Content warning: self-harm
I’m in the midst of a hypomanic episode. A few days ago was closest I’ve ever been to checking myself into the psych ward!
For a couple months I’ve had a pretty elevated mood - I’ve been going very fast, moving fast, speaking quickly, tons of ideas, high anxiety, high irritability. I call this “turbo.”
This seems to happen every Spring and Fall. This Spring it was bad enough that I went on a new medicine, seroquel. Recently it got so intense I had some self-harm thoughts. I’ve sort of had them before, but this time seemed different… I was really considering them as a good idea.
My thinking was “my brain is going so fast, I’m so irritable and anxious… maybe if I hurt myself just a little I’d have a distraction, with the added bonus that I’d have some outward sign of distress, instead of my invisible mental illness.” If I hurt myself enough maybe I could even go to the hospital where I’d get to relax, everybody would take care of me, and I wouldn’t be able to work on any of my hundreds of projects.
It was a very weird feeling to simultaneously hold two conflicting thoughts; that I should hurt myself and also that I definitely should not hurt myself.
Here’s what I did instead of following through with these plans:
I told my wife
I got in touch with my therapist
I called in sick to work (I was absolutely in no condition to do any work)
I immediately cut back on my coffee consumption (I usually have a single cup of very strong black coffee)
The week before it got really bad, my psychiatrist upped my dosage of lamictal (mood stabilizer). I don’t have a huge amount of trust in this guy, but I needed to do something to handle this intense episode. There was some confusion about how much medicine I was actually supposed to be taking. As you can imagine, this added stress did me no favors. After a lot of back and forth with my doc, his staff, and the pharmacy, I finally got the dosage I should be taking, and started titrating up (increasing my dose by small amounts until I reach my new dosage). gg
The most effective things I’ve been doing to manage this episode have been:
Doing nothing. This is sooooo hard for me. I always have about 10 different projects, and I think these both propel me deeper into hypomania and distract me from my growing anxiety. I’ve spent a handful of days trying my best to do nothing; just watch tv or doodle. I’ve been binging Maria Bamford shows and specials. She’s a comedian with bipolar 2 (which is what I have) and her comedy features her illness heavily. It’s comforting and validating to hear about her experiences and struggles
Taking plenty of naps
Lots of guided meditations
All that said, it’s still a struggle every minute of the day. If I’m not super vigilant and paying close attention to my mood and thoughts, I quickly find myself working on a project… like this post. I really shouldn’t be writing this at all - I should be doing nothing. But here I am!
One of my main symptoms of hypomania is oversharing. Pretty meta, I’m oversharing about my oversharing.
Ok, that’s all for now, time to try and do nothing again.
Last modified on 2021-11-20