State of the Unsound Mind
Cam’s State of Mind on #BellLetsTalk Day:
January 25, 2017.
I am stuck in the present, while my mind races to all perceptions of past and future. I am momentarily at a point where I can time travel in my mind. Am I psychotic? I don’t think so; I have a firm grip on reality. My sleep is not consistent, and does not occur on a regular cycle. However, my sleep is regulated with the help of medications, and occurs in balance within a schedule of my choosing. I feel like I am in control, but I still feel like I am under supervision, and confined to the limits of civilization.
I had a good 2016, and have maintained a state of hypo-mania coming into 2017. My mood transitioned from dysthymic, to baseline, to now hypo-manic over the course of approximately a year. The larger cycle seems to be two years, as I came out of mania December 2014. It took approximately four months for my mood to go from full-blown manic and psychotic to dangerously depressed. I was hospitalized for both occasions: December 2014, admitted involuntarily, and April 2015, admitted voluntarily.
In the past month or so of hypo-mania, I have advanced very rapidly. I have spent above average amounts of money on myself and others. It was Christmas time though, and I am probably in the vast majority of people. It is concerning to those around me: especially my mother and those who know my spending habits. I, however, feel my financial situation has changed. I have made appropriate arrangements to have my spending balanced with income, while staying within the confines of a government system that provides me an allowance to live. The additional income has come from other sources, including recent employment.
Everything seems on the level. My quality of life is extraordinary. I am beyond happy, very switched on, and overall very in tune. The thing is, I know that this is probably temporary. And I have no idea what the trigger will be that kills my buzz. I desperately fear the downhill that usually follows these peaks. The down fall is not fun, and there’s always the risk of a miserable dead end. So I am left asking myself, what will it be? When will this inevitable change in mood occur?
My thoughts on this are mixed. On the one hand, how can I worry about something that hasn’t happened? On the other, how can I forget the past, and not fear repetition in the future? I guess the answer is to live in the present. So here I am typing on my new keyboard that is very nice to type on, listening to tunes playing in my room. I notice that I have brought myself to the present moment. I can hear the keystrokes as I type. I can see the words forming from my thoughts spilling onto the computer screen in front of me. I can smell the fresh winter breeze that is coming in through the cracked basement bedroom window. I am very relaxed thanks to my medication. As I sit back and get comfortable in my computer chair, I yawn. In this moment, I have used mindfulness to convey the message that I am physically stuck in the present.
When I start talking metaphorically and nonsensically, it’s not the same as being psychotic and manic. I would like to think I am an influential person in my world, but not necessarily in the way some others perceive. No, the world does not revolve around me, it revolves around the sun, and I can recognize that. But our reality revolves around ourselves, and my reality revolves around me. Therefore, it is reasonable to act accordingly, and continue on the path I have blazed for myself. I feel influential to my friends and family, in my work life, personal life, and through my participation in the community. I hope that I am inspiring and motivational to those around me. I want to better the life of myself and others, and feel I can work towards the goal of changing things for the better.
Social acceptance is important. On days like #BellLetsTalk day it is easier to be kind to those who share their stories, thoughts, feelings and emotional experiences. It’s nice to listen to those who spread the message that it is good to talk. But I would love to go beyond that, and remind everyone that we should be treating people with mental health concerns the same way we do today, every day. It would be a shame to only help and listen to people for one day of the year. And the shame that some feel in silence is far too great. It’s an indignity to our friends and family, and more importantly ourselves, to ignore them the rest of the year. We need to recognize those who need assistance. We need to find the support that people need; help those who experience and are impacted by mental health challenges. I encourage and desperately urge people to ask the hard questions, and get down to the universal truth: mental health matters.
“I encourage people to have a heart to heart with those close to you. There is meaning in talking about your mental health. One conversation could spark hope in a person who has lost themselves. A ready ear who is actively listening, and someone who can really get someone to open up, can make all the difference in the world to someone who could use help.” (Broaching the Subject of Mental Health)