Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Nurse, Is It Time For My Lithium Yet?

It has become inescapably obvious to me that I have gone totally manic. Witness the room-cleaning, the frustration at my sister's timewasting techniques, the ability to screw around with HTML code alongside the laudable but unnecessary desire to streamline the codes themselves so that there are fewer repeated codes and fewer lines of code (you would think that three columns with a few pictures and some links would be a simple operation, but nooooooooo).

Well all of these tweaky things are fine and good, since the only person who suffers from it is me, and in fact I tend to reap a certain number of benefits from all the work I complete. But I was just re-reading the two emails I wrote yesterday (I do that all the time, but even more often when I am manic), and I notice that my nuttiness is spilling out all over the place, affecting the people with whom I communicate, as well as myself. In one email yesterday, I actually sound like a stalker. I feel that I should write another email to that person and apologize for sounding so nutty, but then I have a feeling the apology will sound even nuttier than the original nuttiness for which I am apologizing.

Perhaps He will read this paragraph and realize I am talking about the obsessive email I sent Him yesterday... in that case, be assured, Sweetie, that when you arrive here the Vernal Equinox will have passed, and I will have processed through both the manic phase and the concommitant depressive period by then, and will be as calm and cool as a mountain lake (until the Summer Solstice, when it starts all over again). I promise that I will not follow you around or pester you, or kidnap you and imprison you in my basement and dress you in baby-clothes and feed you chipped beef... I promise.

On top of my obsessiveness and my impatience, I am also feeling unbelievably horny. Not just horny, either, but rabidly so. And it's not the kind of horny that responds to masturbatory treatment, either... it's the kind of horny that demands another man to maul. The kind of horny that makes me want to post personal ads, to visit bath-houses, to cruise past suburban high-schools in an unlicensed Ford van with a Taser and handcuffs. The kind of horny that inspires a drastic lowering of standards. It's almost unbearable... it's not even a party in my pants, it's more of a barely-supressed insurrective riot.

And on top of that, I'm just all fidgety. My leg is jogging up and down right now, and when I'm not typing my fingers are tapping on the edge of the keyboard (on the plus side, I am currently typing at about 90 words a minute). I keep looking in different directions when I'm talking to someone or typing or watching television, unable to maintain eye-contact with anything or anyone for more than a few seconds. My thoughts switch from scattered to obsessive, with no in-between point in which to process the ideas themselves.

I think the manic quality is made worse today because I got a really good night's sleep last night, going to bed at 11 with a Melatonin and sleeping so soundly until 9:30 this morning that it actually took more than two hours to become properly awake. This last month I have been sleeping poorly (as I often do in the manic phases), and so while I have been obsessive and scattered and horny, my energy levels were maintained at a nice safe below-average point so the obsessiveness and scatteredness and horniness were not so obvious on the surface.

What I need is a flu or severe cold to come along and sap my energy until the manic phase passes. But strangely enough, I haven't caught anything at all this season... I am usually sick at this time of year, which has had a certain leveling effect on my manic phases in the past. But thanks to increasing sobriety and a circumstantially limited social life, this year I haven't worn myself to a nub by running around at night in the cold around a thousand people, so the usual illness just hasn't happened.

I just don't know what to do. I mean, I know what not to do — i.e., don't smoke or drink or take drugs or shop or eat candy in order to escape these feelings, don't do anything I will undoubtedly regret within the hour (like going to a bathhouse or kidnapping a teenager), don't go around french-kissing everyone with the sniffles in hopes of contracting a nice calming head-cold. But with every passing season, these manic and depressive periods are getting more severe and unpleasant. This sort of thing runs rampant in my family (my father is severely bipolar, as was his birth-mother, his birth-mother's mother died in a sanatorium; my sister has chronic depression, as do several of my cousins; and my mother is just a total headcase, and she was adopted so God only knows what her ancestors were like), and I know the time will come when I will have to take medication for this.

But I am trying (however valiantly or misguidedly) to put off that day as long as I can, in order to remain as drug-naïve as possible for as long as possible. I mean, my father has never gotten his medication balanced quite right, largely due to the years of drug-abuse that preceded his diagnosis of bipolar disorder; my sister has had similar problems with medication, as well, for the same reason (my mother is still self-medicating, I think, but then she'd never admit she's crazy). I was never involved in the "hard stuff," having been almost solely devoted to alcohol and nicotine as my drugs of choice, and never used any of the illegal substances (with the occasional exception of marijuana), so I still respond reasonably well and predictably to medications.

Anyway... I think the thing is that I dislike admitting that there's anything wrong with me. And I still have a firm grip on reality, the bipolar effect is still fairly manageable (if unpleasant), and so I feel that I ought not to go down that path just yet. And I really dislike the idea of medication... not only of having to take part in the whole medical/pharmaceutical complex (which I strongly distrust), but also of having a thing that I have to do every day, maybe even several times a day. I can't even take vitamin supplements regularly, I don't take my Advil or Sudafed until the headache or sinus attack is absolutely blinding, so I can't imagine having to deal with daily psych meds for the rest of my life.

Whatever... just talking about this, having something for my fidgety fingers to type, has been quite soothing. I guess maybe I ought to look into psychotherapy. I can afford it if I give up sweaters and bracelets, or give up lunching out, or give up something else. Or maybe I'll just ride it out with prayer and meditation and understanding friends until I get a job that has insurance that would defray that cost. Or until someone invents a self-adminstering Prozac implant that you can buy over the counter for less than the cost of a Suzanne Somers necklace.

In the meantime, thanks for "listening." I think you're super!

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