I Don't Want a Bipolar Grinchmas This Year!
by Storm
December 3, 2000 

I'm A Mean One, When I'm a Grinch 

Ah the season tis around us. Each year I try my best to remain upbeat and just a wee bit manic in order to deal with the stress that comes with the holiday season. I can't go to the malls because of claustrophobia. So I've already finished my shopping via the Internet and everything has arrived and is soon to be wrapped.

My tree is up, the outside decorations are glowing and I'm happy as a clam. But I know that sooner or later, (hopefully later) the down cycle will creep in like a bug seeking warmth. I can tell when the bug is coming, I sleep more and I'm an insomniac, so when my friends find me actually sleeping, they know to watch out because depression is on the way.

I just came out of a three week depressive slide. But I'm learning how to adjust those meds to get back on the up swing, if only just a "little" manic. Now should be my time to just sit and watch the season go by, enjoying all it has to offer. But then come the invitations for dinners, parties, etc. Panic attacks begin to set in. I can't attend these functions like I used to. Of course I was usually half lit myself and that helped me withstand and ward off any panic that would seep into my mind.

But now I'm clean and don't have the safety of that alcohol to give me courage. Plus it doesn't help that most of these events involved a bit of drinking, okay, they are almost ALL drinking. So another reason I cannot go. What if I suddenly become so manic as a result of panic that I drink myself silly? Once I get a good manic episode going full bore, nothing can stop me from doing what I want. And I mean NOTHING. I'm on top of the world or as the movie says, I'm the King or Queen of the world!

I now turn over my bill money to my fiance who stores it like a squirrel stores winter nuts for safekeeping and future use. So far it has helped. A lot. It has saved me from my manic spending sprees, yet with all those seasonal sales, it's no wonder my weekly allowance to myself is gone in a nanosecond. Doesn't matter what it is, I'll buy it. I went into a store to get icicles for the tree and ended up spending $268 dollars on things I just had to have. Warning to my sister and fellow BPers....avoid all stores during the holidays if you are alone. You WILL spend until you can spend no more. My credit cards are all maxed out, thank goodness. No chance of getting in trouble there. Of course, that's how I paid for my internet purchase gifts, so there you go.

I seldom get sad until Christmas Day. That's when my mania will gradually wear off. Could be childhood related, I don't know. But the end of something always bums me out and when I feel that way, my mania will decrease. I hate endings. The end of something will also set off a depressive cycle. It's like I have to know there is something coming up in order to keep "up".

Then the "what ifs" start seeping into the recesses of my mind. As my fiance and I slip through a hardward store to get a new heavier tree stand, I see him ogling the power drills and the tool sets. I begin to panic, oh my God...what if he doesn't like what I've already bought him this year? Rapid cycle to depression. Ponder over this and mope for a few hours. Mixed cycle now...I know he will love what I bought because they are totally unexpected things that I know he will enjoy. But what if? Have I missed anyone on my list? What about those last minute gifts? Oh no. Should I venture to the store alone to get them?

Christmas Eve has always been my time to celebrate the season. My mother always had to work on Christmas Eve so as a kid,Santa (so I was told) made an early special stop to our house while Mom was on her night supper break. So Christma day, religious aspects notwithstanding, is just another day to me. And it is a truly sad one. Everything is over. All expectancy is gone. Enter depression. Here we go again. No snow, depression increases. We dont go out for New Years anymore, preferring instead to stay comfy in our warm home and watch it on television. If we can stay awake that long.

The thought of a new year and starting all over again! Enter hypomania. Okay, I'm graduating this spring, we're going to Europe this spring. All good things. But, I turn 44 this spring, enter depression. Sigh....up and down and down and up.
Sadness at the thought of all those without and all the little animals that will be forced outside in the cold. Happiness that my animals are safe and sound in our warm little home that they really own and just let us live here.

Depression over the loved ones no longer alive to see the holiday season or the new year. Sometimes I can't take it. My mind is pulling apart at the proverbial seams. Mixed cycling all over the place and me with no new Christmas bicycle needed. Others don't understand my sadness. My family is miles away, I don't get to see them. But look at the cool stuff my fiance gave me for Christmas! Elation! But look at the feral cats and dogs sniffing around for food and shivering in the cold wintry mix of snow and rain.

Be happy, be thankful I tell my neurons. My mind knows what's going on but sometimes "the voice" tells me otherwise. "The voice" tells me I'm not happy, I'm not grateful, my gifts could have been better. Re-enter depression overriding the hypomanic mixed cycle. My memory is gone again. I hate that the most. Sometimes I can't remember my last name.

Adjust the meds so there is no depression and all I'm left with is a "zone" where I feel nothing. Not up, not down, just there. Oh that's really appealing to other people, having a zombie around the tree. 

OH no I have to cook the christmas beast or feast. Downer. But I'll swing manic as it begins, I always do and I do NOT want anyone in my kitchen. When I'm that manic I move like Santa's sleigh through the wind. Dont talk to me because I have enough voices in my head telling me what to do. I'm not cold, I'm not brusque, I am simly manic. My brain will tell me when to come down. Those neurotransmitters have a schedule all their own. Call the shrink? No, he's off for two months on vacation again. Damn, I want his job. I wonder which he would prefer, a Christmas card, or a monthly payment. Hmmmm. Yeah, I know, he wants zee money.

My New year's resolution and I hate resolutions because they are self-fulfilling prophecies because you're setting yourself up to fail; but mine is to get a new shrink. One who hasnt heard my story. One who will listen to me when I say what's going on because I'm new and he pretty much has to. Oh yes, and one who IS in my insurance plan so I don't have to sell my other leg and arm to pay for each visit.

Sigh, I love the holidays. I truly do. I just wish my neurotransmitters would get into the spirit of the season and stay there for oh, about 20 years!

To all my readers, I wish you the merriest of holiday and the Happiest of New year's and remember, we're not crazy, we just have some crazy notions that we aren't entirely responsible for. But we're still good people and we are not alone.


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