It’s been one of my bad days. All the facts tell me this should have been a good day, yet I sit here with that heavy, queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing tears are hiding in that lump in my throat and also in that full, itchy feeling at the bottom of my eyes. I’m really good at pretending I don’t know they’re there though so this will likely remain the status quo for the night.

What the hell is she talking about?, you may be asking yourself about now. Yeah, I’d be asking that too if I didn’t have to live in my head; thank your lucky stars it’s only population “1” in here. By “one of my bad days”, I’m referring to my bipolar-ism (described in Who Am I?) which is just a fact of life for me, like any other chronic disease such as diabetes or something is for someone else, and is generally under control, managed by lifestyle, medication, etc. But, periodically, especially under severe stress, I have to deal with “flare-ups”. As you may imagine from the very name, bipolar, these flare-ups share the characteristics of the swoops, swirls, turns, ups, and downs of a rollercoaster…with none of the exhilaration and fun. Okay, so that’s not true. The manic (or hypomanic, to be absolutely correct in my bipolar II case) episodes can be pretty damn awesome while they last, but dear god do you pay for them.

Anyway, the severe stress: I’ve been unemployed for 4 months now and I’m pretty much broke, severely in debt, and working as hard as I can to learn all I can about every option available to keep my house until I can find a new job. My mother passed away, within 10 days and completely unexpectedly, the day after Christmas and my father was hospitalized from the beginning of January pretty much continuously until the end of April. The reason I lost my job was because my sister and I were both travelling long-distance to provide care for my father and I missed too much time from work. Please, please, don’t feel sorry for me – it’s been a rough time for me and for my family but a lot of people have had it as rough or rougher and I’m incredibly lucky to have loving friends and my family as a support system. I’m only sharing this to give you an idea of what I mean by “severe stress”. In other words, it isn’t that I got grass stains on my favorite jeans or someone dinged the door of my car in the parking lot or something. Though back when I was commuting to work, the commute in to the city could stress me out to the point of swearing like a French sailor (that’s a compliment to anyone French, not a slur – total respect!).

Wandering, rambling, what was I saying…if anyone is even still reading this, you may have noticed a difference in writing style tonight. Not quite as sharp and on point as usual, eh? Welcome to a little glimpse into the deadening of the brain of a bipolar as she comes down from a hypomanic phase.

OK, so trying to get back to the point of this post if I can remember what it was….oh yeah, it should have been a good day. Obviously I’ve been job hunting. You probably find it hard to believe based on this post, but I’m actually a very accomplished professional who used to hold a high-paying job and I’m naturally searching for another very much like it. I recently revised my resume in one of my creative bursts of energy (see, I told you the mania could be really awesome) and I’ve been getting responses left and right ever since I posted this update to the job boards and started sending it to specific listings.

And my natural and logical reaction to this is to be absolutely thrilled and excited, right? Therein lies the problem. (hey, ok, now I’m starting to tie it back to the opening line; probably no one made it through the rest of the dreck to get this far, but I’m pretty amazed anyway). Because I’m depressed as hell. As aforementioned, I’m trying to pretend I don’t realize that I’m aware I feel like crying.

Why? One reason is that I’ve been having one of those experiences today where you sort of stand aside from yourself (figuratively, not an actual out-of-body experience or anything) and listen to yourself say things that you can’t believe you’re saying. In this case, I mean I’ve been taking calls and phone interviews all day today and if you heard me on the phone you would hear this charismatic, enthusiastic woman with an easy laugh and an engaging personality who you just could not resist wanting to bring on board with your company. And that woman is telling you how much she loves what she does for a living; she’s absolutely passionate about it. Etc. You get the picture. Meanwhile, the real me is listening in thinking, what the hell? Who is this person? I HATE the idea of going back into cubicle-land and the only reason I’m doing it is because I have to pay the bills. I’m so tired right now I could fall asleep and I just want to get off this phone. The result being that I’m absolutely disgusted with myself for what “I” view as “my” duplicitous behaviour.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. that last bit doesn’t really have anything to do with being bipolar. We ALL do that. It’s called being an adult and having to do what you have to do to carry your responsibilities in life. You’re absolutely right. And up to that point, my reaction was just the same as anyone else’s.  But the second reason I’m depressed as hell is that this is the trigger that started the downward spiral for me. See this is the pattern. What goes up (which has been me recently, and to some extent – me in hyper-charming mode on those mega-interviews that took a lot of energy I didn’t have), must come down. Both in physics and in mood disorders.  And once the descent begins, my effort goes toward trying to keep it to a “dip” instead of a “crash”.

So it’s been a bad day. So far it’s a dip. One of the reasons I’ve chosen to be open about all this on my blog is that I’m hoping sharing it (instead of ignoring it) will be crash-prevention mechanism. We’ll see.

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