Sleepless in Not a Romantic Comedy

I’m praying to whatever god or genie or ghost that has full command of my sleep cycle, because I sure as hell don’t. I have memorized every infographic and article about sleep hygiene.

  • Make sure to stop eating, exercising, and ruminating about exes on a very regimented timeline
  • Avoid blue light like a reverse vampire after sunset
  • Calibrate the room temperature with the accuracy of three thermometers and your big toe
  • The use of guided meditation and reading is strictly prohibited because of the risk of subconsciously connecting those vital activities to falling asleep.

And I was convinced that I had this all down to a science. The blind obedience would appease the circadian rhythm. YET HERE I AM singing half portions of Hamlet’s soliloquy in flat warbles with a made up melody. A wonderful activity that would put me in the mildly concerning category to any sensible mental health professional.

I am beyond grateful that I live in a different room and a different apartment and a different city than a year ago. This was the first time that in the swirl of frustration and haunting isolation that I was able to think that life is still a gift. Running my hands over the folds in my bed sheets in the glow of a temperamental streetlight, was feeling that in the smallest speck of the universe I exist. Which even in the most careful words is not completely devoid of gibberish or poorly attempted profoundness.

I know waking up tomorrow will be it’s own nightmare and that fitting Gaussian distributions to polymer dynamics will most likely be even worse. I still have mountains of insecurities and psychological problems to solve. I don’t feel alone for once and it’s not because I regularly share the bed with a cat that refuses to share a quilt with me (although it helps a little). I wonder if there’s something that has grown within me that will finally stay through the pain.

I can only dream.

Avoiding Real Life Word Vomit

These last couple weeks I’ve been a hypomanic mess. No catastrophes of screaming in parked cars or spiraling into some horrible disfigured version of a panic attack that is incapable of being photographed into sympathy. Luckily no one has made me the rabid poster monster of some gruesome zombie asylum first person shooter video game. Yet there have been moments in crowds where I can hear every swallow of spit and feel the coldness radiating from their palms while their existence buzzes like an electron clouds. Entire afternoons wishing I had any ability to chemically inebriate the boiling concrete solidifying and melting continuously right beneath my ears. Yet this has been the first time in a long time that I feel like I’ve had my brain back, where I can listen intently to a lecture and put connections together. Creativity is on a lovely honeymoon with intellect. Absurdly enough I’ve started trying to write a novel again.

Every hint of possible failure paralyzes me none the less. I can’t help but remember that it was only nearly a year ago that I attempted suicide. I don’t feel suicidal. I don’t even have depression’s hotel or room number. But remembering those times is like lightly touching the top of the water and feeling the velvet pressure undulate in saran wrap delicacy. The dangerous thoughts do not reverberate through me but there are quiet whispers that remind me.

You were not meant to live. You should have died with the last overdose. You aren’t doing enough with your life. You still can’t love other people. You aren’t smart enough for grad school. You are a burden to everyone around you. You deserve to eternally suffer in a mental ward. You can’t ever have a normal life. It’s only a matter of time before you try to kill yourself again or are hospitalized again.

And I want to talk about my fears but no one in this city is at the point of emotional trust that I can safely talk with. Sure people know I have bipolar but there’s a completely different dynamic required to casually discuss mental illness.

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Good interaction

Me: Yeah I’ve been freaking out lately thinking about how I tried to kill myself last year and how precarious life is in general. But like I know all of this stuff is unreasonable so it’s mainly just wanting to talk to some one about it.

Them: That’s super shitty. The guilt with that stuff can really wreck havoc. I know you’re not going to kill yourself and I’m glad you could talk to me about this stuff.

Me: Thanks I really appreciate it.

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Most probable interaction

Me: So I don’t want you to worry and I don’t want you to freak out. I know I haven’t shared a lot about my experience with bipolar but last year I tried to- attempted to take my life. And it was a really awful time and things aren’t like that at all now. So many things have changed since then. Which makes explaining this kind of hard but a part me remembers that experience very vividly and knowing that I’ve been there before makes me scared that I’ll go back there again. I know this is really oversharing and I’m sorry but it is something that has really been bothering me. I’m so sorry. Thank you for listening.

Them: Uhhhhhhhh yeah. No problem. Slow crawl into a subject change with at least one minimally invasive question…

And I don’t blame them. It’s like trying to get change for a hundred dollar bill at a pop up fruit stand on the side of the road. Neither party is well equipped for the exchange.

The problem that arises then is trying to compartmentalize all parts of my new life away from the old one. The neurotic tendencies don’t go away though, it just translates into me trying to turn everything into a joke, or heaps of irritability, and an almost obsessive longing to have anyone look me in the face and comfort you. These days it takes all my emotional energy to hide my present and past mental state.