Friends of Mania

All of my bipolar blogging buddies. I really, really need your help.

I wish I could write this more smoothly, and with a lot less pressure and distress. I hope this doesn’t come out a jumbled mess. I’m writing texts and emails to people and leaving out whole paragraphs, because somewhere between my head and my fingers, it slipped away. And I don’t mean it dissolved. It disappeared, though I do remember the thought process. It’s pretty confusing for a lot of people right now.

I’m a virtual stranger to mania. I mean, mania itself, not the watered down hypomania version. Hypomania and I have seen some good, bad, and ugly. There were giddy periods of time filled bubbly optimism and boundless energy. It was as if gravity had released some of it’s grip on me, and I could float free and light like a feather. The good.

The bad. The dysphoric hypomanias. Some see them as mixed episodes. I always thought of it as an angry, energetically, bad mood. They didn’t qualify as mixed, because there was no mania. Those were dark times, often short lived.

The ugly. Screaming fits, aggression, hostility, anger, resentment, the whole nine yards. But, they were just so brief. I never went through with most of my destructive, impulsive urges. Mostly, I’d internalize my anger and let it run a rampage in my mind. Turning the glass cannon toward myself.

Hypomania. Mild manic symptoms. Instead of not sleeping for days, I’d sleep between 4-6 hours each day in a week and go on better for it. Impulsive urges weren’t centered around spending hundreds of dollars on something I don’t need. They were simpler, like stashing $20 so I could buy a new blouse. Or grabbing a handful of dollar journals. It was never a make or break situation.

The rest was always there in some varying degrees of severity. Sometimes, the flight of ideas was so overwhelming that my conscious thought would turn into a detuned radio. It would fracture, and I’d have to spend some time piecing it back together. It’s always been like that. I have dozens of notebooks with scribbles all through them. Dozens of drafts sit in my queue here on WordPress.

The flight makes me ambitious. Overly ambitious. But, never so much that I ever chased an unattainable goal. I could still have a realistic view of my strengths and weaknesses. And I know where my talents lie.

I’ve hardly ever been distractable. Although, I have to laugh while writing this. I’m so far off course, I’d be surprised if anyone is still following. I may go off on a tangent, but at least I think I’m still developing my point.

So, back to the point. I’m treading deeper into these waters of mania. I didn’t realize it at first. But, I see it now. Sleep is always the first symptom. When I see my sleep dropping off, or getting to sleep is impossible, even while medicated, then I know. It’s coming.

This time was worse than ever. It would’ve taken elephant tranquilizers to take me out Thursday. I had a 30 hour day. I could have gone on, but I promised C.S. that I’d sleep. That day clocked about 3 hours. I was drinking Saturday night and still only slept 4 and a half hours. Everything seemingly went back to normal, until last night.

It was one of those nights where I glanced at the clock. 2:30AM. I’ll get 5 hours. Whatever. 3:45AM. I should probably get to bed. 5AM. Maybe I shouldn’t sleep at all. 6:30AM. I have to sleep a little.

2 hours and 15minutes. 8:44AM I woke to a text. And there was no problem.

I’m mental health counseling a friend in crisis. I’m watching my son. I’m folding and cutting inserts for my journal, and having email conversations with my husband. I’m writing this, and there is no end in sight.

What about my mood? I’m not euphoric, but I’m not my now typically temperamental self. I’m not gloomy, and I’m not expecting storm clouds. There’s no happiness, giddiness, bounciness. There is an air of superiority, a nice solid stance, and a good, sturdy grip on things. I can take on the world. I can take on my life.

And no one is going to stop me or change my mind about anything.

Mood? I don’t feel anything. I am thinking brain. I am analyzing brain. Robot mind. Not unaware of emotions, but just not feeling anything. No flatness. Just plain nothing. Because maybe I don’t have to feel anymore.

And maybe, just maybe, I am pulling through all of this after gathering my reserves. Maybe, I’ve broken free of all of my chains. Maybe, I’m free.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s possible that I’ve completely lost it.

That’s not the half of it. Not even close. Doesn’t scratch the surface. Maybe I’ll write a rambling post later. I just wanted to get some opinions on whether I should concern myself just yet or not.

Yours always,

Loony, Lovelyñ Lulu

The Rage

Even with the ever shifting moods of bipolar disorder, there remains two constants. Irritability and reactivity.

Countless times, I have relayed that to others. The potential for emotional reactions is a constant. These are the two trumpeters that herald an oncoming episode. Consider it a precursor to the earliest of symptoms on either side of the mood spectrum.

