone.  I wrote in my journal on the trip…

July 24, 2012

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My cousin Nila and I.

I stopped writing in here the other day because i was with Nila (my cousin) && Lisa… we finally figured out what to do with ourselves finally…

But one of the weirdest things of my life happened yesterday. My mom (Malia Lailani McConahy) found my grandparents’ number in the phonebook the other day.  So yesterday, we went to go find their house because their address was also in the phonebook.  At first we went to the wrong house so we had to call them to find out where they lived.  We went to their house with a full van of people, my mom, Nila, Grandma (Charlotte, my mom’s mom), Aunt- Kathy && myself. Everyone but Nila and my mom stayed in the car.

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My mom’s mom… My REAL grandma.

We went && knocked on the door && my “grandma” Jo answered.  She welcomingly let us in.  My mom pretty much started with “Here’s your granddaughter.”  Then grandma Jo basically said she can’t know if i’m her granddaughter for sure.  She right away insulted my mom to a certain extent.  Jo said it was my mother’s fault that the state of California went after my biological father and that my mom is the reason as to why he never was involved in my life.  With a shocked look on her face && a quick glance at my cousin && I, my mom retorted “No! The state of California called me to tell me they were going after Mike, not me.  It was like that with Brandon’s (my older brother) dad too.  We agreed on a certain amount to be paid && the child support office chased him for more anyway.” My mother also told Jo “I didn’t move Chelsea away til she was five years old.  I gave Michael ample time to get in contact && build a relationship with her.  He even had a copy of the paternity test that said my daughter is 99.9% his child.”

When the only reply from Jo was a blank stare, I suddenly realized my mom && i should have brought the 20-year-old paternity test results, but we were in such a hurry to go to California that we didn’t think to do it.  Plus we had no idea this dream would becomea reality, we just had hope before all this.  My mom went on to say we have it and that we’d send it when we got home && Jo agreed that it was indeed a reasonable plan.  

My mom asked her if I could stay and talk a while && Grandma Jo said yes.  She walked us into an open room with a big window and burnt-orange shagged carpet.

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The painting of Michael Wilmuth that I saw when I walked in. The painting that Jo had done.

I noticed paintings on the walls right away…

My eyes were automatically drawn to a painting, the oil painting above, of a man with dark hair, glasses, huge teeth, && tan skin hanging on the wall.  I asked who it was (even i already knew).  Jo said casually “Oh that’s a painting of Mike that I did in ‘82”.  
This was the first moment, in my whole 21 years on this earth, i ever saw my “father”.  At this very moment I bursted into tears.  Just the fact that it was my Grandma’s piece made me cry… but the fact i finally saw my “dad” for the first time, && the fact 

that i finally knew where i came from, that i finally had a sense of identity, hit me like a semi-truck.  
Not only was i crying, but my mom && My “Grandpa” were crying too.  
My mom pretty much was defending me && who i was not only my whole life, but also during the time that she was inside this woman’s house.  My mother soon left && i was all alone with my “brand-new” grandparents.   
Jo invited me to sit with her && offered me a glass of iced tea.  So while she went to fetch it i asked my Grandpa how long they’ve been married for.  He said 60 years.  i rudely but innocently asked, out of curiosity, if they were still in love with each other.  He heartily chuckled && said he hoped so because otherwise he doesn’t know how they’ve been together so long.  Then I asked if he was a Christian (because I could kinda tell) && he said they are Christian Baptists.  Of course me being me, brutally honest I told him what I believe && for the second time on this trip I was told I won’t get into heaven.  Shit like that pisses me off, naturally… so I said watch me get there anyway on my own accord.  He just smiled. (Gah, people are so freakin’ ignorant..) 


Also when my grandpa && I were alone he looked at me and said “Sorry I’m not talking much, i’m just kind of in shock”  i replied reassuringly that he wasn’t alone in that feeling. 

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Do I look like him?

 We sat there for a long moment, both of us with tears in our eyes && i’m sure bewildered looks on our faces, && just stared at each other.  Thenhad to look away because it was like he could talk to me without saying anything.  it was all in his eyes.  He looked at me like he loved me already… && most of all like he believed every word i said.  When i got in the car much later without saying anything, my mom told me the same exact thing.My Grandma Jo came back into the room at this point && she handed me some tissues && a 

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Doing what I do best… guess it runs in the “family”.

glass of iced tea.  She also handed me a tiny Polaroid photo of Michael (above), the second photo of the day, the second time i got to see my “Dad” && I thought I was going to shit when I first saw it.  I looked at her in amazement && said “I know you’re unsure if I’m blood, but I look at this picture && WOWWW!!!  I just find it funny that I am good at art, you claim Michael is, && that you used to paint && love art.  I find it funny how when I smile I have no eyes cuz I squint so hard && so does HE!  He has glasses && so do I, he has teeth that take up his whole face, && so do i”  She said she couldn’t know for sure…so i mentioned sending the paternity test again && she said she’d like that.  Then she asked for my contact information. She interrogated me in a friendly sort of way.  We talked about what i do, like art, my (real) family, growing up without Michael Wilmuth in my life, my homelessness experience, where i’ve lived etc.  Everything she could get out of me in 2 hours she did.

