You Call it Bipolar-I call it MSD
Cause and Effect
If I didn’t know better, I would say I have my mojo back. My legs again allowed me to spend a solid four-hour block of time, over at my mom’s Sunday, weed-eating the driveway, from top to bottom, on both sides. After Saturday’s effort, I awoke stiff and sore, but the problem with my legs has abated, allowing me to push forth, in an unprecedented manner.
As is her custom, Annie asked me about sleep. I had been expecting the question. Whereas I have been striving for at least seven hours per 24 hour period of time, I have gone five consecutive days with five or fewer hours. Annie and I had the following conversation the other morning, as we walked up to Blue Rock and back, a 45 minute jaunt.
“So I want to know if I get credit for trying to sleep, if it turns out that I don’t actually get the desired amount.” I started off the discussion.
“Credit?” Annie looked at me blankly.
“Sure, credit. Last night I went to bed at eight, and got up a few minutes after midnight. I stayed up until 2:40, at which time I made myself stop writing, and went back to bed for an hour and a half. Unfortunately, I did not sleep during that hour and a half. So how much ‘sleep’ do I enter on the chart? I only slept four hours, but it’s not as though I didn’t try.”
“I see what you mean,” Annie began. “But you and I are the only ones who count, so what difference does it make?”
“It’s just that if I write down four hours, and I do that every day for a week, then it makes it seem as though I am experiencing hypomania. By listing that I tried to sleep, but could not, I feel that I’m indicating that I am not amping, and going off the deep end again. I mean, my legs are strong, I am killing it over at Pauline’s, and I am not sleeping a whole lot. On paper, it’s not looking too good.” I was big on that mood chart, because I was hoping it would allow me to see patterns of behavior, that would become predictable.
“Well, how are you feeling? Are you feeling like you are going back into hypomania?” Annie asked the question, because I had made it clear, that if she asked, I would answer, and not try to pull the wool over her eyes.
“To be honest, I don’t feel a whole lot different, but the DJ whose running the record player inside my head, indicates that the 33 rpm records are playing at 45rpm speed. That’s not as bad as 78rpm, but give me some time. I don’t think I have ever worked so hard to earn a hundred dollars in my life, but I also don’t think I have ever been so happy to have earned it either. I think it has something to do with how we are spending it.”
We had been struggling with the logistics of the upcoming wedding, being held the first Sunday in June, over in Placerville, about a five-hour drive from here. Annie had announced recently that she did not see how we could afford to go. I said finances should not play a role, because we could borrow the loot, but we could not have them make up the wedding, if we chose not to go.
I wondered if Annie was afraid that my illness would raise its ugly head, and cause conflict. It did not seem fair, that she should have to hinge attending such an important event, on my mental condition. On the other hand, was it possible that the events of this weekend are the cause, while my seeming hypomania is the effect?
There is so much still to learn, both about the disorder, and how it impacts me. Recording the data, daily, on the mood chart, allows us to see how external events may impact my frame of mind, and vice versa. If I awake on the day of the event, and too many red flags are out, then obviously, like any ill individual, I would gracefully retire to my sickroom, and not attend the wedding.
Otherwise, for the first time in my life, I am anticipating an enjoyable venue for this wedding, even though I will know only a handful of people, and I have to drive a fair distance to attend. Maybe it’s the hypomania side of me, but for once, I think I will just channel that energy into this event, and ride the crest of the hypomania wave to Placerville. Drive on, James, er, Annie.