It’s unusual for me to be aware of my mood cycling as it happens, but I had not been awake for more than half an hour this morning when I realized I had cycled from manic to depressed. It seems as though I had been very manic for a very long time. It is almost a relief to be past that, though it also sucks to feel like something that was dragged from the sort of wreckage pictured.
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It seems as though people associate depression with sad emotions but it really isn’t that way for me. It’s much more about being tired and listless and not wanting to go anywhere or do anything, in contrast to the manias when I’m just unbelievably energetic and enthusiastic and always ready to take on or start up a zillion new projects. I sleep 12 to 14 hours then wake up tired and mostly just want to go back to bed all day. I have an errand that I need to run this afternoon, but honestly I’m unsure if I will be able to force myself to get up and go do it.
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I did go run the errand yesterday. Two hours of driving in the rain. Came home and felt exhausted and slept another 12 hours last night. It’s not the sleeping so long that makes these depressions so debilitating. It’s how tired and lifeless I feel even after the long sleep. Part of me knows that the long stretches of sleep are needed to make up for all of the hours and hours and hours that I stayed up– as long as 72 hours– when I was so hyper and manic. But the lack of energy and the wanting to just crawl in a hole and hide is certainly a drag.
Oil pits dominate the landscape at the Superfund site where the Malone Service Company processed waste chemicals and oils from 1964 to 1996. (NOAA)
Sometimes, it seems to me, my bi-polar manias and depressions are like oil and water. They don’t really mix, even if at times it seems they get shaken together quite vigorously in life’s cruet. It is certainly easy for me to see my depressions as viscous, tarry pits which the emotional protection agency will have to spend lots of money to clean up. I’m honestly unsure as I write this whether I am experiencing a manic episode in a larger depressive period or if I have cycled up to manic. I know that I have been awake for more than 24 hours and am starting to write a third blog post in a row. This is definitely a symptom of mania. And yet prior to this recent burst of writing productivity, I would have sworn in court that I was depressed. I have to wonder how any of my family and friends could hope to cope with my ever changing moods, when even I can’t seem to keep track of where I am.
Sometimes it seems to me, I quite fail to see the forest for all the trees. A couple of days ago I wrote with great seriousness that I was thinking of posting more curated content, to ease somewhat the burden of writing a new post every day. So I dutifully wrote a new post that was all about the image I linked to and the post was mostly geared towards encouraging the reader to click the link and look at the image on the site I grabbed it from. I announced with great fanfare my introductory effort at curatorial content. Then I took a good look at all of the other posts currently on my front page. And found post after post that mostly seemed to promote the blog from which I downloaded the post image. It was rather a relief to realize that I have already been doing more or less exactly what I said I was going to start doing. Do you think I can pass this off a mature consistency?
And finally today, my thanks to Mithu Hassan for suggesting these words.
Antidisestablishmentarianism. I remember first learning this word in the fifth or sixth grade and feeling oh so erudite for knowing what was reputed to be the longest word in the English language. I am just a little embarrassed to admit that until I just now looked it up in wikipedia I wasn’t actually aware that the word refers to sect in the Anglican church which was opposed to proposals to remove the Anglican church as the official state church of England, Ireland and Wales. Somehow that escaped my notice back there in the years just before junior high school.
I did take enough philosophy courses in college to have some basic understanding of existentialism. However I’m quite certain that any claims I may have made back then to being an existentialist in my own personal philosophy were but puerile boasting. I think that I am perhaps just educated enough to realize that I do not have a fully thought out and formed philosophy of human existence. And to know that that is actually okay.
My views on psychiatry have certainly changed a great deal over the years. I have known that there was something wrong with me since at least the age of eight, when I was sent to see my very first psychiatrist. In those days, the psychiatric profession did not believe that children could be what was then thought of as “manic-depressive”. At that time, most psychiatrists never presecribed drugs and what shrinks did was mostly “talk therapy”, often in a very Freudian and stylized manner. These days most folks with a mental illness see a shrink for diagnosis and medication management. If talk therapy is needed, patients are usually referred to a social worker or psychologist. I can hardly blame the many shrinks I saw over the earlier years of my life for not diagnosing and treating a problem the profession did not believe I could have. Most days I feel genuinely blessed to live in this era where there is much greater understanding of the bio-chemical process of bi-polar disorder and drugs that really do help.
My sincerest thanks to my friend Bill at Bewitched In Salem for suggesting these three very provocative words. The image at the top of this post is a drawing of xebec, which was a Mediterranean sailing ship that was used mostly for trading. It would have a long overhanging bowsprit and protruding mizzen mast. I find myself wanting to ask Bill how this rather obscure ship played prominently as a clue in an old game he was on. I hope that you have enjoyed this installment in my daily riff on a few words. If you have a trio of words you’d like me to feature, just leave a comment.
The information about and drawing of a xebec is from wikipedia.
Ron tells me that I have cycled up again. I started a new project, was talking mile a minute and stayed up for about thirty hours. During those hours of heavy activity, a friend and I talked about feeling as though we had taken a bit of felix felicitas, the complex potion that Harry Potter takes in order to accomplish his goal in one of his adventures. I genuinely believe my new project has a great deal of promise.
