For me, the nature of my bipolar episodes usually goes one of two ways.
The experience can either be short, somewhere between an hour and a couple of days, or it can be long and take up weeks if not months of my life.
Short episodes tend to come on quickly. They’re the sort where I’m walking around, minding my own business, when suddenly POW! Immediately my being is being separated from my body while everything tingles and I find myself grinning like an idiot.
Or POW! And I’m suddenly completely lethargic, walking in slow motion, dragging my feet because nothing seems to matter anymore.
These short form episodes are usually intense and immediate, but that is the trade off because they don’t last very long.
A short episode might sound like a walk in the park, but they’re enough to be entirely jarring, especially when lined up and experienced back to back to back to back. For me, short episodes are destructive, but in a different way than a long episode. Short episodes are more likely to bring along impulsivity, and do so in sudden situations where the impulsivity is definitely not appropriate.
Long episodes are an entirely different can of worms. They come on more gradually usually, over the course of a day or a number of days, and once it is there, it seems stuck there.
Sometimes I get caught up in long form episodes of depression that aren’t very intense, but are just draining enough that it is grueling trying to accomplish anything for weeks and weeks at a time.
Other times I get caught up in long episodes of depression that are quite serious, that get worse and worse and worse over time.
And still other times I have had long episodes of hypomania and mania, to the point where they clamp down on my life and assimilate themselves into it.
Long form episodes are destructive because they integrate into part of my life and begin to feel normal. Once they feel normal, it becomes easy for me to become persuaded into acting out in some way against them, or worn down enough to consider acting out.
At this point I believe I am moving into a long episode, after being depressed the best part of last week and again this week (only a bit worse). I’m hoping it isn’t a sign of things to come in the next few weeks, but the nature of these episodes (namely that they can end at any time without warning) gives me some hope that I wont be continuing down that long road.
And hey, I didn’t wake up frowning, so today is already off to a good start!