As always, I’m a person with lived experience and not a medical professional. (Which I find is more often valuable for other folks, anyway). Enjoy!
The past couple of days I have been in my bed. It has been a legitimate, all-consuming love affair with the comfort and warmth of my bed. I averaged about 21 hours a day asleep or in a foggy, dreamlike trance that felt like sleep. At around 2 PM today, I woke and wanted to leave my bed. I haven’t returned. Why was I there in the first place, and what suddenly switched in me to want to do all sorts of stuff?
So with Bipolar 1, it seems pretty cut and dry: mania or depression. Yeah, I don’t have that. I don’t even have hypomania and depression. I have a lot of mixed states where I feel rage and confusion teamed with highly suicidal depression. I often find myself “sneaking” out of the house in a rage at midnight about 500 metres in the rain. I park, have a good cry and have intense feelings that someone is stalking around the car. I freeze with paralysis then finally work up the courage to drive back home and go back to bed. I don’t think I’m God, sleep with strangers or spend my life savings on lavish things I don’t need. I get up and go to work the next day (mostly). The main thing I feel is a weird, secret, shameful pain that I am batshit crazy but that only one other person in this universe besides me knows that.
Depression makes me harmless like a wet noodle on a bench. Depression with energy makes me a danger to myself. I wept the other day – like truly wept – when I felt a huge truck whizzed past me as I was getting into a parallel parking space that faced the road. I was DEVASTATED that I had missed my opportunity to die. I pulled myself together and went onto work pretending that I had not just come literally within inches of taking my own life. Like seriously, nobody asked me the BS of “R U OK?” because I was high on life, or so they thought.
People That Don’t Get It
The reason I have mixed feelings about R U OK? Day is because most people have zero clue about how to inquire beyond R U OK? If they do happen to ask with more depth and insightfulness, what do they do with that information? There are limited services available, particularly free and around the clock. If a service is available, most of them are average. I sometimes think my sanity is more on par than some of the overworked and underpaid people employed by mental health organizations. Many of us with persistent mental illnesses have had “forced fun” with these services at some point or another so often they are not comforting. They represent a miserable cycle.
If I could predict these feelings they would be much easier to manage, but years of trying to mood map, journal, blog, etc., has not improved my self-knowledge in this area. I have a complex life recipe I try to mix together each day to make things in life tolerable. The main keys that consistently help are to maintain employment somehow and to somehow keep my partner happy and connected with me. Otherwise, I do the normal diet, exercise, limit consumption of types of info (like news and Facebook), avoid boredom, pat the dog, sleep enough, keep a schedule for everything, bathe, do mindfulness, connect with friends, get sunshine, take my meds religiously, go to my doctors’ appointments like my life depends on it, be one with nature, etc. You name it….I have probably done it, become bored with it, “rediscovered” it (often after ECT causing me to forget I did it in the first place), and done it again with a similar result. If someone suggests I colour another mandela, I will probably act like a 7-year-old, roll my eyes and scream uncontrollably. That shit don’t work (for me that is). Even when drugged up beyond recognition in hospital, I found colouring in patterns painfully boring. Give it a go though. It might be your cup of tea. I won’t judge you. 🙂