I have the tendency to be at least hypo manic most of the time, with only periodic bouts with depression. The last couple of days however have been kind of rough. In spite of my resolve to get through my wedding anniversary with bravery and hope, it’s been more fear and sadness instead. It’s not that I’ve been dwelling on memories or specific events; it’s been more of a general sadness and lethargy.
Unless I’m really over the top manic, my more or less normal hypo manic state is good. I feel good, I’m productive, and (in my opinion at least) a lot of fun to be around. There is an abundance of energy and optimism. It may or may not affect the others around me, but I’m not aware and frankly, don’t care. Even when the mania reaches uncomfortable levels it’s manageable. And if I do get into a full blown mania, even though it’s really uncomfortable, I really don’t give a rat’s ass what others think.
Depression however really sucks, even if it’s at a very mild level. At best there’s no energy, and I just don’t feel like doing anything. It’s really hard to get through a day’s work, and I lose all interest in performing. And as it gets deeper, the sadness and despair become more and more overwhelming. Then I start to lose hope, and sink further and further into the abyss. Depression does affect those around me. There’s nothing more ‘contagious’ than a bad mood. Negativity not only brings yourself down, but can bring others down; especially the ones you care for the most. Depression is more difficult to understand too. Almost everyone has sad and down days at some point, and believe from their own experiences that it’s something you can just snap yourself out of. Not so with a true depression. While sometimes the sadness or funk will resolve on its own in a couple of days, most of the time it can take a long time and often needs medication to overcome.
To me it’s the difference between hot and cold weather. Hot weather can be very uncomfortable. You sweat, can find it hard to breathe, and have a hard time finding ways to cool off. Cold weather however hurts. Joints ache, skin dries out, and you can get uncontrollable shivers. It’s a lot easier to take clothes off when you’re warm than to put on enough clothes when your cold. Heat becomes relative too. Setting your air conditioner thermostat at 70 degrees in the summer is quite nice, and shorts and a tee shirt is plenty adequate. Setting the heat at 70 on a really cold day is still cold.
I hate being bipolar. Extremes in behavior and mood are never a good thing, and can make life really miserable either way. It’s like the old story where the Nomad asks his camel if he would prefer going uphill or downhill… and the camel answers that given a choice, he’d prefer to walk on level ground.
Given a choice, I’d rather not deal with the mood swings at all. But if I do, I’d prefer going uphill every time.
One thing is sure however. No matter how I feel today, one way or another tomorrow will be different.