Friday, October 8, 2010

Where have I been?

Riding a nice high, that's where.  I've been on the upswing of this bipolar roller coaster and honestly, I have enjoyed every minute of it.  For those intimately familiar with bipolar mania, no, not that high.  I have been skirting along somewhere toward the upper end of hypo-mania.  For those not so intimately familiar with bipolar mania (or hypomania), let me attempt to explain.

Mania is a condition of extreme euphoria.  As I understand it, and I am no doctor, everything is in excess and often puts yourself at risk physically, financially, legally, etc.  Sometimes it presents with psychosis, where reality and fiction get blurred (ie. you may think you can fly or you are super strong and can stop a moving vehicle).  Frequently a manic episode ends with inpatient hospitalization for someone "acting crazy" according to some layperson in the victim's life.  I say victim because the patient is a victim to their own chemistry.  Some more familiar cases of mania include sober, naked people running down the street, people attacking random strangers, and someone jumping in front of a subway train in New York.  I have never experienced a true mania...that I know of.  I quantify that because mania is also accompanied with memory loss occasionally and well, if you know me, I already have a shitty memory.

Hypomania is a lesser form of mania.  Hypo = less than.  Connect the dots.  You still have an overwhelming sense of happiness and euphoria and do things in excess, but typically the risks you take are much more mild.  Usually your life is not threatened and there is definitely no psychosis and you are fully aware of your actions.  For example, you don't sleep for days on end, you spend hundreds of dollars on a drop of a hat though you know you shouldn't, you go through multiple sexual partners in a week or even a night.  All these things carry risks, but not as immediately threatening as mania.  The bad part is hypomania can very easily turn to mania and the victim/patient has no idea.

My last four weeks or so have been full of sleepless, drunken nights, spending sprees, irrational thinking, etc.  The only good part is I recognized it a week or two in and I limited the possible damage by handing over my debit and credit cards and cash to my husband.  I essentially have an allowance until I level out.  Then it all came to a screeching halt four days ago with this damn, God-awful flu.  UGH!  Knocked me on my ass enough to get me to go see the shrink.  No more anti-depressant for me!  Duh.  Bye bye Zoloft.  But now that the flu is subsiding and I am recovering (praise the Lord!), it remains to be seen if the hypomania has passed, or if we are going to have some more fun!  ;)  It's been 10 years since I had a good upswing.  In a way, I figure if I am smart about it and I keep myself limited in the damage I can cause (and my hubby has the shrink's number), then why can't I live for a little bit like the college kid I never got to be?  I like bars...and I like dancing on them....