I have this friend. We’ve had an on-again off-again relationship for years. She makes me feels things that no one else has ever made me feel. She is charming and witty and so fun to be around. But when she leaves, which she always does, I’m a ragged shell of a person.
I’ve talked about her before, how she rips through like a tornado. Leaving many confused and bewildered people in her path. How she leaves people in awe, how does she do so many things in 24 hours?
She showed up again last night. She was her usual vibrant self, all smiles and hair and sparkling eyes.
I was happy to see her. I had a lot of things I needed her help with. We embraced like old friends, and got to work on some projects for the house.
Eight hours later, we were still going. The guest room was painted and decorated, the gross palette from the garage had been transformed into a shelf, my shoulder was sore, and I hadn’t eaten or stopped to go to the bathroom.
I woke up this morning and she convinced me to clean all the baseboards before coffee. She also yelled at me for not cleaning the butcher block island. So she made me do that too. But I couldn’t be mad at her. She was right, after all. The butcher block was dirty.
She started pointing out dust and dirt and unfinished projects and new ones I hadn’t even thought of yet. I just wanted coffee but she wouldn’t let me get to the kitchen without discovering something new to work on. My shoulder ached, by back hurt, I was hungry and tired, but she continued to point out more work to be done. She wasn’t smiling anymore, I think I was letting her down. She looked tired and overwhelmed by my incompetence. I just wanted to see her smile again.
This is only 24 hours with hypomania. She’ll stay for days, sometimes weeks. My husband will ask me why I’m working so hard, and I’ll respond “I don’t know.”
My counselor thinks I should cut off my relationship with her. But somedays I just don’t want to. I miss her. She makes me feel like a superhero, even if when she leaves I’m left exhausted and depressed. She pushes me, she helps me see my potential.
Apparently having her around isn’t healthy. When I’m with her I turn into a different person. When I’m with her I have an inflated self-esteem, which just feel so good but makes me make commitments I just can’t keep. I’m more talkative than usual which at first is fun, but soon I feel the pressure to keep talking. And I can’t stop. I have flights of ideas and I feel like my thoughts are racing and I can’t slow them down. I’m super distracted, I can’t hold a conversation or walk into a room without finding something new to do. The things I normally enjoy become excessive. Instead of just crocheting because I enjoy it, I start crocheting a scarf for everyone I know.
Hypo-mania will normally stick around for a week or until she’s sucked all the energy she can out of me. Then she packs up and leaves. And I cry. I cry because I lost my best friend, the one who made me feel like a superhero. I cry because I feel so normal now without her. Actually, I feel worse than normal. I feel sad, and worthless and lazy and tired. I sit in front of the TV and tell myself all the reason she left. Because I didn’t work hard enough. Because I wasn’t good enough.
I know it’s not healthy. I know I’m not supposed to let her in the house. I know I should make her leave.
But I miss her when she’s gone.
A hypomanic episode is not a disorder in itself, but rather is a description of a part of a type of bipolar II disorder. It can be treated with mood stabilizers and therapy.