It’d be cool if Skippy (my former phone sacrificed to La Llorona) could text me from where it majestically sails this week. Thinking on it, Skippy is a submarine at best. Are submarines majestic? Definitely not that Red October sub with the Russian captain belching a Scottish brogue. The qualifier “Scottish” is necessary because the brogue accent is associated with a rough and tumble Irish accent originally, something learned on my former journeys.
Anyhow, it’s been a little over a week since I chucked my phone – and my ability to use it to send damaging texts – into the Rio Grande, which I feel is a majestic gesture of awareness of and responsibility for my behavior in the midst of a manic crisis.
Perhaps not viewed as majestic and most probably deemed nutso-bonkers by the outside observer, I’m going to give a brief (bullshit) rundown of my recovery now that I’ve decidedly moved on from the manic episode.
It’s been five years since my last manic episode of this caliber. This is resultant of such dedication to my wellness and my recovery, I’ll tell you what.
To start, of greatest concern following a manic episode is dropping into a bipolar depression. My pattern over the many decades of experiencing bipolar symptoms is the higher the climb, the steeper and deeper the fall. An extended manic episode has the very real risk of a desperate suicidal depression that is magnitudes worse and longer lasting than the manic episode.
Navigated . . . I’m uncertain why I’m leaning so heavy on nautical imagery. It’s not like I’m all excited and torqued because I’m going on my first Disney Cruise this Memorial Day Weekend. Because I’m not. A cruise vacation sounds so dull and lethargic. I asked a friend about his cruise experience and she regaled me with seafaring tales of lavish balls with music flaring from Mozart to Tom Jones, casino challenges of chance and wit, and fine all-you-can-eat cuisine from the far reaches of humankind.
The way I heard it is:
1.) I didn’t get invited to my prom and I hope this fills the void in my lingering teenage heart.
2.) Since I’m imprisoned on this canoe atop the unforgiving opaque blue seas I’ve got nothing else to do except lose all the money saved for Kingston Town because I have crappy luck and marginal cognitive awareness.
3.) This was no emotional substitute for prom, I’m broke, and I need to eat away the pain.
But that’s just me. I’ve not weathered a cruise ship and have no comparative basis for my cynicism. However, I will offer this bit of wisdom:
This is the wisdom of Depakote-fueled experience. During my divorce life sucked. I was on meds that screwed with my nourishment intake. I’d power down an eight pack of hot dogs nestled in eight bleached flour buns crowned with a can of Wolf Brand chili. In a single sitting. Yet, the pain, the isolation, the depression never abated. I merely boosted a comfortable 195 pounds to 247 pounds.
Or, I wouldn’t eat at all other than bottles of destructive intoxication, binge drinking for a week at a time. There are two fine tales of drunken depression I share only inpatient at Turquoise Lodge during my weekly Laugh It Off presentation. These are very special stories. I’ll request from the peers at Turquoise Lodge if I can share them on Thoughtcrimes. These two stories are reserved and intimate.
Or, I would isolate so effectively Derek, my best friend since fourth grade (40 years ago), thought I was dead. Four years of isolation. What a marvelous depression!
Suicidal rumination was a must and especially when far inside my blanket fortress where I slept too little or slept too much.
Non-non-non-non-non-non-non-non-non-non-non bogus! Let’s put it up on the scoreboard:
1.) Two month (unnoticed) escalating mania.
2.) Culminating full manic episode and consequential destructive symptoms.
3.) Three days of hurtful texting.
4.) WRAP assisted realization of the manic episode.
5.) Manic solution to chuck my phone in the river.
6.) Meet with med manager and counselor, set up professional monitoring of my daily behavior.
7.) Sequestered myself in my home to ride out the mania.
8.) Sporadic periods of attracted lucidity, fleeting at first and prolonged within four days.
9.) INTENSE and IMMEDIATE monitoring of my behavior, emotions, and thoughts.
10.) Watch for depressive pattern of behavior.
Yay! Everything is yay! To what do I attribute my success? The short answer is I’ve become an expert student of myself. The longer answer is I’ve amassed just an immense library of patterns of behavior, resultant symptoms, medication efficacy, DBT skills, coping skills, workable mindfulness, blogging my episode in real time, and the singular will to nurture my capacity for joy and guarantee I feel only real emotions – free from bipolar symptomas and PTSD intrusions (On the latter: Thanks so kindly, Susan Cruz and Paula Burton).
What needs the most brilliant illumination is I’ve accomplished in one week what in my long history of manic episodes typically required two months. I’m lucid, certain, and fully aware. And, I’ve avoided bipolar depression.
I’ll post a new update next week. Baby steps? Baby steps are for babies. I’m full on Buyan-ing my stride.