Hello, blogging world. It’s your friendly, neighborhood bipolar writer. Of, at least, one of them. Today, I don’t have anything specific to tell you. Instead, I’m just going to talk about me for a little bit and the concept of losing time.
I was diagnosed as bipolar in 1995. It took a good three years from then for my good doctors (and a few terrible ones) to find the right cocktail that would keep me from either extreme mania or crippling depression. The last 15 years have been relatively stable.
That means I have a full 28 years of experience of living and coping with the disease. I know the warning signs and generally the right course to take.
Or, at least, I think I do.Bipolar Disorder Symptom Checklist
I left a long-term job in January of this year. It was the right thing to do because the job and environment had become untenable. I have not regretted it for a moment. In fact, I knew for years that I should leave the job, but fear of the unknown kept me stuck for a long time.
Change is not always a good thing when living under the bipolar cloud. I have some history of becoming a little off balance (or maybe a lot, but that’s a whole other Dr. Phil episode) and then eventually entering a death spiral.
This isn’t one of those times, I think, but I am concerned about a few things.
First, let me preface that a lot of bad and big stressors have been thrown at me recently. A very good friend confessed to an ongoing drug problem. Another dear friend was diagnosed with stage three cancer. Still another family friend is in hospice and not expected to make it through the weekend.
So, if I am a bit off balance, there’s some good reason for it.
Where Did The Time Go?
Of my closest bipolar friends, most have never experienced the sensation of losing time. If you have not experienced it, I don’t think there’s really an easy way to explain it. That probably means that I am an oddity even amongst the bipolar crowd.
Anyway, losing time is a little like the sensation you get in the car when you have a lot on your mind. Suddenly, you find yourself in a part of town or on a road and you don’t remember how you got there.
It’s a pretty common thing, and even my “healthy” friends have experienced it when under a lot a stress or overly tired.
I’ve heard others describe it as being similar to being black-out drunk. I’m not much of a drinker, and when I did drink, I had an unusually high tolerance for alcohol.
The obvious difference I have to point out is that it’s usually obvious when someone is drunk. A bipolar person losing time may appear perfectly normal.
Losing time, at least for me, is a lot more involved than a few minutes of inattentive driving. Usually, I lose hours, days, and sometimes weeks. Lately, it’s been the latter.
It’s hard to explain losing time to someone that has never experienced it. I tried once with a good buddy, but he kept saying, “But you seemed normal last week.”
I guess he thought that if I lost time I should have been comatose during that same time. If only it were that simple.
Where Did The Money Go?
I have lived this life long enough to know that losing time is most often a part of or precursor to a manic episode. That should be enough to send cold chills down my spine.
Unfortunately, with the missing time, there is usually missing money (and lots of missing food.)
If you’re still not clear on the missing time concept, just imagine a day or several days going by. You lived your normal life, did your job, cared for your family, but at the end of the time period, you are left with no memory of what happened.
Next, there are the surprises. Perhaps, the ingredients you bought to make something special are suddenly missing from the kitchen. Packages start showing up from purchases you don’t remember making. Friends talk amongst themselves over strange things you’ve said, but no one tells you what you said.
You were there. Therefore, you should know.
But you don’t.
Where Did The Sleep Go?
In addition to losing time, I have also been sleeping very little. I think I’m averaging about three hours a night for the past three weeks. Considerably less some nights, but never more than four hours a night.
That alone should be a huge red flag.
WARNING! MANIC EPISODE APPROACHING!
But, the thing is, I don’t feel manic. I’ve not been especially productive, and I’m not making terrible decisions.
Is it mania or something else? I don’t know. It’s not the same as other times, so I decided I would sit down and try to hash it out in print.
No epiphanies this far. Unless, maybe, you’re having one. If so, I hope you share.
Not Gonna Worry
As I’ve said, I’ve danced with the devil bipolar for some time now. I know when things are turning seriously bad, when I feel the ice crack beneath my feet and the darkness grabs at my heels from beneath the surface. I’m aware of the feeling of drowning and gasping for the air of sanity.
This experience doesn’t feel like that. So, I’m not gonna worry.
I know this dance. Losing time or not, I learned to lead a long time ago.
Do your best, dear bipolar. You are not going to win this time.
Thanks for coming by and for letting me rant a little bit. I hope you are doing well.
Until next time, keep fighting.