I believe I wasn’t diagnosed as bipolar until I was 19 due to my daily, rigorous exercise routines in middle school and high school.
I played sports year around, and I never gave myself off days; often doing extra running after games. Even in the summers I would exercise daily. I was addicted to exercise, and that was probably a blessing.
I didn’t sleep much in high school, but my strenuous exercise habits are probably the only reason I slept at all. I never had any problems falling asleep. I was always so physically drained by the end of the day; my head hit the pillow, and zonk! I was out. I likely would have lost my mind in high school if I had not played sports.
Even after I graduated, I spent an inordinate amount of time exercising. I got down to 125 pounds (I’d been 130 pounds since 8th grade). I accomplished this feat by working out three to four hours a day, and by grapes, carrots, and chocolate milk being my main forms of sustenance.
I was by no means fat when I was in high school, but for some unknown reason, I wanted to lose weight that summer. I attained my goal, although undoubtedly unhealthily.
I probably didn’t sleep much that summer, even though I was a jobless bum. Insanity: The Asylum was my main workout routine (no, the irony is not lost on me). I had nothing to compete in, but I was in the best shape of my life.
All that came crashing down when I had my wisdom tooth surgery. I had the surgery the Monday before classes were going to start. The doctor said I shouldn’t exercise for at least a week, and gave me permission to resume exercising the following Tuesday.
I slept fine the rest of the week probably because of the pain medication I was taking. I moved in as planned on Thursday and had a flurry of activities that weekend, which involved a lot of human interaction, which exhausted me.
By Sunday I had stopped taking my pain medicine, and that night my dad called me and told me our family friend had died. I was expecting it, but it still hit me pretty hard. I didn’t sleep Sunday night.
Monday went by in a blur, and I got it into my head that everything would be better on Tuesday, as long as I got a good work out in. I didn’t sleep Monday night either.
The next morning, I took all my workout stuff into the common room. I figured I’d be okay to use it, but I wanted to make sure. I asked the RA who was on duty, and she said it was fine.
I was already aboard the cuckoo train, and I wanted to know everything about this girl. I wanted to be around people. It is a testament to how far gone I was that my sudden need for people didn’t alarm me.
Needless to say, I didn’t get a work out in that morning. If memory serves, I didn’t change out of the clothes in which I was going to exercise. This means I wore a cut-off Oklahoma Christian basketball shirt that likely showed off my sports bra. It was white, so who knows what else was visible.
I also didn’t shower Monday night or Tuesday morning. It’s possible my last shower had been Sunday night. It was August in Waco, Texas. I’m sure I was rank, and I feel badly for the people who had to sit next to me in the classes I managed to go to that day. I also have vague memories of being the recipient of some pretty nasty looks, though I didn’t perceive them as nasty at the time.
I didn’t exercise in any form on Tuesday night, but by then, it probably would not have mattered. Tuesday was another sleepless night.
I still think things would have turned out differently had I exercised at all that weekend or Monday at the latest. I was following doctor’s orders, though (yay me). There were obviously a lot of other variables, but this one was one of the most pivotal.
Hindsight is 20/20 and lends itself to introspection and reflection. But more on those revelations in another post.