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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Witness

I am witnessing a friend engaging in what I am sure is a manic phase, given the behavior, and the thought processes which are tipping dangerously into grandiosity. I can't diagnose anyone with bipolar disorder--I am bipolar type 2 under very good control with Lamictal--and I don't know if there are other disorders of the brain which involve manic phases. But this is the only description I can muster of what I am seeing.  I fear the other side of this, when the crash comes...because I know EXACTLY what that is like. Lamictal has smoothed out my mood disorder a great deal. I am still highly creative (I mean, I'm not boasting, but the images and language of writing still flow...I don't have the wild sense that my brain is on fire, which was the height of the manic phase for me. But I have a creativity that is like embers and a very steady flame, and am glad for it.

I am not always a good friend to this person, and should be. I tend to simper and say, "Oh, that's great!" to behavior that worries me. I timidly said something small this time and there was no response. I'm afraid to say more because I know well that irritability which goes along with the manic phase. I'm scared there is going to be more. It is hard to know what to do.

Speaking for myself, I think that the hardest part of being engaged in manic behavior is that I either had no idea what I was doing, or found myself unable to put the brakes on. Even now, I appreciate someone pointing out when I am having breakthrough symptoms, which generally are small and controllable.

So what to do? Break out the popcorn and wait for this person to crash, and keep being there for them? Simper around and say everything will be all right when often, everything is not all right?

The truth is that I can't change anyone. None of us can. I can't put the brakes on for this person. My world had to crash down around me in order for me to start looking at how I was wrecking my life.

There is a saying or two in Al-Anon about not standing in someone's way as they face consequences in their lives: one is "Get Off His Back, Get Out Of His Way, Get On With Your Life."

I think that is good advice for me right now, much as it hurts.