Well, it has finally happened. My manic episode that seemed to last a year has ended. Or maybe it paused? Or maybe it’s just recharging? Who knows.
I think it was actually a “hypo-manic” episode. I just learned this term recently. It’s a milder form of mania. Amazing how I am still learning about myself and this disorder after so many years.
Honestly, I am thankful for the break because being manic is so exhausting. I am also thankful that when it ended, I did not crash into a depressive episode. Well, I did, but it only lasted 2 days. Now I feel as normal as normal gets for me. It’s nice for a change.
Another thing I am just learning about is triggers. I did not know my episodes could be triggered and therefore have never paid attention to what might be triggering them. I know what ended my manic episode, but I am not sure what caused it. It ended Sunday, November 4th, when I attended the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk. That is clear to me. Where it started is up for debate. I think it may have been in June 2017, when my husband and I traveled to Northern Arizona to attend his best friend’s funeral. The day we took a trip to the Grand Canyon, I realized that the future I imagined for myself was hanging by a thread. The events of that day led me to believe I would have to choose between my dreams and my relationship. My husband believes it was triggered in January 2018, by a float session in a zero gravity/sensory deprivation tank. He could be right. I do remember that session being a life changing experience for me. Either way, that means the episode lasted anywhere from 10 to 16 months. I have NEVER experienced anything like this before in my life.
Now here I am dealing with the aftermath.
Having a manic episode is like being lost at sea. No land in sight and all you can do is keep treading water. It literally feels like that physically. But it is all in your head. Nothing under your feet. You have no idea how you got there or if and when you will be back on land. For me, the sea I am lost in is a beautiful one. I have to thank God for that. I know it is not that way for everyone who is bipolar. Some seas are arctic and some are enveloped in raging storms. My sea is beautiful and wild. I could stay there forever if I only had the energy. But it is not as kind to the people who love me. They are tossed about too and it is harder for them to understand it because they cannot see it, or feel it like I do.
This manic episode has changed me and even helped me in so many ways. It got me through the loss of my mother. I honestly don’t know how I did it, but if I had not been in the middle of a manic episode, I don’t know if I would have made it through that. I made some of the most difficult decisions of my life during this episode. Part of me still wonders if they truly needed to be made or not, but for the most part, I think they did. And I know I would not have been able to do it had I not been manic. I may write more about those decisions at a later time, but not yet.
2018 is almost over. I will turn 46 next month, and then 2019 will start. I think 2019 will be so full of new starts and changes big and small. I am both excited and scared. It is time to sink or swim. But I am ready. Bring it on.