Daily Archives: December 20, 2011

Verbal Chinese Finger Traps

I’ve come down a little bit, my manic symptoms seem to have spiked yesterday afternoon. I am still having some trouble, but the beast is transforming.

Now I’m being plagued with one of the manic symptoms I experience sometimes and really dread, when my ability to communicate verbally and understand verbal conversation are compromised.

I seem to be able to read fine, write fine, and listen to most radio or television music/words fine, it just has something to do with the intricacies of communication with people who are verbally communicating directly with me.

Maybe my body language is thrown off, I don’t really know, but at the pharmacy I couldn’t seem to articulate what I wanted to ask about. The young, female pharmacist behind the counter was obviously very frustrated with me, so I kept attempting to straighten out the conversation, to no avail. She tried to explain something to me, but I don’t even understand what that something was about. I got my prescription but none of my questions were answered, and even though I know I wasn’t communicating properly the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

I also took the dog out, and she jumped up excitedly at a little girl (my dog is a Boston Terrier so she is quite small, not threatening in any way). I made Luna calm down, and then when I tried to explain to the little girl that Luna has bad manners, I said, “she’s very mild-mannered,” which is definitely NOT the same thing!

Best to just keep my mouth shut I guess until it passes. It really is like a Chinese finger trap, once the conversation starts I’m trapped it in, and no amount of wiggling or trying to back my way out of it seems to make a difference.

At least this time around I’m aware that it is happening. Last time I was under the impression that I was communicating quite well and everyone around me must just be going crazy, a thought that seemed totally rational while I was feeling manic at the time.

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Gift Wrapped Carrots

So you may know that I have a problem with carrots.

For those of you unaware of what that means, here’s a quote from the linked post from October,

“The carrot is the concept of something desirable being placed in front of you (like a carrot being held out in front of a horse), making you strive to attain it.”

These sorts of carrot situations usually arise in places of employment. The boss waves something new and exciting in front of an employee to either increase productivity or to entice the employee to become fully committed to their particular establishment.

One might see the problem there for someone who has bipolar disorder. The biggest trouble I have with this disorder is that my energy levels fluctuate quite wildly, so I am in a constant state of flux.

Sometimes I am an extremely high-functioning individual who (somehow) comes off as being intelligent, competent, level-headed, and hardworking. This is the girl who is usually hired in any given situation, and she is also constantly being pushed to be promoted. I usually hear something along the lines of, “you’re being completely underutilized” -so whatever boss I have is usually looking to use these talents more fully.

But then… there’s the other side of the spectrum. I become extremely lethargic, I have trouble putting thoughts together, and the level-headedness burns off. My actions might suddenly make very little sense to the people around me, and I am quickly reprimanded for not keeping up the pace I originally set for myself.

I have come to despise carrots because I usually do genuinely want them. But somewhere down the line, either in the stretch to achieve or in the moment of glorious achievement, I know I will lose them.

This weekend I was offered a huge carrot, I guess I am in the high-functioning phase again as of late, and it frustrates me to know that I really should not say yes. It is true that half of me is being underutilized, but the other half of me is being over-utilized. Taking the carrot means that if the scales suddenly tip (and they usually do around February) I will undoubtedly lose my job.

So no, getting a real estate license to have a full-time job handed to me is a terrible idea.

I just really miss being high-functioning all the time, but I know better than to think that’ll happen. Unfortunately that is not the nature of my brain. Trust me, it is a really shocking fall to go from constant effortless success to the opposite (unyielding failure?) in the space of a few days or hours. I really do understand the concept, but when it happens it feels so baffling and surreal.

It is like having a gift -say you can play guitar, and sometimes you are amazing at it. When you’re amazing, it is effortless, you just rock out and people admire your talent. Then, suddenly, there are times where you can’t play the guitar at all. You go blank on all the notes, and you can only remember one line at a time of any given song.

Wouldn’t you be upset? Wouldn’t you be frustrated, and think that maybe somehow you were “going crazy”? Would you be bitter toward God, or you genes, or your parents, for potentially instigating this phenomenon?

This is the biggest frustration I’ve had to handle because I have bipolar disorder. My success seems to be based on nothing more than a flip of a coin at this point, and either I will rock out or forget all the cords.

I know that my moods appear to be equally as random, but the problems I have with them are tiny in comparison to the bigger picture. If I could rely on myself to produce the same results over and over again, I would gladly deal with the sporadic moods.

But I do have periods of time when I can be successful, even if they are getting shorter and further apart over the last 10 years. At least I do have moments to look forward to where people think I am intelligent, competent, level-headed, and hardworking. Brief moments where I can pop my head above the surface of the water and take a deep breath before diving back down.

So now is the more difficult part, turning down the carrot. In the past I’ve gotten some seriously rough flack about turning down promotions and things because people honestly just don’t understand where I’m coming from. I was really hoping to keep this work relationship as uncomplicated as possible, but I guess that is an impossible task.

I’m going forward with the plan that I wont even consider a full-time position until February at least when I can get a better idea of where I’ll be (depression wise) at that time.