I am sitting here awake in the early dawn hours; long before my alarm is due to go off because my sleep is off again. Insomnia is creeping back into my life and as you know, the fear of hypomania or mania is real for me. It is never a good sign when a seasoned individual on the support group scene once remarked, “I remember your mania. That was a bad one.” I remember most of it too. It was.
I have so many thoughts, so many feelings with the struggle to put things down on paper at times. As if seeing the words in black and white allows them to become more visceral, therefore only making sense that I would procrastinate on writing about these things to avoid the reality of my fears.
I stopped watching Netflix before bed. I read instead. I could bring back the evening shower, a long instilled habit from shift work, to help me wind down more. Last night I sat outside in the backyard, without the fire pit roaring just talking with my husband, completely relaxed. Certainly that should have helped. My alcohol intake is rare due to my medications. Exercise, though. That would help fatigue me more.
I do not understand how working parents find the time to fit exercise in. I’m up early, put in a full day at work, try to enjoy the kids before bed and then it seems it is time for me to retire. The body is willing to sleep; yet the mind is resistant. I like the idea of exercise, my Pinterest board is chock full of exercises I am capable of doing in my unconditioned state. Now the mind is willing, yet the body is resistant.
Do I retire later in the evening? Do I go to bed too early? Is that the issue? I am so afraid if I stay up, then fall asleep on the couch and then move upstairs I will be unable to fall back asleep. How many sleepless nights have I had when something woke me, and my mind could not just stop and relax thereafter? Countless.
My mind. Not my brain, which contains my bipolar disorder but my mind. Me. My intellect. So many thoughts run through it. Am I better or worse for reading so much lately? Everything makes me think. I finished a book two days ago that has just haunted me. While it was someone else’s story told so beautifully, I was devastated when I finished to learn there was one small piece of the story in which the ending was not what I expected. Which made me think: why do some marriages crumble in the face of or the aftermath of an illness and some not?
Why is my husband still here? What makes us so special that we can work through all the crap that bipolar disorder throws at us and come out a better team? Do we bicker? Yes. Do we fight? Sure. Do we disagree on how to handle some issues? All the time. Yet we stay unified and pushed through all the garbage, all the bad and remain loving to each other because at the end of the day if the five of us are still a family then nothing else matters.
Why does that not happen for everyone? It is hard sometimes to comprehend that I am one of the lucky ones in our mental health system. I was able to come back from a serious mental illness and am able to achieve periods of remission. I have been able to go just over three years without needing the hospital again. To have a family who stands by me every single step of the way. I have insurance and more importantly, a provider who accepts insurance to care for me.
This is just a fraction of the things that go through my mind on any given moment, hour, day, night. As someone said earlier today – My shit is real. And it is. It is so very real. For all of us.