Hello darkness, my old friend.
I expect sine waves:
But I’m more like bouncing along at the top of that wave, doing a smaller sine wave between and high and “moderately high”. High being my highest points of hypo-mania and “moderate” being “appears normal, if positive and productive” to the outside world, like I mentioned in “That Guy with the Energy”.
I keep coming back to the fear of changes in my symptoms. It’s been a few weeks now and this is I think the third ride up the wave where I thought I was headed down to “normalcy” / flat / plateau and instead there was another kink in the roller coaster and back up we go.
Well, not “we”. “We” don’t go up and down. That’s just me – not those around me. It’s just you, not your friends. Not your family. If your friends and family even know.
I don’t talk about my cyclothymia with that many other people. I probably should. At the very least, I should have a good therapist.
A friend is working with a therapist to work through grieving the loss of an immediate family member. When this was mentioned, all I said on the subject was: “I’ve thought about going to a therapist”. I’m sure it came off as trite or dismissive. In reality, I meant it with all sincerity and envied that he had taken the step to do it (for different reasons than my own need) and that he was finding it helpful.
A different friend struggles with depression regularly. But, recently, has been sharing more about his efforts and his successes and how he tackles it. When this was mentioned, all I chimed in with was: “Yeah, I’ve experienced some of that”. I know that my friend understood more, but I still haven’t done a full deep dive with him. I may in the next while.
Before the time when I used “cyclothymia” as my lens for viewing my symptoms, I was with my family for some holidays – that is, my immediate “siblings and parents who I grew up with”. I had been very stressed at work for many months, I had been experiencing a lot more symptoms and was generally starting to be appear that I was dealing with some mental health issues. But I had no idea what those were. I didn’t have a name for them. I didn’t have any kind of short description or list of symptoms. I didn’t understand it very well yet.
I was at the early stages of learning and it was a bit like spelunking in a large cavern and I was just in the mouth of the cavern and no one had turned on any lights. I could tell that I was in a kind of place that was new – the echoe-y sounds, the cool moist air – but I didn’t know where I was or what it was like. I had no idea where the walls were.
“Crazy” I called it. “My particular kind of crazy”. I wasn’t particularly ashamed of it. I realized that we all have our particular eccentricities and when, over dinner, I just exploded in a fit of anxiety – over nothing that should have caused it – and had to leave the table to get some space to think, I ended up explaining it as my struggles with anxiety and “my particular kind of crazy”.
* crickets *
That was some lonely silence. It wasn’t the sort of topic “to be discussed” and it seemed clear that no one else could relate at all. But I had had an outburst that needed explaining, it wasn’t as though I could pretend I had left the table coughing. Something needed to be said as to what had happened.
I imagine that scene going differently now. First, I’m way less likely to have my anxiety get out of control, so it is a lot less likely to happen. Second, I would explain it better – because I understand it better. A short description and then I’d have a lot of more information if any questions were asked.
But I would still feel weird about it.
And so, mostly, except with a few people or in some round-about ways, I don’t talk about it.
Do better than me. And I will work to do better as well.
This is an illness, like other illnesses. I’ve never been embarrassed at having the flu or a cough. But this public stigma is a whole different topic for another day – a future day when I’m more clear on the topic.
 Though I’m starting to realize that maybe this “regular” shape isn’t “regular” to my experience and maybe I should adjust my expectations.
 That’s why I am talking to you, dear reader. That’s why this blog exists.
 Though I was embarrassed by my actions.
…and you thought I was going to include a Simon & Garfunkel reference. Nope. I’m not here whispering in the sound of silence.