The Adventure Begins

 

The Adventure Begins


I am finally getting back to normal, and I love it! I was in such a bad spot with that depressive episode. Sleep was impossible, but that was all I wanted to do. I couldn’t sleep because my mind would not stop racing with all these horrible negative thoughts. I didn’t want to do anything, go anywhere, or even see anyone. I just wanted to disappear, and I was making plans to do so. I don’t think I ever felt that low in my life. I thought it was going to last forever, that I would be trapped inside my own mind thinking all these crazy things. Continue reading

Looking Up: For Today

Looking Up: For Today


I am too scared to say that my depression has lifted because I don’t want to get my hopes up. What I can say is that, for today, things are looking up. Just because I have had one good day, for the first time in weeks, does not mean that I am miraculously cured, but I guess it’s a start, right? Continue reading

Sometimes It’s Okay To Do Nothing

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Sometimes It’s Okay To Do Nothing


I had to repeatedly remind myself that it’s okay to do nothing over and over again this entire weekend. While my laptop was… down… I didn’t get any writing done so I spent the entire weekend vegging out with Mike and binge watching OITNB. (yes, I LOVE OITNB… die hard fan!!!) Do I really have to wait an entire year waiting for another season?! Seriously? I want to know what happens now! Now, what will I pass my time with when I am not mindlessly tapping away at my keyboard???

I am still in a severe depressive state but there isn’t a thing I can really do about that at the moment. I see my psychiatrist on 8/2/17, so until then I just have to make it through each moment when I have my downs. I guess that’s all anyone can really do when they are in a depressive episode, is trying to make it through the day.

I still believe that when a person is truly bipolar that they never get better (100%) because they spend their entire life waiting for the next high or low. I have mentioned that to my doctors over and over again, even when I was baseline. As a matter of fact… I can clearly remember a doctor laughing with my as I said that too before I went on vacation. Being bipolar is a constant waiting game when you are baseline… you know that high or low is going to hit but you never know how hard or when.

Either way, I have to start getting back on track now… I had a few days off and I am feeling completely lazy and unmotivated. Actually, I have not been that into writing, in general, these past few days. I need to journal, I need to do something. I need to get creative for my own sanity. Even this blog entry is kind of forced but kind of not. Does that even make any sense? Probably not… I need to sit down with a pen in my hand and make an actual journal entry or something. I cannot remember the last time I have done that. (Remember my post about Journaling And Mental Illness yes, I need to do that!)

My very first article actually have close to 1 MILLION views! I cannot believe it! That is simply amazing! I never imagined anything that I would have ever created would have spread that far around. I still do not consider myself to be anything close to an okay writer. My editor also keeps sending me back articles and telling me that medical articles don’t do well when I am noticing other wise for me the articles that are not doing well are the ones that are the new style articles. Actually, the article with almost 1 Million Views is 12 Things That Can Affect The Baby’s Face While Pregnant I still kind of think that is because I messed up so bad in that article lol.

I am going to try to start bringing back some of the mental health stuff that I used to add in here. The tips and techniques and helpful stuff… it has just been very hard between my own moods and not taking my own advice, my articles, and everything else. I can offer the best advice to everyone, I just can’t take it my own advice. The same goes for therapists. They could be the best therapist in the world, but they can’t counsel themselves. I can do so much for everyone, I can just never seem to get my own shit together. I have tried everything I have written in here for tips and techniques and some days it works and some days it doesn’t.

I guess that is why I have such a laundry list of stuff to try… I just wish I had something to help get me out of this funk I am in now. I just feel like every time I dive into a depression the dive gets deeper and deeper. What’s going to happen the next time I take the leap? What’s going to happen if something else goes wrong while I am still under right now? I have so many questions but not enough answers.

This is not a fun place to be at right now. I want to find my way back to the surface but the water is so murky that I cannot get a clear view up to the top. &%$#! I might be fine every now and then but something always snaps me back to my reality and I remember how cruddy everything it. There is a lot that I still don’t let out to anyone. I just want to find someone that I can talk to. Everyone goes through stuff… unfortunately, I just happen to go through stuff several times a year. #mybipolarmind

 

 

Depressive Episode Part 2: My Bipolar Ride

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Depressive Episode Part 2: My Bipolar Ride

July 20, 2017


Sometimes I don’t even know where to start word wise. I will have so much to say or have so much going on inside my head but I will be at a loss of where to actually start… and that is what is happening to me right now. My emotions are on overload. When I think that things are getting better, or that maybe things will be okay, reality slaps me in the face and laughs at me and reminds me that nothing is okay. Nothing will ever be okay.

Yes, I know, this is just a depressive episode. Key word being episode and that things will get better. I get that, I really do. But when I think about it, and look at the bigger picture, technically nothing is ever okay because no matter what, there will ALWAYS be ANOTHER depressive episode to follow at a later time. It’s guaranteed in my life. Thanks, bipolar disorder… I love you too.

So I get to go on and think that things are getting better and that I am getting better and that life is full of laughter and joy, and all is fine and dandy… and then one day… it’s just not. Then I am back to this. And I am sad again. I will hate life again. I will want to just run away from everything, and everyone again. I will lose my spark for life. So wtf is the point if it will always turn back to this in the end? This is total nonsense to have to continue to deal with this every couple of weeks, or months, or however long this disorder decides to give me before it decides to knock me down again.

I was having a really good day hanging out with my best friend again, and then I went home and had to deal with the unnecessary bullshit that made no sense at all. I was told that if I did not start going out that I had to leave my home, so I went out and had a good time. Afterward, had come home to get yelled at because my boyfriend didn’t want to come home to an empty house… after he told me he didn’t want me to isolate… I was just doing what I was told.

So the argument began… the tears began… the depression worsened… I wanted to fade away, to just disappear or become so small and unnoticeable. A friend sent me a text message and just said hey and asked how I was doing and I said not good and we just started talking and she calmed me down a little, which I want to thank her for because I was hysterical. I tried selling her my books. (I don’t know what it is with my books lately. I think it has something to do with the fact that they are something that means the most to me and to get rid of them signifies how done I am with everything… not sure but maybe.) 

I am so up and down today. When I am up, I’m UP… but when I’m down… I am so down that it isn’t even funny. I don’t even know where I am, mood wise, right now as I write this. I feel lost in some kind of limbo. I am not okay, but I not bad either. I don’t know what I feel. I don’t even know if it would be classified as numb. A part of me wants to laugh and the other part of me wants to cry and then another part of me feels nothing. I feel like I am broken into sections.

