Skimming the Surface-
Well to begin, it isn’t fun- well that’s a lie, it can be very fun, but dangerous. It’s also a documented disability that the federal government could pay out disability checks on for those who are unable to function in day-to-day atmospheres, like work. This disease works in a cyclical manner- meaning it is on a constant cycle. It is very debilitating, and to complicate this illness further, there is an ENTIRE spectrum you can fall onto, there are two different types of Bipolar, and often times you have other documented mental illnesses in conjunction with the BIG one. For instance, I am Bipolar I (as opposed to Bipolar II), I also have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), & OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
I am a visual person, so here is a graphic representation of Bipolar Disorder(s). First I would like to point out that I am represented by the first graph. These dips in and out of the ‘Normal mood’ are normal too.
People generally fall on a scale, so someone could NOT be Bipolar or suffer from any mental illness, but their ‘normal’ (I don’t like the word ‘normal’ because it is incredibly subjective to the person, but for the sake of understanding it will be utilized) could be in between the ‘Normal mood’ scale and the ‘Mild depression’ scale- this person would be recognized by societal norms as a “Debbie Downer” or a “Negative Nancy.” On the opposite scale there are people whose ‘normal’ is in between ‘Normal mood’ and ‘Hypomania’. This person is the obnoxiously happy, no one can bring them down- an envious mood by any means. A mood that I often times appear to have.
Reaching that Peak-
Here’s the thing- Bipolar is cycling in and out the realm of normal to what is known as ‘Mania‘ and crashing down to ‘Severe Depression’. Earlier I mentioned how it can be a fun disease and that is what is known as ‘Mania’. It is addicting.
Imagine being at THEE party of the year. I mean there are drugs everywhere and you look at the drugtender that is going to give you ANY concoction you desire.
“I would like to order a little marijuana to make it all okay, some cocaine to keep me up and ready to roll, and Molly to rock my world and make me unstoppable.”
If you’ve never tried a drug in your life, substitute it for the food that makes you the happiest, the biggest event of your life that invigorates you from within, and maybe a cocktail? Anyways- this is mania.
It is a great time- you have zero cares, you are ready to go wherever and whenever, you don’t need much food, you don’t need much sleep, you feel invincible, you might be so excited (a kid on Christmas) over something that other people are telling you to slowww down and repeat yourself; you are the LIFE OF THE PARTY- everyone wants to be you. You are going to make decisions you regret. Break-up with a long time significant other so you can be free, gamble all of your rent money, be promiscuous, you will be partying consistently; it is different for every person, but I’ve heard a lot of similarities too between my story and others’.
It is by far the scariest feeling to me now. I can feel my moods change, I can feel it skyrocketing up, my anxiety begins to destroy my chest. What goes up, must always come down- damn gravity. So when you are reaching the top bounds of the happiest and most fun moments, that crash is coming.
|People having a manic episode may:||People having a depressive episode may:|
|· Feel very “up,” “high,” or elated
· Have a lot of energy
· Have increased activity levels
· Feel “jumpy” or “wired”
· Have trouble sleeping
· Become more active than usual
· Talk really fast about a lot of different things
· Be agitated, irritable, or “touchy”
· Feel like their thoughts are going very fast
· Think they can do a lot of things at once
· Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex
|· Feel very sad, down, empty, or hopeless
· Have very little energy
· Have decreased activity levels
· Have trouble sleeping, they may sleep too little or too much
· Feel like they can’t enjoy anything
· Feel worried and empty
· Have trouble concentrating
· Forget things a lot
· Eat too much or too little
· Feel tired or “slowed down”
· Think about death or suicide
The crash. I hate talking about this side of me. Because when I am on that high, making choices that aren’t my own and choices I wouldn’t normally make, and decisions that jeopardize my livelihood, I am going to pay for every second of heaven I was on. So when the inevitable fall happens it means I am going to realize every single fucking thing I did. These thoughts are going to flood me so catastrophically that Noah’s Ark would sink. ALL I can focus on is how awful I am, how disgusting I am, the mistakes I made when I was a kid or in high school or college even or the rejection I faced in these time periods from taking risks. PAUSE.
Funny Story: This is a story I go back to every single depression and it is actually hilarious. So, I was a senior in high school and wrote a poem and read it in front of like 25 peers at the end of the day, asking this kid to prom. He got so mortified he said NOTHING, ran out of the class and the bell rang for the end of the day heading into the weekend. I stood there and many eyes felt embarrassed for me and also sympathetic. Well I never went to prom that year, and I also planned it. Yep, this is the mortifying story I go back to often times in my crazy train of a brain- ARE YOU READING THIS? OF ALL THE STORIES THIS IS WHAT I CAN’T LET GO OF.
UNPAUSE. So depression sucks- we’ve all been there, but severe depression, that you have no way out of and all you want to do is die, sucks even worse. Nothing can bring you joy. Nothing can stop you from throwing up everything you’ve consumed or stop you from eating everything in your goddamn pantry and then making another trip to 7/11. Nothing stops you from hurting yourself. Nothing stops you from calling in from work or school day after day; Then the embarrassment of lying so no one knows you’re struggling. Nothing makes you prepared to tell anyone that you cut yourself the last three days or you can’t stop drinking; Or the embarrassment of trying to salvage a relationship from mistakes you’ve made either on your high or disappearing from peoples’ lives on your low.
Hell just in this last week, I began cycling maybe last Tuesday. It got increasingly better (remember better in bipolar is bad sometimes) and as of Friday I spent $200 on a tattoo I did not have the money for because I couldn’t stop until I submitted- well I was weak and did. I partied all weekend.
I also have stopped drinking for the most part the last year and a half or so and I was hammered on Saturday. Then Sunday came and I felt the downfall coming. Monday and Tuesday I got off of work around 4:30 PM- 5:00 PM, drove home, went to bed between 5:30 PM and 6:00 PM and woke up at 8:30 AM yesterday and 7:00 AM this morning. I slept a combined 27 hours since Monday evening, it’s Wednesday.
Bipolar I & II are very closely related- the only difference is that Bipolar II is not as intense IN MEDICAL TERMS, the individual will hit hypo-mania vs. mania; Essentially a difference is schematics. You HAVE TO hit a manic episode to be Bipolar I and it is pretty common that people end up in the hospital.
Regardless of what type of mental illness you have, please seek help or reach out to those that need you. I am fearful daily, EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY, I’m fearful. I don’t know when the next one is coming, I don’t know how long it will last, and I don’t know if I will make it out alive. But my train hasn’t crashed yet. I am hoping that by normalizing this conversation that there will be nothing to fear and we can pull each other from the depths of our minds.
If You Are in Crisis: Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential.
If you are thinking about harming yourself or thinking about suicide:
- Tell someone who can help right away
- Call your licensed mental health professional if you are already working with one
- Call your doctor
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency department
If a loved one is considering suicide:
- Do not leave him or her alone
- Try to get your loved one to seek immediate help from a doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911
- Remove access to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including medications
Much Love. I hope this helps. If you have any questions or discrepancies let me know. If you need someone, let me know. If you enjoyed this ride on The Crazy Train, give me a shout-out and show this to anyone it may,also, help.
Until Next Time,