Nobody wants to see a good mood end and they will not exactly want to keep enjoyable emotions under control. They want to experience it all and encourage the feelings to get even stronger. The problem is that during this time they will just think what they are experiencing is completely normal.
For some of us those good feelings need to be kept on a tight leash and you’ve just always got to be aware of the unnatural high, though it feels good, can also take your mind to wild places where fantasy and reality entwine and it gets harder to unravel the truth from fiction. When the ride finally ends it’s like having a really enjoyable meal taken from you while you’re still eating eat, still hungry for more.
I don’t really want to reveal too many details from the latest manic episode. I don’t want people to remember me as having a good time with them and suddenly have to think, ‘oh, well she was just ill.’ I had fun catching up with a lot of old friends and learned a whole lot in the day, about myself and how the usual organized, self-aware girl with control over most her behaviour – despite being impulsive – can suddenly lose control of it all.
I suppose it all started a couple of days ago, a week really. It’s hard to tell when another manic episode begins because sometimes I can’t tell the difference between a normal happy mood and, the milder hypomania and the more serious mania. All I really have to go on is the physical sensation of a sped up brain, hypersensitive senses and strange behaviour patterns.
I went through another depression from failing to meet up to my own expectations after a gig and I just had to get my thoughts in order to overcome it. Then on the day I was finally putting up my latest photo gallery I got a lot of positive feedback and just a lot of things happened that surprised and overjoyed me. Little bits of good news kept being revealed to me over the days. I was still dropping into depressive moods but nothing too serious.
Although I tend to open up a lot in this blog I still keep some thoughts hidden because of their delusional and obsessive nature. They make me really feel like a crazy person which is probably why sometimes I don’t mind seeing myself that way, because it’s at least truthful in some ways. Let’s just say I fantasize about another life and get so deep into these day dreams that I might one day do all I can to make them become a reality. I think subconsciously I’ve always made decisions that would slowly build up this fantasy world coming true for me, but then it can become so intense I want it now. I stop enjoying my regular life and would rather slip back into fantasy. I would ache with anxiety just to have this life come true for me.
It’s something that also scares me about myself. I would have never thought I could become someone that would get that obsessive about something. So, I usually try my best to avoid having the thoughts or do something that keeps me distracted from them. For a long time it worked until recently when I decided to risk pushing the fantasy a bit more.
So, I was getting some good news and feeling hopeful, which distracted me from the more anxious thoughts about my future in employment and independent living which also crossed over with this fantasy life – but I had made my mind up about it being time for me to get back to work and move out on my own, and move to the area I’d rather live in which would really help my photography out too.
Then an event happened, a day of celebration really. Looking back my anticipation mixed with my good feelings and rapidly growing euphoria, felt like the building up of an important movie scene. All the elements were being put in place so the audience could get as hyped up about the scene as the protagonist was and they will be going on an adventure together, and experience the crash that would soon come together as well.
One day I was strangely ill. I have epilepsy and get migraines quite a lot and sometimes if I don’t eat enough I get severe blood sugar crashes. So, I was just monitoring the symptoms while getting ready to go out and photograph another gig. But my symptoms increased; severe fatigue, motor clumsiness, having my eyes playing tricks on me and struggling to articulate my thoughts. It wasn’t that unusual for me to experience but there was no identifiable trigger. I was in a very silly mood too and it got in the way of me concentrating on tasks that needed to be completed.
I’ve had milder symptoms like that before starting another full manic episode, usually one that lasts for days and weeks. I’m not very good at picking up on the signs as they happen though.
My memory from the morning of the party is hazy. I just remember that I bought a six pack of beer and starting drinking as early as 11am. I got stuck with the arduous task of making decorations for the party so I grabbed another beer, turned on some music and had a surprisingly relaxing and enjoyable time.
I was pretty chatty that day and willing to take photos, even though yesterday my internet connection went dead and didn’t come back the next day. I did have a mini meltdown over it and I was pretty shocked with myself that I couldn’t just go off and do something else like I normally would. That eventually got fixed so it was a non-issue from there.
So, I’m drinking, I’m chatting and eating. I can’t remember much more than that. I think I was a super amount of impulsive too. It could have been the beer I was slowly getting through or it could have been the drinking while experiencing a manic episode.
Yeah. Looking back I can tell I wasn’t in control of myself. I know that now. On the bright side I was able to chat to different groups of people pretty much all throughout the day and night and not have too many negative feelings. My anxiety did kick in when I started on the red wine. At this time I was also told to take it easy so I reassured people by saying, ‘I’ve been drinking since midday’ – as if that was enough to say I could control myself.
