These Limitations I Hate: This is Your Brain on Hypomania

I have been so frustrated these past three weeks: frustrated in general or frustrated for a reason. I am still frustrated. I’m calmer now that I’ve talked to my therapist, but I’m frustrated that I can’t just pull myself out of this hypomanic episode. Perhaps being hypomanic gives me this delusional belief that I can just stop it; I feel like I can. When I’m depressed, I don’t even bother thinking there is anything I can do about it other than taking my meds and waiting for them to work. But being hypomanic makes me feel like I can press the switch. And-it-will-stop.

Apparently not.

I just want to dig my heels into the sand and stop that spinny thing you find in parks. (Thingy has been a huge word in my vocabulary these past three weeks. Difficulty concentrating is fun, isn’t it?)

Right now I’m in rapid-speech mode, and anyone who has bipolar disorder can understand this. You read too fast, you speak too fast, your thoughts are alphabet soup. I was about to have a complete freak out because I couldn’t slow down the pacing of my reading for my American Lit homework, and because I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t concentrate on what I was even reading! So I had to remove myself from all distracting things, basically put myself in a sound-proof room, and just sit there and get my mind under control.

This hypomanic episode has made me hyperaware of my limitations–and I LOATHE them. I was pretty much convinced that I was never going to have any sort of manic episode again, and that if I did, it’d last only a day and I’d be back to an even keel. For the past few weeks, I started thinking that FINALLY I am able to write late at night. This is great. Fantastic! My brain is oddly not tired.

Nope nope nope. That’s all hypomania–

And it’s delusional that I thought I’d never have an episode again.

My therapist does believe it’s my meds, among a combination of things, but usually when my meds stop working, I go back to being depressed. Not like this. This episode would be great if I’d been depressed for a while, but it sucks when I’ve been stable, and suddenly I’m like this. I prefer it over depression, but during my blow-up moments, I really do want to kill myself to get rid of those feelings, because it’s not like my brain wants me to sleep to help me escape those feelings.

And I don’t want to be. I’m irrational, snappish, rage-filled, lack inhibitions, have no emotional stability, feel reckless, and I hate it. I seriously do. I like being rational. I hate irrationality in myself.

So what limitations do I need to accept?

I compare myself to all my author friends on Facebook. These authors are able stay up for hours and get stuff done. Drink coffee. Get stuff done. Stay up late. Get stuff done. Then go to bed late or function on little sleep. And get stuff done. And promote and all this other stuff that comes with the territory of being an author. The only good thing this episode is doing for me is allowing me to work on the promotional aspect, but it’s such crap, because it’s not like I can normally do this–because I just can’t due to my mental health!

They get books finished, get books subbed off, have more books published. Make more sales than me because they can do all this and more and I can’t. And I hate it. I’m jealous. I’m super, super jealous, because I realize I can’t do any of those things. And so I’m bitter and frustrated and full of rage, and these feelings are coming from being hypomanic. And, yeah, these feelings themselves worsen hypomania, but, hey, that’s the irony, isn’t it? Things trigger hypomanic rage, and when you realize that trigger, you get frustrated by that trigger, so you just get angrier.

Not only do I have to go to bed because I either have work or school work or ballet, but if I stay up all night, there is a chance I could go manic, even stable on meds–and I can’t risk that. I just can’t. And if I drink too much coffee, I could go manic. What people don’t understand about the coffee aspect is that coffee wakes up a normal brain, and yeah, the consumption of more coffee can make that brain wired. But the continual consumption of coffee for a brain with bipolar disorder makes that brain manic. Mania isn’t just about lots of energy, but reckless thinking, oftentimes delusional. You feel riskier, want to do things you would normally never do, your speech is rapid, you can’t shut up; you get ticked off when someone tries to slow you down; you don’t want to slow down–you want to keep going and going and going. You enjoy things TOO much. You want to spend money because it’s something to do (and believe me, I want to blow my bank account, but I’m keeping my debit card in the kitchen cabinet for a reason). Any little thing can trigger something in your manic episode. You can also be arrogant. And I’m feeling arrogant right now, mostly in regards to my job, and I’m usually a very humble person, but I just have this intense arrogance that makes me feel like I’m THE best, just because my boss has given me permission to be in charge at events where I’m working with newer people and putting me in charge of re-training the new girl because another senior co-worker of mine, yet again, is slipping through the cracks, for whatever bizarre reason. It happened to one co-worker, and he is no longer with us! And I am hyperaware of this, and I know that I am not THE best, but knowing and feeling are two completely different things. I FEEL the best, hot stuffs, the queen of my job, but I KNOW I am not.

Just today when I was working Boshears, I was watching the grand finale where there were seven planes, all in sync, and my mood suddenly skyrocketed from the ambivalence and whatever attitude I had prior to seeing it. Then suddenly I felt risky. I wanted to be risky. I didn’t know what I wanted to do to be risky. Driving fast was one thought, but I don’t want to say I was speeding down the road. I was just far less tolerable of cars not doing the speed limit, so my lack of inhibitions made it so that I wasn’t afraid to pass every slow car I came upon, even on a three-lane road. I’m just normally a very inhibited person and accept that some people can be timid drivers.

I’m so, so, so mad that I can’t do what all those authors can do, with being able to write through the night and being able to subsist on coffee without losing it and being able to function on little sleep without losing it the way a bipolar brain would and being able to be on social media throughout the night to promote the crap out of themselves and all that other…ugh, I’m just going to stop here.

Contrary to popular belief, when you’re manic and you write, your writing isn’t going to be that great, because most of what you write is going to come from being manic, not from a rational brain. A lot of manic writers will tell you they love mania because they use that energy to be more productive, but then they come down from that episode, realize their writing is crap, and realize they weren’t as productive as they thought they were. And if they were productive in their writing, they generally find its crap. Maybe there are a FEW lucky ones who can do it, but it’s generally not so, no matter how aware you are of it.

Mania is not rationality, no matter how aware you are that you are manic, no matter how much you are able to draw that energy in.

You’re. Still. Manic.

My therapist decided it was a good idea I not get back to my contemporary book until I come out of this episode. And she’s right. And I hate that she’s right. Because I love this book. But I don’t want to use my energy to write it with this awareness that the letters pouring from my brain could be coming from a place of hypomania. It would be different if it were a rough draft, because I would then let my brain off the tracks, but these are REVISIONS. I NEED my rational brain.

But I have to accept these stupid, crappy, awful limitations. Right now I just want to pick up a book, throw it against a wall, and scream, “I hate this! I hate this! I hate you. I hate everyone who can do what I can’t!”

To be honest, writing this post is making me angrier, but that’s hypomania for you. Hopefully people who find this post will find something in it that currently I’m not getting from it, other than being able to pour out my brutal honesty so that people can understand a hypomanic brain, because all of these words you’ve just read are not from ME.

 

 

 

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Author:

Also known as The Dancing Writer, she is currently working on The Stars Trilogy, among other works.

One thought on “These Limitations I Hate: This is Your Brain on Hypomania

  1. Even in your hypomanic state, your honesty and courage (or lack of inhibitions) is admirable, Amber. And I think there are more than a few you people you’re very probably helping by being so courageous and posting your experience with this condition, including me. I cannot help but feel the truth, the empathy, and recognition ringing through me as I read this; now whether or not I’ll ever do anything about it is here nor there, but I thank you for spreading awareness through your own experiences. I truly hope you can pull through this and return to your rational-minded, more serene self, and I wish you the best of luck in everything.

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