One of the fun things about not knowing what your mood will be an hour into the future (I say with great sarcasm) is that you really don’t know who you’ll be. I can sit down on the couch with a coffee and tell myself that I’ll do dishes when I’m done drinking. But maybe sitting down gets me thinking, maybe a flow of emotions decide to ride that new wave of thought and suddenly I want to crawl into a ball and never feel anything anymore. Or maybe I can get up and do the dishes, and organize the pantry, and clean off the mountain of miscellaneous bull-crap on the dining room table but then crash for four hours.
My life lately has been a lot of that. Whereas it used to be more like a roller-coaster with sharp turns, big drops, and a long slow ride to the top, now I’m more like a seesaw. I go up and down, but never too far. The other person is my size, and we evenly and slowly go up and down. The lows aren’t too low and the highs aren’t too high. They also don’t last long. Roller-coaster me could be manic for days, and then crash for a month. Seesaw me gets depressed and in my feels for an hour or so before the sun comes up and I’m fine once more.
Out of my many moods, my manic episodes are by far the scariest. I’m not myself. When they say that people in a manic episode can’t think about the consequences of the actions, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are no consequences. None. They do not exist so therefore they cannot “cross your mind.” If I want something, I take it. Because I want it. That is the only thought that crosses my head. No Jiminy Cricket is there on my shoulder to say, “Hey, maybe getting caught doing this could get you into trouble.” Nope. There’s nothing. I also am reckless in every other way, the biggest issue now is money. Manic me sees money in the bank, and spends it. The idea of “bills” does not exist.
Luckily, I haven’t gotten to that point. My mini-seesaw manic episodes involve me talking fast, literally bouncing around, and being extra goofy with my kids and husband. There’s no real crash afterwards either. When I’m manic for days, I don’t sleep. I go, go, go. Do not stop, do not keep from spending your last $200. I’m a sociopath who can only think about herself. But the most terrifying part, is that I don’t really remember what happened once I come down. I have huge blocks of time that is missing. I’ll see something I wrote or did and have no recollection of doing it. All of this makes me hope that if I am going to teeter one way or the other, I hope it’s to a low.
My lows however, have also not been so bad. I get needy, I feel drained of every last drop of energy, and have zero interest in anything. Pretty standard. The roller-coaster-lows are binge drinking and eating or starving myself, sleeping non-stop, zero interest in anything, lack of hygiene, and thoughts of suicide. Not fun, but when compared to the manic episodes, the lows are actually not that dangerous.
My family and friends recognize my moods faster than I do. And because of that, my debit cards can get “tucked away” and an eye can be kept on me. When low, they’re there to comfort me and watch for any bad or suicidal thoughts. If those occur, I get admitted. Which is super not fun, but at least there I’m the responsibility of trained professionals, which then, I hope, takes a considerable load of stress off my loved ones.
The cocktail of medication I am currently on seems to have me on a seesaw, and I am more than okay with that. My anxiety has been pretty high, but we’re also going through a freakin’ pandemic, so there’s that. It takes years to find the “right” cocktail, but unfortunately those only last a few years also. You build tolerances, or something else rears its ugly head. It’s tough, especially as a wife and mother, but I will always choose a seesaw over a rollercoaster.