I've been doing "rapid cycling".
No, this doesn't mean I'm entering the Tour De France.
It means I had a seriously low low patch 2 weeks ago, which lasted about 5 days, then straight up into a height of energy and creativity, and now I'm levelling out....
I've never known such a fast turnaround. And I had got so low it surprised me- no matter how many years of it, you always forget what it feels like down there. Then the big burst of energy and creativity...
I'm going to record here what this was like, because I shall forget! Whenever someone mentions bi-polar, the impression is that, hey, if you're going to get depression, this is the type to get, cos at least you get the "up" side. Hmmm....
OK. It's easy to imagine the low part of the roller-coaster being bad. Everyone has off-days, so everyone can imagine bad ones. This time around I sank into a place where I had to cut my own forearm with my sharpest nails, so as to feel something. ANYTHING. Anything other than deadness and fog. It all seems perfectly logical from the inside at the time. When I realised what I was doing I showed my partner- not attention seeking- I showed him so that I'd stop. Self-harmers hide their wounds. I know that. So the first thing to do was to show him. Then I bit off the offending nails(!)
My head felt like it was in a brace, being pulled tighter and tighter. I couldn't handle anything. I just wanted to scream. The best thing was when I went to bed with only a low light and pulled the covers over me. Rest your head.... rest your head.... stay for hours, quiet, safe.
So that was the low. But how could an "Up" possibly be unenjoyable?
OK. When I was in my teens I had a (insert swearword here)boyfriend who was so tight, when he drove down hills he would turn off the engine to save fuel.
Imagine this on a grander scale. You are in a roller coaster, you are in the car at the front. The train has come off the rails and you are riding through the air at top speed with everyone screaming in your ears, faster faster faster.
If you relax you might enjoy the ride, but it's scary, isn't it? NO CONTROL. That's the point. On and on. Not knowing when it will stop.
You have 36 hours straight, no sleep, tons of energy. Then you might sleep for 4, maybe 5 hours, and then you're off again. You feel like a kid who wants to go and knock on everyone's door and shout "COME ON! COME OUT TO PLAY!". Your heartbeat is racing and you are ALWAYS aware of it. You can feel it. Even when you do try to sleep, because your body aches and you feel sick and dizzy, you can't- your heartbeat feels like a butterfly in your chest, and your head is full of ideas, tumbling over and over like multi-coloured socks in a tumble-dryer. All you can do is lie awake and watch them.
I got a lot done in my spurt of energy. But I'm glad to be levelling out again. Now I feel more like me.
The p-doc recommended a "mood stabilizer" drug. I refused lithium. But she suggested carbamazepine or sodium valproate.
Look them up! The main, most common side effects are weight gain, acne and nausea. Great! What is the point of giving someone with depression something that will make them a fat, spotty muldoon? Especially as I am already overweight and partial to the occasional spottiness.
So I've ruled them out. Till next time. Already the memory of it is fading. You can remember words and actions, even intentions and thoughts. But you can't accurately recall pain. Good thing too, really.