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Awetron posted a topic in Bipolar Spectrum Disorder - The Pole DanceHello people, I was wondering what life lessons you've learned and wish to convey to someone who has just become bipolar. It has only been 1.5 year since I had my first (hypo)mania where I destroyed my life tremendously. Everything is ok now, but I know it won't be that way forever. I noticed that I still have a long way ahead of me. This isn't only for me, but for the people who have been recently diagnosed or people that need some good advice.
A dear friend sent me a private message last night asking me if I was manic. You see, I restarted my trek with National Novel Writing Month yesterday. I've been blogging my usual thousand words a day, five days a week, but had quit NaNo to do all the preparations for getting this new house and getting ready to move into it. I thought NaNo would get in the way of that. But I've found each day that I run out of things I can do, calls I can make, documents I can gather, contracts I can reread. I can only clean so many closets and cupboards and shelves and drawers out beforehand. I can't pack yet. I can't move anything over there yet. And so I'm left with the anxiety. I'm being chased from behind and I have to keep running, keep working to hold the hounds at bay. I don't think this is mania. I think it is anxiety. Now, I realize that bipolar folks are the first to deny that they are manic. And I've had four family members ask me now if I'm manic. This should be a sign to me. But mania is usually like being driven, not chased. I wrote over 15,000 words for NaNo yesterday to catch up for the ten days I took off. But that's not that much, really, if you're a writer. It's about seven and a half hours of work. It's a story I already know so I know what needs to happen next, even if it's new material. And I was really running yesterday. Knight had a migraine so I had care of the kids. Except for a short period where I kicked him out of bed so that I could clean out his walk in closet, there was nothing I could do to get ready for the house. So I went back to NaNo, which has been percolating in my head for ten days, and the words poured out. Sometimes writing is like that. Other times, it's like pulling your hair out through the eye of a needle in a haystack, to mix a bunch of metaphors. Horrible, detailed, infuriating work. I imagine Joyce Carol Oates writes and maybe Virginia Woolf wrote 15,000 words or more a day. They were and are prolific. It would take at least that to build up the extensive backlist of each author. Nevertheless. I was writing about mania and anxiety. I'm totally med compliant. I take my antipsychotic, my mood stabilizer and my antidepressant. I take my Klonopin for anxiety and PTSD issues and my Ambien to be sure I get enough sleep. I still usually sleep up to ten hours a day, today notwithstanding because my cat woke me up at 4:30 a.m. looking for ground whole rabbit to eat and I, apparently, seemed like the go to person to hunt that down. I couldn't go back to sleep, not because I'm manic, but because my anxiety started about the house. I really worry that I have flipped off God in some way by seeking this house. Like it's too nice, it's too castle like, it's too perfect. I don't deserve it and I can't believe I'm really going to get it. People like me don't get these things. We aren't allowed this happiness. And what the hell am I doing feeling so happy about a possession? I'm too proud. This will not go unpunished. Or so the thinking goes. And that thinking is gut twisting, with gnashing teeth circling inside of me at the smell of blood. I have to get away from that anxiety before it hits panic. So I make phone calls. I order things online for the house. I clean cupboards. And, now, I go back and write for NaNo. Ordering things. Now, spending has always been a sign of mania for me. I spend money and give it away at an alarming pace. A year and a half ago, I spent $35,000 in one summer, and I could not show you more than a handful of things that I bought with it. I gave it away, lent it to those who won't ever pay it back, bought little cat show shit that I also gave away, bought custom gifts and designer cats for friends. I feel that urge, but only in response to the anxiety. Must keep moving. Must keep getting the house ready. Must check "entertainment stand" and "redecorate Sabina's new room" off my list. This involves buying things. However, I scared myself enough doing that that I promised myself after one day of spending that I would spend no more. And I haven't. I put down the debit card three days ago and have not picked it up since. This is unheard of in true mania with me. My antipsychotic should be keeping the paranoia and psychosis away, and it is because I'm not feeling either, other than paranoid that God will smite me for my hubris in buying this house. I am not feeling hypersexual and it's not for lack of opportunity. I went to an Authors' Luncheon (a very well known national literary event) in San Francisco on Saturday. One of my former grad school professors and advisors was there as the emcee. I had worked with him until he hit on me and told me my mind was arousing. I did go up and talk to him during a break in the show just to say hello, but previously, either with Daniel out or mania in control, I would not have hesitated to entice him. I even looked pretty good in what I was wearing, though not provocative in the least. So I don't think I'm having the hypersexuality that comes with mania. Grandiosity? I don't think so either. I don't feel like the smartest woman on the planet, nor am I planning a retake-over of my dojo where I will force everyone to call me the Mystic Turtle. So I think I'm good to go in that area. No, this is not mania. Hypomania at best, but really more anxiety driven than anything else. That doesn't mean that I won't completely exhaust myself while trying to run from myself (I see a dog chasing its tail, but I am rather the tail being chased). Hopefully, that's where the Klonopin will slow down the anxiety. I think it's working because I'm going to be early and without difficulty. I guess time will tell. I should probably give my debit card to Knight just in case. We can't afford to have the finances screwed up before escrow closes. Meanwhile, NaNo awaits.