Do you ever have episodes of mania, or bouts of depression, that are so deep and long lasting, you feel like you will never be free of them? When you cannot catch your breath or stop your heart from beating so fast. When you are both cold and hot, bursting with energy and exhausted at the same time. Elated and deflated simultaneously.
I am in a particularly bad bout of mania right now. Up until recently, I didn’t even know what I have and feel often, is considered manic highs. I thought it was a part of my anxiety but it isn’t the same. It’s not an attack of panic. It’s like a thought that unravels and forces my brain into a hamster wheel of do, do, do! Right now! Don’t stop! Keep running! Keep doing! It’s so hard to put it into words that someone could understand or relate to unless they’ve already experienced it themselves.
I’ve been asked, “Have you tried to talk yourself down from it?”, and the answer to that is, you can’t. I have tried to ignore the feelings and force myself to sit down and it is actually physically painful to do so. When the mania hits I have to move, I have to do something. Usually many things. It is similar to ADD in that I am starting a task, and then another task, and another and I’m not finishing one task at a time. Instead, I am starting, and starting and starting. While I eventually do circle back and finish each task it’s like my brain and body are fighting me to do each one at the same time. I will wash a dish, then pick up a towel, throw something into the trash, wash another dish, start vacuuming a room and stop, dust a shelf, make the bed, put away an article of clothing, go back to washing another dish.
Though I’m sure it doesn’t seem that bad, and many might even say that it seems super productive, mentally and physically-it hurts. This one started last night. Early in the day really, I felt a bit of unnatural fear that I knew was just some irrational anxiety but it quickly progressed.
I lay in bed tossing and turning around 10:00 PM trying to calm my brain. I took two of my Trazadone which generally help me sleep. It did nothing. At 10:45 I took a hot bath, hoping it would help calm me. When I got out I was restless and my body felt like it was on fire. At 11:00 I went to the kitchen and drank a ton of water. I ate a piece of chocolate. I cried. I went back to bed and turned on this soothing salt lamp I have as well as a diffuser with lavender. It didn’t help. I started hyperventilating. I changed my pajamas. I opened a window. I tried to read. I took a Xanax. I paced my hallway for some time. I cleaned up a bit in the kitchen. Finally, around God only knows what time, I was spent. Completely and utterly exhausted and I went to bed again and this time fell asleep.
Then I dreamed. And tossed and turned. Pushed my husband almost completely off the bed. Woke up gasping for air. Fell back asleep and had nightmares that I can’t remember. Pulled blankets up and pushed them back down. Pushed my husband off the bed again (poor guy eventually left and slept in the guest room). When I woke up sort of late this morning I was still exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open and had to force myself to get out of bed and take a shower for fear I would just sleep the whole day away.
So why am I telling you all this? I don’t really know, other than that I want to know there are other people out there who understand how this feels. That I’m not just crazy or one-of. That I am not alone. That somewhere, someone else, was pacing down their hallway too. That they didn’t want to get out of bed today either. That amongst all these things that are wrong with my brain, I am not the only one. I mean isn’t that what we all really want, at our core, to know that we aren’t alone? To be validated in our sickness and know that while yes, it is all in our heads but not in the cliche sense but rather the chemical imbalance that we didn’t cause. I suppose I just hope that someone else in this world feels this way too, and I sincerely want you to know; you aren’t alone either.