Friday Night Freak Out

Apparently Friday night I had a freak out. I don’t actually remember it, but I’m told that the kids dad (my ex) actually took a detour on his way to a job to come over and do a health check on me.

I remember sending him a message telling him that the kids were doing my head in and I couldn’t take it anymore. They weren’t listening to me when I told them to clean up their toys, and they made more mess, and it sent me over the edge. I don’t recall much after that. But my phone shows he called me seven times and I kept hanging up. And it prompted him to come over and make sure I was ok.

I also must have taken 3 days worth of my meds the same night, sometime after my freak out – because I woke up the next morning and noticed my pill box had 3 days missing when I only filled it up the night before. He says that it showed in my change of mood – I suddenly went from highly agitated and angry to calm and tranquil and very sleepy.

But sometime before before the calm set in I must have started writing a post, because I found it earlier today when I was doing some maintenance on my blog. It’s interesting what I think and feel when I’m off my rocker. I usually don’t remember so when I have something I wrote in that state I’m pretty fascinated.

Oh shit the cracks are starting to show. My carefully constructed veneer is chipping at the edges. I thought I had it together enough to get by. I thought I was in a place to be ok. Two and a half fucking years. It’s been two and a half fucking years and I should be able to cope now.

But I can’t. It’s getting worse. I’m getting less and less able to deal. Fuck I don’t love him. I don’t fucking love him. But without him I can’t fucking function. I can’t breathe without him. Fuck I hate him so fucking much. He fucking ruined me. Tore out my heart and crushed it. He didn’t fucking care that it broke me. He broke me.

And the fucking joke of it all. I’m still so fucking weak for him. The need for him is clawing me apart. I keep waiting for something to give. My heart most likely. I guess.

That is definitely the deluded rantings of a crazy girl. I am living and breathing without him. I’m doing just fine thank you very much. If some else had written this and I read it, I’d be like “wake up and smell the coffee you still love him”. But I don’t. I really really don’t. And I know that I am better off without him. I definitely can’t feel any chemistry between us. Absolutely not.

Alright so maybe I feel just a little. But I’m going to keep on ignoring it. It’s better that way.

The Negative Spiral

Oh joy of joys. I’m headed towards a depression again. I fucking hate the fact that I can see my mood swings ahead of time – because even though I know they are coming, I am powerless to stop them. In many ways ignorance is bliss. But I can see the train wreck coming, and there isn’t a fucking thing I can do about it.

It starts. I’ve been grudgingly getting up in the mornings with just enough time to get ready for work. I do as little work as possible so that I avoid trouble. I come home and go straight to my bed where I lie around until I have to get up to get dinner for the monsters. And it’s straight back to lazing on the bed until I fall asleep. I’m letting the house get messy again, I just don’t have the motivation to tidy up. Worse yet I haven’t even started packing up my belonging even though there are only weeks left until I move house.

Instead of being productive – I have been retreating from the world and spending way too much time in the dark place of my mind. The unhealthy, unhappy section where I evaluate my life so far and realise I’ve wasted it. I haven’t done any of the things I would measure success by.

I thought I had all the time in the world, to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m 35 and I’ve fucking wasted my life and have next to nothing to show for it. Now I’m sitting here wishing I could go back in time, return to the time I finished high school and choose a different life path. I feel like my life is over and I’ve zero to show for the effort (or lack thereof).

I’ve been told “you’re only 35, you’ve still got the rest of life ahead of you”. Right. My stupid brain says I’m 35 with personal neuroses that have totally fucked up my mind. I’m a single parent of an 8 year old and a 7 year old – it’s not like I can make life changing decisions without being concerned with what impact it will have on them. Even if I didn’t have them binding me here – I’m so far introverted that I don’t actually have any friends. I have work colleagues (all interactions stay at work) and family (who I try to avoid where possible). How could I go out into the world and do anything when I can’t even deal normally with people around me?

In my mind it becomes so dire that I even take to wishing, genuinely wishing that I could be anyone else. If I had one wish in this entire world – I wouldn’t wish for money, or fame, or love, or whatever makes people happy. I wouldn’t even wish to be free of my mental illness. No. I would wish to be someone else. To be a completely different person in a completely different life. I’m so unhappy in this one, and don’t see anyway to make it change, to make it better. I’d like to give up and begin again. I wish life was like a video game – where if you got stuck, or fucked up you could just start again. Totally erase the save game and begin fresh.

