‘Handle with Care’—How to Get Rid of Mixed State Sensitivity
When in a mixed state, it can help to learn how your cycles tend to play out, and to recognize and manage the emotions that come along.
Most of the bipolar episodes I experience are mixed. I can go from happy and energetic to drained and ridiculously depressed in about 30 seconds flat. Books on bipolar disorder sometimes use the phrase “walking on eggshells” when referencing how those who love us should behave around us, but I like to say “handle with care”.
One Mood Is Enough—Why So Many At Once?
At times I think it would be nice to just go through a major depressive state for a little while and get it over with, so I could be sure that life would go on uninterrupted for a bit. It would be great to be full-on manic for a period of time as well, to experience that unending joy and energy that comes along with it! But alas, I get to juggle emotions all over the spectrum at once. Maybe this is what I get for bragging about my ability to multi-task for so many years. I have been in a mixed state for a few weeks now and I think I’m starting to come out of it, but who knows, really? I’m not even certain what my “normal” is nowadays.
One thing I know, when I’m in hypomania it is much more likely I will snap your head off than it is for me to cheerfully talk your ear off. I can become quite irritable, hating everyone and everything, especially myself. When this goes on for more than a day or two, I know for sure I’m having a mixed episode. I still shop for things I don’t need or can’t really afford, such as clothes or decorations for the house. Maybe not to the point of remodeling or putting in new windows, as I did in a major manic episode many years ago, but less expensive things I could still do without.
Finding Some Relief, Then Regret
Pretending to be an interior designer is one of the only things that soothes “the grouch” and is the one part of bipolar disorder that I really do enjoy. I’m not a girly-girl in the shopping sense; I cannot stand to physically go out shopping, but put a screen in front of me and it’s on. Oh, the racing thoughts; one idea for an item leads to another, and another. After a few hours, I usually end up with a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff for the house and it’s like Christmas for the next week or so. I almost always experience disappointment in myself after, for having spent the money. I deal with that depression when the credit card bill comes. But at least there are cute things in the house, right?
The thing I have been discovering about myself during this particular episode is how incredibly sensitive I can be. I’m a highly sensitive person by nature, but I am especially touchy when I’m experiencing hypomania. If someone disagrees with me, corrects me, or even has a certain tone with me I will break. If it happens to come from someone I love it is 937 times worse.
I will cry a river and convince myself that they hate me, that I’m a horrible person, that I’m no good to anyone, and that the world is going to end.
Seriously, it is beyond ridiculous. I recognize it too, I can even tell you how ridiculous I’m being while I’m bawling my eyes out about it.
This has happened quite a bit with a certain someone this time around. I know without a doubt this person loves me, but I’m still not convinced they “like” me. I become so overly sensitive that it is difficult to carry on a normal conversation. My mind stays in constant defense mode, just waiting for the trigger word or tone to come.
Although I recognize these heightened emotions, I am still learning to work through them when this occurs. They say recognizing you have a problem is a major step towards correcting it.
The last two or three mixed episodes I’ve gone through have made me acutely aware of all the different emotions I experience. Once I know that I have made it through this particular chapter, I hope to establish a logical strategy for making it through the next one. It truly is mentally and emotionally exhausting just to live with, and manage, bipolar disorder. Luckily, I do have a pretty good support system at home, as well as online.
Just as I am still learning things about myself, they too are learning how to handle me “with care” when necessary.
The Rage Inside: Mastering Explosive Irritability and Anger
Why Do We Get Suicidal After Euphoric Mania?