The calm after the storm doesn’t really fit. Calm isn’t really the word. The crash after the storm seems more appropriate. After being keyed up for so many days – not able to sleep much, highly-focused energy, hyper-agitation, restlessness, anxiety, etc., the lows that follow feel lower than usual.
For the last several days, I have felt excessively sleepy. I’m so sluggish. It takes me longer to get myself awake and moving in the mornings, and I slow down earlier in the day than I normally would. And in between? I’m slow. I never do make it up to full speed. While everything seemed to move in fast forward for a few weeks, all of a sudden things slowed to a crawling slow-motion pace. Sped up unannounced; slowed down unannounced.
Several months ago, when life moved at normal speed, I agreed to make a wedding cake. But not just the bride’s cake, the groom’s cake, as well. No big deal. They were simple designs, and I had plenty of time. I would pace myself. And I did. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was that the wedding would fall during the crash. No amount of pre-planning or prep work would have been enough to keep me from feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck while working on the cakes.
I’m not sure what it is, but something physically happens to my body during mania, and it’s after effects. It hurts from head to toe, and I feel like I’m working on my 9th decade, instead of my 5th. Brutal. And the fatigue. Between the pain and the fatigue, there were moments when I could hardly stand, and I wasn’t sure how in the world I could accomplish such a feat.
But I knew I had to. I had no choice. You don’t back out of making a wedding cake at the last minute. I had to rise to the occasion. And I did. Everything turned out fine, thankfully! Mercifully!!
Planning in advance is a tricky thing for me. Sometimes there is no way to get around it. Weddings, graduations, birthdays, holidays, etc. I’ve learned to just make the best of those situations if an ugly mood episode decides to show up. But the rest of the time? I don’t really make plans anymore because I don’t know if I will feel like keeping them. Sadly, many times when I have had plans, I have wanted to cancel them for lack of wanting to socialize. I would rather just be home – alone. When I find that I do want to spend time with friends, I try to plan something at the last minute. This has been one of the biggest adjustments I have had to make in learning how to successfully live my new lifestyle.
At first, I hated it. I felt lonely all the time. But now, it feels freeing! Now I don’t feel pressure to attend everything all the time. I don’t feel judged when I don’t show up. I know what I can handle and what I can’t. And when I have a commitment that I absolutely cannot get out of, it’s good to know that I can easily let go of everything else, if I need to.
So with every episode of mania or the crash that follows, I learn something new. This time, I’m learning even more to listen to my body and to pay attention to what it’s telling me!!