The dangerous upside.

So lately I’ve been working on easing the swings in my mood.  Not getting rid of them, but just…easing them.  So they don’t have to swing so hard.  Part of that was learning (ironically) that the downs had some use to them:  mild depression is how my subconscious opens up to learn new things.

Now, when I feel myself getting depressed, I run down a mental checklist to make sure my basic physical and emotional needs are met (dehydration is depressing; just ask anyone with a hangover), and then I find something new to learn.  The openness remains, but the emotional reaction is much milder.

Recently I had a very hard time with the upper part of a swing.  We’d just fired our previous real estate agent (oh thank GOD), and I was feeling so much release that I spiraled out of control…in an upward direction.

Something I’ve come to identify with the downward side of my cycle is that it’s accompanied with a lot of the same symptoms as a migraine.  Hands swelling, lack of coordination skills, a feeling of anxiousness and inability to relax, tension headaches, visual auras.  I don’t get the massive migraine headaches that most migraine sufferers do, but I feel like my limbs are in the wrong places, or are the wrong size if I close my eyes.  I don’t like being touched, especially on my head.  There are days when I can’t find my words.  Sinus infections, stress, and the freaking fluorescent lights at Walmart set me off.

I’m used to seeing this pattern:

  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Purge.
  • Calm.
  • Repeat.

What I wasn’t used to seeing, but oh lordy lordy does it seem familiar:

  • Release from big stressor.
  • Elation.
  • Bouncing off the walls, inability to focus.
  • Extremely misanthropic crash, to the point where people’s faces look distorted.
  • Zen moment.
  • Calm.
  • Repeat.

I may not have that down exactly, but it feels close.  The hands still swell up, the jitters, the lack of coordination, the distorted body sense.  Harder to focus, but easier to give out hugs.

I’m not sure what this high/manic side of things does for me.  At this point, there doesn’t seem any kind of evolutionary survival benefit.  I have more energy, but I’m clumsier:  it’s not like I’m going to be better able to fight of a saber-toothed tiger or anything.

I’m not more productive per se, although I do find it an excellent day to do the pain in the ass/email/maintenance/website tasks that I set aside when I have good writing days.

I feel like I need to study up on things related to mania now, to find out what I can use it for, what super powers it could give me, if only I could understand…

P.S.  Here is a link to a list of all the fun stuff that can come with a migraine.



One comment

  1. My mom’s bipolar, so has manic episodes of highs and lows. I can tell you our house was insanely clean when she was on a manic high (it was typically clean, anyway, but insanely so on the ups, because she was re-cleaning clean things). Migraines definitely don’t have to always come with pain. When my permanent one started, it was visual with other side effects first, and we actually thought it was an eye issue and the other issues weren’t related. It took a couple months before it became a fully realized pain thing. Migraines are bizarre. And the most bizarre part may be that neurologists really still have no idea why they happen. Poor brains.

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