Like Sunday Morning.

I used to be an easily agitated person. I’d fly off the handle and lose my temper very easily. I remember as a teenager my mum started saying I needed anger management classes because I’d suddenly lose my shit and yell and shout over the littlest of things. And I could physically feel it within me. I had days where I had this darkness inside me, this negative energy and I’d actually want to blow a fuse and lose it. I’d wake up and know that all it would take was something insignificant and I’d be gone. In those black moods I wanted to hurt and upset those I cared about.

I wasn’t a physically violent person, but definitely threatening and verbally abusive. It was a very ugly thing, and I am ashamed to admit that I was like this. Because it wasn’t me, not really who I am inside. I mean I did those things, I take responsibility for my actions and feel bad for them. But it was to some extent something that was out my control until I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and started having the appropriate therapy and medication.

One of the things I’ve noticed since I’ve been on my medication is that situations where I would have melted down just fly right over my head and I keep my cool. In general, when it comes to potentially upsetting scenarios mostly I am very chill.

I’m like Sunday Morning. Easy.

I don’t get as bothered about people or things as I used to. Once upon a time my fuse was so short I would sometimes snap if my ex breathed loudly at night (poor guy has a deviated septum it’s very difficult for him to breath through his nose at all let alone when trying to sleep!).

These days most little things don’t bug me, and many big things barely affect me. I still have my moments when I get angry. From time to time I get a little irritable, I might be a teensy bit short or snappish. And I still have anxiety issues, but I normally clam up and internalise rather than externalise. I don’t shout and scream and rant and rave like I used to. When I’m off kilter nowadays I am far more likely get either super happy or super sad. There are far fewer phases of rage. Most days I have an unfazed, laid back attitude.

If anyone remembers Lucas from E

If anyone remembers Lucas from Empire Records, sometimes I think I’m almost as Zen as he is!

The Ups and Downs of being UP

I’m not going to lie – there have been numerous times when I want to go off my medication because I want to bring on manic episodes. I know that’s a very dangerous thing to do – I learned some time ago just how critical it is for me to keep taking my medication regularly. So I wouldn’t intentionally stop taking them no matter how much I might think I want to.

But when I am feeling this way it is because I want the clarity, the feeling that I know the answer to everything, the certainty that I can save the world and bring peace. I long for the high of being connected to the universe, of feeling the energy of every living thing, the self assurance that I can change the world and make a difference. I know that these are delusions, that I don’t really have all the answers, that I can’t literally bring about world peace. But I crave the way the manic periods bring me a sense of purpose, of feeling good about myself, of feeling worthwhile.

Of course in reality it’s never as good as memory recalls. My high periods frequently included impulsive, reckless and downright dangerous behaviour, of an attitude of “fuck the consequences”, of a fools bravery that I was invincible. It also made me not a very nice person, as I lost the mind to mouth filter and said things without thinking or caring that they might hurt people. I would be irritable and annoying and pick fights – all for no reason other than to amuse myself at how easily I could push buttons and how angry I could make someone.

But of course time and distance always makes us gloss over the negative aspects of a memory. When I am longing for the manic periods it’s because my mind is choosing to only hold onto the more palatable aspects of those times. It remembers the allure of the self confidence but conveniently chooses to ignore the unpleasantness of the arrogance. It remembers the feeling of seeking thrills, but blatantly forgets the troubles recklessness brings.

If I knew I could control myself, if I could know how far to go and when to stop – I would embrace the mania. It makes me feel so good. But I know I don’t have control, and that’s the whole dangerous problem. So even though I wish I had the exhilaration of self assurance, I take comfort from the fact that lacking it means I don’t take stupid and unnecessary risks for the hell of it.

Still sometimes I miss that brave (and stupid) manic me – because I see my “normal” self as being too much Clark Kent and not enough Superman. Except in reality when without the meds I’m more like Jekyll and Hyde and I know that’s definitely not something to aspire to.