Sunday, 30 August 2015
Manic doesn't even begin to describe my state right now. Technically speaking I'm in a "hypo mania" state. Nearly all the way to the edge, but with help of some lovely medication, I haven't crossed over that great divide that would classify me as truly manic. And anyone who has read my posts understands that when I say " lovely medication", I am really saying I have fallen down the rabbit hole and my sad little mad mind has gone trotting along with Alice to the Hatter's tea party and I'm taking every tablet and drinking every potion to try and make sense of the endless tide of thoughts and emotions rushing through my mind. Nothing makes sense. Everything blurs from one fleeting thought to the next.
So how have I been managing to keep the Avalanche that is trying to bury me at bay? I've been busy. Very very busy. I am doing anything and everything I can to burn off this energy before it has a chance to take hold and consume me.
First of all, I'm walking. A lot. I'm blessed enough to have a lovely nature reserve literally outside my front door that leads to open fields and farm paths. I usually take two 2-4 mile walks a day. I change it up by taking harder climbing paths some days and leisurely winding paths others. It helps. Some.
But how am I really burning off this diesel in my veins? Let's just say my husband is a very patient man. I have DIY'd and gardened to the nth degree. We have a converted garage at the back of the house that has gone through many transformations in the past: gym, art studio, shabby chic furniture project storage, camping gear dumping ground, general junk storage, etc. My manic phase started about the same time my husband got a promotion, that meant he was working from home some. As a result, our dining table turned into a make-shift office. His clutter, my clutter, the dust bunnies were taking over. He started talking about converting that back room into an office. Well my "I can't wait, I gotta do it now" brain took over. We cleared out the room in preparation, but I know my husband didn't see what was coming next.
I woke up one day and couldn't contain the manic energy anymore. Our discussions of paint colours and what to do went out the window. I pulled out all the old paint left over from other rooms. I mixed to part tins of shades of white and boom, ceiling done. I then mixed 6,yes 6, different paints to come up with enough to paint the room. Ended up with a quite nice taupe/beige colour. But now what? Still had that fire burning inside me. The bathroom never saw it coming! Boom! Went from a shocking bright tourquoise blue (probably a result of some manic phase a couple years ago) to a soothing misty grey.
In the midst of all this painting, my frustration over not being able to find the tools I needed to do these jobs, led to a complete clean out and overhaul of two sheds. I think we were close to divorce court when I insisted he sort through two old tool boxes crammed with 25 years worth of crap because I had a meltdown when I couldn't find a screw.
So great, I'm getting shit done, right? Problem is my little flitting dragonfly like brain kept moving on to new projects. Is the back room that is now supposed to be an organised office slash art studio done? Nope. Have I finished decorating the bathroom, the tiniest room in the house? Of course not. Those are small tedious tasks. I needed monumental challenges to quench my thirst! Bring on the landscaping!
Now I'm not talking planting a few things here and there. No no no. We dug up the entire front garden so I could create a landscaped rockery. A quintessential English garden complete with climbing roses and a brand spanking new trellis on the porch! And what of the sea of ugly pebbles in the back garden that previous owners felt was preferential to a beautiful lawn? I spent days raking stones up the slope to create a plateau so that we could put in a small retaining wall and plant new grass seed. Managed to convince hubs this was the time because it was autumn and it was the best time.
But what now? Garden is done. In fact, it's beautiful. DIY done (short of ripping out our kitchen which I know would end in divorce court). All I have left are the tedious little projects. These require focus which I am in short supply of these days. Rage & energy? Plenty. But focus is eluding me.
Someone told me to make a list of things to do. I did. First thing on the list: make lists. That's actually how this whole rolling stone gathering no moss of projects got started. I made lots and lots of lists. As quickly as I crossed one task off, I added three more. I'm out of control. And I'm scared. All of my big energy burning jobs are done. Autumn is here and I can smell winter just around the corner. My walks will dwindle as the cold misty British weather reduces my enthusiasm for walking.
So what is next? My biggest fear. Depression. Everyone who suffers the waves of mania & depression fears this most. Running myself ragged and feeding the mania is so much preferable to the lingering cloud that will smother me in the coming months. Days of not even bothering to get dressed, or even days of not getting out of bed. How do I fight that? You can feed the mania, but the depression feeds on you.
So here I sit. Praying for an early Spring.
Monday, 17 August 2015
Today is my 3rd wedding anniversary. I should be happy. But instead I lie here crying. Not because I don't love my husband or am unhappy in my marriage. But because the demons have awoken.
A couple months ago someone started shaking the foundation of my wellbeing. Someone not worth it, but damage was done. My over 8 years of mental stability and happiness has now crumbled to the ground. My illness is awake and dragging me through hell again. Uncontrollable anxiety, fits of rage, debilitating depression, obsessive thoughts, helplessness, and ideation that's put me on the edge of sanity.
When you are "well" you sometimes forget (or try to convince yourself you're cured) of your mental illness. I am Borderline and it took me 35 years of pure hell to find an existence where I was content with who I was. I knew I wasn't cured, everyday was still a struggle, but life was manageable, balanced. I was even happy, seemingly had it all. Nothing flashy. Part time job I enjoyed, small happy home we were slowly making "ours", a handful of good friends. People were actually envious of my life. If they only knew.
That tenuous grasp I had on life has slipped away. I blinked and it was gone. I'm at ground zero. Frantically trying to get my neurones to reconnect and remember exactly how I was able to escape my nightmare the first time and become a seemingly "normal" person again. It's like a child trying to catch bubbles. They look around and spy a big juicy one, they quickly run over and POP! It's gone. And no matter how hard you try, they always disappear.
I saw it coming. Slowly creeping up on me at first like a fog rolling in. I thought I was going to outrun it for a minute, but it was there, slowly enveloping me until I no longer knew which way to run. I breathed it in and it consumed my soul in an instant. The battle was over.
It's early, only couple months in. I'm gathering reinforcements (meds, doctors, therapists, etc), people and things I hoped I would never need again. Here I am. Slowly slipping away. Fighting like hell, but it's so exhausting. Sometimes a good day is just making it out of bed to the sofa. And other days I am able to get stuff done around the house, maybe make dinner, visit my bestie who is luckily my neighbour. I'm somewhat agoraphobic at this point. Leaving our house/garden is hard, and venturing too far away is paralysing. However every thought, feeling, and action is dependent on whatever the next moment brings. Everything is perpetually flying through my head, and if something bad takes hold for more than a few seconds, I'm suddenly fighting demons in my head and I lose all control of my actions. In a split second I can go from calm to sobbing on the floor, or flying around in a rage, or panicking so much I can't breathe. I'm tired. Just so tired.
The fight is real. I hate that so many people still don't understand mental illness, don't believe in it, or put stigma on it. I hate that part of me still feels the need to hide my illness from the world in shame. I know it's difficult to understand sometimes. My husband admits he completely underestimated what it could become if things got bad, and now things are bad and he is frantically trying to make sense of it all. You can't truly appreciate what it's like until someone close to you goes through hell and you're trying desperately to hold their hand while they are desperately trying to push you away. We don't want you to leave. We are just so scared.
I will just keep fighting and praying.