The Play Date…

gossip-mums.jpg
Woman Shares a Secret

I have always felt different.  I don’t mean this in a ‘woe is me’ kind of way but more a 2+2=4 kind of way.  It’s just how it is.  I have never fitted in.  That’s not to say that people don’t like me.  I’ve always had the ability to relate to people regardless of background or belief.  My school years (at school) were happy ones (it was just my home life that led to my adult-life fucked-upedness; that’s a word right?)  – my personality meant that although not belonging to a ‘click’ I  was able to laugh and joke with the loners, the geeks and the popular kids, as well as the teachers.  At college it served me well; I was the weird goth girl with the great sense of humour, who was always game for a laugh.

It was only when I hit adult life that it really started to cause me issues.  I have noticed that so often as people ‘grow up’, fall into long-term relationships and have children, their personalities dissipate.  Now, I’m sorry if I come across as immature to others but I refused to lose my personality along with the placenta when I gave birth to ‘The Kid’.

What is it about becoming a mum that makes some people so FUCKING dull?  I’m sorry but just because becoming a parent is the greatest thing ever; does not mean that your entire conversational ‘gems’ have to be about strollers, breast feeding and Peppa Pig.  I mean, come on, yawnsville!!!

Yes, I have a child.  Yes, she is my entire world and she comes first.  Do I still want to listen to rock music turned up to 11? Yes.  Do I still want to go gigging every so often with my friends? Erm, damn right I do! Do I still want to laugh with my friends until I cry? Of course.

As a result, the whole ‘mummy group’ things never really worked out for me.  I tried, I really did.  I even pretended to give a fuck about bottle sterilisers for what it was worth but it all came to nothing.  I have no ‘mummy friends’ that have arisen as a result of having my daughter / attending baby/toddler groups / school mum friends etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t resent the fact.  Given the choice, I would much rather hang out with my girls talking about the past, laughing about their dating anecdotes and having fun with people who love and accept who I am and have always been, rather than sit around talking bitching about whose kid is doing what and how fabulous the new kitchen/extension is.  But as a result I suck when put in situations where I have to socialise with ‘mum types.’

My daughter recently hounded me to arrange a play date with her new best friend at school.  The required messages were sent via Facebook after she requested me as a friend (Fuck!) and we went along to meet at the local soft play.

I think I need to accept that I am never going to fit in at these types of scenarios.  Mum and daughter leapt out of their shiny SUV while ‘The Kid’ and I practically tumbled out of my battered old Ford with a mere 193,000 miles on the clock.  ‘Mum’ apologised for the state of herself (she looked immaculate) as she was nursing a raging hangover after a night out on the town with the ‘other mums’.  You see it all the time on Facebook – why is it that total dullards who have fuck all to talk about, suddenly think they’re ‘Girls Gone Wild’ if they mention Prosecco or Shiraz in their statuses enough?  You’re fucking kidding me right?  Drunken chats about the latest Bugaboo?  Craaaaaaazy!!!

I don’t know who was more relieved, her or I when the soft-play centre manager kicked all of the kids out due to a couple that were misbehaving and locked the door.  The play date lasted exactly 35 minutes.  It didn’t feel a minute over 5 hours.

But I love ‘The Kid’ and I don’t want her to feel like the odd one out like I did, so I will continue to set up these damn play-dates.  But I’ll damn well expect payback when I’m old and incontinent…

 

 

Advertisements

Choose life?

5301658a3c5a50b67fc472fe6543582a

If nothing else, this disorder certainly keeps you on your toes.  Crippling depression with bleak and foggy outlook: fast forward 24 hours to: sunny with a chance of mania.

Sleep, or lack of it, is probably the most dangerous trigger as far as I am concerned when trying to manage this unicorn beast.  For the past few months I have been lethargic, bleak and well, grey.  This is probably the longest period of depression I have experienced in several years.

Friday night I did not sleep.  All I can assume is that in my foggy state, I reached for regular tea as opposed to the decaf that I drink after 5pm (I know, I am too rock and roll for words.) Perhaps there was just too much on my mind.  But for whatever reason, the sandman did not arrive.  I tossed and turned in bed.  I took myself to the spare room.  No luck.

I had agreed to cover a fellow instructor’s early morning Z class so there was no chance of of trying to catch up with sleep.  The class went great and the massive rush of endorphins coupled with the lack of sleep, meant that by 11am I was feeling awesome.

