From a blogger who lives with bipolar disease
Hypervigilance: Emergency Mode
Imagine that your ears are tuned and listening constantly for the drop of a pin in silence that signals impending explosion.
Imagine your eyes scanning the room, straining to see behind your head as you walk, even half-open in rare moments of sleep, unable to close for fear of missing the approach of the evil that comes with the dark.
Imagine your skin so thin and so sensitive that even the still air rubs like a rasp. Clothes are agony. Underwear is torture. No, no, don’t touch me!
Alert, always alert, and jump at the least sound. Don’t close that door. No, don’t open it. Move my chair, I want to be able to see that door. No, I don’t want that window at my back. Close those drapes.
Who cooked this food? I don’t want it, then.
My bags are packed. I can leave at any moment. My taxi money is set aside. The driver’s number is in my phone. No, not any driver. Only this one. I know him.
The bags inside my brain are always packed. I can leave at any moment. Any time and anytime, if my eyes see me something, if my ears hear me something, if my skin crawls at the feel of the air. Or if the air in my lungs chokes danger, I can be gone in the blink of an eye.
I am always on the move, never in one place for more than a moment or two, maybe less if you think about it. There is no place to rest: I must stay alert, on guard, watch out: someone may approach, may get too close, may brush my skin and leave raw places and burns that turn into scars, scars that hold pain, scars that pile on top of scars. Don’t touch me.
Tough? You said I must be tough, then. No. The opposite. The longer I travel, the more I am lost. My bags are packed. I can go at a moment’s notice.