My friend Cristina shared this post on Facebook recently (and I share it here with her permission). Her post inspired a discussion of how these experiences may be humans developing superpowers ~ the idea of pathology being a healing mechanism advancing us toward a new kind of humanity is one that fascinates me.
Brown eyed Hypomanic curling into the deepest void ~~
* trigger warnings *
Living with Bipolar II has been a challenge and a half; and like with all in depth processes there are a lot of contributing factors as to why that is… I have chosen to share a week in my inner world displayed with careful but dramatic articulation through words appearing on your screen at present.
I’ve had control problems since I was a young child; so being diagnosed with this ‘dis – ease’ of the mind was a greater shock to my ego than I would’ve liked it to be because ultimately – bipolar prevents me from having control over my mind. *cue screaming * the movements of inconsistency that swirl through me are truly suffocating, limiting and extremely embarrassing. At some point last week I started waking up at 5am every day.. requiring little sleep… and by 8am in those days I was very aware of the fact that I was entering a hypermanic cycle. I had been running around non stop, didn’t stop talking, felt like I was running a marathon that I didn’t exactly choose to orchestrate, I was very observant of the fact that I was laughing about 50% of the day, I didn’t feel the need to eat because I was riding a high that tasted sweeter than heaven on a plate.. and that delights my eating disorder! How wonderful! ultimate bliss…. I felt like an empress… a glowing light beaming brighter and brighter by the minute, my self confidence was elevated, my thoughts didn’t disturb me… it’s sort of like feeling high – but once you realise you’re high ~ you can make yourself feel higher and higher at your own accord. Your senses heighten, you can feel people’s energy different – things look brighter, you feel alive … you have no problem going for a run at 5am and then another run at 6pm and still have energy pumping through your body all through the night.
It feels superhuman really, almost like some alien being woke me up in the middle of the night, passed me an energetic bubble of abilities and then flew away back into the cosmos with a cocky smile and a familiar glint in its eye. It feels like getting a beautifully wrapped present – one that I rip open as quick as possible because my heart and mind knows what’s inside. The gift of hypomania feels like electricity fluttering through me, like an endless tickle with a feather just below the surface of my skin. I’m jovial and invincible, I feel the need to comment (or interrupt everything) I’m productive as a person can be, I start new projects…feel inspired. I feel helpful and giddish….
One of the most prominent symptoms of my hypomania is this incredible urge to create something and follow it through to completion to the exclusion of anything else…. this could be anything! For me – it’s often romantic relationships, but it can also sometimes turn into something that would be classified as a ‘psychotic breakdown’ (yes, I’ve tried to ‘break’ reality multiple times) and as you can imagine … going through that path is quite literally other worldly – it feels like you are on mushrooms 24/7…. best part is – I’m overly optimistic about everything! My energy is infectious.
Many of my romantic connections or profound friendships start when I’m in these states – and I can see why people are drawn to me during that time…
Sounds phenomenal, doesn’t it?
Well… well well….
The greatest part that hypomania brings is the dread of its inevitable end. (Please note my cynical humour) We know it won’t last forever, but we want it to. We want to feel that electric energy and invincibility just one day more… and sometimes we are willing to risk just about anything to keep that hypomanic euphoria, even if our symptoms lead us to do dangerous or careless things like drug use (stimulants) or promiscuity, or over working yourself. We crave that sense of elation so much we are willing to risk it. Nothing bad will happen to us, right? We are invincible!
But eventually…. we know the gift of hypomania must be put back into the box and returned and our days must go back to the looping darkness that is depression. We’ll wait patiently for the next gift from the glowing … but cheeky alien passing us the wrapped package of hypomania. The depression swoops up out of nowhere and it passes you a red hot ball of humiliation as well… one of the other downsides of mania is the fact that because we roll through it like an actual cyclone of energy ~ we can often destroy things without realising.
I’ve destroyed relationships, close friendships, job prospects, my body, other people’s feelings… without even being aware of it… one of the reasons for this is because at the back of our minds we still know that at some point or another we will come crashing down; hardcore so we can overdo the mania in hopes to cling to the sense of freedom before the cycle turns again.
I feel almost unconscious when I’m manic, so falling back down to depression (saturns void I call it) is so humiliating because I don’t recognise anything I’ve done or what I’ve done. I’ve often developed Romantic connections in mania and then as I come back down from the high I don’t remeber how it happened, or what we connected on – and I push the person away out of fear of them seeing me in my hole. I do this to my friends too – when I’m about to go down I unconsciously destroy my connections so that I’m alone when I go down. I can get aggressive emotionally and intimidating – and I can watch myself morphing into a strange person but cannot do anything about it.
Earlier in the week I went to my friends house for dinner and I couldn’t stop moving, cleaning things compulsively, jumping up and down at 8pm after a full day of intensive excerise… and work and uni …. she looked at me and told me I was manic and I joked – but my mind was angry because I cannot stand admitting it. I’ve fallen back into a depression now… they usually start with me feeling overcome by vulnerability, fear, paranoia…. feeling isolated and alienated or having a dissociative panic attack (one where I get so out of my body that I cannot recognise where I am location wise) and then …. I become the spiral. I can’t move out of bed, my muscles ache and my whole body feels like I’ve been bashed and left on the side of a road, my eyes get covered by the heaviest fog and I can’t see hear smell properly, I either eat a lot of food, or eat nothing at all (both ruining my self esteem) simple tasks like getting up and changing clothes become an effort, I can’t look in the mirror, I sometimes can’t even talk, tears flow out of my eyes endlessly.
It’s petrifying… I could be laughing one day and the next I’m isolating myself from my family and friends – spitting poison darts at them to stay away because my head replays vile thoughts (you’re worthless, you should be ashamed, stay away from people) I become easily irritable … have panic attacks at the smallest things (the other day I broke a vase on purpose and sobbed in the broken glass for an hour because I couldn’t find my keys) Like with my mania – I can see the impacts that my moods and changes have on people but I can’t do anything about it…. last month I hit a very bad low and ended up on my best friends balcony sobbing for the whole day because my mind was SCREAMING at me to end my life – when I say screaming I really mean it … it feels like your brain is failing you and gets hijacked (by that cheeky little aliens present haha)
I shape shift into a fucking petrifying demon looking thing on the hunt for my own misery. The process is tasteless – and it feels like eternity when I’m in it. It scares my friends away sometimes – which feeds the depression demon more … the depression feels like broken glass is moving through my blood stream … my heart reaches with fear but I’m somehow numb at the same time. I acknowledge silently that there are very few people who know how to help me. Not many willingly plunge themselves into a storm. Those who do, have their battles of their own too.
Understand this this expose of my inner world is not a call for sympathy. I’ve found some solidity and acceptance in the chaotic ebb and flow that is my own – I have chosen to share this as a way to shed light on a ‘dis – ease’ of the mind that is often heavily misunderstood… with a hope to potentially assisting in educating some people who might have bipolar friends / family in their lives… and to share with my friends … so they can ease some of their own confusion ❤
I want to mention also, if you experience any mental disorder – know deep and true in your heart that itdoes not define you. If you managed to read all of this – thanks! I appreciate you. — feeling exhausted.