The Holidays

How were your holidays?

Mine were tumultuous.

Let me explain: I had a week of mania and depression on and off. I’m more accustomed to calling it a “mixed state.” I’d be sad and suicidal one minute and then happy and elated the next. (Correlation with PMS currently unidentified. I’ll tell you my verdict in about three months.)

Example: I went to the mall with my husband and mother on New Year’s Day. I went to New York & Co., one of my favorite clothing stores, and grabbed a bunch of different clothes off the racks, knowing I didn’t have enough money to pay for anything that even fit. I didn’t have enough money for a $20 shirt. My husband said I was in every corner of the stores – which I don’t normally do – looking at nearly every single item (again, I don’t do this). I tried on all the clothes I’d picked up, promising my husband that I wouldn’t get them all and still walked to the register with about $75 worth of clothing. No, not a lot but neither he nor I had the money for them. I whipped out my debit card in an effort to deceive my husband and look like I could afford it. When the $75 total popped up, however, I quickly switched to my debt-laded Discover credit card. Alas, my mother came to the rescue and paid for the items as a Christmas gift. My husband had previously been asking me what I’d pay with and I kept insisting “a card” while not specifying which kind.

I was pretty happy, cheerful, joyful – I’d go so far as to say euphoric (I rarely use that term in relation to myself). I raced around the store, excessively happy, and chatted up a storm. My husband warned my mother that an imminent crash lurked around the bend.

He just didn’t know how soon.

We trekked over to Macy*s so my mother could use the gift card we’d given her. While she went to the dressing room, I browsed the jewelry display.

NYY earringsI have very sensitive skin (due to eczema) and can’t even wear hypoallergenic earrings. The only jewelry I can wear has to be real gold (white or yellow; platinum’s fine too). If it’s a fashion earring, I need to have a gold post of some kind (14 Kt or whatever). This gold post thing on fashion earrings is pretty difficult to find without a jacked-up price so I’m relegated to cheesy pearl studs and flimsy hoops. I can’t afford three new earrings on one shot – I can’t even afford a pair of earrings per paycheck. I continued my manic habit of grabbing everything I like and set a few bundles on the jewelry counter. I picked up a beautiful white gold (I guess) butterfly ring – just my size! – and flipped it over to see the price.

$50.

I couldn’t afford $30 earrings let alone a $50 ring that I’d just fallen in love with! I became completely crestfallen and near tears. My husband saw my elevated mood quickly begin to drop off and grabbed my mother once she came out of the dressing room. My mother linked her arm in mine and yanked me away from the counter with nothing in my hands.

Funny how I was willing to use a credit card for things I couldn’t afford, oh say, 10 minutes earlier.

There’s my first mixed state episode of the new year. My holiday moods before were much worse – a one-hour crying fit, fighting the urge to jump out of a car, and stabbing my wrists with a nice, blue Papermate pen, but I’ll save those details for another day. The bipolar diagnosis explains a lot now  – like filling in a half-completed puzzle.

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