It’s 11 pm as I am writing this. I have just been watching The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive by Stephen Fry, probably one of the best known bipolar person. Interesting program. I had seen it before but I thought with my recent acceptance of my diagnosis I’d better watch it again. I’m glad I did. I saw he struggled with some of the same issues I did, mainly whether or not to take medication, and the people he “interviews” for the program have also gone through similar experiences as I have.
A pattern has emerged though these last few days. I wake up starting the day as low as I can get and slowly but surely, my state of mind improves during the day, the closer I get to bedtime the better I feel. I don’t know what it means, but it’s better than feeling low the whole day.
I have also noticed that sometimes when I feel really low in the afternoon, I need to rest my head, doze sort of, for a few minutes and I “wake up” feeling better.
I guess it is important for me to understand how the illness is affecting me as I will need to adjust my life in consideration to how I feel.
I am slowly, very slowly, coming to terms with having bipolar now. I have looked back at my life thus far and realised that it was always there in the background. When I was a teen, I would have quite severe mood swings, so severe that I left home at 19 to move to a different country because of fierce arguments with my mother.
Talking of which, she worries a lot about me at the moment. If she can’t get hold of me when she calls, she freaks out. I have to carry my mobile phone with me at all times so I can text her to reassure her that I am still alive, or that I am not in hospital, when she can’t get hold of me at home. I try not to let this state of affair worry me. I cannot. But it does. I cannot reassure her I am ok, because the truth is at the moment, I am scared shit of my future. Will I be able to hold my job? Will I be able to carry on keeping my house? Will I ever be happy again? Questions I cannot answer. Questions that are constantly on my mind.
I have also realised I may never find love now. This bipolar is most likely the reason why I never had the “right” relationship in the past. When I look back at past relationship, I see a blurry picture. Because I drunk so much. I drunk to self medicate. I smoked pot too, for the same reason. None of those relationships were real, even the one with the man I married. Especially the one with him. Oh yes indeed, we stayed together 10 years, yet, the drinking took place every day. I don’t know his reasons, but I now know mine. Without the alcohol, I would have been a completely different person. Who though? Well I guess I am on a path to find out.
I went to an AA meeting tonight. I felt I needed to as in the past week, when I have felt particularly down, I have bought some alcohol. Not enough to get drunk or tipsy, but enough to “take the edge off” the pain. And that, in my eyes and experience with alcohol is bad news. It was also something to do truth be told.
It was weird to find myself in that environment again. I had attended one of those in Canada three years ago when I stopped drinking after the big split but hated it. It was all very religious and people seemed quite “up themselves” that they were better than the rest of them for having the ability to quit booze. I really didn’t like that. I didn’t like the fact that some of them had been coming for years and years either. I didn’t want alcohol to have had such an impact on me that I couldn’t do without those meetings.
I found myself pretty emotional at the start. “There I am again, facing yet another problem in my life” I thought. During the first break, I went out for a ciggie and broke down. One of the chaps had a chat with me, he was quite pushy, an australian fellow, but I knew his heart was in the right place, I knew he cared how I felt.
The thing that hurt me most during that meeting was that all present, apart from my friend and I, had their life in order now they are not drinking, all had partners, jobs, were settled in life. And there I was, lost, life in shatters, and not even because of drinking. Well….I guess if I hadn’t drunk all those years I wouldn’t be where I am now. I hope one day, I will be one of them. I really hope so.
What felt good though about going to this meeting was being around people again. These past few weeks being a prisoner in my own home have been so tough, I started to fear I was starting to suffer from social anxiety. I have shied away from people, retreating in my low. I have forced myself to carry on going out, don’t get me wrong, but everything feels alien to me. I don’t have any connection with people and I feel so low I’d rather not be around people. You know that saying “smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone”? Well, I am not smiling much these days and so being around people, strangers, makes me really uneasy, like my despair shows on my face. I don’t look people in the eyes anymore, I barely speak, I just about responds when they try and make small talk. It’s like I have forgotten to be. Me, who just a few weeks ago was the friendliest person you would ever meet, back in the days when I was manic.
I read the blog of a bipolar woman earlier today who has suffered the illness for over 20 years and she said every night when she goes to bed, she gives herself a pat on the back that she has got through another day. Really? Is it how bad it gets? Is this why I feel happier when the evening draws in? Is it because the bulk of the day is over and I can rest I only have a couple of hours to get through before I can close my eyes and my mind to the world, my world, my fucked up world? Sigh. Bipolar really sucks.
There is one thing that really really puzzles me about Bipolar. Why is it most people who suffer manic episodes/psychosis usually think they are special, as in a godly way, even thinking they are the second coming, Jesus, or this type of special individual. Really weird that. Don’t you think?
(I have looked up how Stephen Fry is doing these days btw, and he tried to commit suicide in 2012, now takes medication)