I had a difficult day yesterday.
The floor fell out of my little stable platform and the bipolar elevator rocketed into the basement. Wham! Just like that, in the middle of doing laps at the pool, I turned my head for air and nearly choked on a sob. I had to stop and clear my goggles before I could go on.
It happens like that sometimes. With rapid cycling, a person never knows how the next episode will present itself. I’m always surprised.
I’m living an antithetical life, the twist in my brain said. All my energy is focused on negativity—not doing things instead of living and doing. What kind of a shit-hole existence is this?
I couldn’t shake this nihilistic mindset. I spent most of the day in bed.
Change is hard for anyone. Geneen Roth in her book Women, Food and God says this about change:
The biggest obstacle to any kind of transformation is the voice that tells you it’s impossible. It says: You’ve always been like this, you’ll always be like this, what’s the point. No one ever really changes. Might as well eat [or spend money, or do whatever it is you're trying to change]. By the way, have you taken a look at your arms recently? And excuse me, did you forget to put on makeup or is that what you look like when it’s already on? Why do you even bother? And did you just say what I think you said to your boss? Who are you, Queen of the Universe? How many times do you have to fall flat on your face before you learn to keep your mouth shut?
Anne Lamott calls it Radio Station KFKD. [Geneen Roth] calls it The Voice…. The Voice feels and sounds so much like you that you believe it is you. You think you are telling yourself the truth.
And if Radio KFKD is loud for neuro-normals, imagine how loud it gets for us neuro-diverse folk as we try to address compulsive behavior or add healthier activities into our routine. Even when I recognize the propaganda coming across those air waves as doo-doo, that doesn’t stop the transmission. When I’m brain-sick, more transcievers pop out of my mental landscape and boost the signal. The genius of propaganda is that even when it’s identified, it can still sniff out the tiniest crack and infiltrate like smoke. Or DDT. And like Geneen Roth said, pretty soon I think I’m telling myself the truth.
I still get suckered. That’s part of mental illness. But, I’ve also developed a pretty good doo-doo filter. It might take a while to sift out the choicer pellets, but eventually they show themselves for what they are.
Toward evening, the lead weight of the depression lifted enough for me to realize that Radio KFKD had taken over my thinking. I am not spending all my time not eating. I’m working on a practice my therapist gave me for increasing mindfulness. The mantra is Start with One Serving. Prepare one serving. Enjoy one serving. If I want more, I can have it. But, again, just one serving. This makes me pause. It makes me wake up a little from my normal food-haze. Pausing and waking up are the only ways I’m ever going to change this behavior. And it’s hard.
I’m not using all my energy to not spend money. I am paying off my debts. This is a fine and responsible goal. I have less discretionary funds now in order to reach that goal, but eventually those debts will be gone. I will have done something amazing, and new, and difficult. And then I’ll have a little more money to work with again.
I had a difficult day yesterday. But just as fast as the elevator plummeted, it rose. That’s also the deal with rapid cycling—Radio KFKD switches off like magic sometimes. I was back in the pool this morning, doing my laps. And I didn’t need to clear my goggles once.