The Flip Side of Depression: Cycling Without a Bicycle

I know when I indulge my mania I risk falling into a major depression. I KNOW this, but I do it anyway — which brings me to now. Monday morning and a weekend worth of emails and phone calls to return! Maybe I should ride my bike to work…When I get home I have to take a sleeping pill my nurse-practitioner gave me to get to sleep. Then I get up on Sunday and scrub floors, fold laundry and fume at the folks at the grocery store who don’t understand that it is NOT COOL to leave your cart in the middle of the aisle while you decide what kind of coffee to buy. Just buy the Dunkin’ Donuts, dammit!I am in very good shape but I am not a sprinter. However, my mania is and “we” made it – 55 minutes.  I asked the flight attendant for some water and I noticed my hands were shaking.Now, a normal person might have said, “Alright, you goofed up. Stupid mistake. That’s what happens when you try to do it all. Take a later flight or spend the night. Get a room and relax. You don’t NEED to go home tonight.” But noooooooo. My little mania rubs its hands together, raises its eyebrows and says “LET’S DO IT!!!”My flight up was delayed. I seethed and my mania downshifted. For some reason — perhaps because my brain is racing and my mania needs fuel — I think my return flight is at 7 pm. But when I look at my ticket — at 4:05 pm — I see that my flight is at 5 pm. I need to get from Union Station to Reagan Intl. Airport, check in and clear security in 55 minutes.I was in Washington, DC this weekend. I did a turnaround — flew up on the red-eye at 5:45 am and returned at 11:54 pm. When I booked the flight I knew this was a bad idea. I should have gone up Friday. I should have taken the day off work but for some reason, I decided I could do it all — work a 40+ hour week AND fly up to Washington AND come home AND clean the house, do the grocery shopping  AND the laundry.One of the problems with my mania is that once it kicks in, it needs fuel. After years of therapy I can see myself fueling it. It is very frustrating. Like holding your hand over a flame over and over and thinking, this time you won’t get burned. Here’s an example.“We need to find out why you’re cycling,” my nurse practitioner said.  So, we schedule yet another appointment to see if my efforts to get some good sleep and to take my life down a notch, especially at work, do anything to stop the cycling.There’s a word you don’t want to hear if you are bipolar. It’s “cycling” and I’m not talking about the Tour de France.By CHRISTINE STAPLETON

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