It’s a funny thing, being a disabled veteran.
Sometimes, you cannot get the VA to pay any attention to you at all. You cajole, you plead, you lob protests over the wall with rocket-propelled cats (a favorite tactic from the 16th century – look it up), but nothing seems to work. Then, suddenly, everything changes and they want you, all at once, for everything. All that dental work they identified in February? Let’s do it over a ten-day span. Including a wisdom tooth coming out. Let’s finally look at you for diabetes. For your eyesight. For your GI issues. Your sleep issues. Suddenly I have more at home monitoring equipment and meds than I can shake a stick at. Plus my regular daily routine I’m already on.
Some of this was bound to interact badly – and it did.
For those not keeping score at home, I was diagnosed in late 1998 as Bipolar- specifically, BPD II. I’ve advanced into a case of rapid cycling, where I bounce up and down between manic and depressive states more than twice in a calendar year. For me, it’s much more frequent than that, although the peaks and valleys are pretty well controlled by medication.
Sometimes, when there’s an outside stressor interfering, like, say, extreme pain and medication from a tooth extraction, it can interfere with my own protocols for bipolar treatment and cause an outlier reaction. That’s what happened. We managed to trigger an intense manic phase that lasted just over two weeks. I’m just landing from it now.
In the past, such phases have resulted in wildly different behaviors. In 2011, one such phase saw me complete my first novel. Another in 2008 saw me become involved in a relationship – non-sexual, but still a huge mistake – that influenced the end of my marriage. Another in 2004 resulted in my losing my job and having to declare bankruptcy.
What did I get this time? It appears I ended up with a saving roll because I ended up channeling Martha Stewart. I redecorated my house, bought some furniture, paid off some bills and reorganized my closets. I have sets of photos ready to send off to be digitized.
But what I didn’t do was write. All of my writing projects – the novels, the Disney projects, even the website projects – all of them ground to a halt. I barely maintained daily posts on The Tao of Maud.
The thing is, in the middle of it, I had no idea I was manic. I just felt like everything I was doing was normal. I met with friends at Epcot, so I drove up I-4 to meet them, going 120 miles an hour. I should have died, or killed someone else, but I absolutely knew while I was driving where I was going, where every other car was going to be and more. It was like being hyper-aware, as I have described my character Steve in my novels. The world moves in slow-motion compared to me in these moments, and it seems completely normal. Of course, that’s not true, and it’s dangerous as hell – but I’m oblivious.
Eventually, it fades, and you come back to equilibrium. That’s where I am now. I’m working with my MD to stay balanced, and keep everyone, including myself, safe. Apologies to my readers, I will be back in the saddle in the next couple of days putting fingers to keyboard as well.