I have Bipolar I Disorder, which basically means I’ve had one or more full blown manic episodes as well as depression. I also suffer from mixed states, and about once a year I have hypomania (not quite mania).
My hypomania can be triggered by odd things: the change of seasons, a death in the family, when I start a diet, and it’s more likely after I’ve suffered from a major depressive episode. It’s also very likely after I’ve recovered from being sick (I was hospitalized two weeks ago, and two weeks before that).
Yesterday I ran six miles, biked across town, and then I worked on my feet in my retail job. My mood was super up, I listened to the same song all day, I had euphoric rushes, and I haven’t slept well. I’m probably hypomanic. I’ll have to check in with my therapist to be sure (I have a good mental health care team).
The biggest issue in being hypomanic, for me, is I do stupid shit all the time. I say stupid shit, and I usually develop some sort of unhealthy obsession. I’ve obsessed over a computer game, a band, and in one unfortunate case, an actual person.
Despite hypomania being an alluring rush, it’s dangerous. I’m not reliable. Admittedly the only time I’ve cheated on someone was when I was suffering from my first full blown manic episode, and I didn’t know what was going on, but it still ruined my relationship at the time, and it forced me to live with my parents. I know now not to trust myself, and that self-awareness actually makes me more trustworthy. Like the other aspects of my disease, it doesn’t usually have my best interests at heart. It keeps me from doing the things I want to do, and prevents me from being the person I want to be, more so than being trans ever did, or probably ever will.
In the past, I’ve surrounded myself with people who are aware of my condition, and who I thought would be understanding. I’ve had to leave jobs. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost lovers. When things go wrong, it’s very easy for people to blame the crazy guy. After my episodes, I take stock of my situation. Who is hurt? Who is gone? What do I have left?
Being on social media with this disease can be a challenge. There are more people to witness my fall, and it’s easier to lose people you cared for. In advance, I’d like to thank those who weather the storm. It means the world to me.
I’m not the only trans guy writing about mental health. See Sam’s Finch blog, Let’s Queer Things Up, for more information: