Shifting Center

Day four on the new medication. As yesterday wore on I sensed a distinct shift in energy level. I found myself alert and able to do things in the afternoon. It kind of caught me off guard. It has been a long while since I felt this way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad. I am hopeful. But there is that inkling in the back of my mind, the worry. It never was a worry before my manic episode. Now I always wonder to myself, what is ok, what is good vs. what is too good? I want more than anything for this medication to give me a new chapter, one that does not have depression in it. I feel like I have lived so long depressed. I am willing to try anything to not go down that ravine again.

But, I realize that there is a problem with being too good. It doesn’t take long to be devastating. I know in the course of just a few weeks of mania, I came close to destroying a long-term relationship. With not a care in the world, I looked my partner in the eye, and told her we should see other people. I pursued a relationship, not ever stopping to think the damage I was doing. The risk was lost on me. In my racing mind, I could only see what I wanted. In my skewed thinking sex is what I thought I needed. Needed more than anything in the world. Everything else paled. Not just sex, the adventure of it. Finding someone outside, a stranger. I thought it would make everything okay. I was so driven, so possessed by the idea of it. The happy joyfulness didn’t last long, the anxiety and irritability was waiting in the wings. I know a lot of people think mania is a fun place to be. I can tell you it is not. Sure, hypomania can be quite enjoyable. Especially the first couple days. However, mania is a whole different creature. The sheer speed at which things are going in your brain is unreal. It feels like someone put the gas pedal to the floor and it is stuck there. For me that is anxiety provoking. As things deteriorate is starts to feel worse, but it is very hard know as things haul ass along. I didn’t understand much of what was happening. It had never happened to me, so I was completely unprepared. As things ramped up, I took to smoking pot a couple of times a day. It helped slow things down a bit. It wasn’t quite as fast, not quite so anxious.

The really sad thing is my partner witnessed all of this, she didn’t really react. I don’t think she knew what to do. I know she knew I was way out of control. I, of course, was oblivious to that obvious point. She let me garden illegally, threatening our future and our freedom. She let me pursue a relationship with a stranger. I know she just didn’t know how to stop this speeding train. It must have been terrifying for her, watching everything come apart. But I can’t help but think in the back of my mind she must have initially though everything was better. That the meds were finally working. That I was finally doing better. I know that is what I though initially. That is why the shift in mood and energy with this new medication is bothering me. There is no way to tell one from the other, just time will tell.

I told my partner, right up front that there was a small risk of mania with this med change. I made it very clear to her, that if she was uncomfortable, or noticed any manic symptoms to get on the phone. I told her not to let this train leave the station. I know she would do that for me. She understands now the cost of mania, both emotional and physically. She also understands on the other side of mania is a deep free fall into depression.

I guess what is so striking to me, as this shift happens, is just how poorly I was doing. I knew it wasn’t going well. I just didn’t realize how much the depression had robbed me of. We had to do some emergency fence repair in the late afternoon. Typically this would have been near impossible. By that time of day I am dragging. I can’t get my body going, nor my head. When faced with the task, I would be irritable, impatient and nasty. The longer the task the more nasty I’d be. All I normally think about as the day wears on is sitting down, or going to bed. I just didn’t have the energy or drive to do much of anything. It is so very sad. Here I am not even 40 and I am losing parts of my life, for long stretches of it. I think to myself of all the days I spent sleeping, all the hours lost to the fog of depression. How unfairly this placed the burden on my partner. This farm is no easy job. In able mind and body it pushes us to the breaking point. Add in the depression and it becomes overwhelming and blinding in its enormity. .

I am still hopeful about this medication. I am enjoying the new-found energy, and motivation. Even though that joy is tempered by worry and watchfulness. I think it would be dumb on all our parts not to be vigilant now.

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