Monday, July 7, 2008

This is an egg. this is your brain on bi-polar

Mental health wise I have been doing okay lately.  Very bummed, but that is mostly due to being unemployed and feelings of general uselessness, and not so much the ridiculous lows of uncontrolled depression.  My anxiety has been way down too since starting and keeping up a herbal treatment that my sister has helped me figure out.  Panic attacks are super rare and that terrible listing over and over in my head of all the things I have yet to accomplish that happened at night when I hoped the whichever sleep aid I was trying would actually kick in has dropped dramatically.  So far, so good.  I even started to wonder "am I really bi-polar?  maybe I was just super stressed and tend toward the melancholic disposition... I mean when was the last really manic episode?"  
Of course, if I am writing about this then it happened, didn't it.  Yep last night around 12 or so my brain started racing.  And manic thoughts are not like normal racing thoughts.  They start, then get interrupted, then pick up again, layer and seem completely out of your control.  And I am convinced they go at 10 times the speed of sound because I only really catch like 10% of them by the end of the ordeal.  the inner monologue turns into a freaking round table discussion with a courtney love character apparently mediating.  Super fun.  and then there is this part of you that knows, this is just a chemical fireworks show in your brain.  Just ride it out and everything will be okay.  

There is a misconception about mania in the media I think.  That manic episodes are like the ultimate high and people in the midst of them are supremely happy about everything.  WRONG.  Just because you think you are not only the life of the party, but are the party itself and where ever you go, so must the party does not mean you are in the mood to party.  I am not sure that makes much sense to anyone who hasn't been there...  The point I want to make is, mania is terrifying.  Yeah, I may get really social sometimes and appear to be having the best time of my life, but really I am just holding on to the whirling dervish that is my brain.  

So after a few hours of an overactive brain and eyelids that refused to droop, I popped a couple ativan (though I am on pharmaceuticals I wish I didn't have to be.  that said, ativan is the best thing that has happened to me during all the medicine changes and tryout sessions.  more on that later though), went downstairs to lay on the couch (it was 80 plus degrees in the bedroom last night -uhg) and try very very hard to slow down the thoughts.  Being able to identify a manic episode while I am in the midst of it has been a process.  trying to encourage rational thought whilst your brain is ranting about letters to the editor of Vanity Fair it intends on writing and playing bob dylan's "masters of war" on repeat can be hard.  

Luckily, I drank plenty of ice tea, allowed EJ to do his intuitive kneading dance on my belly and eventually started hearing my real voice more than just random synapses firing at will.  by 4 or 5 I was able to drift to sleep and when I woke around 9 I felt back on an even keel.  Mostly.  

(synapse fireworks-seriously)

Moral of the story? Manic does not mean you are a shiny happy person.  more likely you are sweaty, terrified human who has no interest in breathing techniques or meditative, healing thoughts while in the throws.  But today leaves me in a state of semi-reprieve and I haven't crashed into deep depression.  These are all good things.  

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