I have Bipolar Disorder or what is also called Manic Depression. I prefer the term Bipolar because it better describes my illness. I go through periods of severe depression and euphoric hypomania and mania. I spend most of my time on the depressive end of the spectrum At first I was misdiagnosed with depression. I was given an anti-depressant which triggered my first full-blown manic episode. I was hopsitalized and diagnosed with Manic Depression after that. The depressions that I feel are horrible. I am unable to function while clinically depressed. I am lethargic, hopeless, unable to concentrate, suicidal and isolative. My manias are the oppisite. I am euphoric, joyful, energetic, charming, confident, delusional and hypersexual. My hypomanias are where I feel really good and full of energy and confident that I can do anything.
Before I was diagnosed I used to experience hypomania alot. I would feel spiritual, confident,joyful, happy, charming and full of verve. I was hypomanic for a year before my next depression which landed me in jail. Hypomania is like being on speed. One doesn't sleep very much because one is full of energy. People like me while I am hypomanic. I'm the life of the party. I'm fun to be around . I am confident in my abilities. My brain works better when I am hypomanic. I'm alert and energetic. I'm the best person I could be while hypomanic. I am also exerting my sexuality overtly. I'm a flirt. I dress sexy. I want to have sex. I am attracted to porn and sexy movies.
In my manic state I am so joyful I cry. I know God. I am special and loved. I hear God's voice. I am obedient and do what He says even if that means taking all my clothes off in public. I will not go to hell. I am a force of nature to be reasoned with by mere mortals. Time disapears and I am swept up in visions and delusions. I will do what God says even if that means kill myself or someone else. I am watching myself go through this and I can't control my actions. I am terrified. I can't stop the storm, the hurricane of emotion. I don't know where this train will end up. It's really frightening.
These manic and hypomanic states my seem like a lot of fun to an outside observer but they are actually very scary. I have no control when I am in a manic or hypomanic state. I can't control my emotions or my body. I am very sexual during these states which can cause alot of guilt later on when my Christian side comes out. I can't stress enough how frightening these states are. In a hypomanic state I can shop-lift or do something elst illegal. My moral compass is broken. I say things out of a place that can be hurtful to another loved one. I can get extremely irritable and clash with people.
It doesn't help that people enjoy these states. When I attended church and was hypomanic I was a great disciple. I shared my faith and was joyful and "radical" . I was "fired-up" and just what the church leaders wanted in their membership. I attracted people with my joy and verve. People who are hypomanic most of the time usually have a charisma about them. They do well in acting and entertainment.
People like mania and so do I on some level. The lack of emotional control, however scares the heck out of me. I used to be temped to go off my meds just so I could be hypomanic for a while. I never did that but it did cross my mind. I would miss being hypomanic because people liked me. My husband fell in love with my hypomanic states. It was an aspect of me that was charming and fun. The down side of hypomania is the irritiblity and sexual feelings.
I'm not exactly having an entirely fun time while being hypomanic. It contradicts my Christian beliefs about being faithful to a husband and not stealing. It's a scary feeling to experience no self-control of one's actions and words. I have a false sense of confidence that could hurt my relationships. Saying what's on my mind and not necessarily caring what the other person thinks can wreak havoc on a close relationship.
Society encourages manic behaviour. We celebrate it. Look at Charlie Sheen or Robin Williams. We think this is funny. I sometimes act hypomanic just to get people to like me. People like gregarious people. They like friendly fun people. Being depressed is , well, depressing. Case-in-point "Debbie Downer" in SNL skits. I have often felt like her as a depressed individual. People don't like depressed people. It makes them feel uncomfortable and aware of their own shortcomings.
So do I try to please society and act hypomanic? I can't do that. Being friendly and out of myself is a challenge when I am depressed. Sometimes I can't control my depressions. I can't be fun and gregarious all of the time. I think being the real me is best. I like putting other people at ease when they see me. I like being liked. I think , though that my friends know that I am not always going to be happy and joyful and glad to see them .
It's a challenge since knowing that if I act a certain way I will get kudos from other people like my employers. Putting on a act though is not what I want to do. I want my joy to be genuine and not a symptom of a mental illness. I can't always control that. I can't always be aware of my depressive states. I don't know if can always be "natural". I don't think that is possible especially when one has do deal with society. Society dictates how we behave. To keep my job I may have to put on an act that is not actually how I feel. Around friends and family I can be genuine. I like to feel that my friends and family love me for me not my manic and hypomanic states.