medication

Bipolar: A day in the life

I’m lucky that my bipolar ups are mild, barely hypomania, at least now anyway. When I was especially ill as a teen & in my early twenties I did get dangerously hypomanic (over-spending, risky sexual encounters, partying too hard, etc), although still “not high enough” for a diagnosis of bipolar in the UK…but let’s not go there.

Since I have been taking medication for my bipolar my mood swings have been fewer and also less severe. I have Bipolar II which means episodes of hypomania, rather than mania, but more regular, severe episodes of depression. I can, sort of, understand why I was initially diagnosed with unipolar, major depression rather than bipolar.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about! Well, it is and it isn’t.

I wrote last week about the stress I was under and how it was affecting me, it caused me total emotional exhaustion and I was prepared for a week or more of recovery, featuring lots of naps & sitting around.

Not the case.

Yesterday I felt good, and my mood escalated gradually through the day. I indulged in a Bailey’s coffee, followed by a Malibu & coke. By the time it was bedtime I was blaring dancey, happy music (in my earphones). My usual 9pm or 10pm bedtime came and went. I was awake but I did manage to get to sleep at about 1am, which is good really, and I was surprised that I slept well too.

This morning I woke up and I felt awesome. A little dancing while I brushed my teeth. Singing on the loo (tmi?!) and wanting to do all the things. It was very mild, but I knew the feeling all too well, and I didn’t want it to end because it’s such a nice change of state from depression or neutrality.

This afternoon my Step-Dad and I went for a walk along the prom. Nothing out of the ordinary there, a nice wander with the dogs, get some steps in, maybe have a coffee at one of the cafes. But it was windy. Very windy. And BAM! My mood has swung.

A little background; I hate windy weather. Even hanging out clothes on the line on a windy day will flip my mood and make me angry.

Walking along that prom, wind whipping around me, hair being blown all over, lips getting chapped, dress being blown up, I felt anger sweep over me. Rising from that deep, dark place within. I’m now irritable, angry, generally pissed off and not happy.

I’m fighting not to yell, swear or go off on one at people, anyone, for the slightest thing.

We walked halfway down the prom and then I managed to vocalise that I wanted to go back. Normally I would just have continued the walk and let my symptoms worsen, ignoring my need to get out of that situation, so at least something positive has come of it.

But I am so angry and full of rage right now. And I don’t know where my mood is going next; a return to hypomania? A depressive episode? Or will I feel ‘normal’ again tomorrow? Who knows?


Edited to add:

The rage passed, it swiftly descended into all the emotions swimming around my head, panic, fear. Everything spinning. Feeling all the feelings. Everything too much, too oppressive, too over-stimulated.

It’s terrifying. When you’re fighting your own brain. Your brain is screaming at you, so loud, so confusing, so much noise and you just desperately want it to stop. Only it wont stop, it just spins faster and faster, louder and louder, until you feel sick and desperate and in a complete state of panic. You could cry out, scream for help, but no one can help you. There is no magic pill to make it stop, no breathing exercise that eases, no self-soothing that helps.

Wait it out. Just wait it out. Like the worst rollercoaster you’ve ever been on, one that you never even queued for, you got dragged on against your will and now you’ve just gotta wait it out until a more smooth bit of track comes along.

1 comment

  1. Nickie

    My husband is bipolar. I hate the mood swings. For someone on the outside it’s very difficult to understand how it happens so quickly although he has my complete support. He has huge highs and enormous lows – he turns to alcohol sometimes or doesn’t feel like getting out of bed. He finds it hard to be motivated. Then, all of a sudden, he’s ok for a bit. I cling to those moments.

    Thank you for writing this, Livi. Big hugs to you x

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