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Brave Souls: My battle with mixed Mania and Depression

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Waking up every morning after a nightmare filled night—complete with tossing and turning—isn’t a good way to start the day. My medicine is supposed to take care of it, but it doesn’t work, and my demons start to find their way into my head. This is how it has been for the last week, or so.

Mixed episodes are extremely difficult. One moment I’m skipping down the halls of a store and talking nonstop, and the next I’m having a meltdown; often caused by emotional overload. I have Asperger’s, which combined with bipolar disorder is extremely difficult. I have to deal with the mood swings along with emotional overload caused by the Asperger’s. This means that when the depression part of the mixed episode breaks down the door to my brain my body thinks that I have a high and a low and it gets overloaded. This causes me to break down.

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Let me tell you an analogy for the bipolar that I experienced the other day. I was working at the library, and was told to make copies. Often it would run out of paper. That’s like depression when your reason for living disappears. The paper is gone and the machine asks to be refilled, just like we need to refill. Then the machine starts heating up and is going as fast as it can handle, sometimes trying to put two papers through at the same time. This is mania.

Mania is going, and going, and going until you start putting out too much of yourself and it causes pain. Then the machine would jam up; several times in a row. This is the emotional overload. Your mind is jammed up, and won’t work. The machine’s screen blinked at me saying that it’s jammed. I silently scream for help, but I can’t function correctly until someone comes and fixes the jam.

Intervention doesn’t always help the first time. I got help from the librarian, and we decided to move to another machine, which works better. We figured out a solution, just like what I do when we call for help. Somebody figures out the right way to help.

Sometimes I can calm down with a hug. Sometimes it takes a calm down pill to take the edge away. Other times, I have to handle it alone, which is hard. Hard isn’t even the right word; it’s excruciatingly painful. My whole body hurts. My sleep goes out the window--except for long enough to terrorize me and make me not want to wake up in the morning. Then the mania kicks in and kicks me into high mode.

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My mouth won’t stop moving, even when what I am saying doesn’t fit in with the situation. I get told to settle down, to slow my speech down, and to quiet my voice many, many times. Mania sounds like it might be fun, but it’s not fun in the slightest, especially when the depression jumps in. In the morning I have a ton of ideas for blogs but then by the afternoon or night I have no energy to write. I’ve put off many articles lately until last minute because I don’t have the motivation to do anything except sit down with my headphones on and turn up the music while I rock back and forth. This is one of the soothing activities that I do that comes with Asperger’s.

Sometimes these episodes I get are at the same time. It’s a strange sensation, but at times I’m up and moving like I would in mania, but my head turns to depressive thoughts, telling myself that I am an idiot and that I don’t have bipolar. Here’s an example: “If I am sad, ask myself, but I am still doing happy things, I must be an imposter. I must be a fake.” Hopefully I get out of this state soon, because the mood swings happening several times a day are really getting to me.

I would like to add that my mood swings aren’t like a person who’s sad for a moment and then happy for the rest of the day. This is my chemicals malfunctioning; not my attitude. I’m not mad at a person, except for myself. I don’t get upset, but enjoy the rest of the day. I don’t like having bipolar, and it’s not cool or a funny thing to joke about. This, it, is my life, and it’s not cool. It’s not funny, and it is debilitating until I am free for a few days or weeks. Mixed episodes have earned their name. They mixed up my week, and they have mixed up my life.

Blog courtesy of Alex of Not My Disability.

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