7.28.2009

On the ride again

I don't deal well with change. There must be some sort of twisted irony in that fact, given I have bipolar disorder -- an illness marked by radically fluctuating moods. Up and down. Change. I should be a pro at handling it after 37 years or so, don’t you think?

The latest changes I’m facing aren’t actually mine, in the most direct sense. My child is the one going off to kindergarten. One of my closest work friends is moving several states away to start law school. Law school, for pete’s sake. Why would I be the one wigging. But these happenings must be at the heart of my latest brain-biology freakout. I’ve felt the downward spiral for several weeks, probably more like several months because a while back I talked the doc into upping my meds. I don’t think they’re helping much. I started sleeping more. I stopped knitting. I stuffed my face when I wasn’t hungry. I yell too much. I cry at least once a day.

My doc had the audacity to go on vacation, so I haven’t had a follow up. But one is scheduled for next week. I have the therapist again next week, too...you know you’re kind of a mess when your therapist says, “Amy. I’m really worried about you.” Three days ago I forced myself to exercise. And again yesterday. And again this morning. My head kept telling me to shut off the alarm and go back to sleep. Once I did get up, that same head kept figuratively flipping me off.

The exercise helps. I can stay alert past 8 p.m. I scheduled an appointment to start attending Weight Watchers at Work meetings, to get the pigout situation under control. And I bought a little calendar, on which I am writing every important thing I have to do between now and December...to make sure I’m on top of my own life and my little kindergartener’s. The change may be scary for both of us, but it’s coming and being prepared for it should make the transition easier.

My friend’s departure will be sad. Her goodbye party is tomorrow, last day’s Friday. Life around the office – already not exactly a barrel of mirth and joy – may be dismal for a time. I’ve been planning her party with another coworker...perhaps we’ll become better friends.

At the same time I say I hate change, I also enjoy looking forward to...something. Maybe it’s a vacation. Or a new haircut. Or a new novel. Or a night out with friends. I NEED that something to keep me focused on the “good.”

I know one thing I definitely wish would change: my mood. Only trouble with a mood change to the positive is that it always swings back the other way. It seems like it gets tougher each time to rebound.

During the campaign, Barack Obama seemed quite enamored with President Lincoln. I’m pretty keen on Abe myself, but there’s a quote attributed to him that I think a lot of people agree with (though I’m not one of them): “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Funny though, no matter how hard I try, how much I want it, I can’t MAKE myself happy. It just plain isn’t as easy as that. The Dalai Lama once said, “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” If that’s really my purpose, I’m failing miserably about half the time.

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