I believe the first hypomanic episode of my sober life – two years this past September – has faded; hopefully it’s actually over. I’ve written that it’s an interesting but scary thing to have no recourse for a mental state of being, and my thoughts on this remain the same; however, it was scarier, less interesting, and much more frustrating this time than it has been.
I embarrassed myself in front of my colleagues, saying, “Fuck the Senate,” of which I am a member, at a point of frustration with the body’s influence. I talked far too much in class (I talk a lot, but I am usually more considerate) and at field and at home and out with friends – usually in a bravado, braggart sort of way. During these moments, it was truly as though I were out of my body – not as though I were floating as a spirit or something, but as though I were hearing myself from some other place & definitely not the right place. I was an observer of something that was coming from me, and I had no ability to stop the words from “flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.” And I was shocked at my rudeness, my thorough lack of consideration or empathy.
Bipolar II disorder is being diagnosed at a ridiculous rate in alcohol and substance abuse and addiction facilities, and I believe this is happening purely or at least primarily for insurance purposes. Yes, people come into the facility and show symptoms of bipolar II disorder (bipolar I is a far more dangerous and unfortunate disorder), but one should carefully consider these symptoms: rapid cycling from hypomanic behavior, which is truly not at all unlike behavior during intoxication, to depressive behavior, which isn’t at all that dissimilar from behavior and emotional disturbance caused by being hung over or going through withdrawal. We are doing a tremendous disservice by labeling these abusers and addicts with a disorder that they surely can’t possibly be thought to have when they’re being evaluated during active use! We are also doing a disservice to people who actually have to live with this disorder; we are being seen as just experiencing symptoms we’d experience if we were in the throws of alcohol and/or other substances. Being someone who has bipolar II disorder and is in recovery, this is actually quite offensive.
The other day, as I was feeling hyper and sad, both at the same time, I stood before Phillip and told him I have been proud of my ability to form an “addict mind” and a “logical mind,” between which I am able to facilitate interaction, countering thoughts of desire from my addict mind with reasoning from my logical mind. But in this state, my logical mind had no power. And this despite being well medicated with a kind of cocktail of medications that has been tweaked over years of psychiatric treatment. I cried during this. It really is an interesting but scary thing to have no recourse for a mental state of being.