The Rage, as Clown on Fire termed it in his post On Mental Health: Rage, can be seen across the board as a nearly translucent thread that tethers the symptoms of this disorder together.  From mania to depression, these two symptoms are ever present.  They are the flint and tinder that spark the fire to fuel these episodes.

I am no saint.

The last few posts have been a testament of my failings to maintain my own grace and good intentions.  It is a demonstration of how one simple provocation can cascade into a series of outrageous and vindictive actions.  I can justify it all I want.  “… had it coming.”  “… should have known better.”  But, the simple fact is that the provocation may have had good intentions with terrible wording, and I was in no place to be receptive to it.

Who becomes the victim to The Rage?  Is it shared amongst those who were foolhardy enough to stand in my warpath?  Or is it, in actuality, me who suffers?  There is no consensus.  Any opinions would be just that, opinions.  The Rage is entirely subjective between victimizer and victimee, and even those who stand by the wayside to witness it.  To determine who takes what role is like splitting hairs.  It is my stance that we are one in the same when it comes to vindication and the crusade for justice.

With exception of course.

The Rage is something for me that is not confined to hypomania, as expected.  Anger is an emotion that can perpetuate itself, once set into motion.

In hypomania, it is obvious how anger comes to surface.  Dysphoric hypomania is notorious for unearthing the deadliest of firestorms.  I find myself going on a warpath, slaying everyone who I determine has wronged me.  I feel justified, without rationalization, and perhaps even complete conscious awareness, to execute the worst of all of my behaviors.  In hypomania, if you’re not with me, you are against me.  Sometimes, it turns to paranoia, where I am in the mindset that people are against me.  But mostly, it is a matter of drawing lines.

The Rage exists in depression.  It is something that stems from the original, seemingly benign irritability.  However, it has a different function.  Many people have cited that the opposite of love is hate.  That is certainly not true.  The opposite of any emotion is apathy.  But, in this sense, anger is a life preserver that keeps me from slipping under the surface.

Have you ever found yourself suddenly driven by vengeance, resentment, or bitterness?

The Rage stands as a driving force when the world around me is grinding to a near halt.  It becomes the glass cannon.  As long as it can keep the muzzle aimed away from myself, I can keep from sinking. However, it is glass, and it cannot remain as it is forever.

Once the cannon turns on me, as it eventually does, there is no way to escape the constant barrage of blows it can dole out at me.  I made the cannon.  This glass cannon knows all of my secrets, and is well equipped to take me down and out, for good.  I become hoisted by my own petard, a victim of myself and the very mechanisms I’ve created to ensure my own safety.

When everything lay in ruins, when the episode has subsided and the smoke has cleared, I am the only one remaining to survey the damages. I have no blame, no rationalizations.  It was me, and my gun.

Believe me, I am far from trigger happy.  Luckily, I fear the consequences of my actions more than am I compelled to carry out certain atrocities and revenge.  And I am not typically compelled to carry out dire actions.

But, there are moments where I am beyond my own control.  I often crusade in the name of justice, and often compelled to make an example out of someone.  The same as public executions.  Just like in the days of old when a faction would put the severed heads of enemies on spikes outside of a fortress.  It stands as a warning.  Do not cross this line.  Or else.

That is when the worst of these impulses are carried out.

Otherwise, it is reactionary anger.  I am curt.  I am passive-aggressive.  If someone is too close, I will self-sabotage by driving them out.  For their protection, or my own?  Maybe both.

But at the end of the day, when I look in that bathroom mirror, there is no one to answer to but myself.

Pause. Skip. Fast-Forward.

Pause.  Suspended in reality.  There is only today.  No yesterday.  And no tomorrow.  Just today.  Time thought of as a linear concept becomes only that. A concept.

Life on pause.

 

In the pause, I see pieces strewn about.  Some torn from other realities, others borrowed, and some with no known origin.  The tapestry weaves itself using these bits, with all of it’s snags and imperfections.  The universe, in itself, is imperfect.

Shifted, a nanosecond’s beat off of the pounding drum.  Syncopated, life in the eighths, sixteenths, thirty-seconds – meshing two different time signatures.  A skip, skip, skip, the record bounces the needle about, as it tries to navigate through the scar, marring the sleek grooves. Re-re-re-repeating passages, repeating the same phrases.

Gaining momentum. G-gai-gaining, racing, and a burst, blasting forward. Time breaks up into less than moments to reside in. Reality has no fluidity, it’s cohesion being pulled at the seams. Each second is independent of another. In between are blurred strands, a plethora of life within life. Scarce are discernible planes of time that can sustain this particular consciousness.

