Monday, 24 March 2014

Hypomania ...the good, the bad and the bloody ridiculous



How I ended up being escorted to the doctors by my care coordinator and having to take medication in front of her to make sure I took it, to "calm me down", I don't know. Well, actually I do know and I'm feeling pretty stupid and pretty scared.  I guess I'm quite fortunate in that I have reasonable insight into my moods. That doesn't mean I can control what I'm feeling or always immediately do anything about it but at least I recognise when things aren't quite right. I think so anyway.

I felt myself getting more and more hyped up over a few days. It's difficult to describe. I know I was hypomanic. I know all the signs. I know I was building up to it.  A lot of people think of hypomania as being happy and full of energy and creativity and a good state to be in. Not so for me. Yes at times I felt happier than I have done for months, elevated, excited even but not always appropriate for the situation. The twitching, the irritability, the nervous energy, the thoughts and ideas scrambling about in my head, the frustration. It was bloody hard work. Yes, I did find myself being more creative. I've been doing some drawing, something I've wanted to do for months but whenever I tried it just turned out crap. Even that, though enjoyable was born out of a sense of urgency. I felt that once I'd decided to do it I had no choice. I produced some really good pictures. I even wrote some poems. I never write bloody poems! I've never even wanted to but again the ideas popped into my head and I just had to do it.
I bought a guitar. I've often thought about learning to play an instrument. Well there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. What was wrong was the fact that I've no idea why I thought I needed a guitar....yes  "needed" a guitar. I had an uncontrollable urge to buy it. Even though I haven't got a spare £100 to spend I couldn't rest until I'd bought one. I don't really know what on earth I thought would have happened if I didn't buy it but I just had to have it.
I found being on my own more difficult than normal and wanted to be near people yet when I was with anyone it was such hard work to try and curb my behaviour. As soon as I got near anyone I couldn't seem to contain my excitement and I couldn't keep still, or shut up. I'm lucky that I've got people who know me and don't judge me. When I went to visit my mum in hospital I had to use every ounce of strength to try and keep calm. Whenever I left someone and was driving home I just seemed to flip. The music was blaring, I put my foot down and every other driver was a wanker. I felt almost ecstatic to be racing as fast as I could. When I visited my best friend, by the time she opened the door I was laughing and crying at the same time. I had no idea what the fuck was going on. I couldn't tell you if I was happy or sad, just a bit frightened and confused at that point. 
I found myself staying up all night. I didn't even try to get to sleep. I don't really know what I was doing all night. Day and night just seemed to mingle into one.
I got it into my head that I could command things to happen. I'm too embarrassed to say what but I spent hours commanding this and that to happen. I really believed it and when it didn't work I got really upset. I spent hours reading stuff online about the power of thought and mind over matter. Ordinarily I think it's a load of cobblers. 
Sex is another thing. I have no safety net now.  I found myself thinking about a certain person almost constantly. I knew it wasn't right. I'm not taking to being celibate very well, especially while I'm in this frame of mind. All I can do is keep myself away from situations where I might end up doing something I shouldn't. I'm craving physical contact but I just don't think it will ever be the same with anyone else. I don't want casual sex with just anybody. Frustrated is an understatement. I daren't go online and I daren't go anywhere where I might meet men.
Flipping from happy and excited and full of big ideas to angry and frustrated and irritable is not a great place to be. As for "real life", looking for a job, getting into a routine, sorting out my finances, eating properly, keeping fit, it all seems to have gone out of the window.

So, when my care coordinator came to visit me, straight away she said she was concerned about how "high" I was. I was trying to explain to her but I found myself switching from one subject to another. I knew for my own sake I needed to tell her what was going on. I knew I needed her help but I couldn't stop laughing even though I was trying to be serious. When she asked if she could call my GP and the psychiatrist I remember thinking "whatever".  Even when she drove me to the surgery and we were put in a room (not the public waiting room) to wait for my doctor I found it difficult to take in. When my GP came in he told me he'd spoken to my psychiatrist and that they'd agreed that I was hypomanic and heading towards mania and that I needed to go back on the Quetiapine. I think I told him to fuck off and that I was never going back on it again. Part of me could sense the seriousness of the situation but another part of me found it all so funny. I was sitting in a swivel chair and it was really distracting me. He told me that if I didn't take the meds I'd most probably end up in hospital and then I would have no choice. It seemed like we were there for ages. I felt like a child being told what to do.  I got what he was saying. I know he was right. It was just difficult to organise myself and my thoughts. I think I agreed to take a small dose for a week.....mostly to shut them up. My care coordinator persuaded me to take it then and there.
I find it hard to believe but within a couple of hours I'd nodded off in the chair and slept for 2 hours solid. I slept that night too and the next. On the third day I felt so miserable I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't stop eating too. I was ravenous. I know it was the Quetiapine. I decided not to take anymore. I figured I'd calmed down enough and that hopefully the Lithium would kick and stop me from getting too high again. I feel reasonably ok now. What scares me more than anything is the thought of crashing into depression. I've never experienced full blown mania. My episodes tend to be mixed followed by depression. I feel like an idiot at the moment and I feel like I'm to blame. When I see my doctor I need to try and explain that yes I realise I can't manage without medication but that I'm not prepared to go back on a medication that just doesn't suit me. Lithium is fine but Quetiapine is not for me. I want to be compliant. I don't want to get really ill again but there must be alternatives. I can't go back to feeling how I did when I was on Quetiapine. I can't put up with the shitty side effects and I can't spend the whole time worrying that it could contribute to another heart attack. Now that I feel a little bit more in control I hope I can discuss it with him sensibly. 





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