January 18, 2013

We're all mad here

Sane, together, calm, rational moments are a knifes edge, always have been for me.

I’ve gotten better over the years at managing the ever expanding spirals, the ups and downs, the rollercoaster, the endless pits of despair and the over whelming moments of euphoria that come on for no reason what so ever. I’ve learned to manage in situations with other people that feel alien to me; not as well as I would like, but I manage all the same. My attempts at fitting in feel wooden to me a lot of the time, but it can’t be helped. Certain situations are not places that my normal behavior, thoughts and words would be appropriate.

The fact I can tell a lot of those situations from others was a big accomplishment for me and took me more years than I care to admit to. The fact I still can’t tell them all is frustrating beyond words sometimes. I’ve always marveled at people who just know those situations without effort. When I was younger I used to wish I could; now I wish I didn’t have to. My impression of what I think is expected is the best I can come up with. It is a process.

I don’t understand the vast majority of people’s motivations; in fact I think a large percentage of people are out of their fucking minds. The way a lot of people act appears to be nonsensical, pointless and often counter intuitive to me. It’s like being Alice at the tea party, everyone is out of their minds and I’m the one who is out of place. Consequently, my best impression still isn’t dead on and I doubt I’ll ever get it totally right.

I realize all too well how awkward it often comes across when I try to integrate myself or have a conversation. I suspect that people who know me through those sorts of associations think I am a vastly different person than I am. That used to bother me. It doesn’t anymore. That was also a big step for me. The irony of it is when I truly stopped giving a fuck if people liked me or not, more people liked me. I wish I’d known that at 13, though I doubt it would have helped me much.

I love the euphoric feelings, love them. They are pretty much the best thing in the world. They make me feel invincible, in control, and really really good. I’m rested in the mornings. I have creative ideas that come so fast I have to write them down to keep track. My clothes fit better, my makeup is flawless, my hair does what I want. Life feels alive. I want to see everything, do everything. I move more smoothly and end up with less injuries caused by clumsiness. I don’t trip over my words when I get frustrated; I don’t get frustrated much. I don’t fidget, stim, make weird little noises, talk to myself or any of the other countless little idiosyncrasies I do normally that make people uncomfortable or make them think I am weird. Those times are like falling in love over and over again with everything, with life, with art, with family, with myself. They can last for weeks, sometimes months. It’s beautiful. I love not feeling like an actor in my life, the ups are often the only time I feel real or really engaged.

I know that inevitably they wear off. When they do I will want to crawl into a proverbial cave. I’ll wish I could sleep for days and weeks. I won’t want to do anything. I won’t want anything. Colors will dim, food will seem flavorless, my limbs will weigh more than I feel strong enough to lift. Caring about anything becomes too big to bother. In short, I am a miserable wreck when the fall hits. For me the fall has always lasted far longer than the climb. It’s like being drunk for an hour and hung over for a week. Being down feels like I am not really there at all, like I’m not quite a real person, not really invested enough in what is around me to be considered a part of it.

I’ve improved my ability to balance on the edge of the two without falling off; or worse, jumping off. I’ve been a jumper far too much in the past, the pendulum would swing and I would just jump into it and ride whatever wave it was. Bouts of happy madness, or blackness in my soul that felt like it would eat me alive, swallow me or drowned me if I let it. Sometimes I would welcome it when it came. I know how destructive it could be, but I just needed to feel something else from what I’d been stuck in. I sometimes find normal things so mind numbingly boring I have a hard time wanting to balance and I wonder why I bother. I am stuck pretending to some degree for a large part of my day or waiting for something that I can’t name. The waiting is calm compared to anything else; too often it is tinged with the slightest feel of desperation. Like I’m late for something that I am waiting for but I don’t know what it is, so I can’t get to it. Like those dreams where you wake up and can’t remember what was happening, you just have the left over emotions running rampant and no idea why you feel that way. The calm boredom could drive me insane some times.

Being bored is one of the worst things that can happen to me. Being bored generally pushes me into a downward spiral with no lovely ride up first. For me, being bored with life is akin to being dead. I am one of the most easily amused people I know. The most mundane, silly, stupid things will make me happy or entertained. I know how some people view this. Fuck them, I enjoy it. Life is nicer when you can be happy about little stupid things. Fighting boredom while fighting for balance is the hardest thing imaginable, at least to me.

I’ve been actively trying to avoid both ups and downs for a while now. It is like trying to avoid breathing or eating. But when I concentrate really hard, I can get a tenuous grasp on an even keel most of the time. I remind myself of the chaos my head becomes when I don’t try to balance. I remind myself of all the things I have to do, all the things I am responsible for that I can’t let drop. I talk myself into it and try to make peace with the boredom, with the feeling of waiting for something that isn’t really there, the wooden moments and the smiling because I have no fucking clue what words to use. I deal with the looks that tell me that -at that moment- the impression I am doing is not normal enough to be convincing.

I feel responsible for so many things. I logically know I am not and cannot be everything I feel like I need to be. But I still do. I try to juggle those things. I try to not be bored. I try to avoid rushing into something I know will crash. I try not to push the self-destruct button that I’ve been playing with since I was a child. I try to remind myself that balance keeps me healthy even if I don’t feel like it. I try to smile and not say what I am thinking when I know it would be a disaster. I try to manage under the weight of all of it. I try to do everything on the little check list I have in my head of Things Grown Ups Do. I try not to beat myself up over the fact I can’t check all the boxes and most likely will never be capable of checking some of them. I try to be everything that I think I am supposed to be in my head, even the things that I know I can’t be. Those are the hardest, the ones you know aren’t possible but you think you should be able to. I deal with all of it.

It is exhausting and it is invisible.

If I do it right, no one notices. Nothing seems amiss, even though I am struggling under the weight of the effort. I sometimes think that makes it harder to do; because when done correctly it appears as if I am doing nothing at all. The reality is I am often so close to drowning or suffocating under the weight of it, I don’t know how I manage. That is when I seem the most normal and functional.

I don’t know why I am writing this all out now, except that my head feels like I am going to explode and I needed to get it out of me. It came up slowly, creeping up on me quietly before it just crashed down. I’d almost forgotten. I was worn down and I forgot how easily it takes hold of me. I’ve been doing a good job. It’s been almost 2 years since my last drop into the empty pit of wallowing misery, which is the longest I’ve ever gone in my entire life. It’s been a long and fairly even two years. I feel like a failure that it is sucking me back in, which makes me feel worse and obviously doesn’t help pull me out. All the logic in the world isn’t helping me the last couple days.

I don’t know what I hoped to accomplish by writing it down. Maybe I just needed to give all these feelings words instead of swallowing them. I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know how long it will last this time. I’m scared that I’ve forgotten how to pull back from it. I keep going through the motions of what balanced me does like some sort of mantra superstitious people say to ward off evil. I don’t know if it is working or if it will help. I didn’t miss this. I am scared of being put back on the rollercoaster after I fought so hard to be off of it. I keep telling myself it will go away, it always does eventually. I almost believe it right now. I might not by dinner time though.

I forgot how long 5 days feels when I am like this. I’ve had school years that went by faster than this week did. Fuck I am tired.

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