I was hypomanic yesterday afternoon, and, boy, was it fun. My enjoyment was impaired only slightly by a suspicion that I was behaving a bit strangely. I had all the classic symptoms: I was unable to shut up in a meeting, my language became more convoluted, and I drove recklessly. I felt compelled to mention Zeno of Elea and the Duke of Wellington several times. I also entertained the following thoughts:
1. I am so clever!
2. Work is so fun and absorbing!
3. How I love test and software engineers! (This is particularly nutty — when I am in my right mind, I would like nothing more than to strangle the entire Mission Planning group because their work is invariably late and shoddy.)
4. How fun it is to think!
I’m betting this is connected to going off of my antianxiolytic. Ever since, I have the great pleasure of thinking much more clearly. Why, just yesterday I performed a minor but sweet mental feat without thinking: I looked up Alcibiades’ mother’s family name in a book I’m reading about the Peloponnesian war. Years and years ago, my mind effortlessly retained the general layout of most texts that I read. While I didn’t have the entire text of Middlemarch neatly arranged in my head (a trick of the late literary critic Northrup Frye), if I needed to find a particular passage, I could always recall its location on the page. I lost this capacity years ago, but apparently have regained it entirely.
This is big. For years I’d been mourning — mourning, I tell you! — the loss of a whole series of Stupid Brain Tricks, and even if others don’t notice or care, it’s distressing to shed brain functions wholesale. My moods are have been volatile, but it’s more than worth it. Strangely, I’m much less anxious, and am less prone to disappear into what I think of as my Dark Tunnel of Misery, a mental state that renders me unable to hear or see others.
In other Fascinating Mood News, I have been slacking on walking and meeting my social obligations. This weekend I intend to restore those habits, since the next phase of my quest to become The Perfect Mental Patient begins Monday.
Lately my mood has settled into a weekly cycle that I can’t shake. Sunday and Monday I am positively crippled by depression. My spirits begin to lift on Tuesday, and by Thursday I am as brisk as a bee in a bottle. On the bad days I struggle mightily to shift laundry from the washer to the dryer, and there seems to be no hope of folding it once dry. I spend Thursday mornings bustling around the house knocking out even the most repulsive tasks, and at work I crank widgets briskly.
I’m not sure how to handle the down times. A part of me refuses to accept periods of low productivity, so I castigate myself early in the week. Three days later, I am positively smug with accomplishment, resting secure in the knowledge that I am busy and therefore good. I’d like to treat myself with compassion, but my Inner Protestant can’t stop carping. I’ll have to devise a solution and share it.
One last thing. On If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going, the author shares a list of things she’d like to do someday. Imagining future self visiting London, for example, helps her to survive brutal lows. I will have to try this on Sunday, provided I can move my hands.
Love to all.