In this minute, in this hour, in my bedroom, I am in an episode. I don’t function well, I shake, I stutter, my memory comes and goes. I would paint, but I’m too far gone. Typing is a challenge. I shake, I twitch. My soul hurts. I don’t understand why everyone is different. We’re all humans, but we each live a completely individual experience, alone. We’re each alone. We interact, but no one will ever see out of my eyes but me. My brain goes into a deep spiral. It starts off small, with a triggering event or thought. Missing meds, missing sleep, not eating enough, and traveling all cause episodes. Guaranteed. I volunteer for them sometimes, if I need to do something for someone else, like missing sleep and traveling to see my grandfather just before he died, and then making the same trip a week later for the funeral. It’s not as bad if I know the episode is coming. I can prepare. There are meds, meditations, breathing techniques, and mindfulness practices. Mix and match, whatever is most comforting. Tonight I’ve chosen to hide in my bedroom and watch tv. Television is great for turning off your brain. So is reading, if I can concentrate enough, instead of running my eyes over the same passage repeatedly while my thoughts are racing or yelling or being hurtful. This is what my brain does. Bipolar II, rapid cycling, mixed state with psychotic features. Rolls off the tongue. I’m also currently diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder, but it’s all rolled up into one brain.
Episodes are like storms. First the clouds begin to gather and get dark. Then it starts sprinkling, and I start to cry. It rains, and I’m pelted with abusive thoughts. There’s the lightning of racing thoughts, and thunder of rolling sadness; I jump out of my skin with fear. The rain gets more intense and so do my tears. My body is wracked with sobs. Eventually, the rain begins to lessen. The sky gets a little lighter. Usually by that point I am exhausted, my brain and body depleted of energy, but I am also very grateful that the storm is over. Extremely grateful. I hope I get there soon.
By Emily Harrington