31: How Do People Live with Normal Emotions
11 Oct 02 – Diary
Being normal sucks. Big time. Now that I have stabilised from being slightly manic to normal, and I am normal and not depressed for the last 4 weeks, I hate it.
Being normal means that I have to balance these fiddly emotions all the time. With the mood swings, all I had to deal with is damping either the mania or the depression. With normality, the bloody moods can be anywhere and I have to keep on adjusting all the time. It’s a lot worse than the mood swings.
More than that, I have no reflexes for being normal. I have spent the entire adult part of my life being either manic or depressed. Which really means that I have spent my entire life coping with the effects of being manic or being depressive. But there is a little unnoticed item here. I have really spent the productive part of my life being manic. Which means when I am getting things done I have been manic.
When I am normal, I can get things done but I hate
Not having the same stamina to do physical things. It is probably between 1/2 and 3/5 of what I usually have when I am manic.
Not having the same physical strength to do physical things. It currently is between 66% and 75% of what I usually have.
Not having the confidence that I usually have to do things. I feel insecure in everything I do. Not like depression insecure (I know how that feels), but like I have never built up the “normal” shell for doing thing confidently. With mania, everything is confident.
Not having the ability to make things happen. With mania, it was easy. Everything that needed to be done, happened effortlessly. It just did. With this normal business, a lot of the stuff has to be forced to happen. The reflexes for getting things done when you are normal just don’t exist for me. It feels like an intense burden to get normal stuff done. Sorry, not intense burden (that’s depression). But certainly a lot higher than the effortlessness of mania.
Having a poor self image. With mania, I always felt good about myself. Now I’m neurotic / insecure.
Not feeling that my goals are happening. With mania, I always did things to advance what I want. Without it, I more ambivalent, more likely to get stuck in a rut. And you know what – I am stuck in a rut (not depressed!) and I don’t have the bloody systems / reflexes / methods of pulling myself out. I feel like someone who has the wisdom of an old person in dealing with emotional crises and yet still like a child (not even a teenager) in not knowing how to organise myself and my actions to get things done, like keeping my house in order. My organisational capability is shot and I don’t quite know why or what to do to get it back in working order. Usually I would just wait for a manic episode to set in…
I am frustrated and not a little confused. Moreover I know what is wrong, but I don’t know how to fix it. Fixing things that are going wrong when I am normal is not something I have had to do in the past. Help!
19 Oct 02 – Diary
More on being normal.
Well, I’m still normal. I am still having difficulty adjusting to it. When I’m manic or depressed, my moods are extreme but they are also fixed. I might be very hyper, but I’ll be very hyper all the time. It’s as if I’m stuck at one speed.
With being normal, the moods vary all the time. Today I might be a little low, tomorrow I’m up and raring to go. These casual swings aren’t very great, but they are confusing after so many years of knowing just how you’ll feel the following day. And they are hard to cope with. How do I react if I’m feeling good. Do I take medication or do I just enjoy it. Do I fight the low periods or do I go with the flow. Hard to decide.
Personally, I think normal people’s moods swing a lot more than a manic depressive’s. It’s just that they don’t reach the extremes that we do.
This may be one of the reasons that manic depressive people tend to stay off the medication. In a perverse way, being normal is more unstable than being manic or depressed. I have no idea of how normal people cope with this, and it is unsettling to deal with.
It actually feels kinda wrong. More wrong than hypomania, less wrong than depression. And since I hate depression, I’d try sticking with this, even though my choice is hypomania rather than normality.
I do know that I am normal rather than having mood swings because I can change my mood just by trying or doing something different. This is particularly so with the low periods. When I’m depressed nothing works to get me out. When I get a low mood these days, just getting out of the house and taking a five minute walk outside makes me feel better. And I CAN get out of the house to take the walk – it might take a wee bit of effort but I can do it. But I do take an occasional Tegretol to calm some of my hyper moods (and for some reason they don’t seem to be working as well as when I am manic – why is that?).