Mother I tried please believe me, I’m doing the best that I can.
I’m ashamed of the things I’ve been put through, I’m ashamed of the person I am.
Isolation, isolation, isolation.
But if you could just see the beauty, these things I could never describe,
These pleasures a wayward distraction, this is my one lucky prize.
Isolation, isolation, isolation, isolation, isolation. (Ian Curtis, Joy Division)
I’m not feeling depressed or particularly sad today, just isolated and angry. How many good people have I pushed away over the course of my life? I can’t even begin to count. Part of it was a fear, an overwhelming, paralyzing, bone deep fear.
What if I get to know you and like you and then you slam me down hard? Safer to stay at a distance. Even worse, what if you get to know me and like me and then I kick you to the curb one day when I’m out of my mind with agitation. I don’t know how or why I’ve lived like this for so long. I think another part of this comes from feeling like damaged goods. “I’m a loony toon; you better stay away from me for your own good.”
I know it’s ridiculous to feel this way, but that doesn’t help much. It’s like having a broken leg, you know it is broken but it still hurts like a bitch. Every time phone rings I almost jump out of my skin and think, “Oh God, what now? What loose string have I left untied? What did I do that I need to apologize for or explain?”
Regaining a semblance of sanity and balance is a good thing. But, when I look behind me and see the of destruction I wove while in and out of my mind, it’s like looking at a aerial footage of the path of a tornado.
Yea, yea, I didn’t do as much damage as a tornado, but not by much, at least that’s what it feels like. Would it have different if I had been diagnosed with bipolar years or decades ago? How can I know that? Would I have made different decisions? Chosen a different path for my life? Hiding behind the skirts of my wackier family members it was always so easy to wave a banner and say “See, I’m the normal one, taint nuthin wrong with me!”
Some part of me knew something was not right in my brain. I guess I just wasn’t ready to face it head on. Who is to say anything would be different? Maybe it would have been worse? Maybe I would have used mental illness as a crutch to excuse myself from inexcusable behavior.
Today I go to see my physio-key-atrist. I’m expecting it to go something like this. “OK, we’ve abated the crisis and stopped the bleeding, the hypomanic mixed states, but what now? Where do I go from here?” I don’t know how or what a normal stable state feels. I feel like a blindfolded painter expected to draw a landscape I’ve never seen. I just don’t know where or what to do next.
Confusion in her eyes that says it all.
She’s lost control.
And she’s clinging to the nearest passer by,
She’s lost control.
And she gave away the secrets of her past,
And said I’ve lost control again,
And of a voice that told her when and where to act,
She said I’ve lost control again.
RIP to Songwriter Ian Curtis (1956-1980), Joy Division
So this is what normal feels like? Don’t know because I’ve never been normal. But if this what it feels like, I think I can get used to it. Maybe even grow to love it. I’m sitting here on the patio and the raging out of control thoughts are …just not …there. Where did they go? Are they gone or do these bipolar meds give me a volume control? If this is case then it is fabulous, I love it.
It also feels like if I somehow stood in the great hall of my brain and shouted hello, I would hear echoes. HELLO, hello, helloooo. But I don’t feel empty at all. I just feel …peaceful. Yeah that’s it.
I still hear all the sounds that were driving me absolutely climbing the walls crazy just a few days ago. Bird cawing, traffic in the distance, hubman blinking, a neighbor banging around her garbage cans, a barking dog, leaf blowers, the sprinklers.
The sprinklers are the best of all, they don’t sound like Niagra Falls now. I don’t have to run for my life, get in bed and put a pillow over my head to drown out the roar. The sun shining through them is making little rainbows. I have a yard full of rainbows. How cool is that? I couldn’t sit still long enough to notice that before. Looking back on the last few months I spent most of my mental time zipping around on the ceiling fan.
I hope y’all pardon me if I spend some time obsessed with this whole bipolar medical adventure and the meds that are helping me so much. Thank you Chemists every where, thank you, and thank you some more. It’s all so new to me and it’s like getting a new brain for Christmas and I do love new gadgets. And it’s a wonderful gadget, this brain. Don’t have to plug it in, it won’t short out if I spill coffee on it, can’t lose the charger cord, and the warranty won’t expire.
The absence of the constant assault on my senses, the absence of having a panic attic when asked a simple question and the ability to just BE is a gift from the Gods via modern pharmaceuticals.
The outward proof of returning to center is that I am doing “normal” things without stressing out. I don’t feel the need to upchuck from the fear of getting in the shower. I could force myself into the bathtub instead, but it was a complicated process. I would sit on the edge and put one foot in, take deep breaths try to calm down, put the foot in and calm down. It would take like 10 minutes to finally get all the way in the bathtub. The sensations were overwhelming. Then I’d start to panic and fear that I would fall asleep and drown. And standing up to get back out, shivering while reaching for a towel? I would rather go to Disney Land and ride Space Mountain. Not even close to being as scary.
I’ve always been a tactile kind of person to begin with. So with having my brain go haywire the sensation in the shower were as frightening as if someone expected me to base jump off Angle Falls in South America. Too much water, too much noise, to many sensations – hot, cold, wet, soapy, steamy, the smell of shampoo, scratchy wash cloth… GAAAaaaAAa. Head for the hills! The H2O Armageddon was coming.
Unfortunately the devil of “what ifs” is starting to knock on my door. What if I end up as dull as a hitching post? What if the meds turn off my creativity? Will I be perceived as fragile or even dangerous? One of those people who you talk softly and slowly to because they’re afraid you are going to go off on them? Will I start to shuffle along like someone in an institution. Have I donned a chemical straight jacket? I’m back to writing at least and that’s a good sign. I’ll take it.