I was magical. I was sparkley. I was invincible.
It was all High, with no hangover. It was all three drink buzz, with no falling down and twisting your ankle.
I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping.
Nothing seemed like a bad idea. Nothing.
Imagine the part of your brain that serves as your superego - the voice of caution and authority - who occasionally steps out for a breather and comes back in to see you on your 6th drink. Mine had left the building and moved to a different timezone entirely. No cautionary voice in my head. Just the ones who said "SURE!! THAT'S A GREAT IDEA!"
When I landed on that cot in the Student health center, I hadn't slept in two days, and couldn't tell them when I had last eaten. That was Terrance's job, you see - to make sure I ate. He was in New York on business, so while I could get Emily fed and to and from school, the times in between I wandered. I either lay in bed all day doing Nothing, or wandered through shopping places buying strange things.
On the up side, I got fairly skinny. I also could do ridiculous amounts of yoga, as I tried to wear myself out, or punish my body to the point where I would be forced to rest. It also gave me the confidence to stroll out into Montreal, pushing way past my comfort zone. I would sometimes ride the Metro through the different parts of the city and just wander around. No matter that I didn't speak the language or had no real idea where I was, I could eventually find my way back to home base.
Anything was possible.
And sex? Dear baby Jeebus - I attacked Terrance constantly. My senses were wide open. Montreal was more than happy to fill them - markets, people, noise, food. There was no lack of activity or movement. There was no bottom to my ability to absorb any of it.
I could not focus on anything of importance and was lucky to be able to get through my full class load with no major failures or gaffes. I credit both my previous educational training and my ingrained work ethic for pulling me though. I did 6 full courses in that first year, completing 18 credits instead of the required 12.
Did I know something was wrong? Yeah, Kind of. On one hand, the super charged Dawn was fun. She didn't eat, and didn't sleep and could just go and go with no recharge needed.
On the other hand, the things I found pleasurable - reading, for example - became difficult in unexpected ways. I couldn't sustain focus on themes and ideas. I would flit from one book to another. I would start a quilt or other craft, and abandon it part way to start something else. It was the Starting that was appealing, the adventure of the new.
Even writing about this experience leave me nervous and feeling exposed. The adult in me yells things like "YOU WILL NEVER GET A JOB IF YOU TALK ABOUT THIS" - Or maybe that is just Terrance in the background.
Recently, I was reading a blog of an internet friend who I have known since my first days of blogging. (I actually think I may have left her first comment back in 2005 - that's hardcore in the bloggy world.) She is recovering from her own set of "The crazies" and reading her descriptions and navigations sparked something in me.
There are degrees of crazy, you see. There is depression - which no longer terrifies me the way it did in my first days,weeks, years of recovery. I can beat THAT, and it can be the only thing I hang onto during the bad times. That I beat it before and will beat it again, I just have to be gentle with myself and nurse Dawn back to health. I don't want Depression to come back, but I know it will. So I plan for its defeat.
And there is CRAZY.
In conversing with another long time internet friend about BlogHer 10, I told her that I had seen other women we have known since our beginnings in blogging and that one in particular had been distanced by some others. Not cast out, but distanced. Polite squeals were still exchanged and nice things said - but the Distance was obvious to me.
"She had seen the crazy - the real crazy" is how I wrote it to Nancy. I could see it in her eyes when I hugged her and maintained eye contact. When I simply sat next to her and required no discussion or false promises or anything but her physical presence next to me. I keep company, and that is enough for me.
But the real crazy? It marks you. I can see it in others who have seen it too. It is the knowledge that the small demon of depression has bigger and badder relatives who are hiding around the corner. Ones you never dreamed you could survive.
And here is the most terrifying thing about them. They are beautiful. Really Fucking Beautiful.
Of course, they will eat your soul while you smile at them, but the beauty. Ah. The secrets they promise to reveal are lies, but such lies of spectacular silk and gossamer you have never seen.
There is wisdom in delirium, but it's price can be too high. I feel marked in a way depression alone never did.
I never longed for depression to return. But there are times when I long for Mania to come back.
And That is the most frightening thing of all.