Imagine having a hive of bees stuck inside your head. A frantic buzzing and stinging of your insides. Another hive in each of your limbs. And gigantic swarm inside of your stomach. There are so many of them I can barely think, my thoughts are all stung and shaking, and the rocketing little wings vibrate me. It sends the shakes through me like ripples; I can barely sit still. Words and words and words spiral out of my mouth from my chest; words with no shape; no sense.
I am soaring at 3,000 lightyears, 3,000,000 feet above everyone else. While I ascend each second the rest of the world moves like snails on the land beneath these clouds that I stand on. A fluttering frustration with the people below, unable to keep up with me, nowhere near as high as me. But another fluttering too, one from the bird inside my chest, the one I used to call my heart. It beats its wings, like that of a hummingbird, with each swish there is life life life. That feeling of falling in love 500 times a minute. With whom? I could not say. I do not know who I’m electrified for.
The sticky honey from those bees clouding my vision, so sweet but so debilitating. The sweet glucose firing the worlds I have thought up in my mind within the past breath. Fuel my ambition and watch me laugh at you when you tell me inventing a new planet is impossible.
Waves of euphoria crash against my chest like tsunamis, flooding my lungs and my blood with this energy. The kinetic energy within them so strong I can barely cope, the beating within my ribs jolting my neck and twisting my spine. Do not mistake mania for sweet bliss, no, it is crushing euphoria. And with each wave is the message, ‘there is no such thing as sadness anymore’.
Making sense of moods can be really hard, and I’ve found it so bloody confusing when I’ve been so unsure about how I feel in myself a lot of the time. I’ve very clearly had episodes of major depression in my life, since I was 13 but when I talk about feeling depressed I really don’t want anyone to be sad for me or feel bad for me, because it’s okay, it’s just a feeling and an episode of illness I’m living with. Yes it’s awful, but I always know it will pass for me and everyone else. We ALL have sadness in our lives, but depression is complex and can show itself in many forms and faces making it had to definitively know that you’re feeling sad. Everything seemed pretty clear until at 15, I had my first flight into mania that lasted a month and a half (July- mid August). It felt like a deep sigh after holding my breath, or rain to a thirsty plant. The world would be so colourful, exciting, beautiful, rich, my senses brighter, my head running fast with ideas. And through all of it I could never ever fathom how the heck I could ever feel depressed again. But it took so long to recognise this as mania or hypomania, because how on earth can that be a bad thing. We forget the bad bits of a bipolar high, the voices, the anger, the exhaustion we feel once it’s over and feeling utterly, uselessly out of control. I’ll never forget hearing the phrase from my therapist ‘Its like being yourself and being elated again, but it’s also something more’. I never even knew something was wrong, I was just glad to feel something different for a while, but living like actions don’t have consequences compound the impacts of my behaviour often leaving me in a huge mess as my mood begins to go down again. I’ve found meds helpful too settle things down (on a combination of an antidepressant and an antipsychotic) in combination with therapy that can help recognise and unpeel the thoughts and feelings in each episode. But it’s good to understand it all, whether you have bipolar, like me, depression, any other mood disorder or none- moods are all okay, it’s just learning to handle them and heal from them.