A few weeks ago I wrote about the difficulty of determining if my actions and thoughts are due to my illness or are just part of who I am (Me or my Illness). Since that post, I have concluded that I was in fact in a hypo-manic state. I have spoken with my therapist and psychiatrist, and they have spoken with each other. While they are both hesitant to tell me my diagnosis (they both are referring to it as simply a label) the words hypo-mania and bipolar have come up, as has major depressive disorder with mixed features.
I had started to really enjoy my upped mood and energy levels. I was accomplishing a lot and my social anxiety was gone. I started to stay up much later than my norm and because of that, I started to take a smaller than prescribed dose of my Seroquel out of fear I would be unable to wake up the next day if I took the entire dose. The lack of sleep and decrease in my medication led to an increase in my hypo-mania.
I knew I should take the prescribed dose, but simply didn’t want to. I figured if I have to suffer through depression as often as I do, I should be able to enjoy my hypo-mania. There were times that I didn’t enjoy the hypo-mania, but those times paled in comparison to the moments I would sit around laughing at nothing, because I was simply so hyper and amused by life.
As anyone with bipolar or other cycling moods will tell you, what goes up, must come down. This happened to me quickly and unexpectedly. While driving home from work I was planning on going for a walk to the ice cream parlor a mile and a half away, getting ice cream, and walking home. Then I thought, no, I’ll go for a run first, then walk and get ice cream. I don’t run.
I got home and suddenly felt very tired. I went in the kitchen are remembered I was supposed to buy almond milk on my way home and had a crushing sense of failure. I sat on the sofa and looked around. Everything looked different. Everything felt and sounded different too. I hadn’t realized how loud and fast my thoughts had been until they all but stopped. I didn’t feel happy, I didn’t feel sad, I didn’t feel anything; and if felt as though I was not thinking anything as well.
I now know this was me coming down from my hypo-mania. At the time, I didn’t understand what was happening. It felt like too much work to even turn my head to look at the clock. My limbs were heavy and I felt as though someone had scooped my life force out the top of my head and left only bits of me clinging to my inner walls.
That day I self-harmed. I had not done so in a quite a while, and I don’t remember making the decision to do so. I then called my psychiatrist and we had an extended conversation and came up with a plan until my appointment the next day. When my husband came home, he took me to a Patient First to evaluate if I needed stitches. I didn’t.
The days following I have started tracking my mood multiple times a day and have been sure to take everything as prescribed. Hypo-mania is not all fun and games, but while in the midst of it, I sure did think it was the way to be. I don’t want to experience hypo-mania again though, not if it means the shock of coming down from it.
I created some of my best work during manic phases. As I age they fade.