I don’t like being 35 and full of regret. It’s really sad and pathetic. But I’m too afraid to change. My fear holds me back from doing the things that I really want to do. I’m terrified of making the wrong choice and fucking things up – so I make no choices and fuck things up anyway. Yeah I know it’s not particularly logical. But that’s how it is in my overcrowded brain.

I guess the one saving grace of my current situation is that I’m not in a full blown depression yet. Just heading there. I’ve still got feelings – even though they are negative ones – but just having those means I’m still present. It’s the numbness I hate, not feeling anything. Because when I don’t feel anything, when I just don’t care about anything – that is when I do the most damage to myself, and to the people around me. When I don’t feel anything, when I retreat into oblivion, I stop eating, I stop showering, I stop going to work, I stop getting out of bed. I stop everything – except thinking. Thinking about ending the nothingness and the urge to cause myself physical pain just so that I feel something, anything. Because at that point, even emotional torture has lost it effect, and I’ll need to make myself feel pain in other ways.

In my warped mental state if I feel pain, I can convince myself that I’m still here, that I haven’t slipped away into a sort of purgatory where there is no escape. But even more frightening than the self harm, is the notion of wanting it all to end. To slip away into nothingness, cease to exist. I’m not suicidal as such – I don’t actively want to die. But when I am numb I just want to cease to exist, to close my eyes and float away effortlessly and painlessly. I want to fade away, be forgotten, just a faint memory carried away on a breeze.

Right now I remember how bad it was the las time I felt that way, the last time I fell into the darkness so far I almost didn’t make it out alive. And that scares me more than anything – the thought of slipping back down there unable to save myself. I don’t want to go back there – but I’m terrified that I can’t stop myself. Because even now – there is that part of me the soul-eater who whispers in my ear that the dark pit is where I belong. She attempts to convince me that self destruction is inevitable and I should give up and give in. She’s urging me to let the darkness come, that this is what I deserve for whatever wrongs I’ve done to the universe.

It’s not true. It can’t be true. I know this, logically I know this. But knowing one thing and feeling something else makes my existence almost impossible. The conflict, the war, sometimes I think that self destruction is the only way to make the shouting in my head stop. The only way to bring peace of mind. That’s what I most desire: peace of mind.

A Peek into a Private Journal Entry.

I was looking through my notebook for something to write about (it seems writer’s block was upon me tonight). And I was reading a journal entry I had written last week when it was still school holidays and my children hadn’t returned from holidaying with their dad at his parents place in the country.

Whilst a lot of this particular entry contains rather embarrassing stuff that I would never share with anyone (which is why I write it in my private journal) there is part of it that I want to share. Clearly at the time I wrote it I wasn’t in the right state of mind (however that tends to be the only time I write in my journal).

But in this entry, even though I was having irrational reactionary thoughts – a part of my mind was still self aware that I was being moderately delusional. And even though it’s not really funny, the way I wrote down my train of thought kind of makes me laugh due to the absurdity.

Fuck I am losing my grip. I had thoughts before of not being here when the kids come home. Those thoughts then moved on to running away somewhere. And what actually went through my mind next was “Too bad I don’t have a current passport – I could buy a ticket to London and disappear”. Of course then I think “Thankfully I DON’T have a passport”. Then next thing I know I’m seriously considering applying for a passport just so I could do it. When I am considering shit like this in all seriousness – it is not a good sign. It is a sign I am cracking up.

It hasn’t been the only entry of this kind recently. The rest of this entry, and the others like it, are really too messed up to go into detail on. But lets just say I was on the verge of checking out of reality for a while. This isn’t the first, or last, time that I have had an irrational thought process like this. But sadly, in the past, I didn’t have that self aware part. The part that knew my thinking was irrational, and could stop me from following those thoughts into action. In the past I just used to follow my impulses for better or worse (usually the latter) without thinking about how this would impact the future.

Thankfully I now seem to have part of me that remains present and tethered to this world – even when my impulsive responses kick in. And for the time being this self aware part of me has a hold strong enough bring me back from the brink. It keeps me grounded. It also keeps me alive.

It’s times like these when I am actually glad for that “fracturing” of my mind into different aspects – because it means that my tendency towards internal conflict leads to indecision, and procrastination, and ultimately not following through on a lot of impulsive behaviour. The mood stabilizers help me not to get too extreme, so I can retain a modicum of self restraint. Even if the restraint isn’t a conscious effort, but rather simply due to those aspects of my mind failing to agree on a course of action.

