“Isn’t it inevitable?” I cried out for the billionth time that day, or maybe it was night, I wasn’t sure because the two were blending together, bleeding into one another in a mess of insomnia and pain and fits of tormented anguish that seemed to never end.
“It’s going to happen eventually. I have no doubt that I’ll be driven to it, eventually,” I continued, talking to no one, or maybe someone was there rubbing my back as I sobbed, I wasn’t sure because the sobbing wouldn’t end, and it really didn’t matter whether or not someone was there. It was hopeless regardless. So what did it matter?
Because the bullshit was never going to end, such is the nature of my lot in life, and with no foreseeable respite from the terrifying swings between poles, why should I even bother?
Christ knows I didn’t have the energy anymore. I tried, for fuck’s sake I tried my goddamned hardest for longer than I thought possible, but where in hell was I supposed to be pulling energy from? It’s a finite resource, energy, and with my irritable lack of patience, my volatile anger and violent, uncontrollable temper, I was burning through my stores of it rapidly.
“Be positive,” they’d all tell me until they were sore in the throat. “Think happy thoughts,” they’d preach as if they’d just fucking miraculously absolved me of my life-long torture sentence. Do you think I haven’t fucking attempted that? Do you think I have any sort of control over the thoughts, the feelings? That I can control the waves of anxiety that crash into me, the thunderous booms of depression that leave me shaken, the tornados of mania that hurl me into unfamiliar territory with little more than my own two exhausted feet to carry me wearily back to where it all started? Do you seriously fucking think I haven’t tried what you are stupidly suggesting? It is a passive process; this shit happens TO me, without regards to what I want or try or think or do.
Which brings me to right here, right now, contemplating the same question I asked myself that day and that I’ve asked myself all the days of all the episodes I’ve lived through…why should I even bother? Why waste time and energy putting everything I’ve got into simply surviving when it’s all going to end in a blazing explosion of “I can’t do this anymore.” The self-destruct button is put there for a reason, isn’t it? So why shouldn’t I press it right now?
Inevitable… I’m sitting here letting the word and its meaning marinate in my subconscious. Inevitable…
Okay. I’m just coming out of an episode, out of that episode I just described. I’m emerging into the light of day with more clarity than I’ve had in weeks. And as I step into the sunshine, I’m shaking off the gross sadness and frustrating irritability and the overwhelming, unbearable confusion. I’m reminding myself of how strong I am, how fierce and fiery I am, to use words I am gravitating towards right now.
It would feel great (and it should feel great?) if I didn’t so much on my mind still. The thoughts aren’t racing anymore and the ideas aren’t flying around into each other in my mind and things are slower, calmer, and safer. But there’s still a great deal to rationally consider. First and foremost: how do I prevent all hell from breaking lose next time. Because let’s face it, there will most certainly be a next time and it will most certainly be difficult. That isn’t negativity, that’s reality. A reality I have to fucking live with. So I’m attempting to make the best of it, alright?
I’m thinking about all of the preparations I have to make while I’m walking through the scattered memories of the last few weeks in shock. I’m looking around at the destruction, the wreckage left as a vivid reminder of a violent hurricane. My messy apartment, with clothes everywhere and dished piled high in the sink. The texts I sent that weren’t indicative of who I really am and that were most definitely annoying and obnoxious. It goes on and on. And I’m sitting here in the middle of all of it.
I always say to the people close to me that after the storm recedes, I always have to clean up the mess I made while I was insane. I have to pick up the pieces and fix everything I broke while I was incapacitated. The normal response to that is that I haven’t broken anything, or at least that is isn’t as bad as I think it is. Hearing that is nice, and it’s good to be reminded that I am loved and supported regardless of the messes I make. But like, dammit, why do I have to clean up the mess my bipolar disorder made?
It’s easy to be bitter about the situation and all it entails. Trust me, I am bitter about it. And I had my fair share of pity parties (and I’ve certainly fucking earned the right to pity myself, thank you very much).
This fucking sucks and it’s fucking hard. And aside from the nearly 6 million other people in this country with bipolar, no one fucking understands it. My friends and family see it, and they sympathize, and they eagerly and earnestly offer their love and support (for which I am forever grateful). But they don’t actually get it. I mean, of course I’m GLAD that they don’t get it; if everyone understood this torture, everyone would feel how I can feel, and that sucks because I can feel prettyyyy shitty. But like, yeah, my mental illness pretty much consumes my life. I think about it constantly. So yeah, I post about it constantly and talk about it constantly, and just…ugh. Am I making sense?
It’s just that another downswing is inevitable. It is certain to happen. I’ve been through the cycle too many times to think anything otherwise. It is unavoidable. The patterns prove to me that it is.
I’m coming out of an episode, but I’m not fully and completely out of the woods. I am shoving the bad thoughts away, beating them down with a stick (again: I tried so goddamn hard to do that while I was in the throes of depression, but I needed to do it every five seconds, no exaggeration, and energy needs to come from somewhereee, ya know?). I am strong, I am fierce and fiery, I can do this.
I’m staying positive, but the inevitability of another episode isn’t really a negative thought. In fact, I think it’s probably better that I’m thinking about it now, straight out of the gates of crazy, from the moment I set foot on the shores of sanity…because I think it gives me the perfect edge, the edge that’ll help me prepare for next time as efficiently as possible.
I’m gonna spend all day making an emergency plan. I’ll think about how to go about dealing with this bullshit next time. I’ll figure out how to send out the SOS signals, how to ask for help and how to help myself. Et cetera, et cetera…
Anyways, I’ll leave off by saying that even if the mania-depression chaos is sure to come, the days after it are sure to come too. The brighter, shinier days. The days that, juxtaposed next to the bad ones, make me appreciate how good it is possible to feel in this life.
The first tattoo I ever got was the quote “It Takes Rain To Make A Rainbow,” and the permanent positivity inked onto my ribcage is so very special to me. Because it’s really fuckin’ true. We kind of need the bad to appreciate the good. Well, need might be a strong word, because like, I’m pretty sure I’d still appreciate the good days even if I wasn’t fucking out of my goddamn mind for half of the days. But since I AM out of my mind half the time, I might as well just go along with it. I have no choice. Gotta keep chugging along. Keep surviving.
So, here’s to that… *raises glass*