: The Phases and Faces of Hypomania
The tiredness hits. You’re grateful and glad to finally feel tired. It means you might actually sleep a decent amount. There is no predicting whether you will sleep properly or manage just a few hours again.
If you sleep a whole night, you may wake up with your eyes and your body aching, refusing to move. The crash is as much physical as it is mental. It’s a stark contrast in a very short period of time.
It can take hours to just sit up in bed. Your body is rebelling against the past string days or weeks of over exertion. It is refusing to comply. There are no thoughts: the brain also rebels, refusing to be alive. I am alive, but I feel like I may well be dead. I even wonder if I am dead or not. Did something happen and I’m not waking up? Is my body dead but my mind still active? Am I in a coma? Is this limbo before all consciousness goes?
No. It is none of these. It is just the sheer exhaustion from flying for days. There are no stores left. You’ve not been eating or sleeping yet doing so much. Your body decides that finally it is indeed human and subject to the same needs as everyone else: sleep, food and water. There is no choice in the matter. Sloth like doesn’t even begin to describe the slowness. You speak slow, you move slow, you are slow. Slow to think and slow to process – breathing feels exhausting.
They say the higher the high, then the steeper and deeper the crash. This is how I have experienced it with hypomania: mania is much more severe. Dark thoughts cloud your judgement but this time, you don’t have the energy to do anything about them. So you sit. You sit and you wait.
The advice I received during this phase was to just wait it out. Use distraction methods that are manageable: sleep when you need, and watch TV. Distract yourself until it passes. With the weather it will pass.
For as disappointing this part is, it is welcome in the way that finally things seem to be balancing out again. Finally, you can sleep and with the crash that means the ability to eat is closer to returning. It is probably the safest phase of the whole up, down, regulation disruption because there is no energy or drive to harm yourself or others.
There is desire to end it. The realisation that you’ve been horrible to the people you love, and worse to the ones you don’t. The regret and having no money due to a long list of unnecessary expenditures. These are all the facts of the aftermath that need to be faced upon returning to a more balanced place.
The worst though, is the realisation that you just had another episode. How many more to go? How much more time until the mood swings are a thing of the past? How many more times will you need to go up or very far down before things decide enough is enough and regulate?
Then I realise that there is no time limit. This is an illness that flares just as if I had recurrent chest infections due to asthma. I realise the things that went out the window that may have aided in the triggering of the episode. I realise that there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of just putting it all behind you and moving on as I would like with mental illness. Then I start to think that I can’t.
I start to think that I can’t do this anymore. I think about how tired I am of losing control. I think about how much time and how many plans I’ve lost to running around in a purposeless fever and how I’m now behind on my training. I get frustrated about not being able to stick with my training plan because these mood swings come along and disrupt any ability to stick to a regime – yet I need routine and order. It has been established that routine and order help me to stay stable.
Then I begin to realise how much more work is required for me to just wake up and manage each day than I think and perceive it to be for other people. Even if I do have the time of my life for a few days – I lose more losing my mind to rhyming gibberish and recovering in the aftermath of the crash.
The reason I don’t work, the reason that my life feels chaotic stares me right in the face, stares me down and with my tail between my legs I have to accept it. I would like to rise up and say “bring it’, but the battering is so much that I don’t feel able to…yet. Maybe one day. It is in this phase out of all of the hypomania phases that I need to keep hold of hope. I need to believe in hope during this phase just as much as when I’m depressed. Without hope all-purpose and drive is lost under a bus and I’m done.
So I start to plan how I’m going to move forward. I pick up my trusty FiloFax again. I make lists and plans. I write down ideas of what will keep me well and stable. It’s a long list that feels very much like a full-time job in itself. It’s tiring, no, exhausting! It’s destabilising. This was just a hiccup in the road compared to some episodes – yet enough to have rocked my boat so that I’ve thrown all the life rings out to catch the debris of me floating around not yet re-connected.
My confidence has been knocked. My self-esteem and belief in myself that I can achieve and do what I want with my life, or at least, some of what I want with my life. The need to keep taking my medication is reaffirmed to the point of being fearful of not taking it. It’s a slap in the face that knocks you over when you’ve just found your feet.
Every time I stand it isn’t long until I’m bitch slapped again. I feel angry, hurt and sad. I feel confused, slight disbelief and frustration. I feel disappointed, cautious, restricted by routines and measures to try to stay well, but there is no choice.
I may not always manage to stay well but I have to try. I owe myself and those that I love that much. I have to keep trying and when I feel like giving up I have to reach out for support despite my grand desire to be self-reliant all the time. My pride takes a hit with gusto. I am humbled to the point of slightly crumbling at the seams whilst I try to fervently stitch myself back up and get my life back together.
This is my life. I need to work on accepting that some more.
:The Phases and Faces of Hypomania
All these ideas you had that were great, they speed off into the distance. Whilst trying to catch it from running off a lorry of other exciting ideas crashes into your side. Now there are two to catch. Another drops on you like a bomb of catastrophe, and between chasing the previous two and picking up the shards you’re lost. You’re lost to your own mind.
The extreme clarity of sped up thinking that had you convinced you’ll make your millions in the coming 3-6 months, becomes murky waters riddled with quick sand. Whilst sinking you’re trying to keep catching and to keep moving. Fighting it makes you confuse yourself further and deeper into a webbing of not being able to complete a thought before being distracted and starting a new one, which happens again and again and again and every time, you’re lost.
Even processing the actions required to make a drink and following it through becomes difficult. Doing anything that requires order or sequence becomes difficult because youre trying to run in a dozen directions. Focus goes. Clarity clouds. Ability apparates elsewhere, and you don’t know where.In a bid to keep words in your racing mind, things start linking together and rhyming. Everything rhymes with everything.
And I sing, search on bing having a ring a ding ding of a spindling fish in a dish make a wish fantastish wonderish handerish gibberish.
Quite literally. In an attempt to string ideas together thoughts become a racing rhyme of gibberish that runs to its own speed now. You’re lagging behind. You can’t keep up. You’re not running the show or waltzing at your party pace. Your rhyming thoughts are jacked up on speed – and there’s no drugs in sight.
It’s confusing. A little scary. A little entertaining and quite anxiety provoking because communicating and finding the words you want and need becomes more challenging, more frustrating than damn impossible. You know you don’t want these coming out of your mouth because how will anyone else make sense of them when they don’t make sense to me. It’s another language, a rhyming language, where the possible grows impossible and the impossible is extremely possible. There is no logic. There is no reason.
: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.