The Dance

Still plugging away here in Bipolarville.  I’m fine as long as I don’t have to talk to anybody or think.  This is why routine is so important.  I don’t have to think about going to the Y, I just go.  I don’t have to think about working on my novel or making cards, I just do it.  Because I’ve carved out those little grooves in my gray matter, and the marbles just follow gravity.

Interacting with people is another thing.  Friday I had dinner at a friend’s house.  It was just the two of us and his sweet little dog, so I knew I’d be okay on the social anxiety front.  I also knew I could be myself.  Even though Jeff had never experienced the full beauty of my bipolarness, I knew he’d be accepting of whatever showed up.

We had a lovely evening, but it was still work.  Simple things that come naturally between episodes required thought, effort, execution.  Things like manners and following a conversation.  When something struck me funny, I felt my laughter launching into that maniacal, uncontrollable realm.

At one point, Jeff mentioned he could tell I wasn’t my usual self.  His term for it was that I wasn’t as “smiley.”  And that surprised me, because I thought I was ever-so jolly.  It just reminded me that how I perceive myself from the inside, no matter how much effort I put into it, is very different from what leaks into the outside world.

I did a lot on Friday.  My friend, Nancy, gave me a much-needed massage.  I went to a movie.  I looked through my favorite art magazines at Barnes & Noble.  I found a state park tucked away in the suburbs of Des Moines and journaled at a picnic table in the westering sun.  And I had dinner with Jeff.  So, I wasn’t surprised at my exhaustion the next day.  I could feel how brittle my tolerance had become, as if my sanity had been rubbed thin by so much exposure to the world.

It’s a weird dance, staying upright during an episode.  I think I’m executing a graceful turn, when really I’m tripping over my own feet.  I’m only guessing at the steps.  But there is a deep knowing under it all.  If I can get still, I can feel the rhythm and recognize the music.  If I can breathe into that knowing, my feet will find their way.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Oct 30, 2011 @ 09:47:19

    I understand this experience deeply–needing the routine, struggling to carry on a conversation, struggling to do anything, for that matter. Hang in there, my friend.


  2. pegoleg
    Oct 30, 2011 @ 14:33:20

    Whether turning gracefully or tripping awkwardly, you’re still getting to your feet and moving. So yeah! for you.


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