Michael Ligtenberg: The Bipolar Boomerang
After the very positive feedback I have received here at Bipolar Today, I have decided to continue to share my experiences dealing with my recent diagnosis late in life. This is obviously a personal experience, and how I am coping with Bipolar Disorder as an individual. Today I am writing about a bad moment I have recently been through and am still going through as I write.
Have you ever thrown a rock into the water, or a stick in a park just for the sheer pleasure of throwing something and watching it as it sails through the air and then as it comes back down to earth, as the properties of gravity must dictate? It is both a powerful and powerless sensation. Recently I found a little crooked stick and gave it a mighty heave. I watched it fly through the air, getting smaller, when the light and shadows played on a trick on my eyes. Instead of getting smaller, the stick got bigger and bigger. Then just before getting smacked in the head, it dawned on me in a flash…this was no stick, this was a boomerang.How did this happen? I suppose I wasn’t paying enough attention when I picked up that stick. Too bad I didn’t figure this out a week ago, before I started the worst episode in months. I tried, I got hurt, I hurt others, and I feel like a stinking plop of fresh cow manure covered in flies on a hot day. I screamed and yelled until I lost my voice; I drove 800 km, leaving at midnight, then another 800 after a drunken 12 hour break (which to me is a major setback); I had 3 hours sleep in 3 days; I’ve wept like a baby, rocking back and forth senselessly; I’ve insulted my best friend in the world; I hardly ate; then, after 72 hours of hell, I slept for 18 hours.
Yeah, it was a complete emotional eruption of the volcano in my head. However cliché it may be, the volcano is what it truly is. It feels like fire in my head, and I can’t control any of the lava pouring out of my mouth; it fills my ears making me unable to listen; it leaks from my eyes and drips from my nose. I feel like a complete mess, unable to cope or deal. There is no pleasure right now…no music. There are gaps in my memory…fuzzy impressions only. Did I take my meds, or too many??? I’m still hoarse. Some are trying to apologize, others are enraged with me. Even as I write this, I find myself stuck at “C”…trying desperately to control my emotions so I don’t make more mistakes. You know how a lie can breed a whole bunch of lies; well I don’t want an emotion to create a whole whack of emotions which will lead to even more pain and suffering. No matter how invisible our scars may be, they are deep and painful.So what do I do now? I want to curl up in a ball in my bed and not come out for a long time…but it’s the wrong answer…self-pity won’t get me anywhere. I know all sorts of things I should do…but I feel so weak, and it seems like such a huge undertaking. I want to forget it all…but that would take substance abuse to succeed…and that is no success. I want to forgive…but can’t find the graciousness inside. I want to make amends with my best friend, but I am so afraid. I don’t feel a part of anything right now…in my head I’m not from this world.
One good thing I am doing is writing this blog. It helps me to digest a bad meal. As I think about the event (which is pretty much every waking moment), I try to evaluate how much is the truth, and how much is emotionally skewered. It’s like a round cherry pie jigsaw puzzle; all the pieces look the same. One thing I can see is that I am way too emotionally invested to adequately solve this problem right now…and too physically exhausted. I need to rest and give myself some time to gather my strength. I need to reestablish the positive rhythm I had before the incident. So I suppose this is my short-term goal.I also am looking at the bad choices I made before the episode. I put myself into a volatile family situation which I have never handled well in the past…so why was I so overly optimistic that it could be different this time? I put too much on my shoulders by expecting I could drive for days on end and not be wearied physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I should have expected that I would be vulnerable and made plans accordingly, with a clear escape route in my head in order to remove myself.
I am not well today…far from it. But two days ago I was a complete wreck, and yesterday was a better day. Today is better than yesterday. So I must hope and believe that tomorrow will be better than today.