Music and Mania

I don’t know what it is but there is something about music and mania. Almost every time I am manic I like to listen to music and write.

Its like the music keeps me focused enough to be able to write something that makes more sense that the jumble that is inside my mind.

Sometimes I feel like the music is seeping into my soul.

I sit and I write and the constant movement of my hands flying across the keyboard and my leg shaking is somehow satisfying.  Fulfilling.

Its like, I cannot even explain the feelings that I am feeling at the moment.  It is truly bliss.  I love the feeling of my fingertips flying over the keys.  I love the sound of he soft clicking just under the sound of he music in my ears.

Bipolar as an adjective

A Bipolar journey is one of extremes, one of differences, emotions, opposites.  To me, in my eyes it is a spectrum.  The spectrum of someone with Bipolar Disorder can be so vast that many times I feel like no two of us are alike.

Yet I know we are alike.  We have similarities. We follow similar patterns.  We do similar things.  But at the same time we are different.  We do things at different levels, different planes.

Bipolar Disorder consists of so much, it is complex in design.  It is not just the adjective that today’s society has made it out to be.  It is not the the descriptive word often used in every day speech to describe someone who has a mood swing caused my something small or a remark that made someone angry.  It is not just “oh he/she is so bipolar”.  It is not just a snappy mood, or getting angry, or teenage rebellion.

For me, it is many different things at many different times.  It is flying, soaring like a bird, free.  Yet is is Chaos and frustration, destruction and despair.

How can it be all of these things, good and bad, you ask?

Anyone diagnosed with Bipolar disorder understands what I mean when I say that.  You know what it is like to feel all of those things at different times and sometimes even at the same time.

I can describe my mania with good and bad words.  I can explain the euphoric feelings of the “good” mania and then in the same breath I can describe the chaos enriched mixtures of the “bad” mania.

I can explain how in a mania or hypomania induced state I was able to go weeks on as little as 20 hours  of sleep.  How I took my cupboard doors off all of my cupboards (I have a very very large kitchen), repainted inside and out, put all new hinges on them, re hung them and changed the color of the doors, and scrubbed the knobs then then replaced everything into my cupboards in 2 days or less, when I had never done anything like that before.

I can tell you I spent hours in a mania writing some of the best writing I have ever created.

I can tell you how I made raised garden beds and planted carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, and pumpkins and I wanted to raise chickens.

I can tell you that during mania I cannot stay still.  I clean, I cook and I move around my house doing things at alarming rates.

But I can also tell you that I had to keep shaking my leg and moving my hands just to sit to eat, just to check email, just to write. Because I had to move.

I can tell you that I drove around for hours to keep my kids from seeing how bad the mania was getting, even when I truly should not have been driving.  That a friend drove around with me for hours in order to try to keep me focused enough to be able to drive.  In order to keep me in check so to speak.

I can tell you I talked so fast that my husband and closest friends were unable to understand me.  That I jumped all over the place in my conversation that my conversation was not even able to be followed.

I can tell you that I couldn’t read a book because I couldn’t understand what I was reading…but I could research raising chickens for hours on end, or whatever else I was fixated on during that particular mania.

I can tell you that what starts as the fun life of the party mania always turns into more damaging mania.

The one where the paranoia creeps in, where people on cell phones, even complete strangers are out to get me, they are being devious and are plotting something against me.

The one where those two people sitting at the coffee shop table, whom I do not even know and are sharing a laugh over a memory are really (but of course only in my mind) laughing at me.  Making fun of me.

I can tell you about the heightened senses.  About the times when colors and lights are super vivid.  When my eyes hurt because everything around me is over sharp, over focused.  Or about the times when everything is loud, even the thoughts inside my head sound like thunder.  I can tell you about the times I am so perceptive I can almost feel the earth turning.

And those…..they are just the bits and pieces of the mania.  Just the tip of an iceberg.

I can also tell you about the depression.  Not just a passing sadness, but the deep dark hell hole of despair that I am unable to dig myself out of.

I can tell you about the times I want to go to sleep and never wake up, even though I didn’t want to actually die.

I can tell you about the times I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror because I hated, loathed and despised the person looking back.