See, this is the thing that those uneducated about bipolar sometimes struggle to get their heads around.  If a ‘normie’ gets no sleep, they’re perhaps prone to grumpiness, tiredness and general confusion.  The exact opposite is true with a person who has bipolar disorder.  Just one disrupted night of sleep can result in elevated mood, clarity of thinking, endless energy and hyper-productivity.  Hypo-mania is perfect.  You are able to achieve so many things simultaneously, all whilst displaying good humour and charming wit.  It is the reason that I do not, for the most part, despise this disorder.  Hypomania is the silver lining that surrounds that bitch of a cloud.

But the problem with hypo-mania is it’s the life and soul of the party and is fully aware of the fact.  “Just keep going!” it screams over the stereo, swaying in the euphoria, oblivious to all that surrounds it.  It is here.  Right here, when you have to know when to stop.  It is like hurtling along a single-track road in a convertible with your hair whipping in the wind as you pound the steering wheel along to favourite track and without warning you are faced with an amber light.  You have 2 choices: change down the gears, gently pump the breaks and bring yourself to a halt, as the music continues to blast around you, leaving you feeling slightly embarrassed and out-of-sorts.

Or…floor it.  Pedal to the metal, suck in your breath and brace yourself as you throw caution to the wind and go, go, GO!

It is at this point that you have to hope that there is a sliver of rationality left in amongst the hedonism.  It is at this point where things can go horribly wrong.  It is at this point that you become the side of yourself that you didn’t think existed; hoped didn’t exist.  Didn’t think you were capable of.  It is here that everything seems like a great idea and the Dr Pepper mantra, “What’s the worst that could happen?” pops into your head.  But here’s the thing, no matter how caring and sensible you might be when stable, when you ask yourself that question, the truth is, you don’t give a fuck!  Rationality is a long and distant memory and the consequences of your actions are a mere inconvenience to be dealt with later down the line.

But you feel so damn alive!

So the choice is yours, stop or go?

Push…

mind_devour_by_sebmaestro-d42a4ry

I am seething.  Ready to explode.  I don’t know if it’s a bipolar thing or a B thing but when someone starts shouting at me or a situation becomes confrontational I literally can’t think straight.  My mind turns into treacle and the words that are being shouted at me swim in a thick soup around and around.  “Answer me!” he will shout.  I look at him blankly, trying so hard to retain my composure.  “Well?”  I hold my head in and my hands and exhale, “I don’t know what you are asking me…”  This is not meant to be an inflammatory question but it is like throwing petrol onto a flame.

He thinks this is intentional.  He thinks that I am purposefully being awkward.  Acting in a childlike way in order to avoid confrontation.  Maybe subconsciously I am.  But is any of this intentional? No.  I take deep breaths and rubs my temples slowly with my fingers.  I allow him to rant and when he has finally finished, I mutter, “I can’t do this right now.  I just need some time on my own…” and quietly excuse myself from the room.

I take myself upstairs.  To a place where I can breathe.  Where I can sit in silence and just be.  Allow the fog that is clouding my brain to slowly dissipate.  Except it can’t.  Within seconds, I hear his footsteps as he climbs the stairs with purpose.  He will not let this lie.

I often wonder how we have made it this far.  We could not be more different in so many ways.  I avoid confrontation.  When I am angry, I need time and space to gather my thoughts, clear my mind and think through what it is that I am feeling.  He is the exact opposite, he is fiery, passionate and will shout and scream until it is resolved.  There is no room allowed for ‘breathing space’ in his mindset – “never go to bed on an argument” is his mantra.  He wants things fixing RIGHT. NOW.

I cannot function like this with that soupy mix of words and emotions filling my head to bursting point.  But he cannot, does not, will not, accept this.  And so he pushes, pushes, pushes…

Warmth…

5072523945_249e20ca9e_b

There are very few things that can have an almost immediate impact on my mood.  Music and dance are both things which help but they require the motivation to be used (as a part-time fitness instructor I don’t have much choice about turning up to class, so the regular classes generally help to elevate my mood from the depths).

I often find that nature is one of the greatest contributors to improving my mood.  The last few days have been blacker than usual.  I know that February is always a trigger-point for me and I’m fully aware that the dark mornings, cold weather and reduced daylight hours certainly do not help.  Despite being mindful of these things, it is sadly not enough to tell myself to use ‘mind over matter’ – if only that worked.