 I told them how I had a feeling that the summer of 2012 would change me, && how i felt it would be because I would finally get to meet them.  i told them how I hoped it would finally bring some sort of forgiveness, acceptance of myself and the situation, && peace into my life.   I gave her my house phone, my cell phone, && my mom’s phone number… && my home address.  She said if she had questions then she would call. 
 
… i finally asked where my dad was (well I of course said “Mike”) && they said he lived outside of Hemet, like in the outskirts i guess, but she didn’t want to tell me exactly where.  I said “do you think he’d be mad if i tried to make contact?”  She said she didn’t  know but she’d ask him about it.

 Meanwhile during this whole time she kept leaving the room with her cell phone.  i strongly think she was trying to call Michael…&& i have this icky feeling that he didn’t want to talk to me.  i asked what he does for a living.  She hesitated almost like she was embarrassed, sighed, && said he’s on disability.  ”Why? “, i asked politely.  She said it was because of his back.  My mom said he used to smoke the Ganja && that she thinks he has a medical marijuana card, but she obviously doesn’t know for sure.  I asked Jo if he had brothers && sisters and Grandpa said he has 2 kids from another marriage (i think) 2 girls && a boy, && that MIke’s sister’s name is Debbie. i asked about my older sister, yes MY SISTER, Brittany whom i’ve also never met or seen pictures of.  They said Michael isn’t in contact with her.  So basically they aren’t either.  My mom && they said it’s because Michael let Brittany be her stepdad.  i think my dad isn’t a nice person because i believe my grandparents want to believe me, but they can’t cuz they don’t wanna do anything he says not to do.  i think they fear him.  Which they even kind of said in a round-about way.

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Jo said this was the latest photograph of Michael. I see how we look alike. It’s weird.

 My Grandma said they don’t have a lot of family pics together, and her camera was really dusty when she pulled it out && asked me for a picture.  SHE asked for a picture!  So, that to me says she wanted to believe.  Then after 2 hours my mom came to get me.  She took pictures and when i left i looked at them really hard…If you notice, i inherited their height & my Grandma’s nose.  Also my Grandma is almost 80 and loves teal &&blue.  My Grandpa is 85 && loves the color blue also.  His dad was in the Army in WWI, they have a picture hanging in their living room.  My Grandma loves art, but likes to make crafts now, like cards && such.  She claimed to have her painting stuff still but she said she doesn’t do it much anymore.  She goes through stages (like me)  where she gets stuck on a

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My “grandparents” that I met only that once.

different media.   So i think that’s all i remember.  i don’t think i’ll meet Mike && i don’t know if i want to, but that’s okay.  i just like them.  Hopefully we’ll talk more. p.s. On my way to the beach.  I’ll write about it later…”

So, i know this has been a long story…  Just hold on it’s almost over, well for the moment at least. i came back July 30th without ever meeting my “Dad” or hearing from my Grandparents. i bet you’re wondering what powerful lesson i have to offer, or if i’m hurting.  We’ll i’ll be honest with those of you who stuck around, i mean it’s the least i could do. To tell you the truth, i hurt every day i’m not in contact with them.  i hurt just because of the unknown.  i have cried since then.  i haven’t sent proof of paternity to them.  i realized that if they aren’t going to make an effort why on earth should i? They’d probably just put it in a box like they said they did with all my pictures and letters i used to write them.

 i have felt like shit… i still try not to talk about it much, but i’ve tried to talk to a few of you who’ll hopefully read this, but no offense, a lot of you aren’t very good listeners.  Sadly, a lot of you won’t understand unless you’ve been there… BUT Don’t you dare think i sit && feel sorry for myself, i mean i do just not all the time. From this experience && dealing with this my whole life i’ve learned a few things; You know the saying it’s better to loved && lost then to have never loved at all?  Yeah, i mean that’s a positive way to look at it but this is my opinion…
 i feel grateful i never had Michael in my life, because if i had loved && lost i would have felt way worse… since i didn’t have a dad, i didn’t know what i’d be missing… growing up without him was just what i did && it was my normal.  i mean it bothered me, but i accepted it && was used to it.

