|Coping With the Bipolar Zombie Zone
December 31, 2000
For some bipolars, they are prescribed a combination of drugs that either occasionally or permanently put them in what I like to call the "Zombie Zone". You are not depressed, you are not manic. You are not mad, you are not sad. You're just there. You are aware of the external stimuli that is occurring in your world, yet you feel as though life is a movie and you're just sitting there watching it.
This can sometimes be attributed to another disorder called Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is when something is happening to you or you are doing something and your mind removes you from it physically and it is like the event is occurring to someone and you are merely watching it. If you have experienced something traumatic, sometimes your mind saves your sanity by removing you from the situation. Of course your body is still there but your mental safety valve protects you.
That notwithstanding, the Zombie Zone is really and truly a semi-frightening experience. Words spoken to you sort of float into your ears but don't really stick around in your brain. People accuse you of being
spacy, "not there", ignoring them, but what they don't realize is that inside, your mind may be whirling like a tornado. It's just that people can't see it.
Usually when I am in the ZZ (Zombie Zone), I'm internally manic and it is as though I can actually feel my blood rushing through my veins. I relate it to that first initial rush of snorting cocaine(something I no longer do or advocate) except that you aren't up and off to the races. Instead, while your internal system is racing, your body is stuck in the stable where it is safe and secure.
Sometimes when I'm in the ZZ, my most creative ideas appear. I've learned to force myself to jot down bits and pieces because I know that after the fog lifts, I'm not going to remember a thing. There are days when I actually do not remember the day or days before. My fiance finds this an extremely irritating affect because if we have been arguing, the following day I will honestly have no recollection of the previous day's argument.
It is NOT that I don't remember, what it IS is that as far as my mind is concerned, such an argument never happened in the first place. Memory recall is zip. Nothing there.
Other times I can remember very detailed events that occurred as far back as when I was 3 years old. But ask me what I did the day or two days ago and I'm usually at a loss for details. Needless to say, this makes holding a stable job pretty much a no
brainer. Especially for someone like me who "used" to be well-known for her attention to detail and exceptional organizational skills. I still have those qualities, they just don't last as long. Again, a no brainer for that executive position.
We are not ignorant, we are not stupid, we are not insane. What we are, is very creative, intelligent people who happen to have a very debilitating disease that cannot be cured but only controlled. It progresses without treatment and if you go off your meds, you will be worse than when you were on them...if you are truly bipolar.
We just need a bit more time to fully comprehend things, just like someone who has schizophrenia. They have difficulty putting together more than one or two sentences in sequence. We sort of experience the same thing only we can put together more, we just need an iota of more time to do it. That is why writing your cycles and episodes down is good. It helps you and it helps those who care about you understand what is really going on with your head.
So when you find yourself in that ZZ zone, sit back and enjoy it. It's your mind's way of taking you away from reality sort of on another plane. Don't worry, you'll be back in the swing of things quicker than you think.