Professionals say that if you question whether or not you’re bipolar or manic-depressive then it’s most likely you are not. Sure, there are times when I’ve switched from a melancholic dark night of the soul to a peppy cheerleader in the span of a few hours. Yet I don’t think that’s enough to warrant a doctor’s prescription. Still this latest surge of energy has left me wondering if maybe I’m a little too excited about life right now. I mean, I feel like I could clean my entire house this minute. (Wait…that’s not true. I couldn’t. Right around the time I started mopping the floor, I’d be looking for a UFC cage match on Spike TV, anything to get out of it.) I feel like I’ve had about ten cups of coffee, when I’ve only had one (I swear!). Let’s just say, I feel good.
And that a problem.
I’m what you would call a “glass half-empty” gal. I don’t always walk on the sunny side of the street or look on the bright side of life. I wait for the other shoe to drop. I’m a natural born cynic. I’ll admit to playing the Debbie Downer on many occasions (I once changed the entire tenor of a pleasant dinner with friends when I went on a diatribe about how Anne Boleyn got totally hosed by her father and husband). So, feeling overly enthusiastic and optimistic is not my natural state.
You see, there’s this voice of doubt that near-constantly chirps in my ear. You know, that bitch who keeps saying “You suck!” or “No one likes you” or “Are you nuts?” Only, I haven’t heard her in a few days. Instead there’s this new gal—equally chatty—who says things like, “You should try making jewelry” or “Invite a friend out to lunch” or “Hey, since you’re already up at five in the morning, why not bypass the Spider Solitaire and just write a little?” I’m not used to this, but since I always seem to listen to these voices, I might as well do what she says, right?
That’s not to say Debbie Doubter is gone for good. She’s probably on vacation somewhere since I get the occasional postcard from her that reads, “Having a terrible time—Wish you were too.” But perhaps I can put aside my well-hone brand of pessimism long enough to hear what this new gal has to say.
You may be asking, what precipitated the change? What’s turning couch potato Camille into Martha effin’ Stewart? Good question. It may have been the B-Vitamins I started taking the other day. But it’s probably due to a gift from a friend. As I lamented over the phone my feelings of doubt and struggles with self-esteem, he said:
Esteem comes from doing esteemable things.
Read it again.
Say it out loud this time.
Heck, I don’t even know if “esteemable” is a word—the red squiggle is underlining it as I type—but the meaning was quite clear. So, the next day, I did something “esteemable,” and, I kid you not, five minutes after, exciting opportunities started coming my way. It just snowballed after that.
Now, I know I can’t just perform one esteemable act, kick back, and wait for the good kharma to roll in. I’ve got to keep at it because—this may be a pretty selfish thing to say—it feels so damn good! Who knew Mother Theresa was so high from acting so esteemably (new word I just made up)? Bill Gates must jump up out of bed each morning because eradicating malaria is a pretty good buzz.
So, this is what Camille Dewing is doing right now: listening to the new voice. I think I’ll name her Camille a) because it’s a nice name and b) it’s easy to remember. And, with that, maybe Debbie Doubter will take a powder.