Friday, September 28, 2012

I thought cycling meant ups and downs.

But I've went from up, down, normal to now again.  Of course, there is a major stressor involved in my current down cycle.  My husband (heretofore to be referred to as "The Ogre") has returned from his latest stint on the road. And with that return, the small modicum of self-respect and self-esteem that I have fostered in the last two days has dissipated.

An argument brought on about how maybe I should start doing yoga again because it stops my brain from racing with either manic or depressive thought, led to his informing me that I suffer from an imaginary disease that I take medication for and that he was suicidal once twenty years ago, but he just got over that shit.  Apparently, he thinks the thoughts that continually circle my mind are that I'm fat or not as pretty as the people in the movies or on "my bullshit tv shows".  What he doesn't know is the thoughts in my head are the things that he says to me over an over again about how I'm not good enough; a good enough mother; a good enough wife; a good enough lover, a good enough anything.  THAT is what I hear in my head when I'm trying to convince myself to live another day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Another good day.

Another good day under my belt.  Unfortunately, it will probably not last.  My husband, who normally works on the road, will be home this weekend for 4 days.  Which should make me happy and less anxious, right?  Wrong.  When he is home is the most stressful times for me because we just don't communicate well.  He is passive aggressive and always angry that the house isn't spotless.

Guess what?  We have six children.  I homeschool five of them.  The house isn't going to be spotless for another ten years.  Get over it.  The house is sanitary.  It isn't dirty.  There is just a lot of stuff.  Because we have a lot of people living here.  Ugh.  I can feel my anxiety level raising already and he isn't even here yet.

And he doesn't believe in depression or bipolar disorder or any kind of brain chemistry disorder.  He thinks I am being dramatic.  When I have tried to talk to him about being suicidal, he tells me that people who are truly suicidal don't talk about it.  They just do it.

Four days.  God help me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The in-between

The in-between is, well, mostly normal. You are not distracted by racing thoughts or unable to concentrated because you feel like slitting your wrists in the bathtub.  You function on a somewhat normal balance for awhile.

Today, it feels like an in-between day.  I spent Thursday through Saturday on a manic cycle followed by a debilitating depression that began Sunday and last through last night.  Today, though, it feels okay.   I did have my meds adjusted because I was continuing to cycle, but I don't know if the change today is from that (it is probably too soon for that to take affect), or just a legitimate break that my brain chemistry takes from tormenting me that happens from time to time.  I hope it is the meds because it would be nice to think that I could feel like this for a while.

And, since today is an in-between day, and I feel pretty good, here's a baby hedgehog:

Because they make me happy and I think they should be the mascots for bipolar disorder.

The lows

While in the throes of a down cycle, you honestly believe that life will never be enjoyable, hopeful, worthwhile again.  This is depression's turn to practice her ricks on your fragile psyche and, trust me, if you are bipolar, you are an easy, easy target.  This is why: all that shit that seemed like such a brilliant  idea while mania made you her bitch, is coming back to bite you on the ass now.  Depression is relentless.  There is no reprieve from her infiltration into your thoughts.  Now, you are experiencing a constant barrage of guilt, embarrassment and shame.  Which leads to a new problem: lying.  Lying to try and cover up the mistakes you have made.  Which leads to more guilt, shame and embarrassment.  In no time at all, you have managed to convince yourself that you are a worthless waste of space and oxygen and that the world, your family and your friends (if you are lucky enough) to have them would all be immensely better off without you.  You cannot live with the decisions you have made.  You cannot face the consequences.

It is then that the thoughts of suicide begin to creep in.  Like wisps of smoke from a fire raging on the other side, they slide silently, undetected, under the door of you consciousness.  At first, they flirt around the edges of your thoughts, so that you don't really recognize them for what they are.  They are only the images of ideas.  But just like a room separated from a fire by a door, eventually the entire space is overtaken and black with the smoke, or in this case the ideas.  Every shameful thought, every guilty action, hell, every thing within you is met with the thought of escape.  Suicide has become your temptress and she beckons you at every turn.

Initially you are strong at resisting her siren song, but over time, if your down cycle is long enough, your fortitude begins to waver and plans, scenarios, begin to play like scenes from a movie in your head.  Pills, nooses, razor blades, bullets, carbon monoxide all have cameos in this gruesome film of your own imagining.  You keep razor blades hidden in the closet and learn how to form a make shift noose.  The ideas begin to become actual plans.  You begin to weigh the pros and cons of each method, quite rationally at this point.  This one is too messy. This one too painful. Exactly how do you hook a garden hose up to a tailpipe, anyway?  It seems easy enough, but trust me, the logistics are a little tougher than you might imagine.

The one thing that keeps from falling off of this precipice of escape into the abyss is my children.  I simply do not want them to be the ones to find me.  I don't want them to think it was their fault, that I left to escape them.  Of all the things in this world, they are they one thing that still seems to bring laughter and joy and I don't want to hurt them; to traumatize them with my abandonment.  It is something, I fear, I know deep in the soul of my being, that they would not recover from.  And the cycle that I am trying stop within my self will transfer to one of them, like a spirit of possession in some horror film.

So, I hang on, gripping desperately to ledge until this cycle passes and the next one begins.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The highs

How did I end up a forty-something newly diagnosed with bi-polar disorder?  How did I not know?  How could I not know?  I guess the answer is that when you live with something long enough, it seems normal.  I thought my ups and downs were just normal because they were normal for me.  But after the birth of my last child several years ago, the downs starting getting really down.  Postpartum?  Sounded likely.  But looking back I know that it progressively got worse because of impulsive, risky behavior in which I was partaking.  Now, I wasn't off hooking or shooting horse, or anything like that.  It was more financial; impulse shopping, skipping billings that kind of thing.  Oh, and about the time that my last child was born I decided I wasn't going to make the house payment anymore because I hated our house and I hated the town that we lived in and I just hated everything.  Now, I realize that isn't rational, but when you are in the throws of a manic episode, you can make yourself believe that anything is rational.  

There is a common saying among people with depression.  “Depression lies.”  Now, this my have been made famous by The Bloggess, because that’s where I heard it, or it could have preceded her notoriety by years.  I don’t know.  However, this has become a personal mantra of mine when things would get really, really heavy.  When I would be in the basement with a heavy-duty dog leash pondering the strength of the beams, this is the phrase that would make me, eventually come back up.  But here’s the thing:  “Mania lies, too”.  You just don’t hear about it as much even though this bitch is just as good as a liar, if not a better one, than depression because she tells you things that you actually want to hear. But, you are not going to replace that $5k you spent out of the insurance check without you’re husband noticing that it’s gone.  Regardless, your mania seductively whispers in your ear that everything will be fine and it will all somehow, magically work out.  It entices you into believing that you need, you need, you NEED!  You need an iPhone, an iPad, a new computer a fucking micro pig.  You are going to become an expert seamstress and, therefore, you need a sewing machine.  Oh, those vintage machines are cute, so you should probably buy ten of them.  Because you can take a $600 sewing machine repair course and then start a business and it will all come out even in the end.  You devise elaborate, intellectually exquisite plans in your head that will solve all of your problems.  And the world is a wonderful place because you can have your cake and eat it, too.  You can, you can, you CAN!  Except you can't.

That is just a couple of the delusions that mania has fed me.  There are a hundred, hell, probably a thousand more that I could give you.  I’ve probably forgotten more than I can remember.  And then the crash comes....the low that inevitably follows the highs.  When reality kicks you in the face and you are left with the aftermath of your latest fuck ups.