My mania brings a particularly frantic kind of insomnia. If you struggle with sleeplessness, you know how it goes. You wake up either too early, or shocked awake by your alarm after only having slept a few hours. Worry about the coming night’s sleep begins whenever, and builds. You try to avoid obsession level, because you know it only works against you, but bedtime still finds you with varying intensities of dread and frustration. You try all the suggestions, you create a regimen and try to maintain good sleep hygiene, but it can be tremendously difficult and good results are elusive.
Mania complicates this by a factor of ghosts and lollipops.
I already have serious sleep issues due to fibromyalgia, but dealing with that for over 20yrs has brought me some hard-won success. I know what to do and have learned how to tailor it to my own quirks in order to maximise restful, restorative sleep. Mania, however, wraps me in a delicious gigglefit and confidently assures me that everything’ll be fine. I’ve done this before and i’ve learned from my mistakes and i won’t make them again. I’ve got this handled, i won’t let things get outta control, and besides, i feel fiiiiiiiine…
If you follow along with my blog, you know that i’ve known something was up since April. I thought it was just my approaching birthday, which was always a tough time for me growing up, coupled with some religious triggers. I tried to ride with the bumps. I lost some momentum regarding my progress towards becoming more like regular folks, but i would diligently pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again. /lalala
Back to the basics. If all i can do is have a clean house, a clean person, and get supper on the table, then that’s a good day. I managed to do even better than that most days – even keeping up with regular exercise, both personal and dog walkies. But i was still having weekly emotional meltdowns; a lot of tears. I don’t actually cry very often, and when i do they’re spent for someone else. Not these last few months, though. It’s all been for me, which again, i explained away with an intense personal issue i’ve been dealing with that is quickly coming to a head. It explained everything, i thought.
Then why did i feel like it didn’t?
I kept feeling like i was missing something, i had that niggling doubt, that feeling of unease that something was wrong and i wasn’t seeing it. I kept on doing what i’ve learned to do to manage my life to the best of my ability, and i knew i was doing relatively well, but i couldn’t shake a building suspicion that i just wasn’t quite right.
Sinead O’Connor provided me with an answer.
I’ve been listening to her a fair bit lately, and one night while chasing musical rabbit holes on YouTube, it pointed me to a recent video she’d posted. I could tell by looking at it that she was in a rough place. I’ve always loved her music and was both drawn to and repulsed by her manner outside of her art. When i found out she’s bipolar, i already had my own diagnosis, and it immediately explained both her behaviour, and my reaction to it. I felt immediate kinship with her, and from then on i always paid attention to any news about her.
So i watched the video.
I watched it again, plus a commentary on it by Russell Brand.
I went to bed, tossed and turned as had recently become the way of things, and when morning came i found myself listening to her music again.
And i watched that video again.
Holy shit, she’s clearly manic as fuck.
She’s talking a mile a minute, nakedly sharing hope and hopelessness in the same ragged breath.
And then it hits me like in a hospital drama when the brash young intern bashes their fist on some unconscious schmuck’s chest and they magically (because that mostly doesn’t happen in real life hospitals, and when it does, it doesn’t have that effect) open their eyes, sit up, and suck in a massive gulp of air all at the same time.
Sinead just punched me in the chest to tell me You’re manic, you bloody blind eejit!
And suddenly, as they say, everything made sense.
The way my emotions seemed to be ramping up. I’m switching with a frequency and lack of control that i’ve not experienced in a couple of years. I’m having regular emotional outbursts, which are often followed by angry walks. I’m setting up meetings with people and then obsessing over them and backing out. I really, like REALLY wanna party. My Nighthawk has come home to roost, and my sleep, when i get any, is for shit. I’m plagued with racing thoughts and neuroses, various and sundry. My dreams are upsetting, with plenty of family, both dead and estranged making unwelcome appearances. No lucid dreaming to set me free, so i awake many times with words and screams caught in my aching throat. I’m sleepwalking for the first time in years. Mania. Of course it is.
Unfortunately, this realisation didn’t just rib-smash me, it also smacked me hard across my horse’s ass and sent me at a full gallop downhill.
Picture Jim Craig in the climactic scene in The Man From Snowy River.
I’m currently on the snow-covered steppe, bullwhip in hand, and we’ll see if i can bring the Brumbies down from the mountain.