BIPOLAR: Mania Unraveling

Note: This post was handwritten (printed!) in a 4.75×3″ spiral notebook during the height of a full-blown manic episode. It is genius as you can see how crazy fast the brain was unravelling. My ending thoughts never made it onto the paper as I suddenly and instantly transitioned out of mania and into nothingness. The next day I couldn’t even find the notebook. The date was Dec. 15, 2016 and I have just now April 22, 2017, found the notebook and am about to read/type it for the first time since that night.

I hope you find it as fascinating to read as I was excited to be writing it! It is a long read. However if you get tired of reading it, just scrolling down you will see some of the magical brain unraveling over the course of writing it.
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Being in the full-blown manic state is living 100% in the moment, every single second. And your brain is more than fully engaged, it is hyper-engaged! I experience perhaps 5000 FABULOUS ideas, plans, and schemes from one second to the next and find myself living in the whim of whatever idea, plan, or scheme lures my engagement in that exact moment the thought crosses the neurotransmitters of thought.

This full engagement is fantastic! Sometimes I think that what we call today “bipolar” or “autism” or “asperger’s” are really not mental illness or handicaps but an evolution of our species. These different-brained folks have gifts that reach beyond those of the “average norm” of thinking and behaving — hold that thought for a moment and I will try to return to it.

I just now discovered through my current multi-leveled thinking or presence in all that is around me that I am handwriting this post in a 5×3 notepad! CRAZY!

Now back to topic:

WAIT!

I just recognized also that although 100% of my blog posts are stream of consciousness thinking and writing as organic as that is I am still writing one word at a time with no idea where the journey will take me… I always discover it after it is finished and i re-read it for typos, misspellings, and obvious grammar errors. And that writing now in this organic yet manic state that my thoughts are not meandering as much as is typical when I post. Frequently my posts change direction midway to my surprise, but this post is turning out to be succinct and on topic despite the million things I have thought of while printing this in my tiny 5×3 inch notebook!

Before stopping I want to emphasize the benefits of mania.

1. Hyperfocus
2. Excessive energy, drive, and motivation
3. Accomplishments, lots of accomplishments in a short amount of time
4. Having the ability to multitask like a supercomputer A.I.
5. All things are possible and therefore success and pride abound!

And those are just a few of the gifts that being a bipolar individual can bring.

Unfortunately manic phases, at least for me, are short-lived and divided by long periods of depression at the same level of intensity. Oh, and three side affects of mania are:

1. No sleeping
2. Constant talking, fast and loud — and for the record, I am not a talker. I am a listener. So that’s pretty weird, right?
3. I become fast and loose with money. In the past 24 hours I have spent over $200 on Christmas gifts to myself. Why not? I’ve earned them! I have had a helluva year and suffered through 8 to 9 months of varying degrees of depression.

Here’s my scale…

WARNING!!!

The photo is graphic and disturbing. Proceed with caution!

4-faces-of-memee | Memee's Musings
A snapshot of one person trying to survive in 4 different chemical bodies.

Phase one is deep depression.  Desires and longing for death; feelings of total and complete worthlessness; the absolute belief that I have nothing of worth to share with humanity (neighbors, jobs, communities) nor anything of value to share with my world (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances); the full and complete knowledge and acceptance in the fact that my life does not matter.  Life for those in my world will march forward without me.  My life has changed nothing. Not for them, not for the communities I am a member of, not for our country, our world, our galaxy, or the universe…

Which brings to mind this example of what life is like living in two different existences: String theory says there are multi-universes, meaning other dimensions of “us” with different choices and outcomes being made!  Wow, incredible! I live in two dimensions! Can you say that about yourself and have the evidence to back it up?  Because I do!

And another side effect is frizzy hair!  I am certain it is from lack of sleep.  The brain is not meant to shut down certain specific functions so it can restore out entire bodily functions.  It screws with our electrical output.  This particular manic episode has been interesting in that I am extremely jumpy.  I have “jumped” and heard my voice squeal in fright at least 20x today.  I am jumping at movement that does not exist…

at least not in this dimension!

The funniest was when my dog, lying on the floor about 4 feet ahead of me lifted his tail in a half-wag.  I jumped sky-high!  That’s a mile, right?  LOL, I crack myself up!