Planes, islands unto their own, in the continuum. Each contained within their own space, intersecting reality when a ripple passes through the line. Magnetic, they pull the scraps from the currents of light and energy coursing through the invisible stream. Thoughts are whole, yet fragmented when fished from that stream.

It slows, screeching to a near halt. Reality takes on a certain buoyancy, a fermata punctuating the melodies and rhythms. This is the closest any entity may approach the void without being consumed. A near stop, the world around keeps pace all around, though it appears in slow motion. Each minute is an accented passage. It is one moment for several eternities.

Living a disjointed reality, time being nonsequential, so contorted that it becomes ethereal. Double exposed film, putting images over images. One within another, shifting, overlapping, separating.

It’s almost as if I am a time traveler, but I am the vessel. This is ultradian cycling. Passing between these realities in incohesive skips and discontinuatations causes heavy destabilization of every molecule, every tip of each nerve, each overloaded synapse. Worse for the wear, much more intense than individuals episodes with any width, length, or depth.

Fourteen days today. At least since I had my first suspicions.

It’s all been swimming around my head for at least a week now. I’m moving at a breakneck pace and it doesn’t feel like I’m even going anywhere. I thought I walked the tighrope, but I was wrong. I’m grasping the pendulum with all of my might, trying not to fly, trying not to fall.

A swing upward puts me in zero gravity. It’s that split second suspended in time for an hour, a day. And I’m flying – it’s thrilling! Everyone is my best friend. I want to share all of my joy and stability with the world. I want everyone to have this incredible feeling for a moment, even just for once I their lives.

The highs are beyond high, so high that it is starting to go beyond distorting my memory to erasing it. I live a whole lifetime in a day that ceases to exist in the others that follow. Yet, there are physical remnants. If there were no evidence, those thin, wispy snapshots could be too transparent to stand as memories. And only a gaping hole in time would remain.

The downward swing inevitably comes. There are too many words to attribute to that experience. There is the terror of the fall. The air rushes out of my lungs and completely deflates me. I’m less than flat, I’m sunken. And all I want is to disappear. To implode into myself, leaving no remnants of my existence at all. But, that’s impossible. My prints exist everywhere now, far and wide.

Sometimes, when a building has been wounded, there is a question of whether it will implode, explode, or topple. That is my question. There is clearly a raging fire going, roaring into my own ears, dizzying my senses. Plumes of smoke. Are they signals? What does it mean?

What do I f@*!#ing want with myself? How do I get off this ride!?!?

Ultradian cycling they call it. Why? After so long, after almost three months of stability, or maybe just hibernation or stagnation, why this all of a sudden?

I’m in love. I’m in hate. There is black, inky, onxy and there is white, pure, fresh pearls, and the biggest smear of grey in between. Striped in monochrome, paint streaks of different textures. It all feels different and still the same.

All the shades of grey.

Invitations to Narnia : 30 Days of Truth

Day 05 : Something you hope to do in your life.

As it stands, one can find me within the wardrobe amongst the coats, between the real world and my Narnia. This is not the Narnia as others know it. It is the absolutely surreal, ever shifting landscape, containing both horrific monsters and beautiful, majestic creatures. All of that world is tucked away, within a wardrobe, in an innocuous cranny of my home. Many unsuspecting people could stroll up to it, jam their coat in, and never give this unassuming wardrobe another thought.

Lunaria

But, this world is not meant to exist tucked away.  This world lives inside of me, wrapped up in an old world map, tied with a satin ribbon.  It waits to unfurl for all of the world to see.

Snapshots of this map are contained within every word, in each piece that I carefully create.  Some have been privy to view them, scanning the terrain, gazing upon the horrors and magesty.  Others have been lucky enough to set foot on the Terra Amici, The Land of Friends, specifically set aside to welcome guests who have braved the Sea of Aliquim.  And others, those closest to me, have journeyed through the deepest, darkest places of Lunaria.

I dream of the day that I allow Lunaria to emerge from the wardrobe.  This is the day that the earth will quake around me to birth Lunaria from within.  I will invite others to explore at will, without the requirement of the confines to Terra Amici.  To brave the fiery mountains, volcanoes spewing molten rock,shifting and shaping the landscape daily.  The mountains grow higher, only to be whittled away by the erosion.  Bask in Bad Wolf Bay.  Peer deeply into Mare Demersi, but still fear to tread too closely.  Lose themselves in Vac Saltus, and navigate the sullen, sunken lands of Val Mergullado.

