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Wanted: Equilibrium

I want to live a steady, calm, level-headed life. I value being and living real — being authentic and not fighting nature. It’s tough in this life full of alarm clocks, artificial lights, school and bus schedules, and jobs. But my goal is to live “Don’t force it. Go with the flow. Find your natural rhythm.”

But my body is a rebel. Its ebb and flow is nearly unlivable. Every two weeks, it’s like someone flips a switch. I’m either up or down, like a roller-coaster on turbo. Sometimes I even wonder if it’s one of those bipolar or manic-depressive things.

I notice it more now that I’m free of anti-depressants and their masking of my (yes somewhat monthly) extremes. The medication flattened the peaks and shallowed the valleys. Now, the natural me is unmasked, stark and in my face.

When the switch flips down, vivid dreams thrash me through the night and fatigue dogs me all day. The one-two punch knocks out my emotional equilibrium. I’m equally as likely to collapse in tears on the couch, mope listless and purposeless on the front porch, or storm through household chores, raging that I’m the only one who gives a damn. (Yes, the doors to profanity yawn wide open during these days. It’s ugly.)

My physical being loses stability too, wracked by persistent aches, hunger, cravings for salt and sweet (or the best of both worlds).

Thoughts tangle and twist. I labor unending to sort them out and make sense of them. The mental strain is exhausting and I covet quiet… uninterrupted quiet.

I dread it. I’ve tried to lessen the extremes by sticking to regular exercise, trying to spend more time in bed (even if I’m not sleeping), slow my pace… but most of the time this just barely takes the edge off. Life rarely slows down at the right time, and you can’t exactly resign from life for two weeks every month. (Can you? If you figure out how, will you let me know?)

As silently as it starts, it ends. The switch flips up. I wake up and realize I slept hard and sound. The aches fade away. The emotional extremes level off, the tears retreat (unless I spot an emergency medical responder somewhere, which triggers tears for a whole different set of reasons), and I don’t spend the day overwhelmed. Embracing the natural cycles of life appeals again.

I am trying different vitamin supplements. I’ve considered various medications to level me off again, but while the results are appealing, I hate the basic concept. On especially bad days, the hypochondriac in me wonders if something’s seriously wrong.

But maybe this is just who I am, the way I’m made. Maybe I need to find a way to roll with it instead of fight it. Go with the flow. Accommodate this natural, albeit miserable, rhythm.

Anyone else out there riding a never-ending roller-coaster? How do you manage the ups and downs?

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