(A picture from the mural I drew on my wall during that hypomanic episode.)
A while ago while cleaning out my room I found diary entries of a hypomanic episode that I had at the start of 2015. The fact that I had written a diary entry is unusual because I don’t normally journal. Below is an edited entry that has also been filled in with hindsight.
25/02/2015 – Summer
I wake up early and excited after a short and intermittent sleep. It’s a new day! So much to do, so many possibilities, so much EXCITEMENT! I feel as if I have butterflies in my stomach, chest, and throat because I’m so excited – excited over what in particular? I don’t know. All I know is that life is so interesting and fun and I’m ready for the day’s potential.
I stay in my room and busy myself by drawing a mural on the inside of my wardrobe door – after all it’s only 4:00 am, and I don’t want to attract attention to my lack of sleep because that will only cause a fight. So I wait until mum gets up for work. She asks me why I’m so happy. “Does there need to be a reason?” I cheerfully reply, bouncing up and down. She just looks at me with that concern in her eyes I’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the past month. ”You’re very jumpy”, she comments. “No I’m not!” I defensively snap, suddenly irritated. I know what she’s hinting at, she hasn’t made it a secret lately that she thinks I’m elevated. This bothers me for a spilt second but nothing can deter me from the euphoria I feel.
Mum asks when my psychiatrist is getting back from the holidays. I tell her that it’s soon and she asks if I think it’s a good thing. I shrug. My ear’s throbbing from when I got it pierced the day before and it’s distracting me. I want to move on from this topic, we’ve lingered seconds too long on the matter and my mind is already miles away chasing another unrelated tangent.
I’m not concerned that everyone thinks I’m elevated, what I’m more concerned about is what people are going to do with me. My psychiatrist says that if I were to become psychotically manic and refuse treatment again then she would have to sanction me under the mental health act.
People say I’m elevated, but I’m not. I’m fine. I know myself better than anyone and this is not as bad as it can get. I’m not hallucinating for one, and I can still have a conversation with people. Granted, talking to people is becoming increasingly frustrating because they just don’t follow what I am saying. “Slow down”, “You’re very flighty”, “You’re jumping from topic to topic” are common things people tell me which usually would be a warning sign of being on an up, but it’s them who are too slow, not me who is too fast.
I spend the day writing and recording music. I’m making such good progress and am going to make a career out of it. I buzz in and out, catch up with a few friends, write lyrics and poems and run 15 km before ending up at the bluff near my house to watch the sunset. Where has the day gone? I can’t even remember how I got here. I look out over the ocean and am in awe of the overwhelming beauty, so much so that it makes me physically ache. My small body can’t contain all of this cosmic euphoria, I feel as if I could explode. Everything is magnificent. Life is glorious and beautiful and breathtaking. Life is in me. I am life. And we are all one, big connected being.
Thankfully, this particular episode didn’t result in full-blown mania, psychosis, or hospitalization. I had a couple of ECT treatments that prevented the hypomania from escalating. Although I felt wonderful that day, that feeling didn’t last and my mood became labile, and for the majority of the time I was irritable. I spent all of my savings and had to go on a disability pension. Ultimately a mixed episode resulted which subsequently turned into a depressive one. Even though I felt very blissful and euphoric I don’t have many fond memories of that time.
Sally also blogs for bp Magazine and The Mighty and has written for Youth Today, upstart and The Change Blog. To read more of her IBPF posts, click here.