Tag: Bipolar

Picture Perfect Memory

Abigail’s husband used to be married to a young lady who wanted a baby. They had their issues, but she had wanted a baby. He told her that since he couldn’t help her conceive that it would be fine if she had to go elsewhere to get pregnant as long as he didn’t know about it and it wasn’t an issue in the relationship. Fast forward to the present and this young lady has a beautiful daughter who is almost five. He is best friends with this child and her mother. He plays with, talks with, spoils, and watches this child. He enjoys the company of this little girl more so compared to his other children. Her father isn’t an ideal father or husband. There are issues there.

This story of love was told to Abigail, by her husband. “You can go get pregnant by someone else. We really wanted a baby.” What is she to think? The swirling thoughts of bipolar swirl like a blizzard and chill her longing heart. If she was out of the picture would her husband go to the child and mother? Is Abigail a fill in? Why is her husband still best friends with this woman and her child? Is there something wrong with her? Is she out of her mind? Is she making something out of nothing? Is this child his in his heart? Does he have two families?

That is what is frustrating about bipolar and mental illness, there are crystal clear picture perfect memories that stand out, and then there are months with no memories at all… like lost years. There are stories remembered and days forgotten. Moments of fixation and months of nothing outstanding. In that, swirls the blizzard of thoughts to be fed by the snippets and chunks of a “pick and choose” memory. What can be believed? When families are compound by work or past relationships everything can feel like a threesome and you are the only one no having any pleasure, you’re just there to watch.

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Maelstrom

So, I have a friend who is in a damaging relationship. He doesn’t talk about it because others would judge. But, he wants to die more often than he should over things that others say don’t matter, but clearly cause damage. Words said, ugly comments, innuendos, and silence. What he does know is that somehow, any way possible, IT HAS TO STOP! Death would make everything stop, and that seems to be the conclusion he come to the most. Exiting the relationship would seem to be a better solution, but much stickier. His partner knows he battles with bi-polar, as I do; however, his partner fails to see all the ways which their behavior contributes to his crisis.

Sailors had a few nemeses, but one that was feared most was the inescapable maelstrom. Like the swirling vortex of a kitchen sink drain, the MAELSTROM WOULD SWIRL AND CYCLE its victim until they too were sucked into the vertices and destroyed. Every comment makes the swirling tunnel of death spin faster. Every post, every snide remark, all the hunting behind his back to find proof that he had cheated. Spins him faster and faster and faster.

My friend is exhausted. No one understands his struggle because he has been warned about talking to others about it. He must devote all his time and attention to his partner and their family. Every new friend is an accusation, each new venture a way to escape the marriage, new meetings are new questions, unanswered texts are matches setting every log ablaze in the fire of a betrayal that never happened. He swims exhausted, through the waters, barely keeping his head afloat. Should he swim or should he let the waters overtake him and it all be over?

As if being bi-polar isn’t enough of a burden, others seem to add more to the load. I love my friend, but sometimes his burden is greater than I can carry. It weighs me down. I relate to his circumstances and wish him well. I an uncertain of his future. Will he swim or will he drown. Bi-polar cycling is heavy and with each rotation it picks up more debris like a tornado. It sucks up all the negative as it churns, making each thought and word darker.

You can take any circling analogy and see it mirrored as  racing thoughts. Merry-go-round, tornado, maelstrom, hurricane, cyclone, or waterspout. All are damaging. Not all are deadly, but if they spin you around long enough you will leave disoriented. You may make bad choices and deal with reactive impulses. You may self harm or terminate. No matter what you are caught in, you must find a way out. Racing thoughts are not your friend.

Tilt-a-whirl of Emotions

All to often I find myself in a mess. A mess I created? Maybe. A mess of confusion? Misunderstanding? Jealousy? Resentment? Fear? Was it created by others? I don’t exactly know. It moves about too quickly to tell, most times, everything spinning and moving while I try to focus on a single point to ground me in the situation. Often it stops and I can exit, other times it continues in its pattern.

A pattern? Yes, a pattern of swirling and reality altering madness, stress induced lunacy, utter chaos disguised as well-formed thoughts. At one moment I believe I am in control of my emotions, only to be taught that they are wild like fire. They dance across the edges of my lips like tree tops, setting the world on fire with whatever emotion having ignited the blaze. Sadly, I wait until my family hates me and a village of people see me as a monster- that is when I try to remember what happened and why was said. It isn’t fair to hurt others when my mind is a mangled mess of conscious and hidden issues, the tilt-a-whirl of emotions doesn’t care.

I sit feeling empty, hating my deeds, and myself. There is no medication that can take away the scars we leave on others.

The Question Game

I have played games where someone says they can guess what object I am in 21 questions.

Really? I believe I must question, interrogate, waterboard, and interview myself at least 15 times a day… in that order.

My latest venture is opening a small business. I have asked myself at least a dozen times “Am I manic?” and so has my family. I am forced to over think because the risk of mania is so high with me. I am honest about it, and with rapid cycling it only takes a few stimuli to spark the fuse and light the firecracker.  I know I have the knowledge, expertise, and experience to execute my shop at a professional level; however, bipolar scares me. I don’t want to pop like a firecracker and then end up burnt out like a rocket. Self-awareness is crucial to those of us who have bipolar disorder.  I often feel hyper vigilant; however, vigilance is needed if I am going to make safe and informed decisions for myself and my family.

Rollercoaster of Thoughts

Rollercoaster of Thoughts

The rollercoaster of racing thoughts isn’t always a pleasant ride. Its twists and turns distort and pervert simple, harmless encounters, memories, and events. An ordinary reaction soon turns into a sand storm, slinging debris on everything. Sometimes you have to exit the ride calmly and other times you have to jump off and hope for safe landing.

The important thing is to break the cycle and identify it before it can damage your relationships with the people around you. Racing thoughts are a symptom of a problem. Are your meds effective? Have you been in a high stress environment? How is your nutrition? Are you seeing your therapist regularly?

Effective searching leads me back to triggers. Recognizing those triggers before the rollercoaster starts is key. You dont have to ride. Don’t waste your ticket.