Thursday, August 1, 2013

Somewhere on the Road to Crazy

Kinda sounds like a song title, doesn't it?  Somewhere on the road to crazy...

Been traveling that road for a long time, it seems.  Somedays, it is hard to tell the difference between living in the sane world and reveling in utter madness.

I was diagnosed as bipolar over a decade ago.  It has been interesting.  People that are bipolar aren't actually crazy, but dealing with it, especially if you are alone, can make you feel that way.  To be bipolar is to have a chemical imbalance in your brain.  Medications have to be tried, sorted out, combined, sorted out, increased, decreased...  The whole process can make you feel mad as a hatter, especially if you have a bad reaction to any of the meds.  I've had hands that shake uncontrollably.  I've wanted to do nothing but sleep or not able to sleep at all (which is fine, considering I've dealt with insomnia my entire life, till you don't sleep for 10 days straight).  Then there was the medication that made it feel like I had bugs crawling around under my skin.  Now that was fun...not!!

When I was diagnosed, my family didn't deal with it very well.  It's not like they hadn't accused me of being nuts for years.  Having an official diagnosis...different story!  Then, as if they weren't already traumatized enough, I actually talked about it.  I don't know how many times I heard "I wish you wouldn't say that." over the years.  They were horrified that I was relieved to know there was something wrong, and that something could be done about it.  They would have been okay if I had actually had the brain tumor I underwent testing for a year after my bipolar diagnosis.  That I could have talked about with ease.  Lucky for me, it was not so dramatic...instead it was another issue...thank God!  I knew I had too many people to aggravate, agitate and irritate, so I am very glad it was the something else.

There are days the meds don't work well but I keep taking them.  I have yet to figure out why some people stop taking them.  I have a cousin like that, and she makes me sad.  I remember hearing a story of how my aunt received a phone call in the middle of the night from a police department out west.  They had my cousin in custody for walking stark naked down a main street in their city, stoned on LSD.  She had decided to medicate herself.  My aunt had to fly out west, collect my cousin and then fly back to NYC, where my cousin was supposed to be living.  My cousin spent multiple weeks in the hospital while they got her clean and then got her properly medicated again.

I never could understand why she would stop taking her meds.  I hate how I feel without them, because I am usually miserable.  Manic episodes are awful, because I am hateful, aggressive, and spend money I don't have.  Depressive episodes are so low that I literally want to die.  I truly do feel wicked insane at those points.  So, I take my meds.  They don't work perfectly, but then nothing is perfect.  I deal with it.

My family has come to grips with and now have no problem with me talking about my 'issues'.  They have learned that me on medication is significantly better than me not on medication.  Me freely talking about how I feel now compared to the past has helped some other family members to decide to get some help for themselves.  They aren't bipolar, but have other issues that meds can help.  Now they realize that the world ain't such a bad place, since their brain is able to operate more clearly, properly.  It is amazing what legal pharmaceutical help can do.

There are days I still get a little off kilter, but they are rare.  Typically they follow a long stint of little sleep and a lot of stress.  Then I hide till I catch up on my sleep and reduce the stress.  Since I have started going to the gym, the stress leaves much more quickly...YAY!  Sleep will always be an issue, apparently.  I do what I can till I just plain can't anymore, then I crash.  It's not a good pattern, but it is my pattern.  I do what I have to, to survive.  It's during those times, that I get really close to being truly crazy that can get interesting.  Being extremely tired can make me very goofy, and supremely sensitive.  I will cry over things as stupid as a Hallmark commercial.  I will start laughing about something innocuous and then keep laughing.  It's really embarrassing to start laughing at me!  Wedding ceremonies aren't a good place to catch a laughing fit either...LOL!!  Folks really do think I am mad at those times.  Thank God they haven't happened often, but they have happened.

It is definitely a fine line between sane and insane.  I walk that line often.  I like walking that line most days...because somewhere, on the road to crazy, I found myself.  I'm happy about that, and that's what counts.

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