So I’m Bipolar. Amongst other things.
Let’s start there.
You may have heard the phrase “trigger” being thrown around the internet by people. Usually, and I don’t care who hates me for saying it, this term is used when someone says something that offends another person on the internet, or brings up something that reminds someone of something they’re trying to forget. It’s kind of a bullshit term for, “I can’t handle this, but I don’t have the common sense to get the fuck off the computer.”
As a person with mental illness, well out of my teen years, I’m not really into that scene. If you say trigger to me, I stop talking to you. I can’t even deal with your bullshit. I have my own, and I don’t run around trying to tell people not to say or do things just because they make me feel like I’m full of worms and decayed flesh. That’s not real life. Real life is a word stabbing pain into your gut like a knife, and you swallowing hard before plastering a smile across your face anyways as people laugh at something that brings you excruciating pain. Real life is getting up and dragging your ass out of bed even though your whole being is begging you to just lie there in bed until you die. Real life is feeling your world crashing down around you, and still just going about your life like any other person. Real life is going home and drowning your pain in some vice of your choice, and still getting up the next day like it never happened. That’s life.
When I say trigger. I mean a trigger. I mean that in the midst of all this fake living I do for the sake of appearance and normality, something has managed to work its way deep into the recesses of my inner being and poke at just the right spot to cause my chest to cave in. I mean that I’ve managed to crash through the floor of my depression, and that I now have to spend some time wallowing around in the black ink of despair for a while, all while maintaining the best outward expression of normality that I can. It’s quite exhaustive.
My trigger, more often than not, always comes from my mother. That’s not to say that my mother is abusive, or that she sets unrealistic expectations for me, or any of that. My mom’s great… But she is horrifically depressed. Most days I can more or less brush it off, but sometimes it just eats at me like a disease. I mean any conversation with her feels like she’s not even remotely listening to me, which bothers me immensely, and any time I ask her about things she puts such a grey cast on it that I can feel myself getting pulled down with her.
If you don’t know, there are levels of to mood… I arrange them by color.
The white zone is mania. I love the white zone. I can get so much done… I’m irrationally happy… I am just excitement and awesome and life is grand.
The red zone is manic anger… I like that one, too, but it’s because I come up with the cruelest revenge plots… I don’t usually get to act on them, though, because I burn through the adrenaline too fast.
The blue zone is contentment. That’s the moment when I wake up feeling refreshed, and I look around at my dogs and just smile to myself and spend all day reading and sipping tea, and everything is just kind of okay. I don’t get to spend a lot of time here.
The beige zone is what I imagine most people live in. I’m not up, or down. I’m just kinda here. It’s where usually am when I go out with friends, because I like going out, but I don’t usually like whatever my friends might have dragged me to.
The gray zone is where my mother lives. It’s sad, but it’s not bawling or anything. You just feel shit, and you enjoy nothing, and even if you think you might enjoy something, a piece of your brain kicks on that reminds you why you can’t enjoy this moment… I don’t spend much time here, myself… instead…I end up in the black. That’s usually a term for not being in debt, but I’m crazy in debt… For me in the black refers to the void. When I get dragged down, you can see nail tracks in the grey as I speed past it down into the black. It’s where my soul goes to die. I don’t like it there, as you might imagine. It’s like my brain is stuck in a tar pit. Everything I try to do to get out makes the experience worse. I get dragged farther and farther down until I can’t even see a glimmer of the white zone anymore. It’s usually when I curl up somewhere (the shower is a great curling spot) and just try not to feel anything.
Feeling nothing is better than the black. Or maybe it’s part of it. I’m never sure. I just know that if I can manage to feel nothing, I can resurface somewhere in the gray or beige zone and work from there. The important thing is to get out of the black… to find some way to rise up out of the darkness and not kill myself or something equally as irrational and stupid (because all that shit makes perfect sense in the black).
At work or anywhere that isn’t home, however, I can’t curl in a ball somewhere and wait it out. No, instead I have to figure out some way to claw my way out of the black without losing my composure… without anyone noticing. Some attempts are better than others. Sometimes I can sit at my desk, take a Xanax, and listen to music until I’m kind of okay. Sometimes I end up snapping at people. Sometimes I end up hiding in the bathroom until I’m sure I’m not going to lose it. None of these things are particularly effective. I’m going to be in the gray or the black all day. There’s no way to pull myself out, because I have nowhere to reset.
Today that overwhelming feeling of of black has decided that I’m not going to eat. Fortunately, I’m fat from all the binge eating I usually do when I’m upset, so I won’t actually suffer for it, but it does give me a queasy feeling that makes me irrationally sad. Also, I’m cancelling things I love… I might re-up later, but when I get like this I just want to get rid of everything I own or do, and just stay in my house forever…. never seeing anyone, never leaving, just me and the dogs… maybe order some books from the internet to occupy my mind… It’s a bad feeling. I don’t like it. I don’t like this side of me. I don’t like the monster I turn into when my moods change.
Nothing’s going to make this right, right now. Maybe when I get home eight or so hours from now, then it will all be fine. Maybe I can crawl into bed and sleep it off, or cry it out, or throw something at a wall and watch the shattered pieces as a metaphor for my insides…