But this afternoon as I sat in the park and watched my daughter dizzily spin herself faster and faster on the roundabout, I felt for the first time in many months, the sunlight on my face.  I closed my eyes and felt its warmth creep over my skin and down my body.  The effect was like a solar-charged calculator; watered down, barely visible motions, suddenly becoming clearer and appearing with greater conviction.

I have often wondered how this illness would present if I wasn’t living in England.  If I lived in a warmer climate would I still experience the November-induced mania with February crash?  I’d be interested to know about the experiences of others who live in different climates.

Hello Darkness my old friend…

The Black Dog is back.  Are you fucking kidding me?  Granted, February is without fail the time when my world bottoms out and I plummet but I figured that maybe because that unwelcome fucker had reared its ugly head over 3 months early, that I might be due some respite and perhaps consider, “Ahh I completely fucked up her entire Christmas, leaving it looming like a black clouded mass of confusion in the back of her mind (I literally remember nothing but the thoughts of death that plagued me), you know what I’ll give her a break and we’ll skip the usual cycle.”  Apparently not.

It’s not often that I hate this illness.  I’m a glass half full kinda girl but my patience with this disorder is wearing incredibly thin.  I am usually able to consider all of the perks and the vibrancy that comes as part and parcel of this ‘gift’ but I’m not gonna lie, I’m struggling at the moment.

I can’t even remember the last time that I experienced the perks of this illness – all I can feel at the moment is the sludge and muck of this fucking black cloud that is sucking the life force right out of me.

I am also finding with it that I am making very bad decisions.  My esteem is rock bottom and as a result I am behaving in a way that is not who I am.  I am tolerating shit from people that I would normally tell to go take a running jump.  But right now, I despise who I am so fully that I cannot tolerate watching anyone else walk away and so I am apologising for my existence when deep, deep down I know that I should be the one of the receiving end of apologies.

What the fuck?

The other evening the BBC aired a documentary called ‘The not-so-secret life of a manic depressive: Stephen Fry: 10 years on.’  It did not make for comfortable viewing.  It reminded me that over time, this disorder will more than likely get worse and my episodes more frequent, despite me being one of the ones who religiously takes the meds and nods like a good girl when I am told that I will be on medication for life.

I am not fighting this thing.  I am playing but its petty fucking rules, yet still it seems relentless and insistent upon kicking my ass.  I used to love the person I was – I was proud to be who I was, I embraced my flaws and kookiness.  Right now, I cannot stand myself.  I have become weak, pathetic and desperate, like a street dog just desperate for someone, anyone to notice its existence.

I met a friend for coffee today.  I’m not quite sure how I made it out of the house and into town with my 4-year-old in tow to meet with him but I did.  As I drove the 10 minute journey to shopping centre, I blinked back the pathetic tears of self-loathing, desperate to hide them from my daughter who can sniff out a tear drop from a mile away.

I guess I was scared.  Scared that he would see just the shell of the vibrant woman I used to be.  There are times when you can fake it for all the world to see and you can give the performance of your life.  There are other times when all who glance your way can see you for the fraud that you really are.  Today was one of those days.  As the kindest and most genuine words spilled from his lips, my eyes welled as I struggled desperately not to cry.  What has this illness done to me?  When will it relinquish my soul?

Almost.

hourglass-vector-sketch-old-35901361.jpg

“She’s alive!” *insert Frankenstein’s Bride sample.

I am still here.  I made it through to the other side.  I am not quite sure how, but I did.  I have to admit that the last few months have been the closest I have ever come to doing the unthinkable.  There were times when it was literally all that I could think about.  The constant daydream of that blissful, eternal release.  But I am still here and that, I guess, is the important thing.

The title of today’s musings is ‘Almost’ because that seems to be a running theme of my life.  In recent months, so many incredible things have ‘almost’ happened to me.  Dream jobs, opportunities to live abroad, my story being used to promote a very well-known fitness brand, to name but a few.

But alas, it has all come to nothing.  Those opportunities which were within sniffing distance have passed through my hands like an hourglass sand in its final descent.

I am on the fence regarding these ‘almosts’ – should I apply a philosophy like “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?”  insomuch that I should feel gratitude that I was considered for these opportunities in the first place, or is it ok to feel pissed off that, yet again things have gone wrong, leaving me with an eternal feeling of “Close but no cigar.”

I’m trying not to dwell on it and to tell myself that these things just obviously weren’t meant to be but seriously, is it ever gonna be my time?

Apologies for sounding like a brat, I’ll rise above it all. Soon.