Sometimes, I wish I was hypomanic. I know that sounds bad, but I’ve been dealing with depression and suicidal ideations for so long, it would be nice to have a change. I don’t want to be in a complete manic episode with the negative effects such as uncontrollable spending or impulsive actions. I want hypomania, where I have enough energy so I can get everything done that needs to be done. In my hypomanic state, I’m energetic, I come up with a lot of ideas, I’m sociable (which normally scares me), and I feel happy. It would be nice to feel like that for a few days. I know it’s not healthy, but I’m so tired of depression that I would do just about anything to take a break from it.
I’ve been feeling like this and hoping for hypomania for several months now. I’m just curious if there are other people who feel the same way. I’m just wondering if I’m alone in this train of thought. I swing from one episode to another without much of a break to enjoy life. Is it so bad to desire a break from it all? My hypomania is pretty much a break because I’m able to enjoy most of it. Do others desire any specific episode?
When I’m having an extra rough day or so, like I am right now, I try to find the positive side of things. So I started thinking what (if any) is the upside of bipolar disorder? Productivity, creativity, hypomania (before it gets too far), and personal strength are all positive aspects of bipolar disorder. These are the first things that come to my mind, but I had to think hard to find them. For every one thing that is even slightly positive, there are several things that are difficult and unpleasant.
I’m more productive when I’m manic or hypomanic, but not at all when I’m depressed. I love the few days that I become hypomanic, but I know when to stop it so it doesn’t get too far into mania. My house gets a good deep cleaning when I become hypomanic. It’s the one time I don’t mind doing those annoying tasks.
Of course, it’s always said that there’s a huge connection between individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder and individuals who are extremely creative. My bachelors’ degree is in graphic design. I love decorating and organizing things. I’ve also been told that writing is creative. It’s important to remember that creativity comes in many forms.
Personal strength is hard to see, but I know it’s there. I’ve been told that I’m courageous, knowledgeable, compliant, and willing to help others. These characteristics have taken years to grow to what they are, and I still don’t see all of them. I do try to keep growing in any way I can. I also try to do it with as little complaining as possible, but that’s probably not going so well.
Even though it’s hard to see, there are some positives to being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. One other thing I know is that if I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar, I wouldn’t have some of the friends I have today. I have made several friends that I met in bipolar support groups, and I’m very grateful to them in my life.
Understanding your own mental health is extremely important. Even though most of us have some type of support system, knowing your own illness is the best way to take care of ourselves. I know that I am diagnosed with Bipolar 1. I have manic, depressive, and mixed episodes. While others may be able to see some of my symptoms, I try to be the first person that can see them. I am aware of the symptoms I exhibit for each type of episode. Knowing my symptoms helps me to catch my episodes before they get too far. Those that I’m close with, such as my husband, family, and best friend are also able to see my symptoms when they start to appear. I can ask these individuals for help to better maintain my mental health.
Hopefully, by paying attention, I will be the first to notice when I’m not sleeping, if I become obsessive, if I have racing thoughts, if I spend too much money, or become overly talkative. These are all signs that I’m becoming manic. I also hope to be the first to notice if I’m sleeping too much, if I feel pathetic or empty, if I cannot find pleasure in activities, if I gain weight, or if I start planning a suicide. These are all signs that a depression is coming. A mixture of these symptoms can mean a mixed episode is starting. I want to be the first to notice my symptoms so that I can get a jump-start on treating the symptoms and episode.
It’s not easy to know and understand your own mental health. Every person’s bipolar disorder is different. Each person has different symptoms occur, and each person has different ways they have found that treat their symptoms. Knowing your symptoms also allows the individual to contact their doctor so he/she can alter medication as necessary. Some of our episodes come from medication changes, from stressful events, from medical changes, or even from out of the blue. The sooner we begin to treat our episodes, and allow our doctors to treat us, the better off we will be. Success comes from knowledge of our own diagnoses.
It is a well-known fact that individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder are often very creative. Many of us who have bipolar disorder are overloaded with creativity during manic and hypomanic episodes. Usually, in the beginning of these episodes, we tend to sleep less and be more productive and happy. There are many different forms of art including music, writing, artwork (drawing or painting), photography, videography, acting, and many more. Personally, I tend to write more and organize my house when I’m manic or hypomanic. I don’t see anything wrong with embracing your creativity during these episodes; however, it’s still important to follow-up with your doctors and attempt to balance out your life. There is a thin line between being creative and having psychotic episodes; it’s happened to me several times.
I recently received a gift from my mom, who knows how neat and organized I like everything to be. She gave me an adult drawing book and some colored pencils. What a great surprise! One of the coloring books she got me is all postcards; you color in on one side and write your message and address on the other side. I have been using it as an outlet for my frustration and my energy. Today, I finished my first piece of artwork. I had to throw my first one away because I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out. Now, I can go back and forth between writing and drawing. They are both wonderful therapeutic tools for me to use.
You don’t have to be manic or hypomanic to be creative, although it is more common during those episodes. You don’t even have to be bipolar. All I’m saying is that many artists are predisposed to mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder; and many individuals diagnosed as bipolar are predisposed to being some type of artist. There are many famous and successful artists that lived years ago, before people believed in mental illnesses. Some of these famous artists include Leonardo da Vinci had bipolar and dyslexia, Michelangelo had OCD, Isaac Newton had bipolar disorder, Beethoven had bipolar disorder, and so did Vincent van Gogh. There are and have been so many world-wide famous artists that struggled with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. I am inspired by these famous artists that struggled mentally but were very successful in their artwork. We don’t always have to look at our bipolar disorder as a deficit; sometimes there are good things that come out of the disorder, as long as we stay on top of everything and don’t let our episodes get too out of control.