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A Snapshot of My Experience With Hypomania

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I spent months just existing. Sleeping and eating. Ice cream for breakfast. Lunch is always skipped because I’m asleep again. Ice cream for dessert after dinner, then back to bed.

I was depressed.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

Months of not crossing a single thing from a to-do list, and then two weeks of what feels like highly efficient activity.

I cannot stop talking or thinking. Everybody else seems inferior to my high-functioning, highly intelligent self.

I can’t sleep cause the sound of my heartbeat in my eardrums is irritating. Sadness feels like a distant emotion, like a word that’s on the tip of my tongue, the kind that will irritate me until I remember what it is.

I kinda joked around that I’ve been hypomanic, but I actually, really, deep down thought the world had just become a very magical place, and I had become a happy, charming person. I thought I had just “gotten a lot better.”

When I’m hypomanic, it just feels like everything in life clicks into place so perfectly. Every time I speak, I’m intelligent and witty. When I get ready to leave the house, my outfit and makeup is on point. Every song I listen to is wonderful and makes me just so elated, even the sad ones. Every movie I watch is a masterpiece. I could stare at every piece of art in awe forever; it’s as though my whole life is a work of art itself. If it was possible for someone to come along and apply beautiful effects to real life in Photoshop, this is what it would feel like.  Even if something bad happens, it doesn’t even touch the sides — the world is filling me with too much ecstasy for that to happen.

I spent the last two days in the city browsing shops, sometimes spending an hour or so in each one, having long interesting conversations with the owners or bored counter girls, getting opinions on graphic novels and dresses.

I spent over $500 and didn’t come close to realizing I’d spent that much. When I checked my bank balance, I was completely shocked.

Now I have to go back to those stores and return the items I’m able to, because in no way can I afford that. It’s my whole government sickness allowance.

Yes, I’m medicated. Yes, I have a health care plan that involves a team of people watching out for me.

So, this episode is not so bad.

In the past when I have been hypomanic, I have booked a flight solo to New York. I fit three weeks of activities into one week, sleeping four to five hours a night, walking 15 hours a day. Harmless… except to my bank account.

I have also engaged in high risk-taking behavior I hope to never repeat again. This includes sleeping with people I shouldn’t have, drug taking, self-harm, not eating — things I don’t want to mention. Not so harmless.

This reckless behavior I repeated over and over again. This is the behavior I have to self-manage, every single day.

I crave and I am addicted to things that are terrible for me, those around me and my mental health. Cutting out my daily drinking habit was the first step for me in combatting my dangerous actions, and I am now over one year alcohol-free.

As a wise friend said to me recently, “You’ll get there. It doesn’t get better, but you’ll get better at it.”

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction and need help, you can call SAMHSA‘s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

Thinkstock photo via Chad Baker/Ryan McVay

Originally published: June 5, 2017
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