Jan 23, 2009

At My Desk: Marriage & Bipolar Disorder

Listening to: Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper

Stack of books: World Changing; A User's Guide for the 21st Century, The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Great American Short Stories, Farmer's Almanac, Autobiography of The Bible, The Art Book.

Pile: Daily planner, inner-work notebook, bill-play planner, to do folder, fit journal, receipts to enter, index cards with screenplay scenes.

Miscellaneous: Presidents of the U.S. portrait and date bookmark, recycled POM glass full of ginger ale, photo of Harrison Brent in a newspaper clipping from Washington Courier, January 14, 2009.

The boys: Rocco chews a bone next to the heater at my right, Dan reads on the couch at my left, Blake swims eagerly in fresh water at 80 degrees. Hobbes? I have no idea. Probably sulking in the bedroom.

Thinking about: I have officially weaned off of Prozac and I am only taking a mood-stabilizer, Lamotrigine (generic for Lamichtol) at 200 mg daily for my illness. This life-long illness has yet to have a stable definition, as if it seeks to echo my tumultuous moods. Dr. Cirino, my current psychiatrist, said I have bipolar disorder, heavy on the mixed episodes but also rapid cycling, so no, I am not textbook. This means my illness is defined as Bipolar Disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified), a catch-all diagnosis used in cases such as mine. Even if it is ambiguous, I cleave to a diagnosis at last.

BDNOS. Bananas drive north or south.

We were vigilant about my drug swap-out. Three months ago I began to slowly reduce Prozac while beginning and increasing Lamichtol. In the past, I have not proved exceptional at swap-outs. I get extreme. As I have lightly referenced, I have not been drinking alcohol for a while, and I see in hind-sight that this was key in maintaining as close to a level mood as possible. I have done very well over this time, particularly given the surprises of grief, travel, unemployment, and challenges with my FMS (Fibromyalgia, or, finches move slow.) Dan is there for me, silently, like a guardian angel. You know, a really HOT one.

But he's not a guardian angel, as much as my mom thinks he is. He's a man who is my husband. Every day his phone rings and there are hundreds of clients, totals, notes, plants, crewmen, machines, or weather to consider. He handles a lot of money and a lot of people from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the evening, he wants to chill, read or listen to music, watch some TV, eat some food. He'll fall asleep at about ten o'clock on the nose. Where does a partner fit in this picture, when on occasion she starts to cry in the middle of dinner or a light comedy? When she cries with no apparent reason and shuffles off to lay in bed, motionless but with her eyes open in the dark?

I never have answers for him. I don't know what is wrong; it just so happens the world opens up in a swell of numbness and swallows me as it closes. When I feel far away in its grasp, I'll have him touch his hand to my back. Flesh to flesh seems to work best, like an infant that needs touch as it grows. If I cry he waits for me and holds me. His hand finds a circular motion and settles into the repetition.

This is all we have worked out so far. It is not insignificant. This is life. Bananas drive north or south and finches move slow. This is the first step to being as healthy as I can possibly be. We will walk these baby steps.

Flowers in a jar: Lavender spider mums

On the dry erase board: Research list for screenplay, Dan's snail.

For dinner tonight: Swiss chard and poached eggs over spaghetti noodles

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Leah - this was a beautiful post. You are such a talented writer to make living with BDNOS and FMS sound so beautiful.
Not sure if that's the right word, but really, the way you two are handling it together sounds just beautiful.