Mood Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified

diagnosed bipolar and pissed about it

Category: Hypomania

the day my dog was shot

this week marks the one year anniversary of my precious, sweeter-than-honey 5 lb yorkie bundle of love getting shot.  not shots like vaccines.  shot like with a 9mm pistol.

this was just one in a month-long series of events that should have indicated to me that something was very, very wrong.  it was not only that my dog was shot, but the event did not impact me the way that it should have.  i was sailing on another planet, too high to come down.

there were a lot of events like that last summer.

it’s hard to say what exactly took place that night.  looking at my old bank statements among the fast food joints, bars, liquor stores, and overdraft fees, it appears to have been a bender.  dinner out with a group to celebrate a friend’s going-away to a new job. a $30 cab fee (??) which is really confusing because this town is NOT that big and you would have to try to get a cab fee that high.  a total of FOUR trips to liquor stores.  two different bar tabs totalling over $60.

all i know is i was shit-faced drunk out of my mind and I had painted the town fire-engine red that night.

at some point, Beautiful Disaster had joined me.  if i had to guess, i’d say we made another pit stop at his bar to do shots in the back too.

i got home, somehow, with Beautiful Disaster in tow.  what happens next has been seared into my memory for the rest of my life.

i was changing into pajamas while Beautiful Disaster sat on my bed.  out of the corner of my mind, i recognized that Beautiful Disaster was inspecting the 9mm pistol that i kept on my night stand.  it didn’t really concern me, in part due to the alcohol i’m sure, but also in part because he had given me a thorough lesson on gun safety the night before.

a shot rang out.

it was surprisingly quiet, kind of like one of those party poppers (albeit a big one…).  i looked at him, confused.  my heart was racing because i was about 5 feet away from the bullet trajectory.  his eyes were wide and he had the ‘oops’ look all over his face.  but, i didn’t think it was loud enough for the neighbors to hear, so they were unlikely to call the police.

i was on the verge of a fit of mad laughter when my little dog began squealing.  i remember thinking the sound must have scared him.  i saw him hopping around on the bed.

suddenly i saw a trail of red follow where ever he landed.

plop, plop, plop

somehow my whole room seemed to be covered in blood.  it was on the floor, my bed, the walls.  i started to scream as i envisioned my dog, my light of my life, my partner in crime, my sidekick, dying.

i fucking LOST IT.  somehow between the tears and wails of agony, i managed to wrap up my little guy in a towel and apply pressure to the wound.  (thank god i love crime shows)  once he was in my arms, he quieted down.  i looked at him, and he looked at me.  i could just hear him saying ‘mom, what’s going on?’ and my heart was breaking.

‘FUCKING DO SOMETHING!!!!!’ i screamed at Beautiful Disaster, who thought removing pressure and looking at the wound was something to be done.  i think i may have told him to fuck off and to call a cab and look up an emergency vet.  i don’t really remember.  i remember yelling and screaming and crying, and trying not to imagine my dog dying, and wondering how i turned into such a shit show.

for some reason, he decided to call police.  i don’t know why.  in hindsight that was a pretty fucking bad idea.  but i was out of my mind and i didn’t care.  i needed someone with a motor vehicle at my house NOW.

they arrived shortly thereafter and interrogated us about the incident.  i was told they would give me a ride to the vet, but they just kept waiting and waiting and talking amongst themselves.  my baby’s blood was soaking into the towel.  every minute counted.  i walked up to the police and said, take me to the vet now, please.  liquid courage, indeed.

they took me to a nearby emergency vet.  (side note: it is VERY uncomfortable in the back of a police car.)  Beautiful Disaster was still getting interrogated at my house.  I remember hearing him say that he was my boyfriend and lived with me, but i had priorities and his stupid lie to the police wasn’t one of them.  little did i know he would also say that the pistol was his and then would hand it over to them.  keep in mind this is my EX-live-in-boyfriend’s gun.

upon arrival at the vet they took my dog in the back.  i looked down and saw my arms, hands, and shirt were covered in blood.  my heart was pounding.  it was very early in the morning, maybe 6am.  i hadn’t slept.  i had been scared sober but there was still alcohol coursing through my veins.  i felt dirty and trashy.  i didn’t deserve my dog.