In fact, this happened today:  I had to drive into town to pick up some medication at the pharmacy.  It was snowing out but I needed it, I’d be out otherwise.  And if you’re thinking that’s not a big deal than you do not live in the Pacific NW.  Our snow here is not the same as back East or even up North.  It is extremely treacherous because it is in a constant state of transition of snowing, melting, freezing, snowing, melting, freezing.  It creates layer after layer of black ice.  And, to top it off, the majority of people out here don’t know how to drive in snow but that doesn’t keep them from trying; driving too fast, making last minute decisions, breaking, attempting to summit hills and traverse down those same steep hills as though they were on a waterslide.  Hey! I guess, they ARE on a waterslide of sorts! LOL.  Predictably and ultimately they slide off course ending up either crashing into other vehicles or in a ditch.  Surprisingly however, they rarely plowdown pedestrians who are not fool enough to risk life and limb to reach a goal.  I guess they’re not bipolar.

See what I did there?  I went off on a tangent not relevant yet related to the topic at hand. I just proved how adept I am at stream of consciousness writing.  I mislead you down an unknown path, which you followed and ultimately you arrived at the same destination: Bipolar.  From bipolar to driving in snow to bipolar again for those of you who may be feeling lost.  But don’t worry, I’ve got this under control.  This post is still tugging me stronger than the tens of millions of thoughts that have crossed my mind since we began. And I’ll prove it now.

When I arrived at the aforementioned pharmacy my hair became conductive!  It was literally reaching and grabbing at my face like static cling.  I couldn’t get it off my face!  I would brush it away or push it to the back of my head but it would immediately return to my face, tickling my cheeks, my mouth, my nose.  I know that when it snows the ion consistency of our atmosphere is significantly different than all other weather conditions which is why it has that unique smell which we all identify as “it’s going to snow.”  Now, it’s true we’re not accustomed to snow here in the West like the rest of the country, however,  that #fakescience #fakenews #conspiracytheory of #globalwarming is to blame for that.  Twenty-five years ago when I moved here it never snowed.  Now it is every year with a #bigsnow about every seven years which would be in 2019 as we did #shutdowneverything for the #snowpocolypse of 2012.  Which, I should mention, would have the rest of the world laughing at us.

— Quick break.  It’s getting very cold again so I’ve got to add another heater and pee… I’ve been holding it for a long time.  I’m going to go multitask for a moment and, if we are lucky, some other whim will not take my fancy and I’ll be able to come straight back and finish my train of thought.  I know I can do it.  I can do anything! #ThisLifeRules #ManiaIsMyFriend.

And by the way, the hashtags, yeah, that’s a behavior shift most definitely.  Be right back have a lot more to say.

I am very lucid right now and surprisingly do know exactly where I am going with this piece (and I don’t mean Letters to the Mind though I will most definitely share it with that community.  This article will definitely #furtherunderstanding about #bipolar and #mentalillness and take us on another step to #endstigma.  This is going to be powerful!

I cannot promise to return from my #peebreak but I can promise that if you keep reading you’ll gain greater understanding.  Okay, #peetime #pottyfirst #heatersecond.

Okay, I’m back! #ToldYou.

#Lying.  Stopped to put on a #Seahawk knit hat to cover my ears, slip on a cozy coat, slide on my fingerless gloves, and take 5 gulps of #AlpineRose chocolate milk. #MyFavorite.

#LetsGetReal.  I have seriously used up half of this notebook thus far so I also grabbed — and I am beginning to hear another whim increasing in intensity.  This #girlsgotgoals #livinginthemoment #truthbetold

Damn!

Oh yeah, better write this down!

Double damn!  #IHadIt

Whew! Got it back.  Took a few, I was #gettingworried.  But I’ve written my reminder so let’s #finishthisup.  This post is about the Four Faces of #Memee @Memeesmusings on #Twitter.  And I previously warned you about the image and have explained stage one or #Face1 which represents the words that the image tells and that’s the graphic part. #HardPartsOver #YouMadeIt

So, stage 2 #Face2.  This is the stage I pretty much live in. #TheBlahs

Hey! I just realized I’ve also already covered stage 4 #Face4

#Whew #We’reAlmostThere

#didIhearyou #sighaudibly?

Back to stage 2: The Blahs #FormerlyKnownAs #theduldrums

#archaic! also known as #WhotheFuckCares

Gotta love the modern English lexicon.

I am pretty sure you have a good idea about what this stage is all about because #everyonesuffers #fromtime2time  Here is what that looks like for me…

#ItsBad —

Oh, I remember something that I thought was important to include about the negative side effects of #mania.  #SoImportant!

