I think anyone who has experienced a euphoric low level (or “hypo”) manic state would have a difficult time labeling bipolar disorder as;
and entirely worth eradicating.
Though there are many people who may not recognize this state (or may not experience it at all), the energetic, positive attitude that comes with it is proof, many say, that bipolar disorder has positive benefits.
I’ll admit, any time I go a long period of time without being in a hypomanic state I find myself wondering if it is really as great as everyone keeps reminding me.
On days when I experience severe depression or mixed episodes I feel more than willing to do whatever is suggested to me in an attempt to eradicate bipolar symptoms entirely. Even though I’ve seen hypomania as a benefit in the past, it also hasn’t seemed like a worthwhile trade-off. A couple weeks of euphoria for a couple weeks for sheer and utter despair?
Because, don’t forget, hypomania has its down-side too. Potential inflation into full-on mania, or the potential to switch into a mixed state at any moment, even the seeming inevitability of the crash to come are all reasons I could easily say,
it ain’t worth it.
But then I have a euphoric mood shift, and (as with depression), it doesn’t take long before it has me in its grip. A really fun, pretty, warm, energetic, hilarious, comfortable grip.
I admit, I was very nervous when the Geodon I recently started sent me flying skyward, but after things began to taper off and settle into a place of euphoric hypomania I found myself knocking down the fort of blankets and pillows I had built up around myself because of the depression I was in last month and suddenly I was productive. Finishing projects with little to no effort, beginning new projects with little to no effort, and as the end of my leave of absence has been fast approaching, all of the anxiety I had previously had about it seems to have evaporated.
For me, the total alleviation of my anxiety has been one of the most surprising, and welcome changes. Severe anxiety is one of the major factors in my problems working (I was going to say lately, but actually for the last few years). Being without the burden it had put on me, even if just for a week or two, feels incredibly rejuvinating.
I find myself wandering back to a place of consideration, of wonder, and of easy acceptance. Was I wrong about hypomania? I never meant to rule it out, but I also never expected to find it again any time soon. It has been months since any real stretch of it, maybe the cynicism of the depression and anxiety had beaten all memory of euphoria from me.
Hypomania is the lynch-pin of bipolar disorder. It is what makes it so mysterious, both to those who are observers and those who have experienced it. Our minds want to wrap our mind around this thing, the symptoms as being a horrible and rotten thing that needs to be expelled from the population.
But it is hard to think that way when you feel so good. Free confidence boosters, relaxed muscles, enjoying physical exertion, is it a coincidence that I suddenly feel more similar to the general population than I have in two years? It feels like liquid hope, and it tastes like sour apple ring pops.
(Remember the return to denial I was talking about? I think I’ve met one of its catalysts!)
My particular favorite, out of all of this, is when the floodgates of the mind seem to open after having been shut for so long. Hundreds of ideas come pouring out, and I’ve been running around collecting them to last though the winter (when I am particularly bored, lonely, and out of good ideas).
Need a project? I have a whole list of interesting things to try. Are they interesting because I’ve been disinterested for so long, or are they interesting because they’re truly interesting?
Finally, this break has allowed me to move on to the next thing. I hardly know how to move on anymore without a swift change in mood. For the first time in ages I feel ready for whatever comes my way, and if that’s a fluke, I’ll still take it.