It's exhausting. Sometimes it's excruciating. It feels like fire in an enclosed room. The pressure builds, and eventually the air runs out and the fire extinguishes. The windows didn't break this time, but the interior is unsalvageable. The heat subsides and I can focus on things besides the pressure and the pain, but then comes the let-down. Despondency, followed by increasing dissatisfaction with everything about myself and my life. The things that feel so incredibly unjust in my world are suddenly at the forefront of my mind, and I am overtaken by the futility of railing against them.
Some days I wake up and I feel cautiously optimistic. Like "Hey, I feel good. But not TOO good, because you know what THAT means... No, this is just good. Whew!" But then my mood improves, and it happens slooooowly but steadily. I laugh harder at things than I "should". I make impulse purchases. I want to DO things. I feel PRESSURE to DO things. I have to clean. I'm hit with a barrage of ideas and plans, along with the delusional belief that I CAN and WILL accomplish them. I have boundless hope for the future. SO MUCH self esteem. Everything is going to be OK. I'm going to be happy. But I'm not, because at this point I realize that I'm manic. The realization does nothing to change it though. Nothing does. It lasts until I sleep again, usually.
In the morning I will be a wreck. I can't handle even the smallest problem. It's like a "mania-hangover". Sometimes finding an external problem to solve, one that does not affect me directly, helps me to take the focus off of the self pity. And there is a TON of self pity wrapped in a mania-hangover. I am watching myself from a distance, deconstructing in slow motion. I want to help me, this person who is failing so miserably at life. But I am a failure in that as well.
It's a shitty game of chutes and ladders, and if I'm lucky I'll land on "level" for a while. A day, maybe an hour. Every now and then it will last a week, but that hasn't happened in years. I can't figure out the steps to the routine though, and that is what causes me the most trouble. It's like I'm in a synchronized swimming class where the moves change every time I feel like I'm catching on.
"Left arm, right leg, breathe. Just like last time!"
"Wait...but last time we did left leg, right arm... no, that's not right."
"Breathe! You aren't breathing! Everyone else is doing left foot, right armpit...just like last time! Why can't you do this?"
And now, well, I'm tired. I'm tired of writing and I'm tired of feeling. SO tired of micro-monitoring and micro-managing my moods when it seems to have very little effect on the outcome. The only thing that it really does is give me the chance to avoid situations in which I will make an idiot of myself. Knowing that I'm emotionally fragile helps me to avoid freak crying spells in public. Knowing that I'm heading toward mania helps me to avoid getting into situations where I could spend impulsively. Things like that.
But here's the kicker. I CAN'T always tell. AND the moods have no definitive length. Ten minutes, two hours, a day, a week... and anything (or nothing at all) can flip the switch. And right now I just need the switch to flip to "off".