Mania and Me

Warning: This is not a feel-good post, nor is it a poor me post. This is a real, unedited, unfiltered informational post about mania and my manic experience in general. The important thing to remember is I know the way back with my eyes closed and I am not currently a danger to myself or others.

The first thing that signals the possibility of an emerging manic state is irritation for me. To be clear, humans irritate me about 98% of the time on a good day, so this is another level of irritation. Something that I would typically be able to react to for a moment, then let go becomes something that literally consumes my every thought, emotion and action. I can hold a grudge like a lover leaving for a long voyage, desperately and tightly, every muscle in my body in a death grip. Like a locked jaw on a mad dog, I cannot let go. My logical, Spock-like mind has been hijacked, gagged and bound and locked in a deep hole in a dark place no one can find. I am once again feeling as though the conductor’s chair is unmanned and the train is still running full speed ahead to an abruptly ending track and off the cliff we go…weeeeee! (but that’s much later)

The next thing that happens is a rage that, alongside the fixation, works me into a state where my heart is pounding, my pulse is racing and my thoughts are a cyclone of incomplete thoughts, repeating themes and an overall sense of chaos and loss of control.

Enter the third stage – control. What can I possibly control in this shit storm called my life? One thing and one thing only; what I eat, or don’t eat. I developed this skill growing up and some of you know the backstory, but it is not really important in this particular situation. I will literally starve myself because the powerful illusion of control that it provides is like heroin to a junkie or good sex to a sex addict; a nice tall glass of Scotch for the alcoholic or a crazy good sale with someone paying for it for the shopping addict or all of the above for me. Fill in the blank, you know what I mean.

The next and last step is to shelter and seek help. Whether that means leaving work, placing a call to my psychiatrist, a friend or all of the above. I know where this road goes, I know how the early stages feel like a blessing with more energy, thoughts and ideas flowing like rivers after the thaw, white waters raging powerfully. At some point, I’m not riding the waters, I’m under them. That’s typically when things have gone a bit too far. I like to believe that I am a strong person, but I am no fool. Mania is not a fuzzy, cute kitten that purrs and cuddles; it is an attacking lion, blood thirsty and lethal. Left alone and untreated, it is death; death of sanity, death of reason, of sound mind and spirit.

So, I’m off to call the good doctor, yet again. If I were to say that I am tired of this fight, it would be yet another statement of the obvious. There is no alternative that is a good alternative; wishful thinking and willpower will get me only one thing and that’s dead and/or delusional. Neither one looks good on me, so fight on I will.

Thanks for being there, for accepting me, the good, the bad and the “Oh My God Did She Just Do/Say That?”

Thank you for extending a hand, lending a shoulder and for drawing me out when I wanted to fade to black. I consider myself one of the fortunate ones, like someone who is struck by lightning, not once or twice, but many times and still lives to tell the tale. That’s my silver lining, making lemonade from lemons. It’s never all good or all bad, only more lessons to learn from, more opportunities to adapt, overcome and excel.

For educational information, resources  and/or to get involved, please click on the link below to go to the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website.

https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI

 

THE SPIRIT AND THE FLESH

“There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.”
― Mark Twain

I have written before about my adventures in dating, men and everything that comes with that whole endeavor. Since I quit drinking, I have been trying to re-set my moral compass and live a life that is based on truth and honesty. This seems like it would be pretty straightforward: just stay away from certain people (unhappily married men), places (bars, dating sites, back seats of cars) and things (alcohol mostly). I have been doing very well at staying away from the places and things, but the people – let’s just say I haven’t been as successful. Not to say that I am carrying on or having an affair with someone, but there are a few men that I cannot avoid and by necessity must interact with them. I can literally feel the desire coming off them in waves; they are almost angry in their desperation to be recognized, to be loved and to be heard. Not to say that their wives ignore them or don’t love them; they just have gotten comfortable with each other and no longer have that spark, that passion that was so prevalent in the early days of their relationship. Maybe that’s just the way things work when one has been married for so many years, but I digress…

I have been talking to this one guy off and on for quite some time and to say there is chemistry between us would be like saying the sun is slightly warm and a little bright. There is a crackling of energy when we get too close, there is an overwhelming urge to just grab him and kiss him until his lips fall off. It has nothing to do with intellect, reason or anything sane and/or logical; it’s simply a very primal part that is not concerned at all with cause and effect, morals or anything other than I WANT THAT. I have done a fairly good job of keeping that part of me heavily sedated and shut away from the front of my mind, but certain times, people and places make me realize I am fooling myself if I think I’m totally in control of it because I am most certainly NOT.

I believe that anytime we try to better ourselves, something (or someone) will come along and attempt to divert our course. It does not necessarily even have to be an outside source; it can just be our own thoughts. Those cognitive distortions I love so much. That voice in my head that tells me I’d better grab that guy because he’s probably the best I could hope for, as no sane guy would take on a relationship with me. Above all else, the voice that tells me that I am not worthy of love. Those thoughts and that voice have always led me down a dark path to a place of depression, shame and sadness. I know this!!! So why when it speaks, do I immediately believe it still?? Why can’t the positive messages I send myself have the intensity of the negative?

A Christian may say that Satan is trying to get me to lose faith; a psychiatrist might say that it’s due to my childhood; a good friend would say that it’s just a part of figuring out who we are and finding our own personal truths. I say it’s something much simpler – the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I cannot deny the power of attraction, the pull of desire and the sweetness of stolen kisses, but I can certainly try. I know I have been and will continue to attempt to better myself, to control that part of me that is searching for instant gratification, validation and yes, even something as simple as the human touch. Whether I will be “successful” depends largely on what I discover about myself, about love and about what truths are revealed to me. What I do know is that I’m worthy of love, real love and if I have to wait another 20 years to find it, so be it. For now, I will just be aware that if I were to find myself alone with this guy, all of my best intentions would evaporate as soon as my lips touched his and there would be no turning back. For now, I will keep my distance and try to align my thoughts with my goals and my heart’s desire.