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Monday, March 20, 2017

The Manic Flame.


In a post, I wrote a few weeks ago, I mentioned the colors I associate with each of my mental diagnosis’. I said that I saw Depression wrapped in the cover of blackness. Those days where I walk around in a fugue state of melancholia; those are tinted blue. When Anxiety and Panic grab a hold of me the world becomes bathed in the color of blood. I spoke very briefly on the color of the flip side of Depression for a Bipolar person. That of the Mania; the color for this is burnt orange. I think of flames whenever this side comes in control. Why? Simply put because I feel as if I am burning as I move closer to the sun, just within reaching distance like Icarus before the inevitable fall.

When I enter a manic phase, I feel invincible. I feel like I can do nothing wrong. I am for once in control of my world. I am like a slow burning comet blazing high over the Earth. Never realizing that I am about to crash and disintegrate. In this phase, I must fight down the urge to overspend on my budget. I become a shopping goddess. Since I live on a disability budget, I of course don’t have money to “burn”. I am very talkative. Just ask my niece, it drives her crazy when I start up the weirdest conversations with perfect strangers; most of the time when I am in a store trying to break my piggy bank.

I never knew that I do the same thing as my Dad. It used to make my Mom so mad when he would start talking to every person wherever they went. His being schizophrenic, even when controlled by medicine caused him to a very complicated guy. I now know he was probably cycling through a Manic period. I preferred him in this stage, because it beat the hell out of the alternative. The sullen, and quiet man who distanced himself away from everyone.

The weird thing is you are totally aware that it is happening, but helpless to stop it. I see myself opening the online shopping sites. In my mind, I hear this voice saying “you can control it. You will somehow make the money stretch to pay for just this one thing.” The crux of the matter though is that that one thing becomes several things. My mind begins to buzz as my inner accountant start the process of justifying the spending. The hard part is by the time the stuff arrives I have switched back to the blue or black side. I feel even worse standing in front of all the open boxes, angry at myself because now I will go through the process of returning it all. My sense of failure multiplies by the number of boxes sitting before me. The worst part is there is still a small voice whispering in my ear, “but you know you want it, just keep it.”

I realized last night as I thought about what I wanted to write in this post, that those cartoons with an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other was just what it feels like being Bipolar. On one shoulder is the somber figure of Depression, and on the other the happy go lucky, dancing a fiery Salsa; Mania. They each continually whisper in my ear what they want me to do. Sometimes Depression has its day, while other days Mania becomes the life of the party. Drinks are on her. They have buddy’s, their names are Melancholia, Panic, and Anxiety. Sometimes the whole gang takes turns in just one day. It is a never-ending struggle to try to find a balance where their voices are silent.

This constant struggle is why people with Bipolar Disorder always seem to be fighting one illness or another. The stress and strain of being torn apart wears us down. I fight a constant battle with reflux disease because my stomach is in a constant state of agitation. The headaches, the aches and pains from muscles tensing and relaxing constantly. I sometimes feel as if I have run a marathon all from the comfort of my office chair. My mind is not even silent while I try to grab what little sleep I get. My mind is in a whirl with should’ve, could’ve, and would haves. They even follow me into my dreams. I wake up from dreaming with tears streaming from my eyes, or I wake myself up laughing at some stupid situation that I have dreamt for myself.


I have been cycling through the different layers of my Depression, but the color is starting to change at the edges to the lovely burnt orange color that signals it’s time to hide the credit cards, checkbook, and all things monetary. Time to step outside into the daylight and go window shopping, and socialize with strangers in the store. Sorry niece of mine, do you want to go to the mall today? I’m in an excellent mood. 

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