Here it is, the week of finals. This is normally a stressful time for any college student, but most college students aren’t facing the issue that’s plaguing me right now. A bipolar mixed episode. Mixed episodes can be the most dangerous part of the bipolar spectrum. Most suicide attempts and hospitalizations occur while a person with Bipolar I is in the midst of a mixed episode. A person experiencing a mixed episode can feel on top of the world and lower than low all at the same time. Sounds confusing, right? You have no idea.
Today, I was driving in my car, talking to myself. (Yeah, crazy. Whatever. It’s how I work through things and I’m all alone, so who cares if I seem a little nutty.) In a matter of moments, I went from telling myself how glad I was that I made such progress in my homework, to being angered that I still had so much more to do, to feeling lost, lonely, and confused. The person reading this who isn’t bipolar is probably thinking I have some serious issues. Trust me, I’m with you. The swing of emotions that happens so very fast is one of the most mentally stressful things I’ve ever experienced.
While I was having the solo therapy session, I realized that I don’t think even my closest friends and family have any sort of clue what goes on in my noggin. I manage my disability with what I feel is great finesse. Everyone seems so surprised when I tell them I’m on the brink of a meltdown, stating that I seem just fine. It makes me wonder if I’m doing myself and others a disservice by covering the way I really feel inside. Maybe I need to lower the walls, open some doors, and let some people in. I’m not ashamed of my bipolar, but I also admit to wishing I didn’t have it. To wishing that I was “normal” (whatever that is). So I hide. I hide the craziness in my car where no one else can hear. I hide it in my head where it springs from. I’m not saying I should let my crazy out full force on everyone all the time, but I do think I need to let it seep out here and there in good ways. When I hold it in, it tends to explode all over those closest to me. No bueno.
Anyways, there I was, sitting in my car, and I had the urge to throw a fit. To kick, cry and scream like a child. So I did. I found a secluded spot, parked the car, and let loose. I had a temper tantrum for the first time in decades. And you know what? It felt good. I drove home, feeling so much better. Now, back to studying. These finals aren’t going to ace themselves.