Whilst not everyone in the world has experience depression, most people can relate to the feelings of flatness and that pole of and its probably way easier than the mania to control, it basically causes me to lie on the couch and I struggle with just about everything - I will call it mania for ease of this post, mostly because it takes too long to type hypomania! So, how it presents to me and how its triggered, I will explain how that journey occurred for me, keeping in mind Bipolar episodes are different for everyone. There are so many variations of how this can present to people.
I am currently in the middles of a hypomanic episode. It started sliding upwards around about 4-5 weeks ago. I will often experience mania, with the day light saving change, with the longer days, with the extra sun, with just all the extra gardening I do and will any altered sleep pattern that gives me less sleep.
I have been through a bit of a tough time with an ended friendship recently, just a little extra stress, this was causing me to stay up later at night, I was struggling to get to sleep before 1.30 in the morning for a few days and add on to that day light savings (many Bipolars seem to get manic with the season change) and then I made the decision to come off one of my medications.
Prior to this my mood was ok, but pretty flat, I was really struggling actually with driving, and sleeping too much and to be honest getting off the couch and with motivation.
I knew I had to change something as my eldest sons final school graduation was coming up. I decided as the anti depressant medication wasn't working to stop taking it all together so I slowly stopped them and slowly I felt better. I remained on mood stabilisers.
I was able to get outdoors again. Get back to yoga, walk my dog and best of all cycle on the bike!
So its a slow progression that I find barely noticeable until others start to tell me they are noticing mood changes but basically it progresses to;
Walking faster - kids tell me its a slow jog pace
Talking non stop - very hard for others to get a word in.
Exercise - this picks up dramatically for me, from extra cycling to walking, to swimming laps I will do many laps and not actually be able to count them as I start to think of plans for tomorrow, and extra yoga classes. I start to go to bed later and later.
For about 4 days things are AMAZING, the colours on the trees and flowers are way brighter, sounds are very clear, scents overwhelm me with a deep happiness, nothing can depress me, the world is all spectacular. I will take my shoes of in parks and feeling the grass under my feet is almost the best feeling in the world.
This then starts to pick up into the idea phase, I have amazing ideas, well I think they are, lol, this will also be the phase I take on extra work, many types of volunteer work, and its doable after all at this stage I am exercising for a good 3 hours a day, I wont be eating until about 10pm at night, I go to bed around 2am and I will be up and good to go by 6 to 7am with no tiredness.
The next phase is not as fun;
I ride faster, really fast on the bike, I have little need for road rules as I rule the road and everyone should know this, round abouts? Give way? Me? Really? I don't think so I got here first!
Train? Boom gates, no sorry I actually need to get to yoga, I can beat those gates - I have done this and when not manic I am mortified by my behavior.
Sex drive of an average woman lets say that's a few times a week wanting sex for the purpose of this post, clearly we are taking about woman with no toddlers here lets multiply that to 7 times a day, ok I am toning it down a bit for the post it usually worse. That's the drive you deal with as manic. Its obviously not achieveable its embarrassing to admit too, especially when they have that question on those pych forms, but hey were all adults reading this.
The polite filters, well there all off by now, don't ask me "do I look good in this dress" I will give you an honest answer as they are all turned off I literally will talk to anyone about ANYTHING, there are no limits, and I have cringed when my mania turns to depression again and inevitably it will. Most people around me cringe too, my kids won't come to the shops with me and try to avoid any events.
This comes across as aggression and too much assertiveness and those that know me know when I am flatter in mood I would never be as forward as I am when mania hits. It's hard to plan meals for anyone, in fact its hard to even come indoors from a trip to the supermarket, usually I get out of the car and end up weeding the garden, start cleaning a fishpond, remember the groceries, start doing a gym workout, my thought patterns are totally scattered and should I desire to buy anything at all, usually I will. This will generally be the stage added medication is suggested and I will balk at the idea. Slow down my awesomeness?!! How ridiculous! Clearly they don't realise I have genius idea's!
When I exercise I can go faster on the bike, swim so many more laps than usual, and will attempt trickier poses at Yoga that sensible me would never do. At this stage my focus is so bad all the others I am sure are doing different poses at Yoga and I am doing something completely different! At the end when I am supposed to be relaxing I am ticking off new ideas and working out jobs to do the next day! Normally Savasana is my favorite pose, here am I thinking about my shopping, or sex again!
Then there is the spending, I am usually pretty good with money, I barely notice what is in my account most of the time as long as there is money for the bills I largely ignore the account, until mania sets in, then all the things I would never normally buy is suddenly appealing. Generally I hate shopping, clothes, shiny new items, unless they are plant or animal related I am not interested. But add mania I will shop all day, until the limit of funds are reached, I used to wonder why my sister would encourage me to always shop for her birthday presents when in the manic phase! Now I know!
I have a good team of health professionals that look out for my depression and mania, but I am not the best at being compliant with the medication that I know with knock this happy awesome energy filled moment out of me. I am worried it will send me back to depression and really, who wants that?
Somehow taking a pill that puts me to sleep for 12 hours straight simple does not fill me with excitement when I have just managed to work in the garden all day, and done a million other tasks, even if in a dreadfully disorganised order.
So being a rapid cycler, how this end is my body eventually wears out after about 4-8 weeks. I crash, I want to sleep for a month and depression sets in.
So this is how Bipolar Hypomania feels for me, throw in a really low tolerance for anything really, so I lose my temper often at this point also. Not so much fun to be around what the fuck seem to be my favorite saying at the moment!
There are in-betweens where I function as somewhat "normal" WTF is that anyway? Well as Normal as you can be with C-PTSD and living with 3 boys a gazillion animals trying to part time run a business and a large permaculture property.