Tag Archives: energy

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.

The Bipolar Dog Comment

Earlier this week at the dog park, one of my neighbors made a comment I thought was quite curious.

A Rowdy Luna

Luna, our Boston Terrier, is a couple of months away from being three. You wouldn’t know it if you met her though, she often bounces back and forth between the energetic fervor of puppyhood (running in circles, humping and head-butting other dogs, etc) and a petrified docile state where she flops down, belly up, if anyone even looks at her.

The suggestion, then, was that her behavior is:

a little bipolar.

At first I wasn’t sure if this was an insult or a compliment (as someone who lives with bipolar disorder personally) so I chuckled and shut my mouth to consider the implications of this statement.

A Meek Luna

I’m not saying I believe my dog has bipolar disorder, but it is often true that people’s dogs take on personality traits of their owners. Luna hasn’t had any angry outbursts, or mentioned any hallucinations, or gone on any manic spending sprees, but it is obvious, even to those that don’t know her, that she fluctuates between two very different extremes when we’re out on our walks. Rowdy and raucous one moment, meek and submissive the next.

Really, there are any number of things that could be causing this behavior in her, (and it isn’t uncommon for people to project their own feelings onto their animals) but what was beginning to bother me was the thought that maybe this was because of me

I mean, I don’t have kids, and I don’t plan to. Luna is the closest to having a child I ever expect to get. I’m sure it sounds far fetched, but could I possibly have taught her to be this way? I mean, I’m constantly bouncing between being a completely docile, whimpering, couch potato and getting up to play with her when my own bursts of energy come along. Surely she doesn’t have the emotional responses of a person with bipolar disorder, but her bizarre energy fluctuations do mimic my own (because that is how I interact with her and take care of her).

The one little piece of heartbreak in this is knowing that she has, in one form or another, adapted to the way I live. I am around her all the time, and she usually only plays or asks for something when she knows she is most likely to get what she wants. But has adaptation to the way I function (or don’t function, sometimes) made her unable to adapt to the way other dogs play at the park?

I’m not really that worried. She’s a dog, she’s very adaptive, she’ll figure it out. I was just boggled by the notion I had passed this behavior on to her, and I was concerned, if even for just a moment, that she’d somehow caught bipolar disorder from me.

Luna is an excellent dog, and she has adapted to my needs very well. She can still be a little pushy (but then again, she does need to go outside sometimes -and so do I) but after this comment at the dog park I can’t help but feel an enormous amount of appreciation around how well she has adapted to how I live.

Sorry if I’ve inadvertantly made you a little weird, little dog, but everyone loves you anyway!

There When You Need It

My moods have been fairly stable over the weekend and at the beginning of this week, which is nice. I am certain the sunshine (which is only seen in Seattle for 3 months out of the year) isn’t exactly hurting!

Saturday morning the walls began to close in on me a little bit and I narrowly escaped both the apartment and an agitated state by getting outdoors and walking around the neighborhood. My energy level, which was seemingly normal, acted as almost a bottomless cup and it quickly became apparent that there might be some hypomanic energy below the surface.

Cut to Sunday, I went out hiking and my friends and I did ten milesTen miles! Something about that seems absurd to me, when I think about how much I’ve been sitting around on the couch lately.

Even more absurd, I must have tapped into that hypomanic energy that I tapped into on Saturday. I had one or two energy drains early on in the day (7 am and again around 9 am) but once I actually got hiking, the energy maintained an easy pace for 10 miles. And actually, beyond that because I went swimming after.

In fact, the soles of my feet were the only thing telling me to stop, but with the energy I had I could have gone on walking until they were worn down into nubs.

Was this energy there because of the sunshine? Being in the fresh air outdoors? Did I start some kind of motor that, once running, wasn’t easily willing to stop?

Or was the energy I found completely independent of all that and just happened to be there through the roll of the dice?

I don’t know about you, but for me that good hypomanic energy never seems to be there when I want itand I have no real way to predict when it will be present. Even this weekend, I didn’t feel any other symptoms of hypomania, and I didn’t find that energy until I was actively being quite physical and finding it easy.

I find bipolar disorder so interesting when it comes to not getting tired when I ought to or being quite tired for no apparent reason.

Maybe we’re all given the same amount of gasoline but mania tends to pour it on an already burning fire, and that recklessness means a gasoline shortage down the road.

A Pain in the Energy Drain

First, I’d like to note that today’s post will be my 200th, which feels somewhat exciting (though it is nothing more than an imaginary milestone). Still, 200 posts feels like a lot, and even though the concept of this blog has sometimes fluctuated in my head I feel a bit proud to have stuck with writing here for 200 posts.

Aside from that, I would really like to address the energy drain. 

There are times when I am walking around, minding my own business, when suddenly it feels like the energy in my body liquifies and gushes out through my sneakers onto the asphalt and evaporates. Suddenly I’m stuck feeling like I am trying to walk through the ocean. My limbs are heavy and not quite as responsive (as if met with resistance), and it is as if every part of my body is sinking.

Maybe someone turned up the gravity intensity knob?

I was pretty happy to hear about the addition of fluctuating energy symptoms being propsed for the new version of the DSM (if you’re just joining us, that is the book that contains all of the criteria for psychiatric diagnoses in the USA), because originally bipolar disorder was just thought to be about mood. 

I’ve been getting increasingly upset about these energy drains, sometimes they last for a few minutes, other times for a couple hours. I can easily recognize that this awkward sluggish feeling is one that I’ve experienced in the throes of depression, but I also know there are times where the energy drain happens without any sort of mood fluctuation.

Are these pockets of physical depressive symptoms occurring on their own? Are they a sign of impending depression? Are they unrelated and simply created when my blood sugar crashes or when the caffeine wears off?

Many questions.

I just started tracking this phenomenon in an attempt to learn more about it. I am charting it on the same graph as my mood (and a handful of other things, pain, anxiety, etc.) so I can watch the full range of energy -both increases and decreases.

What I’ve found so far is that some days, my energy level remains level. Other days, I have fluctuations that don’t coincide with mood changes. And on other days, I see the fluctuations lining up with mood changes. When my mood changes, the energy change has (so far) changed within a 5-60 minute window (before or after) the mood change occurs.

So now I’m just looking at other factors, I am particularly interested in the energy shifts that are happening independent of mood changes. Of course, tracking this means paying attention to many other factors, when I’m eating, if I have caffeine, rigorous physical activity, etc.

I spoke to someone who also has bipolar disorder about it yesterday and they said they also experience energy shifts that appear independent of mood changes. At least, in the draining department.

Honestly, any increase in energy (even without an elevated mood) is something I’ve attributed to hypomania. Would it be safe to conclude that a decrease in energy may be related to depression, even when the mood doesn’t appear changed?

Curious.

I am very interested in knowing if anyone else has these sorts of symptoms (energy fluctuation independent of mood change) or if mood changes are always present in the event of an energy fluctuation.

For me, these symptoms go beyond,

“I’m feeling sort of tired,”

or

“I’d like to sit down and rest a minute,”

The shifts are almost always very extreme, requiring something of a struggle to continue to my destination or prompting laying down with immediate sleep necessary after having been active (normally) only minutes earlier.

Sound familiar? Leave a comment, or shoot an email to host@thebipolarcuriousblog.com