Then… hearing about the suicide of Chester from Linkin’ Park is like surreal and freaking nuts. I love Linkin’ Park and almost every song they came out with is f-ing amazing. Their song “Heavy” that they came out with not too long ago, hits home for me all too well. It is like they cracked open my head and peeked around because that is exactly what goes through my head half the time. If you have never heard that song before, you seriously need to listen to it and look up the lyrics. And this Part:

“You say that I’m paranoid
But I’m pretty sure the world is out to get me
It’s not like I make the choice
To let my mind stay so f**king messy”

That is me 100%. I do always feel like the world is out to get me, and I sure as hell don’t make this choice to like my mind stay so f-ing messy either, and it is messy. My whole mind set is screwed up. I just don’t want to be me anymore. I am sick of being me. Can’t I be someone else now? Can’t I have a new life now? I broke this life, and I really don’t think that I can fix it anymore. It’s not like I haven’t tried because I have. I just can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore.

Wow, some people argue with me about this but I think it takes bravery and courage to be able to actually follow through with a suicide. So, I guess I have to give Chester credit for that because a lot of people get scared and back out at the last second. It takes guts to be able to follow through with that little voice in the back of your head nagging at you, telling you that it is not too late to turn back or that maybe things will get better even though you know they really will not.

I feel like this black cloud is following me around, or this black shadow, and it is just waiting for me. It is consuming every ounce of energy that I have. It is trying to take me down further into this depression until I can see nothing but pitch black darkness. It will not allow any light to shine through. I honestly do not know what will happen if this shadow catches me because it is so close to me that I can feel its icy breath on my neck.

I don’t even know what part of this depressive episode I am in. I don’t know if I am in the beginning, middle, or end. I am hoping that I am not at the beginning because I don’t think I will be able to stand to feel any worse than I do and still make it out alive.

 

 

Depressive Episode Part 1: My Bipolar Ride

DepressionREAL (2)

Depressive Episode Part 1: My Bipolar Ride

July 19, 2017


My bipolar ride has finally taken me back to the lower end and I completely hate it. I knew the random manic highs I was getting weren’t going to last forever and that I would eventually crash to the lower side and now I am here and of course now everything looks bleak and gray.

I was isolating before because of my writing, but now I want to totally isolate and my boyfriend told me that he isn’t going to have that. A Requirement for me is to get out of the house every now and then or I can leave. Gray, everything just looks so gray. Dark clouds hover everything and I try to force myself to be social.

I was able to actually have a good time with my best friend today and it felt amazing. I was about to pull myself out of the darkness for a short period of time. As soon as she left everything started to fade to darkness again. I am drowning in the darkness. This bipolar ride is the worst thing ever and I just want it to stop.

My thoughts race with everything negative in my life and I cannot think of anything good. I don’t even have the ambition to write, and I notice that my writing is turning to complete sh*t and I wouldn’t be surprised if no one wanted to read any of it. My creative muse had also faded to the darkness and I cannot find it. I have no motivation to do anything at all. I am starving but I don’t even have it in my to eat a real meal.

I feel like I am just here… that’s it. I exist to do nothing. Everything just makes me want to cry and I feel like I cannot be myself. I feel like I always have to be someone else. I got so low earlier that I just wanted to start getting rid of all my sh*t. I love my books. I am an avid reader, and my books are like my babies. I do not like to loan them out because I fear I will never get them back or that the person I loan to will not treat them with respect… yet out of nowhere I burst out with, “I want to sell my books.” Where the hell did that come from?! Now, that is low. That is depression. The darkness had engulfed me fully. I was dead serious when I said it too.

At this current moment in time, I do not feel that low. I feel low, but I want to keep my books at this point in time. Check back later though.

I feel like everything I have done in the past few months has been a massive mistake and that I have ruined my life completely. I should have never let my break down after my old job affect me the way it did and I should have never left my old job. I I need the money, and apparently, my  boyfriend thinks I made a mistake when he was the one who said he was going to back me up completely.

I just… I don’t know. I feel like I %#*&ed up  now and ruined anything after my boyfriend so nicely told me that I have gotten worse, mentally, since I stopped drinking but that I am not allowed to start drinking again and that I am just a miserable person to be around and that I am making him miserable and bringing him down.

Hearing all that just made my depressive episode all that much worse. I seriously don’t know what to say to that. I guess it is all true. I am a miserable person who does nothing but brings everyone else down all because I am down.


 

 

 

Thinking About Life: July 11, 2017

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Thinking About Life: July 11, 2017


After careful consideration, I have decided to quit my ghostwriting job. It just was not worth it anymore. I sent them an email about it and their only response back was literally, “Oh, wow!” and I have not heard anything since. I was so nervous when I did it.

At first, the editor/owner or whatever she is, sent me an email asking me why an article was not done when it was due June 27th. We had a lengthy discussion about this article over a several day time span so she knew it was not done, and she even told me to hold off on it and focus on other stuff. So when I got an email asking me why it was not done, I lost my temper.

I sent a not so nice email explaining everything and told her that she may as well look for a new writer then if she is not going to work with me. I, again, told her that I could only do so many articles a week for her and she was going to have to accept that and I said a lot of other stuff.

In the end, she said to give her two weeks to find someone to pick up the slack but until then I still needed to do 6 articles a week. At least she was finally trying to work with me, but I knew this was unrealistic for me. At this point, I had been up for way over 24 hours working on an article and I was cranky and exhausted and I will admit she was becoming my target. I had to repeat myself a lot though, maybe three or four times because she just wasn’t getting it the first few time I said something which was pissing me off.

She told me that she treats her writers like family and hopes that I would change my mind before the two weeks was up.

She needed me to do another article, and I told her I needed to sleep. So when I woke up, I just didn’t have it in me anymore. I sent a resignation email, and well, I already said the rest.

hidden smileAs of right now, I am happy writing for BabyGaga. They even offered me an extra incentive if I could write an extra article or two a week, “you’ve been producing great work so far and consistently,” as quoted from my email. It made me feel good because I don’t always know my worth. As I have said before, a few times. I just hope that I can keep producing worthy articles for them.

Part of me is paranoid that now that I quit my ghostwriting job that now I have nothing to call back on, just in case. But another part of me is like, well at least now I have something with my name on it. It’s weird I guess. I don’t know if it is normal to feel like that. I never know if anything that I am feeling is considered normal.

What is normal anyway? There is no such thing as normal, I guess because everyone is unique in their own way and everyone has their own unique way of thinking. I need to stop asking myself, “Is this normal?” for that simple reason… everyone is unique. I don’t keep that in mind enough, even though I already know it.

Old Liquor Bottle

Anyhow, I know I talk about my recovery a lot but that is because it is a big part of my life and I am truly sorry if I bore anyone but I need to talk about it again. I find myself wanting to drink a lot more these days, and I don’t know why. Maybe it has something to do wth summer being here. I really don’t know. I kind of regret building such a strong support system because now no will let me drink, but I know that in all actuality it is a good thing. But damn, I could go for a few drinks. Maybe a few bottles. It makes me want to get alcohol and hid it from people, but I would feel too guilty to do that. It has been ever since I hit my three-month mark that the urges to drink have really crept in and have been hitting hardcore.