I can tell you about the times I held blades or hot lighters to my skin just to feel.  Just to get a release.  About the times I pulled my hair or scratched my arms and legs while hiding because I needed to feel but I was unable to cut or burn at that particular moment in time.

I can tell you about the times I sat contemplating suicide.  Just seconds away from downing more meds than I even care to mention, or slicing a knife across my wrists, or jumping in front of a moving transport truck.

I can tell you about the actual suicide attempt, about the hospital stays when the mania or depression gets too bad.

I can tell you about the countless medications I have taken to try to tame the Bipolar Beast. 

I can tell you about the times I don’t want to get out of bed and the times I don’t want to even get into bed.  About the times I don’t want anyone to touch me and about the times I need someone to hold me tight, to hold me together because I am falling apart.

And these are just some of the things I can tell you.

There are mixed states and manias, depressions, medication changes, hospitalizations, complications to medications (scary ones), times I drink alcohol just to feel, times the anxiety is so bad I feel like I am dying and the times I actually feel crazy.

But even though all of these things are a part of me, a part of my disorder…..they are not all of me.   I am so much more.

I have periods of “normal” mood, no mania, no depression. Periods where I work and become a functional part of society.

For me Bipolar Disorder is a spectrum with extreme mania on one end and extreme depression on the other.  But in the middle of the two are milder forms of the mania, hypomania, milder forms of depression, mixed episodes and of course the “normal” periods.

Because I am not just made up of the adjective Bipolar that people like to use.  Bipolar disorder is so much more.  So the next time you say “I am so Bipolar”  or “She is so Bipolar” perhaps you should take a moment to read some information on what real Bipolar disorder is all about, because I am fairly certain you won’t use it as an adjective after that.

Tide

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When all the world goes out like the tide, and you feel like you are standing alone watching and waiting for the water to reach you again, to cleanse you.  That is the moment when I feel most alone.  Knowing the tide will eventually ebb and flow again, but standing there and waiting. 

Please don’t, Please do.

Please don’t underestimate me because of my illness.

Please don’t Judge me because of my illness.

Please don’t feel threatened by me because of my illness.

Please don’t leave me out because of my illness.

Please don’t forget the good times when the bad times of my illness rear its ugly head.

Please don’t confuse my indifference about activities with me not actually wanting to do them.

Please don’t use the name of my illness`as an adjective.

Please do stand by me when I need you.

Please do remember the good times.

Please do remember that I want to be better, I do not choose to be sick.

Please do have patience with me, because often I do not have any patience for myself.

A Strengthened Friendship

Tonight has been a bad night.  I let something get in between myself and a friendship.  I let anger and deep seated depression tug me further and further into something that I really did not want to be a part of tonight. In doing so, in becoming a part of this, I hurt someone who means a lot to me.  I was trying to protect two different friends, in two different ways, and I ended up hurting one, while trying to protect the other.  And this was wrong.

This was not my intention.  I honestly did not mean to hurt anyone.  In my jaded mind I thought I was doing what was right for both friends.

But I caused some hurt, some sorrow and a lot of pain.

Words were exchanged.  Hurtful words.  A lot of which came out of my mouth, or rather typed by my fingers.

In the end, we both apologized.  Mostly it was me who needed to apologize, but we both did.  We apologized for hurtful words.  For secrets.  For damaged feelings. For broken promises.

We learned some lessons.

I learned some lessons.

I had a hard time, because I do not lie, it has been over three years since I have told a lie (for good and valid reasons) so I was trying to protect someone by keeping a secret and trying not to lie, while hurting someone else and to be honest I was in agony doing so.

But I learned lessons.  I learned there are different kinds of friendships.  I have friendships with both of these people, and they are different.  One is a funny, laughing, joking friendship, where you can joke around about anything and just have a laugh.  While the other is a more deep rooted friendship, a caring, and understanding friendship where you can share things that you might not share with anyone else, because this person understands, deep down.  Understands raw, honest emotions.

So I learned that I felt rather crappy in the situation I was put in.  I learned that both friendships were different, in a lot of different ways.  I learned that I needed to let it out to not only help the one I was hurting but to feel better with the storm that was raging inside my head because I was feeling terrible for the situation at hand.   I learned that even though things don’t always happen the way you think, and that even though hurtful things got exchanged that my friendship is stronger then even we thought it was.