Ground control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition, and may God’s love be with you…
And in the background a soft, implacable voice is chanting ten…nine…eight…
Lovely old tune. “Space Oddity” as done by David Bowie. It’s what is going through my head today. Well, that and the desire to eat anything that wanders in my direction. As I expected, and have warned my loved ones, my manic-flavored symptoms are stirring. As soon as I stopped squashing them with overdoses of food, the process began.
It’s been less than thirty-six hours. The good parts of it are being able to draw a full breath again, not being sick to my stomach and not spending my day in a haze. Being able to access some of my creativity–I even have a poem incubating.
Oh, if only it were going to stop here. I’m not trying to do a self-fulfilling prophecy here, and I know how attitude can shape mood. I am just hoping that by expecting it and naming it I will be less frightened during what happens to me. When I feel unreal, or my mind begins to work a certain way, it helps me to realize that, whatever else is going on, there is also a biochemical process at work. It helps me not to believe everything I think…and that’s a vital skill to have during one of these phases.
If recent experience is a guide, things will get more interesting in one or two days. That’s the point at which I have been starting to overeat again, and if I don’t do it this time I will experience the symptoms undulled. Chances are sleep will be seriously impacted, as will my anxiety level. The racing thoughts will pick up speed until my head feels like a blender, and I will want to talk, and talk, and talk…leaping from one subject to another, crackling with energy, crazily articulate.
As I was struggling with abstaining yesterday, I realized that the hypomanic/manic side of my condition is something I tend to hide a lot from the people I know. Although I’m very out there about having the condition, I closet myself away during the above phases. I don’t want my friends to see me like that. As I was talking with a recovery friend yesterday, I realized she has never seen me in that state, and that I tend to refrain from even calling people when manic symptoms are up.
Perhaps I need to question this. If I am going to keep from self-medicating, there will inevitably be times, like now, when I have to tolerate the symptoms for a while until the appointment comes or until the meds adjustment kicks in. Why should I attempt to tolerate them all alone? Do I trust my friends so little that I think they would reject me if I let them see this part of myself?
Well…yes. I am operating on a belief system that tells me that I should not let my friends see anything but my best behavior, and if I must share anything else it should be the depressive side. Not this. Not the lashing tentacles of thought that wave randomly about. Not the woman who makes passionate, evangelical speeches about whatever comes into her head, whether it’s a deep spiritual concept or a lizard she saw in the yard. Not the skittering, jerkily firing limbic system and restlessness. Not the random breaking into song, or the unfiltered jokes and puns…not since Detox Diva have I ever really been manic-y in front of witnesses, and they were sort of a captive audience.
It’s hard for me to admit that I lack that feeling of trust. That I don’t feel as if I have people who would be willing to put up with me when I’m off the hook–not dangerous, not mean, but definitely out there. People who would humor me, and ground me, and just be there with me, because they love me. Just the idea of being able to truly let that part of myself out, and stop trying to hold it back for fear of burdening or annoying my spouse or daughter, fills me with a wistful longing.
It isn’t my friends’ fault; they’ve never been given the chance or the choice to be there for me. And I’ll never know until I learn to share more of myself. No matter how conscientiously I work to manage my symptoms, my condition and all of its aspects are part of who I am. If I try to confine my human interactions to the times my energetic state falls within a narrow middle range, I will live a very lonely life.