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Posts tagged ‘Stevie Smith’

Not Waving but Drowning

Consider this a trigger warning. The third section is going to talk about some difficult stuff, although in mostly general terms.

Here’s a list of how I know how bad my mood disorder is at any given time. Being bipolar, I cycle in and out of these phases, along with periods of reasonably competent functioning and even, occasionally, contentment or even happiness.

There are basically three stages of increasing dysfunction.

Starting to Sink
My sense of humor takes a hike.
I need more alone time.
I take mega-naps.
I forget that music can help.
I snap at my husband.
Noises irritate me.
I can force myself to work.

Floundering
I don’t want to eat.
I turn off my phone.
I sleep up to 14 hours a day.
Attention span is one hour (or one average book chapter).
I can trick myself into working.

Going Under
Can’t sleep.
Can’t work.
Can’t read.
Attention span: 15 minutes max.
Thinking “Maybe the plane will crash and I won’t have to deal with this anymore.”
Regretting I flushed my stash of pills.
Urge to cut.

Fortunately, I am well-medicated enough that category 3 doesn’t happen nowadays, though I remember it clearly and am appalled. At that point, the only things I can do are keep seeing my doctors and taking my meds. And remember to thank my husband when I come out of it.

(The title of this post is from a poem by Stevie Smith. The last two lines are: I was much too far out all my life / And not waving but drowning.)

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