I am trying, rather unsuccessfully, to calm myself down. About 20 minutes ago I realized that I was racing again. My heart was pounding, I was surrounded by a huge mess of papers and magazines, all the lights were on, tv on- following many plot lines, getting cold, wildly writing down a huge list of things that had to be done- all, of course, for me to accomplish tomorrow. My pulse was thudding in my ears as I raced around my coffee table and to my garage, unpacking boxes to find what I was looking for. Moby (who normally passes out on the couch next to me at 9 pm) was running around after me.
Until I stopped. Right there. I froze. And I realized it had happened again. I was having a manic episode. Right here, right now.
Let's back up a step or two. In April, as I told my doctor that I need a medicine adjustment, I started an antidepressant as part of my regimen. Dr. C told me that even though I was going on the lowest dose, it was possible that the antidepressant could swing me in the opposite direction. I was calmly thinking- "okay, cool, what's the worst that could happen? I don't have manic episodes ever, I'm just anxious. That won't happen." So weeks go by, and I write here about my medicine change and life goes on. Until about two or three weeks ago. I start swinging- really fast. The first moment I really noticed was when my mom stopped me mid-sentance and went- "you're really chipper today." Well that was odd, because last night I was horribly depressed. Yet chipper today?
WOAH. Hold up. Stop traffic. Manic? Me? YES. Mind blown.
And picture me now. I have turned all of the lights off except the lamp next to the couch. I paused the tv. Moby curled back up on the couch. I put away all of the papers and craziness. I took my meds, hoping that the sedating effects of one would slow me down, and the anti-anxiety of another would make my brain rest as well. I am sitting down and I put my feet up. The only thing I am concentrating on is this post. Now don't get me wrong. I want to be up. I think I could probably go for a 5K run (and I hate running). I think I could clean out the entire kitchen (at 12:38 am). I could alphabetize the library upstairs (already did it to the DVDs). I could create world peace (and I live on a military base). My brain is SCREAMING "GO, GO, GO". That's what I hear in a manic state- a scream, a battle cry to get things done. To conquer it all.
Even writing this, I've gotten this far in about 15 minutes. I purposefully am controlling my breathing. I even turned the air off so that the warmth would relax me. (Though living with a guy from Ohio means that we keep the house at igloo temperature year-round.) Oh and poor Thomas. We're trying to spend our last week together (he's shipped off to Virginia for the next two months on Sunday) and I'm having these crazy ups and downs. All I can say is this- I married a truly wonderful man.
This is really only a hint of what a manic state can look like. I've heard they can last for months and have far worse implications: over-spending, daredevil stunts, and really scary stuff. But now I know that totally out of control feeling, where I'm just totally consumed with a hundred activities at once and I finish them all. It sounds great, until my rapid cycling (I swing quickly from highs to lows) sinks me further into a depression. I am at the mercy of my brain.
For now, it's okay. I know how to calm myself down. I just wrote a lot, but my heart rate is slow, I'm getting sleepy, and I've convinced my brain to take it easy for the time being. I think Moby and I will cuddle on the couch for a while. We gave him a bath today (stinky, stinky dog), and now he smells like puppy and oatmeal and his silky soft coat is irresistible to touch. I'll eat some fudge and finish my show. I'll remind myself that life goes on, and I don't have to return that table to Wal-mart by tomorrow. If the bathroom isn't clean tomorrow, we will live. If it gets done, that's okay too. Sanity is more important than a perfectly organized life. And that's a lesson for everyone.