a police officer remained with me for a while, trying to get information about the incident.  i remember not giving a flying fuck about his authority or badge, and when he asked about Beautiful Disaster, i told the officer he’d have to go ask him and lit a cigarette and ignored him for the rest of the time.

can i just mention that i actually like police officers?  i’ve heard horror stories, sure.  no doubt, some people suck and they end up as police officers.  but i normally appreciate their public service.  and here i was, acting like an impudent 15-year old girl.

eventually Beautiful Disaster showed up in a taxi.  he was freaking the fuck out too but trying to play it cool.  it didn’t work.  it just so happens that he also has brain damage, of the frontal lobe variety, and apparently intense stress makes him black out.  he kept fading in and out.  when he was conscious he’d tell me i need to call his neuropsychologist, and then he’d pass out again.  i smacked him a couple of times with no luck (although it did make me feel a little better).

i called the doctor he mentioned during one brief period of lucidity.  the doctor wasn’t in but the guy i spoke to told me i needed to bring him to the hospital immediately.

i was freaking the fuck out AGAIN.

my dog was in the back of the vet, SHOT.  they are telling me that i need to take my dog to a different vet with a surgeon on staff.  suddenly the seconds are ticking again.  the front desk lady tells me she will call to let the next emergency vet we are coming.

Beautiful Disaster is in the front, who might be having serious issues with brain damage, and i have explicit instructions from the hospital’s neuropsychology department to bring him in NOW.

i’m calling a taxi and calling 911.  the fire department and ambulance show up.  by this time, Beautiful Disaster has stumbled outside.  he’s vomiting and passing out, interchangeably.  i am feeling like i’m on another planet.  i felt 100% alone, because i thought no friend deserved to deal with this level of bullshit.  i made my bed and needed to lie in it.

Beautiful Disaster is telling the 5 firemen and EMTs to fuck off and he’s not leaving the vet.  he’s repeating over and over again that my dog is his priority and he’s going to save the dog.  they force him to sign a waiver that says if he dies they aren’t responsible.  it turns into a pissing contest among the men.  somehow they have all formed a semi-circle around me.  i light another cigarette.

the next cab is taking forever.  i called back the cab company twice and eventually called another one all together, i think.  after what feels like a fucking eternity, the cab arrives and Beautiful Disaster and I head to the second vet.  he’s begging me to talk to him, to forgive him.  he’s apologizing non-stop.  i don’t give a fuck.

we walk into the vet and the strangest thing happens.  i tell the front desk the situation.  and i start laughing.  hysterically, with tears.  and i’m trying to say, but wait, no, no…i don’t actually think this is funny at all.  i can’t figure out why i’m laughing.  i decide to let Beautiful Disaster handle it.

they tell us that the previous vet never called them and that they don’t have a surgeon either.  the clock is ticking again.  i’m ready to curse the previous vet, who did virtually nothing, including NOT calling the vet they told me they had called, and still charged $500.

thankfully, the cab is still outside, or nearby, or something, where we don’t have to wait long.  we head to a third vet.  by this time, my dog is not looking so good.  he’s weak and quiet.  i’m getting ready to cut a bitch if i don’t get somewhere with a fucking doctor who can help.

we arrive at this giant hospital-looking vet.  i knew this was going to be the place.  they take my little champion in the back, and i sit in the little room, waiting.  eventually i start to nod off.

Beautiful Disaster is off doing something.  getting something to drink.  calling his family to tell them what happened.  calling his lawyer, who is now somehow also my lawyer in this situation, if it turned out that i needed one.  he’s trying to figure out where to get money for the vet bill.  he’s calling relatives asking for money.  finally he shows up to the room where i am with drinks, cigarettes, a stuffed animal, and a bunch of other shit to cheer me up.

he tells me he’s going to need to pull the money out of the settlement he received when he was hit by a car (hence the brain damage).  for some reason, he’s telling me he needs to transfer all of it into MY account, and then transfer it back out to his own account.  i don’t get it but i don’t really care.  i just want my dog taken care of.

