I've been trying to break out of my comfort zone in my writing. I'm trying to write about more present day issues and people. Trouble is, I prefer to cloak experiences in humorous pathos, and all I can come up with at the moment is pathos. With the exception of imitating myself, I can't squeeze a drop of humor out. Maybe I'm not far enough away from these events yet to be able to reflect on them well? Maybe some things just aren't meant to be funny?
I tried writing a piece called "Toning Down the Crazy" and I hate it. It came out sounding like a regular old blog entry or a simple recount to a friend. I need to think about it more. If you've been reading this blog, most of this will already be familiar to you because I wrote about it as I was experiencing it, but here's a stab I took. I don't even have an ending! I just stopped.
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Toning Down the Crazy
I spent some time over the last couple of years losing my shit. It culminated in an ecstatic cacophony from December – February. I thought I was losing my mind. I wasn’t quite sure what was happening to me.
Let me tell you some of the gory details.
I vacillated wildly between crushing depression and hysteria. The depression is pretty self-explanatory, but the hysteria… There were days when the roar of noise was so loud in my head that all I could do was try to calm myself. My childhood patterns of obsessions and compulsions returned full-force. I would drive home chanting to myself—anything to shut off the noise. One day I needed to yell over and over, “I’m sorry,’ she said, “but I have nothing left to give!’” to no one in particular. Another day I found myself rocking back and forth at work furiously whispering Christmas carols to deal with the panic rising in me. I knew perfectly well that my office was a fishbowl and that anyone could see what I was doing. But I didn’t care! I banged out words on my keyboard that day that looked like this:
I check my personal email inbox repeatedly, thinking frantically, “Somebody talk to me SOMEBODYFUCKINGTALKTOME! I NEED TO HEAR FROM SOMEBODYANYFUCKINGBODYIDON’TCAREWHOYOUARE.”
I wanted someone’s—anyone’s—words and appearance of normalcy to soothe me.
I became obsessed with the Golden Gate Bridge. I didn’t really want to jump off of it but part of my couldn’t stop thinking about ‘what if?’ I had to read about it and drive to it and stare at it and research it. I needed to know how high it was from the water and how deep it was underneath. (How far could one go?) I needed to watch clips of others jumping off. I was terrified of the thoughts my brain insisted on having but all I could do was go along for the ride.
If a friend made me laugh to hard I couldn’t stop. It would turn into a hysterical, manical laughter and then—just as quickly—into uncontrollable sobbing.
I would call friends and beg to come over—couldn’t I please just come over for awhile? They always said yes, and often by the time I was supposed to head over I didn’t want to go anymore—couldn’t bear the thought of seeing anyone. So I’d call and cancel.
I found a quote during that time. I don’t remember where I found it or know who wrote it, but ohmygod it was me:
I have a darkness that I have to feed. I have a sadness that grows up around me like a weed. I'm not hurting anyone. I'm just spiraling in. I close my eyes and hear the song begin again...
There were days that—like a fog—everything would lift. I would feel completely normal. “What is my problem?” I would think. “I’m obviously fine. I need to stop acting so crazy. Why can’t I stop? I just need to be tougher with myself.” It felt like I'd managed to fool everyone into thinking there was something wrong with me--my God, what an actress!
Maybe my eventual bipolar diagnosis doesn’t come as a complete surprise, but it confused me. I thought the mania was supposed to feel good! I thought you were supposed to have super-human energy and feel like you could do anything! I just felt like a wayward tornado.