Friday, August 28, 2009

We Have Lift-Off

This morning I almost posted this as my status update: should probably post disclaimers now.

But on FB this would probably sound like an attempt at manufactured mystery. It is not. So I took my FB update to its proper place (if, indeed, there is such a place). I meant this blog to orbit around bipolar disorder, and it has probably seemed to do anything but. So, for me, it has actually done a pretty good job of describing what my life with bipolar disorder is like. Most of the time I take my pills and don't think about it all that much.

And then...

A few days ago I started getting productive. Normalish productive. Finally getting around to all those tasks and chores that get put off for whatever mundane reason... Yesterday I was very productive. Organizing everything. Making meal plans for the next year. Scrubbing mineral deposits and other non-crucial stuff. Go me! Meanwhile I noticed smells seemed stronger. I began craving specific music.

On the way home from the gym, I was suddenly startled by the colors. Suddenly the popped into greater focus and more vivid hues... It was like taking off scratched and dirty sunglasses. And then I knew.

The last time that (the colors) suddenly "switched," I was living in New York and had just been put on Zoloft - my first foray into psychotropics. It was also my first known flip into mania.

For years, the doctors and therapists I sought out for help repeatedly suggested that my reaction to the SSRIs was simply what normal people felt, and that I was too used to being depressed to remember what it felt like to be normal. The problem with that was that it didn't take long for things to spin out of control. Really out of control. So, eventually I'd stop taking the meds, crash down into horrific depression and just hang on for dear life (which included some self-medicating) until I could function just enough to seek out help. Again. Zoloft. Paxil. Effexor. I don't even remember, anymore, all the anti-depressants I've tried.

But I remember the colors, driving down a country road near Saratoga Springs. Each changing leaf rustled with a crisp vivid shudder that sent tiny electric shocks up my spine... and the smells of Autumn rushed by, cool in the wind created by rushing past fields in various degrees of harvest with the top down on my red convertible Chrysler LeBaron. Commuting to a job in Albany. Flush with confidence. Ready to take on the world.

This state. This hypomania. This is seduction at its finest. Right now I am standing at a precipice, arms flung out, leaning into the wind. Damn but it feels good. Sleep? Don't need it. Food? Take it or leave it. But the paint. The music. The words. The productivity... and the hope that this could be my new normal. That life will stay this way. That I can feel this way... always. Such a sweet notion. And so I try not to think about the likelihood of a mixed state to come, or a full blown mania that leaves me in terrifying hallucinations. Or even plain old depression that will hit, made so much worse by the mourning of the loss of this moment.

This is bipolar disorder. This is what bipolar people are hunting for when they quit taking their meds (I am still taking mine exactly as prescribed). During the "normal" portions of life, this is what I feel cheated for losing by choosing stability.

Ah. Hypomania. The holy grail of us bipolar nutjobs.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I hope it doesn't go to far. Keep us posted. Sadly (I guess) when I tried the SSRI's I couldn't get any productivity out of it. Just sitting. And shaking. Completely blank mind.