My Superpower Meets Realm on Steroids

I had a tough week last week. Realm’s hands broke out due to poison ivy or sumac or something. He had it terrible, and I had a terrible time for him, especially after he got a steroid shot. Realm on steroids can’t quit talking. When anything comes into his head, he’s got to get it out. We had some friends over… to the backyard, that is. I found myself thwacking him on the arm, demanding, “Let them talk!” He couldn’t pause; he couldn’t take a breath. He and I sat down together, and I began in this way: “Do you feel like your tongue is a little looser than usual?” He thought about this, and by “thought” I mean he spoke of two instances where his co-workers had to tell him to calm down that day. “It’s like I’ve kind of lost a little bit of my inhibitions and things just fall out of my mouth,” he observed. I nodded. That was all the response he gave me time for, but I could empathize with him. This has happened before. When he had minor surgery, the nurse who brought him out looked relieved when she handed him over to me. About five minutes and two billion words later, I understood why. It’s not just the talking, either; it’s the feeling he exudes. Something must be done, and it must be done right now. He’s antsy; he’s nervous. He’s sticking his nose into everything and asking why. And when I tell him why, I feel annoyed… and silly for being annoyed.

I lay in bed that night, wide-eyed and irritated that Realm was fast asleep. Steroid or no steroid, he was out, while my brain wouldn’t shut down. It started its old information mud pie ritual, amassing anything and everything to make mountains out of molehills. It was then I realized Realm’s wired behavior had sent me into a reactionary tailspin. Last week, I talked about my sense of dread at facing a virus-wary world that doesn’t really understand the protocol anymore than I do and tends to overreact. What I didn’t explain was that I suffer from Bipolar Mood Disorder. Last year, I finally got a fitting label for what I’d always thought was an angry/depressive personality. I don’t experience mania, but I do experience a hypomanic, irritable, “fast-forward” state. It makes for fun times when I can’t stop panicking and crying after I’ve agreed to take on too many responsibilities during a “productive” spell. Having a mood disorder makes it easy for me to become emotionally dysregulated. I get flustered over simple things I’m not sure how to handle–which happen all the time and, generally, will happen in a public setting. I can’t always tell if I’m reacting appropriately because I feel things so intensely at times. Plus, I’m unconsciously influenced by peoples’ moods–meaning, I tap into someone’s mood without realizing I’ve even been “listening” to them. This mood-appropriating superpower gives me intuitive insight into personalities, which is great when I’m trying to write a novel, but it’s awful when I’m standing in these social distancing lines with folks who are frustrated. Their moods hang over me like a storm cloud. They don’t like the change in their routine, the embarrassment of doing the wrong thing, the inconsistent policies enforced on them. Their anxious talk shifts to injustices happening around the nation and conspiracy theories. And, yes, there are some very serious injustices going on. There are people stuck mid-travel without places to stay. There are families without homes right now and without jobs. I find myself wracking my brain at times, trying to figure out how to right the world’s wrongs. It’s not realistic; I have no power over any of it. The end result? I wear myself down so I can’t focus on the things I ought to be able to tackle easily.

For weeks I’ve been allowed to be at peace handling responsibilities in my home sphere. As the go-go life returns, the conflict inside me returns. I don’t always feel I’m doing my best when I really am doing the best I can. But I’m learning to come to terms and accept that my best isn’t nearly what I think it should be or what others think it should be. That’s the price I pay for my superpower, I guess. I’ve made a long journey in just a few short months. I look forward to better days and greater insights to come. While the inner battle may sap my strength, I’m still wearing my cape… and hoping Realm doesn’t get another steroid shot.

Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I'm genuine. My topics of interest are: this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come. Oh, and cups of tea. Yes, I write about my cups of tea.

12 thoughts on “My Superpower Meets Realm on Steroids”

  1. I appreciate your post. My dad suffered from bipolar disorder, as well as a number of other issues, including alcoholism. (Pro tip: don’t self-medicate bipolar with alcohol; the results are… not great.)

