Thursday, April 17, 2008

Caught from Behind -- for a Day

The Boogerman got me.

I am determined not to write a mental health blog or a depression diary or anything like that. There are plenty of great ones and my voice won't add much to that river of information.

Still, I am running for my life and that means acknowledging the things I'm running from now and again.

I am running from a bipolar disorder.

Yesterday, it caught me.

My reaction to my meeting with Brad really surprised me. Everything he had to say was good news, but it hit me as if he had said, "Give it up, Fatboy. You're going nowhere fast." I knew something was wrong in my head, but the Bipolar Boogerman has been so quiet since I started working out that I guess I dropped my guard. I've been taking my meds, and combined with the well-documented mental health benefits of exercise, I guess I figured I had the old man licked.

Looks like he can still catch me from behind when he puts his mind to it.

My mind was racing Tuesday night. No way I could have gone to sleep. I was up until 2:30 reading and writing. Mrs P made an appointment for us to take Molly to the vet Wednesday morning and by the time I woke up, I was certain we were taking her in to put her to sleep. She's a very tired, old lady and like so many big dogs, she has a lot of trouble with her hips. I latched onto the idea of losing her and crashed into the trough of the emotional wave that had kept me up so late the night before. I was a bear to Mrs P all morning, and by the time we were in the exam room with the doctor, I was breaking down sobbing as I told him about Molly's troubles. He and my patient wife discussed the science while I held my Golden Retriever close and prayed. It turns out I was the only one in the room with euthanasia on his mind. Doc and Mrs P arrived at a plan after considering several options, then Molly had some blood drawn and got her nails done. We pulled out of the parking lot with our little old granny dog happily gazing out the back window of my car.

I had lost all sense of emotional proportion and I knew I was screwed. I went back to the house and instead of just dropping the ladies off and going on to the office, I got my computer and went inside. In the living room, my heart was racing and I called in sick for the rest of the day. I had a good lunch, a Healthy Choice® frozen thing, then went to bed and slept for about nine hours. When I woke up, my dog was still alive, my wife hadn't left me, and I had been suitably humbled by my old nemesis - the Boogerman isn't melting away any faster than the fat man is.

This morning I feel much better. I'm sure my knee will appreciate the day off, and my thoughts and emotions are much more clear. Nobody is dying here. Not today anyway.

The fact that this episode hit so hard comes as a real surprise to me. I usually notice the warning signs and am better prepared. On the other hand, the fact that it passed in about a day is something I take as a very good sign. The old man may have knocked me down, but this time I had a really good reason to get back up, and that's what I've done.

The truth is, I have always had those reasons. A wife I love and who loves me beyond all reason. A job that challenges me every day. A house full of animals who teach me about affection and honesty. A workplace full of talented colleagues who teach me about honor and perseverance. Only now that the fat man is running, I realize that I might actually have a role to play in all that as well. I can be a person who is worthy to stand with all those people and even benefit them once in a while.

A fat man running is a fat man who has decided to stay alive for one more day.

It's good to be alive.

Eat my dust, Boogerman.



  1. I'll look forward to seeing us "eat your dust!" Just wanted to add, yesterday you mentioned something about "it's foolish..." to assume where you'll be. I don't think that's foolish at all. You have to set the highest expectations and tap into inspiration to reach your goal, and then make some of those adjustments and tweaks as you learn things along the way. Your story is inspirational and again I continue to wish you success.

  2. If I can run beside you someday, I'll be satisfied enough.

    As for the Bipolar Boogerman... before I'm done, he won't even remember what my heels looked like.


  3. Remember that every time you get back up, you've won another battle against your nemesis. You just keep giving that Boogerman hell! Go, go! Ra, ra, ra! Etc.


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