I haven’t been sleeping much lately. I find myself working on some graphic design, or reading another chapter, or answering messages on Facebook, or watching the next episode of something and all of a sudden it’s 3:30 am.
It’s another hour until I fall asleep, and I wake up at 8 am, the same time I’ve been getting up for weeks now. I’ve been sleeping less that 4 hours for several days, and I’m full of energy.
It’s a familiar buzzy feeling, where I get really, really involved in multiple projects at the same time, where I’m full of a lot of really interesting ideas that I need to write down before I forget, where I feel remarkably productive, where I’m mildly irritated at anything that gets in the way of my breathless constant activity.
While this might sound, well, pretty OK to some of you, I know where it’s leading me – to less sleep, more energy and more irritation, and the familiar frantic energy of hypomania that is the marker of bipolar II.
I know that I’m lucky that I have a proper diagnosis, an effective medication protocol and a self-care regimen supports it. But I’m also constantly mindful of those times when symptoms are peeking through regardless, and need to be addressed. What helps; acknowledging where my mood is trending, prioritizing sleep, asking my husband to keep an eye on my irritation level, tweaking meds if necessary.
Bipolar II doesn’t care if there’s a pandemic going on. Symptoms are still going to appear on their own mysterious schedule, and I still need to deal with them as I would if the world were not turned upside down. And it makes me ache for anyone else who finds themselves dealing with the reality that stress exacerbates mental health issues, and mental health issues exacerbate stress. We’re in a lose-lose proposition however you look at it.
When I write about these things, I want to be clear that it’s neither a cry for help nor a dive into despair. Rather, it’s helpful for me to be able to articulate what goes on in my mind (for myself) and I think it crucial that we all speak openly and honestly about our challenges, because that’s the best way to understand and be able to support one another (for society at large).
The necessary healing of the larger rifts in the world comes from the small efforts of the individuals who inhabit it. And my firm belief in that keeps me grounded, even in my hypomanic state.
Do you find it challenging to talk about the more complicated parts of yourself?
My task: to set into motion plans for several other projects I’m contemplating. I figure that while I have this unusual energy, I should put it to good use (done!)