Participation Award

I did it. I got up on a work day, took a shower, did my hair and my make up. I ate some breakfast before I went to work. I did it.

These things may seem small and inconsequential to most people. These are things that normal humans do every day, just becuase. Because they are normal humans. I, however, am not a normal human.

I have Bipolar II. Usually classified as having extreme highs and extreme lows. I tend to trend toward the low most of the time. And my highs, while minimal, can be pretty destructive. Not like breaking chairs and punching walls destructive. But rather, destructive to my relationships and general well-being.

My highs, which are fewer and more far between than my lows, are times where I feel more confident than I really should. My two main “things” when I’m in a manic state are money and sex. Before my official diagnosis and subsequent treatment and medication and self-awareness, it could be pretty bad. I’ve done things in my life I am not proud of. I still experience these manic highs but am able to control them much, MUCH better than I used to. I’m on a pretty good path on that end and with some awesome support in my life currently, the highs are less … well … high.  I’m only getting to about the 3rd floor and not the Penthouse. I have mechanisms in place to help curttail any destructive behavoir and it is making a huge difference.

My lows, are another story.  I seem to have more lows than highs. These episodes last longer and are much, much harder for me to cope with and dig myself out of. And my support system is super understanding of these episodes but even with all of the kindness and love from these people, I still struggle with these sad days and dark thoughts.  My close friends call these episodes my “Hermit” days. They know that there will be times when I will essentially drop off the face of the earth and they won’t hear from me or see me for days on end. They know I’m hermiting. They will reach out and let me know that they notice. They know not to push me or judge me and that their gentle support will help me get through and once I’m out and on the other side of it, I will be more “normal” for a time.

But there are other people in my life, friends, co-workers, others, who just don’t understand. And that’s okay. I get that. I don’t understand it most of the time myself. My apologize sound like really bad excuses. Nothing I do makes much sense to a “normal.” It’s something I’ve come to learn after therapy and reading and living in these hazes. Not everyone will get it. They don’t have to. Whether they understand me or not has no bearing on how I handle my problems. Trust me, there is no person on earth who could pass judgement on me during one of my highs or lows that would cause me to feel worse about myself or give me more guilt than what I have already piled on myself. I am my worst critic. I am my own biggest hater. 

So on days like today, after a couple weeks of not taking care of myself. Of not showering or washing my hair for more days in a row than I’d care to admit publically. For eating chips and dip for dinner or Candy Corn for breakfast, or nothing at all for most of a day. After long stretches of just not caring about much of anything. To have a day where I took a shower, washed my hair, did said hair, put on make up, and ate something before leaving for work in the morning?  Damn straight I want a Participation Award.

I want a shiny trophy that simply said “You Did It.” Just to remind myself that there was a day that I was a normal human. Which means I can have many more.

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