Monthly Archives: September 2015

Is That What Color it is Supposed to Be?!?

Fall has landed. Cool crisp air here with clear skies, crunchy leaves on the sidewalk, and… oh, yes. Hypomania.

Something about fall makes me feel excitement, energetic, and purposeful.  Only, you know. Times 10.

I have pondered why this happens, and I can’t rule out the weather. The temperature finally reaches a level where I feel comfortable here in Seattle, but more than that I also wonder the message that fall brings.

Winter is coming!

We don’t get much snow here in the emerald city but it can go for months at a time without a dry day. My instinct is always to hunker down in constant pajamas, gnawing on a pot roast watching my favorite movies on a loop… and fall is the last opportunity I have to get out. To get things done. A last jolt of energy before the power plant inside me shuts off for the winter.

Naturally this means I am creating lists of lists and doing far too much.

I know the danger that hypomania precedes but it is almost a relief to have it, even if just for a little while. I am monitoring my sleep carefully to avoid this energy lifting me off the ground like a hot air balloon swiftly into full-blown mania.

I haven’t had much hypomania the last year or so, only tiny blips of it. A few hours, maybe, at a time. Needless to say, the subsequent resulting mood has been depression, so when I started lunch yesterday and looked down to notice I hadn’t swept my kitchen floor since moving in over a year earlier, I dropped what I was doing to sweep it…

…only to realize the floor looked a little dirty under the crumbs and dog hair. Obviously I hadn’t mopped it in over a year either, and judging by the rest of the place it is debatable that it had been mopped before moving in either.

So I mopped. I mopped, and continued to mop until the floor became a color I had not encountered.

Wait, is that what color it is supposed to be?!?

At any rate, any amount of motivation is a welcome change. “Crazy Girlfriend” made a guest appearance about a week ago and I can tell you that the results were not good. Any singing or dancing I can do now on my own behalf is very seriously needed, and having the energy and motivation to complete even a few simple (much needed) tasks can hopefully help me balance out the months of inactivity.

O is for Overwhelmed

In my mood tracking book the notation ov stands for feeling overwhelmed. I haven’t written because notation has been gaining momentum in my life for two weeks now, and there is something about feeling overwhelmed that particularly cripples me.

In my experience, ov tends to show up in a period where I am quickly shifting from hypomania to depression, though it isn’t too high and mighty to show up in a mixed state or the deepest reaches of a long, suicidal depression. The only reason I can really couple the feeling of being overwhelmed with the hypomanic->depressive fluctuation is because I am generally moving from a period where I have  been overexerting myself (making plans, starting projects) and the energy and motivation I had been experiencing from the hypomania has quickly been pulled out from under me.

Suddenly finding myself without the drive or energy to finish the half dozen projects I’ve started or continue showing up to the week’s worth of commitments I’ve made can make some serious problems, especially when the commitments involve promises to family and friends or the projects are work-related or deadline specific.

Initially, in hypomania, I feel over-capable… so my list of projects and commitments seem miniscule compared to my drive to complete them.

In depression, however, I am flooded by this long list of things to do, a long list of obligations when all I can think about is how much I want to be sleeping and how completely ridiculous it seems to attempt to finish these things now my trajectory has become broken.

Feeling overwhelmed is only one part of it. I often also feel a lot of guilt for potentially scrambling (and failing) to complete these things or for cancelling plans with others. Trying to explain to people that the “car” I’ve been speeding in has suddenly stopped and thrust itself into reverse is… confusing, at best.

Often I try to continue on like nothing has happened, and this is seemingly the worst thing I can do. My defunct abilities are wildly noticeable to the people around me (even if I think they’re not) and becoming overwhelmed and trying to continue having social engagements has led to blow ups, resentment (on my end) and generally wanting to dig a hole to curl up in so I can be alone. When I feel too overwhelmed to be around people in a healthy way, it is obvious. I become distant and curt and have even ended relationships and friendships when people have felt the need to try to comfort me by getting closer. Anyone or anything that adds to my feelings of being smothered are often eradicated from the situation. Period.

The continuation of activities after hypomania also tends to flood me after suddenly dropping into depression and I am overstimulated by even the smallest things. Last night I told Corey it felt like I was an egg, and the noise, the light, and the energy of the world around me were trying to pierce my skin and eyes and ears like a million little microscopic sperm. It left me waving my arms around me, like light and sound were bugs I could scare off. All my mind seemed capable of was tripping the “escape! escape!” alarm as my chest tightened up and I couldn’t breathe.

In these periods, living in the city is extremely challenging. Our technological way of life is extremely challenging. Not running for the mountains is… extremely challenging.

Things that potentially help? For me, the big one is nature. I haven’t been able to experience much of that lately due to the location of our apartment and the surgeries I have had this year, but I find that being in a quiet place in nature is one of the only things that helps me combat the feeling of external stimuli becoming physical.

Sometimes the best I can find is a dark quiet room, and (like last night) inquiring minds around me want to know why I am sitting in a dark quiet room.

My therapist told me I might need to tell the people close to me that I need extra space sometimes, and that there is nothing wrong with asking people for a little extra space.

In all of this, that is my greatest challenge… when the weight of all things are pressing down on me it can be hard to remember what words to use or even that words exist at all. In the end, I expect using words are likely to be far more effective than waving my arms around, insulting others, and sitting in a hole.

(Snippet)

My new therapist seems to be working out. I have only seen her three times, but she has a face that closes tight like a brick wall when she is listening. Frankly, that is exactly what I wanted… I hate watching people pass judgement on me or my situation while I am talking to them.

I have been having trouble writing for a myriad of reasons, I think I may have been traversing some hypomania last week or the week before but the energy and activity associated with it has taken a toll on my body (that is still healing from surgery). This week has been the physical crash that follows, and my 13-14 hours of sleep followed by exhaustion during the day has not leant itself to much motivation or productivity whatsoever.

My optometrist suggested I have been having ocular migraines -honestly I didn’t know that was something that even existed. I am pretty tired of heaping physical health problems on top of already crippling emotional ones… but such is life I suppose. If it isn’t one thing it is another, I am just glad I can eat relatively normally again.