I am up in the clouds on a thin tightrope. Every move I make crucial to prevent myself from fatally tipping the balance; One side will rise me higher into the flight of a soaring mania, the other side down, down in to the deep pitfalls of depression.
This is the ultimate fight for sanity on the road to recovery in Bipolar disorder. And it’s my turn for my strength of balance to be challenged as I walk the rope.
The past few weeks haven’t been easy. I am rapid cycling like an absolute nutcase. From curling up in a ball on the sofa, paralysed with anxiety and the fight in my mind wanting to give up, to the spontaneous flight from my hometown in the car driven by the fuel that is an escape. Pushing my friends, family and all social contact bar my beautiful girl and my supportive partner, to chatty minds and flights of ideas and diversions, diversions, diversions that lead to insomnia. Us blemished souls too fully aware of how the poison of a sleepless night spreads and sparks the fire of mania. It’s getting better, I’m getting better. I have to do this, for at this moment in time the risk of my fragile mind crumbling is not an option for me right now.
I’m being as careful as I can. The depression is being quite sucessfully battled against – this week, at least, but i’m expecting a dip of course because you never know where this goddamn illness is going to take you – I’m eating well, I’m exercising, I’m writing. I’m preparing myself for starting my new job next week. I’m attempting to go to bed at a decent time, have enough sleep (reguardless of the chatty mind, the million Megan’s voices and the ADHD head – maybe a post on that to follow). An all rounder to looking after myself, doing it the way the Doctor ordered, in addition to the norm of taking my meds routinely.
But, here’s the catch.
Contraversally, when unstable in Bipolar disorder, motivation for us can be deterimental. I henceforth label this as…
… the MANIC DRIVE TO OBSESSION.
Manic Drive to Obsession 101: An prime example of this has brightly shone from inside me this week with the motivation to exercise. A twenty minute sprint, followed by the post workout rush of endorphins, has managed to tip my balance and harvest some unwanted energy that struggle to contain, my head screaming at me “Exercise more! Exercise like crazy, GO! GO! GO!”
Some light healthy eating for an afternoon has it screaming again, “Stop drinking carbonated drinks. In fact, chuck them out. No, chuck out ALL of the sugar! Fruit, don’t eat that it contains the Devil Sugar! Just live off leaves and chicken. But only 1,200 calories. No, you consumed 1,200 calories yesterday -from now forward MAKE IT 1,000 CALORIES!”
“LIVE OFF ONLY THE LEAVES!”
Then the extreme dieting, which ultimately does not give you the healthy energy needed for ALL the workouts you are doing soon becomes “We don’t lose 1lbs a week! We lose A STONE IN A WEEK! PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!” Followed by obsessionally stepping on the scales every half hour of the day and cursing yourself because your manic mind cannot comprehend the logistical concept of ‘slow fat burning’ and gets frustrated why you haven’t dropped a single lbs since that same morning.
Then comes the lack of sleep. “Why sleep when we can workout more?! Sleep is for the weak!” – and guess what comes from lack of sleep? More lack of sleep. Guess what follows even more lack of sleep?
EVEN MORE MANIC DRIVE OF OBSESSION.
You see, it is a vicious cycle of craziness. All it needs is one little spark of that energy when you are unstable, and even when you think you are ‘getting better because everything in life seems GREAT! – you actually have a one way pass to board the Choo-Choo train of Loon.
I feel the drive mainly when my thoughts multiply and I just simply cannot concentrate on one voice. It’s like I have a hundred Megan’s in my mind chatting away. Like when you’re in a huge crowded hall and everyones talking. Sometimes my conciousness find a voice and trails off, soon to be caught by the attention of another and shot in a completely different direction. It’s noisy. It’s crowded. Can you concentrate when someone is trying to have a conversation with you? Nope. Can you get in the car and concentrate on the road without you ending up at a totally different destination because it was a ‘ wayyyy better idea than the first destination?’ Nope.
I’ve felt this drive so many times this week, when I have had the good energy and it’s sored, and before I know it your mind takes off in a million directions and you lose control of your head. It’s like handling a kitten in it’s prime. All soft and cuddly in your arms, happy thoughts. Then the kitten turns on you and viciously writhes and wiggles and you lose control of handling it and you drop it and not only have you lost the motherfucking psycho kitten but you also have lots of bloody stinging claw marks on your arms.
I had this when I was in a coffee shop today working on my novel.From a slow start suddenly came an idea, then flights of ideas, then they were flying out this way and that and then something happened that doesn’t usually happen with me.
I recognised the first symptom of the Manic Drive of Obsession, and I stopped.
I forced myself, to stop mid-ideas because I somehow clocked on that my mania had been sparked. I had too many voices, too many Megan’s to even make sense of what the hell I was doing or what I was writing and I found the strength to put a hault to it. I packed up, I got some fresh air, and I put some slow chilling music on – any glimpse of an upbeat song I knew I would lose my grip on the kitten again, this built up excitability that had somehow formed. Too much energy for any mind that is within the borders of insanity to handle.
From some harsh previous experiences I know too well that it is all too easy to get lost on the path to mania. You don’t walk down it. You slip. You lose your balance, before you have even conciously decided to run with it’s flow. It is too powerful, too forceful to stop against the rush of it’s current, before you end up lost in its infinate dark waters.
I don’t think my medication is working as effectively as it should be working.