I’ve been lucky to meet some really nice women in recovery recently over FB the last few days who have been nice enough to talk to me. Now it’s 2 am, and I have their numbers, but I am struggling to utilize them right now when I need too because it’s so late because I would love a drink right now… but it’s okay because I am broke lol.

I am struggling to not use that word again… normal.

i hate my bodyOn another note, I had been doing so well losing weight and then I went to the beach and &%@ed it all up. I cannot stress how much I am hating how much weight I have put on in such a short period of time. I even stopped getting on the scale now all together. I am so, beyond, disappointed in myself. I took months, and months of hard work and just through it out the window. I could try to blame it on new meds, I could try to blame it on trying to stay sober, but I am serious the only one to blame for this one.

I know I sound like a teenage girl, and I may as well be, but I really hate myself right now for this. I must have put on twenty pounds in a month. I would know for sure if I would get on the scale again, but I am straight scared too because it would probably just depress me no matter what the number is. I see in my stomach, my face, the way my close fit, the way my boyfriend looks at me.

body dysmorphia

Between the weight issues and not being able to drink, it kind of puts me in the mindset to want to resort back to self-harming again. I was just thinking about that earlier too. It was my boyfriends birthday today, so I tried to be on my best behavior and be as pleasant as I could possibly be.

I know it’s just my body dysmorphia. But damn, I really I need do something. Starting next week, I am going to start trying to lose the excess weight that I put on. I need some major encouragement.

All I guess some of this stuff is just triggering some depressive issues. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Maybe my bipolar depression is triggering some of these issues.

Speaking of bipolar disorder, we always have to add that into the mix, I get random bouts of mania lately triggered by who knows what that does not last very long, followed by a quick bout of depression, followed by some baseline stuff. I am definitely rapid cycling by the hours sometimes. I never used to think they were possible until I asked my doctor one day, and they are. I don’t know if they are rare or anything like that because I didn’t ask but they do happen. Usually, I cycle every few days, or weeks, and at the very maximum a month.

 ♥ Gotta Love Bipolar ♥

Bipolar-Depression

-Samantha♥

 

 

Ghostwriter Blue

 

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Ghostwriter Blues


When I agreed to become a ghostwriter I didn’t realize that I would take it so hard once I started seeing another author take claim for all of my hard work. It’s that simple. The other day, I don’t know why, but I decided to search for the articles that I had written on the site I was writing for and there they were… right in front of me… word for word. Only, they were under someone else’s name. Of course, they were because I was a ghostwriter. A nobody. A legit nobody who would never have their name next to an article that they would actually get paid for.

It was like a stab right to the chest. It took my breath away and I just felt completely horrible. Every article I looked up had the same authors name too. She was really making out good with my writing. Then I started to get jealous and started to wonder if she ever wrote anything a day in her life? I went to another website I had written something for and sure enough, my article was there too with her name. I think maybe I would not have felt all that bad if it would have been for different people but it’s the same girl.  

I know that this is what ghostwriter’s do, okay? I get that. What I don’t get… Is why am I taking this so damn hard? This actually really hurts for some reason? I feel like I have worked so hard, so hard and for absolutely nothing. I’m working hard to make her look good. But damn I really need this right now. 

I may have already overreacted and done something that I may not be able to do damage control on by personally applying to one of those sites as a writer. And on the application where it asks, “How would you make a great contributor and can you should us an example of your work.” I may have replied by saying something of the sorts, “I am already a ghostwriter for a contributing author on this site. I have worked on XXXX article.” So I don’t know how and if this could affect anything. I could have screwed myself thanks to my bipolar mind. FML.

I have a few articles due, and one well overdue, but I just don’t have it in me. It’s like all the passion I had to write for said person is gone. I should just end my contact but I don’t necessarily want to do that either. I feel stuck. I want to end the contract because I want to be able to start to create my own content and get my own name out there, and creating content for this company is taking up a lot of my time. (I should be working on that overdue article, but I took time out of that to write this. I need some me time.) But on the other hand, I do want to continue to write for this company because I could still use the experience. Also, I could use the (minimal) paycheck right now.

I just feel torn and heartbroken. I wish someone could have told me that it was going to hurt this much seeing someone else take credit for my hard work. This way I could have at least tried to prepare myself, or my heart, so that it wouldn’t have been this painful or something. I don’t think there would have truly been a way to prepare me though because everyone is different, and every mind if different. It’s just not fair to me.

I feel useless and used. I feel like I will never amount to anything myself and that I am always a bouncing board for everyone else. I feel like maybe I don’t even actually have any talent, that I am the second rate, so that is why I have to settle for helping boost someone else. My mind is automatically jumping to all of these negative things that may or may not be true, but that feels true to me in the moment.

I wish someone could just tell me if what I am feeling is normal or not. Right now I just harboring a sh*t ton of resentment and I really don’t like it. I wish I could just go back to before I looked anything up and realized that my articles were… I don’t know. I knew what the hell my job was, so I don’t even know why this is upsetting me. I guess this is just a whole lot of jealousy. Maybe that’s what this is. Jealousy. But I am more than just jealous. I am legitly hurt. I really, really hate my bipolar mind sometimes. It just sucks.

-Samantha ♥

 

Venting Session: June 29, 2017 @ 2:15am

 

Venting Sessions

When You’re Bipolar & Just Need To Vent

 

Venting Session: June 29, 2017 (2:15 am)


It had been brought up to be today that I am really not bipolar because apparently everyone is bipolar. Someone who has known me since I was a teenager, that I thought knew me pretty well, basically told me that I was making excuses and that there is unquestionably nothing wrong with me. 

This is NOT something that you should say to someone to who currently feeling pretty under the weather, doubting themselves, and generally feeling highly unstable mentally. I had confided in this person not too long ago that I had tried to kill myself and they said to basically knock that s**it off and that they would always be there to talk. 

I was under the impression that this person understood mental illness given the fact that they care for individuals with mental illnesses for a living, just like I had for so many years… probably way too many years. For me, it was like the crazy leading the crazy.

How can a person judge what is going on inside of another person’s head? Mental illness is not something that can be physically seen or heard. It is not a condition that can be monitored with one of the five senses, which is why mental health stigma is so high. At least, in my own opinions. People crave things they can physically see or feel. Whereas with mental illness, you have to go by what the person is verbally telling you.

I don’t get how you can know a person for so long, without actually knowing a single thing about them! This person is aware of all the psychiatric stays I have been through. My drug & alcohol history. Yet, they still think I am faking a mental illness?

Who would want to purposely want to deal with this s*it? To give up their job, their income, their car. To basically give up their freedom.

No. This person does not know me at all. When I tried to finally stand up for myself and ask them why the hell they would think something like that about me, and I tried to explain that there is a lot of information I have not disclosed about myself, but that I would be willing to talk about if they were interested. They actually asked me why I was bothering them? I wanted to slap this person so bad. Yeah, I can really talk to you anytime I need right?

