We hit a “Awwwww, crap” moment in my treatment as I change medications. Hypomania. It took me awhile to notice because I’m bipolar 1 — we go MANIC. If I saw zebras rollerskating in the kitchen or people made of paint falling from the ceiling? Yeah, I’d catch that right away. But hypomania, “under mania” or “less than mania” for me? I just have a lot of great ideas, I’m able to get all chores done, redecorate the house in half an hour. Sounds great, right? It also comes with an insomnia I can barely describe. All I know is at one point at 4 AM my mind felt like it was a wild fire — I had ideas for all sorts of things — but my body felt drugged. My blood somehow felt slow. By 7 AM I was watching my baby by myself and I was in tears. Every one of her cries damaged me somehow. Things that normally wouldn’t bother me were very difficult to live through. I knew she wasn’t in any danger, I knew I could hang on, but the best thing I did was:
- Have help! I invited my parents over. My mom got to have Grandma time while I found a way to sleep. I don’t think it was obvious how difficult things were for me so I’m glad they know when to take me seriously.
- I called my psychiatrist. For the second day in the row. I’m not going to lie, he didn’t seem to be excited to hear from me again — but, he did his job and we recalculated my meds for tonight and I’m hopeful.
- I told my extended family. I sent a text two my two brothers and my brother’s girlfriend (who is amazing with this stuff.) I just said, hey, I have hypomania, just checking in. Now they are on alert and if I call in the middle of the night to ask if they want to buy an Amish heater with me, they know to come over.
- Yeah, I did that one time.
- I gave my husband my credit cards. I’m ALL CASH, baby! Although I haven’t lost my head and started buying things, I can tell that is brewing. I was walking next to a vintage store with my dad, saw a horrible succulent pot that looked like the kind of dog my mom likes and I said, “OH I have to buy this for mom right now! RIGHT? Wouldn’t she LOVE it? I have to get it NOW.” My dad said, “You’re manic.” Yep.
- Stop acting on big ideas. I can write them out if I need to, but I can not act on any of them. My doctor said, “You’ve been on this medication since you were 18 and you’re 35. There is going to be an adjustment period. Be kind to yourself.”
- All together now? I’m being kind to myself. Doing the bare minimum, eating really well, drinking lots of water, following my doctor’s advice. I’m looking forward to feeling better. Thanks, guys. If you find yourself in this situation, drop me a line for ideas email@example.com.