It’s a very strange thing to be in a mixed bipolar episode. It’s an odd hodgepodge of symptoms and while popular thought keeps episodes of hypomania/mania and depression completely separate events, that’s not always how it goes. Sometimes you have both symptoms of depression and hypomania/mania at the same time.
It’s like being really excited about your depression. It’s feeling exhausted and like you want to sleep, but when you lay down to rest all you can think about is getting up and doing a million things all at once. It’s feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing when you’ve spent the entire day doing everything. It’s weird and disturbing and uncomfortable every second of every day until the feeling stops.
Being in a mixed episode is bizarre, to say the least. You never know how you’re going to feel from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. It’s difficult to plan anything because you have no idea what mood you’re going to be in. While it sounds awesome to go to the movies with your friends while you’re hypomanic, if depression rears its ugly head at exactly 6:40pm on a Friday night, suddenly, going to see a film is a horrendous torture.
Which isn’t to say that hypomania is all good things. When you have a lot of excess energy, you often find yourself putting that energy into odd things. Sometimes it’s positive. You might clean, you might write something great, you might put yourself to a task and finish it and feel accomplished. Other times you devote yourself to feelings of anger or guilt and shame. Sometimes you put all of your energy into hurting or punishing yourself.
In the end, it’s exhausting to even attempt to live a life in a mixed episode. No matter how much energy you start out with or re-cooperate throughout this time, the constant mood changes, having to continually check your behavior and your words, doubting what you’re thinking and feeling, leaves you feeling like getting out of bed and interacting with other human beings is entirely too difficult.
Unfortunately, time doesn’t stop for those in bipolar episodes. Even hiding ourselves away doesn’t freeze clocks or slow down the frantic pace that society works at. My graduate school classes start up in a few days and I’m left with hoping I can manage my disorder along with my work and school work.