Yesterday my eldest son asked me if I was having an episode, and I replied flippantly/ sarcastically,
“Not every period of deep thoughts and sentiment is an episode, sometimes it is just a period of deep reflection, a connecting the conscious and subconscious, to the bigger picture, so, no I wouldn’t say I was, having an episode is something very different to how I am at the moment”.
I wasn’t lying, although I realize now I wasn’t telling the truth either, I was in that place of self-denial where ego and arrogance blur the reality of mania, and I forget what being manic is. I was semi-aware I had been triggered having spent the night before without sleep, overthinking, unable to stop thoughts racing. Memories, good and bad, flooding my mind in a tsunami of sentiments. My whole body aching and drained of energy. I had only just gone to bed and fell asleep with the help of two pain killers before he called. I just hadn’t recognized what had triggered me, which in fairness to myself is unusual these days, as I normally do and as a result, can take the appropriate steps that I know will help me maintain balance and not fall towards the dark place.
During our conversation, I had made some out there comments about geometry, for what must have seemed to him no apparent reason, although in my mind at the time it made perfect sense to me because I know the sentiments and thoughts that had triggered the questions, but I couldn’t explain them in a way that might have made sense on a different day in better context, and even if I could have he didn’t have time for that, I’m not sure he ever would have time for that kind of conversation with me, I know my mental health makes him uncomfortable, I know he finds it hard to have deep and meaningful conversations about stuff with me, and I understand that I get it I really do, but it doesn’t make the difficulties in communication any easier, though I desperately wish it did.
I am aware that I can be quite arrogant and even egotistical about how well I believe I manage my mental health without anti-depressants, anti-psychotic, or other prescribed meds used to treat mental health conditions. I am aware that sometimes I think I understand and know more about my condition than I probably do, as a result of my studies, life, and work experiences, and I have no doubt that when I am in that blurred place of self-denial, between manic high and clinging to the tightrope above the abyss of dark depression, psychosis & all else within that place, my arrogance and ego are amplified tenfold in mania, the high of self believe and invincibility, the false sense of restored confidence and ability.
Following the conversation, I spent the rest of the day with random intervals of uncontrollable tears prompted by various random thoughts still unfocused and unable to eat for the third day in a row, tired and drained to the marrow of energy and feeling anxious and guilty that I had worried or upset my son during this period of lockdown when he has enough to worry about without me adding burden.
Eventually, I decided to go on Facebook if only to divert my thoughts, read some positive posts & listen to some tunes to help me relax, and to my surprise, it helped more than I expected and I went to bed but was again unable to sleep, my body filled with shivers and shaking, my feet freezing though my body was sweating and still aching, though the mania I suggest beginning to subside, I felt calmer and focused so got up to have a hot drink and a couple of painkillers to ease the aching muscles to hopefully help me sleep, and write something about a movie I had watched on Sunday night, that had prompted an idea for a writing piece I was pondering. Writing for me is a therapeutic exercise, it helps me focus, and more often than not prevents me from falling into the abyss of darkness and despair.
As the kettle boiled for my drink I think I worked out what the trigger was, though I suspect that this period of lockdown and a build-up of thoughts and related worries over last few days, or probably if I’m completely honest to myself and you, the past couple of weeks subconsciously, also contributed but I was perhaps suppressing them, as even as I write this I feel myself recognizing the signs I was slipping were there in my physical sense of well being, which won’t have helped either.
If it was an episode it was briefer than most, and that I am able to write this with a sense of calm and focus then I suggest at very least the worst has past and I have managed it I hope reasonably well, and without falling to the dark place and that for me is a good result.
And if you are wondering what I think the trigger was, it was the movie I watched on Sunday night that I was going to write about when I started writing this instead, Educating Reta, but that explanation and analysis will have to wait till another day, as now finally I feel I just might be able to go to bed and successfully fall to sleep.