    On a side note, I enjoyed the singing last week, and it was good to see y’all from a social distance. Take care and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for telling me about your dad. I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t been tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or substances. I don’t think people realize how many opportunities there are to get hooked on destructive forms of self-medication. Before antidepressants, I thought I was dealing with anxiety, and I had a doctor suggest a glass of wine or a can of beer at night to calm down. He said this in the context that he had just been to a religious seminar where a former alcoholic preached the virtues of learning your limits. At the time, I was too hurt by his “you need a drink” advice to really digest the big picture of what he was saying–that an addict had advised a crowd of people he didn’t know to figure out what amount of alcohol each person could handle. No background about their psychological history or behavioral tendencies, and no real proof that he was “cured” from his addiction. Scary stuff. Suffice it to say, I knew already my obsessive/addictive tendencies, and I was discouraged. On the flipside, I’ve been encouraged by friends and family now that they understand that I’m not trying to be unsocial or rude.

      It was great to see you, too! Thanks for being an encouragement, Tro–Kudzu. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alcohol affects different people differently. Some people it makes sleepy, some people it makes angry, and on some people it has more or less the same effect as steroids apparently do on Realm. On some people it seems to have minimal or no effect. And then there are some people who become addicted immediately after that first drink. No way to know what will happen without trying– but to my mind, that is all the more reason never to try it.

        (Though to tell the truth, I have tried it. My parents compelled me to drink half a can of beer when I was like 11 or 12, which I believe was my first experience of alcohol. Our family had recently converted to Southern Baptist, and I confronted mom and dad about the fact that they drank despite our Pastor preaching against drinking. They decided the best thing to do would be to show me what I was missing, haha. I didn’t care for it. And as an adult– before becoming a Christian– I never drank regularly, but I found myself occasionally in situations where it was expected and went along with it. Still didn’t care for it– alcohol makes me dizzy in an unpleasant way, and I also worried that if I ever started to like it I would become a slave to it like my dad. Now I avoid it altogether. I am thankful to have so many friends who will not pressure me to drink.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m glad you came away from your experiences with such strong resolve. I think the pressure to drink, and to do so to excess, is an unhealthy aspect of our society. And I would’ve thought your parents’ design in having you drink the beer would have had the opposite effect—and it seems it did. I’m still sad that happened to you.

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  2. I can truly sympathize with the mood disorder struggles, Rilla. Mine are due to Major Depressive Disorder, but I understand some of those issues you talk about. Along with everything else, the past few years I’ve had real problems controlling the emotional extremes of irritability and tearfulness. Our current world makes that even harder. At least my reactions haven’t got worse in quite a while, or my superpower might be cursing a hole through my TV set when I’m watching the news.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry you deal with emotional extremes, too, Joe! But it’s nice to know you understand. It’s funny that we’ve never met, yet we have had this online connection through WordPress and the writer’s craft for years. Now we have this in common, as well. Gives me that “small world” vibe.

      Yes, having heat vision as a superpower would be quite dangerous! It would also be a little bit satifying. Not the part where you have to buy a new TV or you accidentally hurt someone in an angry jag. Not that part.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. At least the steroids helped the poison ivy clear up, right? Couldn’t help laughing at your description of his reaction. Wish you had recorded a little bit to show him later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, he still has a few spots on his arms. Honestly, Mom O, that poison ivy does a serious number on him!

      Yes, I wish I’d recorded him when he came out of surgery that time; he was high on life. We ate out, went to the store, made a visit… I was really concerned he would crash before he got home, but I couldn’t convince him home was a good idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Would you consider yourself an empath, as you are so strongly affected by other people’s feelings? I can relate to the tendency to overreact and feel more intensely than I “should”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think what I experience can be labeled “empath,” but I think there are other aspects at play. Like, when I just “know” things, I can piece together actions and clues I was catching without knowing I was recording them. Do you do this? And let me just say it’s really nice to have you share that you know what that tendency/intensity feels like. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It sounds like you have a very strong sense of intuition. Mine is not as strong, so it’s rare for me to piece things together without being conscious of doing so. Perhaps my self-consciousness blocks access to my intuition?
        Glad to make your acquaintance. I enjoy reading your posts.

        Liked by 1 person

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