This is one of the continued frustrations of someone who suffers mood swings. What is normal? Is my mood a function of brain chemistry, be it elation, depression, anxiety or plain old blah-ness. I find myself doubting my moods and I start wondering if it will last. Will it change back as fast as it became that way. This can happen over night for no particular reason. Mood swings, as in Bipolar Disorder, are not about something. This is a common misconception of the layman. They will say "What are you worried about?” or something equally meaningless to the sufferer. I guess friends and family mean well, but they probably won't get it. It is my goal to explain this issue in a way that outsider can understand. It's not like clinical depression. The symptoms are similar but the Bipolar person is rarely depressed about something when suffering a bipolar depression. The things that someone is depressed about may be a trigger of mood swings, but it is just a trigger. The mechanism of the mood swing is down to brain chemistry.
I became so good at controlling upwards mood swings that I was in danger of suppressing natural joy. This might a price that has to be paid but it is not good for the sufferer.
Recently my whole mood and outlook changed over night. I have no clue why it happened except that I had called the crisis team on the day before. I suspect that it made me realise that I was on my own. Subconsciously, I might have processed it over night. I'll never know, but I'll take it with both hands.
Since the epiphany, I have been a bit out of sorts. I have had a lot of the characteristics of hypomania. I dash about from task to task, as if there is no time to lose. I think it is a common characteristic of most manias. At least that is my experience. I have pushed myself hard all day from waking at 2am to 4am. Straight on to the computer, getting coffee, and really buzzing. It is on and on and on, without a break. It was as though it would fall apart if I took a break. I have been chatting in excess of 15 hours a day and I have been awake much longer, 19 hours on one occasion. It is not surprising that I have been getting exhausted by early evening. My appetite has increased significantly. I feel like I need to constantly refuel myself. Thanks to my slimming world experience, I am making mostly good food choices. Monday was a slight blip. I went to the store on a mission to treat myself. I came back loaded with pizzas, bagels, croissants, bread rolls and some deli cooked meats. I went way over the top. I did freeze most of the stuff and I haven't been over indulging. I really enjoyed the half pepperoni pizza for lunch. I couldn't resist eating the rest cold in the evening. It was just one bad day and I drew a line under it.
Yesterday I tried to get ready for slimming world by cutting back on food. I think my need for fuel wasn't met and I crashed prematurely in the late afternoon. I had to cancel my plans to go to group. I laid down for a couple of hours in the early evening. I salvaged the rest of the evening and managed to stay up until about 10:30. I committed in the chat room not to go in next day until 6am. I did this by having a lie in after I woke up. I was a bit restless but I made it. I entered chat at 6:01am.
I have been pacing myself today. The day is going a lot better. If I find myself going fast, I try to rein it back a little. I left the chat room deliberately to take a break from the intensity.
I feel really good. People might say it is delusion. I have suffered from bouts of mania and hypomania. While similar, it is also very different. I am sleeping fairly normally and that doesn't happen in the manias. It feels like I have the good side of a hypomania. I get stuff done. I think clearly. Washing up rarely stays around for more than 5 minutes. I have been cooking at 100 mph. I have been doing most things at 100 mph. Each time I have suffered a mania, I have gained more insight. Each time I have handled it better. This might be the final result of that process. I certainly hope so. I would like to think I can maintain something of this state.
I hope I am not deluding myself. I have 27 years experience of being bipolar and I think that counts for something. I have a very good support system on-line and my friends will tell me off if I seem out of control. It is good that many of my recent friends have only known me like this. Preconceptions are not helpful when supporting a bipolar sufferer. Friends and family need to recognise the vast swings that can happen in personality. They need to go with the flow if possible. I don't claim that it is easy. I sometimes feel that other sufferers are the only ones who truly understand. Even psychiatrists react to the manic persona.