For the past few days I have been having to remind myself that I’m not manic. When you’re bipolar and you start to feel great, you often have worries that you’re becoming manic because you’re not used to being in between. So when you start feeling great (and sometimes it’s not gradual), you have to take a step back and examine symptoms of mania with your normal mood.
Yesterday at work I was so confident, outgoing, and competitive that I had to wonder if mania was fueling the heat in my veins. But my thoughts weren’t fast, my brain wasn’t telling me to “Go! Go! Go!”, I didn’t have thoughts of reckless behavior, I didn’t have psychomotor agitation, I wasn’t over excited, and I wasn’t overindulging myself in my work.
I am a naturally hyperthermic person, I have come to realize. According to psychology, hyperthermia is a step below hypomania, which probably explains why even a small dose of an antidepressant or even an atypical antidepressant makes me either hypomanic or manic. I am a naturally driven person. I am naturally optimistic and sociable. But after everything that has happened, I am much stronger.
Bipolar disorder has taught me a lot. I am not romanticizing this illness, but I might as well make the best of an overwhelming illness. I am a much more thoughtful, sensitive person. Mania can remind me that my life can be great–just not to such an extreme degree. Being able to compare my current thoughts to my depressive thoughts makes me realize I am a much more confident, caring person. Yesterday at work I gave up my coat to a co-worker who was barely dressed for the occasion. Certainly I was cold, but she probably would have started crying with how she was dressed. I also don’t smile and bare things anymore that I don’t need to tolerate. My co-worker was playfully criticizing the way I tried to get people over for the drawing, and I just said, with confidence, not meanness, that I’ve been at it for more than 6 months and my method works with my personality. I don’t want to add a Southern drawl to my words when that is not me. And I was proud. Before I probably would have just done it to appease, but no more.
I work today at 12. I woke up just before 9. No longer am I thinking I don’t want to get up because everything feels pointless. I am waking up, and even though I am still tired when my mind shakes me awake, my thoughts are positive. They are not irritable, grouchy, upset, despairing, or hopeless. I am also appreciating the fact that I am alive when my mind tried too many times to count to kill me. I have a joie de vivre, joy of life. It’s so surprising to me how extreme I can become. I go from hating life to loving life so much I am grateful I have never even attempted suicide.
But there is the fear of becoming depressed again because of how I am right now. Why would I want to go back to feeling suicidal, hopeless, angry, hateful of myself? It’s hard to accept there is a possibility of that happening again. I was terrified it was happening yesterday, until I realized my anxiety was doing it to me–for no reason. I might need meds to help with the anxiety side of things, but I also know getting up and doing things helps it. And caffeine. But I’m no addict, I swear.
In any case, today promises to be a good day. I will work hard at work to make extra money for a few surprises, I will come home and proofread my novel, I will possibly watch Naruto with the fiancé, and I will come home and blog again, possibly proofread some more, and go to bed for the surprises of tomorrow.