Lately I’ve been somewhere between overwhelmed and relatively ok (with a few mixed sprinkles thrown in). That place that isn’t quite depressed, but isn’t quite free of depression either. The closer I am of breaking free from the feelings of depression, the more I can take on.
Let’s say my life is like an hourglass, and the sand within it denotes all of the activities I am trying to accomplish in my daily living. Cooking. Cleaning. Feeding the dog. Shaving my legs. All of those things I tend to stop doing when I am depressed.
After depression I find the bottom of the hourglass completely empty, and as time begins to progress, I add one grain of sand at a time. First I’ll add cooking. Next, feeding the dog. So on and so forth, until I can easily do those things again and again.
Once that is moving forward I can add other things. Eating healthy. Exercising. The sorts of things that are more challenging to do, but helpful to the human experience. These bits of sand also pass through the hourglass.
And once that is moving smoothly I find even more things to add to the experience. Working. Volunteering. Clubs. Commissioned work. The bits of life that take a steady hand and an even keel come in, and pass through the hourglass.
Then, quite abruptly, two things take place.
First, the sand runs out. Immediately, I can’t seem to do the activities I was doing before. There is nothing but emptiness with a weird echo that resounds in the hourglass. No more work, no more healthy eating, and no more cleaning. On one hand it is as if those things never existed.
On the other, down in the bottom of the hourglass, I am drowning in sand. So overwhelmed by the amount of sand that has built up that I can’t hold the weight of it. There isn’t room for any more of that sand, and I couldn’t seem to do another activity if life depended on it.
This is what the process of having mood swings feels like to me. Even the short ones, the sprinkles, the little blips move in the same way; letting things around me accelerate until I can’t function, and then am totally overwhelmed by the feelings that occur.
Another reason I resonate with the hourglass is the fact that to get it to start up again, you have to turn the whole thing upside down. Bipolar mood swings do turn my life upside down, and they often take me to a place where white is black and black is white and nothing really makes any sense for a while until things calm down and the sand begins to trickle down again.
Then I cook. And I clean. And I feed the dog. The whole thing continues over again.