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.
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.
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.
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.