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My beautiful mom, Malia McConahy.

i learned i am so thankful for so many people like my TRUE family.  My mom Malia, my brother Brandon, and my REAL DAD Gregory McConahy. Without them I would be nothing, quite literally in fact.

i learned i will NEVER quit, or abandon my family.  When i have children, even if i hate their father at some point, i will never talk badly to hurt them (like my mom never did about my dad)… more importantly i will never stop them from having a father.   i learned i was a cheesy traditional family… not that unconventional is bad.  i want to fall in “love”, get married, travel, do art, then have babies after a few years.  i never want to rush it, i want it to be just right… 


THANK YOU
Mom (Malia McConahy)-
 for being the strongest person i know && my biggest support system.  Thanks for being my mom && my dad til Greggy came around.  Thank you for not giving up when times were hard && not taking the easy way out like he did.  Thank you for making me feel like i belonged, when i felt like an alien inside.  Thank you for being my only advocate, && for being able to understand.  Thank you for telling me i was beautiful when i felt like the ugly, weird, brown-eyed black sheep of this family.   Even if you don’t know it or think it, for all this YOU are the MOST beautiful, caring woman to me.  && the BEST mom a girl could want.

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My brother, Brandon and I.

Brother (Brandon Lee)-    Thanks for scarring me for life by telling me i was adopted 😛  just kidding.  Thank you for making me feel like nothing but your whole sister even if i really am only “Half”.  Thanks for secretly having my back even when we fight, && thanks for trying to teach me lessons my father wasn’t there to teach me.

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My real dad (stepdad, Gregory McConahy) and I doing what we did best. Eating thai food.

DAD (Gregory McConahy)-    for rescuing US when i needed a dad most.  Thank you for calling me your daughter even though i’m not blood.  Thank you for telling me you loved me && actually meaning it.  Thanks for helping me to trust you, && for being patient && kind with me when i was a wreck.  Thank you for not taking it personally when i don’t always call you Dad, but i’m thankful you && i both know you ARE && always will be.  YOU are the only Dad I need, && the only man i want to walk me down the aisle && give me away to my future love.

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Bonding in our towels. My mom, brother, and I.

Thanks for getting the real me. 

I LOVE YOU GUYS SOOOO MUCH

!

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My beautiful nephew Connor.

So thank you every one who read this.  If you have a similar experience i would love to hear it… misery loves company, && just to know someone understands is comforting in a dark sort of way.  i’ve been waiting to tell you this all my life… 

sincerely, Chelsea Diane Lee 

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Me being peaceful, because I know I told my story.

Heart to Heart



I just want to say that I’m kind of sick of people not talking about mental health. I have bipolar 1 disorder and I hate hiding it. It has made me a better person finding this out and going through struggles. When people ask me about it, even though I feel some sense of shame (like when I was manic), I force myself to tell them the god given truth because people deserve to be properly educated and enlightened. I’m so fucking sick of the stigma. I’m so sick of stigmas in general, stereotypes, racism, homophobia, any kind of thing that is a prejudice.

PEOPLE DESERVE TO BE WHO THEY ARE.

I’m sick of being ashamed for a chemical imbalance in my brain that I can’t help. I will have it my whole life. It’s like if I had diabetes. I can’t help it. I’m sick of people getting freaked out or when they stop talking to me when they find out.

Before I was manic I had a ton of friends. Now I’m down to one, he’s my boyfriend and I love him, but that shit kind of hurts. Abandonment sucks, especially when you need people. The girl who claimed to be my best friend stopped talking to me when I was hospitalized. She blocked me on fb, deleted my number and blocked it, and didn’t give me an explanation or visit me. Like damn girl, I already have enough problems. You don’t have to add to it.

Whenever I make a joke about being bipolar like, “You better not make me mad, I’m bipolar” people get really freaked out, even if they know me and know I’m joking. I’m sick of uncomfortable looks when I talk about it. I deserve to laugh, and you can’t take that away. I deserve to poke fun at myself and see the silliness in the situation.

You know what?

I’m proud of the fact that I have bipolar disorder. It has taught me about compassion, self-respect, true love and friendship, and the importance of self advocacy and responsibility. But It is a piece of me, not my whole self.

People are should not be defined by their skin color, sex, gender, illnesses, likes, dislikes, age, religion or whatever.

People are people.

We don’t have to like every part of someone to love them or have respect for them.

We don’t have to judge.

If we are to be judged let it not be by appearances or assumptions, but by our character.

We can learn to be mindful, yet still stick to our core values.

Talk about who you are and don’t be afraid.