|Image: Wives of Faith|
Now it's early July and, looking back, I realize that I was hypomanic until a few weeks ago even though I was no longer in a crisis situation. I really don't enjoy being manic because my increasingly erratic behavior eventually becomes frightening to myself and others. I also don't like hypomania because it is a step toward both mania and depression for me, but sometimes it's hard to identify. In our society, we are rewarded for high energy and productivity, so sometimes what may seem positive can really be negative.
I was very active after I got out of the hospital, which seemed good since I'm trying to lose weight. It didn't take much to motivate myself to exercise and the things that usually seem hard, like waking up early in the morning, seemed effortless. I broke up with my boyfriend when I was manic, for good reasons, but it didn't really phase me until a few weeks ago, when I closed the storage unit I had opened when we moved in together, and brought everything back home. I felt a sadness and a loss of control as I unpacked and tried to decide where to put everything. I knew that I shouldn't miss him, but I did. At least I missed his companionship.
It struck me that I'm single and may possibly be for the rest of my life. I began to worry about living independently and taking care of myself. Ever since my diagnosis at the age of nineteen, organization, especially of my living space, has proven to be challenging for me. I'm trying to solve this problem by paring down my possessions to the bare minimum. The process of sorting through everything stirs up many memories and mixed feelings and living in a mess, although it is temporary, is disconcerting.
Anxiety had nearly immobilized me for the past few weeks. A couple of good friends helped me realize that my world wasn't ending, I was just overwhelmed. They assured me that I could take care of myself and helped to distract me from my fears by encouraging me to have fun and think about other things. I'm very fortunate to have supportive friends. They have both been through trying times, but have not experienced mental illness. Their insight helped me to understand how a "normal" person would think and pull themselves out of my situation. I quit the negative thinking and started to feel much better.
A few days after I started to feel better, I had an appointment with my therapist and told her about all of the mood changes and the anxiety I had experienced. She helped me to realize that I always feel uncomfortable when I go through mood transitions. Sometimes recognizing a problem is the first step toward overcoming it. Although I don't want it to happen, I can pretty much guarantee, based on my history, that I will become manic sometime in the future. Next time I come down from a mania, I can reflect on the fact that mood transitions are hard for me, and maybe that will help me to push through negative emotions and anxiety more quickly.