I read an article in the New York Times today by a bipolar author who takes lithium to keep her from going into manic episodes. She’s scared of these episodes and doesn’t feel herself when it happens.
My mother loved her mania. I make up that she only felt alive when she was manic. It was insanity growing up with her. I tried to make sense of the world as best I could, but when you live with someone constantly having manic or depressive episodes, and especially when that someone is supposed to help you learn how to navigate the world and determine your own reality, it’s extremely difficult to uncover what reality really is. I think that it has left me with a permanent sensation of disassociation from reality or the world. I always feel like my life is not really my life. It’s like a movie that’s playing for me. Sometimes movies or books feel more real than my reality. When I finish reading a book or watching a movie and re-enter the world, I feel out of place, untethered, and unmoored, like it will disappear in the blink of an eye and be replaced by something else. It’s hard for me to pay attention sometimes, because I’m drifting off into a dream of what I would like life to be or imagine it to be.
I hate this feeling. I want to be connected and grounded. Instead I feel like I’m floating up into the sky like a balloon. I’m trying to teach myself better ways to cope than the methods I used to use, but I’m scared I’m never going to be able to anchor myself for more than a few days at a time.