Seriously? YOU contact ME, and then ask ME me why I was bothering YOU

You obviously have a long way to come with mental illness awareness and it’s sufferers. Why would anyone want to put themselves through the horrible and screwed up things that their own mind can create. I don’t choose to keep my mind this way. 

Thanks for letting me vent!

-Samantha ♥

The Constant Cycles Of My Bipolar Mind

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The Constant Cycles Of My Bipolar Mind


By the time someone has told me how much they really like or dislike something, there is a good chance that I have already had 50 different emotions plays out within my head. My thoughts race beyond my control, making it is nearly impossible for my hands and mouth to keep up. It can make writing and speaking feel like something that I am unable to conquer at times, and to know this gets really difficult for my me, with because writing is a piece of who I am. It is what I love more than life itself. I find it difficult to find the words I am looking for because my mind and my hands are at constant odds with one another.

One minute I feel like I am drowning, the next I may feel like I am on top of the world and nothing could ever bring me back down… until it does. Then whatever I am feeling at that moment, will hit me like a ton of bricks and all of a sudden, I am falling again. This stuff is just not right. 

For a brief moment, I may see things so vibrantly colorful and filled with light, and then they disappear from me and turn bleak and listless. Everything with a bipolar person is at extreme opposites and at constant war. It’s a struggle to even be able to make a simple decision. I hate love, yet I love life. How is that even possible?

Just the other day, I felt incredibly low until someone made one nice comment to me, here on my blog; all of a sudden I was radiating positivity. I felt light, I was helping others again. Then something happened, but I’m not even sure what, and depression started to suck me back down to its depths. Now, I feel lost and I don’t know why. How do you get lost, when you haven’t even been found?

I have been seriously thinking about posting bits and pieces of my articles on here since I found out that they have pretty much been slaughtering everything that I have written. Twisting my words until they are no longer my own. My personal thoughts and emotions have dissipated and the hard work, time, and dedication I have put into every single one of my articles have ceased to exist. 

I feel like I have been busting my ass for absolutely nothing. I feel like to total shitty writer, and like nothing I ever make could ever possibly make any sense to anyone. I guess I am just feeling slightly discouraged is all. #writersissues 

I feel like no matter how many steps I take forward, I am always falling too far behind. I lack motivation. I lack the necessary skills to make it in this demanding world. To be honest, I dropped out of high school in 10th grade, got my GED, bounced around from college to college because I could never figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was able to stick it out and graduate from Lincoln Technical Institute with a degree as a Medical Assistant because I thought the health care field was somewhere I should be working.

All I have ever wanted to do was write, and I suck at it. I have absolutely no grammar skills or abilities. My vocabulary is rather limited. What makes sense to me, makes decisively no sense to anyone else. I am uneducated. My typing speeds are something comparative to a toddler. I just cannot catch a break, and believe me, I could go on.

Okay, so yeah, maybe I am being a bit too daunting towards myself now, but like I mentioned earlier, I am just feeling really discouraged. And I mean, really discouraged.

This is what I am referring too by The Constant Cycles Of My Bipolar Mind  I can surge from feeling I am an the brink of depression, then feel like I am on the verge of mania, then flatline to the feelings of being baseline, and then do it all over all again.

It’s a daily battle living with this disorder and never knowing what to truly expect, or never knowing what versions of Samantha I am going to get. I once had a co-worker make a very public post about me on social media. She said:

“If you are bipolar and you are going to try to kill yourself, what side of yourself are you trying to kill? Your sad self? Or your happy self?

I am not quite sure why, but that just popped into my head. But she posted that about me after I was admitted to a psychiatric ward, well before I was comfortable talking about and sharing my mental illness journey. What I would like to say to her today, is that thank you. Your arrogance made me more comfortable in talking about my mental illness in the long run. And to answer your question, it was both sides… I wanted to kill both sides because they were talking too loud..

 

My Panic Attack: June 26, 2017

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My Panic Attack: June 26, 2017

With my emotions running ramped, it is not surprising that I am having panic attacks. It’s also not surprising that they are back to back. What is surprising, is that the fact that looking into my kitchen, and seeing that it was a mess and realizing that I need to get the dishes done and clean up while still getting my articles done sent me into a horrible, full blown panic attack. It was the tiniest thing sent me into the deep end.

I am still feeling overwhelmed, and it is really getting to me. I am trying to remain positive when all I want to do is give up. My PTSD is getting to me, my low self-esteem is getting to me, my mood swings are getting to me, my having to deal with my emotions because I am not sober is getting to me, everything is getting to me. I feel alone again even though I have people there for me and I was shown that today.

I was on the phone with my mom this morning and I was upset and crying off and on since the little things make me cry. I can’t stop the waterworks. I just want this to stop. It’s driving me insane. My mom was breaking stuff down for me to do, and I decided to try what she was saying.

I walked into my kitchen, like I said above, and started crying, walked into my bedroom and started hyperventilating. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was being choked, or like I was drowning, deep into the water. I started crying harder. I text my mom, told her I can’t go into the kitchen anymore and that it gave me a panic attack. It was so hard to text. The panic attack subsided rather quickly.

Then my as mom called me, another panic attack started and I couldn’t breathe again due to the fact that I started to hyperventilate and cry hysterically again. I felt like I was going to die, literally. My mom was on the other end of the phone trying to calm me down, then she said she was coming right over, and that she would be there in 20 minutes. The panic attack didn’t last too long and subsided again., but the tears were still there.

I avoided my kitchen like the plague, but another panic attack came about. My chest started to feel tight, my breathing became rapid, I started to feel panicky, and tears began to drop even more. Next thing I know, I am crying hysterically, I am in such a panic. The way it feels is compared to being told that a loved one has just died, or that your worst nightmare has just come true and you just wish it were over or you just feel like you are about to die. I start breathing so hard that I start to hyperventilate, and it feels like someone is strangling me and I have to fight for air. I just can’t breathe or catch my breath. I start to get dizzy from not being able to breathe right, and I feel like I am going to faint. Then all of a sudden, it starts to feel better little by little, and my breathing slows down a tad. And as sudden as it came on it was gone.

When my mom arrived, I was a little calmer but still a mess. I was still crying at every little thing. Why am I such a mess? I hate this. I don’t know if this all my bipolar or something else entirely. I am so glad my mom came over. She was able to calm me down a lot more and help me get me kitchen from being in such disarray. We talked about a lot and she suggested few powerful things to me that maybe I will eventually share. I didn’t want her to leave when it was time for her to go though because I didn’t want to be alone with my own thoughts.

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My Momm & I

After my mom left, everything got a bit better for a little at least. It’s always something bringing me down though, and even as I am writing this, yet, another situation has arisen. I just can’t deal.

