It had to happen…

Well, it finally happened. Honestly, I’m not surprised, nor was it unexpected. I figured it would happen before now.

I’m bored.

I really don’t have a reason to be bored. Things are really going well, and have been for some time now. I have a lot things going on in my life that are good. For the first time in three years I have a job. Oh, I’ve been working for two and a half years, but it was as a contractor. I was happy to be working, but there was little security and I didn’t qualify for benefits. No Benefits! Now that’s a real problem, especially with my chronic, sometimes even life threatening illness. I was fortunate enough that I was able to pay for my meds out of pocket, and my therapist unbelievably only charged me what I could afford. There are other health aspects that have been completely ignored however. Several years ago I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it was based on my blood work. And I haven’t had that test done in over three years. Likewise, I had some serious issues with my lower IT that needs a colonoscopy every three years. Guess how long it’s been since I’ve had one? And so forth and so on; especially at my age things just happen. But a few weeks ago I was converted to a full time regular employee, with all the benefits and security that I needed. Work is crazy busy though. My normal day is 12 hours, and it’s not unusual to work at least one day on the weekend. It’s not just me either; all of my coworkers are in the same boat. There is just more work than we can keep up with.

That ought to keep things interesting, right?

I’ve got a growing relationship. We’ve been together now for almost 9 months, and it really couldn’t be going any better. We’re together almost every day. We have fun doing all the things I’ve ever hoped for in a partner. We talk, cook together, take day trips, hang out with friends, and laugh; there’s always laughter. And we dance. I have to dance. And she dances so well.

She has done a great deal in restoring my hope.

Emotionally I have been as stable as I think I’ve ever been. I have mood swings, but we all have mood swings. The difference is, mine are no different from anyone else’s. I have good days and bad days, but they are just that. The bad days don’t lead to depression, and my good days aren’t manic. My reactions to situations are completely appropriate. Gone is the road rage, and the feeling of inadequacy and failure when there are problems at work. My goal has been to be normal, and I think I’ve succeeded in spades. So what’s wrong with that? There’s not a thing wrong about it.

There’s just something missing

My days are very full, but they’re also very predictable. I’ve settled into a routine that rarely deviates. I sleep, I go to work, I spend time with my girlfriend, and I go back to sleep. Weekends are a little different, but still the same. We do fun things, of course. And they are enjoyable. We always have a great time.

But where’s the excitement?

For my entire life I’ve had two speeds; off and full steam ahead. Or, as I’ve been diagnosed; I’m bipolar. I do not miss the depressions. In fact, the mere thought of becoming depressed scares the hell out of me. I do not EVER want to go there again. But the mania; well, that’s a completely different story. I am Type I, and there are certainly times of total madness. But the majority of the time I’m just hypo-manic. In fact, the nature of my illness is that I am up way more than I am down. I wake up in the morning full of energy and raring to plunge into a new day. I work at almost a frantic pace; in fact, I perform much better when under stress. It’s easy to make friends when you are the life of the party, and my social life stays full. Relationships are adventurous, edgy, and even risky. All of them; because when I’m in a casual dating mode I usually have more than one. And the sex is off the charts. There’s very little that I won’t try, and I can usually find a partner willing to go there.

My therapist calls it being an adrenalin junkie. And she’s right.

So in discussions about it with my therapist, she had a lot of suggestions for things I could do to help bring the excitement and sense of purpose back. She thought I could volunteer for a charity. Or maybe I could learn how to play a new instrument, or paint, or take dancing lessons. Maybe her best suggestion was to work on turning my blog into a book; that thought might have just merit. But the truth is, adding new activities aren’t going to do anything about the lack of stimulation. I have things to do and my time stays full. It’s the energy I’m missing, not having anything to do.

This is pretty common with being bipolar.

For the most part, manias are a lot of fun. Even being self destructive and dangerous, the nature of the illness is that you don’t realize the risk. The creativity just pours out, and ideas bounce around faster than you can react. It’s a real high. But it is risky, and the reason for therapy and medications. And treatment plans can work as I’ve attested.

So…the fun stops and days become mundane and repetitive. Just like mine have become. It’s at this point that so many of us quit taking our meds. Speaking for myself, I don’t have the drastic emotions, and begin to question whether I even need to take meds. I think that maybe the diagnosis isn’t right after all, and I’ll do just fine without taking drugs. And with that, regain some of that energy and excitement that I’m missing.

Yeah, right; go ahead and reserve my room at the mental institution.

But I think my therapist has it wrong this time. I don’t need to look for new and thrilling activities. I certainly don’t need to dump this relationship to get that feeling you get when a relationship is young. I don’t want any more distractions, thank you. No, I think that it’s time to do what I’ve strived to do and put so much effort into or so long. It’s time to break the adrenaline habit and learn how to be satisfied with where I am. To coin a phrase; it’s time to stop and smell the roses. I’m in a very good place right now; maybe the best I’ve ever been. No, there’s no overwhelming exhilaration. I don’t tremble with anticipation for anything. I’m not out having wild monkey sex every night. What I’m experiencing is normalcy.

And that’s been the goal all along.

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6 Responses to It had to happen…

  1. Dawn Doucette says:

    Chiming in. I haven’t check in on your blog for a while.
    Sound like you’ve got a pretty good handle on things
    As a fellow B-Polar one of the most important things (for me)
    Is to be aware and mindful of boredom, or anything that I might notice that could send me into a manic episode and get me in trouble ( Yes, it had happened)
    Left to my own devices, well, I’m sure I don’t have to explain how that could go

    Glad you still have this Blog going.


  2. Tempest Rose says:

    I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but if I were in your situation boredom would be a sign of a soon-to-come burn out. I’d throw myself into my work and my relationship, slowly become bored for no reason, and then randomly with no warning overdo it and give up.

    Make sure to take time for yourself. =]


  3. Placid's Place says:

    Having struggled with bi-polar for over twenty years, I can identify myself in your blog. My bi-polar however is a rapid cycling one so I can have swings from week to week and not month to month. No pleasant. For me – the mundanity of life is sometimes hard to cope with also. The almost nervous energy that I ‘have’ to be doing something is overwhelming at times. I can’t sit still for long and just as you say ‘smell the roses’. It is what I really want to do; to sit and just take in my life – live my life. But because I feel like I have to be ‘doing’ something, I find I have times of pure ‘boredom’ too. My partner of twenty five years still doesn’t understand that. If I had a euro for every time he told me just to ‘sit and relax’ I’d be a very rich woman. But as I said; its almost an ache, an itch I can’t quite scratch – this constant ‘need’ to be up, doing something! I’ve not managed it yet, but I am trying every day. The fact that you recognise the importance of trying to live in normalcy is huge. The fact that you WANT to live in that normalcy is even bigger. You know, its only with others who have struggled and fight against bi-polar that we can actually truly understand the devastating consequences of this mental illness and find a camaraderie that doesn’t exist in our other relationships. For all my difficulties, my husband has been there, to hold my hand and he’s lived through this war with me – but he still doesn’t understand my bi-polar. But he strives to – every day too. Finding someone who understands what you live through is very important. Hang on to that relationship and I hope you learn as I am learning that life can be good on what we see as ‘half-speed’.


  4. Amanda says:

    It all gets to hard basket!!the medication either puts you in a coma or makes you sick! The depression sucks! The highs in the end are not much better!you end up messing up to much!!My view is that it’s a shit of an illness to have and an every day battle to deal with!! And unless you are bipolar no one else can ever understand the page you are in!!! Up and down like a yoyo !!! I am 56 and only found out I was bipolar at age 54!! No wonder I travelled the road I did!! Sad thing is my only son is bipoar too, poor kid!!all I can say is that it’s a hard and most of the time a long lonely journey we are on!!


  5. Renee says:

    Normalcy IS boring. My boyfriend of 2 years seems to keep me more balanced, which is what I was looking for. I still cycle, but not as bad as I am used to. For a while I wondered if this was the relationship for me? We are both in college – he’s in law school so he’s even more busy & stressed out than I am. We rarely go out & do anything other than go out to eat. Rarely hang out with any friends. It felt like we were in a rut.

    But when I really thought about it, this is what real life is like for normal people. I’m used to the extreme highs & lows; I’m used to the excitement & the extreme emotions. To not have any of this, to feel blah, is normal for the average person I think. For me, it feels like something is wrong, something is missing. In reality, what’s missing is the bipolar symptoms.

    I had hoped to find someone who would level me out, and now that I had it it just didn’t feel right. I think it’s just something we need to get used to & realize that this IS normal.


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