the thing is, this settlement is non-trivial.  i mean non-trivial in the sense that i could fully retire along with the rest of my family, non-trivial.  lots of zeros.  i’m wondering why the fuck this kid wants to transfer all of the funds to me, even for an hour.  i mean, i’m not going to steal it or anything but it just seems incredibly risky.  i admit, i was satisfied at the prospect of saying i was a millionaire for a day.

it never happened though and he ended up telling his grandmother how much he loved me and that shooting the dog was his responsibility and he wanted to cover the vet bills.

the vet came in and said, luckily, the bullet wound had only punctured tissue.  there was no damage to bones or organs.  they had cleaned it and wanted to hold my little guy over night for observation.  i would probably be able to pick him up the next day.  i couldn’t believe it.

they also said we could call to periodically check in to see how my dog is doing at any time of the day.  Beautiful Disaster called every hour, on the hour, and sometimes in between.

when i got home, i looked at the wreckage.  blood spatter covered everything.  my arms were still spotted with blood.  i was so tired, i just collapsed on my bed, lying among the dried spots.  i fell into a deep, deep sleep.

ghosts from hypomania past

at 7:30am my phone rang.  i blinked the sleep out of my eyes and tried to focus on the screen.  it read “Beautiful Disaster” and i stared at it for a while, letting it go to voicemail.  why was he calling so early in the freaking morning?

not that i would put it past him, but it was a little early to be completely fucked up.  and besides, he had been calling a bunch of times for several months without me returning calls.  curiosity got the best of me.  i called him back.

Beautiful Disaster.  that’s the name i gave to the 21 year old italian deviant playboy who was my partner in crime last summer.  he was one of my students last year.  a real pain in my fucking ass.  on the third day of class, i had to bring him outside to tell him not to come to class shitfaced drunk.  after that he just showed up high on pills or weed which was marginally better.

my boyfriend at the time, who i’ll undoubtedly get to at some point because events with him inevitably contributed to the onset of my hypomanic episode, had left for a vacation to hawaii just as i started my class and i planned to join him after i finished teaching.  we lived together, had talked about buying a house, were engaged briefly, the works.  we were to spend the rest of our lives together.  somehow, in just a few short weeks, the entire course of my life changed.

suddenly i noticed that i was turned on around this kid.  he was a deviant and risky and adventurous.  my heart would race and i would get horny and i had to actively avoid looking at him in class.  masturbation didn’t help.  previously if i had gotten stuck lusting after someone, i could just masturbate the feelings away and get back to my relationship.  not so in this case.

he didn’t make it really easy either.  he’d stay after class and talk to me.  one day he left his sunglasses in the classroom and wanted to come with me to my office to get them.  this guy was clearly dangerous and i was in trouble.  unfortunately, that just excited me more.

the last straw occurred on the second to last day of class.  i was reviewing for the final with my students and Beautiful Disaster pulled out all the stops.  at the beginning of class he made a big show about pulling a desk, noisily i might add, across the classroom so he was sitting next to me.  he commented on my shoes and would say strange things.  i was trying not to let on that i was so horny i could faint.

suddenly, he folded over himself and seemed to be coughing or choking or something.  when he sat up, he held out his hand and said “oh my god, my tooth fell out!”  at a loss for words, i watched as this event unfolded in slow motion.  the other students are laughing hysterically, i’m trying not to laugh while i’m watching this kid freak out, dashing from corner to corner, collecting his things to leave.  he’s almost out the door when he stops and looks back in the room, announcing that he “needs my phone number” because he can’t use email.  i think my jaw dropped as i tried to refuse this very public request for my information.  eventually i caved and gave it to him, and ended up having to give my number to the entire class later.

i couldn’t really recover from that.  i kept laughing randomly while going over exam questions.  at the end of the class, i noticed a pencil had been left on the front desk.  i went to give it back to the student who owned it but she refused to take it.  beautiful disaster, she said, had been chewing on it, and had actually pulled his tooth out on purpose.  he apparently had veneers and popped one of them off.  losing a tooth for my number wins the prize for unique pick up lines.