 

-Samantha ♥

 

 

Journaling And Mental Illness

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Journaling & Mental Illness


Journaling can be an important and beneficial factor in mental illness. It can help improve your overall mental well-being because it can create a healthy outlet to express your emotions. A lot of people that struggle with any type of mental illness, or addiction, tend to stuff their emotions deep down inside of themselves, or they try to release them or cope with them, in unhealthy manners.

I’ve been there, and every now and then I still resort to unhealthy means to release my emotions, but journaling is what has been one of the best coping mechanisms that have ever been suggested to me. Everyone is different, and different things work for different people, but journaling is something that has worked for so many people that I have come into contact with, and I highly recommend it to people that struggle with getting their feelings and emotions out and suggest that it should be tried at least once. What could it hurt, right? It’s literally just putting a pen to a piece of paper, or even your hands to your keyboard.

When a person journals, they can let out their innermost thoughts that they wouldn’t dare share with another soul. You can be your true genuine self, and never feel judged by anyone because you are not writing for anyone else’s enjoyment. You are solely writing to be able to get out whatever it is that you are holding inside. Whatever you are writing doesn’t even have to make sense. It could be incomplete thoughts or just random words. It’s whatever you are feeling at that particular moment in time.

I have heard people say that they don’t want to journal because they are worried that someone else in their household may find their journal and read their private thoughts. I get that. When you write something that is meant for your eyes only, you want to keep it that way. There are a few different forms or means of journaling that can be done if you are worried about the traditional diary style due to lack of privacy.

Here are some options to try instead:


Online Diary/Journals:

If you fear that prying eyes might see a traditional journal you can always sign up for an online account somewhere. This is one I have used in the past, and they even have an app you can download on your smartphone.PrivateDiary.net and with this one, it is username and password protected so no one but you can access it. You can even sync the app and the online site so you can create entries either way and never lose track of anything. It also allows you to upload pictures to your entries as well. If you decide you really don’t like the way this journal is set up, just type in “online diary” into a search engine and tons of results will pop up. Just keep searching until something catches your eye.


Word Documents/Processers:

If your computer is password protected, and you never have to worry about anyone going through your files, you can always create your own journal using something like Google Docs, MS Word, etc… and just saving the files right to your computer. Maybe create a specific folder like, “My Journal” or “My Thoughts” and saving your entries in there.


Create & Trash:

If you are severely worried about someone seeing what your private thoughts are, then you can always physically write out all your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Then after you are done just rip up the paper and throw it away, burn it, shred it, or discard it however you see fit.


Smartphones:

If you have a smartphone then you automatically have a journal or diary at your fingertips. If you have an Android device, all you have to do is go to the Google Play Store and search for “Diary Apps” and hundreds of them will come up. Just look for one you will like. Another option is just to create journal entries using your memo or notepad within your phone.


Email:

You could always create a folder and label it “My Journal” or something of the sorts, and create journal entries in your personal email account, send them to yourself and then save them in your designated saved folder.


There are obviously lots of creative ways to create and manage a journal without having to keep a physical copy in today’s day and age. Almost everything is digital now. As for myself, I still love to have a physical copy because I enjoy putting a pen to a piece of paper.

Every means of mental health and addictions treatment that I have ever come across, since 2001, has suggested that I journal, and I have been doing it ever since. I go through phases where I will journal rigorously every day for chunks of time, then I will go periods of time where I won’t journal at all, then I will journal in moderation. And what I have come to the realization of, is that during the periods of time when I am the most routinely active in my journaling, is when my emotions are the most manageable. I seem to have less frequent crying spells because I am not bottling up as much inside of me.

Now, what I mean by routinely active, is that I am not obsessively writing, but I am also not infrequently writing either. When I am not at either extreme is when I am at my best, which at times that gets hard to come by since I am bipolar, and what is bipolar other than polar opposites.

So, if you have never tried journaling as a way to get your emotions out, give it a try. Just one time. Learning a new coping skill mechanism is always a thing of great value because you never know when life may throw something new your way that your current coping skill may not be suitable for. What works for you one day, may not work for you the next. That’s the thing about mental illness, it’s not always predictable and neither is life.


Hope This Helps 😀 -Samantha ♥

Sea Isle City ’17: Day 6

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Sea Isle City 2017: Day 6 (Thursday)

For the first time since I have been on vacation, I did not isolate… at least fully. I spent some time working on my one article, even though my focus was horrific for some reason today. I just could not focus. My boyfriend and I talked about leaving and coming home today, but we ended up staying. Even though I am pretty homesick, I am glad we decided to stay in a way. I actually had a decent time today.

I am one of the most self-conscious people that I know, but I still put a bathing suit on. My boyfriend, Mike, and I went to grab some ice cream sometime in the afternoon and then walked to the beach. I was glad I talked myself into it. Summer if most definitely not my favorite season, but I love the sound of the ocean which makes it all worth it for me. I find it relaxing. I attempted to go in the water, but it was too cold for my liking.

We didn’t stay quite as long as I had planned on, but it was long enough for me. The group that we were with, were mainly all drinkers, so I was kind of like the odd man out. You never really pay attention to how much people actually drink until you’re the only one there not sipping on something. I just started to feel left out again… I just felt like I was maybe too young to be giving up drinking just yet since everyone else that was there was roughly my age and they all seemed to be doing just fine. I know I was just trying to justify it in my head and make excuses as to why I should be able to have a drink, and I get that now, but I can’t always stop the thoughts as they come.

I really am feeling pretty homesick though, and I miss my puppy like crazy. I think I have like separation anxiety from being away from my dog. I am just glad my mom was able to watch Max for me while I went on vacation. I don’t think I would have been able to trust anyone else with him. I know he is only a dog, and this is probably going to sound crazy, but Max is literally like a baby to me and I am so worried that when I leave here, he is not going to want to come to me, or even come back home. That maybe he is happier, and maybe even better off at my mom’s. I don’t think my thought process is normal. He is more than just a dog to me though. I was told I can’t have kids, so he is a kid to me. I am one of those proud pet parents.

I wish I would have utilized my time here better. Went to the beach more, got more sun. Did something. I don’t know. I feel like I wasted my entire time being so wrapped up in my writing and worrying about staying sober so much that I was unable to have fun. I did a few things here and there that may be classified as “fun” but not much. I isolated so much. However, I honestly do not think I would have been able to stay sober if I would have gone to all the dinner parties, and totally submerged myself in the whole socialization aspect like I have done every other year that I’ve come here. It’s definitely been a challenge for me.

I can’t help but wonder how long I am going to have to feel like this for. How long does the struggle sensation last? I don’t want to feel like I am battling something for the rest of my life. It’s bad enough that I have to battle mental illness until the day that I die, and now I have to do the recovering addict thing too? Forever? How long is forever? Will the temptations ever fully go away? I don’t know if I have it in me to fight this war forever because forever is a long time. I know… one day at a time. I can’t help but look at the full view of the picture at times though, but logically I also know that if I am looking at the bigger picture, I am missing a few of the closer details than. If that makes any sense.

