There are a few things that set off our little red flags around here. Most of them have to do with me being manic. This is likely due to the several hospital visits and self-inflicted injuries over the last couple of years. Or because I’m more likely to stab someone with a fork when I’m manic. The world will never know for sure.
The thing that hurts me most is that I’m less nice to Jenny. I’m not mean – just less aware/considerate. My default operational mode is to check in with Jenny on a regular basis. I want her to always be happy, and to not step on her toes. When I’m manic, I still feel that way, but that feeling doesn’t control relevant parts of my brain, so I act on it much less often.
I’m also more sexual. It’s not that I want to have sex all the time, necessarily. I’m just more perverted, and more likely to refer to sex. I’m less appropriate physically with just about everyone. It can get a little odd around here. I don’t mean anything by it, and I would normally be baffled by my behavior. Doesn’t change the fact that when I’m manic, it doesn’t seem like a “big deal.”
I have an oral fixation all the time. I regularly chew on my fingers, or the inside of my lips/cheeks. When I’m manic, though, I chew package after package of gum in the attempt to keep my physical integrity. I also smack, and talk with food in my mouth.
I also have a hard time sleeping. My routine helps with this some. I go to bed at a regular time, but I am awake for a long time after. I lay in bed playing games with strangers via Game Center. I need less overall rest, so I wake up around my normal time, and I’m not tired. It’s not about my mind racing, or feeling super fidgety or crazy. I’m just not sleepy. Usually I’m still pretty awake when I close my eyes for the night. I just wait until I’m asleep. Meditation and prayer have helped me feel peaceful with my eyes closed, rather than anxious, as it once would have.
Food. Oh my God, food. When I’m not manic, I lose weight fairly constantly, because I don’t remember to eat, or I’m just not hungry. When I’m manic, I easily eat 3-4 times the amount of food, and it’s often higher calorie food. Once, I measured my calorie count at eight times my normal intake. To add insult to injury, I’m never full. I could just eat non-stop. Last night I ate an entire pan of cinamon rolls. Then I asked for pizza, and Jenny put the brakes on that. Apparently, I might get fat. But I still wanted food, because I was still hungry.
I’m much louder, and my laughter is different. Usually, I have a few different laughs. I have a high pitched shriek that I’m constantly ashamed of, because it’s very un-manly. I have a slow little laugh that sounds like I’m laughing at a dirty joke, and I have a soundless spasm that equates to me laughing my ass off. I have literally fallen on the floor.
But when I’m manic or (sometimes) anxious, I have this ultimate villain laugh. It’s a deep bellied bass sound. More than once, I’ve found myself the object of a room full of stares, because everyone thinks a cartoon sound came out of my mouth. Because it did. I don’t mean it, but I secretly revel in it, because it’s a much nicer sound than the raptor shriek I have other times.
I also think I’m hilarious when I’m manic, and I give many fewer fucks (which I’m told is really hard, because I generally give zero fucks). I say whatever comes out of my mouth, and I do whatever my impulses tell me to do – to a point. As Jenny has recently pointed out to me, we are both glad I’m still the same person when I’m manic. I’m just more myself, with much less editorializing in my head.
Sometimes I see the flags raising long before anyone else. Lately, though, Jenny has noticed it faster and more reliably than I have. This time around, I was manic for more than a day and a half before I realized it, and Jenny had already asked me twice if I was manic. Oh well, at least I have an extra set of bits thinking about these things.
I’m glad for the years I had before I met Jenny. It took me literally eight years or so to learn how to moderate my behavior, and act like a human being while manic. I’m still learning, now I think of it. It’s a never ending battle, because each episode is a bit different.
The hardest part for Jenny, I think, is that she’s afraid I will resent her role in things. I have to regularly assure her that I’m glad she manages the money, even mine. She doesn’t want me to feel like she doesn’t trust me, especially since she wants to be able to. It’s just an annoying fact of life. I make poor decisions when I’m manic, and no amount of trying has changed that yet.
So I’ll keep trying to be a good boy. There’s not much else to do at this point, except to ride it out, and hope that at some point I’ll be “moderate” rather than “up” or “down.” It’s a bloody rarity, that. I’m never in the middle, it seems. Oh well, I’ll take what I can get. At least things are always fresh around here.