Head Above Water…Barely

Tough couple of days circling the mood gamut. Oddly, I never did hit a high or hypomanic spot, just hovered between insanely low and insanely pissed off. Sprinkle in some garden variety generalized anxiety…Mental illness salad.

Every instinct I have says to shut down, to run and hide. It’s so easy to do. I’ve got my old list of rationalizations at the ready.
No one understands, no one gets it, no one cares.
No one would notice if I dropped off the face of the earth and if they did, they’d throw a parade.
Why bother when no one else seems to even try?

If I learned anything from last year’s 8 month depression from hell, it was my own culpability in it. I had people who reached out to me, tried to keep me from going under. And like the child I can be when drowning in the depressive abyss, I smacked their hands away and slammed the door in their face. All my rationalizations insulating me against my own contribution to my problem.
I gave in, I gave up. It was a CHOICE. I tried to fight and it never seemed to do any good but it’s because my own distorted thought wasn’t looking at it the right way. I wanted a cure, I wanted stability and normalcy.
That’s just not gonna happen with cyclothymic bipolar.
What I need to focus on instead is, can I at least force myself to fight it three out of four days? Can I fight my own need to self sabotage by waving the white flag and relinquishing control to the depression simply because it won’t let me have things exactly my way?
Three out of four days, whether you’re in the mood or not, is one hell of an effort. Maybe you don’t get dressed or leave the house. But you get out of bed, you do a few chores, maybe you read. The level of functioning is not as important as the fact that in spite of all the distortion in your mind, you are making an effort to not get dragged down into the abyss.

So having learned a hard lesson last year, and having teetered on the edge of “fuck it all” for the last couple of weeks…
I’ve been allowed a look in the mirror, seeing my own past behavior in that of another. Talk about a wake up call.
It makes me determined to keep fighting, keep doing things I don’t want to do, because if I don’t…Then I really do have only myself to blame. Expecting sympathy or empathy when you won’t even try is asinine. It’s childish, too, and admitting this to myself makes me embarrassed. I’m 41, ffs. Yet there are times I retreat into immature child like behavior and others see it and say something and I am just so convinced I’m right and they are mean and don’t understand…
Once the mirror opens your eyes…
There is no choice but to keep turning on the auto pilot, to keep forcing yourself to take each step, do each task.
Seeing yourself as behaving like a child is a great motivator for finally making a change. It may not be a cure, or drastic, but the effort to change, and the tiny differences it brings about, are all that matter.

So I am rebelling against myself, my own need to self isolate, to shut down, to embrace my misery and blame others for not getting it.
I’ve come to recognize my own acts of self sabotage. Which is not say I have ever faked a day of my illness and struggles. They’ve always been very real,all consuming, and agonizing.
My mistake was surrendering all control to the illness as if I couldn’t make a few choices to defy it.
I want to stay in bed all day? I FORCE myself out and on my feet.
I don’t want to go visit people? I suck it up and visit anyway, because even if I remain miserable, I can at least say I tried.

I’ve been looking for the big change, the big cure, and it’s never going to happen. I set myself up for the fall down the staircase.
I have to accept the importance of the small changes, the small efforts, and give myself credit where it is due and self criticism where it is due.

Maybe I have four days a week of vegetating.
But if self bullying gets me three days of functionality…
Let me throw the first punch at myself.

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