Adulting

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

When coming out of depression, I clean up any mess that piled up while even basic functioning was difficult.  This typically means doing some extra dishes, cleaning up more around the house, catching up on school work, and maybe a few extra difficult days at the gym while I get back into the routine.

When coming out of mania/hypomania, I clean up any mess of my life that I made while I was making irrational decisions that seemed incredibly rational at the time.  This meant today was spent visiting multiple stores and returning things that I at least had the foresight to leave unopened.

My therapist mentioned that in the past I would do way more irreversable damage while manic, and I would come out of it a tearful mess as I crashed back down to earth and realized just how out of control my emotions had gotten.  This time I used a lot of tools to stay mindful of what was going on.  I was incredibly aware of my mental state.  I made some unwise decisions with money, but still made sure the bills were paid first, and didn’t open all of the things I bought so that I could still return them.

There’s still some catch up that will need to be played financially.  I still spent money that I didn’t plan on spending, but it’s not as bad as it could have been.

And now I’m just kind of here.

My head is still spinning from the high of mania, almost like withdraw from whatever chemicals and neurotransmitters cause that high.  I’m also still convinced that this is part of this mixed mood deal because underneath all of it is still a depressive mood that just won’t quit.

At least the suicidal thoughts have stayed quiet for a few days now.

I do have to say, I’m so so so thankful for the friendships I have online and in person.  I’ve had 3 or 4 people routinely checking in with me through messenger.  Just a quick “Hey, how are you doing?” throughout the day every day since Friday.

Not everyone has that kind of support.  I’m lucky that I have it.  I appreciate them so much more than I think they know.  Support like that is what helps to keep me going through the hard stuff.

I already miss the fun part of the mania, but I don’t miss the increased anxiety, and I don’t miss the constant beating myself up for spending money and not being able to stop it.

I’m sure I’ll end up going round and round again at some point.  It isn’t like I get to step off of this roller coaster.

But I do get some control over it now.

And that’s pretty amazing.

Zoom Zoom

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I wish I could take a side step off of this roller coaster and just settle.

Wheeeeeeeee.  I’m up high.

I was driving last night and my anxiety was through the roof.  Every time another car came near me I was seeing the impending accident.  It’s not all that often that I get to drive, and normally I love it, but last night was just terrifying.  Luckily it was late enough that there weren’t many cars on the road and I only had to focus on my own anxiety about the car blowing up or a tire blowing or something happening to cause me to have an accident by myself.

I didn’t go to bed till after 5:30 in the morning.  Just couldn’t stop.

Unfortunately I can’t get wrapped up into productive things like cleaning the house, which would be nice right now after a week of depression, instead I’m crafting and making more of a mess.  But I’m having fun and making really cool things, so there’s that.

My brain is going a million miles a second and my urge is to drink coffee and take my ADHD meds and stay awake and focused and keep going going going, but I also know that it is an incredibly bad idea to do such things so I’m avoiding coffee (WHAT!?!) and my ADHD meds until I float back down.

I’m hoping I don’t just suddenly crash.

I also wonder how much of this is a mixed episode (and why do I even care, it is just exactly what it is) because my body image issues are still there this time.

I’m not getting comments about my “amazing energy” from strangers and those comments are always a sure sign that I’m going manic.  I’m still pretty withdrawn and not interacting with people on the street and in stores so I’ve probably got a pretty good lid on it.

It’s probably just more mixed episode.  At least the suicidal thoughts are gone for now.

But my thoughts are going zoom zoom all over my brain.  I feel like there’s an interrogation light in my skull and shining onto the back of my eyes and like the bright light is shining out everywhere and everyone can see.  Not literally, but I just feel like I’m radiating, something.  Like I’m vibrating with the number of thoughts that are pinging around all over the place.

And they are dying to get out, I want to talk about them but I can’t organize them enough to get them into the air.

And I want to buy all of the things.  I NEED to buy all of the things, Right, Now.

And I have really good reasons for wanting all of the things Right Now.  And they make perfect sense in my head.  But they probably don’t make actual sense in the long run and sometimes it’s so hard to understand how something can seem so clear and true right now, but once this neurotransmitter induced high wears off it will seem so dumb.

I have to live with any of the decisions I make now, even once I come back down.

Mania seems like so much fun from the outside.  But from the inside, it’s just a different kind of mental illness hell.

Windows Wide Open

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I had a really hard time getting out of bed this morning.

Like, drag myself by the scruff of the neck kicking and screaming kind of difficult.