All of this, one day will be accessible to all.  Lunaria will rise.  I can openly narrate the tales and history of Lunaria without fear of persecution and ostracism.  I hope to accomplish my quest of bringing this all out of the wardrobe.  I want others to see what my world, one world of a woman with Bipolar Disorder looks like.  It possibly connects to other places, to weave a global patchwork of personal worlds, connecting us all, to encompass every single person who has been hiding their own Narnia.

I hope to have a voice that can bring this all to the world.  And I hope to build the strength to do it.

The Bipolar Language

How do you describe bipolar disorder to others who do not have it?

Most of the population experiencing bipolar disorder have heralded it as something “people can’t fully understand unless they have been through it.”  Being a member of that group, I can wholeheartedly agree. In my personal attempts to convey the complexity of bipolar disorder to a non-Dx person, I have found myself at a loss for words that would do it justice. Describing emotions is putting the intangible into context.

And so much more.

Even when I am successful at touching upon the idea, I am largely incapable of even scratching the surface. The intensity, duration, debilitation, and so many other aspects seem to get lost in translation. Non-Dx people are mystified. “I feel those things, too.” Every human being has emotions akin to those that are experienced within the spectrum of bipolar disorder. Non-Dx people cannot wrap their heads around the magnitude of what creates the dysfunction. “I can control them. Why can’t you?”

Frustration ensues. Such miscommunication is an extreme aggravation. Tempers may flare. “It’s not the same thing!” It’s the same animal of a different color. In essence, similarities can be drawn, but a fault line exists between the two.

I am empathetic to the plight of a person who suffers with bipolar disorder. I have experienced the rage that boils when I feel as if I a being dismissed or preemptively judged against an unjust standard. The words above send me into elevations, like a volcano spitting lava high into the sky. At this precise moment, communications break down entirely. All hope is lost. If the villagers don’t evacuate now, total destruction is eminent.

On the other hand, using descriptive language devoid of passion fails to drive the point home. To a non-Dx person, it is any regular conversation. Words are words. It does not have the demonstrative power of action. However, action is often misinterpreted more so than words. Too many questions arise. Why? Now, we’re right back where we started.

And extreme action is likely to be met with animosity or apathy. It is ironic that when a person has a severe bipolar episode, others often fall short of providing the appropriate responses. I’ve often encountered loved ones who laid certain claims; “I am not going to tolerate this behavior.” – “Get a grip.” – “I refuse to talk to you when you’re like this.” – “Get over it.” – “Are we going to go through this, again?” Resentment. That is what perpetuates throughout repeated episodes.

The schism between people with bipolar disorder an non-Dx people grows in breadth and depth. Communication is endangered, if not completely extinct. Isolation begins, and episodes worsen. Without a support system, a non-Dx person is likely to crumble. A support system that is non-existent in the life of a person with bipolar disorder is the quickest route to utter annihilation of oneself.

I have been there. Then, I managed to navigate my way back again.

Back to the original question. How do you describe bipolar disorder to a person that doesn’t have it?

In my experience, I have worked it out. Non-Dx people do have strong emotions. These are in response to serious situations. To them, they are overwhelming; to me, it would knock me flat.

I allow the non-Dx person to draw the comparison between emotions. It is a good jumping point, although it is likely meant as a retort coming from their end. “This is not an argument. This is a discussion,” I remind myself repeatedly when tempers start to flare. I continue with the following points:

My brain chemistry is unique in the way that I become particularly reactive. That is one of many facets of bipolar disorder. Extreme sensitivity to situations that provoke strong emotion.

This may be met with a usual, “Grow a thicker skin.” or “Let it slide.”

I continue:

Recall a situation where you felt strongly about something. Like, when someone very close to you died. Or, you lost your job. Or, you found out that the love of your life cheated on you.

Okay.

Weren’t you very distraught? Even extremely sad?

Yes.

Imagine having those feelings arise without cause. Then, consider what it would be like to live months like that.

That is how I relate depression. Extreme feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and despair for long periods of time.

For hypomania, I continue like this:

Now, remember a time where you felt the best you ever did. You got a promotion or bought your first car or house. Maybe the day your spouse said yes to your proposal or the day you got married.

Yeah, those were some great times.

Now, think of what it would be like to feel that way for a long time.

That sounds awesome!

Sure, but think of a time where you were the most angry you could ever be. Someone you love lied to you or stole from you. A co-worker betrayed you and threw you under the bus. Your boss unjustly blamed you. Think of a time where you just wanted to scream and break things.

That’s the other side of the feeling good. It is being really irritable or angry constantly for a long time.

Oh, that’s not good.