I guess it’s just that sometimes the thought of the words “forever” or “never” scare me sometimes. I try not to use them or think about them. But they still randomly pop up inside of my head occasionally, no matter how hard I try to fight them off.

I miss the feeling of being able to get trashed, or high, and being able to just get out of my own head, even if it was just for a little while. That was usually the whole purpose as to why I would love to get so screwed up. I don’t know if that’s why people without mental illnesses drink or use, but I know that is why I used to use. It was basically like self-medicating. I hate being trapped inside my own head half the time. It isn’t the nicest place to be a majority of the time.

I have moments where I know I have made the right choice to get clean. Then I have the moments where I feel like I have made the worst mistake of my life because nothing is worth having to sit and deal with these emotional issues that sometimes arise. Then there are the mixed moments where I am totally undecided. I get mixed emotions about a lot of things in my life, but I guess that tends to happen a lot when you are bipolar.

Sometimes being stuck in my own head feels like I am being pulled under this giant, crushing, ocean wave, and I cannot breathe. It feels like I am suffocating, slowing drowning and getting pulled under over and over again. And every time I think I start to see the surface, another wave crashes over and I just get pulled further down, still suffocating, until my lungs ache and burn without oxygen. It’s like you know you’re slowly dying, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. You just stare and panic and everything goes blank. Being stuck in my head gets that severe at times; like it gets so overwhelming, my mind and everything races, I freak out until I ultimately have a panic attack, and then I just get so emotionally drained that I crash.

I am going to add some pictures from today below.

Samantha ♥

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Sea Isle City ’17: Day 5

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Sea Isle City 2017: Day 5 (Wednesday)

I am absolutely mentally exhausted. On top of my normal 6 articles a week, I had to do an extra 2 more due to another writer having an emergency. These articles should have been so simple, but they were in a new format and style for me, so I had to learn something brand new and from scratch which took up a lot of time.

I feel like my entire vacation has been wasted. I tried to explain that I am on vacation to the girl that assigns the articles because originally they asked me to write anywhere from an extra 5 to 7 more articles within a 5-6 hour time span. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they weren’t my normal 2200+ word articles I am used to doing, but they were still time-consuming either way.

If I would have been at home, in my own workspace, it would have been fine. But I feel like I am ruining my boyfriend’s vacation but I just have not been doing much of anything besides writing. He even told me today that he just wants to go home, and I can’t help but feel like it is partially my fault.

Writing is what keeps me sober though, and semi-sane, although it is starting to get a bit overwhelming right now, however, that is because I would actually like to get to the beach at least once while I am here. Isolating is starting to get to me a little. I know that I should probably socialize some, but I am not a very social creature anymore. Alcohol was what fueled my social interactions. Without it, I feel like I can’t really like a normal human being around people that I am not relatively close to.

I would also like to add some more content to my blog, but I am pretty sure that is going to have to wait until I get back to my home state in a few days before I will be able to that.

I didn’t get a chance to post anything on here because my mind was pretty preoccupied. I had an article that was due, of course, and then there was a family matter that kind of messed with my mental state a bit. It’s amazing what things can affect a person’s mental wellbeing and what doesn’t.

When I found out my aunt passed away, from alcohol nonetheless, I wasn’t really depressed, although I felt kind of bad and could only describe my emotional state with the word surreal. However, recently finding out that she had passed away weeks before we were even informed, well that… that affected me for some reason. I didn’t want to admit it to anyone, but it actually kind of upset me.

My mom and I were told Friday, June 17th, that she had died and now are finding out that she has actually been dead for almost a month now. It’s very sad that someone could be gone that long and no one even takes notice. I know I have mentioned it before, but just to clarify, we weren’t very close. Regardless, it’s still distressing. I wish I would have been able to get to know her better, but unfortunately, The Bottle Took Her, and I am sure she won’t be the last person in my family that the bottle will take.

What’s even sadder, is that besides my mom, her other siblings could seem to care less about her untimely demise as far as I am aware of. I know they didn’t get along, but that is, was, still their sister. I guess it is what it is, and how they see things is out of my control. My family is so divided that obviously, a relative could pass on, and no one would ever know, and to some, no one would even care.

I am the bipolar one of the family, I am supposedly the crazy one of the family, but yet apparently, I can still put differences aside and say that even though I wasn’t close with someone, a life lost is still a shame. Or maybe I am looking at this from the wrong perspective. Maybe because I am the bipolar one of the family, that is why I can put my differences to the side. Either way, I can say that my aunt will be missed.

 

 

Sea Isle City ’17: Day 2

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My boyfriend & I


Since I am using writing as my main coping mechanism for my mental health and addiction issues, I have come to the conclusion that it is probably in my best interest to try to add at least one blog post daily. Blogging, and writing in general, are very therapeutic for me. I honestly don’t know where I would be without it. Probably still using alcohol and drugs is my guess, along with being a total emotional wreck instead of a partial one.

Today started off kind of rocky. I was up until close to 5 am working on an article and didn’t go to bed until sometime shortly after. By the time I woke up, it was around 11 am. Not even an hour after getting up, I was told that everyone was going to a bloody mary drinking competition. Sounds innocent enough, right? All I have to do is avoid going there, right? Well, it just happens to be that bloody mary’s are (were?) one of my favorite drinks, and my mom and I used to toss them back like they were water. So right away that triggered me into wanting to drink.

The urges I was getting to drink were pretty bad, and since I knew I couldn’t drink, that then triggered the urge to self-harm. Right away, I pulled out my phone and started to utilize my S.A.F.E. alternatives app and started to fill out my impulse control log. Then, I started to text people and tried to distract myself. It’s already hard enough to fend off one bad habit/addiction, let alone two of them. In the end, my coping strategies worked this time around, and I calmed down enough and didn’t give in to temptation for either addiction.

One thing about this yearly vacation with my boyfriend’s family is that his “extended family” all meet up here. So each day during the entire week we are here, each family will host a dinner party at their home. So that is a lot of dinner parties, a lot of alcohol, and a lot of drunken people to be around. Attendance is mandatory. I can only pray for the courage to be strong enough to make it through each dinner party, each day. So, therefore, every day I know I am guaranteed to face some kind of challenge.

After I made it through tonight’s dinner party, barely, my boyfriend and I took a nice long walk on the beach. It felt pretty good. Little by little, I am seeing that I am able to enjoy doing little things while sober. I was able to take some pictures too, (which I am going to post a few on here) however they didn’t turn out the best since it was already pretty dark outside and I was only taking the pictures with my cellphone.

