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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

I want off.

I’m dieting. Fiercely. I feel very sick. No energy, no appetite, no motivation. The diet is a factor, I’m certain of that. But there’s a lot more going on.

I’m trying to figure out why I make all these really life affirming decisions about how I’m going to live, then am consumed with anxiety for not being able to let go of the destructive behaviors I’ve sworn off.

I don’t want to dwell on all the things that are wrong with me, all the places I fall short. Because those “flaws” aren’t inherently bad. They are simply aspects of my evolving person to which I attach negative value. I want to be who I am, accept and embrace I am a work in process, live my truth, and play it out.

The long and short of it is, I just don’t feel good. I’m exhausted from the myriad of complex and ever-changing demands with which I struggle. I'm overwhelmed. I dive down the vortex of negativity, saying over and over to myself, “It’s too hard. It’s too hard. It’s too hard.”

Don and I talked about that a bit about bipolar Sunday. He was saying the highest of the high is comparable to the lowest of the low. I explained the length of the depression cycle outlasts the mania about 20:1. He wasn't referring to the frequency; he meant the intensity of the low was about equal to the intensity of the high. I think that’s what he meant.

I can’t quite wrap my mind around that concept, but it intrigues me. I’m trying to figure out exactly what it means to me, to my experience. I’ve been holding it up to the light, moving it up and down and around, so I can get to the core of it. I know there’s a truth in there, and I want to know it. It’s important I know it.

The depression I’ve experienced most of the last year has been run of the mill, not the lowest of the low, not the constant suicidal ideation flavor. The mania during that same time was near non-existent.

However, the last couple of months I've had several stretches of rapid cycling, which is the worst aspect of living with bipolar. When I’m rapid cycling, I’m manic about as often as depressed, which is far far more mania than usual. I cycle through depression and mania several times a day, even within an hour. It’s exhausting, terrifying, exhilarating, debilitating.

There are triggers, but not often obvious triggers. If there was one trigger I might pinpoint this time, it’s that things were going well, pretty even, pretty well, for a good many months. Even with the herpes diagnosis last September, I maintained pretty even for several more months. Surprisingly. Thankfully.

It was early April I had my first major health scare, and another later that month. Those events precipitated the tailspin. And over the next few weeks, the rapid cycling commenced.

I’ve had some incredibly intense manic episodes the last few weeks. It will take me months to dig out of the hole I dug into during those episodes. That alone is incredibly daunting, and a major added trigger.

I know things will slow down, “normalize” to a degree, in time. They always do. I was so encouraged by this last stretch of “even”. But it takes time. These cycles run in time. But the cycle time is not set, it is not predictable.

The longer the rapid cycling persists, the more frightened and anxious I become. I start to believe it might never end. When it goes on long enough, the fear of continuing to live sets in. That’s when it gets really dangerous. That's when all I can think of is I want off.

[Initial publication: 7/5/2022]



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