After falling into my second depression, one week in October 2015, in my second year of University, suddenly I didn’t feel sad, I didn’t feel angry, I didn’t feel empty. I felt…euphoric.
That’s right. Out of the blue, out of nowhere, I felt euphoric. Nothing happened. Nothing changed. Suddenly, I just felt extremely happy to be alive.
My roommates kept asking why I was so happy. They were used to me being gloomy all of the time. Suddenly I was out of my room and interacting with everyone and I had what felt like an endless amount of energy.
And I didn’t come down from my euphoria. It lasted a week. A week, no mood change. I was staying up late at night, going out during the day, talking to anyone who would listen to me, planning my future…I went shopping and spent over a hundred dollars on a leather jacket and pants (not my usual low-key style) and I bought boots to match. I felt sexy and confident. I felt like I was on the top of the world. I was restless, craved social interaction, and incredibly upbeat. My head raced with ideas and plans. Unfortunately, this only lasted for a week. After the week was over my mood sunk back down. But it was beautiful while it lasted.
My psychotherapist would later tell me he believed this to be a hypomanic phase, a part of Bipolar type II.
In November 2015 it happened again. Another week (or roughly a week) of pure bliss.
I spent lots of time going out with my boyfriend and other friend, little time sleeping, and lots of time socializing with anyone I could find, even my sister, who found it weird that I was paying attention to her and wanting to have heart-to-hearts and just chat about anything and everything when usually I don’t want to be bothered and spend lots of time alone in my room.
I craved social attention and getting out of the house. Every single day of the week I went out to dinner, lunch, and rarely ate at home. I went shopping almost every day and was taking out and spending $120 or more a day, every day.
When I was not shopping I was writing or songwriting. I wrote twelve pages of a new novel in one day. I spent a morning simply recording song titles and I had a constant flow of ideas of what I would sing about. When my friend came over I just wanted to sing. My excitement and passion was infectious and we ended up singing, loudly, when usually I am shy about singing in front of others and self-conscious about my voice.
I felt joyous for an entire week. I was sleeping very little, staying up to read novels or write creatively. I believed that somehow I would make it work and become a teacher, a singer, a songwriter, an author, a poet, and a piano teacher and trail guide during my summers and down time. And maybe even dip into the acting business. I craved fame. I believed every door was open to me. I believed that I was going to become successful and famous and that so many people were going to love me and that, how could they not, because I was more genuine and kinder than everyone and I also was talented in so many areas. This is weird for me – I have always craved a quiet, normal middle-class anonymous life with someone I love and a family. I made a spontaneous decision to dye my hair, and one morning I cleaned my room and sorted my closet and decided to donate 4/5 of my clothes and begin a whole new wardrobe.
But then it stopped. Over the weekend I grew irritated and agitated and restless and angry, so angry that my thoughts were racing and I couldn’t speak and I punched a small hole in my boyfriend’s bedroom wall. I can’t remember how long or how many days after but in the afternoon after shopping I crashed and I wanted to die to escape the pain. I thought about death on and off for three? Four? Days straight, but I would jump back and forth from happiness, anger, anxiety, and sadness.
For those of you who don’t know the symptoms of a Bipolar hypomanic phase, here they are:
Elevated mood or extreme irritability
Inflated Self-Esteem or Grandiosity
Decreased need for sleep (feeling rested after getting only four hours of sleep for example)
More talkative than usual or feels pressure to keep talking
Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
Increase in goal-directed activity (either at work, school, sexually, etc.)
Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (shopping sprees, reckless driving, substance abuse, sexual indiscretions)
Before I knew what was happening to me, I characterized my mood as “Pink.” November 2015 was the last time I experienced a “Pink” mood.