It was a school morning, followed by therapy and I
just.
didn’t.
wanna.

But I did.

And when I got to school my chosen sister was there with her infant daughter and that made everything a little better.  And class was quite interesting as usual and that made everything a little better.  And therapy gave me a lot to work on and think about and that made everything a little better.

And then I got home and it was hot and stuffy in the house and I decided today was going to be the first day.

Windows.

Wide.

Open.

It’s one of my favorite days of the year.  The first day that I get to air out the house after a long winter of everything closed up.  The first day with the blinds open and the air blowing through.

I made calls that needed to be made, and washed dishes, and wrote an essay, and did lots of adulting all while hearing papers blowing off table tops in the house and kids yelling outside.

It’s 6:30pm and it’s just starting to get that chill in the air but it’s not time to close up yet, the sun is starting to go down, the light through the front windows is perfect, shadows cast across the living room floor.

It’s the first day.  Maybe not the first day of spring yet, maybe not the last day of cold weather yet, but it’s that first day that lets me know that spring is coming and soon, soon I can pack away the coats and the winter clothes.

So, I had a really hard time waking up this morning, but I didn’t let it destroy the whole day.  I didn’t let depression take hold today.  I turned it around and made it a better day.

It’s the first day.

Windows.

Wide.

Open.

Just Wanna Write!

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’ve felt the urge to write all day, but haven’t been able to come up with a topic.  Part of the problem is that I have a few floating around in my head, but they involve other people, and I don’t really want to write about other people in a public space.

I guess that isn’t quite true.  I write about other people all of the time.  In positive ways.  I  don’t want to write negative things about other people.  They either aren’t going to be able to defend themselves, or they’ll read it and it’ll start a shit storm, or someone else will read it and it’ll get back to them.  It’s just bad news all around.

I can write enough negative things about myself to last a lifetime.

But the only topics floating around in my head today involve situations and such that revolve around other people and it’s hard to get past that sort of writers block.

And I just wanna write!

Wonder Woman cooked us dinner tonight.  It. Was. Amazing!  I cook dinner 99.9% of the time (which I love doing) but this was a nice change.  I told her it was good enough that she needed to take over cooking dinner from now on.

I only got 5 hours of sleep last night, and then a few super short power naps today.  I’m still dealing with this mixed mood.  (In case you couldn’t tell from the way I’m jumping all over the place).

I was having a discussion earlier with Wonder Woman about the fact that this time around it is an entirely different experience.  Of course I’m riding the bipolar coaster, but I’m also able to see the big picture.  I’m in it, but not in it at the same time.  I’m not my moods, I’m not this mood episode, I’m not even entirely my reactions, but I do have control over my actions and reactions.  I’m able to monitor my moods and react accordingly.  I’m not feeding into the mania or depression.  It’s amazing to see the DBT skills at work in this situation, the same sort of episode that put me into crisis so many years in a row.  Being on medication that works well is helping too, but these skills are a game changer.

I feel like this should be a curriculum that’s taught to everyone in middle school instead of something that costs entirely too much money to access.  I only have 6 weeks left and I know I’m going to miss having the group every week.

I’m looking into a NAMI support group to fill the hole that’ll be left in my calendar.

Zoom Zoom

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post

My brain is going a million miles an hour.  I want to talk non stop and explain all of the whys of the world.  But I also know that would annoy the hell out of the people around me so I’m trying to stay calm and quiet.

I wouldn’t want want to be too much.

It’s also really hard to focus on the things I want to get done today.  Hard to settle down and make the decisions I need to make.

I’m spending too much money.  It’s on things I need, a hair cut, food, bills, bills, bills, but it feels like too much as I watch the bank account go lower and lower.

I just got my check and it needs to last.

It’s almost as if I can feel my thoughts running all over the place.  Zooming from one part of my brain to the next.  Constantly trying to keep them contained.  Figuring out which ones are worth hanging on to and which ones need to be dumped out.

I’m constantly pulling myself back on task.

I remember the days when Parker and I would both get manic, feeding off of each other, taking each other higher and higher, spiraling up and out of control.  Boundless energy with no where for it to go.

Today it’s just my thoughts, there’s no energy to go with it.  I’m exhausted, yawning constantly, no real drive to do anything with all of the dreams that are happening inside of my head.

I know most of those dreams will die as this episode passes anyway, so why work on them now.

And that sounds more depressing then it really is.

