The Hangover

You know how I’ve talked about how mania reminds me of my boozing days? Here’s a way in which the tail end of a manic episode mimics waking up the morning after a drinking binge: a delightful phenomenon my good friend Jesse calls the bipolar hangover.

I gotta admit it…..I feel like crap. As in exhausted, like I finished a triathlon and mowed all 2 1/2 acres of our property in the same day. I always forget how much energy it takes to maintain that level of intensity over a period of days or weeks. When a person who is NOT young does a full day’s worth of yard work in three hours and still has enough energy to chair-dance half the night—-and that’s just one day!—the inevitable crash can be pretty rough.

Another similarity is this: many of the sordid details of this episode are fading fast, and I’m left with an awful memory of watching shadows turn into monsters and being afraid to wake Will up so he could reassure me that what I was seeing wasn’t real. I also remember that ridiculous conversation with Dr. Awesomesauce during which I wore a path along the garage floor, pacing back and forth and yelling into the phone. I’m sure he’s dealt with a lot worse things than that, but not from me!

And then……there’s the remorse. Believe me, it’s not just good old-fashioned Catholic guilt that strikes me when I come out of a manic spell. There are always amends to make……to my husband for putting up with my shenanigans, to my family for making them worry, to my friends for arguing over whatever issue I’m obsessed with at the time. (This time around, it was the so-called Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare. Do NOT let me get started again.)

But what I feel really guilty about is the fact that this, like all manic episodes, gave me one hell of a carnival ride and I enjoyed every minute of it, at least up until it turned on me……as it inevitably does. What part of this am I still not getting? I’m considered by many to be a reasonably intelligent person, yet I can’t seem to grasp the idea that hypo/mania is not my friend—any more than alcohol is. Both lead me down paths that ought never to be explored by anyone with an addictive personality; unfortunately, they both create a sweet madness that is all but impossible to resist. And as always, I wonder why doing what’s good for me is so. damned. hard.

This is the second time in recent months that I’ve gotten too big for my britches and thought I could afford to take some risks, or maybe even that I’d been misdiagnosed. (I know, you’re probably going “So how’s that working out for you?”) I should’ve known SOMETHING was out of whack when I started believing that I had merely experienced a long series of life crises that made me temporarily crazy, and that it was all over now.

Do we know any MORE jokes? If anything, this latest adventure should prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that “it” will never be over. Which means I’d better learn to take better care of myself and like it, or I can look forward to more guilt, more apologies, and more posts like this one. Ugh.





Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

One thought on “The Hangover

  1. hugs hugs hugs. This is not your fault. 🙂 Believe me now! As many times as you say to yourself, “I coulda woulda shoulda,” give yourself kudos for the realizations and changes you HAVE made, the things you HAVE learned. You are not the same person, not ignorant or unwilling. You have come so far! Be kind to yourself dolling!


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