Author’s Note and Edit: You can follow along with my journey at Cait The Warrior Princess
I sit here while my partner quietly sleeps next to me. He doesn’t snore anymore, which is weird to me since he was such a bad snorer for so many years.
I haven’t had trouble sleeping in a while, at least not this consistently. It’s hard to sleep through the night when everything hurts, when you are waking up to throw up at 2:30 AM. And then once I wake up, it’s hard to turn my brain back off.
I used to struggle with this all the time. I used to lie in bed, anxiously awaiting sleep. And then I would give up because the anxiety of lying there, trying to sleep and knowing that I couldn’t was just too much. So I would get up, and watch some TV, go on the computer. Kind of like now.
Tonight is probably the third night this week that I’ve had trouble sleeping. I fall asleep no problem (thanks, psych meds) but wake up often much too early. I’ve been running on about five and a half hours of sleep every night instead of my normal 12.
You would think mania would be present. You would think I would be becoming unhinged, as every minute of every hour ticks by on the clock.
But I’m not. As fun as that sounds sometimes, I know I will never go back there with the amount of psychotropic medication I am on. It’s just not possible.
Ya, I can get a little high or a little low, like anyone. But those extreme mood swings I used to have, the too too highs, the way too lows… those have been gone for a while now.
I credit that to a couple things.
- A good support system
- Good sleep hygiene (Totally contradictory to this post)
- Taking my meds every day
- My psychiatrist and other doctors
I am so hyper aware and hyper vigilant with my moods that I don’t thnk I will ever go back to how I was before. I don’t think it’s in me.
But that’s kind of the nature of disease huh? You think it’s gone, then bam flares up again.
I take my medication religiously. I don’t want another episode. I like my nice, stable life.
But on nights like this, I can’t help but think of the mania. The inexplicably intoxicating feeling of true, pure mania. It’s like the best drug in the world.
Do I miss it?
Would I go back?
What bipolar’s tend to forget is that the mania can be just as, if not more, destructive than the depression. That the reckless money spending and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, the broken promises to friends and family, the energy no one keep up with.
And really, no one can keep up. And I can’t sustain that kind of mania again. The type that lasts for months and destroys your life, until you crash into a pit of profound depression, comatose in bed, just waiting to die.
It was then, at the moment I wanted to die, that I realized mania wasn’t worth it. It was when I blew through all of my inheritance, that I realized mania wasn’t worth it. It was when my sister, my beautiful, talented, intelligent sister, stopped talking to me and moved out, that I realized mania wasn’t worth it.
It took me three years and three hospitalizations to get there, though. Too many lost relationships to count. Too much money to ever know how much I truly spent.
Do I regret it?
Actually, yes. All of it. I regret spending the money. I regret losing my sister to my disease. I regret all of the hurt I inflicted on people when I was manic or depressed.
And yet, I persevered.
I went on, I got my life back together. I got a Bachelor’s degree, and then a Master’s degree. I become a registered MFT Intern. I worked as a social worker for almost two years. I got in a healthy, stable, supportive relationship, for which my four year anniversary is in a week and two days.
But the damage was done. My relationship with my sister is (at least how it feels sometimes) damaged beyond repair. The friends are gone forever.
And after I fought that hard to put my life back together, it just up and fell apart again.
I spent from 20-23 getting my life back on track, I had a good a good run from 23-25, and at 26, to quote Chicken Little, the sky began to fall.
First, they thought it was strokes. Then it was that I needed a brain shunt. Or maybe it’s your heart. Test after test, everything was inconclusive.
It got better after the initial sickness. At least a little better. There are good times and bad times, like with all chronic illness.
But the bad has been where it’s at lately. The liquid diet, the throwing up at 2:30AM if I do decide to eat (such a simple thing to take for granted). In the darkness, I can just make out the walker I had to borrow from J’s mom.
Welcome to 28, right?
A body that is giving out on me at 28. A body that refuses to eat. A body that has arthritis and fibromyalgia. A body that can’t even hold itself upright when I stand up because I don’t have the strength to hold myself in a steady, standing position. A body that has dropped almost 40 pounds in 4 months from not eating. A body that hurts, and won’t make up its mind about whether it wants to throw up or …you know…
A body that hates me.
A body that I hate.
A body that has been restricted from driving.
Driving is one of those things that we can take for granted. A quick run to the store, a trip to get coffee, or even more practical things, like PT and doctor’s appointments.
I’ve been on driving restrictions before. They aren’t fun. They are actually pretty lame. In fact, it’s like the lamest of lamest of lame.
But here I am. 2 days away from my 28th birthday, at 4 AM. And what i want is to cuddle up to my love and go back to sleep.
But that brain? That brain filled with anxiety and the stomach filled with acid and the intense amount of pressure in my GI system from eating for a few days seem to arguing otherwise.
It’s 7 AM on the East Coast, where my sister lives. I could text her, sometimes she responds. But most of the time she doesn’t.
Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Some wounds are so deep, so egregious, that they can’t heal. All they can do is scar over. You can hope that new tissue grows and heals the old wound, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it can’t. Sometimes it’s a wound that needed stitches, that you didn’t get. And now, almost 10 years later, it has healed improperly.
But you hold out hope. You hold out hope that it will heal.
Maybe one day. Maybe in another 10 years.