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!)
2 thoughts on “Hypomania”
Well articulated. Brave. Thank you.
Thank you Maestra for your frank talk about your mental health. Your open mind and your intellectual honesty are all at your honour. Don’t worry! For me your declaration wasn’t a cry for help or a dive into despair. I understood it the other way. An Introspection who leads to a Catharsis in some way. As you might know, Bell company in Canada is sponsoring each year during the week for mental health the ‘Let’s talk for the cause’. Some Canadian celebrities are talking openly about their mental health problems (bipolar I, bipolar II, borderline disorder, schizophrenia, Asperger, autism,…).
On top of that the present covid19 crisis is exacerbating the mental health issues. No need to be a psychiatrist to find that out.
That being said I would just say that I don’t find it challenging to talk about the more complicated parts of myself. In general it is just that most of the people do not care about and/or don’t want to hear about your mental and/or physical problem(s). They have their owns. This is how we are trained by our societies since decades or even more.
We live in a society where individualism and performance are values who pass before altruism and compassion. Unfortunately (even if we can’t put all the people in the same basket).
The worldwide system that we live in pushes us in front of the mirror of the ‘look at me at any price’. Narcissism.
This covid19 should be a reminder that something we can’t see is telling us to Change what we see before it will be too late. Where there are difficulties lie opportunities. Let’s turn them into Goodness for the wealth of everyone on our pale blue dot.
– “I might be a dreamer but I’m not the only one.” RIP John.