I am a self diagnosed Over Thinker. I saw a cartoon yesterday that really hit home. It was of a person pushed to the ground, laying on her side, shielding herself from the mass amount of thoughts that were trying to take over. I get stuck on an issue, lets say relationships, and whirl around on a merry go round thousands of times. I never trust my judgement, my gut. I tend to think my bipolar brain is wrong about most things, when maybe, just maybe I am right. But, I get bogged down and never come to a resolution. I find it quite infuriating.
I sit in my therapist’s office and rehash day’s old events. I look at it from every angle, upside down, right side up, diagonal. She applauds me for being able to see so many sides of the coin. Yet, I just feel like I am chasing my tail. Like my mind is an empty drawer full of marbles rolling around in all directions. I wonder if I somehow, unconsciously, I do this to avoid making a decision. Or to avoid coming to a painful conclusion I don’t want to face. Or maybe I truly am weighing all my options. I just don’t know anymore.
What I do know is all this thinking and overthinking keeps me from living in the moment. Keeps me from taking a leap of faith. Keeps me from reaching outside the “safety” of my box. I don’t want my life to be a bag of symptoms I carry around and manage. I want to live, not merely exist. In a way, I suppose, I feel like I’m protecting myself. If I don’t reach out too far, I don’t get hurt. However, if I just stay put I am at risk of being tied to the whipping post of my mind. The voices in my head can be quite cruel.
So, I force myself to open the curtains. Press my face against the window almost as if I can feel the outside. The sunrise is beautiful. The dawn of a new day. The pink hue that gently edges across the sky is mesmerizing. So much to see and do beyond these four walls. In all honesty, I am no safer in here than out there. Alone with my own mind can be just as “dangerous”, if not more so.
I was talking to a coworker who is also in sobriety with 20 years. We are just getting to know each other. I was trying to relay some frustrations and anxieties about friendships. She talked about when you first become sober its like learning to live again, without the booze. Learning to relate to people on a sober level is hard. I knew what she was saying as I had been there myself. I ventured to say that I feel like I am in the same position emerging from the toughest and longest psychotic episode of my bipolar career. I have been steeped in psychiatry and symptom management for 3 months. Very little contact with the outside world, especially on a social level. Sometimes I was in a place where my husband had to tell me what to do next because I couldn’t figure it out. I feel like I am re-entering the world as a functioning person again. I don’t know how to relate to people. I don’t know how much they want to know about what’s been happening and in turn, its really all I have to talk about.
In reality, I think I am doing better than I am giving myself credit for. I am showing up for work everyday, trying the best I can. I’m maintaining a workout schedule for the most part. I am participating in my marriage. The next step is dipping my toe in the social arena. Wish me luck!