The Calm Before The Storm
When I am feeling “level”, that is, “cool-headed”, or balanced and mellow, I am neither depressed nor elevated and manic. I sometimes wonder about when I will become manic or depressed, which will come first. I might have taken good care of my health during these times of feeling balanced. I may have felt in control of my environment and circumstances. It sometimes is chance that everything is balanced in my life- I might not have been actively involved in shaping my level mood. I sometimes miss the rush from feeling manic. Sometimes this surge in energy helped me through a tough day at work, or I was particularly motivated to take my family on outings…which is usually a seldom occurrence because I am introverted and do not like to be out with at places where there are crowds of people. I get elated when I see an empty theater or restaurant- makes me feel safe and cozy!
Addicted To Mania?
I surmised that maybe I am addicted to my manic moods.When I say “addicted” I mean that I am aware of the fact that my moods get elevated, as well as depressed. I am aware of this fact, yet I ride the proverbial wave of mania each episode, savoring those elusive times of feeling “on top of the world.” I do nothing to manage my mania or depression before the moods overwhelm me. When I am exposed to environments, situations, behaviors or people that may influence my moods, I do not mindfully assess my triggers. Sometimes, I think certain things are good because they contribute to making me feel happy…these things can also overstimulate my mind, sending it into chaotic bliss, as well as chaotic abyss.
In my chaotic bliss (mania), I become more extroverted and talkative. I also talk louder and am prone to using an edgier tone (I curse more). It was more intense when I abused alcohol in my youth. People that have mental health issues need to take special care of their minds and be more diligent to steer clear of drugs or alcohol, as these things tend to worsen symptoms of mania and depression.
Medications Diminish Desired Mania
I have tried several variants of antidepressants from the SSRI classification. Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, all to no avail. I never wanted to be on medications forever and it seemed that the pharmaceutical industry wants us to use the medications indefinitely. Doctors would tell me, “You have to give it time for them to work effectively” (or you have to “give it time” so you grow a tolerance for their use). A few years ago, I tried using the medications one more time. This time, I had very bizarre nightmares- morbid in theme, disturbing in context. I felt I was being disobedient to God by continuing the drug. Also, I did not feel happy- ever! Just one, single, solemn and dull, level mood. I could not even bring myself to crack a smile because my face felt like a somber mask. A mask of plastic- I felt like I had a lobotomy! My thoughts started to become disordered too. I quit the medication cold-turkey and suffered painful withdrawals for a few days. I was agitated and mean and couldn’t wait to overcome the medication!
Self-Awareness To Tame The Beast
In my past, I have been with depression and anxiety disorders. I have always suspected that I may have bipolar disorder (my mother and sister can attest to my moods as well). I feel like there are three energy forces within me- balanced and cool, dark and depressed, and excited/manic. I am not sure if these “forces’ are all attributed to my moods or are components of my personality. Plus, I am a woman, and female hormones throw the mind and body into a tidal wave of instability.
I enjoy my level moods, although they are far and few in between. I loathe my depressed moods and wonder why I am plagued by them periodically. When I haven’t had a manic episode in a few days or weeks, I start thinking about how I can induce happiness in some other way. I do not drink or take drugs. I do listen to music- very manic music. Sometimes I shut off the music and enjoy the clarity that comes through silence. I am learning to recognize music as a mood trigger and limit the time I am being influenced by exciting music, but oftentimes, I want to be the person experiencing excitement. Excitement- yes, I can manage excitement. Mania, it is my addiction to unhealthy excitement, or so I am beginning to discover.