The Sound of Your Own Wheels

All quiet on the twilight front.

All quiet on the twilight front.

“I am not you, thou art not he or she; they are not they.” (1)

This is the song that came on the radio, whilst I was sitting in a cafe earlier this week. Somehow, it seemed apt

Gods bless The Eagles.

Some might say I had been taking it easy: I’d been off work for nearly two months. But then, they’re probably the sort that don’t understand the difference between “anxiety” and ANXIETY, between “depression”, as in “I’m feeling a bit blue”, and the black hole that is clinical depression, or bipolar depression.

The mere fact that I was in a cafe, by myself save for the owner, was significant. I hadn’t been much of anywhere during those months, unless of course you count several weeks in hospital, and I certainly hadn’t been alone much. Even more significant was that I was killing time whilst waiting to go to the first shift of my phased return to work.

Overthinking in Bradford: photo by K. Hartley

Overthinking in Bradford: photo by K. Hartley

I can reflect now on three – admittedly short – shifts at my main job, and an hour or so at my other, once a week job. It’s good to be back, and good too to have the weekend – and nights – off for the time being. Cross fingers, it won’t be long before I’m back to doing regular shifts, including some weekends, and nights.

“Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy …”

… is a poetic, but accurate, way of describing my run up to, and experience of, my recent illness. I was so wrapped up in what was worrying me, I couldn’t hear anything else but “the sound of my own wheels” – what I sometimes describe as “the hamster on the wheel”. The hamster is so intent on its wheeling that it loses sight – if ever it did have sight – of the fact that it is/was getting nowhere.

And so with me. I am *not* claiming this is what it is like for other people with bipolar. (2). For me, it seems to be a case of first overthinking/dreading things, then those feelings being fueled by my illness until the sound of my own mental wheels drives me, if not crazy, then very, very ill.

Shelf of glory, Dec 2012

Saved by some books.

Once again, it was reading fiction that started to bring me out of my mental hell hole, and writing & editing my own stories that seemed to complete the job.

“Hello hypomania my old friend …”

I thought I’d waved ta ra to the highs of bipolar, but it appears not in the case of hypomania. Within a few days of feeling more like myself, three people – two close relatives, and a close friend – pointed out that I was talking a lot, and fast, too. So I spent several days trying to ensure I had conversations with people, rather than subjecting them to what one friend describes as “a download”. Having said that, the house hasn’t been this tidy in months, and I didn’t need much sleep, either.

Today finds me more like myself: that’s to say, weird, but not especially wired, or low. Although, if anyone has a suggestion on how to kick the nightmares in touch – not just mornings, but after naps, too – it would be very gratefully received.

Wishing you all the best with the sound of your own wheels.

Window, Conisbrough Castle, S Yorkshire.

Window, Conisbrough Castle, S Yorkshire.

(1) Evelyn Waugh, “Brideshead Revisited” Not entirely sure what Waugh meant by this phrase. I’m using to say my experience of bipolar is not your experience, or anyone else’s.
(2) That would be both arrogant, and inaccurate.



About Sheila N

Enough about me. Art by Tom Brown.
This entry was posted in Bipolar, mental health, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Sound of Your Own Wheels

  1. Nimue Brown says:

    What I can say on the nightmare front, is I think they’re part of how we process difficult things. I find that treating them as the brain equivalent of a really awful cleaning job – unspeakable things at the back of the fridge etc – makes it easier to cope with. Rather than getting caught up in the drama and ickiness of the nightmare, it lets me go ‘ok, my brain is doing a thing, for reasons, I’ll just let it get on with that and try not to pay much attention’ and it’s made it easier for me. Then at least the fear of nightmares does not becoming a contributing factor to the having of nightmares. I get a lot of nightmares, but often the intense patches come before some sort of significant breakthrough inside my head.

    • Sheila North says:

      This seems eminently sensible! I like your “unspeakable things at the back of the fridge” analogy. Plus, not paying too much attention to the nightmares: I like that very much.

  2. blahpolar says:

    Really cool photos, and I totally got how you used the Waugh quote.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s