What it feels like flipping the switch

Taking a look at the week that just passed, it seems like the person I’m recalling memories of isn’t me.

I went through several days of high-strung anxiety. The smallest hiccup in my day created a giant obstacle I couldn’t see over – the buses I meant to take home weren’t running, and yet I couldn’t just walk to a nearby stop to see if those routes were. Instead, I would just break down, crying, feeling doomed and regretting any decision that had led me there.

I, one day, convinced myself I had killed my ferret, Shimbleshanks. A shelf had fallen – just a single plank had tilted and fell on the one beneath it – and I heard it from the bathroom followed quickly by distress noises from him. I ran out of the washroom to find him sitting on top of the shelf that had fallen, jumping around.

In all likelihood, it was probably just him being startled. perhaps his tail was pinched or a toe for a moment. He resumed eating and bouncing around, not acting differently at all.

But I was convinced, that night when I returned, that his lung was punctured by his ribs, and he was going to die slowly in the night.

I had to call my mother to come over, and even the recollection of those moments seem distant, as if I’m watching a video.

Being bi-polar, this is what it is. When I’m at my “normal” self – the person who is able to rationalize past my anxiety, and function the way I used to – the world is clear. I can see possibilities, I find focus and inspiration. I am in my self.

But then anxiety, mania, or depression hits. And it’s like someone has taken over my body. My brain actually feels fuzzy, like I’m tipsy. It becomes difficult to focus on things, or alternately to escape the tunnel vision that’s consumed me. And everything is infinitely definite – a fight proceeds disaster, sadness will inevitable lead to inescapable grief, my place in my life will never change.

Some people can’t comprehend that you’re really out of your control. There are grounding techniques you can do, if you have a piece of mind to. But sometimes, you can’t even recall them.

I’ve slumped to the floor, unable to move, consumed by grief with no root cause. My boyfriend would have to coax me into standing, and once I did I could feel my legs wanting to buckle beneath me, and the ache in every inch of my body.

In my mania, I become to utterly focused – I clean my apartment and I find myself with a toothbrush in hand, the time having escaped me having gone through every notebook I own.

This is what it is. This is what it looks like.

It’s me. But, it also isn’t.