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10 Phases of a Mixed Episode for a Bipolar Spoonie-Mama


I had surgery a little over two weeks ago, and it triggered a mixed episode.

If you don’t know what bipolar disorder is, it’s a mental illness where a person experiences periods of depression and periods of mania. Mania is typically viewed as the high but isn’t always fun. I’m on two different medications for my bipolar: An SSRI to target the depression and a mood stabilizer. They were working pretty well until my surgery triggered a mixed episode.

One of the most dangerous situations is when a person experiences both mania and depression at the same time. It’s dangerous because it can lead to self-harm.

10 Phases of a Mixed  Episode For a Bipolar Spoonie-Mama:

1. Anger.

I decided it’d be a great time to potty train my 2-year-old. Yeah, it wasn’t and I blamed my husband for everything. I was mad at myself for being sick and needing medication, and mad they were all making me feel dizzy and nauseous, so I skipped a lot for a week.

2. Depression.

Clearly, I was fat and worthless and didn’t deserve anything in my life. My kids deserved better and I was so sorry they had a pathetic mother who wasn’t allowed to pick them up.

3. Loss of Patience.

Oh gosh, I could not give myself a break. I had no patience for how long it took me to do things and hated being slowed down by my pain level.

4. Negative Cognitions.

Half the time, I thought I couldn’t do anything right, but the other part of me urged me to write more even though it sucked.

5. Recklessness.

The kids and I went outside and played hopscotch. I cleaned the house. I was definitely not taking it easy.

6. Irritability.

I was super irritable with my children. I hate this one. I find myself yelling at my 2-year-old for things I know he can’t control. I know that last week, he was in time-out a few more times than he should have been because I could not deal with his tantrums.

7. Confidence.

I felt great, like I was capable of doing anything. So I stayed up late writing, researching, submitting my writing to all sorts of websites, and I kept putting off going to therapy.

8. Increased Sex Drive.

I was supposed to wait two weeks before being cleared for extracurricular activities with the hubs. I barely made it two days. I couldn’t keep my hands off of him.

9. Hyperfocus.

I wrote several more chapters in my novel, five new guest posts for other blogs and worked on editing a bunch of things.

10. The Crash.

Finally, after about a week of this, I emotionally crashed. I had a long crying sesh in my hubby’s arms and have been eating my feelings. I’m better but I’ve felt all out of whack since and need to make a therapy appointment. I’ve been taking my medication every day since the episode was over and have finally been starting to feel my normal again.

Mental illness looks different with every person. Just know that mixed episodes look differently for everyone and yours may be “better” or “worse” than mine, so it’s important to keep track of your moods in a journal or app.

Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband who helps me keep track of my moods and reminds me to take my medication when I forget to do it myself.

What would you add?

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash


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