This week we're joined by Anastasia Vesperman. This week, Anastasia is giving us an incredibly open insight into her life with mental illness. Here is part three of her 3-part piece
"I told you I was ill." Spike Milligan.
I have schizo-affective disorder. As it happens, I don't personally have periods of moderate affect. Ever. I generally swing from hypomania to mild depression, at the very least, and miss the middle - sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot.
Let's start with hypomania. Hypomania lies between my full-blown mania states and my baseline state. Hypomania feels like FUN, but, for me, it almost always ends in tears. I start on an upward climb of extra motivation, creativity, excitement, and joy. Things would be okay if it ended there, but it never does. I usually start on this journey due to lack of sleep. Which is due to excitement. Which is due to lack of sleep. And so on and so forth.
Anyway, I digress slightly.
When I start to get manic, the following things occur:
* The rate of my speech speeds up. To the point that I can't be understood.
* I start to skip from idea to idea so quickly that I end up jumping track mid-sentence.
* Grandiose ideas. For some reason, I never get religion, or plot to take over the world (that one is obviously out, I don't have an evil lair yet), but I will commonly try to work out how to organise the whole house (and the shed) in one day, think that I can write a whole computer game by myself, or think that I am on the cusp of some new scientific discovery.
* I will have all the energy. I can usually do most of the laundry, the dishes, and the house cleaning, all in one fell swoop. Which sounds like a good thing (Am hygiene!), but because I also suffer from chronic back pain, is not so good. I usually end up having a pain crash after this.
So, those are the "positive" effects of mania (i.e. the ones that distress me less).
The "negative" (i.e. personally distressing) effects tend to be:
* Irritability. This goes hand-in-hand with the frustration I experience, because any hold-up in thought or action, on my part or anyone else's around me, will make me lash out verbally. I'm getting better at reigning this tendency in, but it's bloody hard to do.
* Agitation. This is expressed in fidgetting when sitting down, but more often in pacing up and down the house, and can extend to flapping or wringing my hands as well.
* Aphasia. Words are hard.
* Extreme anxiety and panic attacks.
When I hit a crisis point with my manias, I generally have a psychotic break. This year, for the very first time, my end-of-summer psychosis did not manifest - yaaaay! Go team!