Thursday, March 26, 2015

Finding Beauty

This morning a coworker asked me how I was doing. I jokingly used the old refrain "same sh*t, different day," and we both nodded and laughed. But then I corrected myself and said that actually, every day of my life is surprising. My coworker replied, "that's beautiful." I laughed and said that I guess it depended on the surprise, but it got me thinking on the topic.

I work in travel and events. By nature, they are full of surprises. A new client traveling to a new destination; a unique type of event; a flight delay; a client completely changing their itinerary and my having to start the planning over; a snow storm delaying event attendees and pushing the day off schedule. The list of surprises, both desired and not, goes on and on. But it's not just about work.

I have rapid cycling cyclothymia. As I've mentioned before, I can wake up depressed, be hypomanic by lunch, and depressed again by dinner. It doesn't happen often - my depressive cycles are less frequent and tend to last a few days to a week - but it can happen that quickly. I literally go to bed not knowing if I'm going to wake up in one extreme or the other, or be, hopefully, somewhere in between. I have to plan for all of these scenarios. I can plan to work out, but if I'm particularly hypomanic, cardio is out of the question - it can make my hypomania worse. I can plan to go to a social gathering, but I may be too depressed, anxious, and physically exhausted to go, so I'm leery. Grocery shopping and cooking dinner - if I have the energy, but the food will have to be flexible, because dairy can make my depression worse (this, for the record, seems specific to me), and I might not have the energy to do any of it. The only things I can count on for sure are: no matter how bad I feel, I must force my ass to get out of bed and go to work; less sleep makes me cycle worse; yoga helps all states of mood; I absolutely need to have enough food and drink with me at all times to be able to take my med doses throughout the day.  Oh, and without coffee, even hypomanic me will not be happy.

Yet it's not all bad. I started my novel because I woke up one day with the opening scene in my head. Just like that. I had been thinking for years that I wasn't creative enough to write a novel. Then one day,it was there. I eagerly wrote it down in my morning pages, and I haven't looked back. Some days, my imagination and creativity stretch to depths I didn't think possible. Ideas come to me from out of nowhere as sureties, as if I'd known them all along. It's how I started my online mood disorder support group. In fact, it's how I started this blog. It's how the goal of a mental health focused non-profit first formed in my head (though admittedly I have a long way to go on this one). Nothing, and then poof!, everything.

So while I was joking with my coworker, and poking a bit of fun at myself and my brain (because sometimes, honestly, you just have to laugh so that you don't cry), perhaps he's right. Perhaps there is some sort of beauty in the fact that each day holds a surprise for me. Certainly, nobody would say that my life is boring, so if nothing else, I have that going for me. But even more than that, I get those many moments of unexpected inspiration. I get an energy and zest for life that others have told me they wish they had. Granted, sometimes it's only quick glimpses before the gremlin in my head takes over, but I have them. And the price I pay is having to deal with the depressive episodes. I wouldn't say "it's worth it", because seriously, depression, and the less desirable bits of hypomania freakin' SUCK. But I would say, nobody's life is perfect, and if I'm going to have all the rough times that come with the cyclothymia, then I might as well enjoy these glimpses of positivity and inspiration. My life might be a mess, but at least it's a beautiful mess. 


  1. Hi! I found your blog a couple of weeks ago and have back-read every one of your posts :)
    I have cyclothymia as well and it's nice to read someone else's accounts of their experience. You mentioned an online support group. Where can I find more info on that? Thanks and keep blogging? -Katie

    1. Hi Katie,
      I'm glad you are enjoying reading my blog. I'm sorry to hear that you have to deal with cyclothymia, but you're right- nice to know there are others who can understand. The group is a Facebook Group called Mood Disorders Support System. It's a private group, so only others in the group can see the content. There's a link to the group in my "about" section on here, and I believe if you search the name on FB it should come up. If you have any trouble finding it, just let me know. Thanks!