this, of course, drove me crazy.  thankfully, i was leaving for hawaii the day after the final exam and i thought, whew! now i can get back to my life.   i had been on the south beach diet for a month and had lost 12 lbs.  i looked good.  i was excited and ready to go.  except Beautiful Disaster had my number.  and we texted the entire time i was away.  i ended up having to get unlimited text messaging later because i went over my limit and racked up a bill over a hundred bucks.

i ended up telling my boyfriend at the time that i was attracted to this guy and that i wanted an open relationship.  all the while i was texting this student and we were going NUTS over each other.  it was one big adrenaline rush.  somehow, i thought this was all okay.

we even got into sending dirty texts to one another and i emailed him pictures of me on the beach in hawaii.  who does that?!  while they’re on vacation with their boyfriend?!  we were even on the trip with his adopted sons and their family, staying in their house, and i didn’t care!  i was so horny all the time i couldn’t even think straight.  i tried to fuck it off with my boyfriend, but the sex was decidedly unsatisfactory and boring.  besides, he couldn’t last longer than a few minutes and that was not enough to get me off.

by the time we got back into town, i was so fucking antsy i went out with friends right away.  we got home from hawaii and literally within an hour or two i was out having drinks telling them about my failed attempt to have an open relationship.  and of course, beautiful disaster was blowing me up.  all of the sudden i get a text from him, saying he is down the street at the new bar he just opened and would i please come by?

i brought my whole posse with me and we walked down to this new restaurant/bar.  beautiful disaster bought ALL of us drinks all night.  we all got completely shit faced and come closing time, my friends went home and i decided to stay.  i even had one of my friends call my live-in boyfriend to let him know i’m staying at her house.  i think i did plan to stay at her house, but when she wanted to leave…i didn’t.  so i stayed there with him, partying, drinking…he’s trying to convince me to hook up with him and i’m resisting.

the details get fuzzy, but we decided to go for a walk, i guess.  we were headed down an alley toward the street when he pushes me up against a gate and kisses me.  i don’t resist.  i think “fuck, i’m such an asshole” and then keep kissing him.  then we’re walking across the street and the sprinklers are running.  what do the two drunk deviants do?  we race over there and start making out in the sprinklers.  we get down, rolling around in the mud.  i get up and realize i have lost the keys to my boyfriend’s car, which i had driven that night.  what the fuck am i going to do?  we are soaked and muddy, and i can’t go home, and i can’t go to my friend’s house because she’s not answering her phone.

he offers to have me at his place.  he calls a cab and we wait on the street.  when a police car stops to ask if we’re (i’m) okay, beautiful disaster says i’m his girlfriend and we’re just having some fun.  the cab shows up, but it’s a fucking  limousine. literally. a limo to take us to his place.  i get in, mud and all, and we head back to his place.  i rinsed off my muddy clothes.  we ended up making out all night.  no sex, but it wasn’t far behind.

come morning i woke up in a panic.  what the hell was going on?!  i didn’t have keys, my sunglasses were gone, my clothes were still wet.  i tried calling and texting friends to come over and do laundry but no one was awake at 8am.  no wonder, with all the booze we drank the night before.

beautiful disaster and i went back and combed the area where the fateful events had happened last night.  i tried to keep my distance from him because we were right near the university.  i was afraid someone i knew or who knew my boyfriend at the time would see me there with him.  my heart was pounding.  i didn’t think about the fact that i cheated on my boyfriend.  i would have to figure that out later.

thankfully, beautiful disaster found the keys and i bolted out of there.  i was gritty and hung over and trying not to panic.  i got home and my boyfriend was still asleep.  i said hello and then ran into the shower to wash off the night’s events.

i never did tell my boyfriend about it.  two days later, he broke up with me anyway so it was a moot point.

but that was just the start of my adventures with beautiful disaster.

little white lie

okay, i know i said that XBF and i talked all night and that’s mostly true.  mostly.

when he arrived i was disoriented and confused, so i kept my physical distance from him.  i actually felt incapable of making decisions to some degree, and so at one point when he tried to lean in and kiss me, i told him i felt uncomfortable.  it also seemed misleading to be kissing him when i really have no idea what’s going on.  so he stopped.

