It’s the uncertainty of knowing where your head will be each day – you assume above your shoulders on top of your neck – but some days it goes off on its own leaving you to fend for yourself. I’m sure I had it when I went to bed last night but today I seem to have woken to a visit from the brain fairy who has removed the thinking organ and replaced with an IOU worth only the paper that it is written on.
Some Bi-polarists (no, me neither) go for two or three months at one level – hyper or depressed – but I enjoy the fairly rapid jump between the states and today I find myself in a low that I wasn’t expecting. This is a really good reason why I needed to get out of teaching, because going in on a Monday morning to teach all day when you feel as raw and vulnerable as I do it’s a tough one to tough out. Having to be “on” for a whole day is tough when you just want to crawl into bed and disappear until the lights come back on. It’s why I really struggled in the last two or three years because the changes were becoming more abrupt and it made day-to-day work quite a challenge for both me and my poor long-suffering students. Now with my new positions I have the flexibility to step back and only worry about using up energy to be “up” or “on” in short bursts without falling to pieces.
And I’d point out this is me on medication – imagine what it was like before I got the diagnosis and meds last November to help me with it all. Memory seems to be affected because there are chunks of time gone from my little grey cells of those more difficult periods. The other issue is there is so much ignorance around depression and bi-polar that even random comments made without any malice can cut right into you. The use of the words “nutter” or “mental case”, those who make all-knowing proclamations about mental illness – even a couple of dafties on Gogglebox – can set you on edge and annoy you. When you’re feeling okay these things are like water off a duck’s back – and even I’ll use them jokingly. I think workplaces need to stop announcing they’ve “gone on a course” to understand mental illness and actually just speak to us about it; while a professional understands the theory only a sufferer can describe the feelings and impact.
The ups and downs and the swing between them is still something you can feel despite the meds doing their jobs. You can sense when the hyper devil is ready to poke and prod the big red “do not touch” buttons of life but it’s so much fun to go off on flight of fancy you let it happen. The downs are a pain in the arse and you find yourself tearing up at the slightest thing in books or music or films. Even now after five years of having the depression diagnosed and treated there is still a newness to the feeling each time it appears because you block out the emotional memories because they weigh you down. The highs I have always forgotten anyway because they are my mouth working with my brain sitting back in horror listening to the noises I’m making and wondering who sanctioned it to speak on our behalf. So you depart each “episode” with blanks ready for the next one.
Shame you can’t programme them or select them.