There are two different kinds of #BipolarDisorder #formerlyknownas #ManicDepressive #Archaic

I suffer from Bipolar 2 (depressive bipolar with hypomanic episodes that last up to but do not exceed 5 days) with #rapidcycling.

#RapidCyclingMyAss!!

#RapidCycling doesn’t mean I ride a bike super fast all over the place.  However, that’s a pretty apt way to think of mania as one symptom is — I #gaveyouahint earlier

#AnswerKey:  Rapidity!

I know, I know, you’re feeling a little stupid right now.   That’s okay.  #IForgiveYou #I_Love_You  #My_Minion

#NothingCanGoWrong #ImManic

(You): #SighofRelief

I bet you thought because we had #alreadycovered faces two and four that this post would become #shorterthanotherwise #Sorry2Disappoint #I’mMemee.  I’m a Blabberer Not a Summarizer.

#Managing to #useitup #anyway #HavingFunDoingIt

#HopeYouR2

#LongReads are my #specialty #it’llbeworthit #IntheEnd #Ipromise

#StreamofConsciousness stops when there’s no more to say… Ugh-oh! #I’mManic  I talk incessantly.  I work nonstop. #WhatIDon’tDo is #SlowDown #FullStop

We may be in for the ride of our lives! I’ll try to #SpitItOut #Just4U

Oh grudge!  We’re still on Stage 2, The Blahs.  Sorry about that!  Stage 3 will be short, I promise. #Damn #LotsofPromises in this post!  #ForgiveMe please.

So what rapid cycling means is that I have —

Ooh, nevermind.

#IAmSuperSmart #Spontaneous #BrilliantWay to #KeepPromise to #SpitItOut. Here’s a #Snippet instead:

snippit bipolar

#MedsHelp

And that my friends is where I finally fell asleep 4 days after entering my mania and did not complete the post or deliver on my promises.  When I woke back up the mania was gone.  But if you read all of that, I’m sure you’re grateful to be done!

I do find it a fascinating read, seeing the mind in mania in action and evolving.

Here is the note I had written down to complete this article:

“Well, this did not turn out to be as succinct as I thought it would be.  But it is clear and cohesive. #Memeeforthewin!  You should have known that though because I am usually long-winded in my writing — well, except for my #FlashFiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor, Doctor, give me the news!

So yesterday I talked about my long absence and how bipolar depression wreaks havoc on my life. Bipolar patients used to be called manic-depressives because they lived life on two extreme ends of the same spectrum, with the middle being considered “normal”. You don’t have to read the entirety of yesterday’s post to understand the depression side, but do feel free to page down to the large blue lettering to jump right into my symptoms.

If you’ve read about my extreme lows, here is a partial example of my behaviors during an extreme high. I am leaving out destructive behaviors and illusions of grandeur because, frankly, I am not that forthcoming about my life. I am, in person, a private person. I have worked with people for years and they know practically nothing about my life outside of the job despite the fact I am fun and engaging and seem to have sincere connections with those very same coworkers. Some people describe me as mysterious. I’m not trying to be mysterious, alluring, or secretive. I just feel safer keeping my private stuff private.

Now that is a crazy statement… a blog writer, who shares her innermost thoughts and feelings on the Internet where nothing is erased and anyone can stumble upon it, describing herself as a private person!

Hello Doctor,
Today’s Thursday, right? Where to start? Oh, yeah, at the beginning. No, that’s not right either, it actually started earlier than that, Saturday. Yes, Saturday, Oct 29th. I had gotten my normal sleep schedule 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. — well, I guess technically that is Sunday — I got my solid 9 hours sleep as recommended for adults my age.  Saturday itself had been a pretty normal day for me.  You know, me lying around in bed, not getting dressed, eat, sleep, repeat.  Eat, sleep, repeat.

Anyway, back to Sunday.  As you know, I had to fast all day and begin drinking that nasty prep at noon for my procedure the next day, Halloween Monday. I drank tons of fluid and used the restroom frequently and entertained myself with brainless Netflix fodder. Scuttling off to the restroom every few minutes or so meant no real hope for rest that night so I didn’t even bother pretending I would be going to bed. I just kept on keepin’ on. I had to check in at the hospital at 9:30 a.m. Monday and it is an hour’s drive. My internal workings finally settled down at 6:00 am Monday and so I did manage to get 2 hours of sleep. The procedure lasted only half an hour so I got another half hour’s rest at the hospital.  And when I woke up they were taking the endoscopy mouthguard out of my mouth.

