Is it happiness or mania?

For almost two years I’ve been struggling with the depressive aspect of bipolar benderdisorder, often called bipolar depression.  Symptoms of depression have been the most common for me since I was diagnosed during business school and they’re the most common focus of my regular therapy and self-monitoring.  Lately, however, I’ve experienced some symptoms and behaviors vastly unlike those that have characterized my recent life.  Though they are all positive, my first question to myself was, “are you having a manic episode?”

• • •

Everyone with mental illness needs a pet

In my senior year of college I had my first solo apartment, my first cat, and my first manic episode.  As mania goes, mine was pretty mild and pretty short.  I felt AMAZING as one does in these situations. I had tons of energy: I went to Home Depot and I loaded in a show; I had lunch with my cousin up from New York; I went on a coffee date; I cleaned my apartment and did my homework.  I didn’t sleep more than 5 hours across three days, as one also does in these situations, until the depression came.  I was lethargic, teary, unfocused.  Suddenly, I desperately needed to sleep and I couldn’t.  Zora, my cat at the time, was keeping me awake by tearing around the room and grabbing onto my legs with her claws.  She did that a lot, but that time I couldn’t take it.  I threw back the covers and screamed, “why won’t you leave me alone?” at Zora.  Then I began to cry.  As I sat cross-legged on the bed, Zora approached me, put her paw on my leg and calmly rubbed her head against mine.  All cat people know that this behavior means that your cat really loves you.  Zora happened to choose one of my lowest moments to express affection, and it made me feel better.

• • •

Dating While Bipolar: Ruminations on love

love cardsLove – or romance, or whatever you call it when two people are drawn to each other in a non-platonic sense – is like gambling.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you lose your house.  It’s not a sure thing, at least in my experience.  People endure unhappiness and loneliness too often for love to have a guaranteed payback like slot machines in a casino, which you also shouldn’t believe.

• • •

The Triggers of Dating

indexAnyone who knows me probably knows that I hate dating.  I’m what you’d call an outgoing introvert, which means that I like being social even though I’m still pretty weird about people and social things.  Dating triggers a DEFCON 1 level of that weirdness in me.  I haven’t really figured out what it is.  It’s not meeting a new person, because I’m OK with that in professional settings.  It’s not one-on-one interactions because I have plenty of those with family and friends.  Maybe dating just brings up my character flaws and I feel more comfortable tackling those on the couch than with a cocktail and a near-stranger.

• • •

A Therapeutic Roadblock

road_closedI’ve been here before.  Even after a bunch of good years, most of which away from this blog, and a fairly long relapse, I’m right back where I started:  confronting a difficult issue and dodging my therapist.

• • •
1 2 3 8