Shifting Gears

For the last two days, I have had the pleasure of describing to you bipolar depression through my very own eyes.  However, there has been a sudden shift.  And I’m actually terrified, for the first time, by a mood swing associated with my illness.

I know the signs.  I’ve been tracking them carefully for the last two years, meticulously recording them in journals.  I generally know the rhythm too.  A depressive episode will surely follow a manic episode.  That doesn’t not mean that I cannot have two depressive episodes in a row, but there is often a moratorium, varying in length that punctuates these episodes.  I have never experienced what I am experiencing now.

Yesterday, I described that the mood was lifting, little by little.  By midnight, I wasn’t tired.  It’s not too uncommon.  I’ve been known to pull longer evenings up until about 2 am.  But 2 am came and went and I was wide awake.  3 am passed without another thought.  I was caught in a flurry of ideas and determined to get them into some semblance of existence before they scurried away.  I wanted to share these ideas.  Yes, in the middle of the night.  4am came and I had to try to sleep.  I laid there, and laid there.  Finally, sleep came.

I jumped out of bed at 9am.  And for the first time in a very long time, I was ready to take on the world.  Although I was a little groggy at first, I was not at all missing the lost hours.  I was up for any challenge.  I felt like I was on top of the world!  I could finally finish everything I started and do everything that I never thought that I would find the time for.  I would spend time with my family and clean the house and cook dinner and… on and on.  I went to work with great enthusiasm for my students today and a firm hand at disciplining them.  I was in control.  I could do anything!

It hit me at about noon, when I wasn’t getting the least bit tired.  This may be the start of a manic episode.  The pieces were all there.  It was just up to me to put the picture together.

I often dread manic episodes when I see them coming.  I know that a debilitating depressive episode is on it’s way if the manic episode is particularly intense.  But once I’m in it, I don’t think of any of that.  I don’t think about tomorrow.  Nothing bad can happen to me.  Because I can handle it.  I can handle anything that comes my way.  And I’ll do it all while being charming and looking fabulous.  Besides, things, no matter how bleak, always seem to find a way to work out.  I can work it out without a doubt.

Reality ceases to exist in a manic episode.  Everyone is my best friend.  All new experiences are good experiences.  I require constant stimulation, and usually in the form of some creative outlet or though exchanging of ideas or information.  I become impulsive.  I’ll go somewhere for no reason.  I’ll call someone I haven’t talked to in ages for no reason. I’m so creative and alive!  I’M FINALLY ALIVE!

There’s rarely a downside to my manic episodes because they are usually hypomanic in nature.  I don’t gamble because I think it’s a waste of money.  I have the impulse to shop, but there’s never any money in my bank account anyway.  Sometimes, I’m hypersexual, but I won’t jeopardize my marriage if my husband isn’t willing to cooperate.  Sometimes I fantasize about it.  But that doesn’t hurt.  Usually, I just take care of business by myself.  It’s enough to tide me over until I can get the hubby to give in.

That’s not to say that there aren’t downsides at all.  If I am manic and in an extremely elevated mood, I have the tendency to become very irritable.  Especially when things start going wrong or someone tries to make me feel bad or antagonize me.   Believe me, it doesn’t take much.  And that’s when the impulsiveness becomes a problem.  I find myself compelled to do unreasonable things.  I’m pretty pissed at my husband right now.  We had a fight.  I’ll leave it at that.  He unfairly blames me and criticizes me.  I have a list a mile long for you, buddy.  I want to wake him up and pick a fight.  I want to start a riot.  I want to take a stand and pull out the couch downstairs so he can see that I’d rather sleep on a fold out couch than be remotely near him because I’m so disgusted.  I want to force these issues that he desperately wants to avoid.  Especially, my illness and our son’s special needs.  I want to get back at him for all of the times he made me feel bad and made my depression deepen.  I want to cut him out so that I don’t have to deal with his shit anymore.

I won’t.  I might if it keeps up.  Or if this manic episode gets any worse.  I don’t suppose that it will.  If it’s mixed, and I suspect that it might be, then I’ll be back in the throws of depression tomorrow.  But in the meantime, I’m not going to let him take me down.  I’m sick of it.  He’s a selfish. self-absorbed, arrogant, bastard-coasted bastard with bastard filling.  And one way or another, he will pay.

See?  Just two days ago I wouldn’t have been saying that.  I would’ve been moping and crying about how he yelled at me.  And how I love him and if he’s supposedly loves me, then why doesn’t he recognize my illness and why does he do things to make it worse?  I would’ve been trying to work it out instead of starting a war campaign.

We’ll see where this goes.  I love mania.  It helps me do all of the things I want, be a super person, and do the things I can’t when I’m just me.  And that’s what makes it dangerous.

5 thoughts on “Shifting Gears

  1. Hello. I’ve read your posts, and also being bipolar, I can very much relate. Like you, I am an ultradian cycler – I can go from good to bad to somewhere in between to mixed to bad to good again all in the length of a day. I also have the typical course of depressions following manias, but I guess I am “lucky” in some ways, as I don’t have pure euphoric manias anymore – they are either mixed, or more often dysthymic. That being the case, I haven’t any motivation to prolong them, I’m unpleasant and irritable, and I know that depression almost inevitably follows.

    I try not to restrict my blog to my disorder(s) (that isn’t a comment on your choices or me giving advice, it’s merely a factoid about me), although they do make frequent appearances. I just want to write about my whole life, and my bipolar, while definitely a huge facet of that, is not all of it.

    I wish you much luck on your journey, and I hope that you can find a steady-state. What you’re doing is very brave, sharing your personal thoughts and experiences. I will be following your words, and if you ever want to talk privately – as one bipolar to another, or just as one person to another – please feel welcome to email me (

    Take care. 🙂

    • Thank you for reading and your comments. I have been trying to include aspects of my life without getting too personal, to the point of revealing my identity. For everyone involved in my life and struggling with these challenges, it’s better this way.

      More than anything, I was tired of hiding alone with these thoughts and feelings. I’m not very open in my life about bipolar disorder. Family and a few select friends know that I was diagnosed, but that’s about the extent of it.

      I wanted readers to experience the world and seemingly normal everyday events through the lens of bipolar. And I wanted to provide comfort, solace, support, and a voice to other silent sufferers. It’s very easy to start thinking that you are alone in this. Especially when a person does stay silent about it or has an inadequate support system.

      As for the treatment and particulars, I am medicated and I still have these experiences. It’s defeating in a way. I don’t typically have this type of episodes. I have short, hypomanic ones and long depressive ones. That’s why this particular one was so important. I’ve never had a clear cut mixed episode before.

      I’m glad you’re reading and that this is getting out there. I’ll be reading yours too.

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