Recently, I’ve noticed that when I find myself spiraling up into bipolar mania, I become more direct and honest. Honesty? Yep…
I’m on a whole new trip with this bipolar/alcoholic brain I have. And the lessons are tremendous. Emotionally, I’m much more sensitive to my feelings…I believe I’ve developed a personal empathy for myself. Not selfish or ego-centric self indulgence, but true feelings. This is new. My first time truly experiencing ‘feelings’.
This time, with my Bipolar and experiencing a Manic episode, I am without my alcohol for the longest period of my life. I used booze to kill the truth, to kill the feelings…but now…
I have a whole new perspective on my life, past, present and what’s next. I am no longer completely emotionally crippled by my diseases. I still struggle with my Bipolar. But, again, it’s so very different than what I went through in my past.
The biggest discovery is that I am able identify what is happening and to hold myself together, to stay safe, if I apply a deliberate mind to my actions…. And then I find I’m given many, many more answers.
I began drinking heavily at 12 years old, and since then I haven’t experienced life where I wasn’t drunk, swimming in the bipolar pool…or on the edge, waiting to do both. And though I was born bipolar and an alcoholic, I wasn’t diagnosed with the bipolar disease until about 2002, its big trigger was then traced to soon after I was 23, and raped at gun point by two men who had broken into my home. This happened twice, about ten days apart, by the same men – (Thank you, Memphis, you’re one fine fucked up piece o’ shit city.) Yep, I loved the liquor, excellent way to kill all real feelings and memories. Plus, it was able to boss my Bipolar around. Too Depressed? Drink. Pass out. No Memories~! Too Manic? Drink. Drink. Believe Every Stupid Thing Your Brain Tells You~!
All of my life I handled, wrangled and slapped that asshole Bipolar (or my ‘feelings’) with all of the alcohol I could drink…LOTS of alcohol. I bet I had at least 2 liters running through my system at all times.
And THAT would trigger more episodes. Evil/Vicious circle? Ya’betcha. I drank to live, and I lived to drink. And, of course, my bipolar was all medicated by the booze and I could pass-out (I didn’t really sleep for many many years…I passed-out instead.) Yep, it kept the bipolar at bay…I misguidedly thought.
So…this…right NOW…is the first time I’ve experienced a real Bipolar episode in my entire life…because it’s been almost 4 years (which is a fucking miracle,) since I stopped drinking. Sobriety date: 10/31/08…Halloween, baby~! Isn’t that appropriate?
At this point, I’m just on the other side of my third month of rapid cycling. Rapid cycling is when I can go from Mania to Depression several times a DAY…and sometimes At The Same Time. Scary shit, y’all…but also the part that many bipolars love because everything is very clear and sharp…we become intensely creative and we are bullet proof…and we get thirsty. Or, we self-medicate. If only the mania would just stay right in that creative crevice…but no…It has to go get all worse and crap. Bad Bipolar, Bad…now sit~! DANGER DANGER~!
Now, with eyes wide, I recognize what is happening. That this IS my danger zone with these diseases. I’m able to get medical help immediately. And I am able to meet with a group daily that keeps me in check.
It’s been very difficult, I must say. At the onset of the mania, my doctor and I had no idea what to do. We weren’t able to judge the effects of the Bipolar medications I’d taken through the years because they’d been mixed with booze. This was uncharted. We’ve had to start from scratch.
Again…It’s been really freakin’ hard…I have a bag full of meds that didn’t work…from antidepressants to serious antipsychotics.
To clarify, we’ve been adjusting my treatment for about a year and a half now…way before this manic period began. We had to start then because I began having TIAs (mini-strokes) from the anti-psychotic I was taking at that time. And then the ‘absence seizures’. And then the hallucinations. So, I know everybody’s name at the Eureka Hospital (awesome folks, love them~!) and Clinic and Smith’s Pharm and ECHO, most of the folks at Washington Regional Stroke Unit and (my favorites) the Stroke Unit at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo…they were super cool~! [Little story: I was Medivaced (sp?) to Mo., gained consciousness for about a minute during which I got super giddy laughing and clapping that we were on a spaceship going to the mother planet~! The woman sitting beside me told me that I was the first stoke patient to wake up laughing…then she and the pilot joined me.]
And the Eureka EMTs? OMDogs…The. Best. Ever…Ever. Amazing humans, all with the love of the job in their hearts. [One more little story and I’m out: It’s dinnertime…I’m in the kitchen at Wanda’s…that’s all I remember until I come too much later. But, the story Wanda and the EMT guys that picked me up that night tell me is that the lead guy said hi to me, asked me how I was and if I knew his name. My response was that I was just fine and his name was ‘Sweetie Pie’. I hear he’s still getting ribbed for that at the station~! Ha~!]
Life changes with every breath…I love breathing. This blog has now become my personal check point. I’m alive, and I’m heathy and I love this fucking bat-shit crazy life.
So much more…so much…I’ve just learned how to love myself, now to share the love…
[note: I’m keeping the old blog posts to myself…mainly because they are good for me to see just how ugly I could be, and how misguided. I don’t want to forget that…]