Sunday, March 27, 2011

Everything's Been Great: . . . and that's bad.

I'm sure some readers "get it."  I finally did a couple of days ago.  Finally.

I'm cycling again.

How exactly is this a bad thing?
  • I combined my girls' bedrooms and renovated one of the rooms to make a kick ass office space for myself (with a lot of help from S really).
  • I finished an exorbitant amount of course work, including three large exams in two days.   
  •  I read 18 chapters of material for a primary care course I am taking - in one sitting - at 2 in the morning.  
  • I changed my specialty track in my master's program from nurse midwifery to family nurse practitioner.  I was hesitant to list this as a "result" of a manic episode... but after a long and honest contemplation, I do think that the chemicals in my brain had something to do with me making the switch.  It is a switch that I WANT to do.  But, I may not have had the courage and follow through if I weren't under the influence of the chemicals.  Maybe I'll blog about that.  I am on Spring Break after all.  (Any of my classmates reading this are laughing right now.)
  •  I'm up at dawn.  Who needs to sleep?  A few times last week I woke up around 0230 and couldn't fall back to sleep for the life of me.
  • Speaking of not needing to sleep -  we can also remove eating from my list of daily requirements.  (Because let's face it, eating and sleeping are just going to slow me down.  Or, I'm just not hungry or tired.  I'm not sure which because I at this point it is really getting hard to keep my thoughts...)
  • Increased sex drive - check!
  • I am the funniest woman who has walked this planet.  Everyone must drop everything they are doing and listen to my hilarious stories that may or may not have any relevancy whatsoever to a thing that we are doing at the time.  (I hate this part.  It's the most embarrassing.  This part and the food-eating part.)
  • I feel like I overspent this week... but it was all stuff we needed for the house.  (I'm not sure we needed two mops.  Even though they were different mops, for different jobs, for different floors.  I don't know.  I can't tell.  Frivolous spending?)  And part of that really large Target bill was my daughter's birthday present.  (See upcoming birthday post next week!!)  Then there was a large purchase that may or may not have been for my upcoming school term.
  • Overly sensitive - CHECKCHECK!! We have a puppy now.  A 13 week old standard poodle, baby girl, we have named Andie.  Anyway - S is like a dog trainer/animal whisperer.  I'm not being an asshole, really, she is good at it and so that is her "role" - to basically train up this puppy.  I feel like I am doing NOTHING right with the puppy though.  Every time S tells me what to do with Andie I get defensive.  I feel like crying.  I am now starting to withdraw from even wanting to do anything with the doggie.  Irrational and overly sensitive.  I think there are other examples.  This is all I care to mention at this point.
So next I get to look forward to the crash and burn.  S is leaving in the morning for a trip.  I'll be alone most of the week.  I'm working an all nighter tonight.  I fear I don't know where my emotions are going to be.  Will I be up or down?  I am interviewing with a preceptor for my clinicals early next week.  I really need to be level.

That's all.  Sorry I haven't been blogging.  I've been busy, cleaning, buying pure bred poodles, taking an entire 11 week course's exams in one week, shopping for mops that are JUST RIGHT, organizing the books in my office by very (I mean extremely) specific categories, having afternoon sex (sometimes in the shower and sometimes alone), ordering medical supplies that may or may not be required of me for school (like otoscopes and opthalmoscopes), and basically feeling like I could crawl out of my own skin at any given moment.

I think S loves me now more than ever.


hebamme ~ said...

oh elle! you're wonderful, up-down-and-sideways. i know that feeling, though, that everything is just about to crash down... and if nothing else, at least you've gotten to the point where you recognize that it's coming (and that you are cycling). or maybe that's not so good --- kind of kills the fun.

still LMAO at the "spring break" thing, too....

MakingSpace said...

Hey bloggy friend, I was juuuust thinkin' 'bout you and wondering how things were going.

My friends who cycle back and forth like this describe the process as a bit stressful, but may I say I like the sense of humor (hilarious story?) with which you are tackling it.

This may be optimistic, since I know folks who really struggle with the crash part of this cycling thing, but I suspect that if you can maintain your sense of detachment and humor about the crash, that you'll remain as level as you want to be, while allowing yourself needed rest.

