I Miss the Mountains--Diana Days

January 5, 2013

I'm into musicals.  My favorite one is Next to Normal.  I've seen it five times. It's about a bipolar woman named Diana.  Here are a few lines of a song she sings as she's throwing out all of her medications...

...But I miss the mountains
I miss the dizzy heights
All the manic magic days
And the dark depressing nights
I miss the mountains
I miss the highs and lows
All the climbing, all the falling
All the while the wild wind blows
Stinging you with snow
And soaking you with rain
I miss the mountains
I miss the pain......I miss my life

I feel like Diana--I miss the mountains, but the mountains are rare for me.  I'm more a valley girl (like, totally).  Since I have bipolar II instead of bipolar I, my dips into darkness are far more frequent than my sky high euphoria.  My doctor says on average, someone like me is depressed 39 times for every one hypomanic episode.

I cycle quickly from feeling hyper and happy for a while to feeling low and lethargic later.  I'm a teacher, so my hyper attitude tends to channel into the classroom pretty naturally even if I fall flat about 3:00.  I guess I'm lucky that way.  I'm what my doctor calls "high functioning".  Thankfully my job allows me to focus my high energy moments into creativity and productivity.  And I'm wickedly good at acting fine at work even when I'm very depressed.  I just put on this performance for the work day and then come unglued when I come home.  This is another trait I'm told is typical of a bipolar II person... oh, and I'm lucky that my meds work...usually.

I've only had one really true hypomanic episode that concerned my psychiatrist enough to up my meds plus give me one dose of Depakote just in case.  I never had to take the Depakote, but I was supposed to call him if I got any more manic and this medicine was supposed to put an end to it.

CONFESSION:  I liked it.  The mania--or "hypomania" to be exact.  I liked that frenzied feeling of electricity lighting up underneath my skin.  It was like Diana says about dizzy heights on mountains.  I liked the jazzed up feeling like I could do anything.  I didn't need sleep.  I didn't need food.  I just played the piano.  I played and played composing more music than I had since I changed from music major to education back in college.

Now, I've had several near episodes, teetering between being spunky and being downright out of control.  These times are very productive for me.  I write a lot of music and I talk a lot.  A lot.  My friends all try to be patient but I know I'm annoying when I interrupt them.  My mind is just flying a mile a minute and I want to share share share.

My doctors (therapist and psychiatrist) both tell me that I'm a very happy hypomanic.  I suppose that's a compliment?  But here's the thing.  It's been a year since that hypomanic episode and I think I'm due for another one.  I've battled depression enough.  I'm taking a healthy cocktail of medications that are supposed to keep me on a more even keel.  If I complain that I'm depressed, I just get a higher dose of the antidepressant that makes me eat the house.  I don't want that.

I want...another hypomanic episode.  I want some "manic magic days".  Of course, I don't want to be so out of control I drive over our cat (that's in the musical), but I wouldn't mind the electricity under my skin again.  Just for a while.

I miss the mountains.

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