then when i woke up sometime around 4 or 5 in the morning and we started talking again, the strange sensations had seemed to subside and i found myself openly staring at XBF.  i had noticed the night before that he lost a bunch of weight and his face had taken on a more chiseled appearance.  clearly the working out and eating healthy are paying off.  i mean, even before this i could lock in on his features and it was just like a rat pressing a lever.  i’d look at him, and my brain would shoot off dopamine.

reward, reward, reward.

now i found myself just completely doomed.  i got lost in the shape of his nose, the line of his jaw, the tone of his skin.  the sensation of looking at him was pleasing, like someone was giving my brain a massage.  i started feeling a little high again, except this was a different animal entirely.  it was a familiar feeling, but i was having trouble placing it.

i don’t remember how, but then we got on the topic of me having sex with a woman, and then threesomes.  XBF isn’t comfortable with either idea (…i know, i think he’s an alien too), but i was feeling a little feisty so i asked him if it wouldn’t turn him on to see me go down on a woman (i didn’t put it so politely but you get the idea).  and he said yes but wouldn’t i be uncomfortable seeing him have sex with another woman?

maybe, maybe not.  it is a fantasy of mine, after all.  i just don’t know that i could execute it.  in any case, i had a sudden flash of this image in my mind and all of the sudden that feeling of being high shot up and i couldn’t breathe.

i was fucking HORNY!

this may not seem like a big deal to y’all, but i’ve been coming out of the depression from HELL and my sex drive hasn’t been the same for nearly a year.  a YEAR!  and for someone whose sexuality has been a central part of her identity since pretty much puberty hit, you can imagine how disturbing the loss might feel.


I was back.  I kind of wanted to cry tears of joy, but instead i decided to carpe diem and enjoy the moment.  if you know what i mean.

afterward, he asked if i’ve been reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

i’ll take that as a compliment.  🙂

a day at a time

i’ve been meaning to announce something but i keep forgetting.  fortunately, today this is not the case so here goes it: i’ve been invited to syndicate my posts on the Bipolar Blogger Network.  Raeyn, the lady in charge over there, put it all together to provide a web resource to people diagnosed with bipolar.  We’re working on compiling lists of resources, like support groups and references, to make available to the public.  i just had another idea which i’m going to record here since my memory is so fickle as of late.  it would also be useful to have a library of sorts with book recommendations and reviews by our bipolar bloggers.  keep an eye out as this website takes shape over the next few months!

secondly, happy memorial day, at least for my U.S. readers.  i hope you are all enjoying your holiday and please do take at least a moment to reflect on and honor our troops.  for those of you who are international readers (hello UK!  hi Canada!  welcome Australia, Germany, Puerto Rico, and Kenya!  :: waves ::), my apologies for my apparent nationalism in honoring holidays and hope you are having a lovely monday.

announcements, check.  time to get down to bidnis (business).

yesterday i made like a social butterfly and had not one, not two, but THREE separate social engagements.  in one day!  this has got to be a record for the past year.  i felt like a crazy lady for most of it because of the hypomania but i did my best to tone it down since, you know, we were in public.  it’s kind of interesting, because feeling so high, it’s like i’m there but i’m not there.  i’m like mother fuckin’ schrodinger’s cat.

i did pretty well with lunch, working mostly on slowing down my speech, reducing the fidgeting, stifling the manic-sounding cackles i wanted to emit… by the time i went to target with my friend (yes, she brought me to TARGET during a hypomanic episode! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!), i was on another plane, in part because i had just gotten into it with XBF on the phone.  in defense of my friend, she did ask if going to target was a bad idea in my state of mind and i assured her that it was not and that i would be okay.  i underestimated, however, the powerful laser beams target uses to draw you in and ended up walking out with chocolate chip cookies, a skirt, and a dress.  not bad, considering my history with “Le Tar-jay”.

we then went to a frozen yogurt shop and i tried like 3 different flavors in the same taster before my friend pointed a sign literally a foot away from my face that read ‘only one taste per taster cup’ or whatever.  oops.  so i told her i had decided on the fruity flavors and promptly walked over and got VANILLA after a change of heart at the last second.  i topped my vanilla yogurt with captain crunch cereal, gummy bears, and rainbow sprinkles, looked at my cup and thought “even my yogurt looks manic”.  we sat down and the colors of the walls and paintings in this yogurt shop were just blowing my mind right out of my mind.

