Ah, the joy of sleep. After nights of waking at two, three, or four am – sleeping through until six feels more normal. Waking up at two, I can’t make it through a whole day, I’m going to have to get back to bed at some point or take a nap later. But five am is “an early start” and I can make it through a day.
Coming down this time feels different. There is still a lot of that “overwhelming optimism” symptom and my thoughts are definitely at an accelerated pace – but not the full “facing thoughts”. So this is a “very subdued mania”. If I wasn’t watching myself for symptoms of mania I would think of these days in that way.
It is subtle enough that I might not have noticed it. If I hadn’t just come off an obvious – and, for me, more pronounced than is common recently – manic period, then I might have read the symptoms as “productivity” and just some particular mix of increased energy. But I did just come off a really strong sub-manic period, so I know this isn’t just a boost of energy translating into productivity that came.
This is the level of hypo-mania that is almost nice. Because I know the double-edged sword of it, I can’t just being blissfully ignorant of the downsides of this.
Let me describe it as: someone who seemed to need about six hours or fewer of sleep, felt energetic upon waking up and through the whole day, felt exceptionally clear-headed and whose boundless optimism seemed to attract luck and reciprocal good feelings from others.
Someone who goes out for drinks with you, comes home and works while you can’t even, catches that last work email from the boss and then goes to bed later than you only to bounce out of bed several hours before you and has read and responded with alacrity and insight to the client document before you’ve found the coffee as you stagger around grumbling.
Isn’t that someone who you’d envy a bit? And I’ve certainly had my time as the grumbler staggering around seeking more coffee.
As usual, this post brought to you by our sponsor: coffee. Now let me go find some.
 Even in this stronger/more pronounced manic period, I’m still confident it’s “sub mania” or “hypomanic” and not full on mania as clinically described. My symptoms just aren’t the same as described for full mania. I am so thankful that I only have the level of symptoms that I do and I can watch and handle them – along with help from friends and family who know what to look for and help tip me off sometimes.
 The cycling and also, because even in my current optimism, I know that there is a “down” coming from this “up” – I can start to feel it lurking and am a bit scared of it and what it will entail.
 I like to think the even energy all-day is also partly nutrition that I take care of. But certainly having a (temporarily) limitless of energy supply helps.
 I know I envy that person when I’m not that person. When I’m down, obviously anything that is more positive would be nice. And when I flatten out for long-periods then I wish for the productive, energetic days. This was especially true when I didn’t recognize that as part of the broader cyclothymia.
I just realized that I didn’t wake up with music in my head. Makes me wonder if music in my head is a symptom of my manic periods as well.
(Not that I can’t have music in my head at other times, but maybe the racing thoughts often spawn music.)
Photo Credit: Marco Raaphorst