There are these 5 amazing people that I want to thank for being there for me these past few days, who have really been supporting me with my recovery. They have been putting up with my constant texts, calls, and rants. I know two of them don’t really visit this page but I want to thank them anyway. So Megan, Kayl, Mom, Dad, & Mike. . . Thanks for putting up with my constant crap. I know I am a difficult person right now, but I greatly appreciate your support and help.

On the mental health end of the spectrum today, I have been feeling pretty anxious, edgy, and a bit emotional at times today. There were certain parts of the day where I just thought I was going to burst into tears. Like when I found out they were having a bloody mary competition and I couldn’t partake in the festivities.

While I still have the highs and lows, I must admit, I do feel a tiny bit more stable than I was when I had my last manic episode and I think a lot of that has to do with the increase in my one medication, Vraylar. I have been on more medications that I can even name, and this is, by far, the best one I have found so far. At least that I can recall. I am NOT, in any way, trying to advertise for this medication. Everyone reacts to medications differently. What works for one person, may not work for the next. 

I feel more stable than I have in a while, but at the same time, I don’t know if I truly believe my own statement. I know that sounds odd, but what I mean is, that even though I feel stable now, I never stay stable. Ever. Everything I do happens in a cycle. I will go through a depressive phase, then a manic phase, then I will feel normal – or baseline – for a little while, and then I will get depressed again. That’s exactly how it goes for me. It is neverending. It has been like that for as long as I can remember.

  1. Depression
  2. Mania
  3. Baseline

 

I find that everything I do goes in cycles. This is the life of a person with Bipolar 1 Disorder. I would even drink in cycles. I would go periods where I would drink every day, then once in a while, then not at all, then every day again. I have met other people who are bipolar who experience the same types of patterns that I do. Usually, it’s hard to tell or distinguish those types of patterns or cycles until you have been dealing with your disorder for a while. I used to regularly track/chart my moods and I had started to see patterns while I was working with a therapist. I am not sure if I would have been able to pick up on these types of behaviors on my own. Maybe I would have eventually, but at least I know now, and I have known for a while. So when I see myself getting into a cycle I can try to look for ways to cope or break the cycle before I get in too deep. However, there are other times when I am utterly clueless until after the cycle has already ended.

Usually, it’s hard to tell or distinguish those types of patterns or cycles until you have been dealing with your disorder for a while. I used to regularly track/chart my moods and I had started to see patterns while I was working with a therapist. I am not sure if I would have been able to pick up on these types of behaviors on my own. Maybe I would have eventually, but at least I know now, and I have known for a while. So when I see myself getting into a cycle I can try to look for ways to cope or break the cycle before I get in too deep. However, there are other times when I am utterly clueless until after it is already too late, or until the cycle has already ended.

I really encourage anyone who is living with bipolar disorder to try mood charting for at least a month minimum. It is simply amazing on the patterns that can be seen and picked up. You can Click Here to go to my post about the mood chart I created on MS Word and play around with it to make it suit your personal needs.

-Samantha ♥


Below are some (badly taken) pictures from my first-time-walking-on-the-beach-at-night-sober stroll! Enjoy! ♥

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My Nightmarish Manic Episode

My Nightmarish Manic Episode

By: Samantha Steiner


 

A little over a week ago I had come out of a pretty bad depressive episode, only for me to jump right into a very bad agitated manic episode. I think I had maybe a day or two of baseline stability afterward, if that, before the switch over. I tend to be a rapid cycler a majority of the time, so after coming out of my depressive phase I was expecting to get slightly hypomanic or something but I did not expect full blown mania.

This episode was not the wonderful, euphoria with the excess energy and the happy outgoing personality that everyone normally associates with the clichéd mania. This was different, even for me, but it was still a manic episode nonetheless.

It started gradually and then hit all at once out of nowhere. Everything was a massive haze and I have to piece certain details together because I am unable to recall every detail still. It was almost like I wasn’t even there myself.

I became hyper focused on writing and anything to do with writing; from actually writing to techniques and everything in between. It was a very agitated manic episode. It felt like I could feel no other emotions other than agitation and feeling like that is not pleasant in the least.

I literally could not get myself to do anything else unless it had to do with the subject of writing. It felt like my body was physically controlled and I was only able to do and focus on certain functions. I wasn’t sleeping, and when I did sleep it was maybe for about two hours and then I was wide awake and ready to go at it again.

I wasn’t consuming much food or fluids and when I did, it was because my boyfriend physically made something for me and brought it over to me. But then I would devour my meal within a matter of minutes and I would instantly get back to my research, writing or outlining.

I just could not take care of myself. Nothing at all mattered to be besides what I was hyper-fixated on during this episode. Everything else agitated me and pissed me off, but even writing agitated and annoyed but it felt worse not to do it. I neglected everything. I lost track of time and would even forget to take my medications which probably made things that much worse.

The worst part of it all was the isolation and the fact that I could not, and would not leave my house or any reason at all. The house could have been on fire and I would not have even wanted to leave it then. I would have stayed right in front on my laptop and continued on with what I was doing. I avoided phone called and when I did answer, I would have to keep the conversations very short because that was all I was able to tolerate.

I missed three appointments because I would not leave my house. It wasn’t just that I did not want to leave my house; it was that I felt like I physically couldn’t leave. It was a completely suffocating feeling. It was as if I left my house I would cease to exist or something. It was like temporary agoraphobia. My mind was completely warped at this point. I was also experiencing psychosis and paranoia. At one point, my boyfriend was sitting at his desk and I kept telling him to hold on because I thought he was trying to tell me something, but after a moment he said that he hadn’t actually spoken to me in a long time. Things like that kept happening over and over again where I kept hearing things that weren’t there. My whole reality was twisting.

I, in all honestly, should have been hospitalized with this episode. I don’t think I let it show on the outside how bad it was on the inside since I was isolating to such an extreme. It was a very brief episode but it was a nightmare, and it felt like it lasted forever since I had no concept of time.

I had thousands of ideas flowing through my head at the same time and I felt like I literally had to do them all at once, otherwise, I would have forgotten them and they would be lost forever. Everyone recommends to write the ideas down when that happens but that would not have worked at the time because for every general topic, there would have been a subcategory that had another subcategory, and yet another subcategory. The list, or outline, would have been endless and pointless in the end. I thought I was being super productive.

Three or four days after this all started, my therapist called me when I didn’t show up to our session. I recognized the number and I was starting to gain some clarity at this point. I also couldn’t take the agitated feelings any longer because they were so overwhelming and overpowering. I didn’t know what to do with them other than to just sit with them.

So I answered my phone. Immediately, I started to cry out of pure frustrated agitation and explained everything and about how I couldn’t leave my house and that I refused to leave my house. My therapist advised me that she was going to talk to my psychiatrist and call me back.

In the meantime, I started to gradually fall out of the episode even more. It was like coming out of a bad trip. I started asking my boyfriend how bad I really was, what day it was, and how long I have been like this. Everything seemed so hard to process.

