I originally wrote this blog post in December 2018. Reposting here as I won't be renewing the domain name on the other blog. I published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice in 2021.
It's now 8am. Alarm has gone off for me to take my morning meds. Usually I would crash back into a deep sleep. But currently I've been in hypomania and awake since 2am being productive with creative projects. I woke up early a few days ago and typed for 6 hours straight writing the first draft of the final chapter for my semiautobiographical novel, Pet Purpose. Usually I struggle to get out of bed before midday because of how bipolar 1 disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and my medication affects me.
Just realised that I've had Keys to Imagination by Yanni stuck on repeat for over an hour. It's a fast paced instrumental piece. I put Yanni on because I realised that it the piano became a trauma trigger for me and I've worked out why. It's to do with sex and violence. Now I'm listening to Rain Must Fall which is my favourite. I haven't listened to piano or played for years because it was too upsetting for me and my mind would go blank and I couldn't 'remember' how to play even though I've played since I was a child.
This morning, I've scribbled lots of links to include in Pet Purpose, wrote several pages in my journals, posted a few blog posts and even posted some of my paintings and the new blog post links on Twitter which I don't usually use.
I know now not to post anything on social media in mania - completely lunatic rantings of a person with a distorted perspective suffering and in pain but also feeling grandiose - cringeworthy to look back at and delete my Facebook posts. I still feel in control of it in hypomania though, which is an elevated energy for me but I am still in touch with reality.
I still get ups and downs on meds, just haven't had full mania and severe depression for over a year now. I get episodes of hypomania if I've been doing some processing for PTSD. I'm quite jittery like someone who has drunk several cups of coffee even though I don't drink coffee.
When the energy happens, I direct it into creative projects. Eventually I will crash, often with a migraine and sleep it off. I am not able to work regular hours yet because my waking and sleeping cycle is still so messed up and I usually lack energy. I enjoy the bursts of energy because I get things done.
At least I haven't had the big crashes for over a year by not going to full mania which is a tsunami of destruction (literally - I destroy stuff). If the hypomania continues for too long or starts to turn into full mania, I'll need to get some medical help, but for now I feel in control of it, like a surfer feeling confident riding a wave.
Currently I'm between the yellow creative and the red racing energy in my painting I Sea Red which represents how I cycle with bipolar 1 disorder and PTSD. The bigger the wave, the bigger more dangerous it is and the bigger the crash.
Slowing things down
Called the mental health crisis team to ask about my meds because I'm in a constant state of high arousal in a fight or flight state as well as hypomanic like an Energiser bunny. They told me what I already knew, that I need to rest and sleep because my bipolar and PTSD activate each other and things can spin out of control quickly. I need to temporarily adjust my meds so that sedated and sleeping properly and in a calm state. Have been in this state after a massive trauma trigger recently.
Some things I have are pressure of speech, racing thoughts, very messy and big handwriting, racing doing everything, sweating excessively, extreme hypervigilance (on the alert for danger).
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Xanthe finds creative expression including writing and painting to be therapeutic and helps her to manage her diagnoses of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).