I used to let my manic dreams take me away, dumping loads of time, energy, and even money into something that I just knew was going to bring me out of the life of destitution I was living.  Now I just stay the course.  I’m using the energy to get further ahead on schoolwork in case of the inevitable crash and I’m writing more.  That’s about it.

I thought a little today about getting a car, then I thought more about it and realized that, that, too, was a manic dream that would have done nothing but gotten me in trouble.  Cars cost more money then I am likely to have anytime soon.

Just in the few hours it’s taken me to write this (lots of distractions), there’s been another shift in my mood . . .up up up, down down down.

Just hanging on for the ride and hoping it stays as stable as it has been.

Mixed

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Monday is therapy day.  It’s one of my favorite days of the week, sometimes.  I get to sit and vent to someone who is paid to listen to me.  She gathers all of the information I dump at her, and then bounces it back at me in one giant picture made of the pieces that I often don’t see as related.

And yesterday what I saw is that I’m not just going hypomanic like I thought I was, but instead I am seeing the beginning of a mixed episode.

Late February and March are always hard for me.  The cold weather mixed with the longer days leads to a mix in my mood.  Mania and depression combine into one; what looks like balance is actually a life quickly vacillating between polar extremes.

It’s the reason I’m up up up and then crashing so hard.  The reason I want to do all of the things, but also can’t settle on any of them.  The reason I want to crawl out of my skin.

Yesterday when I got home from therapy I crashed hard.  I was angry, and sad, and frustrated.

I just don’t want to be bipolar anymore.  I don’t want to deal with this again this year after last years was just so bad.  I just want to be “normal.”

So I came home and I went to bed.  And I stayed in bed.  Five hours later, Wonder Woman came home and I was still just lying in the bed, awake.

I needed an evening of self pity before I could Self Saving Warrior Princess my way through this shit.

This is happening.  I don’t get to be “normal,” whatever that is.  I am bipolar and I don’t get to just will it away.  This is reality and I need to do the best I can with it.

I had already called my pdoc and we tweaked my meds a bit to try to make this mood episode as smooth as possible.  I have a MUCH bigger toolbox this year and I’m really damn good at using these tools.  I have an amazing support network.  I have lots of years of practice with mixed mood episodes except now I actually know what they are.  I planned out some logistical stuff so that I don’t spend myself into a hole or make other irreversible decisions.

This morning I got up, and I went to school, and then I went to DBT, and I did all of the things (Including waiting TWO FUCKING HOURS for my mobility ride home!), and tonight I feel much better about the whole situation.

This time of year sucks, but I can either focus on that, or I can focus on making it to the other side.

I’m gonna do my best to keep my sights set on the other side.

Russian Roulette

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Medication changes are a game of Russian Roulette.

Sometimes, trying to help one problem and succeeding, can flare another.

I started on a new medication a few weeks ago.  It worked wonderfully for its intended use and could, long term, make a significant difference in my ability to focus and follow through with things.

But there were immediate downsides.

I was more emotionally reactive and as it wore off I crashed and just wanted to sleep.

We played with dosages and timing, and my body adjusted and those side effects are less noticeable.

But instead I’m noticing other little things.  Not only can I focus in class and get my assignments submitted early, I’m working on homework for two weeks ahead.

I’m focusing more on my blog, more on how to find work, more on how to make things work, and more on all of this at the same time.

I’m having a harder time falling asleep some nights.  And I’m waking up more often throughout the night.  Yesterday I was awake for almost 24 hours straight.

When I do crash, I crash hard, and sometimes I’m sleeping for 10-12 hours.

I’m overthinking all of the things.  I’m in my head a lot and my anxiety is on overdrive.

Basically, I feel myself moving towards hypomania.

But it’s really hard to say if this is entirely medication related.  Late February through early April is when things get the worst for me.  This seasonal shift causes depression and mania and mixed mood episodes for me every year.

And the thing is, I don’t WANT it to be the medication, because it’s helping, and I can take it as needed to focus and I like finally being able to focus.  It’s a whole new world for me to sit at a lecture and watch the teacher and fully absorb what he is saying instead of being off in left field thinking about what I’m making for dinner that night.

But I also don’t want to be awake for 24 hours stressing about everything that my anxiety can drag up.

I don’t want to blow up my Facebook with post after post about things that I may regret the following day.

I don’t want to overthink everything that everyone says to the point that I’m going in circles.

I don’t want to try to solve all of my problems at once, when I know that’s not possible anyway.

I don’t want to feel this way.

Trying to solve one problem will often start another.  Or, it could just be the natural swing of things.  Or both.

I guess time will tell.