The emotional pressure, temptation to spend too much, drink too much, other peoples’ expectations of us (or our distorted perceptions of them) is upon us- the list of triggers and stressors just go on and on.  Welcome to the Christmas Holdiays. One of the worst times for a bipolar person to be dealing with right now.

This is the holiday us bipolars dread the most and thats because the mood shifts challenge the struggle to stay sane. It’s holiday time, and this is my guide on how you can stay focused and not end up being sectioned by New Years Eve.

 
 
The hardest part of depression is finding a way to tell people. It is like you are hiding a terrible secret. I think I felt ashamed of myself for getting depressed, like somehow I had failed. That’s what depression does to you: it makes you feel like a terrible failure and worthless. There are still those quite close to me who don’t know or i've told but werent willing to listen that I’ve suffered from crippling depression. I remember that people didn’t know what to say in response, because I am usually the most hyped person in college with a long stretch of friends and no social problems. What happens when mania starts slipping from my grasp? The complete opposite. Welcome to Depression.

 
 
Can you believe the nonsense that mixed states in bipolar bring upon you? After 8 weeks of getting a decent job that pays pretty well for a person who doesn’t have to budget on anything, it slipped through my fingers. This evening I got a call:

Employer: Hello, I was just wondering if you were coming into work tomorrow?

Me: Erm, no (Im trying to take control of my life, i have no time for you)

Employer: Because you missed work last week, and i am very disappointed that you didnt even bother to call in.

Me: (Look, stuff you and your poxy job!) Okay then…And your point is?

Employer: You should have called.

Me: Well my contract is ending next Saturday, so I’ll come in when I feel like it.

*Hung up the phone*

Yeah, I most certainly got fired after that, I missed 3 days of work in a row. I got an email later saying that the keys need to be returned and the uniform also.

 
 
Ah, here we are. It’s now time for me to introduce the special circle of hell reserved for the manic depressive: the Mixed Episode. Somewhere, it’s become all serious!

A mixed episode (also known as dysphoric mania or, for depression with hypomania, agitated depression) bears a little explanation. It is literally a mix of manic and depressive symptoms at the same time. It’s generally considered as the most dangerous of mood states, being that if you want to kill yourself, you have all the energy and frantic invention necessary at your disposal with which realise that particular dream.

However, few people with bipolar disorder experience these episodes. The reason? It is strictly defined as mania and depression for a week; leaving out hypomania, thus nobody with bipolar II or cyclothymia has ever had a mixed episode. Take it from me, that the DSM-IV needs updating. But lucky me, eh, bipolar I, so, by the DSM-IV rules, anything goes.

 
 
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Today I have found myself sitting on my bed with my laptop keeping my legs warm and I thought- What better day to sit down and push out a blog out about rest.

I think I started realizing (from the push of others' opinions) there was something not right about me (I mean seriously not right) when I was aged 15/16/17... - Yes, 3 years in denial was strongly strife- Immediately after this discovery, only this year, I let it swallow me whole.
When you suffer all time highs (what you guys call mania) and you DON'T acknowledge it, a lot of very strange things happen to you.

Addiction becomes a pretty little friend, along with promiscuity, and zero ability to sleep.. but you won't realize ANY of this at the time, convincing yourself it's a normal thing...Later you will feel like poop, and most likely hate yourself for the plunge you just took, if you remember it. I call it a plunge because when it all crashes into you and explodes.. everything plunges in one direction, down. At least that's how it felt for me. Now I have a whole new appreciation for the  expression "What goes up, must come down" It felt like I was trying to piece together the events of someone else's life, because there was no way in hell any of that could have really been me. And boy, did I refuse to believe so.


 
 
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After my last blog, looks like crashing into depression is taking longer and approaching closer than I thought. I’m suspended in the manic air space. I did not expect my day to turn out like it did, but I went from waking up depressed-like, being quiet half the morning to having a blast and being all euphoric most of the afternoon to angered, raged and irritated, then came the racy brain and the sudden jolt of energy I thought had finished and the time now is 7:50pm. I seriously have no idea which direction I’m going, and I HATE change. I guess every bipolar despises change because look where I am, in my room, downing a whole lot of Seroquel to put myself to rest.

Let me tell you this now, a dysfunctional sort of family is a trigger. MY trigger. It didnt even take 10 mins for the dysphoric part to kick into action. I’ve been up and down and up and down all day today, rapid cycling is not for me. NOT. I’m FUMING. I mean bloody hell, my mum is pissing me off, my dad pisses me off on a daily basis, my siblings well… I dont even wanna go there. They contribute like 75% towards my mania and 85% towards my depression. They are the reason I close myself away and cut. They get inside my head too much that I feel like exploding. They dont even treat me as family.