They sit and argue it out, and ultimately I’m rendered immobile, until it washes over and I can think straight again. I guess it can be useful being a thinker rather than a doer.

Please don’t try to “Fix me”

I know that people in my life are generally well meaning when it comes to advice. But for a person who lives with Bipolar disorder, sometimes even the most well intentioned advice comes across as hurtful and insensitive. I don’t open up very easily – it’s difficult for me to put into words my own thoughts and feelings (especially when they are running around my head at a million miles a minute). But when I choose to speak – I’m not looking for a “fix me”. I don’t want advice. I just want someone to listen to what I am saying, to really listen to me, understand me. I want them to be in the moment with me, so I can get stuff out of my head and hopefully make more sense of my world.

One of the classic things my dad says when I’m trying to explain what it’s like when I am depressed is “we all have our good days and bad days”. I know what he is trying to say. I know he is trying to show solidarity and let me know that I’m not alone. But he doesn’t have a mood disorder so all I’m hearing is “stop complaining and get over it.”

I can’t just get over it. I’ve said it before – I think too much. I obsess over every thought, every action, every detail. I deliberate and overthink the intent of such a simple statement. And of course I feel my skin crawl, my mind preemptively jumping into defence mode, arms at the ready to scream “I can’t get over it”. I know logically that’s not what he means – but knowing it doesn’t invalidate my feelings.

The other piece of advice I get is to “just breathe”. I get that from a colleague at work when my anxiety levels start to rise. I feel like shouting “I am fucking breathing – I haven’t collapsed from a lack of oxygen!” Again I know she means well, that regulating breathing can help calm a person. It’s not like I don’t already know what I need to do. But my mind first of all needs to process what precisely is happening before I can figure out what I need to do about it. Jumping into a “solution” before I’ve identified the symptoms will not speed up recovery time. And the day I fucking stop breathing is the day I am dead.

It also bothers me when someone who hasn’t experienced Bipolar disorder tells me they “know how I feel” and rattle off some story about the time they decided on a whim to do something ‘outrageous” and then cried about it for a week. Yeah. You don’t know how I feel. I can only wish my condition was that simple.

There are a few people in my life that I could kiss though. One of them is my former supervisor . Whenever she could see I was struggling because of my mood disorder, she would pull me aside and ask me “how are you feeling?”. And she would listen, just listen. And when I was done talking she would say to me “tell me what I can do to help make things easier for you.” This is the kind of help that I need from people. This is what makes me want to actually be involved in human interaction, not just watching from the sidelines.

I know I have other things to mention on this topic, but my thoughts are not slowing down long enough for me to grab onto them.

Music for my Mood

My mum thinks I have weird taste in music. It is entirely possible that it is weird, however I like to think of it as eclectic. And of course depending on my mood, my musical choices change. I’ve never really thought about until recently –  I have a specific type of music that I’ll listen to depending on which direction the mood pendulum is swinging.

It only really caught my attention because there is a particular song at the moment that I really can’t get enough of. The song is called Itch and it’s by a band from the UK called Colour of Bone (I’m obsessed with all of their music at the moment). I finally worked out today (after listening to it for weeks and weeks) that the reason this song is resonating so well with me is that the music almost perfectly creates an audial representation of the more unpleasant (manic) side of my experiences with Bipolar.

It begins with frantic, and agitated piano notes, and a verse that is harshly chanted and the words almost spat out. The frantic pace and heavy electronic sound suddenly gives ways to a calmer but uneasy chorus that hints of something bubbling just under the surface. After another frenetic verse, and uneasy chorus – with a sigh the music transitions to something more dreamy and almost psychedelic in nature.

This song is practically imitating how I am when I am on the way towards a manic episode. The build up of agitation and irritability, my skin practically crawling with anxiety. Those moments interspersed with reluctant surrender, the uneasy calm before I am totally losing control and any sense of reality. And even the lyrics speak volumes to me, to the angst and confusion and my loss of control. Especially the part of the chorus “Go I think I’ll be a while…” the way it’s sung it matches the way I feel – with a heavy sigh I am resigning myself to the fact that the pendulum has swung, and I have to go into damage control.

I have been very good at maintaining control and not getting into a full blown manic (complete with psychosis) stage. But it’s always there, under the surface, an itch I can’t reach, can’t relieve. Never quite sure when everything I have carefully built will all come crashing down.

But I don’t fear the crash. I never waste time and energy fearing it. I just do the best I can do with what I’ve got. One foot in front of the other.