Monday, November 24, 2008

Thinking Inside the Boxes

I think one of the perils of reading about bipolar disorder is that I start to wonder if I have it.  I think my brother and I both worry about this, that we somehow have it running in our blood, because there seems to be a long family history of undiagnosed "problems" that for most of our lives were chalked up to personality quirks but that now, in this age of diagnosis, seem to form some sort of disturbing pattern.  I'm trying to take comfort in the fact that I may have some of the symptoms of bipolar but that my coping mechanisms and levels of functioning are pretty high.  I mean, I'm doing okay, as my Grandpa Homer would remind me.  Still, one wonders...

And things are going okay, as long as they remain organized in the boxes in my head.  If I can keep the Idaho crisis in the Idaho crisis box, and my home life in its box, and my work life in its box, and spirit in its box, then I do okay.  But if I'm at unchurch and I find myself praying for my mom and dad:  weepsville.  If a co-worker/friend asks about them or about "how I'm doing":  weepsville.  If Addie asks about her Nana:  weepsville.

That's a lot of weepsville, because of course nothing stays in its box the way it's supposed to.  Sometimes the crying is cathartic, but most of the time it's painful and exhausting.  My throat feels raw from choking back sobs, and after an episode I feel like I could sleep for days.  A bit of depression, I'd say.  See paragraph #1.  Worry, worry, guilt, guilt.  Worry, worry, guilt, guilt.  The rhythm of things.

The biggest trigger, though, is when I tell myself about what I'm going through:  mom doing x, dad feeling y, Eric saying z.  My life is one big, dramatic after-school special.  All of this just feels too, too big when looked at all at once.  If I can focus on one thing at a time, allow in moments of grace and peace, I'm okay.  If I try to make sense of it all together, collapse.

But there's lots holding me up.  Eric.  My kids.  My friends.  My family.  Work.  Spirit.  Routine.  There's lots holding me up.  One step at a time, as they say.  One box at a time.

1 comment:

  1. One big dramatic, after-school special. Couldnt have put it better myself. Only problem is its not fiction, and it really, really sucks ass.