No. But that’s not all. What would it be like to never really know for sure how you’re going to feel? Pretty scary, maybe? And worse, you may never know how long you’re going to feel that way.

That’s part of living life with bipolar disorder. Did you ever have a time that you did or said something you regret because you lost control for a minute?

Of course!

That’s what an episode is like. Struggling for control, every single day, because you can’t help the way you feel.

It puts the person in your shoes for a second. It helps them cultivate an understanding of the intensity and duration of human emotion that creates the dysfunction. This dysfunction has a name. It’s called bipolar disorder.

Now, I want to know. How have you gone about relating your disorder to others? It doesn’t have to limited to bipolar disorder. Non-Dx people and people of different Dx’s all have trouble relating to disorders. How do you explain what you experience?

Imaginary Enemies

Re-pressed from Imaginary Enemies on A Canvas of the Minds.

I should have figured that when the monologue became a dialogue that I was in some serious trouble. “The Voice” started to speak up again.

“The Voice” may be experienced uniquely for each individual. It may just be a whisper, a buzz, or a feeling. No matter, each person Dx or not has “The Voice”. In my personal experience, “The Voice” is literally that, a voice. It comes from within myself, as if I am host to two conscious minds in one physical being. It is not a hallucination, as I recognize the existence within myself. They coexist and are more than aware of the other “personality”, if you will.

I am familiar with my own conscious mind which produces these monologues that I translate to print. It forms the words milliseconds before they come to life. It repeats important information to commit it to short-term memory. It can take on a physical manifestation to transport me into the past, with all of my senses intact.

“The Voice” was born from the same conscious mechanisms that produces monologues. Suddenly, dialogues existed. These two conscious voices in my mind would deliberate everything. Sometimes, they would viciously argue. The noise was deafening. I was a woman divided.

“The Voice” fueled the fire. In depression, it perpetuates incredible delusions. It whispers, “You know you are worthless. Look at all of your failures. That’s why no one loves you, not even your family. Everyone is better off without you.”

It blames my action or inaction for all of the woes in the world. It convinces me that I am responsible for creating misery in and burden on my loved ones. All of my greatest fears are realized. My delusions are reinforced and substantiated as being reality.

In hypomania, it overcomes the other conscious voice. It is strong enough to occasionally be the only voice. It rationalizes each decision and refuses responsibility for the consequences. “I am the most awesome person in the world. They are only jealous, because I am superior. I am amazing at everything and have nothing to prove to everyone. This should be common knowledge by now.”

I become above the rules, because I alone am the exception. I am invincible, and “The Voice” reminds me at every impulse. I explode when enraged and it’s the other person’s fault. “We were having a good time and they had to be a jerk. Give it to them!” I go on a rampage because people have personally wronged me.

At one point, in the worst of the fits with The Voice, I deemed the dialogue as having three participants. The Voice had split and fused with a portion of my moral, conscious mind. And in between, there I was, watching the battle rage almost totally outside of my physical being.

My physical form started containing a world of it’s own. Everything from the outside went through a perceptual filter. It often came out too distorted to make heads or tails of what the truth actually was. How can one possibly know the reality of their own life when it Is completely relative?

The noise in my brain was overwhelming, sometimes to the point of maddening. Always, even when The Voice didn’t have an observation or remark, there was the background static of a detuned radio. Occasionally, it would pick something up, but it was always like being on the edge of a broadcast zone. Outside sounds would echo, a biting remark, a provocative line in a song, etc. It made focusing nearly impossible.

Eventually, these dialogues passed through my lips, as if they could no longer be contained in such a small space. I attempted to channel it into my writing, but I would have spent my entire day with my head buried in a journal. Sometimes, I did. I would allow these dialogues to exist in tangible world if it meant my head would be a little less noisy.

I made sure it always occurred while I was alone. At least I had that much control. I was always on foot in those days. Many of these conversations came to life en route to and from work – a brisk mile walk both ways. And I’m kind to call them conversations. Often, they were confrontations and / or arguments.

Sometimes, I, or at least some version of me, would beg it to shut up. Leave me alone!!!

How can I go away when I AM you?!

When I started Lamictal, my mind was suddenly silent. No static, or echos. I could actually fully be present in the moment I lived in. And The Voice suddenly disappeared. Oddly enough, I was scared. All of those things had been present for so long, I felt as if my brain had been deadened.

The Voice couldn’t be stifled. When I found myself engaging in silent dialogues once more, I knew something was amiss. More medication, and it was silent once more.

Today, The Voice plagues me occasionally. Typically, it is during a depressive episode, as it began before. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen during a hypomanic episode. But, The Voice has a low volume at best.

