Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Changes, Changes

I've noticed that life is cyclical (Whoa, you say, earth-shattering, JC).  Yeah, yeah... what I mean is that  it's important to remember that it's cyclical. So when things are really good, you hold onto that, knowing that someday they won't be, but that the bad stuff always passes. And when things are bad, you say to yourself, "Hey, remember when things were good, and you promised yourself you'd remember that good things always come back around?"

I have this sort of hypomania, which can be understood best by remembering the part of the children's rhyme that goes, "when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was rotten."

So when I'm up, I'm up. When I'm down, I'm down. I've been on meds for this, but the drug I've been on has made me incredibly fatigued. I stopped taking it about 5 days ago, and I was good. Very, very good. Manic good. Energy levels off the charts; my brain feels like there are a million things churning inside, trying to all get out at once.  Everything makes me think about something else, something so interesting that I have to just talk about it then and there. I have to exert a conscious act of will to not do this.  I get up from my desk ten times every half hour to go get water, find a reason to move and shake the overwhelming agitation that comes from sitting still.

Now, the way I describe it, you might think I look like a freak, but I have it under enough control that I come across as just quirkily energetic.  I'm paranoid that I will look look a nut, so I work very hard to compensate.

But social concerns aside, how does mania feel?

It feels fucking glorious.

It feels like being high as a kite, like being able to access all of your brain cells at once. It feels like a superpower. it feels like being free. All you are is what you want; you become your fullest expression, freed from concerns about consequences, because every impulse, every single beautiful impulse zapping nonstop across your mind is good and right and too delicious to ignore.

It also feels like a horrible curse. Because you can't shut anything out, and you can't stop the emotional reaction you have to everything, EVERYTHING around you, from TV commentators to conversations overheard on the elevator. The tone of some one's laugh, the monotonous beat of headphone overflow on the subway, and you go from Jekyll to Hyde in a nanosecond. Your feelings are raw and powerful, and there are no grays, and they are triggered by so much external stimuli that you feel like you've been hooked to a never-ending shock treatment like some monkey trapped in the sadistic experiment of an invisible madman.

And when it goes bad, it goes so far beyond bad. You're eaten by Leviathan, and it's dragging you in its belly to the depths beyond light and balance and rationality to a dark place where your limbs lie ponderous and passive under the weight of it all, and your brain keeps going only now it's an endless chant of no no no I can't what's the point, and you feel your lungs and heart will collapse under the immense inertia of futility. And you wish desperately that they would.

Fortunately, I have a doctor's appointment in a few days and will ask to try something else. In the meantime, I remember that life is cyclical, and that I've felt good before, and that I've felt bad before, and it will always come and go, and that's OK, and that's life.

1 comment:

karen said...

Ya. It's true. I don't have the extreme highs and lows, but the way I'm wired requires maintenance regardless.

I do, however, hang out with a spit tonne of folk who require medicine to stay balanced and I'm a great believer in finding what works. (For me it was a lot of therapy and ongoing behaviour modification as I realise the errors of my way. Ugh. I have a spit-tonne of errors!

Sorry to hear you need a switch. I sometimes think it is good to feel the extremes to be able to recognise what sanity looks like.