+ JMJ +
I was hypo-manic this week. Mania is bad. It is a state of bipolar disorder. There are symptoms that display showing that I was in mania. I know this because I’ve had it before and I’m in tune with what the symptoms are. I may be irritable (Tuesday I about blasted a friend who had done nothing wrong). I may be reckless (Tuesday I accelerated well above the speed limit). I may be…
There are a lot of symptoms of mania and I’ve had all of them. I’ll address the two aforementioned.
Signs of Change
Irritability – My friend was simply stating something. It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t concerning me. But, I almost took her head off. I didn’t because I got busy with work and didn’t message her back right away. The symptom of being irritable can wear on relationships. I’m not sure of what her reaction would have been if I had said what I was going to say. What I was going to say would have been hurtful and she would have been blind-sided. Thankfully my fingers didn’t have time to punch it out.
Recklessness – I pulled out onto the main road and sped up to the street light, rounded the corner, accelerated onto the on-ramp and gunned it once I got on, zipping passed cars.
HOWEVER! within less than .25 miles I realized my symptoms-combined the irritability and recklessness. I realized it because I had stopped speeding since I moved to Nashville and promised my Godsister, Becky, I would. I IMMEDIATELY slowed down to the proper limit and called my doctor.
It was 6:30P. I got the answering service. They asked if it was an emergency. I said it was urgent. When she returned my call, I explained my symptoms to my doctor and we worked out some adjusted treatments. So, when I made it home at the correct speed, I took action to tame my mood.
I told my roommate what I was experiencing. She said it sounded like most people. I think about it now. It’s true. Most people can blow up for no reason. Most people speed. However, I don’t blow up at people. I don’t speed anymore. Both of those, for me, are symptoms of symptoms. It’s an unnatural state of irritability. It’s an unnatural state of recklessness. I know this, because I have previously experienced these signs of mania.
Standing Out Amongst The Crowd
I started the conversation with my doctor apologizing for the after-hours call. However, after I had completed it, she said, “Well done.” This wasn’t a big surprise for me. I know I take exceptionally good care of my health-well bipolar health-these hips could use some shrinking. I wasn’t surprised that she complimented me on staying on top of my illness and catching it before it got worse. I’ve done it before on countless occasions. I’ve had bipolar for close to 20 years and have been only very sick twice in that time span. That is impressive for most people. For me, it’s out of dedication and a strong desire to never let myself get like I was during those previous major episodes-the last one being 10 years ago. Whoop 10 years sober from bipolar! Just kidding.
In seriousness, we all have struggles with things. Most of us have some sort of health issues-minimal or major. Mental illness is the intangible illness. You can’t poke someone and say, “Does it hurt here?” or use a stethoscope to listen to someone’s mood. However, there are symptoms-signs-that show something is brewing. What’s kept me healthy (not severely ill-hospital worthy) is being highly in tune with what’s going on in my moods. It’s from experience. I know what they all are. Still, I wouldn’t want anyone to find out only in that way. Not only have I had the experience, I’ve educated myself. So, if you struggle with the intangible and don’t know what may lead to a greater problem, go to the library… who am I kidding? Get on the internet. Search. Search. Search. Educate yourself. Also, if you have a loved one who experiences a mental illness become aware. The more people know about the signs of what is yet to come, the faster you can prevent the terrible from happening.
+ Pax + | KK