My counselor suggested that I write about hypomania. You know, about what it is, rather than my tongue-in-cheek “what it's not.” Perhaps I don’t write about it because I’m still in denial of the fact that I experience it.
Fine. I’ll try. Because I do experience hypomania and I am bipolar II. And because it’s not the funny bullshit I make it out to be. Rather, it can be a hell of a lot of things. It can look like anxiety, nothing, recklessness, irritability . . . it can shake: face, hands, legs.
When it looks like nothing, it feels like a shit-load of something worse than anxiety: skin-crawling, insides churning, heart crushing yet exploding . . . I. Just. Can’t. Get. Out.
Out of what? I don’t know. That’s just it. The pulsing and crawling and insanity are incomprehensible, without explanation, without, so far as I can tell, cure.
One Ativan, two. Two Ativan, three. Three Ativan, four. Four Ativan . . . fuck, I’m almost out. I guess it wasn’t anxiety. Phone a friend. And cry your bloody eyes out without explaining or expressing a comprehensible word. Phone a therapist. Leave a message. Walk, if you can. Eat ice cream with a friend, if you can. Wait to hear from your therapist, if you can. Go to Urgent Care. “Take more Ativan,” Doc says. (Looks like anxiety.) Five Ativan, six. Six Ativan . . . all gone.
Then, somehow, at some point, it all morphs into a deep nothing. Nothing. Empty exhaustion.
But are you sure that’s hypomania? Or was it just an out-of-control anxiety attack? And real hypomania is you signing up for 18 units and sleeping five or less hours a night and having your hands shake so violently you cannot hold a coffee cup and going on fidgeting madly?
Both. Grandiose thinking, reckless behavior, little need for sleep, shaking, and . . . fidgeting? Well. Fidgeting is a small scale representation of the invisible physical maladies described above. It’s rubbing your hands raw because your skin is in the way. Or scratching your face until scabs form under your eyes.
What is hypomania? Little mania? It’s not psychosis, and it’s not hallucinating. I know that. I know, that it is severe. A severe . . . something. Otherwise, go ask a psychiatrist. I’m no expert.