Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

As of when I'm typing this, today is ending in approximately forty minutes, but I feel like today began last night around 8:00 PM.  That's about when I got fed up with myself for feeling sick and pouty and petulant and told myself to take the dog out one last time and then go to bed, dammit.  Alix wasn't going to be home for hours and I (for once, wisely) chose to turn off the tv, take out my contacts, and go to bed with my almost-finished book and fall peacefully asleep.  Or so I thought.  I finished the book, felt my sleep medications kicking in, and let out a contented sigh as I turned out the light and hurried up and waited for sleep to come.

Fast forward two hours.

Still lying there...not so contented anymore.  Took another dose of a different kind of sleep medication (I brought out the big Ambien guns on this one) and determinedly got back into bed.  As I lay there, my thoughts twisting and turning and warping and waving into a swirling mass above my head, I grimaced as the familiar sensations began again.  You know how when people say their thoughts are "whirling" it's a metaphor?  Yeah, well, mine actually do.  I know it sounds weird, but when I'm in a tangle, my thoughts start to churn like a whirlpool and pretty soon, it feels like whatever I'm laying on - because at this point I'm so dizzy that I better be lying down - is spinning like I'm in Dorothy and Toto's tornado.  They don't make seat belts for these kinds of rides, let me tell you.  The best I've ever been given is, well, Ambien.  Which doesn't work so well anymore.  Taking deep breaths and imagining very flat, stable, boring objects (like deep freezers and Wal-Marts, for example) sometimes helps.

Another two hours go by.  I've been dozing fitfully for forty minutes or so, the spinning has slowed down, when Alix finally comes home.  At some point after she crawled into bed, I fell asleep for a few hours until this morning.

Today is Wednesday, and thus, my day off.  Today though, I had an important, albeit not fun task to accomplish.  I had to take my car for an oil change.

Showered at light-speed.
Rushed Rupert to day-care.
Grabbed coffee.
Took downtown local train, transferred to shuttle, arrived at Grand Central in time to miss Metro North train by four minutes.
Buy ticket for next train - in an hour.
Hurry up and wait (started a new book).
Took train to Alix's dad's house where my car is parked.
Took car to mechanic.
Went back to Alix's dad's house.
Hurry up and wait (read new book. all. day.)
Periodically got up and paced floors, while dogs watched warily.
Finally received call from mechanic.  Says car is "okay for now, but I'll email you an estimate of everything else it needs done."  Gulp.  "Estimate" comes to around $600.  I.don'
Arrange via frantic text conversation for a friend to pick up Rupert from daycare because the train I'm flying to catch won't get me back to the UWS before they close for the night.
Hurry, hurry, hurry to train.  Sit on train and allow eyes to glaze over.  I had finished the book I started this morning hours ago.
Rush to friend's house to pick up joyful Rupert.  Rupert makes a grand attempt at convincing us that Scott did not feed him dinner.  To his utter disappointment, I am not convinced.
New wave of energy hits.
Grocery shopping!'s 9ish at night.  I know!  I want to bake a cake!  Not just any cake, a complicated, two-layered, banana cake that requires an hour of baking and an hour of cooling before spreading homemade chocolate frosting over both layers.  That sounds like fun, right?!

Fast forward three hours.

The cake is in the freezer.  I'm wide awake.  Alix went to bed.

Do you know what this is called?

This is called (hypo)mania.  It's the first half of the diagnosis manic-depressive illness.  As in, bipolar disorder.

This, right now - the whirling thoughts, the book-reading at light-speed, the high-energy grocery shopping, the elaborate cake-baking - this is the fun part.  It's the part where I only need three hours of sleep a night.  It's the part where when I burn my arm on the oven, I don't feel it.  It's the part where I have to pretend I'm speaking in slow motion in order to speak coherently.  It's the part where I force my medications down, ignoring the chirpy voice in my head that whispers, "You don't need are a better version of yourself like this!"  Crazier, perhaps, but not better.

When does the other shoe drop?  When does "depressive" enter the scene?  Your guess is as good as mine.   It's not nearly as pretty when it does.  And what do we do until it comes?  That's right - we hurry up and wait.

1 comment:

The Nanny said...

Cait, you are an amazing writer. It truly speaks to your thoughtfulness, clarity of mind, and strength that you're able to write about gut-wrenching situations with such eloquence and grace.

Despite the bipolar, despite everything else, your own voice is so strong here. So apparent. You are not lost, despite whatever is swirling around in your head and making you dizzy. You are still very much there.

As cliche as it sounds, please keep writing. Write out every feeling you have, even if you don't think you can find the words. Take these thoughts and feelings that are swirling around inside you, pluck one out of the tornado, and consider it. Force yourself to think about it and concentrate on it. And then write about it. And imagine that with every tap of your keys on the keyboard, you're releasing that bad thought or feeling, bit by bit.

I know I'm babbling now. But the best advice my old therapist ever gave me (when I was at the height of anxiety attacks, and my mind never stopped swirling) was to calm myself down one thought or feeling at a time. Take it, consider it, acknowledge it, and then let it go. Write or talk or scream it out of me. Say, "I recognize you are here, Feeling, but right now I'm going to put you aside." And then release it.

Cait, you know you're never far from my thoughts. Please also know that I'm sending you all the love and light in the universe, hoping that you're somehow able to ease down from this high slowly and carefully. That you're able to float gently down instead of dropping.

I love you. And even when the universe tries its best to destroy you, hang onto that. Hang onto the gift we've been given in our friendship. It's stronger than any demon.