I'm sure S does love you more than ever. You made me smile.

AztecBlue said...

New here, but have a lot in common with you: nurse, student, bipolar, lesbian mom. Damn, but don't you love the manias? I've been controlled very, very well since 2005 but I do miss those highs. I could accomplish and destroy so much at the same time. Didn't care so much for the inevitable crash that was sure to follow but I did love the buzz. I miss it now, but I don't miss all the destruction I caused my family. Hope you come down to a reasonable level before you do to much harm to yourself or others. But enjoy the productivity of it while it lasts; I wish I could get so much done now that I'm on meds.

Natalie said...

Hey there - I so feel you on this...the good parts of mania, right along with the feeling confused, painfully sensitive, feeling like you could crawl out of your own skin, etc. And I know it can continue into a violent spiral up or down...neither of which are the least bit fun or safe. So sorry you're on the edge right now.

That said, I'm about to say a few things that tend to really piss off my fellow bipolars - but I know when I was manic, I would listen to just about any whacked out here goes nothing. :)

I am starting to realize some really eye opening things about this bipolar journey (at least my particular version of the journey!):
1) Mental illness is not illness, it is a very human response to perceived danger/stressors/triggers/emotional crisis, etc.
2) These responses are born from the neurological conditioning of childhood trauma/experiences, etc. (in other words, our brains respond to stress differently than "normal" brains).
3) "Mental illness" is not caused by chemical imbalances in the brain (this is not my own realization, this has been proven in countless peer reviewed studies); countless studies have been unable to pinpoint any physical cause.
4) Mental health crises are wake up calls for us to heal the damage done to us as children, to change the path we are on, etc. (the message varies, and it's never just about us as individuals, but also about our families, society, etc.)
5) What society tells us is an illness is actually a sensitivity - our psyches are more sensitive than your average Jane, and we cannot simply buckle down and pretend things are okay when they're not. We are too in tune with ourselves and our environment - therefore, we will continue to experience extreme imbalance (manifested as bipolar episodes, psychosis, schizophrenia, etc.) until we heal the root of the problem.
6) Many cultures view what we have as a gift rather than an illness, and perception is everything.
7) Meds do not heal anything - they simply perturb normal neurological function, and over time cause increased psychosis, rapid cycling, organ damage, cognitive decline, etc. Which is why they can be useful for very short-term crisis use, but should never be used long-term.
8) My "episodes" were never the real problem, but rather my harsh judgment of myself and my reactions to my "off" thoughts, feelings, etc., which actually caused me to go off the deep end and into dangerous territory (both in mania and depression).

All that to say - finding ways to ground myself, heal the traumas, support my body, mind, and soul in finding stability, etc. are proving invaluable to me. It's been a hell of a painful journey, but now I'm not only getting back to being me, I'm getting back to the real I haven't known since I was a child. What started out as a crisis has turned into an awakening. And sure enough, my "symptoms" are slowly but surely subsiding.

My thoughts are with you - you know I'm always an email away if you need an understanding ear (or more info than you could ever really want). :)

Take care of you and be as mindful as you can in these weeks to come.

BabyCatcher2b said...

I freakin' love you!! :) Enjoy your spring 'break' hahahahaa....I have to admit I was quite shocked to see that you had switched up your specialty, but good for you if that's what ya want!! You'll be great, no matter.

L said...

Thank you everyone for your support and friendship. A special thanks to my fellow classmates who understand just how stressful this shit is.

Stress. What a trigger.

And a fucking puppy? Was that the result or the trigger... I am starting to think more clearly now, and I really want to start charting my moods so I can figure this shit out.

Natalie... I'm just going to go ahead and email you... but no, I'm not pissed. Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. A lot of it makes sense.

Rexie said...

I have faith in you. If it's possible, it sounds like you are beginning to be in control of being out of control. This is a much better place than a few bipolar people I've known. One even refuses to admit that she's bipolar, so I guess acceptance is the first step to giving this condition (I don't like to call it illness) the what-for. *hugs*