What’s “normal”?

I had my first proper hypomanic episode this year.

Except I didn’t think “oooh, how cool, I am having a hypomanic episode!”. I thought I finally recovered from my depression that has been fucking up my life for months before. Suddenly, I was energetic, creative, brave, flirty, social (this comes from a “previously known as shy” person), I had no fear, everything was in my reach and I could do anything I wanted. Life was AMAZING. Every day was a new exciting adventure. I met a man I fell in love with, I found a career path I fell in love with, I started a business venture of my own, I was convinced everything would go my way. Until I stopped sleeping at night, because I was too busy having ideas. At 3AM.

Oh, I thought, obviously I am now fully recovered from my depression! I need to lower the dosage of my antidepressant a bit! And I did that, and it worked fabulously, until two months later the whole business repeated, with added crying in happiness because life was just SO AWESOME. So I lowered my antidepressant dosage again and four weeks later I woke up terribly depressed with no prior warning.

I spent two months in what I thought was a very odd way for depression to return. A few hours would be a messy, depressive state of pain and suffering. Another few would be incredible creativity and productivity, where I tried to catch up for everything by doing things twice as fast. Sometimes this would start at 11pm and continue until 2am, when I would force myself to go to bed, where I would then… NOT fall asleep. I spent two months sleeping only in two cases: 1. when I was totally drunk and 2. when I took a strong sleeping pill. The remaining nights were spent in the state of almost-being-asleep-but-not-quite. I’d spend hours bored off my tits, turning left, right, left again, right again, but never falling asleep.

I went to a doctor asking how to go back to normal. When I said normal, I meant the first months of this year, when everything was going so well. So what I didn’t sleep? Sleep was a waste of time. I’d just stay up until 3am and work. I wasn’t tired the day after anyway, and to be honest turning in my bed trying to fall asleep was much more exhausting. I also missed my creativity, and worried seriously that I’m going to fuck up my amazing perspectives by being depressed and unable to work.

When the doctor told me that the beginning of the year wasn’t “normal” but “hypomanic”, I felt like ground has been taken away from under my feet. It was truly terrifying to hear. I thought I recovered. I thought I was being a success, that I could tell people how to lose their fears and heal their depression. I wasn’t. I was just sick in a different way. Hearing that made me more depressed than I have ever been before. Because I thought, this is the real me. This is the person I always meant to be, and that person is fucking amazing. That person can do anything, take on anyone and never feels fear, and gets shit done. Well guess what? That person was being mentally ill and a large part of the successes happened in the person’s head. Yes, big chunks of that success have worn on the world around, and to a degree my plans were realistic and could come true. If not for the fact that I went into mixed episode when nothing could really get done and all plans had to be postponed.

I am now wondering how on Earth I am going to know that I am doing well on my mood stabilisers? Where is my mood supposed to stabilise? What do normal people actually feel like? I thought they felt like I did at the beginning of the year; I thought I was just smart and amazing enough to be able to do things “normal” people didn’t dare. Now I am 35 and yet again I do not know how I am supposed to feel; function; think. Who am I? Which person is the real me? How will I know I am now stabilised? Is there a “stable person” test one can go through?

It’s worse. Will I still be creative and fearless, or will I become boring and bereft of ideas? Will my IQ still be MENSA-scale? Will I still be able to talk to absolutely anyone absolutely anywhere or will I go back to being shy and hiding in the corner? How do I get out of my financial rut? What am I supposed to be? I thought I knew. I thought I had it all, and I thought I was on the right track. It’s pretty fucking painful to be told that was hypomania speaking. So when hypomania doesn’t speak… what direction do I go?

I posted a Björk video, because that bitch definitely isn’t “normal”. What is Björk exactly? Is she bipolar, borderline, or just plain ol’ mental? It doesn’t matter, because she’s Björk. She’s pretty much recognised as an insane genius. Am I half as talented in any direction as she is? Which direction is that? And how the hell do I get the funding to continue pursuing it?

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