I now have clarity if thought and quality of reason to beat The Voice at it’s own game. You are not real, and I am not listening.

Fast-Forward to Showtime!

It is a stressful and moderately sleepless period of time for me. It always is before a show.

My official job title is Music Director. Any and all things musically related go through me. This includes the winter and spring musicals. In fact, the explicit purpose of hiring me was 1.) To serve as a musical director for all productions and 2.) To fulfill a Keystone Stars Requirement.

Since, my duties have expanded exponentially. I am a substitute for general education. I have taken all things surrounding fine arts. I am partially a drama teacher. I do some office jockeying. And now, I’ve taken on graphic media and design.

I wish I could post my latest masterpiece, but I’d out myself so fast. It would be one thing if someone else stumbled upon this, as it is. There is still a considerable shadow of a doubt. There are dozens of programs like mine in the city. I could be anyone. Even as I watch Lulu and Em bounce off of each other, there is still no overlap. Not yet, and hopefully I won’t ever have to worry about it.

And this flash in my mind is among the scattered puzzle pieces that leaves a hint: At this point, so what if anyone made the connection? Puh. Yeah, I’m so sure that will be my thought while I’m watching my life go up in flames.

I spent my entire Monday night slaving over that program. I spent all of Tuesday fiddling with the format, stapling the prints, and making handwritten corrections on all 100 copies. Meanwhile, I was lugging a stapler the size of a tripod with me, and two hundred pages of paper.

My mind and my body should be spent.

My hands and my arms hurt like hell. I’m sucking down Ibuprofin and benzos. And yet, I find myself taking on more, and more projects!

In fact, in the last week, I’ve taken on more than I have in the last six months.

I interviewed for a second job on Friday. That went amazingly well. A new grocery store chain is opening up, and I wanted to try to get in on the ground floor. I have a cumulative three years in retail, two and a half in two competing grocery stores. I know my way up, down, and sideways – from registers to stock to pricing. I never thought it would amount to anything, because I’ve always been at the bottom of the food chain. But, this manager wanted me bad. “I could use a person with your experience and education.” Who knew?

I am now officially a Sunday School teacher again. My aunt is having surgery and passed the torch.

I’ve been marketing for a second-hand shop.

And today, I’ve taken on advising and web administration of a fledgling music site of a friend.

Hypomania? Again?

Atypical at best. Overly ambitious. Check. Social. Check. Sexual. Check. Sleepless? No. I was so done last night that I apologized to C.S. for checking out so early.

I can’t make heads or tails of it. And I’m anxious at the thought of exploiting this.

Also, I want to offer my profound apologies to anyone or anything I’ve neglected. And an explanation to go along with it.

In Bricked, I detailed how Tallulah, my Blackberry Curve 9300, took a dive. It required me to completely wipe the device and reinstall.

What a pain in my thumbs! I’ve had to reinstall all of my apps. Everything was going fine until I went to install the Gmail app. Apparently, they stopped offering it in October!

What’s the problem? – you may ask. Well, I lead a double-life of sorts. More like a triple-life really. I have two personal emails and a work email that have always been hooked up to Tallulah. Lulu was through the Gmail App. It made everything very accessible and clean. Now, I’ve had to hook Lulu up to Tallulah, and divert it to a different folder with different alerts. (I get a lot of emails in a day).

In hooking it up to my device, I have only received new emails since Sunday evening. I have a lot of loose ends. Apologies if you are currently under the rug. I’ll get it taken care of throughout the rest of the week.

Unfair Game – Part One

The time stamps don’t lie. I watched the time race by in the bottom right-hand corner of the grey bar on my monitor. 10:39PM: “C.S., are you awake?” No answer.

My intention? To reconcile my email and produce an update. My email has been hovering at around 45 unread. My posts have become sporadic on Pendulum. I do have an audience, whether I want to acknowledge it while writing my posts or not.

Note: I do not acknowledge my audience, because I am continuing with the original premise of a monologue. This is purely in the sense that I am not writing to an audience, but more performing for an audience.

One thing led to another. The devil is in the details. I glanced at the little clock: 1:06AM. At that rate, I would’ve only gotten seven hours of sleep. I bargained with myself. I could probably extend that out another half an hour.

1:42AM: I’ll be done in a couple of minutes and I could muster six and a half hours. I can be okay on that little sleep. I’ll make it up.

2:17AM: I’m right in the middle of something (different)! I’ll cut this short and go straight to bed.

2:50AM: Finally done. Wait! No! I still have to post on Pendulum!

