I hate the word Normal. Though many of us strive to be considered “normal”, I believe that my version of normal is never going to be the same as someone else’s. I have become well aware that no matter how hard I try to minimize the crazy in my life, I will always have this bipolar bug inside me. Its part of who I am and I sit here typing this knowing that I am bipolar. My question is does the “normal” me have to be the “real” me?
Last week whilst taking my medication and trying to be a model citizen living with bipolar disorder, I under went a touch of the fiery mania. I was eating about one small meal a day on some days and as far as sleep was concerned: I was only getting an hour or two on some nights. I went out and partied and even maniacally thought that I would give up drinking in hopes of loosing weight. I had the usual spending splurges and sex galore and even tried making new friends on the hunt for a the big R word. … Relationship.
Sunday Bloody Sunday
All this ended at its height on Sunday night and into Monday morning. Sunday I was feeling euphoric and though I had felt like I was ramping up even higher I decided to meet my friend to exchange our Christmas gifts. I laugh at the irony now but we met in Boystown right out front of Steam Works here in Chicago. I had left work and my outfit was terrible. I was wearing wellington boots, Black skinny jeans, a grey t-shirt (my normal uniform), and I had on this obnoxious white down coat that comes to my mid knee. I looked like a wealthy homeless person as I stood there in front of Steam Works. With shopping bag in hand we exchanged gifts and as I admired the adorable package (on the GIFT not my friend!) I almost began to weep as my heart sank in awe of what he had bought me.
The gift was perfect. It was heartfelt and touched me and instead of crying I exclaimed “Lets have a drink!”. We walked into our Sunday go to spot: Roscoe’s. While we entered the bar we could see that the entire bar was packed with people and holiday festivities such as ugly fucking sweaters and Christmas music playing. With the usual one-dollar Miller Lites in hand, my friend and I began talking about his upcoming birthday celebrations ant stuff like that. Though it was only four-o-clock in the afternoon, I began to feel even more amazing as there were a ton of hotties there. I thought that this would be the time and place that I would end this quest for love.
One beer after another I decided to let my friend and the cutie he had been seeing at one point rekindle their flame as I decided to mingle and find Prince Charming as I only had till midnight or my last Metra to my home in the burbs would turn back into a pumpkin and I would be stuck in the city having to fend for myself and my shopping back of stuff that I had just bought. I met a few friends and wished another a happy birthday as I threw a ten dollar bill at him and insisted that was my gift to him. I immediately ran to check my coat as I had caught a case of the dance fever. Throwing my coat and bag at the coat checking cutie, I decided to run all the way to the dance floor and launch my self like ten lords a-leaping onto the stage and began to dance as if I was Ms. Britney Spears herself. Catching the eye of one cutie sitting there as his other two friends danced I decided to make out with him and I don’t really remember anything about him other than he felt like soft cotton and smelled of Burberry London cologne.
He got bored in my manic brain so I went onto meet more people and at one point signed up to win tickets to a Kesha concert via a Kiss FM booth that was set up. (Ironically I didn’t win but the friend who I threw ten dollars at did.) After dancing and deciding that I would spend the whole night partying, I realized that it was midnight and time for me to move on to better things.
My friend and I kissed each other farewell as we parted ways and I immediately felt the alcohol, medication, 1.5 hours of sleep, and mania stir like a potion in my empty stomach as I began to felt sick. I got an uber and after about a mile I asked for him to let me out as I felt like I was going to be sick. After he left I stood there as my whole manic world went from spinning to black and I threw up the few beers that I had. I sat there on the cold sidewalk feeling the worst in myself and after about thirty minute of me thinking I could recover and walk my self to shelter from the cold and windy city, I gave up.
I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to end everything right there. I felt defeated and terrible as a person. I thought that I had become a lonely burden that couldn’t ever have a relationship that worked well…. Not even with food. That’s where I decided to call my mom and ask her to pick me up. At this point I didn’t care what happened next. I sat there for about twenty more minutes and as people walked past and asked if I was ok, I exclaimed, “Yes! Just chilling!” which was ironic as it was around twenty degrees out that night.
I got up and decided to “go to safety” as that time of night. I grabbed a cab to the Starbucks on North Ave. and Wells as I knew that they were open twenty-four hours. As I thanked the cab driver and swiped my car the little machine had blared in red lettering and a loud sound. “DECLINED” was all I aw as I panicked. All I had was four singles in my pocket and as I continued to keep swiping my card the cab driver got angry and I gave him the four dollars and as he began yelling at me I yelled, “You’re lucky I don’t have you deported!” and he drove off as if I held a gun to him. It was me alone and broke with nothing. I was standing there as an even lower version of myself until the brilliant idea popped into my head that I could bother my aunt and start calling her. It was very late in the night but she was kind enough to allow me to wait at her apartment on the Gold Coast as I waited for my mom to pick me up.
I got to her apartment and my uncle had greeted me downstairs and I just remember having to reveal that this was not the real me and I had to apologize that I am not always this out of control. I had also had to explain that I was having issues with my medication. And my aunt had stated that the drugs can become resilient and that having a little bit of alcohol with them was bad too. My uncle made me a sandwich and she tried to question my manic and slightly disoriented self about what was happening.
My sister got there with my mom and and she came into talk to my aunt and catch up and as I got into the car, I fell asleep and woke up a couple hours later for my Monday morning work day.
Monday after was awkward. I was crashed and though I just welt a little nauses from he alcohol and empty stomach/medication issue, I went to work early then I went to my therapist office to explain how my week over all had gone.
I felt ashamed as there have been two things that my therapist has kind of been asking me about lately. What was my mood like for the past week? And What was my eating like for the past week?
Both of these questions brought me shame. I had been manic all week. I had been not sleeping, working on school work, yelling at the people at the phone store over my cracked iPhone screen, and sleeping with people left and right. I had also been eating around four-hudred calories a day on average and though my medication compliance was great, I was broke and felt empty.
After working together she helped me realize that I do blame myself a whole lot for what I do when I am manic and although I know that I have to hold my self accountable, I have realized that my manic self is not me.
If this is the case then who am I?
The Manic Alex is everyone’s favourite. He’s fun, he’s silly and tells jokes, hell sleep with everyone, hell become super creative and fight for what he wants. These sound like all great things but the manic Alex always lights a match to the gasoline that is my life.
I have finally level back to myself and I like the REAL me. Yes I have no money and messed up with my family and some of those around me and I can tell you all right now that I can never walk into the Sprint Store, but I am content with things. I don’t feel like my brain is on fire. Every just is.
Right now I don’t want to be my manic self. I love him but like some things we love, I need to let manic Alex go. My therapist and I made manic Alex a name. Though I call him Mr. Hyde, His real name is Oliver. Oliver I named after Oliver Twist. Oliver likes an adventure no matter what he has to do for it. He always looks tired and gaunt and doesn’t eat. He also lives a life that is controlled by other forces around him. Though I love the name Oliver, I am not him. I am Alex. I am a kind, caring, down to earth, quiet, guy next door who loves animals and cuddling. While I sit here in my own realization on who am I am and who I want to be I come to the even bigger realization that I am lonely. I don’t want partners just for sex. I want to find friends and relationships (that R word again), and wholesome good things. I want to spend time with my family and create family or family life with someone.
I write this as something that I can look back at the next time I start to feel that little manic mist covering my skin.
Life goes on but one day it stops. I need to start thinking of what I have to go for and what Ill have when it stops.