I try to explain Bipolar Disorder with the best analogies I can think of and I'm always coming up with something new. For the sake of this post, being Bipolar can feel like someone sat on the t.v. remote for a long period of time and never realized it but in the background the t.v. channels kept flipping through rapidly.
When I'm manic my mind is those rapid episodes. It took me two months to realize I had been in a manic phase which began at the start of January. I experience mixed moods, so I went from being in a mixed mood for four months to solid depression for two long months then a week of extremely mixed moods just to eventually launch into solid mania. How do I know when I'm manic?
Well, it always starts with me thinking "I've got the best idea ever and I'm going to be the greatest and most successful person ever and I need to do it NOW. And I can ONLY be surrounded by people as great as me," then usually spending large amounts of money on things I don't really need (another $700 this time), a lot of irritating moods, insomnia and feeling fucking amazing.
Three weeks after this splurge of mania, I crashed from my high and that hit like a goddamn truck. It was a very difficult time for me to navigate through. I don't spend a lot of time in mania and I've NEVER spent so much time in it. I wasn't depressed, I was just bummed. If you've ever smoked weed before it's that feeling after your high is over. Or that feeling of getting sober after a late night out. You come back to reality. It sucked. I was pissed because I thought, "this is so exhausting. Why am I going through this? Why is this my life?" I felt like I didn't have the will or energy to do everything I had been doing for the last two months.
Eventually, I was able to navigate through the feeling of being bored and unproductive and irritated. Part of this healing involved creating space in my life. A quiet space. My mind had been begging for a recharge. To satisfy my needs I had begun to implement healthy habits again before I go into my next episode. (I have no idea when that will be now. I'll write another post at a later date about what it's like to calculate when episodes or moods will change).
It's the simple tasks that matter the most. I make my bed every morning, prepare my bags and outfits the night before I start my next day, make time for the gym, figure out how to drink more water throughout the day, and space out the energy I exert throughout the week to avoid midweek burnout.
I'm hoping this feeling of quiet and normalcy will continue to last for quite a while. I don't want to be depressed or manic but if I could choose my next episode it would be to be manic!
*Note: everyone experiences their episodes differently. I'm speaking on behalf of myself and not on behalf of the entire bipolar disorder community. I also take medication which dull my episodes and aid me in still functioning in life just a little more. Also, this is a lifelong disease and I've only been diagnosed for 3 years, I'm still trying to figure all of this out.