Has it really been less than a week since I wrote? How is it possible for the season not to have changed? Is there really no mark at all on the world to commemorate these days? I find it both reassuring and disorienting. Surely, it seems to me, there would be some kind of blight on the natural world to reflect the destruction within me.
On Not This Song, I try to describe the bad times as well as the good so that people will know they are not alone. I don’t want to describe this time, and I don’t want to talk about how active a part I have been playing in my own pain. How implacable I have been, how relentless, in my determination to harm and humiliate myself. How divorced from my own values I can become in my quest to hide from the things I feel unable to handle.
In Oh, Sweetheart, I managed to put some words to the beginning of this recent cycle–the break, the decompensation, the turning to food as a way of grounding and distracting myself. Right now I’m appreciating that I was able to do that much; able to send a bit of love and acknowledgment to that person instead of condemning her. I want to say that it made the difference; that loving and acknowledging myself helped me stop the process I had begun. It did not.
Food was my tool, and I know others struggle with it as well. This was worse than any binge eating I have described here before…a days-long, focused administration of amounts and types of food that affect me like Thorazine, leaving me dizzy, semiconscious, nauseated and basically too ill and disgusted to address any of the issues in my life. Pleasure or solace in eating were nonexistent; most of the time I had no desire for what I was eating.
I am an addict, and I know that extends to this issue. I choose to celebrate anniversaries of my time free from drugs, and not start my count over when I have trouble with food, but I know this is a choice. That being said, I know that this latest incident is also very connected to my bipolar disorder, which I finally admit has been on an upward trend all this spring. I’ve had many heartfelt–and unsuccessful–attempts to clean up my eating and keep it clean, and they last for two to four days. What undoes me at this time are not the symptoms I know and expect from sugar and carb detox, but the hypomanic symptoms that begin to rise whenever I don’t damp them down with food.
I adjusted my meds slightly a couple of months ago, when I had a sharp depressive episode. It’s time for me to admit that I need more than a slight change. It may be time to bring out the heavier guns in terms of meds that help the manic aspect, or add back meds that used to be part of the picture. There are several non-addictive options that have been used in the past.
For this I need to actually meet with my psychiatrist; a phone call is not enough. So I called his receptionist and was given an appointment for June 18, more than three weeks from now. Really? I’m not exactly booking a manicure here. I know there are clinics I can go to if I get into urgent crisis, but my doc is the one who knows me and can compare my present and past. So I need to try to cope without harming myself until then. I need to embrace the spirit of A Trip to Town when necessary, and do whatever it takes to stay away from the food that will hurt me.
I’ve stopped for now, and alerted my family to expect a rise in my manic symptoms if I manage to stay stopped for more than a few days. How I wish I could write more inspirational things today. How I wish I could carry a stronger message of hope and show that it’s possible to live free of this kind of crap. Because it is, it really is. Maybe not forever, but for periods of time that are well worth fighting for. I have not doubted for a moment that grace exists and that I will know it again.