Penelope is a friend that I have known for a long time, in fact, she was probably in my life even before I knew she was. She’s super fabulous. Everyone loves her. She’s stylish, witty and excitable. She thinks she could take over the world and make it a better place in like a week and she will convince you that is the case and you’d probably believe her, like for reals, she’s that convincing. Penelope knows me better than anyone else. Most likely because she is me: Penelope is Manic Me.
Now before you go getting all concerned and think that in addition to the long list of things that I deal with, I also have multiple personalities let me explain: My fantastic friend Tanya (who I introduced to you yesterday) was with me for the months after I was officially told that I am crazy on paper. As I have shared before, once I got past the initial shock of seeing the word BIPOLAR in print next to my name, I settled into the idea that I finally had an explanation for the years of awfulness that was my insides. Suddenly I knew that the fact that I would be crying about the state of my life and the world one hour and then deciding that I was going to sell all my things and move to Africa to help save AIDS babies the next and then back to crying for those AIDS babies the hour after that, was rapid cycling and can be a symptom of bipolar…
It’s an exhausting symptom in case you were wondering and one that I dealt with a lot (even now sometimes). The process of trying to keep it together so that I could interact with people and not blow my cover was tiresome to say the least. So in trying to explain to Tanya just how I felt, she decided that we were going to name my Manic Me and my Depressed Me and thus Penelope and Matidla (or Penny and Tildy for short) were born. It was the easiest way for me to tell her where I was at any given moment without having to go into a whole long explanation. Although I am sure she could decipher based on the fact that I would either be weeping for no reason or wildly telling her a 30-minute story about a 5-minute interaction that I had with someone at the gas station that totally changed my life, but nonetheless, it was certainly a more fabulous way to tell.
I bring Penny up because she’s been hanging out with me for the last week or so. You see, for the last 5 years right around the time that we “fall backwards” for the time change, I have noticed that Matilda gradually sneaks into my world and before I know it, I have lost 2 months to the sleep monster that I become when Tildy is around. I am very sensitive to season changes (even the pretend ones in LA). So this year when I felt it happening a touch early, Dr. John and I decided that the best thing to do would be to preemptively take an anti-depressant for a week to prevent said occurrence. The thing about taking anti-depressants as a bipolar person is that they work really great to get me out of the dumps, but then there is no ceiling for my anxiety and the next thing I know is that I am not sleeping and hanging out with Penny. But the luxury of being nearly 6 years into this game, is that I know this will happen and can take measures to regulate.
So that is where I am – regulating. This fall/winter I am going to try a light therapy box and see if that helps Matilda stay away, that way I won't have to incorporate another pill into my life and that makes me – all 3 of me – happy.