Ever not know which way is up? Which path is the yellow brick road to your almighty wizard? Ever feel so fucking lost and befuddled that you aren’t even sure you’re breathing correctly? When a person feels like they’ve lost an innate and instinctual ability, something’s probably not right.
The answer is not alcohol, the answer is not medication. The answer is buried somewhere deep inside me in some bloody cavern that has yet to see the light of day. It’s crawling, eluding me, slipping through my veins into the very crevasses of my being and I can’t reach it. There’s something in the way.
Similar to that block in basketball, or the silly mechanical arm that doesn’t allow you into parking lots, fear stands between me and the answer to my problems. I’m fucking afraid, and it’s pathetic. Fear is one of the most basic feelings. It is designed to keep us alive, so why is it killing me? My desire to self destruct is far stronger than any desire to clean up my act and get my shit together. Oh yeah, I chant the perfunctory “I’m trying, I’m getting better, I hate this, blah blah.”
But the truth?
I’m more scared of change than I am of this.
When it comes to my behavior, the question I hate with the strongest, fieriest, fucking blazingest passion is: “Are you trying to convince me, or yourself?”
Fuck that. Because I’m never trying to convince anyone else. I genuinely don’t give a fuck what other people think. In the end, I’m the only one that affects how I feel and what I do. Telling others it’s only one drink or it’s just a bad day is my way of telling myself lies. The first step to a good lie is believing it, right?
I’ve always been an exceptional liar.
As I get older, as life gets harder, as I drink more alcohol and tell more lies, though, I’m losing my ability. The facade that I put up is slowly, slowly chipping away. I read something the other day.. in a nutshell, it said with every episode an individual has, the time recovering between episodes lessens. So the more crazy I am, the more depressive I am, the less normal there is. The disease is gradually creeping into my soul, the same way the ivy lazily extends its tendrils into the bricks, dismantling the establishment cell by cell. If I don’t do something, it’s going to fucking kill me. If I weren’t so deathly afraid of death, I don’t even want to think about where I’d be right now.
My smile isn’t as bright. My laugh isn’t as loud. My jokes aren’t as funny, my remarks are more cynical. I’m twenty fucking one years old and I should give up drinking. Any and all drinking from both ends of the spectrum, binge and social. I should go to bed by eleven every night, wake up the same time every day. I need to watch what I eat, how much caffeine I drink, how much sunlight a day I’m getting.
Are you fucking kidding me? That terrifies me.
The thought of giving up so many things that other kids my age (and yes, I still consider myself a kid. I don’t live in the real world, not yet. College like this is not the real world) take for granted and expect me to participate in with them? Mortifying. It isn’t fair. And I don’t give a flying fuck if that’s not the correct use of that term, fair, but it isn’t. I didn’t want this. I don’t want this.
But I also don’t want to give it up.
Similar to the eating disorder I had/still have remnants of, it has started to become my identity. While the answer has been flitting in and out of my brain on how to fix this problem, the problem itself has been invading my DNA, replicating and encoding itself into the very structure of my being. The disease, the madness, the depression, the shaking of my insides.. it’s all becoming what I’ve come to know as me. After I was first diagnosed, I told my boyfriend I was afraid of taking medication because I didn’t know how it would change my personality, I didn’t want to be a different person. Know what he told me?
“Lauren, every time I talk to you, you’re a different person. You’re never the same two days in a row and I never know what to expect.”
I’ll be damned if that wasn’t a sucker punch to the gut.
The eating disorder was mine. It was the thing I controlled, the friend I turned to in any and every situation. It was the bed of thorns I nested into, thinking I was safe while bleeding to death. I found that big fucking black hole and dove in.. and I’m still trying to climb out after nearly three years of what some would consider “recovery.” And like that eating disorder, this has become.. mine. It’s that ugly fucking scar I can’t bring myself to rub medicine on.
I know what I need to do. I know the steps I can take to becoming a more stable and healthier person. “Living with bipolar is similar to diabetes.. it’s something that can be managed with a little help.”
This is not fucking diabetes. But I’ve forgotten which way is up, temporarily, and I’m just treading water. Just treading, but you know what? I fucking hate water.