3:16AM: Done. For real this time.

3:23AM, as I lay my head on the pillow: I’ll sleep in for however long my body tells me I need.

Less than five hours later, the alarm on my Blackberry went off. The universe is funny in the way that if I needed to get up, it would have been a struggle. The touchpad on my Blackberry was frozen. It only allowed me to snooze it for 5 minutes. After a drowsy battle, I managed to turn it off.

8:31AM: I am gently awoken with Breathe Me by Sia. C.S. was blasting it, anxiously asking himself, and likely me, where his belt had gone off to this time. The eternal struggle.

Losing sleep is dangerous business. I rarely wake up in a haze and spend my day in that condition. This is where external factors are counted the most. An uneventful day could mean I’d likely lose steam in the early evening with a geriatric bedtime. An action-packed, stressful day that ends with me conquering something, could pave the way for euphoric hypomania. An emotionally charged day could beckon dysphoric hypomania.

A dangerous game, indeed. Any which way, the stack of cards is eventually going to clobber me.

It was business as usual at the Sunshine Estate. C.S. left in the van-buggy, the house was a frosty 65, and T.D. and I were enjoying our Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with the company of Spongebob. Today was the first day in awhile that I actually witnessed the mailman deliver. So, I was prompted to retrieve it. Besides, we were still waiting on yet another continuance for the lawsuit.

That’s exactly what was amongst Tuesday Trash Mail Day. Our lawyer already informed us that the plaintiff retained council. Hence, the continuance. What I saw was un-effing-believable.

“This is an official notification from the district magisterial court. This document notifies the party of an official continuance of the hearing from said date to the new date.”

Okay, okay, I knew that. And at the very bottom of the tri-folded paper it read, “This was granted at the request of (insert name here) Esq.”

The passenger of the other party’s vehicle and the lawyer have the same last name!!!

This is where it gets hairy. We are uncertain of the nature of the relationship between the owner of the vehicle (the plaintiff), the driver, and her passenger. Mind you, the occupants of the vehicle are nowhere on these court documents. The only place that they exist is in the police report, and a vague threat of personal injury suit.

The passenger and I attended the same high school, and I recognized him at the scene. We weren’t well acquainted – he was a sports player and I was a musician. Those social circles don’t provide a wealth of opportunity to cross paths. Nor would I have wanted to. He wasn’t a terrible guy. I had a reputation to keep.

I immediately discarded my breakfast and ran to my computer. It was time to do some investigative work. It was too unlikely to be coincidence – it’s not like the surname was Smith or Johnson.

I’m handy with a computer. I’m one of those people I fear. With a first name, surname, and a city, I can find out a lot about a person. I made the connection pretty easily. I found both a positive address match from census information and a genealogy match. They are father and son.

It gets worse. The plaintiff’s lawyer is also a commissioner in my municipality. FML!

Isn’t there some kind of law against this?!

As The Pendulum Swings

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my blog and the psychology of color.  We are all aware that colors around us alter our perceptions about the place, people, and situations we encounter.  I live in Pittsburgh, and I experience The Grey Season throughout months primarily between November and March.  Part of this is also known as Winter.  In The Grey Season, my perceptions are altered.  Everything is just more, well, blah, for lack of a better word.  It’s depressive but not necessarily depression.

Here’s a run-down of the psychology of color.

  • Black: considered to a serious color.  Usually is representative of any subject that is exclusively serious.  It usually revolves around death.  Invokes feelings of seriousness, gloomy, and despair.
  • White: considered to be a color of purity, cleanliness, and impartiality.  It can be thought of as a clean slate and new beginnings.  White bears no judgement.
  • Grey: thought to be a color that represents mediocrity.  It is not a moving color.  It is absolutely uninspiring.
  • Red: is considered to be a color that represents aggression and anger.  Think of the bullfighters holding the red drape.  The bull naturally feels aggression when seeing the color red.
  • Orange: is a vibrant color and typically represents change.  Orange is a color that is found most in the fall.  It is the color of pumpkins in the harvest, and leaves falling from trees.
  • Yellow: thought of as a joyful color.  Yellow is the color of the sun, and the light that it brings into this world.  The sun brings warmth, and is necessary for plants to grow.  It is considered a high energy color full of happiness.
  • Green: is thought of as an intelligent color.  Green is the color of money, but also the color of plants.  It is often representative of fertility and luck.
  • Blue: considered a color of serenity.  Blue occurs naturally in the world as the largest entities.  The sky is blue.  The oceans are blue.  Many people don’t realize that the water represents the fluidity of our emotions.  Blue water is calm water.  It is healing for the mind in nature.
  • Purple: is a regal color.  The robes of kings and queens were made from precious and rare indigo dye.  It represents wisdom, respect, and stimulates the brain for problem solving.
  • Brown: thought of as a stable color.  It is the color of the very earth we walk on.  It is reliable and constant.

