Cleaning Out The Cobwebs

I don’t really talk about the details of my mental illness here a lot. When I do mention it, it’s kind of in an oblique way. But tonight I’m going to talk about some really personal things.

I have bipolar disorder, which while I’m on a great couple of meds that keep me feeling pretty good most days, I do occasionally experience what’s called hypomania. Literally, “below mania.” It’s like being able to have super focus, really get into tasks, get all the things done. It’s sleeping a little less, but because you’re not really manic, and that string of depression is still there, you’re still in control and able to steer the boat. You’re still taking care of yourself, eating meals, getting enough sleep, bathing. You’re driven to succeed, and the more you get done, the more you need to do more.

And after a few days, maybe a week, it stops. Now you’ve got the motivation of a sleepy sloth and maybe you will sleep for 12 hours because there’s no real reason to get out of bed.

This is a real thing for me. I just spent 4 days hypomanic and after coming home tonight, I crashed into the don’t cares. But before I crashed, let me tell you what I did.

  • I went to a special sale at my moms work, which was kind of like a mini Black Friday. Between my mom and I, we came home with a lot of stuff.
  • I went through all the stuff and divided it into 5 categories. For Tracy, for Jami, for Jessica, for myself, and to be stashed for future giving.
  • I put everything away that I was going to keep. Not only did I put things away, I reorganized half of my craft room because once I started moving things around, a light went on showing me how I could make everything better.
  • As I worked to reorganize, I started pulling stuff aside to be donated to thrift. As it stands right now, the entire backseat of my car is filled with donations. I didn’t stop at just my craft room. I went through all my clothing, my entire closet, things on shelves in my room. I also selected some things to offer up for free to my online friends.
  • I did 5 or 6 loads of dishes, several loads of laundry, collected the recycling from around the kitchen, and bagged up several kitchen trash bags full of trash. I put the old lemons down the disposal and I cooked a couple meals.
  • I visited with our neighbors. They’re great people, but I tend to keep to myself, so being social like that is also tied into hypomania for me.
  • I worked for several hours on projects. I framed a big project I finished a while ago. I removed some listings from my shop and added others.

And it all came to an end today after taking a big exam in class. I was suddenly exhausted, and had to make myself gas up the car and head home. Once I got home, I heated some leftovers and crawled into bed to watch Netflix. Hypomania over. I don’t even want to get up to pee.

So why am I telling you all this? Because this is how I work. I can’t do anything for weeks and then, if I’m “lucky,” an episode comes on and I get everything done. I make new art. I make jewelry. I stitch some stuff up.

Right now I’m currently taking one single course at a community college. Next semester I’ll be taking two. And two the next semester. And then I’ll be going full time to learn the skills needed to become an MLT. I’m excited but I know it’s going to be hard. I’m going to have days where I just can’t do it. But I want this and I want to put myself in a better place financially. I want to be a functional member of society who is self sufficient.

But I’m taking it one day at a time. Baby steps.

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