I had been dreaming.  It’s nice to know that when they put you into a full sleep for surgeries you get to dream (rather than having zero, nothing, blankness and blackness like when having a grand mal seizure).

A friend picked me up and drove me to her house where after about 2 hours of chatting I asked if I could go lie down for a cat nap on her bed.  She said yes and just as I was standing at the bedside, removing my shoes, my son arrived to take me home.  We had the hour drive and a stop at the pharmacy.  We got home. I ate dinner and WHAMMO!  I wasn’t tired anymore.  So I turned on the Netflix.  And around my normal time, 2 a.m. turned out the light to go to sleep.  But I didn’t fall asleep.  I tossed.  I turned.  And I harrumphed.  I listened to the clock ticking off the seconds of sleep I wasn’t getting and I watched the sun become brighter through my windows.

I did manage to make it to group that morning, Tuesday.  My first time back in a year.  And it felt great seeing my old friends again.  I puttered around afterward getting my errands done and in the evening pulled up, what else, my handy-dandy, ever faithful, binging buddy, Netflix.  And then I felt it sneaking up on me like a herd of wild elephants.  I was awake.  Wide-wide awake.  My mind was clear and the fog had lifted.  Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night.  I had too many notes to make; too many things I would need to write down so I would remember when the fog inevitably returns.

So yesterday, Doc, yesterday I was feeling pretty great and I accomplished a lot! I did laundry, cleaned my bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen and even made three meals and, shockingly, I even hopped on the treadmill! Then I stayed up all night cleaning up my email boxes and working on two of my blogs which I haven’t touched in 7 months. At 10:00 a.m. I decided to try and sleep so I turned out the lights and crawled into bed. It felt warm and cozy and welcoming. Two and a half hours later I awoke full of energy and made a beautiful breakfast, put the clean dishes away, swept, vacuumed and even moved furniture to do a real thorough job on all the floors. Then I cleaned the terrarium, took out the recyclables and garbage, packed unwanted stuff into my car and went to Goodwill, the bank, the grocery store, the pharmacy, got my son the flu shot, picked up applications at the Y for membership, bought gas, returned home, put the groceries away, walked the dog, answered important emails, and then made dinner. And I feel like I can just keep on at this crazy whirlwind pace.

Please doctor, what is your diagnosis?

Doctor Doctor | Memee's Musings

So now as I write this blog post on Friday I can tell you that I did force myself to sleep by taking a sleeping pill.  Went to sleep at 2:00 am and woke up at 10, so that’s 8 hours of sleep last night.  And today I was very active again just as I was on Wednesday and Thursday.  But I can feel the tide beginning to turn again.  It is always so short lived.  The happy, bouncy, proactive, efficient, productive Memee is starting to retreat again.  Tomorrow I hope she will give me one more day with several good hours before she hibernates for weeks or months again.

I did the math for you I have gotten 10.5 hours of sleep in a time span of 144 hours.

The wonderful photograph was taken by Emre Ergen and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!

My Hero, My Nemesis

A Poem to my manic-depressive personalitiesOh how I love you
and wish you were near
when we are together
conquering the world
is always near!

Oh how I hate you
and wish I could flee
the words you are always
screaming at me:
Worthless! Hopeless! Unloveable!
Inadequate! Boring! Weak! Undeserving!

You can be so relentless, so cruel and mean,
heartless to Me who carries Your pain!

How this world of mine collides
My hero, My nemesis
from one day to the next,
who will be with me — I am so tired of this!

I walk the rope you lie before me
fearing in each and every step
the next one might be the one
where I slip.

Why can’t we come
to some understanding?
Release this ever-present tension
between us, reach a balance
not too high and not too low,
and finally live a life in harmony?

© MemeesMusings/B.L. Memee, 2015-2017. All rights reserved.

I originally published the above poem on Letters to the Mind blog project. Please consider writing to the mental illness that impacts the world you walk in and sharing it with our new community blog. We are hoping other creatives who suffer from a mental illness or have a family member/loved one with a mental illness will write to the illness and post it on the site for two purposes.

The first is as a way to grow and challenge how we relate to our illness and the second is to educate other people about the various mental illnesses that people live with every single day. With education comes understanding and with understanding stigma begins to fall ill and eventually dies.

For more information on contributing at Letters to the Mind blog project, click here.

We ALWAYS need contributors, any and all mental disorders welcome. No one is turned away and your own blogs, media platforms are cataloged and linked on the site.

Thank you,

Memee (and Jade)