Saturday, December 17, 2011

Child of Extremes

For the entire week, I've been celebrating my 30th birthday with posts about the essence of me. Today, I'm sharing the extremes of Claire Dawn.

I am a child of extremes.

I used to say I have two speeds. On and off. That's still true, but I think it doesn't illustrate the situation well. I can be all the way to the left - to the left, or I can be all the way to the right. Or I can just stay in the middle. Love. Hate. Indifference.

Miley- 7 things

I know that does not seem different at first glance.  But it really is. There are some things I love- can't get enough of, won't pass up if I get the chance. There are some things I hate - won't go near even if you threatened my Specialty Kit Kat collection. And if it's not in one of those two categories, I don't care about it at all.

I just wanna feel something.

Living like this is flipping exhausting. Think about in terms of the original on and off example. Love and hate are both "on", full power. It's like not being able to walk. Just running or standing still. And it makes it impossible to live like anyone else. I obsess about things or I don't care. A sad example is how I "turn into" my boyfiends. Like, when my boyfriend was a fireman, I knew all the fire trucks (some by the sounds of their sirens) and which ones were stationed where. I always knew which watch was on duty. And I passed by the stations so often, dropping off food for my ex- and his workmates, that the Fire Chief saw me empty-handed once and joked, " I didn't know you came without food attached".

Bad Day

This should make me very certain of everything I feel. No such luck. Just because something is loved today, doesn't mean I won't be completely indifferent tomorrow. Because I hate it now, doesn't mean I will care at all tomorrow. Movement from extreme to the other is rare, but it can still happen. And it's not just love and hate either. It's who I am. I'm either an angel or the devil incarnate or noone at all. I'm an artist or a scientist.

Bitch- Meredith

I wonder if my fickleness has to do with being bipolar. It's hard to tell. Maybe bipolar affects all of me, every day, but I'm not keen on using it as a Get Out of Jail Free card. So I wonder where my bipolarity ends and my wonky personality begins.

Just the Way it Is - Bruce Hornsby
I spent the first hour of my birthday explaining bipolar disease to one of my best friends. Again. It's hard to explain because it's not about logic, it's about emotion. People who "understand" either feel it or accept that it can be felt. And people who want to define it through logic, don't.

Hot an Cold

Another of my best friends will often ask, "But why do you feel sad?" Most people have moods dependent on their surroundings and experiences. They don't just wake up wanting to die. That's the thing about this disease, there is no why. Well, maybe a chemical imbalance in the brain, but that doesn't seem to satisfy people as a reason.

It Happens

- What's the matter?
- I'm miserable.
- Why? Nothing happened.
- Nothing has to happen, my brain works differently than yours.
- But you have all this great stuff going on?  I don't get why you're sad. *

* conversation goes into infinite loop
* paraphrased from a million actual conversations I've had

Paint it Black

Somewhere along the line, depression got tied to sadness. It would be so much easier if that was all it were. Depression is less sadness and more "low everything". Being convinced that there's no good left in the world. That all the colours are gone. That there's no good left in you. That everything you touch turns to mush.

Erika Jo- I break things

The flip, and "perk", of the drowning sensation of depression is mania. Just like depression isn't really sadness, mania isn't really happiness. The easiest way that I can think of to describe it is the mad scientist laugh. You know that laugh that all the bad guys have in cartoons. It's not really happiness. It's 1 part mirth, 2 parts high, 7 parts thrill-seeking and  10 parts being convinced you're invincible.

It's wild exhiliration. It's like jumping out of a plane. But the trouble with freefall is that if you don't pull the parachute cord in time, you hit the ground hard. Plus, in the invincibility of mania, you can do a lot of things that have consequences after you land (back to normal) or crash (back to depression). Maybe you've maxed out all your credit cards. Or cheated on your partner. Or quit your job. Mania is fun, but it's not true happiness, and the aftermath sucks.

Apart from doing stupid things, mania also involves  not doing sensible things. Maybe you didn't quit your job, you just didn't go for a while. Maybe you stopped calling your boyfriend. Or you ignored your responsibilites. Or you haven't paid any bills. Or you haven't slept for more than an hour straight since last week.

Are the extremities of my life a result of my manic-depression? Or of my personality? Are they the same thing? Should I just accept it? Should I fight it? How much slack should I cut myself? I don't have many of the answers, but I do have a few. I know I don't want to hurt for no reason. And I don't want to hurt the people that matter for no reason. And I don't want to feel delirious. Or miserable. Or numb.  Just regular happy. And regular sad. Maybe some day I'll have that. 

For now, I'm a child of extremes.


Sophia Richardson said...

Thank you for sharing this insight into being bipolar/your eccentric self and for giving us this chance to understand when it seems like a lot of people don't.

Shari Green said...

I don't know much about bipolar, so I really appreciate that you shared what it's like for you. Wishing you all the best....