The Lies of Mental Health

fruit trees in bloomI feel good.  I mean, I really feel good!  The clouds have parted and the haze has burned off and finally I’m feeling the way I imagine most people feel most of the time.  I’m ready to do things…fun things but also not so fun things.  We just sold our home and are in the process of buying another.  You do know what that means, don’t you?  Yeah, packing.  Oh, how I hate packing.  But I’m doing it and once I’ve completed this post I’ll do some more.  I have a bunch of clothes to get rid of.  Between menopause and psych meds I’ve really put on the weight so I have a bunch of really nice things to donate to a local charity.  Sell them, you say?  Yes, I could, but then I’d have to take pictures, post the pictures, make arrangements to meet, and hope the buyer shows up.  I think I’d rather donate them and let someone get a good buy.  Selling is just too much work.

When I feel like this, which is rare but does occasionally happen, I start thinking that finally I’ve broken the back of depression.  Finally the clouds, haze, fog, and rain are gone and it’s nothing but blue sky from now on, to paraphrase a Willie Nelson song.  With depression beaten, well, I could take the semester’s worth of classes I need to graduate.  I could go back to work, volunteer somewhere.  There’s no end to what I could do!

However, mental illness lies.  My bipolar disorder lies.  I’ve been here in this sunshiny spot before.  I’ve seen the clouds part, felt the haze lift, enjoyed the sunshine on my shoulders (sorry, John Denver) before.  I used to live in that land, more or less.  After adolescence, my depressions were generally short lived.  There were a couple of longer spells in there, but nothing on a critical level.  Over the past 12 years, though, depression has been a near-constant companion.  I say near-constant because I do have these periods of what can only be described as clarity.  And no, it’s not mania or hypomania.  I just feel good.

I was driving down the road today, singing along with the radio when I began thinking about volunteer opportunities in the area.  There are so many wonderful causes, but I thought it would be kinda cool to volunteer at the local Humane Society.  Give animals baths, walk dogs, take pictures…whatever needs doing.  Yes, it would be a difficult thing to do as I am an animal lover and would want to take all of them home with me, but who better to help care for these creatures?

But mental illness lies.  While my bipolar is telling me everything’s good.  Everything’s under control.  I can come out from under the table where I’ve been hiding and rejoin society, I finally know better.  I’ve been fooled before.  I know this is but a brief reprieve.  And no, this isn’t a pity party.  While I’d like to be this way all the time, the fact is…I have bipolar disorder.  I will crash and I don’t want to just not show up for an obligation. Making phone calls is difficult when I feel good.  It’s impossible when the depression hits.

I’ll enjoy this period.  A friend badly sprained an ankle.  I’ll go see her tomorrow.  I’ll pack some more.  I’ll make preparations for moving.  But most of all, I’ll just enjoy being in the sunshiny place.

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