This is the twentieth in a series of episodes, detailing my dawning realization, that I have some mental issues, that I must address, or risk losing those around me, who mean so much to me. I do not know how many installments this will entail, because I do not have an outline, for this particular avenue, that my Life has chosen to pursue. Because I have always found writing to be therapeutic, I am going to share my journey with anyone, who cares to read along. Believe me, I am not having that much fun.
Mutiny in the Body
Has your body up and said, “Firetruck you, and the horse you rode in on?” I had been planning on going to the courthouse on April 10th, for the preliminary hearing for Billy Norbury, but when I went to sleep the previous night night, at my usual 8:00 time, I slept fitfully, and by 11:30, was up and resurrecting the fire. I put on a pot of coffee, for my single cup of caffeine-infused beverage of the day.
My original intent was to stay up for 15 or 20 minutes, and then go back to bed, but I ended up being up for three hours. I was not writing, and my legs felt as weak and lethargic, as I had experienced yet. I found it very disconcerting; it made me feel ungrounded. In my mind I was reflecting on the need for even more sleep than normal, because there would be no morning nap, nor would there be an afternoon nap. I also would be driving to Ukiah by myself, from my house, a 100 minute drive each way.
So what is going on, I asked myself? Though I did return to sleep for an hour, and then again for another hour, that was still only five and a half hours, not enough. I felt overwhelmed, because there was no way I wanted to miss that court appearance, but there was no way I could go, feeling the way that I did, physically, so I had to say no.
Later, I could not let go of my frustration with myself, for not being up to the task. But I did not have the flu. I was not running a temperature; this was not something that I could readily explain. Does every physical ailment have to have an explanation? No, but I also do not believe in coincidence. I went over the depressive side of mood spectrum disorder. * Included is the feeling of lethargy. What I was/am experiencing, is not something I can work around, unless I am sitting down.
I must accept lethargy, and list it on the chart, as a tangible piece of evidence, that I not only have manic issues, but depressive ones also. Until this point I was unable to clearly see that I was experiencing the depressive side of mood spectrum disorder also, because I was not able to accurately identify some of the depressive characteristics. With the presence of lethargy, I was able to go back and reexamine the list. Add to the list the incident in Ireland, in which I ended up in bed for 24 hours, unable to get up, and I can now see that there is irrefutavle evidence, that depression prevented me from going forward, at least twice, and probably more in the past. I want to say that this depressive side is still somewhat diminished in terms of the manic side, but that does not mean it will remain static. These things can change, or not, which I think is why meds are a part of the typical picture for a sufferer of this disorder.
Let me clarify something. I think in the recent past, this current problem of listlessness is something that I would have attempted to deal with, and still have gone to Ukiah, simply because my mind would have required it. Now, however, the fact that I can recognize, that this is what is called a stressor, and avoid it, as hard as that may be, is a sign of positive growth. I must accept that it does not matter whether or not I approve of the direction this disorder takes, simply that I learn to adapt my actions to the way that my body dictates.
Therefore, if I admit from the outset, that I may be limited in the future to what I can accomplish, and avoid doing things, that eventually prove to be catalysts to more symptoms, then I am making progress, and continuing to be able to deal with issues, other than through medication.
The key point continues to be whether or not I can recognize stressors, and listen to the ensuing reverberations, clearly enough to stop a proposed plan before it launches an episode. I call it getting a grip on the topsy-turvy, slippery new world, in which I find myself. I only hope that my fingers are strong enough to keep that grip in place, in order to avoid the icy dread that clutches at my psyche, at the thought of introducing meds into my body, the result of which I would have no control over.
* I have dispensed with the term “bipolar” as being archaic. “Mood spectrum disorder” has fewer pejorative connotations.