November 10, 2008


It's been a wacky week.

Remember the "bi" part of bipolar II? That's right, friends and neighbors, she swings BOTH WAYS! (insert "har de har har" here). I know it seems like a little hypomania would be good times and it certainly starts out that way. A few days ago I woke up early, alert, motivated and giggling. I'd started a new medication, and while the first night was like drowning for eight hours, by day two I was a peppy puppy. I've spent the past few weeks trying to dig myself out of an every expanding hole. That burst of energy and purpose felt not so much like a breath of fresh air as like an all-expense paid trip to Bermuda.

There's a catch, though, isn't there always? It starts out deceptively and then creeps right up and bashes you on the head like some Roadrunner cartoon. Sure, it's great to be super-efficient and goal-oriented. Yeah, having a seemingly endless well of energy is "da bomb". And hey, lots of famous people are hypomanic when they are at their best, so I'm in good company.

But then the energy starts to turn into speediness. And the speediness edges it's way over to anxious and pressured. Activities become more frantic and less reasonable. All those warm fuzzy giggles start coming out as words... lots of words. Talking, talking and no filter in sight. That can just be downright embarrassing. Here, let me share some more.

I was having so much fun, you guys. The laundry was done, the kids were exhausted from play. Anna actually said to me the other night, "Mommy, that's enough tickling forever and I am so tired." I, 31 year old mom of two, wore out my daughter, 4 year old pinnacle of infinite vigor. I woke up at 5 A.M. yesterday so I went to the kitchen and planned out our dinners and groceries for the rest of the month. Itemized list. With coupons detailed and preferred brands noted.

Sounds too good to be true and dammit all to hell, it is. Today I just jittered away the hours until my kids fell asleep in the car at 5:30 P.M. and my husband gave me The Look and said I should call the doctor tomorrow. And I hate it that he said that. And I hate it that he's right. No matter how many times it happens, or perhaps because of how many times it happens, I despise being reminded of my "illness", my flaw. Of course, I'm even-handed in my reaction- whether it's too down or too up, I feel equally ashamed.

Now's when everyone pipes up, "It's not your fault, it's like having high blood pressure. You wouldn't feel ashamed if you needed to treat that, would you? This is the same thing, an illness with a treatment plan. End of story, don't be so hard on yourself!"

I saw a card from while we were in Santa Fe that summed it up nicely. It said, "Most people she never tells about the tightrope because she doesn't want to listen to their helpful comments from the ground."

The official diagnosis is Bipolar II disorder with postpartum onset and it's NOT the same as high blood pressure. High blood pressure has a quantifiable set of test parameters and is treated according to those results. There is no such thing in my world. We guess. Try this, not that. Take this and that, but that other may not be right. Let's wait and see. What it means, for me and everyone who so kindly puts up with me, is that there is no solid ground to stand on. I am, in a word, unpredictable. And I don't want to be, uber-efficient housewife notwithstanding. I just want to be like all the other kids.

So, today, I jitter. Tomorrow, maybe I'll get all caught up on my two year backlog of scrapbooking while I entertain the children with my rhythmic dance mojo. Or maybe I'll crash and cry. The trick with my days is that they're only days. I don't have weeks or months. Years are figments of fancy.

Mostly, today was a good day. Whether or not tomorrow is different is for tomorrow to decide. I'll call the doctor and we'll try again.


Alison said...

Hmmm... Well you do sound very productive! I hope you're feeling a little more even keel soon! I'll be thinking calming thoughts for you.

Omaniblog said...

Greetings from Cork, Ireland. It's good to find your blog via Google Alert for 'hypomania'. I think I might have a touch of it myself and I'm keen to read what others who have it say about it. Thank you for such a free account and I'll tune in to how things go for you.
With best wishes