About an hour after I talked to my therapist, a nurse from my psychiatric office called me and he advised me to increase my Vraylar dose from 3mg to 6mg and I did that immediately.

The increase ultimately seemed to help. I wish I would have asked for help sooner but the only thing going through my head at the time was, “I don’t want to go inpatient.” So that kept me from seeking treatment when I knew it was right there.

Everyone experiences different effects from mania and this is just my most recent experience. I knew coping mechanisms, I knew how to seek help, but I just couldn’t. The logical side of my mind was malfunctioning to an extreme and everything I knew went right out the window. I have been through this long enough to know what to do but that did not matter at the time to me.

While I was on the phone with my therapist that day she kept asking me questions to see where my mind was at and to see if I was a danger to myself or others. In the end, what it came down to was that I was not hurting myself or anyone else. I was not drinking or using drugs even in a severe manic episode which is hard to avoid for some people, especially me, because mania and using can go hand-in-hand.

My therapist told me that I did what I had to do. I was actually using one of my coping mechanisms to ride out this episode and it wasn’t like I was focusing on writing or researching anything bad. I wasn’t journaling about how much I hate myself or looking up suicide techniques. So even though I wasn’t all there, I as okay as I could have been at the time.

There is no way to explain a manic episode to someone who has never gone through one, especially these types of manic episodes where psychosis is involved. I hope someone out there can relate to this and see that there are not alone.

Different Types of Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar I

Having this type of bipolar disorder means you have experienced at least one manic episode.  The mania needed to have lasted for at least a week, or to be severe enough that hospitalisation was necessary.  For about 50-60% of people with this type of the disorder, they will also experience depressive episodes.  Frequently these occur immediately before or after a manic phase.


Bipolar II

Having this type of bipolar disorder means you have experienced at least one hypomanic episode and at least one depressive episode in your lifetime.  The period of hypomania needs to be for at least 4 days.


Mixed Episode

Having a mixed episode means you have experienced both symptoms of mania and depression at the same time, with symptoms lasting for at least a week.  Feelings of sadness, irritability, agitation, and euphoria can all occur together at the same time.


Bipolar Disorder with Rapid Cycling

This type of bipolar disorder means that you have a diagnosis of either bipolar I or II and that you experience 4 or more episodes of illness in a year.  These episodes can occur in any order.  Someone might experience an equal number of manic and depressive episodes over a year, for another person they might have 3 episodes of mania and only 1 of depression over this time.

Common Early Warning Signs of Mania or Hypomania

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The list below is of common early warning signs that may help you recall the changes you experience when a manic/hypomanic episode is about to occur.  If you find it difficult to identify your early warning signs, you might discuss this with a trusted friend, family member, therapist or doctor. They can give you helpful feedback about what changes they notice in your behavior when you are in or beginning an episode of elevated mood.

Some of the most frequent early warning signs of mania have been found to be less sleep and increased activity.

Here are some examples of common early warning signs of elevated mood:

Changes in behaviour

  • –  more focused on goals and projects
    – start more new things, projects or plans at one time
    – making lots of new friends
    – more energy
    – more activity
    – more outgoing
    – disagree more with others
    – talk faster/more talkative
    – speech may be louder
    – changes in sleep – sleeping less than usual but not feeling tired, waking during the night, staying up later than       normal

Changes in feelings

  • – lots more energy
    – feel more self-confident and self-assured than usual
    – feeling like you can do anything
    – an increase in sex drive (hypersexuality)
    – irritable
    – anxious
    – feeling very important and special
    – feelings of euphoria and elation

Changes in thoughts and perception

  • – colors may seem brighter and more intense
    – lots of new ideas, projects, goals and plans
    – thoughts of being more attractive to others
    – experience hallucinations or delusions (in mania only)

The Difference Between Mania and Hypomania

The major difference between hypomania and mania are that hypomania is briefer and less intense than mania.  Hypomania is not associated with psychosis (loss of touch with reality or hallucinations) or hospitalization. Full blown mania is more severe and at times, requires hospitalization.

Elevated Mood in Mania or Hypomania

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The changes that occur when your mood is elevated (and when becoming elevated) happen in three related areas – in your thoughts, your feelings and your actions.  When your mood is elevated, your activity in these three areas can be very uncharacteristic of how you are when you are well (at your baseline/stable mood). Sometimes individuals who experience mania may report having hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that no one else can see or hear), or delusions (interpreting things in the world differently from ‘normal’ people).

These changes might occur gradually (building up a little bit at a time), or may be more sudden (out of no where).  For some they tend to occur following a depressive episode.

An elevated mood can be a seductive thing, with feelings of being overly self-confident and feeling elated. However, the fallout from an episode of mania can have devastating consequences. Such as realizing that you blew your whole life savings, noticing that you maxed out all your credit cards, and for women: finding out that you are pregnant or that you contracted an STD due to hypersexuality which tends to happen during manic/hypomanic episodes.

In mania and hypomania, there is a cycle of energy that can become more and more severe as your mood increases.

You can find yourself pursuing more and more projects and ideas. However, none of these projects usually get completed. the energy levels in a manic/hypomanic episode are such that it can be hard to stay focused on one task for any period of time. You might also find that you tend to do more things you find enjoyable, such as shopping, gambling, or socializing.  Doing more things increases the energy and fuels the cycle to spiral up even further.

Within this cycle, there are a number of factors at play that interact with each other, and the things happening in your life, to feed the elevated mood cycle. These relate again to three key parts of your experience:

  • How you think
  • How you feel
  • How you act

Common Early Warning Signs of Depression

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The list below of common early warning signs might help you think of the changes in your mood that you may notice. If you find it difficult to identify your early warning signs, you might consider discussing it with a trusted friend, family member, or your doctor. This may be helpful for gathering feedback about any changes they may notice.

Common Early Warning Signs of Depression

Changes in behaviour

  • withdraw from others
  • don’t go out as much
  • don’t answer your phone
  • hard to get up in morning
  • changes to sleep pattern such as hard to get to sleep, waking in middle of night and having problems returning to sleep, getting up out of bed later than usual, sleeping more than usual, taking naps during the day.
  • harder to get going
  • changes in appetite

Changes in feelings

  • feeling slow and sluggish
  • feeling hopeless and/or helpless
  • feeling down and sad
  • feelings of guilt and/or self blame
  • having little or no interest in sex
  • feeling tired
  • feelings of agitation
  • feeling irritable
  • feeling numb
  • feeling like you just can’t be bothered or  get motivated
  • not interested in things that you usually love or like to do
  • not able to enjoy things as much

Changes in thoughts

  • thinking is slowed and more difficult
  • hard to concentrate
  • self talk is critical and blaming
  • difficult to think things through and make decisions
  • lots of worrying thoughts
  • thoughts that repeat over and over again
  • thoughts of self harm
  • thoughts are negative about self, others or future