If I could feed myself full of drugs with no consequences, I would be so high right now. Honestly, I’d be so high most of the time.
I feel like mania sets you up for wanting to experience life in an altered state. The colors are brighter, you’re more confident than ever, your mind comes up with the most genius ideas, it’s life in the fast lane and you’re in the driver seat of a red Mustang with the top down and a babe in the passenger seat that’s ready for adventure.
Even when the depression hasn’t swallowed me whole, when I’m as close to balanced as I can be, there are days that it can seem so mundane because deep down, I know how incredibly vibrant it could be.
Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed and have special moments with friends and family that touch my heart regularly. There are times when I’m playing the piano, singing, out on the town, or even just reading a book and I am at peace and truly enjoying myself. But because I know how that green grass feels on my bare feet when the good side of mania kicks in, I always want more.
Addiction tends to go hand in hand with mental illness in many cases. It makes sense, right? Self Medicating. Going to any extreme to feel better. Feel normal. Feel alive. When the depression is in control of things, drugs would numb the pain and bring me out from under the rocks. When I’m balanced and seem to be doing okay, knowing that drugs could give me that elevated state of mind and euphoria makes me want to experience life in that altered state.
It seems that often times, I am chasing another state of existence.
I have spoken many times about this with a close friend of mine that is a Veteran. Although I can’t imagine going through the things he has experienced, we always seem to relate to craving an altered reality.
When my friend was at war, he had the feeling of “action” every single day. Although he risked his life on a daily basis during his three tours, there was an excitement about it. Often he’d find his heart pounding, sweat dripping, not knowing what might happen from one moment to the next became the norm. Once he came home, adjusting to the normalcy of day-to-day life became a struggle. The adrenaline doesn’t pump when you’re buttering toast and brewing coffee. He sought out to find it again because he wasn’t happy with the prosaic feeling that had set in. Hopping on a motorcycle and flying at 100mph down the freeway temporarily provided a quickened pulse, but nothing brought back the way he felt on tour.
While our stories are completely different and I wouldn’t dare say that I understand what our brave soldiers have been through while at war, I love that we still manage to find a commonality in the struggle to be okay with the humdrum monotony of our garden variety suburban existence.
After experiencing life in a manic state, I knew what it was to speak my mind with no filter or concern of what others thought, to walk in to most any setting with confidence, to feel as if I were in a sparkling ball gown although only wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I lived like a punk teenager with no fear of death or consequence as I made risky decisions and said yes when I should’ve said no. I had an endless vault filled with witty remarks and edge of your seat stories and I could stay up all night sharing them with you.
Today as I write, I sit worrying about finances and if I’ll get a job after I complete my training next month. The world seems opaque and I am not seeing the beauty in the world like I often do. My to-do list is taunting me and each item I check off seems like 2 hours of cardio at the gym; exhausting. I long for the vibrant colors and unshakable confidence. Although it can be dangerous and cause problems, it sounds like living to me.
I’m trying to find a way to stay present and appreciate where I’m at in each moment. Realistically, if I were to live in that manic state on a daily basis, I would probably end up living a much shorter life. So, for today, as I look out the window, I seek to find joy in the changing colors as we shift in to Fall and appreciation for the warm sun on my skin. Today, I accept that I’m on cloud 4 instead of 9 and I’m grateful to be alive.