This blog is connected to my wallet name. I have in hundreds of places linked “Libdrone Books” to “Alan Jobe”. While I have tried very hard to be candid in these posts, I have also tried hard to be honest without be hurtful, and to seriously consider any other points of view offered through readers’ comments. I have also tried hard to be discrete. While I have made a point of introducing Ron and have at times written about gay rights and those sorts of things, I have never once in this space said even a single word about my sex life. My sex life if mostly under a handle. It’s not one most of my wallet-name friends would ever be aware of. My new project is a very targeted niche publication and I do not plan to ever reveal to my wallet name friends my nom du’porn. In a way, with this new project what I am setting myself up to try is to create a social and fan following for a fictious social persona, a character/narrator in my own personal play.
What really pisses me off so bad about Google’s new ’you must use your wallet name here’ policy is that it completely ignores the reality that the fictitious character that talks Very frankly about his busy sex life (complete with photos). I am reaching out to relevant people in my circle for help with this new project, which I am hoping will prove to be a money-making thing for me. Not that I’m every going to get rich. But there really are a lot of stories to my life that I know I will NEVER share on this blog. And I am very excited to have an outlet to talk freely and frankly about subjects my wallet name is never ever ever going to Mention in public.
I feel as though I am really slogging through the pits this weekend. Yesterday I came _this_ close to quitting Empire Avenue. I get so darned frustrated when folks take my mission eaves and don’t do what I asked in the mission. In my heart I know that my marketing friends who say a 40–50% completion rate is excellent are right. Yet I can’t help thinking that we’re supposed to be friends, rather than doing business. And I find it hard to feel the love in a fifty percent completion rate.
I know that it is largely a question of being depressed and feeling down and of having possibly unrealistic expectations and reacting in the worst possible way when they are not met. I know that there are and will always be limits to what people will do for play money. My friends who visit and comment each day may be prompted to do so by the eaves, yet I am certain that if there were not genuine caring and goodwill they would never bother. It is so hard when I feel so down to force my.self to count my blessings and cherish my friends and not let myself rage and scream about people who take the eaves and don’t do what they are asked. I find myself thinking this afternoon that I wish I could draw a thick dark blanket over this blog when I get so very, very down. So as not to let anyone see me at what I know is my worst
This is not really a humorous post. If you’re looking for something funny about a chicken on a treadmill, click the picture to read a funny post. I’ve really been struggling this week to get these posts up on time. While I have not yet missed a deadline, I do seem to be getting down to the wire almost every day.
I think that the worst of my depression may have passed, and I have been more active in social media the last couple of days. I have finally caught up with replying to all of the comments received, and so will promote this post and try to get some more comments. Though I have to wonder what my friends will say.
I knew going in that publishing a new blog post every day in 2012 might prove very challenging. Part of me is very proud of the fact that I am almost one quarter of the way into the year and I haven’t missed a day yet. The rest of me knows how many hours I’ve spent with this darned compose window open, struggling to find the words to fill this space. In that humorous post, Daisy tells a story about a chicken who goes to the gym. The chicken can’t reach the controls to turn the treadmill on. So he goes to the exercise bikes and peddles madly. I was tempted to question how the chicken with two inch legs managed to pedal an Exercycle, or even why she could not flap her wings to fly up to switch the treadmill on. But since I was kind of really scratching to come up with this post, and I did think the picture was cute, I set aside those objections and decided to just run with it.
My bipolar cycles are long, rather than short. Unlike cyclothymics who cycle rapidly, it usually takes several weeks to cycle, although I have come to realize that there are ups and downs within each cycle. So I am a little bit up, but still in the down cycle. Which makes me fear that I will continue to struggle to write these posts before my daily deadline. I am grateful to you for reading this. And I really will try to come up with something better than a cheap chicken joke for tomorrow.
My life, it seems, continues to go in up then down cycles. A few days back I wrote a clever post, promoted it rather heavily and was pleased to get oh so many comments on it. The next day I published a post that was almost as clever. I didn’t promote it much though, and got zero comments. Some days it seems as though I am talking to lots of people all over the whole wide world. Then other days, it feels as though I am just muttering to myself.
My plan to write the posts for this blog two days ahead so I would never have to rush to meet a deadline, kind of fell by the wayside. I had no post scheduled to go live when midnight came around on the server, and after looking it over and re-reading it for the n-th time I decided not to use the emergency post that I had set aside. As I sit here struggling to compose this (not yet actually overdue) post, song lyrics flit through my mind, and it is sort of a struggle to keep my focus on what I’m writing and not just tap out a bunch of lyrics that might not mean much of anything to anyone who reads this.
As I have spent literally the entire day, off and on, struggling to get this post written, I found myself reminded of a post I published back in January 2008, about working all day on a post about two books- only to have the erratic DSL connection I then relied on flake out at the moment I pressed publish, making all of my hard efforts disappear into the ether. Re-reading that old post was a bit of a call to me to count my blessings. The cable internet we use now has proved much more reliable and it is an absolute rarity for the network to be down these days. Ron and I each have our own Toshiba laptop, so there is never any competition over who gets to use our one computer and no frustration of being over-flowing with ideas and no computer to write on. So I am trying to be a happy camper today, to get busy and get a few days posts into the hopper. And if you’ve read this far, I do thank you so much for taking a few minutes to read me on a day when I most certainly am not at my best.
