I never thought of myself as having an obsessive personality and hey, maybe I actually don’t… but bipolar disorder has a mind of it’s own and in it’s own right, bipolar is obsessive. Bipolar lives, breathes, and feeds off of obsession. The subject matter changes from moment to moment, but when you see someone ruminating, they can’t get a certain image or thought out of their mind.
It’s like an addiction. Say you smoke cigarettes or vape, because I personally vape. You get a break and a thirty minute lunch during an eight hour work day. You smoke before work and you’re good for the first forty minutes and then your thoughts turn toward your slow, burning sensation in your soul that is nicotine withdrawal. Every thought, every action slows down until the moment that you can go take a smoke break. You are less productive because every waking thought is about the taste of your vape juice, or the feeling of that last cigarette on your lips, the way that cigarette feels between your fingertips, how smooth and soft the paper is… One firm grip could make that cigarette dissolve….
Back to work, break’s over! How long has it been? Since you looked at the clock last, it’s been a total of two minutes. Another fifty minutes til your actual break. You slump over at your desk. Your thoughts intensify. A coworker passes you as they walk past your desk. You smell the faint aroma of cigarette smoke on them. It churns your desire even more. Next thing you know, you’re standing up. You walk towards the bathrooms, slam the door open. Run over to the sink to put cold water on your face and back of your neck. Afterwards you look at yourself in the mirror. How did you become like this?
You smile, with teeth. A meek smile, at that. Your teeth are stained from the years of coffee and burning cigarettes. Your eyes have deep circles beneath them. Whites of your eyes are bloodshot from the sleep deprivation. You lift up your hands to look at them closer. Fingernails are stained yellow from the organic tobacco of your American Spirits. Hands are shaking from the lack of nicotine.
Forty seven minutes until your break. You look back up at the mirror, there’s a lit cigarette hanging out of your mouth. Inhale. Breathe in through your nose, close your eyes; don’t move. Exhale everything you have and are into the atmosphere and open your eyes. What do you see?
In retrospect, I have always been rather OCD. Not so much with obsessive cleaning, but my thoughts would compel me to do things I wouldn’t normally do. I would / will ruminate over an idea or concept until it gets accomplished. During one of my darkest times, when I actively chose to cheat on Diego with my co-worker at the time, I obsessed over the moment he would first penetrate me, how he would feel against me, how he looked nude, the feeling of his hair, his kisses on my neck. I compulsively cheated that night so that I wouldn’t commit suicide.
That doesn’t excuse my actions. Nothing can for that matter. But the only reason I am here, alive, right now is that my obsessive thoughts of being dead and how to kill myself were quickly taken over by the strong… strong is an understatement… overpowering desire to be one with my co-worker, Justin.
Besides ruminating over sex and suicide, I obsess over the smaller things too. Striving to be the best has always been a passion of mine. It stems from playing softball at barely five years old and being the best damn catcher on this side of the Mississippi! And I was the best; for seven years I dedicated my life to being a catcher to please my father who was also my coach. We would practice year around so that when spring came around, I would get selected for the summer competitive teams and play throughout summer vacation.
When my love for softball was less than the resentment I had for my father, I quit the team halfway through the season when I was eleven. Shortly after that, my mom started drinking again and she became symptomatic with her schizophrenia that took years to diagnose.
From fourteen to eighteen, I was determined to be the best debater our state had known. As a freshman in high school, I triple lettered in the sport and went to the state competition and did well in my event. As a junior, I went to a nationally recognized debate camp that was also open to students of Canada where I placed 1st and won the tournament in my event. I became a captain of my main event, public forum my senior year of high school. The kids I coached as a senior in high school when they were freshmen, went to nationals and placed in the top ten in the nation when they were seniors in high school.
I went to community college to become a paralegal, and before I got halfway through my paralegal degree, I was hired as a legal assistant. Driven and hungry, I worked my ass off and was promoted to paralegal within two months of working at the firm.
Obsession also led me to then post about my bipolar disorder on Facebook for my employer to see and then be fired based on the premise that I “lacked integrity” and could not do my job due to having such an invasive disorder.
Obsession led me to walk off a job site that I only had for less than a month after being unfairly reprimanded.
Obsession led me to spend tens of thousands of dollars on my gambling addiction and go into credit card debt and purchase personal loans to then pay those credit cards off.
Obsession led me to sell my perfectly fine 2007 Jeep Compass one day and next buying a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta right after getting an on-the-job injury and receiving no pay. That same compulsive behavior came back a year later when I traded in my Jetta with twenty thousand in negative equity, receiving half the value of that as a trade in, and purchasing a twenty two thousand dollar 2017 Kia Sportage SX and putting the negative equity of ten thousand on top of the Kia loan and with taxes, turned a reasonably priced SUV into a nearly forty thousand luxury debt fest.
You see? Obsession can be good or bad, depending on how you use it. It’s easier said than done to just put that obsessive compulsive energy into something creative, like a new soup you want to master or making a unique painting. The difference is that I never really regret trying to make a soup using a rue that I burn and mess up royally. I always regret the cheating, the sleeping around with random guys, the impulsive spending, the bad habits.
The past four months I have been consistently taking my medication, even though I HATE it. The past eight months I have been slowly rebuilding relationships with friends and family that I have lost or tarnished due to the bad choices I have made more or less associated with my bipolar disorder. In the past eight months, I have put the negative obsessions into my art. I started this blog in February and it’s gaining some traction in the bipolar community of WordPress; I had one famous friend / fellow blogger reblog my most recent post and I had another blogger who saw that post make their own blog post about it with their thoughts and spin on the matter.
These are all things I didn’t know were possible. I finally shut my damn trap and listened to Diego, my parents, friends, and even my therapist. They aren’t all out there to getcha 😉
Til next time,