So if you haven’t figured it out yet, I use metaphors. All. The. Time. They help me understand how I feel and give me enough distance I can be rational about it. Not to mention that I can usually laugh at them. And as long as I’m laughing, I know I’ll make it out OK.
As I learn how to deal with bipolar, there is this magical line that is starting to appear. The far left side–that’s where I’m relatively symptom free. The closer to the line I get, more and more symptoms appear, but I can still manage all of them.
When I start toeing the line, that’s where my brain starts making crap up. I’ll forget that me and my brain sometimes don’t agree. Or maybe I don’t want to get out of bed but I do it anyway. I may start messing with my sleep schedule, or maybe I start to have physical systems instead of me keeping it all in my head. But I can usually pull myself back far enough to head back to the safety of the left side.
As long as I can carry on my life without acquaintances and coworkers thinking something isn’t quite right, I’m on the left side of the line.
Sometimes though, when I’m toeing that line, the right side of the line starts to look interesting, or the pull is just so strong that I hop on the line.
Most of the time (read: every time) I walk that line like I’m a tightrope, carefully balancing everything to keep myself on that line until my brain chills out and I can get back to the left side. I may feign a headache to buy me some quiet time, or cut out everything that isn’t necessary while keeping a reliable schedule, knowing if I do that I’ll go back to the left side. I still have my stubborn fight in me that allows me to take control of the situation.
Except this time.
When I hopped on that line about a month ago I apparently did it with carefree abandon. Now I don’t mean that I was happy about, and it definitely wasn’t enjoyable. What I mean is that I skipped that whole symptomatic-but-relatively-stable thing. I forgot to grab that big long balance pole you always see tightrope walkers use. I’m still on the fence whether the change in meds made me do it, or my brain just said the hell with it.
Regardless, for the past month, I’ve allowed my routine fall to pieces. I spent a week walking the line in a constantly changing wind storm. I would lean so far in one direction that I would almost fall on the line, then I would go back in the other direction.
Then I sat down and started to kick my feet on the right side of the line, like I was playing in a pool. That’s when my anxiety spiked and I started to not be able to eat.
I’ve since stood up, and right now I’m not sure if its better or worse. I’m still wet from playing in the water, and I feel like I’m doing the hokey-pokey. On a pogo stick. One that I keep almost falling off of.
Not my idea of fun. In this moment my feet are firmly planted on the line and I might even be listing a little bit to the left all the while still dancing. But it still doesn’t feel safe.
I’m still searching for a way to tether myself to the left side though. Right now that’s been my therapist and the fact that I’m stubborn as hell. Haven’t got a solid grip yet, though.
But I’ll get there.
All I know is that I do NOT want to end up on the right side of the line. I’m not sure what is there and I’d like to keep it that way.