I haven’t had a whole lot to say since my last post about being oversaturated, understandably. Plus, I’ve just been busy. I proudly work at my karate dojo and have been trying to catch up on the hours I lost last month to my various doctor appointments and medication adjustment issues. I can easily say my karate family has been a very important part of me being as healthy as possible lately, and I don’t just mean physically. Unrelatedly but not unappreciatively, I was rewarded with a new (to me) computer to work on, which always rocks. 🙂
It’s also prime gardening time here in Central Texas. If there’s a rush hour of gardening in these parts, it’s now. Particularly if you like tomatoes. They have to be started indoors and then put in the ground as soon as the last freeze passes. Any later and you risk not having any at all because the summer heat kills the blossoms (mind you, summer starts in May around these parts some years). Consequently, every nursery and garden is a flurry of activity right now.
I guess you could say I’ve been doing the “chop wood, carry water” bit and just going about my life. In fact, it’s felt a bit plain. As I was thinking about it earlier, it struck me that this may be some of the “flatness” that a lot of people with bipolar illness complain about. It’s a dangerous flatness, one that makes people go off their meds. That way, as they say, lies madness.
This gives me a great deal of pause, because I don’t like the flatness. And as soon as I talk to my new psychiatric nurse, I’m going to tell him that, because I’d rather not be one of those bipolar patients. The ones who go off their meds only to flip out and have to go back on them. Sometimes forcibly. I really, really, really don’t want to be one of those people (if for no reason other than the age old “dear Lord don’t let me be like my mother” baggage so many women have, bipolar or not).
I get it now. I so totally and completely understand why some people decide to throw the meds in the trash so their life can be the kaleidoscopic landscape of mental color that it can be sometimes. It’s intoxicating and makes you completely forget the times you’re in a hole so black no light gets in, or are so agitated you really can’t control yourself even if you want to. Life on meds, in comparison to the near delirium and incredibly creativity and productivity of a hypomanic or manic state, can seem lifeless and dull, almost unbearably so, ironically. It’s this sort of attitude that is probably what often causes people around us to get a little disgusted. After all, it’s really just regular life that you’re disparaging as being pedantic or boring or useless or just too goddamned slow. It’s all yet another reminder that you don’t think like everyone else does.
As much as I dislike the flatness (which may in fact have some remedies), I dislike more the extremes in mood fluctuation. I still have them, though not as severely. Really, the height of each peak and the depth of each trough are progressively lower and higher, respectively, the more time goes on. Which is not to say I am not still occasionally gripped by a frustrated agitation that makes me cycle between murderous rage, pathetic weeping, suicidal despair, and exhausted melancholia. I prefer the latter state of mind, really, because it means whatever cycle I’m in is over, for the moment anyway.
Until that happens, though, my thoughts in these cycles often frighten me, and I am struck with the horrible irony that in my parents’ suicides, I learned firsthand the aftermath that follows such a terrible thing, and as such seem to be blocked by my own personal morals from even contemplating my own end beyond natural causes in far old age. I know there are many friends who are worried about me, so I try not to go too long between posts. Thanks to the internet though, I’m never too far away.
I still hold out hope for that magic place between dark despair, crazed productivity, agitated madness, and flat apathy. Truly, there has to be a place that allows for balance. If there isn’t, and I have to choose a bit of moodiness by altering or removing meds to avoid that flatness, then that’s my choice, but only to a point of course. I’d rather have more color in my life, even if they’re awash in darkness on occasion, than live in a world of emotional taupe.
For now, though, my job is still to try to wrangle as much stability out of my schedule as possible and to fall into healthier patterns of living. I can’t tell you how frustrating this process is. Sometimes all I can do is simply track my moods and behaviors from day to day, which has its usefulness in that the more time goes on, the more I can predict how I might be feeling from day to day. That’s actually extremely valuable, because if I know it’s going to be a shitty day, I can try to avoid stressors. Someday I hope to have as little fluctuation as possible while still feeling like a “colorful” person. Until then, I am still my own experiment and as such, I am still collecting data.
I get it now, though. I get a lot. And I don’t like a lot of it.