Without music, life would be a mistake.Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
Currently reading: The Magician King by Lev Grossman
Currently listening to: Long Black Veil by Dave Matthews Band
I realized yesterday that I’ve barely turned on the TV when I’ve been home this week, unless it’s been with the purpose of watching something specific. I’ve had music on almost constantly. A range of bands, styles, and genres. And then I thought about it – that’s a good indication my mood is becoming more balanced and stable again. When I start slipping, I tend to zero in on a band, a song, a playlist that has a common theme, etc. It becomes almost obsessive. It’s odd to say, but when my musical tastes of the moment are more all over the place, I’m more focused and stable. I kind of think it’s because my moods are more varied rather than statically stuck in place. For me, this is a good thing. When I start to feel one thing and one thing only, when I get obsessive about things and totally zeroed in on only one thing in my entire life, it generally means that there’s trouble on the horizon. If I’m listening to a more eclectic mix it tends to mean that I’m experiencing the ebb and flow of life a little more.
Obsession. Oh yes. Hello darkness, my old friend. One thing that tends to be a hallmark of my mood changes is obsession. If I harp on something or someone, can’t let go, it consumes my every thought, it generally means that something is coming. And this can totally go either way, or both, now that I think of it. Manic, depressed, mixed. Obsession is a sign. I will listen to the same song exclusively, I will read books by the same author, sometimes the same book over and over again. I can’t let go of things. Thoughts. People. I ruminate on events that happened sometimes so long ago that I’m probably the only person in the world that thinks about them still, let alone remembers them. I will beat a subject to death in my head and then start all over again from the beginning. I will reread texts, turning them over in my head until we’ve gone round and round so many possible meanings of the words that I can see the bubbles in my sleep. It’s exhausting. It’s a pain in the fucking ass, is what it is.
Doesn’t have to be big things, little things are just as likely to be targets of this kind of behavior. Now, I’ve never done anything illegal – stalking, breaking and entering, etc. This tends to be all confined in my head, and no one ever really knows about it. I never talk about it. I never talk to anyone about it. It’s like my dirty little secret. Hell, I don’t know if even my therapist and psychiatrist know about it.
This is one of the reasons I bugged out of town last weekend. To get my thoughts and my head back in order. Use the open road and good music to spend a final afternoon analyzing and thinking and then put it behind me. It worked. I let go of the obsession. I got it out of my head. I moved on.
But this is a delicate time. I staved off the episode, for now at least. But this can be the most dangerous time. Sometimes that potential episode goes quietly into the night, sometimes it rears its ugly head six weeks later even worse than it would have been before. It’s time to be vigilant. Time to drill down on making sure that I’m taking my meds and watching for behaviors and thoughts that suggest that it isn’t going without a fight. But damnit, I’m going to fight. I will not go quietly. I will not let something as simple as a few little molecules, no matter how vital and important, beat me. At the very least, I’m going to hold it off as long as I can until I can get help.
Because that’s what it really boils down to, isn’t it? Getting help. I’ve come to learn through my many years dealing with manic depression that I literally cannot always do this on my own. I have friends and family and medical professionals that will jump in a heartbeat if I reach out.
But for now, at least, all is well. But I’m putting on my armor just in case.