 
 
You could compile an entire book of quotes comparing love to complete madness. But of all the psychological issues in the DSM-IV, only one really resembles the experience of love. “An illness that is unique in conferring advantage and pleasure,” writes Dr. Kay Jamison in one of the most famous memoirs of bipolar illness, An Unquiet Mind . It’s easy to confuse love with mania, Jamison says. The trouble is that love is fleeting. There’s no cure for bipolar.

The popular caricature of the disease — people swinging rapidly between happiness and sadness — isn’t the whole story. Most of us may have been unhappy enough at one time or another to recognize a fit of depression, but the other half of the disease (the mania that leads to everything from religious fervor to shopaholism to insatiable libido) is much harder to fathom. For instance, hypomania, a mild form of mania characterized by enviable productivity, can lead to what is called a “mixed episode,” in which the bipolar individual is both miserable and energetic enough to do something about it.

 
 
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Apart from being bipolar 1, I’m also psychotic. Yay. Story of my life, but I’m going to share with you some stories of my life with the courtesy of my diary. I had highlighted things in pink, I guess that was code for P= Pink, P=Psychosis LOL. Anyway, here are some random brief’s written in random parts of my diary in the early days:

  • “The laws of the universe no longer apply” I thought I could control time and movement with my mind. Not like there wasn’t a bucket load going on in my brain at the time. Niavity at it’s peak. Sadly, it wasn’t true. I genuinely  thought I was invincible (which still kinda happens when hypomania decides to knock on my front lobe door) Kind of like those dreams where you think you’re invisible but are baffled when people can actually see you.
  • “On my knees in the night, saying prayers in the streetlight” I felt like I was standing on a street corner watching someone else trying to ruin my life. That someone else being me. Yes, I’ve literally seen myself in the third person not believing that I was living that life. Madness. That was enjoyable. I didn’t know whether I was standing  over there watching myself, or I was standing over here watching myself over there. This was when psychosis got the better of me from a mixed episode, and I was tired. I couldn’t live to watch myself in 2 seperate worlds. It was probably the world trying to tell me that I wasn’t well, but even so, I had refused to believe in that. Imagination and reality are closely knit in a bipolar person’s life. Just make sure you dont cross it.
  • A lot of the time, the thoughts and voices were like another layer of interaction with people and the world. It’s as if there were two co-existing realities. It was very upsetting when you knew you couldnt trust your mind enough to determine where you stood in life.


My Short Lived Experiences With Voices

Ah, the voices. Classical part of psychosis. You cant be psychotic without voices really, they are the main feature. The main feature, featured a lot last year. I used to hear them regularly. About 1-2 days a week, but several times within the day. They were unrecognisable, They would yell, whisper, say my name in different stresses. “Look!” “Watch Out!” “Hey You!” “Your about to die” “Dont try and get rid of me, I’ll just make your life a living hell”   This brought on paranoia. I told my sister that night that I will kill her while I was sleeping. She kept her distance for a bit. Especially out of the kitchen.

As I moved on in life the voices became more persistent the more I ignored them. They were torturous, constantly in my mind and the voice became several voices. It shunned me into silence. I went into a catatonic state. I couldnt take the pressure anymore.

Yeah, this craved Early Intervention when I told the mental health team. These experiences are what got me on medication in the first place. How am I now? I still have voices in general, they come more when Im depressed and a fair amount when Im on an all time high, telling me to buy those shoes because you need them.

Curse those sodded voices.


 
 
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The hypomanic mind (whether it be hypo or the all time high) isn’t like one bee buzzing around, it’s like a nest of bees buzzing all at once in a tiny, tinny, room with crap acoustics.. Hypomania is like having small bouncy balls bouncing around inside my head faster and harder and faster and harder. Pressure pushing down on me. (Little bit of Queen never goes a miss) Hitting each other, making divots on the inside of my skull, becoming interior decorators. Fragmented, distracted thoughts. Sentence fragments. Problem grammar.  No capital letters. No punctuation.


 
 
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I have gone mad. I tell this to myself and one friend. It aint no secret. I figure there’s no point in trying to cover it up; it’ll come out eventually. But I’m trying to stretch out “Eventually” because it will come out to my family and friends in ways you may never expect. The once silent gone loud, strong yet weak, non judgmental yet impulsive on my part rather gives away that something is wrong.

But people really don’t like the word “mad”. In fact, most often, what people say to me is, “no, you’re not!”. Well, actually, I am. I’m bipolar and I’m mad.

So What Do I Mean By Mad?

Well, it’s in the dictionary isn’t it? Let’s pull out ALL the definitons of what mad means: