To define Tightrope walking the dictionary tells me it is the art of walking along a thin wire or rope.
Today I realized that I am exactly that. I balance on a very fine tightrope. I am a tightrope walker, in every sense of the word – except the true traditional meaning. I do not perform in front of large crowds, I do not work at a circus, I do not climb high up ladders onto platforms and walk across a tightrope balancing various objects. I do not get or give a thrill out of the balance act. Crowds do not cheer for me, people do not clap.
But still I walk the line. Still I perform in the balance act.
My line is invisible, or perhaps it is some kind of dark magic. Because sometimes for a fleeting second I see it there, only to have it vanish into thin air again.
Its kinda like that shadow that you thought you saw out of the corner of your eye. Once you blink it is gone and you are unsure of weather or not you even saw it in the first place.
I have to balance on the line to keep my life balanced. The line represents the balance mark of my Bipolar disorder. On one side of the line there is a sea of depression and on the other side an endless sky of mania.
The further out from the line on either side the more dishevel there is. Storms rage. Each storm different and unique in their own ways.
On the depression side just dipping a toe into the raging waters off of that perfect straight and thin line brings with it slow sluggish me. Not wanting to interact with people or go outside. The further I go into the depression side the more devastation it brings to me. Sleeping more, thoughts of despair and feelings of failure to name just a few things the depression side advertises.
While the mania side has a whole different allure. Dangling a toe in that direction might bring productivity, super happiness, feelings that I am finally doing something important with my life. Lingering any longer on that side brings no sleep. A tingling and jittery body, tons of racing thoughts, projects and research. Talking fast, talking more, and talking loud.
Both of these sides have devastating side effects when we over stay our welcome. Depression can turn pretty ugly super fast. Feelings of being inadequate, doom and suicidal thoughts. While mania can bring irritability, anger, rage and paranoia.
It is not always easy. Sometimes something very little and insignificant can cause us to tip in one direction or another. A night with no sleep can very easily turn into two nights with no sleep, three nights with little sleep, and manic excitement. An argument or misconstrued remark could be just the thing that causes you to doubt yourself and bring a rapidly declining fall into a depressive state.
So I tip toe across the tightrope trying to maintain a balance between the depressive side and the manic side of my illness. Tipping from side to side as I live my life. Sometimes carrying extra weight that is causing me to loose my footing into one side or the other.
I always find my balance again, sometimes it takes longer then others. Sometimes I even fall off the edge of the rope. Sometimes it is a long fall to the safety net that is below, other times the fall is shorter.
But I get back up there, climbing the ladder, swallowing my pride, swallowing my fear, and I begin walking the line again.
Because I am a tightrope walker.