Craving Change: Stimulating My Manic Side?
The thing I can’t stand most of all is when nothing changes. Perhaps it’s part of my bipolar craving for excitement, for something to stimulate the manic side and get me out of the doldrums. I’d almost rather have a tragedy than have my daily routine repeat itself day after nauseous day.
In the past I’m afraid I created my own diversions by quitting a job, starting a business, moving to the opposite coast of the country. Every time an opportunity came along that promised stimulation, I jumped at it.
One of my sisters said to me years ago, "If you’d just have stuck to one thing in your life, you’d be wildly successful by now." She’s noticed that I accomplish an awful lot in a short time before I move on to the next big thing.
Like a lot of people with bipolar, when I’m in the hypomanic stage I can do the work of three ordinary people in half the time. That capability gets us far, fast. But who can sustain it over the long haul?
I’m feeling very itchy now for a new challenge. Something big. I want to stop the life I’ve been living and start a new one. Jack Kerouac’s On the Road was the book that emblemized my desire for starting over. Like him, I wanted to get in my car with a pal and head west. I did, in fact, several times. The trouble is, when you get there, you’ve still got yourself to deal with.
These days when I’m feeling restless, I’m more likely to go on a hike in the woods. Or to simply keep working: making art and writing. Those are good, but today it feels like I need a lot more. I need to take a trip. It doesn’t have to be a long one. I’ve been stuck in this house and studio too long.
But I have too many obligations this week to do that. Maybe I’ll just gather up Adrian and the dog and go for a hike.
Lynne is an abstract painter and writer from Ithaca, New York. She wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder.