Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hypomania at 2AM

Right now, as I'm writing this, I'm in a state called "hypomania." I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder, so at least every two weeks I hit a patch like this. Today it is particularly bad, because it makes me feel too good.

Hypomania is different than mania - with mania you experience a break with reality called psychosis. I use a mood tracking website which helps me identify what state I am in. It's free, and you don't have to have a mental illness to use it. It's called Moodscope - a lot of psychiatrists are recommending it to their patients to help follow their moods. Give it a try, even if you aren't ill. It's fun!

Anyhow, I've relied on friends and family to tell me when I'm hypomanic. Then I check my Moodscope score. Turns out if it's more than 65%, I'm hypomanic. Tonight it's much higher.

What does being hypomanic mean? You become super energized. Tonight I got out of bed at 2AM (the only way I got any sleep at all was by taking sedatives). I've done the dishes, and am making cinnamon buns for breakfast. I will head out at sunrise to do my physiotherapy exercises.

My wife and I will be leaving the house at 8:30 to take the younger kids to the aquarium. I will probably talk too much about what I know about aquatic creatures. I will feel like I am somewhat of an expert.

My head is clogged with ideas. Tonight I drilled holes in all of my measuring spoons so I could put them on a carabiner - that way I can take them off one at a time to use, rather than having them all on that silly keychain thing. I've built a nightlight for my cat's litter box, so he will have some light at night to see where to go. I'm thinking of the parallels and differences between American and Canadian politics, and the role of religion in each.  I also thought of a new way to play Monopoly that involves building a cardboard racetrack and using toy cars instead of dice. I think it would be fun. Another night I rewrote the rules to Risk, and called it Health Risk. You earned armies by doing excercise. There is more, but I won't go on.

So...what's the problem? People in a hypomanic state think really, really fast (I was thinking in my sleep, too. Sometimes I solve problems while I sleep). You get impatient because most people around you seem to be thinking so slowly and take a while to get things. You start to feel grandiose and smart. Too smart for your own good.

Acting grandiose, condescending, oversharing, taking risks, spending money, talking too quickly and too much - this is a recipe for ruining relationships. I will try very, very hard today to avoid these traps. I may even take medication to slow myself down so I don't drive my family nuts.

It is hard, though, because this state feels very good. Until your brain clogs. That's when you freeze up. There are just so many ideas that you can't make decisions. This is also frustrating for people around you.

So tonight I think I will set aside the ideas I have for changing the electoral system, building shoes out of old tires and duct tape, and turning sequestered carbon into fuel, and do my best to just make cinnamon buns.

Sometimes, the best medicine for hypomania is just focusing on your buns.

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