Looking back I can’t understand what was going through my head to think it was a good idea to drink for 13 hours straight. I usually don’t drink much because I’m usually at a gig and need to be able to take photos and save some money for a cab. So, there’s this desire to drink a bit more and when I watch others drinking a whole damn lot I just feel like I’d like to do that to and be normal. I don’t have much of a strong body for drinking. I used to drink a lot in my early 20s but now more than 5 beers is risking having some sort of physical health problem. Since I developed bipolar my moods have been completely thrown around after more than an average night of drinking. It might happen immediately or might take a few days to kick in. Usually I become depressed first, recover and then slide into a mixed episode with a higher than usual anxiety (basically paranoia), and then another manic episode will start up.
When I barely drink my episodes don’t get much more severe than hypomania; an all-round good feeling with a few creative ideas here and there. Lately I’ve pushed myself back into delusional thinking and paranoia. Besides the end of week consumption of alcohol I’ve also barely been sleeping, been eating poorly and not keeping up with my exercise routine.
Either I can once again get more control over my moods or I’m coming into another manic season. This is when moods become one extreme or the other at certain times of the year and stay that way for months. The start of the year I had high anxiety and occasional depression but not much mania. It’s kicked up a little bit since then and the PTSD related anxiety went back into the background of my troubled thoughts.
So anyway, back at the party, it’s night time and as I’ve mentioned I’ve been drinking all day and barely eating much at all. Finger food really. I’ve had my perfect fantasy world playing at the back of my mind for a few days now. I know I’m supposed to stay on top of it so I don’t slip back into my delusions but then something happens that blurs the line between reality and fantasy yet again, but I still think I’m fine, but I’m now focused on making that fantasy a reality again so I begin to turn every conversation over to or around that subject. I’m over the party. I don’t care anymore. I just want the chance to make my fantasy real because of how good it makes me feel. The problem is I convinced myself that it could happen.
But eventually the good times end and I think it happened around 5am. I was struggling with negative thoughts but trying to ignore them. My whole body was also on fire which is how I tend to experience hangovers. Even though it was a pretty bad one I couldn’t stay in my fantasy any longer so I had to get up and get on with life, but then everything happening around me kept pushing me back into it. The state of the house was making it hard for me to make my own food or wash my own clothes. I gave up after that. I had a huge anxiety attack and had one of the more severe suicidal ideations; the ones where I think it’s going to happen, even dreading that ‘I can’t believe I have to do this,’ instead of the usual hating myself so much I’ll just replay a few scenarios in my head and then I eventually get over it. It felt like I would never feel any better and I just wanted a quick end to my pain. But it did get better, though I did keep falling back into those thoughts. They didn’t get as serious as before but became more paranoid.
I’ve been in a pretty terrible state both emotionally and physically. At times it feels like my pain won’t end and then some light shines in, only to vanish after a short while, just long enough to calm me down.
I haven’t left the delusional woods yet but I’m more aware and can try and assume some control over my thoughts. It’s like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to keep me grounded in reality rather than replace negative thoughts with a more positive turnaround. The problem is I can become too positive and completely lose touch with reality.
Things are steadily getting better for me. I’m returning to routine and normal life. What is normal for me, at least. I’m unsure if I will ever lapse so far into a delusional manic fantasy world again. This is from the absence of drugs, even medication. It could serve as a warning to what I’ll be like on anti-anxiety or SSRI meds. It could be the result of having to manage the stress that came from being told I may have to start getting ready to go back to work, with the odd threat of having my pension cut and I’m getting closer to going overseas – there’s just a whole lot to be anxious about right now, especially for someone with a severe generalized anxiety disorder.
I’m unsure about what will happen next. I just have to go to my interview (after a panic attack about going to a place I haven’t been to in years, needing to ask for a lift) and tell them why I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to work yet. I’m not getting any treatment for my autism, ADHD, bipolar, anxiety and even seizures. My fear of change just stops me from getting help when I desperately need it. I do want to get ready to go back to work but it needs to be done properly. I need a therapist who will listen to me and a psychiatrist who will not brush off my concerns about having a mood disorder and believe me when I tell them the meds they prescribed me gave me serious side effects.
On the plus side, my photography is really picking up. One well known band in particular seems to really like my photos.
But life goes on. The comic books and sci-fi shows keep flowing and still more preparations for this overseas trip need to be taken care of, and then I can return and see/photograph more bands again.