This is the sixth week since I’ve been out of the clinic. It’s been going quite well, relatively speaking. The months preceding that were such a mess that anything would be better. Mostly I’ve been enjoying a happy medium between depression and hypomania, with occasional ups and downs. There are still things I’m struggling to deal with, like remembering what you were telling me just now, but that might also be a side-effect of the medication. You win some, you lose some. The thought that the medication might be working outweighs almost any negative side-effect.
Most people don’t know much about Bipolar Mood Disorder or its treatment at all. A friend recently described another bipolar person to me as “literally crazy”. He didn’t know about my diagnosis then. He does now (I have forgiven you). I’m a Type 2, which means the depressive episodes are longer and more frequent than the hypomanic ones. It’s a lot easier to explain to someone why depression might be a bad state to be in, even if they have never experienced it themselves. Nobody wants to be sad, right? It’s much more complicated than that, but even if you can grasp the concept of a sadness so deep its paralysing, we’re getting somewhere. I’ve written quite a bit about my own experience of depression, but not that much about hypomania. Part of that is the difficulty of describing it, and part of it is the fact that when I’m most creative I’m usually in a hypomanic episode, so I don’t realise what’s going on. Retrospectively I can identify two poems that deal with it in some way: Quantum Mirror and Duality.
When I describe hypomania in terms of creativity and link to those poems, it might be hard to understand how such an episode may be a bad thing. The problem is that, just like depression, hypomania takes over your life. All I want to do is create, anything and everything. You’ve only seen the poetry because I’ve somehow managed to maintain some sort of good sense in publishing those that I don’t absolutely hate. But I’ve tried out other forms of creation too, and some friends have had the unfortunate experience of bearing the brunt of that. Like that time I wanted to make music so bad (dude, I am so sorry about the horror I put you through, although in retrospect it’s quite hilarious and sad). Shit, I still do. Let me make it clear that I don’t know the first thing about making music and I cannot sing. I should not be allowed near these things. And then I started painting watercolours. Not because I went to art classes or had some aspiration, but because I just desperately felt the need to create something, and the writing wasn’t forthcoming.
During this time you usually think everything you’re making is bloody awesome too. Like man, I’m a fucking genius. I own this shit! Why am I not famous? You’re almost always wrong. Very wrong. (Seriously man, I am so sorry). I’ve decided to share some of these LOLs with you, cringe-worthy as they are, so that you can see just how bad it can get. They’ll be appearing in the Dispatches from Crazytown from time to time, after I’ve had another episode of serious creative misjudgement. I try to rein it in, but guys, it is so difficult. Here’s the first disaster, from that time I played with Garage Band for four days straight and pooped out this gem. Feel free to judge me, I have already judged myself.
Click the picture for the link:
“I want to say that I had the good sense to buy a car that I can afford, but that’s not the case.”
I concentrate so hard on all these things I want to do that I struggle to concentrate on the things I have to do. Like eat, and earn my keep, and sleep. My thoughts race all the time, so I come up with idea after idea and I want to put them all into action right then and there, so I end up committing to far too many things and not being able to execute all of them, which frustrates me. Because my concentration is so bad, my driving gets really bad, so I often catch myself going 170 km/h, which is bad any day, but terrible if you can’t remember stretches of the road. And then I remember how I came about this car I’m driving, which I bought brand new in December 2015. I am not bragging, it has always been my goal to buy a second-hand car. I just snapped one day and walked into the dealership and said, “I want to buy a car.” Being the sharks that they are, they were only too happy to help me. I want to say that I had the good sense to buy a car that I can afford, but that’s not the case. I was lucky that my employment situation, which was in flux at the time, worked out pretty well, and I am not royally fucked right now. Because hypomania makes you reckless and you end up doing things you really shouldn’t, like spending all the fucking money. And nobody notices because you seem so damn stoked with life that they’re just happy that you’re not depressed for a change. Except that hypomanic episodes usually precede episodes of depression. And when that wave hits, it’s like a baseball bat to the gut, and all you want to do is die.