The Break

Lately I have been acutely aware of the Break. The Break is what happens when the depression or the mania snaps and you’re back on level ground. Weight lifting does it, food can and drugs can help it. I was angry, so angry I was telling people who weren’t there exactly what I thought of them, and it wasn’t anything nice. One of my ex-friends is currently the victim of those diatribes, and one of my arguments against her is that she won’t tell anyone anything to her face. She will bitch (ooh! bad word!) about just about anyone and their kids but never says anything to anyone in person. The dressing down she gave me was delivered instant message, Facebook IM, no less. Stupid if you are a teenager, and altogether ridiculous if you are in your forties. The funny thing about this, obvious to most of you, is that I speak to the wall, not to her face. I avoid her real like face as much as possible.

Anyway, I was ruminating and hating and slicing lemons with the intention of slicing my wrists next. Can you imagine? If slicing your wrists wasn’t enough pain, let’s add a citrus fruit into the mix. Minutes before I told my husband, “I’m so angry and sad, I don’t know what it is.” He said he knew: My grandfather is very sick and will probably die soon. We saw him last week, but I wanted to go see him (about 2 1/2 hours away) this weekend. Problem is that it costs between $80-$100 to get there. We get paid Wednesday, and that is soon, but we’ve next to nothing in our account and don’t want to end up in that situation. I hate money. It ruins things, especially plans and health.

But the reason for a angry depression for a bipolar person is almost inconsequential. It makes sense that I am sad that my grandfather will not live for very much longer. What doesn’t make sense is that I think injuring myself is a way to deal with the pain. It doesn’t – it just makes things worse. There are things that can make it better, and I’ve just recently discovered them. I will tell them to you, but if you use them, you must give me credit. I mean it.

Number One Way: Lifting weights or some other hard exercise. Walking will do it, but you have to take long walks. Lifting weights is faster for me. I am so frustrated and so angry one minute and perfectly okay the next. When I was in the sixth grade I had a very bad allergic reaction to a certain type of shampoo. We went to the emergency and they gave me a shot of adrenaline. It made me shake and made the rash go away almost immediately. Today, lifting felt like an injection of adrenaline. Once, while I was going through a very bad break-up, I once walked for 2 1/2 hours – I covered a good part of a large city. It took a while but I had that same loose, simple feeling. I was teaching myself to jump rope (at the age of 35) I got that feeling when I jumped to 73 – the furthest I have gone without tripping over the rope. Is it an adrenaline jolt? I don’t think so, because with the burst I shook. However, I do shake sometimes thanks to the Lithium. Next time, I’ll take note.

Number Two Way: Eating and drinking. I like Milky Ways and lots of them. When they are on sale I like to buy four of them – original and dark, and eat them in the car on the way home. It is not very far from the pharmacy to my front door. I used to drink a lot. Rum was my specialty. I quit about five years ago and never looked back.

Number three way: Ideas. Sometimes, when I learn something knew, the mood breaks and I’m free. This can be reading something in Hebrew, or learning something new about the Bible.

Number four: Listening to confessions. It fixes the speaker and it fixes the leader. It depends on the severity of the confession. Is the confessor talking about eating a dozen cookies or of involuntary man-slaughter?

Sleep can work too, but don’t go overboard. If you sleep for three+ hours you are not doing yourself any favors. I am able to take 45 minute to 120 minute naps without ruining a night’s sleep. You probably can’t, especially if you are bipolar like me. I’m really good at sleeping. It’s my one defined talent.

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