Being bi-polar is dealing with the downs sometimes. It happens. They happen. Sometimes I can feel them coming on. In fact, often I can. Other times they strike like thunder on a clear day. I felt it coming this time. Last night was hard. I get low. Chemically low. I knew when I took off work on Wednesday and didn't take the time to really be with myself that that wasn't the end of this cycle. I get angry with myself when the cycles come. I always do. I know it's not my fault, but I still get down on myself. I feel disappointed because I can have so many good days and then get slammed. The good days make me feel like I'm cured. Like this thing was just a phase. The slams remind me that it's not over and may never be. I have to deal with it. And I do. Best I can. I have God, a faithful prayer life, spiritual practices, great friends, and a gym. Now I have a gym. Before gym I took long walks.
The slams, the downs, the crazies... I have a ton of names for the feelings. The sinking is my newest. I felt the sinking coming on last week and tried to avoid it. Couldn't. It hit hard last night and I did what I do. I braced myself. I cried. I called a friend. I called on God. I tried to write, couldn't. I tried to wash the dishes, couldn't. I tried to fold and put away the laundry, couldn't. Except for this nagging headache (the same one I've had for months. I have an appointment with the doctor on Tuesday about the headaches. I'm handling it.) I feel better today. At the torque of the sinking I get afraid. Very afraid. Mostly because I feel like I'm never going to get on the other side. I fear I'm going to be stuck, sunk. I always get to the other side. It doesn't stop me from being afraid.
The best way I can describe it is like, like... I used to drink. Wine mostly. Red especially. I don't anymore because of these headaches that started in January. But that's another story. Twice in my life I tried marijuana brownies. Okay maybe three times. Anyway, the first time I was high and felt like I was floating out of my skin. It wasn't like a Merlot high at all. I couldn't control it, I was just floating. I remember feeling afraid that I would never come down. That I would be stuck floating. Forever. Needless to say marijuana is not my bag. And it gave me a horrible headache afterward (and I'm a punk about headaches). But that's what I feel like when I'm chemically low. Like I'm going to feel that low forever. For. Ev. Er!
I get dark and scary thoughts. Calling friends help. But the thoughts (that are not my friends) tell me crazy things. They tell me that no one wants to hear about my sinking. That I have nothing new to say. That they won't know what to say and will hate me for calling. It's never true, but it's how I feel in the moment. The moments. The moments that feel forever.
Last night, on top of having a burning headache I was so low and dark. I called Reverdia. She's close. I know she understands. I love her. I know she loves me. Her voice was God. Her words were God's words. I needed it all of it. After talking to her I felt my meds kicking in and I was able to rest well. I still woke up with a headache but the sinking had passed. Thankfully. I get afraid because I don't know how long the episodes will last.
This morning I washed the dishes (except for that oatmeal pot I've decided needs to soak). I folded and put away the laundry. I ate some Greek yogurt. I talked to a friend. I was supposed to be at a video shoot this morning that I couldn't make and talked to the director. I really don't like rescheduling things but I just couldn't today. Perhaps this is too much to say. I never know. The voices during my dark times are not my friends but I love them for not letting me write when I'm really low. Who knows what I would say? But I wanted to get something out today. Writing helps. Writing helps me see my feelings in black and white. It helps me explain this thing little by little to you. And hopefully it helps you, whoever you are, understand your own feelings. Maybe you sink too from time to time.
There is such a negative stigma on people with mental illnesses and as best as I can I want to destroy that stigma. Bi-polar looks like me. It looks like someone you know and love. Show some love, okay? Show some understanding, some love and compassion. Okay?