If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, no one I’m close to understands the way my mind works. On one hand, I find this fact comforting. If they knew what went on between my ears, they’d probably head for the hills. Hell, I want to head for the hills sometimes.
On the other hand, this leaves me feeling impossibly lonely most days. How do you explain to someone who’s not bipolar what it’s like to deal with it? And if you figure out how to do that, will they still want to be around you?
I’m at the point where I don’t care who knows what it’s like to be in my head. I’m going to break it down for you now.
Disclaimer: Mom, if you happen to read this, yes I know I’m “over-sharing” on the internet. Yes, I know potential employers can read this. Hopefully I will find a profession where my candid nature and creativity will be celebrated, not stifled. I love you and appreciate your concern, but it’s more important to me that the people I love understand me.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to it. Have you ever had several people talk to you all at once? If you have children, you probably know what I mean. It makes your head spin, right? Now, imagine that this happens all the time, but it’s in your head. Sometimes it’s normal conversation, sometimes it’s intelligible, sometimes it’s negative and makes you want to cry, but it’s there. No one else can hear these things but you. Sometimes it’s not voices you hear, but sounds like a doorbell or an animal.
Now, I can usually discern “the voices” from real people, but the sounds are more difficult. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked someone, “Did you hear that?” only to find out that whatever I heard was in my head.
I also see things that aren’t there. This doesn’t happen nearly as often as my auditory hallucinations, but it can be alarming. Sometimes it’s something simple, like a figure moving in my peripheral vision. Other times, it’s a complete person right in my center of vision. My mind likes to put my dad in front of me a lot. My dad passed away almost 5 years ago. You can imagine that might be a little upsetting. Not quite as upsetting as the time I “saw” my leg split open and bugs pour out, though. *shivers* I still get the heebie jeebies thinking about that.
How many of you like horror movies? The feeling of adrenaline pumping through your veins can be pretty exhilarating. It’s not so much fun though when the horror movie’s inside your head. When I’m going through some of my worst states, I have horrific images that randomly pop into my mind, causing me to feel ill. I also get scared sometimes for no reason at all. My heart will leap into my throat, my heart will start pounding, and the fright or flight response will kick in. It’s more than just a little uncomfortable.
My impulses are pretty well under control, but I still get them quite often. When I’m feeling “off”, I tend to have more issues controlling them. My impulses can be financial; wanting to spend money I really shouldn’t. I can also get the urge to hurt myself or others. The urge to run away is a strong one. I usually fight these all off pretty well, but sometimes I slip when it comes to the money.
I isolate. I hide because I’m afraid people will see my crazy. Some days, I glue myself to my bed. Yes, I can be lazy and I do have the tendency to procrastinate, but when I stay in bed like that, it’s usually because I’m not feeling like I can control my impulses. I’m afraid that people will see me for how I really am and they won’t like me anymore. I’m afraid I went be able to control my anger and I’ll hurt someone. I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay rent next month because I have the urge to blow every dime in my bank account.
The medication my doctor has me on makes things a little more bearable, but all of my “symptoms” are still there. I’ve been on several different medications. They all had pretty icky side effects. Extreme bitchiness, exhaustion, facial tics, and being totally out of it are all side effects I’ve experienced. I have to go back to see the doctor in a couple weeks. He’s made mention of possibly trying me on something new. This thought terrifies me. We tried several different medicines over the course of a year before we found that lithium seems to work well for me. I really don’t want to play that game again. What must be done will be, even if it doesn’t thrill me. I guess it can’t be worse than what I’m already going through, right?