*there will be coarse language, my limited vocab means I need it to express intensity
Recently, there have been two instances where my mood has changed very suddenly into something unrecognisable from how I normally feel. I want to document them here.
The feeling, upon reflection, is something I could only describe as euphoria, and I find myself turning those days over in my mind trying to work out just how I can get that feeling back. These two occasions seem to be isolated, both times coming on as my foot hit the ground getting off the bus on the way home. The feeling has lasted a maximum of a few hours. The first time it lasted until a few minutes after walking in the door of my house, giving me one of the best walks home I’d ever had (about 10 minutes). Yesterday, it was longer. I walked home, the walk was even better than that previous one and I couldn’t sit still when I got there and so went into the forest for the sunset. Anyone who saw me walking would have definitely thought, “I want what she’s having.”
According to the literature, this can’t yet be termed an “episode” of bipolar mania, as the definition requires that feeling to be persistent for at least a week (maybe more, I’m no doctor). That said, these little bursts could act as some kind of foreshadowing and I am both excited and terrified of what might come later. The things my health team have said about mania made me never want no properly experience it… but now, if I’m being honest, I’m not so sure.
Amy, tell us what it FELT like
Yeah, yeah… I’m getting to that.
The transition from one mood to the next is easily one of the things I find more confronting about this experience. When I got onto the bus, I was crying. I’d just had an overly emotional interaction with a woman living on the streets and was feeling overwhelmed and highly sensitive. I’m not sure if there was some kind of transition time, where I went from sad to okay to much less sad, but it felt like a snap as my foot hit the ground. My eyes were still sticky from the earlier tears and all of a sudden, I felt like a god. Like, for the first time, I was walking out into the world that I personally created.
I’ve been thinking about it and in my limited experience with drugs, I feel it’s easiest to say: I felt like I was on drugs. Everything was heightened. It was like I could see ten or twenty extra colours. Green wasn’t just green, it was what I like to call acid green. When you’re just starting to feel the effects and all of a sudden everything is fucking beautiful. The sunset over my suburb properly messed me up for this reason.
There was a light breeze. And honestly I feel like I would have been perfectly ecstatic if that’s all I got out of this experience. Cool breeze hit different. It felt like, if it kept going a little longer, I would have been able to fly.
I don’t even know how to explain how the music felt. I love my music but it’s never sounded so good. It was kind of like what I imagine those 4-D gaming chairs, that vibrate with the sound, would be like… except the chair was my skin, and the vibration was more of a prickly feeling.
That wasn’t all though, it felt like the music and, in particular, the timing of the music was made for me and me alone. My steps, without trying, landed in the beat of the music. Every. Single. Time. And every time it happened, I got a little deeper into the euphoria.
Decisions didn’t feel like they needed quite as much consideration either. In a matter of minutes, I had thought of -and decided I would get- another tattoo, this time on my stomach. Will it hurt like fuck? Yeah probably, but all the spots I have left are going to suck. Do I know what the content of the tattoo will be? Not yet, but the placement was, and is, set in stone. This is going to happen.
These things are all things that I guess could happen in your regular, happens-to-everyone, “good day.” But this is the kicker…
For those who know me, or for those who have been following along, this is MASSIVE for me. I NEVER feel this way. My experience with the bus, and the fire, and the unmedicated, unwell man has left me with a perfectly unhealthy phobia of death. I am never free of that, so much so that even if there is not a car in sight, I will still run across the road. Yesterday, I strolled. And not just a side street, but a major inter-regional arterial road at 5pm. I could see cars, but I wasn’t bothered. My thinking was the opposite to what it usually is. Usually, I run because I’m scared a car will appear out of nowhere, and I won’t hear it and it’ll come straight for me and that’ll be the end. I run so that there’s less chance of that happening. Yesterday, that seemed utterly ridiculous. The drivers would notice me and make an effort to go around. I would stand out. Or at the very least, they would come at me and just… miss.
The good news is that I was still lucid enough to recognise that this is not normal, and I suppose I have my medication to thank for that. In reality though, the medication should have prevented it, full stop.
How do I feel now? Well, to be honest, I still feel better than my “normal”, and a little better than “good”, but it’s not so intense. I’m pretty okay with this… after all, who doesn’t want to feel a little better than “good”?
But there is something about today that is not so welcome… I feel like an addict. I feel twitchy and I keep thinking about yesterday’s walk and wondering what I can do to get that feeling back. Not harmless wondering either but like, I would do anything to make it happen again.
The dangerous part is that there are a couple of things I could do… but hopefully I won’t.