As is usually the case, my bad day was followed by a better day. Honestly, I don’t know if this is the case for most people with bi-polar disorder, though to be perfectly honest I have not all that much interest in categorizing and classifying what is wrong with me. (I just want to learn to live with it and overcome it.) My huzband, on the other hand was an ICU and ER nurse for many years and is never comfortable until he can nail down the correct diagnosis. It frustrates him greatly when I say that I don’t much care if I am bi-polar 1 or bi-polar 2 or cyclothymic. I’ve had 47 years of living with this disorder, even though I only recently learned what it is properly called. Knowing something’s correct name doesn’t always give you more power over it. And not knowing something’s name hardly makes you powerless to fight it.
I am most pleased that I continue to have a lot of fun with my friends online. For only a few eaves (Empire Avenue’s virtual currency) I’ve gotten a whole bunch of folks to participate in the daily #definethis game on Twitter and have also been able to attract readers and comments to my blog. I am learning to simply let go of anger and frustration– to celebrate the folks who do their best to do what I ask in each mission and simply not worry about those who take the eaves and run. (Those who have flashing animated avatars and don’t follow instructions, I quietly block; but really, as they say ‘it’s all good’.) The point is I’m spending my social currency on having more fun with my friends. It seems to me that is kind of really the whole point of social media.
I am also pleased that my own little household has survived another month without really running out of anything we need and now we are into the shortest month and I encouraged Ron to go ahead and order the Kindle he’s been wanting for some time now. We got a flat tire coming home from Winco the other day and I’m afraid I’m going to have to buy a new tire with the money that I had been intending to buy a cheap android tablet. I suppose there is always next month. I am going to get my spit together and go to the doctor next week. I’m out of seroquel but have plenty of everything else. Will have to go to the pharmacy after I take care of the tire. Busy, busy busy at the beginning of the month.
Some days, it seems, nothing goes my way. Both of the friends whom I’ve come to rely on for pointing out the best Empire Avenue newbies to invest in have had their chat privileges suspended by Facebook for a week or more. No one it seems visited my current blog post. (At any rate no one Liked it nor commented on it.) Only 7 of the 15 people I gave 1,000 eaves to this morning actually participated in my improvised #definethis contest. And I feel almost as though I have suddenly become invisible and quite lost the wide circle of friends I seemed to enjoy just yesterday.
This is one of the things I really hate about having bi-polar disorder. The way it has of making the bad days seem so much worse. There is of course a part of me that knows that the reason the blog post got ignored is both because I didn’t link anyone in it, didn’t give anyone a head’s up that they were linked in it and did absolutely nothing to promote it. I’ve long known of course that FaceBook really sucks and that someone complained and got my friends in hot water with them is so par for the course that it hardly rates being upset about. I also know that getting a near fifty percent completion rate on a mission is not half bad, particularly since the mission was an improvisation and an experiment rather than an attempt to run a tried and true plan. Yet knowing these things doesn’t make me feel any better.
Part of me wants to mark this posts and other posts I write when I’m down with a bi-polar or depressed tag, so as to warn everyone to stay away from me when I am so whiny and quick to complain. Yet part of me knows that it’s times like this when I need my true friends the most. I wrote yesterday that I can write a passable post, even when faced with a deadline. And I know I can even write through bi-polar disorder. Yet I strongly fear that no one will want to read it.
|Image: anat_tikker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Some days, I just really hate riding the roller coaster of bi-polar disorder. Usually, I sort of enjoy the manias. When I’m manic I have tons of energy and enthusiasm. I’m likely to begin new projects, chatter merrily both to the people around me face to face and to distant friends online. I’m quite lucky in that I don’t have problems with doing very destructive things when I am manic; often times people in manias are known to spend money they don’t have, embark on business ventures they can ill afford and do other things which will have consequences they will have to pay and pay for, long after the mania has passed.
And inevitably, manias do pass. Usually I am well into a day that seems to be going very badly when I realize that the problem is that I have become depressed. It is always such a shock, somehow, even though of course it is a long familiar experience. When I get depressed I seem to take every little set back as a huge major big deal and become inordinately frustrated at the very least provocation. And what is most frustrating about it, is that understanding that the problem is my bi-polar disorder very rarely has any impact on my feelings of anger and frustration. At these times I feel like a small child whose teacher repeatedly tells him ”I know you could do this if you would Just Try!” even though the child knows that he Is trying his best and simply can not do what is asked.
As is often the case on days that depression begins to set in I did not accomplish very much today. Although I did finally publish a book review which I had been working on for weeks (albeit a day late). I also participated in the #definethis word game that I frequently enjoy; today’s word– disseise was wonderfully odd ball. When the squiggly red line spell checker has never heard of it, it’s a great word for me. Here’s hoping that your Wednesday has gone a bit better than mine did, and that Thursday will be a better day for us all.