I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at mood(swing)spotting over the years. I do think I have.
I knew going into this new job, without any break, that I would be stressed– even if it was the good kind of stress. I knew my anxiety about doing a good job in a much more responsible, high-thinking position where I could be really useful was going to be really, really high, between my adult child responsibility kink and my leftover shame from flunking out as a lawyer. But it was time to try, whether or not I thought I was ready, because I’d never know unless I tried (that and I’d slaughter the bookstore in a fit of annoyance one day. Murder is bad.).
I was right, more or less, and I’ve been pleased, positive, excited, to go in to work every day and laugh and work and groan about stupid stuff with people who have similar mindsets to mine. And I’ve felt like even as I’ve been running so fast & so hard to learn, that I have been able to help, to get people hired to fill our unexpected staffing gaps, to soothe hurt team members’ feelings because of the bombings or other, more personal things. I feel like I’m making a difference.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t hit the anxiety wall last Wednesday night, or that I haven’t been having bad dreams and feeling– hyper-talkative at work, needing to slam through my work, needing to work work work and keep working, and so far I’ve been keeping it up even though my brain has been mush at the end of the day and my appetite’s wonky because I’m stressed and because I don’t run around all day heaving boxes of books like I once did.
I noticed, though, that I was getting a little road-ragey in the car. A little prone to sniffling too much at Adele and Kelly Clarkson songs and– well, yes, there’s a time and place for that all, but really, I’m past that, so sniffling’s suspicious. And the hyper-work-talking, hyper-active, get home, cook dinner, read until one in the morning thing is a clue.
That and the slightly metallic eau du armpits. I have no idea why that physical manifestation is a sign of me going hypomanic, but the scent of an aluminum foil plant setting up shop in my pits (sorry, y’all, TMI, I know, but the body does weird things and this is a personal blog) is a sign that’s hard to miss, even if I miss the almost week’s worth of shitty sleep, increasing anxiety, and blather (sensible, still, but blather) coming out of my mouth. Plus, my mom kept calling, wanting to do the agony aunt rehash of the bombing and talk about my feeeeeeeelings, and all I wanted to do was reach through the phone and punch her, because she’s in fucking California and just, no, fucking no, she doesn’t get to bandwagon on Boston, even if I wanted to tell her anything confidential in any event, which I don’t, because she’s always crazy and just can’t be trusted. But– the fact that all I wanted to do was tell her exactly what I thought of her when my approach the last couple of years has been biweekly calls to discuss commonplaces and a theory of “don’t kick the puppy,”– well. Pro-tip– these symptoms = you’re hypomanic, with a bit of mixed-up depression & anxiety to temper the sweet, sweet productivity at work.
But. I’ve been on this merry go round. I ratcheted down my topomax by 25 mg, and within 2 days was feeling less weepy, less like there was an elephant on my chest, less like I had to FINISH ALL THE THINGS NOW. Which is a relief, because I’ve been told several times by different folks that I’m doing great, and I really don’t want to mess things up by going crazy before my evaluation period’s over.
They know I’m neurotic. That’s ok– it’s a good thing in my job, someone has to be the paperwork and details geek. I don’t need to expose them to my horrible temper or my breaking into tears because someone didn’t say hi, though.
I’m chalking it all up to situational stress, that and maybe a little circadian stuff with the spring, because I sometimes get wound up with the change in the light. The important thing, though, is this: I caught it, all by myself, before anyone looked at me and said– you’re being kind of nutty.
I caught it, myself. I am getting better. It’s taken eight years since my first diagnosis, but I finally am getting better. I will always be a little bit nuts, but for the first time in– maybe ever?– I’m feeling like I might be able to mostly keep a handle on it.
In the words of Macklemore, this is fuckin’ awesome.