These are supposed to be the good times. And, relatively speaking, they are. Being Bipolar II, I experience chronic periods of depression and fleeting episodes of an elevated state...not all-out manic, but an energy and mood greater than most feel. So, yeah, I’m in that sub-mania phase, something that’s been going on for about two weeks.
Got to the café where I write on Sundays at 7:00 on the dot. Had to wait for a barista to unlock the door. Tried not to look impatient or too eager while waiting all of fifteen seconds. I really don’t like being the first one. “Sorry,” I said. “I’ve been up for hours.”
“Hours?!” Yep. Read some chapters in a novel, completed a batch of French lessons...and Swedish lessons. Did the morning rounds online: CNN, Facebook, Twitter, email, local news, Plenty of Fish (nothing), OkCupid (always nothing!). Washed the dishes I should have done last night. Ironed several pairs of shorts (just because). Got on my hands and knees and washed the hard-to-reach floor crevasses. Cleaned my glasses. (Turns out neither my vision nor the world has blurry spots.) Shaved, showered, read some more. And waited. Come on, 7!
Now I can be out in public. I can write. In a few hours, I’ll devour The New York Times. I’ll read more of it, faster and I’ll have all sorts of ideas about how to solve the world’s problems. (Sorry, not Trump. The Rust Belt’s gotta wake up.) I will hit the farmers' market, finding the holes in the crowd to dart quickly from stall to stall. I’ll go to the gym and tell myself to be gentle. Skip a few sets. Never works. It’ll be the full three hours. More French, more Swedish, more writing (all good ideas!), more reading. I’ll abruptly shift back and forth between tasks. My brain will run too fast, adding more thoughts, expanding the agenda. It’s a constant state of edginess. There’s one never-ending chant: “Let’s go!” Fast isn’t fast enough.
I’ve got bags under my eyes. Worse than usual. They’re the physical sign that things are off. I don’t sleep much, but when I do, the dreams are exceptionally vivid. It all has to mean something!
It’s hard to complain about being too up. It beats the agony, the self-hate, the hopelessness that will come. All that lurks. The mania is wonderful, but a crash always follows. I know this and yet I’m always taken aback—devastated—when the excruciating low returns. That’s when the real work comes. So much slower, underscored by a hum—no, a moan—that says, “Why?” And I struggle for any kind of answer. I write through it. I push myself to exercise. I try to be out of my place, surrounded by people, if not interacting. Anxiety mucks it up even more. And I long for the next round of mania.
For now it’s here. Darkness is (hopefully) far away. Good times, indeed.