once we finished, she dropped me back home.  i started writing my denial blog post and called back the XBF.  he answered the phone and it sounded like he had been crying.  it was sad.  two hours earlier we had hung up the phone and he was crying, and now he was still crying.  i’m a sucker for tears, so within 30 minutes he was at my house…

hold up!

how did this happen, you ask?  after all the BS i’ve been posting, with the “no way jose” and all else, why would i let XBF within 30 yards of my home?  oh it gets better, just wait.

after he didn’t respond for two days, i was fucking annoyed.  it’s a weekend for god’s sake so it’s not even like he has the school excuse.  i had bitched about this at lunch with my friend who agreed that XBF is seeming less and less worth my time, and by the time i got home i felt not only pissed off, but now also entitled to send an email that said “forget it. i’m over it.”

which i meant 100% at the time by the way.  so again, how did he get into my house??

prepare your mind to be boggled.

he came back at me with an equally entitled response which made me so mad i couldn’t just LET IT GO.  he wrote,

________ I’m in school and focusing on it. Id love to talk to you but you seem unable to talk to me like it was the old days. Instead you continue to send me stressful and hurtful messages. Youre stressing me out and its not fair. If you are unable to even sit with me in person im smart enough to know thats a stressful situation i shouldn’t be focusing on. Look, I love you and im happy to give as much time as you need to “prepare yourself mentally” or whatever but its not cool to try and control every aspect of the situation if its at the cost of my well being. I have no idea whats been going on with you recently and im sorry youre as upset as you are. But for real, you need to start learning to show me respect. Maybe think about how things you say and do might affect other people. Im tired of these knee jerk emotional respones. I don’t deserve it.

game on, fucker!  i responded,

Dear XBF,

Just to be clear, what I asked was to talk first by email so I could get my bearings and then we could meet in person.  In just the last week, you have flipped your interactions with me twice 180 degrees and that made me uncomfortable.  I think that should be understandable given what I’ve been through in the last month.

If anything, what I am unable to do is continue dealing with your mixed messages.  I do not like you assuring me that I can trust you and that you will work through this with me one day, two days later telling me you don’t want to “enable” me and will “let me know what you’re going to do in a few days”, and then 3 days after that sending me an email that you love and miss me like nothing has happened.  And then when I ask you to clarify by email you don’t respond for two days… on a weekend.

So yes, I support you being in school and support you focusing on it.  I’m pretty sure that’s why I helped you do so much in school over the past year, like plan your class schedule, communicate with instructors, complete online quizzes and write papers.  Please do not speak to me as if I have been the major barrier to you in school; I take quite a bit of offense to that since I probably account for your two passing grades of the last YEAR.

XBF, you are so missing the point.  It’s that its not all about you.  Which I can’t seem to get through your head.  You have no idea what is going on with me because you can’t even be around me.  I try and communicate and it’s like talking to a wall.  Let me summarize: I am sick.  Sick in such a way that is going to be transformative for my entire life.  I would think you would understand but you seem to concerned about yourself to worry about that.

I cannot believe you are having the gall to tell me I need to respect YOU right now.  It makes me sick.  I suppose now that you’re not feeling sick all the time you think you can speak to me like that.  Don’t forget who encouraged you to get better, and who was there when you were at your worst.  Too bad I can’t say the same for you.

I wasn’t trying to “control” the situation.  What I said is legit.  I am done.  We’ll work out the exchange of belongings in a few weeks.

i don’t think more than 6 minutes passed and he was calling me.  it was such a short period of time that i wasn’t sure he was calling about my email so i answered and asked.  what followed, i can’t really say.  remember, i’m feeling like i’m in two places at once.  XBF has brain damage so his reality can be a bit distorted at times.  he’s also six years my junior so his lack of experience does seem more salient in times like this.  trying to follow the conversation was like trying to walk through nearly-dry cement.  you’re not really going anywhere.

this made me feel even more crazy, so you can imagine my relief when my friend called to go to target.  it was like i became even more hypomanic because what little scaffolding i had grabbed on to was up in the air.  i felt like a snow globe that had just been shaken.  the only thing i can remember from the conversation is XBF saying “i miss my best friend. i just want my best friend.”  it really struck close to home for me.  i think that’s where i started to crumble.  i told him i’d call him back later after my adventures to target.

