I woke up this morning feeling good and rested. Then I realized my alarm hadn’t gone off because my cell-phone had died (while charging) and I was late for work. Then, my first order of the day was to plug an Ethernet cable for someone who didn’t know how to. (It’s a nice person, I don’t hold a grudge. Not their fault for not being Tech-savvy). But still, you can imagine how the rest of the day went.
All of this bad luck aside, I did come to an important conclusion. I’ve kind of figured out my cycle.
I think I can mostly situate myself on my personal scale and know what’s to come in the next few days. I didn’t use to be predictable, and maybe it won’t last very long either. I think that even if lithium doesn’t stop the depressions or the hypomania it helps me see through it and remember who I really am.
So I think my cycle lasts between 1 and 2 weeks and goes like this:
Phase 1: HAPPY. Everything is great. Life is awesome. I can do everything. MUST MAKE PLANS.
Phase 1.5: Happy, enjoying my time. Stuff becomes a little dull or irritating but it’s okay.
Phase 2: GET OFF OF MY FACE. I will blow up this whole planet. I want out. Of what? How the hell should I know?!?
Phase 3: I’m angry. And I’m tired. More like exhausted. Please go away. I want to be alone and maybe sob a little.
Phase 3.5: I suck. I can’t do anything right. I’ll always be like this and I don’t deserve anyone or anything. I want to die. I can’t take this anymore.
Of course that’s just a scale, but I think it’s pretty accurate. Also, events/news/situations can come in and completely change it of course. But I think knowing my base cycling can help me. Maybe I won’t do certain things or go to certain events when I know where I am or will be in the next few days. It might help me prevent overreactions as well. Also, when I was writing it down, I realized that I don’t have a space for “normal” state. Maybe that’s why I feel so alienated with the whole concept of being normal “in between” episodes. Maybe it’s because I’ve been cycling like that for so long, normal actually doesn’t exist for me. To be honest, I also feel like I’ve lost something. I’ve lost the mysterious in one way. I guess it probably sounds weird or crazy -both of which describe me well. It’s for the greater good though, right?
What about you guys? Have you figured out your cycle, or do you even have one? How did you feel when you figured it out or how do you feel about not having one?
Do you know about “the feelings”? Or rather the FEELINGS. It’s not always easy to keep your emotions in touch when you’re a relatively healthy person. When you have an illness that plays with those emotions, it becomes even more difficult. I spent the last couple weeks in the joyful bliss of hypomania. I was happy, life was good, everything was funny (ok… almost). I think the good times have come to an end. I’ve been having vivid, slightly disturbing dreams lately. Usually when I start remembering my dreams, it means I’m going through an important switch. Luckily, they weren’t as horrifying as usual. I guess the meds help there too. I’ve also started having to deal with anger. Anger towards a colleague who slacks off all day, or towards my ex who removes me from an event without having the decency to give me a heads up. Of course, the anger is completely deserved… but the burning feeling I can feel in my chest is too intense.
I’m not in a depressive state yet. I’m still laughing and generally happy. But I know the signs. It always starts with the anger. Sometimes, the anger becomes so intense, I get into terrible fights with people that I really love and end up not talking to them for a very long time. Usually, when the anger starts, so does the suicidal ideation. It’s never something serious at the beginning. It’s just random thoughts that pop into my head, and I’m usually good at dismissing them. But after it gets worse. So much worse. I hope it doesn’t get that far this time. I really hope the meds will help. The crippling anxiety, the paranoia, the exhaustion, the hopelessness… I’ve given.
I’m determined to fight it. I won’t let the depression put me down once again. I’m a good person, with flaws and qualities like everyone else. I deserve to be a respectable amount of happy and sad – not a “I’ve gone mad” level. Every day that I wake up, I’ll remember this: “I love life, and I love myself, and so do my friends and family. I am fun to be around, and it is worth it to stay alive.” Maybe I should write it on my ceiling… In big rainbow letter!
On a very different note, Sunday I went playing sword wars with friends. We used foam weapons and shields, and it was INCREDIBLE. This is one of my new favourite activities. You do sports, sweat, spend time outside, look like a complete idiot, all the while having fun! Best. Thing. Ever.
I hope you guys enjoyed your week-end! Stay strong and positive!
Personally, I’m doing good. I’ve been doing good for well over a week now. A normal person would say “Great! You’re lucky! You should be glad.” Except I’m not normal. Part of me simply wants to be happy and put all the worries away, but another part wants to be cautious and remain vigilant. Because when you have Bipolar Disorder, you must always remain vigilant. Know what you’re thinking, what you’re doing, where you’re going and most of all, if all of it makes sense. Is your reaction proportionate to the situation? Would you say/do this in a normal state of mind? Are you slipping into a depression/mania/hypomania?
I have rapid cycling, but the extremely rapid kind. I usually have small ups & downs inside of days/hours and big ups & downs every couple weeks. So when almost two weeks go by and there’s no sign of depression, it’s strange to me. There is a good reason for it though: my lithium has been working well enough and I recently started taking b12 supplements. My levels were way low, so there’s a good chance it was making my depression symptoms much worse. The lack of depression is good news. Still, I am scared. All my life, my biggest fear was that one day I’d give up and commit suicide. I have to say I probably would have a long time ago if it wasn’t for the people around me. Today, my biggest fear is that I’ll one day have a full blown manic episode. I’ve always stayed within the range of hypomania. I’ve been cycling so fast the past year that I don’t even remember what it feels like to be normal. What is ok when all you know is either very happy or extremely sad?
So recently I’ve been feeling energetic and happy. And ready to do all sorts of activity. Ready to start working in a new environment (same company). I have a list of things to do and I’m not even stressed one bit. I know I can do it. I am confident. I can think clearly. To me, it sounds both like a blessing and a curse. It is so amazing to finally be doing great on a regular basis. To be able to smile of such a true smile that even people in the street respond to it. It’s like my life finally has a meaning and it feels great. But it also feels like it’s hypomania. Not the one I’m used too, because the one I’m used to makes me dance for a couple hours and then get incredibly irritable. So I keep monitoring myself. Every day I think about how I’ve been and what I’ve done and if it looks like what a normal person would do. It’s frustrating and exhausting to always have to analyse your every thought/action. But it’s also necessary. I wouldn’t want to wake up in a prison cell because I’ve gone mad and tried to steal a pie from Rockaberry.
Sometimes I wish I could talk to someone who understands that. Someone who knows how scary it is to be sad and to be happy. Until then, I always have Internet. And you? How do you know when you’re slipping into a mania or a depression? What do you do to stop it/reduce the symptoms? Are you afraid of your emotions, or do you enjoy them while they last?
I woke up this morning in a panic because I hadn’t been able to sleep all night. My mind had been racing like crazy and I was convinced that this was the time, when my hypomania turns into full blown mania and I end up at the hospital. Thankfully, it calmed down a bit by the time I got to work and my mind is still (mostly) there. I’m still definitely hypomanic, typing on my keyboard so fast that I can barely feel my fingers and my thoughts get all crossed so I can’t concentrate on anything properly.
I also watched the match Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens, and the Habs won! OH YEAH! Wednesday is THE day to decide who gets to continue on further to try and win the cup… And as a Montreal citizen I have no choice but to vote our one and only incredible team, the CH (also the only Canadian team to make it in the playoffs this year like seriously??). Who are you voting for? Who do you think will win?
Also, one of the important guys in my office building keeps stuffed animals on a filing cabinet. I think it’s the most adorable thing in the world.