:The Phases and Faces of Hypomania
At this stage a dose of desperation sets in. You miss relaxing. You miss being able to sit and watch TV. You miss being able to listen to music and enjoy it because too much stimulus goes past the point of being enjoyable, and it becomes painful in an odd sort of way. Your body moves in ways you didn’t command it to. Your mind buzzes relentlessly and you realise you’re on a waltzer with no way of getting off when you want. You can no longer kid yourself that you are in control.
You realise youre at the mercy of something else. Something bigger than yourself. This is when I tend to ask for help. This is when I phone up my team and say, quite literally, ‘this isn’t fun anymore. I’m not enjoying this. I’m want it to stop. ” and you start to beg, ‘how do I make it stop?”
Relaxation. Mindfulness. Initiate the dive response. The stretching, the breathing, the calming down all feels unattainable alone. With the help of others to guide you, it is possible to slow it kind of, sometimes.
All the curtains are shut because light is too stimulating. You sit in silence because sound of any kind is too much. Reading is too stimulating. Drawing is too stimulating. It’s like being stuck in a cage when you want to go for a walk. All these things you want to do, but they cause too strong a current through your body that if you move you get electrocuted with a surge of excess energy that isn’t productive anymore. It isn’t even unproductive and fun.
It’s now become something else. You start to question, am I brain washed? The only answer that seems plausible is the belief that some external force is at play. Is it someone controlling me? Are they watching me? Have I been drugged? Is there something in the water, the air, the particles penetrating my walls, body and mind? Radiation even?
Logic dissipates as answers are sought for in a non-logical and mixed up mind. Being reminded otherwise, or a counter argument can sometimes help: last time I was told, “I don’t think your’e the type to be brainwashed. You’re too stubborn. You know your own mind too much to be brainwashed.” Considering my level of genius, this statement was right – and enough to settle my anxieties.
That helped. I don’t know what would help anyone else in this stage – it’s a scary stage and here, I have no answers. This is the part when it becomes quite scary.
Often there is an association that because a food is unhealthy it tastes really good, and if a food is healthy it tastes really bad. This really needn’t be the case. Sometimes eating healthier foods can mean exploring new foods, textures and tastes: this can be really fun, and sometimes you’ll find a food that you really don’t enjoy. That’s fine. There are a ton of unhealthy foods I don’t enjoy as well as healthy foods I don’t enjoy. On the other side of the coin however, there are a ton of healthy foods that I do enjoy.
Taste is important because this is one of the ways in which we get pleasure from eating. So just because something is on ‘health trend’ or, deemed as ‘super’ healthy for you, doesn’t mean you have to eat it in order to be getting a well-balanced and nutritious diet. You can live well for example without a kale smoothie ever touching your lips.
The fun thing about changing up your diet is discovering new foods again and breaking our of the routine rut of eating the same food combinations again, and again, and again. Play with food. Food is supposed to be fun – try everything and if you genuinely don’t like it, try something else. Eventually, you will discover the foods you enjoy that also happen to be healthy for you.
On some days I really fancy a piece of cake, on others I really fancy some sushi. By eating what you fancy allows you to enjoy what you’re eating, and to feel satisfied by your food choices.
Imagine this: you pick a ham salad because that is what you feel you ‘should’ pick. You eat it even though you’re not feeling the ham salad today. How do you find yourself feeling afterwards? Disgruntled? Deprived? Unsatisfied? Sometimes a ham salad is your jam, other days it really isn’t.
When I am not quite sure what it is that I fancy I often use visualisation techniques to figure out what I really want. I imagine in my mind the experience of eating different foods and tuning into my reactions to doing so – do I fancy that meal right now? Or am I really wanting something different?
This is about really listening to our bodies, tuning into our desires and maximising the eating experience. By doing so, we are more likely to feel satisfied with our food choices and this may perhaps help with maintaining balance with our relationships with ‘healthy eating’.