Sunday Morning… It’s dark in the house and cold outside when I went out for my first cigarette. I’m being extravagant though and have it toasty warm inside as I sit here drinking my coffee. I was up way before dawn, but lay back down on the couch for another hour or so and woke up feeling fully rested. Now I have soft jazz playing on the iPod and my cat is curled up sleeping under my chair.
All is good.
Today is one of those days I don’t have anything specific to say, but still feel compelled to write. Not to mention I promised myself that I would get back into the routine of writing something every day again. It was a good day yesterday. I did spend a lot of time napping, and I didn’t really get anything done around the house other than the necessary picking up and keeping the dishes washed. I don’t feel bad about it though, as I worked so many hours and stayed out late over the last three days, I’m sure my body needed the rest. And being able to rest like that may be a good indicator that the mania is coming down a bit. There have been plenty of times I’ve been up for days, but still unable to get any sleep. Now, my mind is calm. I have no plans to be with anybody today but am looking forward to the time alone; taking care of my weekly chores, spending some time on my guitar, maybe watching a little football. I’m just taking some time for myself.
Of course, even though I’m just relaxing and cruising through the day, my mind is still going. Not pressured or racing thoughts, but reflective and contemplating. In the last week or so I’ve been teetering on the edge of being out of control. Or, if I’m really honest with myself I know I went over that edge and into a free fall. Looking back over the last couple of weeks is actually a little frightening. Maybe I didn’t feel manic, but I did some pretty crazy things. But it’s quiet and comfortable this morning. It’s a time for reflection.
I really haven’t felt manic lately. I’ve felt good, and been very productive and energetic, but it really hasn’t felt over the top. Most of the time, even when I’m in the most outrageous mania there’s a little part of my brain that knows I’m having an episode. It’s part of the frustration of this illness…I know what’s happening, but feel powerless to stop it. It’s almost like an out-of-body experience. It’s like I’m watching myself from a distance as I run amok and do crazy things. But it hasn’t been like that this time. I’ve just felt like myself. If I look at myself objectively though at the way I’ve been behaving, it can’t be anything else but mania. I know just how bad it is to overindulge in alcohol, and have been really good about not overdoing it. I may not be great at managing my money, but I do usually keep up with it and at least try to make sure I’m able to pay my bills. I really understand the necessity of remembering to take my medications. And I’m really a nice guy. I don’t run around sleeping with anybody that can fog a mirror.
Not so much lately.
My recent behaviors are not ones that I would do when I’m just being myself. Even though I haven’t been able to see the mania, I have to admit to myself that it’s there. That in itself is really scary. If I hadn’t been able to figure out where I really was, I could have lost control completely. Or, since the truth is I was somewhat out of control, I wouldn’t have been able to try to bring myself back down. It is frightening, but it’s encouraging at the same time. I was able to recognize that I was getting in trouble. I have been able to do something about it. I caught myself before I did any irreparable damage to myself or others. Oh, I know. Sleeping around could be considered damaging. But truthfully I never led anybody on or promised anything other than what it was. There was a method to my madness I guess. I was attracted to, and connected with women who were after the same thing I was. I won’t say I haven’t hurt a lot of people in the past, but this doesn’t seem like one of those times. I’ve been lucky it hasn’t been worse than it has. And I’m thankful that I’ve been able to restrain my impulses before things got completely insane. And now I’ve been able to see that I haven’t been ‘normal’ and have been able to take steps to reign in my outrageous behavior before it’s too late.
My therapist will be proud.
Maybe this has turned into a good thing. Bipolar is a life long illness; it never really goes away. My recent episode really proves that. But this time I’ve been able to maintain without losing everything again. No, I’m not proud of the way I’ve acted, but I do feel good that I’ve been able to put it in check. Maybe this illness can really be managed after all. I guess time will tell, and I do know that it’s all happened in a very short period of time. For now though, I feel like I’m on the right track. And going forward it has to be one day at a time. Yesterday was good; today will be better.
See? I guess I had something to say after all. That’s what usually happens once I get myself going. And I’ve realized one of the things I have come to enjoy about blogging. I can have a deeply personal and intimate conversation with so many of my closest friends.
Thanks for being there. Thanks for listening.