Just Go See.

Posted: 14 December 2008 in therapy

Sometimes I am amazing.  I can do everything and then some.  I can produce, conceptualize and develop.  I’m brilliant and quick, I’m rested and enthusiastic and competent.  I know what you’re going to say and I know what you’re thinking.  Those are good times, and while they aren’t are frequent as I’d like, those times come often. 

Then sometimes, I’m irritable.  My speed turns into impatience that you’re going so slow.  I’m edgy, jittery and productive, but sloppy.  I don’t want to produce, conceptualize or develop, but I will I if I have to and I’ll do it at light-speed.  I’d rather do anything else but my work.  I want to do everything else but can’t decide where to start.  I don’t sit still.  Those times come on the heels of impossible brilliance. 

And sometimes, I’m tired.  I can’t sleep enough.  I just want you to be quiet, not ask me to decide, not demand action.  I don’t want to do the things I love.  I don’t want to move.  I’m not interested in whether you’re too slow or too fast, I just wish you’d leave me alone.  I can still produce things, but I can’t conceptualize or develop.  I wouldn’t want to.  These times come, and stay, but they bring with them the hope that the cycle is ending.

About a year ago, I was sitting in a psychiatrist’s office listening to him confirm what I was afraid of.  That this could be bipolar, and that it wasn’t going away.  I listened to him talk to me about management and treatment and remember feeling terrified that he would prescribe something that would take away the brilliance, the movement, the speed, the happiness.  It was a deep knife in my stomach, twisting with the idea that I might be stuck in the not-caring, or worse, stuck with nothing, stuck in somewhere flat.

Flat seems like the worst possibility.  I don’t want to be flat.  I like the times where I feel like I have superpowers, life is so easy, so fast.  Sure, I procrastinate for a week or two when I just can’t manage to think past checking my email.  And sure, it helps that my wife pays most of the bills so that all I have to worry about forgetting is the rent.  But it seems like a fair trade off for moments of genius, moments thick with motivation and accomplishment. 

In the end, he didn’t prescribe anything.  He was more cautious of my security clearance than I was and knew that I’d have some explaining…some evaluation…to do to keep my life.  We could manage the lows, he said, but my physician could do that without risking anything.  What he didn’t know was that I didn’t want to keep my life.  Two months before my security clearance needed to be reviewed I left it behind, so I never had to say, yes, I’ve been to a psychiatrist.  Am I unfit to do government work?  Certainly not, at least, not according to ten years of supervisors.  It seems unreasonable that doing something as simple as managing my moods could put my clearance at risk.

But now I’m free of that particular yoke around my neck and it’s a year later.  Things haven’t gotten worse or better.  I make a point not to drive too fast, spend too much.  Sometimes it’s hard, but I know what to look for.  I seem to be managing the good times, but I’m doing a poor job of keeping the other two thirds of my life in check.  I’m sure my wife would like me to smile, like me to be more patient.  I’m sure I’d like to feel better about myself, too.

And so it’s back to a therapist tomorrow as the first step in decided what to do next.  I still feel that awful twisting as I think about losing the energy – what I think of as my true self – but I’m trying to look at it as a go see.  Ge see what can be done.  Go see who in town is good for this sort of thing.  Go see what’s next.

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