I’ve been on medical leave from life for awhile. A long while. Entering month number 3 here, in fact, though now I’m not so much on medical leave as on having an excuse to not look for a job or get on track with school. Here’s the thing about medical leave… it doesn’t end when your symptoms stop being all consuming forces that noticeably dictate your entire life. Weird right? I’m not sure why I continually feel like if I have ever felt worse, then I must be better. It’s becoming problematic.
I’ve got about a week under my belt of being coherent and relatively functional (in that I dress myself and eat things on a regular basis), meaning its been about 7 days since being awake was too much of a task in and of itself, about 10 since I was actively considering the best method to drown myself, and about 45 since the hysterical disrepair.
I’ve never much related to how people talk about bipolar disorder before. I am very disconnected from my emotional experience most of the time… or maybe not disconnected but in a state of blatant disregard for emotions and their influence… either way this whole ‘mood swing’ business seemed rather false. Big picture I can look backwards and characterize 3 month chunks as generally pretty shit or perhaps a little too ‘good’, but this whole notion of ‘swinging’ felt like other peoples problems.
And then I started looking at how I was describing what I was going through to other people: a pendulum, where I’m supposed to be in the resting centre position, and with way too far up on being swings to the left and way too far down being swings to the right. Even in my very first speech I described the difference in experience of emotion as other people being like boulders: heavy; it took something strong and forceful to push them into feeling something one way or the other. I described myself as one of those rubber balls attached to a paddle.
Apparently mood swings are my problem.
Here’s the thing, though. I don’t feel like I go up or down. I feel like I go left and right. I don’t feel like one is better than the other; I see them both as interference. Which makes me wonder if I’ve ever really ben manic because everyone else seems to have fond memories and all I’ve got are some weird memory gaps, hysterical anxiety, and a lot of shoes.
I feel like being so disconnected (or whatever you want to call it) from my emotions may be the reason I don’t relate to other peoples descriptions of being bipolar. I don’t recognize these periods of elation. Most of the time, I don’t even recognize these periods of morose despair. Everything seems normal to me. Everything feels like something to work through.
Therapy has been working on that, my compulsive need to push through things and get to the end, perfectly, come hell or high water. I recognize this is one of those things I need to challenge… despite appearances it’s not overly conducive to leading a fully functional life. Turns out, just because you can do something doesnt mean you get the same enjoyment or rewards out of completing it as someone who didn’t murder themselves to get there. But I’m terrified of losing that. It’s what makes me successful at things; it’s how I go back to school after being pulled out over and over. Its the separation between failure and worth, right now, for me. I don’t know how to turn that off.
Right now I treat myself in these periods as separate entity. This is the bad I have to overcome. I don’t know if this is entirely false. I do know that I have always treated the opposite of this as healthy, which is not true. The opposite of this, when I’m functional and acing everything, still has sick fucked up trauma me and healthy me fighting it out. It’s like I have three things happening. Actually, it’s not “like” I have three things happening I just do. I have the bipolar symptoms, the ptsd me, and the healthy me. Only until now I’ve never been able to tell them apart.
Speaking of which, I noticed I actually mixed you the healthy and the sick voices in my last entry. That’s the battle, I suppose. Sick me is horribly disappointed in myself. Healthy me is relieved. It’s hard to retrain yourself.
This entry wound up being entirely different from what I thought I was coming here to write. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get around to thinking about learning to relax and the point of medical leave.