“I am not you, thou art not he or she; they are not they.” (1)
This is the song that came on the radio, whilst I was sitting in a cafe earlier this week. Somehow, it seemed apt
Gods bless The Eagles.
Some might say I had been taking it easy: I’d been off work for nearly two months. But then, they’re probably the sort that don’t understand the difference between “anxiety” and ANXIETY, between “depression”, as in “I’m feeling a bit blue”, and the black hole that is clinical depression, or bipolar depression.
The mere fact that I was in a cafe, by myself save for the owner, was significant. I hadn’t been much of anywhere during those months, unless of course you count several weeks in hospital, and I certainly hadn’t been alone much. Even more significant was that I was killing time whilst waiting to go to the first shift of my phased return to work.
I can reflect now on three – admittedly short – shifts at my main job, and an hour or so at my other, once a week job. It’s good to be back, and good too to have the weekend – and nights – off for the time being. Cross fingers, it won’t be long before I’m back to doing regular shifts, including some weekends, and nights.
“Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy …”
… is a poetic, but accurate, way of describing my run up to, and experience of, my recent illness. I was so wrapped up in what was worrying me, I couldn’t hear anything else but “the sound of my own wheels” – what I sometimes describe as “the hamster on the wheel”. The hamster is so intent on its wheeling that it loses sight – if ever it did have sight – of the fact that it is/was getting nowhere.
And so with me. I am *not* claiming this is what it is like for other people with bipolar. (2). For me, it seems to be a case of first overthinking/dreading things, then those feelings being fueled by my illness until the sound of my own mental wheels drives me, if not crazy, then very, very ill.
Once again, it was reading fiction that started to bring me out of my mental hell hole, and writing & editing my own stories that seemed to complete the job.
“Hello hypomania my old friend …”
I thought I’d waved ta ra to the highs of bipolar, but it appears not in the case of hypomania. Within a few days of feeling more like myself, three people – two close relatives, and a close friend – pointed out that I was talking a lot, and fast, too. So I spent several days trying to ensure I had conversations with people, rather than subjecting them to what one friend describes as “a download”. Having said that, the house hasn’t been this tidy in months, and I didn’t need much sleep, either.
Today finds me more like myself: that’s to say, weird, but not especially wired, or low. Although, if anyone has a suggestion on how to kick the nightmares in touch – not just mornings, but after naps, too – it would be very gratefully received.
Wishing you all the best with the sound of your own wheels.
(1) Evelyn Waugh, “Brideshead Revisited” Not entirely sure what Waugh meant by this phrase. I’m using to say my experience of bipolar is not your experience, or anyone else’s.
(2) That would be both arrogant, and inaccurate.