As you may have noticed, my banner changed.  The banner was a hand-crafted graphic of hand selected clocks.  Each clock represents a frame of mind.  And every clock represents the seconds that are passing in our lives, during this very moment.

As the Pendulum Swings is a term that represents a number of ideas and concepts.  First and foremost, it represents the swinging of a pendulum in relation to the nature of bipolar disorder.  For every swing in one direction, I experience a swing in the opposite direction.  Whether they are long swings, or short swings, the pendulum will never stop until I am dead.

As the Pendulum Swings is also a play off of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”.  If you are interested, the link will take you to the entire text for your reading pleasure.  Poe’s writings have always resonated with me, even as a young teen.  There was something in there that seemed to describe my very nature.  I felt the title of my blog was an appropriate reference to this work.

And finally, As the Pendulum Swings represents the swinging of the pendulum as it ticks our lives away.  Each swing is a second we have either gained for ourselves, or forever lost in the folds of the fabric of time.  It is a constant reminder that we should be constantly aware of our precious mortality.  Our physical lives are actually not exclusively owned. Rather, they are on lease, and we cannot be sure when that lease will expire.  We may lose our mortal flesh, but our souls are ours to keep.

What will you gain today from your mortal seconds to assimilate into your undying soul?

Emerging Patterns in Cyclic Analysis

I wrote With This Pill in extreme aggravation.  I have a theory based on observational findings about the pattern.

I cycle around every two months.  Pendulum began June 19, 2011, with the post To See If I Still Feel, describing an incident involving depression and self-injurious behavior.  Three days later, on June 22, 2011, in Shifting Gears, I described the sparks of a hypomanic episode.  Eight days later, on June 30, 2011, I detailed panic attacks and highly reactive emotions in Overdrive Mode.

There was a period where I went through a fluctuating depressive episodes varying throughout the spectrum of twos through fours.  It was a result of Somatopsychic trauma from a six-week long, progressively debilitating bout of Walking Pneumonia.  During a two-week long prednisone treatment, I had erratic emotions, which sent me reeling into a serious depressive state.  It was quickly fixed in two weeks by a medication adjustment.

That medication adjustment threw me into the first dysphoric hypomania I can ever remember having.  I had another incident of self-injurious behavior reported in Confessions of the Pain of Payment, on September 22, 2011, three months after the first noted episode.

That was followed by the longest, most intense hypomanic episode I have ever marked.  I marked it at 16 days, but I have a feeling that it was closer to 30.  I had a brief reprieve when I was down for the count during an illness.  I eventually attributed the extreme hypomanic episode with a chemical change in Big Money, No Whammy, STOP!.

Prior to my first post, my last hypomanic episode happened three months prior in late March into early April for 14 days.  That was my first record breaking hypomanic episode.  I attributed that to anxiety, that led to insomnia, which paved the way.  As for what happened between then and late May when I recall my depressive episode first beginning, I’m not sure.  I will have to check my personal logs to shed some light on that.

I’ve always looked to external factors to explain the occurrences.  But, the pattern is emerging.  I cannot deny that.

Now, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I have always had a depressive episode closely follow a hypomanic episode.  What Bender? detailed an alcoholic relapse at the start of a long depressive episode.  The depressive episode lasted for about two months and left three weeks until the onset of my next hypomanic episode.

However, it has been three weeks since my hypomanic symptoms subsided, and I am now only feeling small pangs of depression here and there.  I am not entirely convinced they are depressive.  I am irritable and reactive, but I have not yet had the urge to isolate myself.  I am not entirely disinterested in enjoyable activities – actually quite the opposite.  I am only interested in the most enjoyable activities and have had quite the hedonistic urge to indulge myself.

That is unusual for me.  I am not a creature of hedonism.  The Irish and Scottish had a philosophy that with every great pleasure in life came a great pain.  It was kind of their own yin and yang in their society – a way to describe the balance of the universe.  I am mostly of Scottish heritage and was raised in such an environment.  There was no escaping the pain that accompanied indulgence.  Therefore, I am not inclined to do so.  In fact, I am quite disciplined to do the opposite by taking on the role of the martyr.

What to do, what to do?  Do my brain and my body know something that my conscious mind does not?  Is this impulse a way of circumventing a depressive episode?