This post is going to cover the hypomanic episodes I had pre-diagnosis but have been able to reflect on afterwards. Of course this ‘list’ isn’t exhaustive but I’m noting the most memorable ones. In another post I will describe what my hypomanic episodes are like post-diagnosis.
As I said in a previous blog about what bipolar is, I am going to expand on those points more and with particular emphasis on what it means for me personally – the stuff I explain here is what I experience/have experienced.
I suppose the first part to start with is the happy stuff. I have memories of being so happy that I felt the world was made just for me. The sun was shining and the sky was cloudless again just for me. I felt energetic, needed less sleep (or couldn’t sleep), euphoric, productive, feel like I can tackle the world and solve world peace along with it. The laws of man didn’t apply to me because I was beyond mere men – after all the sun was shining for me! A lot of times I felt I was sexy and knew that everyone wanted me when I was at the gym, I felt that when I was working out people would be looking at me and saying to themselves ‘he’s so hot, look how he works out!’ So I’d strut my stuff down that walkway like a supermodel. This sounds kinda fun and a couple of periods in my life I did have a lot of “fun”, but it can have its drawbacks, I once felt I was so better than everyone else that I quit one of my previous jobs! The idea just popped into my head, ‘hey, you’re more important than that job, quit and demand to not work your notice but still get paid for it’ – this I did and got my own way, so didn’t help with the ego there.
I did, however, particularly liked the productivity and the endless amount of energy that came with hypomania – my outlet was writing, of course didn’t matter if it was rubbish, at the time it was going to be the best thing ever! I graduated from the Open University last June having completed a degree and those productive times meant I was able to bang out essays of sheer brilliance! I knew when typing them that my tutor was going to be so amazed that they came out of a pre-degree student and I was going to get top marks and exceptional feedback. I mean the thoughts came in and the productivity went out – it was great!
What’s not to love about that?
Well, the only way I can now describe it is following two/three/four days of these episodes and/or a of lack of sleep, it starts to catch up with you. After a couple of days productivity and thoughts that won’t stop changes to feeling like having an internet exchange in your head with all that noise and chatter going on at a thousand miles an hour. All of a sudden those gifts turn into a nightmare and they won’t stop, they keep pounding their way into your head and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. It’s times like that I have become so agitated by a mind that will not shut up that I had on numerous occasions punched my head several times to try and stop my mind. Of course with this concentration is out of the question so trying to study and not being able to is frustrating and resulted in my lashing out by shouting at myself and throwing things round, looking to break things. Luckily for me my current work is repetitive so I don’t get as worked up about it unlike study. This minimized the outbursts and severity considerably and while I didn’t have much control, I had enough to stop things like that
The other nature of hypomania is obsessions. Many years ago, I was so obsessed with a car that I got rid of the one I had for two months and took out a loan for, to get it; which took me further into debt. Don’t get me wrong it was a nice car, but I had to have it, and didn’t care about the consequences of it; including that the maintenance was very expensive! Then after a few months and another episode and I did the same again yet this time I took the next car out on finance and traded my ‘fantastic’ car for a low value than its worth. But these obsessions have smaller monetary consequences, too, when you make loads of little purchases, like replacing a series of DVDs because the covers have been updated (I did this for two T.V. series I was watching!) or purchasing loads of DVDs at a time just because I wanted them. Obsessions are an unfortunate evil with being bipolar and depending on what the obsession is about can depend on whether a lot of money is involved or a load of holidays are really well planned – or worse, when I booked a holiday and then during the next phase of hypomania (the noisy mind!) canceled it and lost about £400 in non-refundable fees. I suppose a case can be argued that I saved myself a lot of money in the long run but obsessions, like other elements of hypomania, can be an evil in disguise.