“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not in the branch but in her wings.”
Hello again beautiful people. I came across this quote today and it really struck a chord. It perfectly sums up the moral of today’s post about my manic episode.
A few months prior to my admission to the psychiatric hospital, the Universe and an amazing friend of mine got together to send me some good vibes, along with an incredibly exciting opportunity. The gig being for a super cool music event in Germany as an artist handler with some presenting aspects for the live stream channels. Pretty snazzy right..?! 😎
I haven’t been able to hold down a full-time job for the past two years. So this was a perfect “mini” project for me to focus on. Even though a little anxious, I was thrilled! Plus the 🍒 on top was that I got to spend a few days back in Deutschland with a dear old friend – win win!
As the weeks went by, I became more and more excited about my trip. I was emotionally and mentally psyched for it. Plus I was increasingly attached to the idea of going.
The whole manic episode and consequent hospitalisation threw a bit of a spanner into the works… But I was determined that this time I would not lose control of the situation and things would go ahead as planned.
Upon arrival at the hospital (three and a bit weeks before my trip) I was buzzing, unnaturally euphoric and hadn’t really slept for two weeks. But I had only one question for the lovely medical team which I repeated like a broken record throughout the course of the first week. It was, “When can I leave because I’m going to Germany?” The medical team simply responded calmly: “Madame Russell, you have only just arrived so you’re not leaving yet.”
By week 3 the meds had sufficiently brought me back down to reality and I was more stable. I continued to talk about my German trip, the difference being that rather than in an erratic mumbled, jumbled fashion it was now in a clear and concise manner. I managed to get across just how important this trip was to me and that it might actually be rather detrimental if I weren’t to go. (How I’d have to deal with the disappointment, a feeling of failure, self-worthlessness, if I had to cancel…) My doctors agreed and said that if I continued to stabilise they saw no reason why I shouldn’t be able to go.
Ok, so I may have tactically forgotten to mention all the details to them: the music event would entail me pulling an all-nighter; a venue packed with thousands of people; loud music; all the things that go along with such a shebang. Sure, it may not have been the most ideal place for me to be, but I knew I wouldn’t jeopardise my whole recovery over some quick folly. And the wonders this opportunity would do for my self-esteem could be great. I had to go.
The week of “The Wobble”
However week 3 in hospital was also the week of “The Wobble”. I lost confidence in myself and started to overanalyse and question every slight emotion I felt. This is something rather common for someone to experience when coming down from a manic episode.
The best thing I can compare it to is like being on board a landing plane when there is turbulence. You’ve literally been flying, going at a million miles an hour (=> mania). Now you’re coming down fast (=> meds kicking in). You keep getting jolted up and down (=> meds stabilising). But the whole time you can’t help thinking “Ahhh what if we crash!” (=> the potential dreaded crash after mania that is depression).
Regaining trust in myself
I was ready to call the whole thing off and not even sure I wanted to leave hospital. But during that last week the incredible medical team spent hours with me, day and night. We talked through anything and everything on my mind and helped me regain some trust in myself.
So D Day came and off I trotted, or jet-setted 🛫. Yes I had some tricky moments especially during the travelling but what is important is that I did it! Yay! I’m also delighted to report that we smashed it at the event! Boom baby! 💥 And as I fluttered around backstage with some of the biggest names in their field doing what I was there to do, I felt like I had my mojo back! All in all the trip was a huge success.
So there you have it. Sure, some people will say it was reckless to embark on such an endeavour during my recovery but I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum and believe you have to do what is right for you. As my Daddy always says: “There’s more than one way to cook an egg.” The most important thing is to believe and trust in yourself, you got this.
Reproduced with permission, originally published here