Before my diagnosis, I worried about having rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Daily, I experienced spells of heightened excitability and mental energy followed by profound boredom and lethargy. The pattern of my cycles troubled me—they lacked regularity.
After my son’s diagnosis, I observed his behavioral patterns and eventually connected them to my own. Twice exceptional people often have difficulty regulating their emotions.
I wrote this lament the night before I came down ill with the flu a few weeks ago. This post captures my experience of emotional disregulation.
I feel so unstable, unusable, broken. I cannot find balance in a life full of ups and downs. Daily glee skyrockets over little things– a cup of coffee or a tender glimpse of a loved one. I am unbound, untethered and out of my mind with bliss.
A moment later, ensnared by stress and the unexpected, I am smashed and hopeless.
I lack self-regulation. I struggle fiercely. I struggle incessantly. So does my son. We are both untied and colliding, collapsing, crushing each other until we are flat and empty.
I am a cheery person, I insist. This is my identity. I think wonderful thoughts and ask why, why, why, in an exuberant, perky voice.
Yet, when I am not enraptured with questions or drawn into a favorite task, my idle mind grinds in ever tighter circles. It winds in on itself, tighter and tighter until the center coils into a deep dark dot. My life becomes blackness.
I fight. I bounce, pace, and whirl. It helps. I float toward the surface again. My buoyancy is tenuous. Soon I will be lost, spinning away to the tiniest black speck.
Each day unfolds in song and dips in and out of despair and exhaustion. It feels pointless until it feels sacred again. I live the same day, forever.
I read the books and hear the words of what to do, but deep, deep grooves are etched in my brain. Like canyons, like caverns, neurological folds block the light or reveal a brilliance so blinding that I become senseless with joy.