I think I’m having a wee high at the moment because I’ve lots going on in my head – but it’s not making me feel down. Then again perhaps this is “Normal” – the problem is I’ve never actually known where on the loopy scale I am as there is no self assessment for the loopiness or otherwise we go through.
I always knew that I suffered from dips and downs, even from early childhood it was something I realised about myself because I would retract from others and isolate myself from people. It’s probably where my brash in your face persona was born because there are times when you can’t avoid being around people even though you don’t want to be. The bolshy character was comfy because not only did it keep people at arm’s length and away from how you really felt, but it also made me the “joker” of the group; something that alienated many people from getting to know me because I was such a twat at times (still am if I’m honest).
So I understood this feeling of depression but I’d always assumed that when I didn’t feel like that, I was enjoying the same state as everyone else. I wasn’t. I was either balanced or moving up into a manic phase which is hugely enjoyable and freeing and creative and sparky. Having spoken with people only with depression – even medical professionals – they say they’re a bit jealous because they only have the lows and not the “fun” of the highs. And you do get a thrill from it – for me it’s the ability for my mind to work really quickly and blast out creative ideas, words, jokes and one liners. I’m in the midst of that phase right now and despite what people think it does have its downsides too – lack of sleep being a big one.
Because you feel super charged your brain doesn’t stop until it is completely tired. You know most nights you can go to bed and within ten minutes or so you’ll fall asleep – in a manic state I might only sleep for four or five hours for several consecutive nights which leads to tiredness and the start of the dip again. Nasty vicious cycle that I’m now trying to sort out with new medication. Using sedatives on top of the antidepressants and mood stabilizers it curbs the top end and helps me to sleep for longer. I’m now getting between 6 and 8 hours in a hyper phase which is a huge improvement. You forget that mental illness is almost like a recipe or a chemistry experiment; it’s only with the right combination and attention do you get near the predicted and needed outcome.
That’s why people find the dismissal of those with depression, bi-polar (manic-depressive disorder), anxiety so frustrating because trust me if we could manage the “norm” ourselves we would live there the majority of the time. But we don’t have that control, we need the meds to help us find a level where we can live reasonably normally. This is why individuals must go to see a GP about any worries they have about their mental health, and for those around them to be supportive and encourage them to seek help.
So it’s to bed I rattle with a combination of tablets in me, but safe in the knowledge that with the support of friends, family, my GP and my specialist, I can get on with things as I should be. How about you?