i did and he came over and we talked for about 2-3 hours and then i tried to sleep for a bit.  i woke up a short time later and couldn’t fall back asleep, and he had been awake the whole time since his sleep schedule is off.  we started talking again and continued for another 3 hours or so. that’s how we are; once we were on a 6 hour road trip and i barely noticed because we spent the entire time talking to each other.  there have been many a night where we find ourselves still talking as the sun rises.

nothing has been decided for our relationship, but we negotiated an arrangement that met both our needs.  i agreed to watch the Avengers with him and to hang out and spend time together, and he agreed to hang out a separate time and to really listen to what has been going on with me.  this is just one of those situations where i’m going to have to take it a day at a time.

when you’re strange

the doors ‘people are strange‘ has been on repeat in my mind for two days now.  it seems befitting since i seem to be internalizing this diagnosis a little more each day and now i can reframe behavior previously perceived as odd.  don’t get me wrong, it’s still odd, but now there are just more people who share my characteristics.  it’s like finding a sense of community in my diagnosis.

it also means i have some explanation for previously inexplicable behavior.  for instance, in the last year i have found myself unable to function more times than i can count.  i feel as though i’ve been more susceptible to stress in some ways, which has been difficult to accept because i have always felt that i have withstood a great deal of stress over the course of my life.  so, i thought, many times, that i could just push through it.  i would try to set goals and make plans and fail and fail and fail.  and i suck at failing so it just made me feel worse.

especially since i am a doctoral candidate, and i am expected to be very responsible and to have my shit together and be able to pull off research projects and teaching assignments and managing a lab.  i found i was constantly flogging myself for just sucking at life in general.  for being unable to be consistent and follow through.  i thought it was just some flaw in my character, that somehow my struggle against the waves of my mood meant i am just weak and undisciplined.  that there is always something i could be doing to remedy the situation.  it got so bad that sometimes i even thought i became failure.  like if you looked up failure in the dictionary, you would find my picture and a list of bullet pointed examples for why i am made of suck.

in fact, sitting in the psychiatrist’s office, as she was describing what i could expect from a stabilized state compared to a hypomanic or depressive episode, i asked if bipolar mood swings could account for even rapid changes in mood or in being inconsistent and she said yes.  i don’t think i meant to say the following out loud, but it kind of just came out.  i started tearing up and in possibly the meekest voice i have ever heard out of myself before–i thought i sounded like a little girl, in fact–i asked, “so you mean i can stop beating myself up for that?”

i would just like to say that going from feeling like a piece of shit failure to having a possible explanation, a REASON for behavior that had been so confusing and detrimental, was like lifting 1000 pounds off my shoulders.  and that treatment might allow me to manage those experiences…well, it was then that i decided lithium was worth a shot.

so now i am on lithium, and i am not quite sure i am at “management” stages yet.  i am still feeling hypomanic today.  i am impatient with people and easily distracted.  fidgety up the wazoo.  my thoughts are racing and i am giddy and hyper.  listening to music feels good.  the strange thing, however, is that i would expect sleepless nights with this kind of hypomania…except last night i couldn’t have stayed up past midnight if i tried.  i was SO. TIRED.

i have no idea what next week will bring, or even tomorrow.  i still don’t want to go out or socialize with many people, because my hypomanic state will be such a stark contrast to the debilitating depression i experienced not even a week ago.  i don’t want to have to explain one state or the other, or how i got from one place to the next.  and i don’t want to offend those who i failed as a colleague, or as an instructor .

there is also a fear i can’t deny, that people will somehow be able to tell.  i think my hypomanic behaviors are very obvious, and i do feel a bit like a crazy person because i’m so elated and unable to focus.  i don’t even want to call friends because i’m talking so rapidly that sometimes i stutter, and even typing i forget words or get ahead of myself.  if i had to guess, i would say i would fit in perfectly on a dance floor at about 1am when everyone else is already drunk.

if only i can figure out a way to get  paid for hypomanic behavior, then i’m set…


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