The Blur of Bipolar Disorder


I’ve always been the type of person who has trouble staying still. Constantly moving from one thing to the next, or at least wanting to. It’s hard for me to make a decision because I can’t choose just one thing or focus on one thing. And the worse things get, the faster I want to move. The less I want to slow down or stop or be quiet. I move as quickly as possible to the next job, the next bottle of wine, the next person, party, hobby. I can’t even focus on a 20-minute television show for more than five minutes. I can’t do what I love — reading or writing or digesting a film or a record because that would involve me being still and I can’t be still because that means addressing what is happening. Admitting there is a problem. Realizing I’m once again broken. So I speed. I zig and I zag and I am too much. I drink too much. I cry too much. I buy too much. I go as fast as I can for as long as I can until I can’t do it anymore. Until I physically can’t take another step. Until I can’t feel too much anymore.

Until I’m done.

Until I am broken and all I can manage now is to turn off all the lights and sleep and try and remember how I got to this point.

Because by this point all I can remember are blurs.

A blur of me sitting in my car in the rain and crying on the phone while my boyfriend tries to understand why I’m crying.

A blur of me huddled under the covers while my dog remains loyally cemented to the foot of my bed keeping watch.

A blur of me dashing out the door with nowhere to really go because I want to avoid talking about anything that matters with my roommate.

A blur of seeing my mom’s name show up on the phone screen and turning it over so I can pretend I never saw the call.

I remember something about laughing but it’s faint and I can’t remember what was so funny. Something about music but none of the songs make me feel anything. Something about reading but nothing on the pages grabs my attention. Something about nature but
I don’t want to leave my bed. I drive over a bridge and for a moment imagine what it would be like to go over the side. Would it hurt? Would I feel something, anything?

And then I’m in a long abandoned antique mall’s parking lot screaming and choking because I wished it would actually happen. That it would all be over. That I would maybe feel something when I hit the water. But I also don’t want to feel anything or think about anything ever again.

I want everyone to leave me alone but I sob when I think my wish might actually come true. I dream about being surrounded by people and all of them hate me. I dream about everyone I love leaving me and screwing me over. I wake up screaming and scared and shaking. Most of all I wake up angry. I carry this anger around. I wrap myself in it. My journal becomes a scribble of messy, heavy bits of prose and lyrics. I’m angry with myself for letting this happen again and I want everyone to be angry with me, too. I want to feel
something, anything. I stand outside in just a t-shirt. I can see my breath but I’m not cold. I still don’t feel anything. And then all of a sudden I realize I’m sitting on my bed while my roommate sits on one of the numerous mounds of clothes that covers my floor.

“This is the lowest I’ve seen you.”

I get lunch with my mom.

“You just don’t seem like your usual sweet self.”

I’m listening again.

Everything is coming back into focus.

I talk on the phone with my boyfriend and don’t spend the entire time in tears.

“I love you.”

And I believe him.

I return texts and phone calls. I sing in the car. I read. I sit on a bench for an hour enjoying how the sun feels hot on my face. I walk outside and shiver because of the cold.

I get up at 7 a.m. and eat a bagel. I spend time deliberately, delicately picking out what to wear. I’m being put back together. But I’m still not there.

The pieces are settling back together. I am settling. I feel quiet inside and I don’t mind.

I stop trying to pack my days full of things one right after the other. I am caught off guard by the scars, but I have a hard time recalling exactly how they got there and am grateful that was a blur. I am grateful because the monsters that terrified me in my dreams were just that — fantastical monsters. I am grateful that though they don’t understand why I can’t pick myself up or crawl out of bed they want to and they try. I am grateful because while he doesn’t understand why, he holds me while my mind moves too fast and everything is just too loud. I am grateful because while she doesn’t understand why, she shares a pint of ice cream and her couch with me while I talk until I have nothing left to say and then it’s OK if I don’t say anything at all. I am grateful because they do understand, at least a little.

I am grateful because they know how it’s going to end and still they stand by patiently, so very close, waiting to push me back up again and again.

Follow this journey on Twenties in Ruin

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

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