August 6, 2009 at 10:42 am | Posted in I have unleashed the crazy, I's for reals, Me myself I and me again | 2 Comments

 I always question my diagnosis of Bipolar.  I’ve been inked with the stamp of BIPOLAR II.  This is a fancy name for serious depression with cycling hypomanic episodes. 

I often wonder if I actually have manic moments or if I could just have depression.  Then I remember that time I spent all night brush-scrubbing my white painted walls with Clorox bleach and then WIPING all the walls with a cloth with Clorox cleaner and finally wiping the walls down with water because the smell of bleach was thick and then vomiting because FUMES!  By 3am the apartment was aired out and I was pacing and freaking out because the walls were cleaner than the floors.  So I put away the ladder and got down on my hands and knees and cleaned those with a brush.  Then I used a tiny toothbrush for the grout whose bristles wore down to half their original size by the time I was done and then I threw up again because BLEACH IS THE ONLY THING THAT CLEEEEEEANS!  I’ve taken out drawers and polished the backs of them because don’t they get dirty too?  OF COURSE THEY DO. 

My manic episodes usually consist of irritation (to put it oh-so-delicately), speed-talking, being an extrovert when normally my idea of a party is reading a book in bed by myself and needing everything to be JUST SO.  My manic times also refuse to believe in the magic of AMBIEN and 5 of those motherfuckers will not quiet my brain enough for sleep.  And you know those hospital dramas where someone is all crazy or spazzing out and a doctor yells out, “Ativan, STAT!”?  I take an Ativan every night and when I’m manic I keep taking them until I go down which can sometimes be about 48 hours.  Dozens of those little pills won’t make the mania go away. 

Not to say I’m some sort of monster.  I’m quite normal.  Thanks to my miracle doctor, Dr A and some good old fashion tough love from my husband and myself.  I’ve been on the same meds for years now and I take them religiously.  You might see me cry or I may clean your house but you won’t see the crazy. 

But I can feel it.

Especially now.  August marks a yearly decline in my own little private roller coaster.  By September, I’m normally think in the muck.  The funny thing is that I don’t usually recognise it.  Every year without fail, (except last year while I was pregnant because, let me tell you, an occupied uterus really made all the bad shit go away), I make a frantic call my Dr A’s office to schedule an appointment right now.  I’ll burst into his office worried sometimes crying and always saying the same thing, “It’s getting bad.  I can’t figure out why.  I’m not sleeping but I go straight to bed when I get home and I can’t get out of bed in the morning.  I’m always crying, I’m being a complete bitch to everyone.  I’m having panic attacks all the time.  I can’t concentrate or remember anything.  I’m hurting.  I’m sick.”  Dr. A will stare at me for a moment and deadpan, “It’s August.”  Oh.

This year I’m at the top of the hill bracing myself for the plunge down.  I’m forcing myself out of the house by scheduling my free time in advance.  I’m holding myself accountable for every move I make.  I’m staring at my son who depends on me.

Picture 2592

I’m so lucky that I have found the right combination of tricks that help me cope.  A good base of medication.  A few prescriptions for emergency only.  A husband that understands the disease but still doesn’t put up with my shit.  An awareness of my emotions and what actions they cause.  A knowledge of what’s happening to my body that I can refer to when I get unreasonable.  And most importantly, I hold myself accountable for my actions.  No matter what state of play my brain chemicals are in.  No matter how bad I’m hurting I do everything I can to minimize the effect it has on those around me. 

But don’t get it twisted, I’m hurting none-the-less.  Those little tricks I have?  They take the edge off and make the crazy invisible to the rest of the world.  I hope.  It took a looooong (all those ooo’s mean reallllly long) time to get those tricks mastered.  Yet every year I’m terrified the depression is going to go deeper than the tricks. 

It’s an uphill battle I always face while I’m going down.



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