Part 2: Hypomania & Fire Fighting
Last night I really lost it.
Short backstory: most people who know me already are well aware that after spending all of 2019 pushing myself to the limit to try and address systemic inequality within the workplace for people with mental health conditions and make changes happen, I finally broke.
Last night’s trigger touched the deep part of my soul that wants to not exist when pain becomes unbearable. I felt a deep sense of not being able to change anything, which would render me useless, a waste of an existence. I know these feelings aren’t reality, and usually do a good job at preventing them or dealing with them when they do. In my teens, twenties and thirties they would have been acted on differently - starvation, bingeing, purging, cutting, overdosing. But last night I moved into the place of not catching it, preventing it going further. The problem was that the trigger had touched a part of me that had broken a perceived support.
After the trigger I should have stepped away from any others. Twitter is not a good place for hypomania. But no LXP friends were available to talk, and I needed to howl. Somewhere. Anywhere.
The second trigger was a post that unwittingly discussed part of the issues that had caused the harm which was encompassed within the heart of the earlier one. All my pain was directed there. I knew I should step away, but the part that wanted to die told me I was dead anyway and nothing mattered any more. As I write this I think I understand that the frantic arguing and venting was a fight against the part that saw me as dead. It wasn’t directed at anyone in particular. In fact I wasn’t following the conversation, I was now typing, sobbing, and whatever I saw I responded to. It wasn’t me. I could almost see myself, separated, scared at the rapid descent. I could somehow decipher that some responses, although arguing back and asking what the fuck was my problem, knew something wasn’t right, knew this wasn’t typical of me. I could see that but I couldn’t stop.
How could I be two things at once? Did that make it fake, if I could understand what I was doing but was doing it anyway? Somehow I stopped before I descended into telling people to fuck off, or worse. It was 2am. It wasn’t the worst it could have been. The rant connected me to others and was a distraction from the intrusive thoughts that told me death was a solution, or placed graphic imagery of the relief that could be obtained by opening skin to let the unbearable drain away. I was tired now, and could cry myself to sleep.
The next morning I thought about deleting my hypomanic diatribe. But I thought that would somehow make it worse, and I’d have to rifle through lots of posts to work out what I’d responded to or said and where. I couldn’t really face wading through. I also felt that leaving it there would somehow be a reminder, like a scar, showing that the vulnerability underneath is real when the moment is long forgotten.
I started to write instead, to download the racing thoughts. I tried to make sense of what had happened. There is something about capturing the moments as they happen to give a snapshot of the intensity of moments that are forgotten and minimised hours or days later. Most of us laugh at antics or responses we have when we are distressed. Taking the piss out of ourselves makes it easier to deal with and heal from. But I am thinking there is something to learn from it fresh, and returning later with a reflective mind that has healed from the trauma and is calm once removed from the stimulus.
I’m even noticing the movement between past and present tense as I scribe. I'm moving between thinking about and then actually re-experiencing what I'm writing about. I’m noticing how I am noticing the moment I’m in or drifting away on another timeline. It’s interesting.
Read Part 3: Maybe it’s not the Hypomania?