So the clouds lift and suddenly the sun comes out: I cannot stop grinning and I have a giddy feeling in my stomach all the time, like an excited 5 year old before her birthday. After the long gloom, this feeling is the best in the world, even though I know it is not real or natural. I survive on very little sleep as there is just so much to do, sleep is such a waste of time! When I wake up at dawn, I am instantly awake and lively and leap out of bed, so I can be baking at 3am or emailing at 4am. I get into trouble as I do online shopping during the early hours and then, when the parcel arrives, I have no recollection of what I have purchased, it is usually a surprise. Suddenly I am more in control of my finances, although I am spending more.
My enthusiasm for life gets me into bother sometimes: I pounce on Facebook friends when they appear online in the morning as I am eager to ‘chat’ but more often than not, they are just coming round slowly or even checking their mobile phones for the time, and I must seem mad saying ‘hellooo’ from inside their mobile at 6am. I also forget to consult my husband about social arrangements, as I make decisions on our behalf while he is asleep, perhaps booking holidays or arranging nights out and he will wake to a note asking him to book a day or week off work.
I have a real sense of clarity when I am ‘up’ and so rather than the indecisive me when I am down, this is the opposite, I am rash and impulsive. I have to force myself to be more considered, in case I make life changing decisions about work for instance when I am not in my right mind. I speak my mind much more when I am up and cannot tolerate injustice, rudeness or dishonesty. I can write an excellent letter of complaint in my hyper-phases and an email to my MP, at 3am, seems to speak volumes and get a response.
I always thought that I was hardest to live with when I was down, as I hate myself then so I presumed my husband did too. But in the rare moments we have discussed my mental health, he explains that the ‘high’ me is more difficult to live with as it is equally selfish, not stopping in my spontaneity to consult him. So both elements of my depression make me a more self-obsessed person than I would like to be. He worries endlessly about my lack of sleep and thinks that I will burn myself out. But I am just loving the energetic, optimistic high and want it to last forever.
Sadly however, I lurch from high to low to high again, with no real ‘normal’ phase. So, I realise that neither state is normal but I know which, given a choice, I would prefer to live with. Stephen Fry was asked if he would like to live without his bipolar condition and he rejected the prospect as his highs made the lows worthwhile and I can understand that. The hyper-phase is for me like being high on life, so nobody would want to give that up without a fight and it seems to be a reward for the doom and gloom of the months before.
It is however bittersweet as I am always looking over my shoulder, particularly after around 6 months of giddiness. I do not feel in control of when the change will take place but just feel its inevitability weighing down on me. It occurs to me that it might not come this time, but so far, sadly, it always has.