Whatever was going on seems to be over. The psychiatrist called it manic euphoria and seemed surprised I’d have my first episode so late, most people starting much younger, and insisted I try something to help me sleep before I start making “drastic mistakes”. So I tried Trazodone, had another severe bizarre med reaction and wound up in urgent care for a steroid rescue, which unexpectedly made me sleepy and kicked me back into my normal skippy sleep pattern. I wonder if next time we can skip the experimentation and go straight to the steroid. At any rate, I got my usual luxurious four hours of sleep and woke up regressed, left with only the memory of being absolutely happy.
I never believed happiness was a real thing, just a semantic concept that developed over linguistic time, mostly from the old adage about “happy Harry” who was too dumb to understand he was supposed to be unhappy like everybody else. The world was an unhappy place for millennia until around 200 years ago when the idea of freedom was codified into the pursuit of happiness. Happy wasn’t even a word before the 14th century, meaning more along the lines of lucky and/or addled, which slowly evolved into a belief in something better, a state of existential awareness if you will, and then into a feeling or emotion you get when something good happens. Nowadays I argue that the current idea of happiness is contingent on something outside our control only briefly pleasing us because it necessarily can’t be sustained beyond several moments, allowing us to be constantly distracted back into awareness of our unhappiness over many other things that aren’t pleasing us, which ultimately and ironically only makes us more and more unhappy since we live in an age of continual self assessment. If you think about it, this is the first time in human history that psychological health has become a hope for the masses, but given happiness being part of the capitalistic sales drive, it has simultaneously become sadly cliche and equated with becoming a selfish person. Yes, happiness was already something reserved for the rich, but now we too can hoard our own little happy possessions while we sink into the state of relative deprivation. And if our families and neighbors do anything to disrupt the ratrace by swimming against that tide, woe be to us, our happiness becomes so disrupted that families fall apart and we mope around like emos. Having grown up in a family that never once questioned happiness or thought the children needed to be happy for any reason, I could be jaded, but I seem to have survived some big bad stuff really well in a world where people fall apart over having a bad day, which I still assert is a state of mind since everything driving evolution on this planet is about having a bad day.
This video of Key & Peele’s Saw parody was recently blocked worldwide by Comedy Central and will not play from any other source. Sorry about that. It was the coolest parody of pain and suffering I’ve ever seen.
For me, happiness was chemical and lasted about 10 days. The psychiatrist asked me if the way I was feeling had ever happened before, and I said not since I was a kid, not once in my entire adult life. I’ve been pleased about things and had joyous moments, but have learned to be careful about placing blame for my unhappiness on other people because that creates a wall between us that demands their constant performance for my approval. I grew up with the sad weight of guilt and judgment and never feeling forgiven, and I just can’t do that to other people. Everyone has their own stuff, and it’s up to me to be assertive enough to create my own path and steer clear of someone else ‘harshing my buzz’ as it were. And if I can’t steer clear, I’m smart enough to figure out ways to incorporate other people’s stuff into my productivity. I sound so pragmatic, don’t I? My conclusion is that kindness is logical. I can’t survive any other way without falling to the bleak emptiness that there is no meaning in this conflicting life. Without forgiveness, love can’t truly exist. Yes, my childhood sucked that much that I logically deduced that expecting someone to love us AND make us happy is like a twisted form of spiritual murder. Please don’t do that to your children and significant others, it’s just wrong.
So suddenly being 100% happy 24/7 for days on end was a real surprise and I loved it. It just happened. A switch got flipped in my brain and I was stuck in a state of euphoria that no meds, drugs, or alcohol even whispered could actually exist. My brain coils bathed in a chemical beauty that I didn’t even know how to wish for in dreams. The only problem I could see was that I stopped sleeping and went to plaid.
Several days of not sleeping made my head feel weird, and about a week into it I wondered if I might have a seizure or something. Nothing bad was happening, pain levels were ironically way down for not sleeping (sleep is crucial to spoonies and particularly if they have fibromyalgia complications), no headache, but oh yeah, I also stopped eating. Dropped 5 pounds easy peasy just being ridiculously happy. I get it now. Manic euphoria. A blissful energetic state of mind that actually hurts us. But happiness is real, it exists outside of the contingency of it resting on other people’s performances. I guess that’s what heaven and nirvana are supposed to be like. Some of us dream of getting back to this state of being, others believe it’s all a myth, and brain scientists believe it’s all in our heads, literally.
I liked it.
Whatevs. I seem to be sort of back to normal this morning, maybe still a little hyper. I’m choosing to believe that my brain was running diagnostics and tests after years of severe pain from nerve damage and illness, due to a cessation of screaming static this year for the first time in a couple of decades, and that this is just part of the dysesthesia recently charted into my medical history because I find it so ‘unnerving’ not to feel that constant screaming and keep calling it a ‘numby’ sensation. For all I know, I’m feeling normal for the first time in my adult life, whatever normal is. A little euphoria here or there isn’t going to hurt anything as long as I don’t let it get out of hand, because apparently feeling too happy can be dangerous if it goes on too long. Gotta keep an eye on that happiness, it’s a trickster.