Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Bipolar Post I Promised

So yesterday I was ranting about money and started into bipolar and it went on and on and on so I decided to make it a different post.

So, here's the background: We're talking about money, accumulation of debt, and spending.
Read on.

When you're on a high, you either don't consider the implications of spending money (not being able to pay a bill later) or you rationalize it (oh, i'll 'pay it back' after the next paycheck). Mania and credit cards are terrible, disastrous mixes. I have, personally, charged a single credit card to it's limit within one week, riding the mania wave, buying stupid things like trying to outfit my whole bathroom for $400 at Kohls and decided I needed this and that and this for the kitchen and buying $400 worth of clothes at Kohls (can you tell me + kohls = disaster?). At the time i NEEDED THAT STUFF. Dead serious. I felt if I didn't get those clothes, I would have absolutely nothing to wear. If I didn't get that iced tea maker, I would DIE from lack of something to drink.

Seriously. It's like the part of your brain that is wired for survival? You know, eat sleep defend? It gets somehow sidetracked into buying things. Instead of eat-sleep-defend, it turns into buy-need-spend.
And somewhere, in the tiny, itty bitty sane part of your brain, you KNOW you shouldn't be spending the money. You KNOW it will only lead to disaster. You KNOW you don't have it. You KNOW you're going to overdraft your bank account. And you CARE. You really care! It's not just "screw it". You really care.
But somehow, the idea of "this is going to get me in trouble" and the action of "buying this" does. not. connect.

It's like trying to fit a square peg in a triangle hole. Your mind doesn't connect the thought to the process.
It's the same thing with cleaning house. Either you're so mired in decisions (a whoollleeeeee 'nother thing) or you can't seem to connect wanting a clean house to cleaning. Or wanting the dishes to be done, to actually doing them.

It sounds totally stupid, but I swear, it's true. On a down cycle, I will tell myself, in literal words, "I have to do this."
And I will sit there and stare at it for a minute, and then walk away. There are times where I have told Ben "Tell me to do this," And he will, and I will be able to do it. But if I talk to myself, I won't do it.
Sounds a lot like being lazy. But again. I swear it's not. It's not that I don't want to do it. It's not that I'm trying to avoid it. It just doesn't connect.
And when I'm sane/stable/not down/not manic, I see this. I can type it out. But when i'm down? I don't notice. I seriously do not notice that I walk away without doing whatever it was that needed done. It's like I blank out.

Or even worse, the decisions. Oh god the decisions.

When you're up, your head is racing so fast that decisions are first-come-first-served. You don't actually 'decide'. You have a thought and act on if. If it's a question "What should I wear?" you go to the first thing you think of, regardless if it's a good 'decision'. Example: wearing a short skirt in the middle of winter because it's the first thing you thought about. And you don't consider anything else, because that first thought IS PERFECT. Or, another example, you find a craigslist a goat for sale. And it's PERFECT. Nevermind that you don't have fencing, feed, or anything else you need. You get that goat.

Later, when you come off the 'high', you're stuck with a goat who is starving and has no place to live.

When you're down, well, decisions are the other way around. You CANNOT decide. You complicate every little decision until you are totally overwhelmed.
Doing the dishes is not just 'wash the dishes'. It's "where do I start? Which dish do I start with? Maybe I should clear the counters first so I can put the dishes on there to see what I need to wash. But to do that I'd have to put away the stuff I used to bake with last night... and some of that is dishes, so where do I put those? Do I put them with the dishes? But I don't have room for the dishes!" ETC.
You can see how, after five minutes of standing there with THIS running through your head,  you'd get overwhelmed. And you sit down.

And that survival instict, the one that had morphed into buy-buy-buy when you were manic, dumbs back down to eat-sleep-defend. And nothing else.

A week later when  you're stable, you look back and go "WTF? Why couldn't I just pick up a dish and wash it?"