I’m not manic, I’m not depressed…I’m both.
Mixed bipolar episodes are no joke.
Bipolar disorder is usually classified by alternating highs and lows — how high or low your phases are depends on you. I’ve had 15+ years experiencing these dramatic shifts every few months or at the very least, every few weeks.
I spent the better part of 12 years learning how to ride those waves like a ship, letting the highs and lows pass beneath me and carry me along. Then in January of 2015, my mother passed away. I stopped riding the waves. Instead, I traded my ship for a stone tomb and sank straight to the bottom. I stayed there for two years.
That’s not to say that my bipolar mood shifts ended. Instead, I stopped dealing with them. I just bottled everything up, refused to deal with any of my emotions because dealing with one meant dealing with them all and grief threatened to drown me.
Things still happened, even though I was riding it out on the bottom of the ocean — I went to work, I wrote, and I even moved closer to family in 2016. After the move, I noticed that my symptoms had changed. I was experiencing something new. The mood shifts were still there, but instead of being distinct highs and lows, they felt more like they were mushed together.
After a little bit of research, I found my answer — Mixed bipolar disorder.
Mixed features refers to the presence of high and low symptoms occurring at the same time, or as part of a single episode, in people experiencing an episode of mania or depression.
This explained a lot. It explained why being idle was giving me panic attacks but all I wanted to do was go back to bed. It explained why I couldn’t make sense of anything in my head even though it felt like I was running a million miles an hour.
That’s where I’m at right now.
I’m exhausted, even though I slept for almost 12 hours. My brain is hopping from one topic to the next so I can’t keep anything straight, even though I’ve got writing to do today. My body is depressed but my brain is manic and I can’t manage to find the balance between the two.
(Yes, I know that it’s all in my brain.)
Maybe it’s the full moon. Maybe it’s Mercury (and Venus and Saturn and Pluto) in retrograde — I am a Gemini after all.
Maybe it’s just bipolar disorder being bipolar disorder. I can deal with that.