Bipolar disorder has been known to be called a “mixed state” that can be term to describe, “excited depression” meets “manic stupor.”
I consider Bipolar II to be defined by these two states of mind. When I break down my experience over the years it can feel like an excited depression and a manic stupor, cause when I am manic I know beneath it there is an underlying depression. It is as if my mania tries to trick me into hiding my depression, so I don’t think or appear to be depressed, actually the opposite, but the truth is I am deeply depressed. Sometimes if I catch myself in a manic state, I don’t recognize the person that stands before me. She seems lost, confused, troubled and unknown. The more out of control I found myself in mania, the more I felt concern for the depression that was fueling the manic behavior.
Similarly, a manic stupor is feeling mania in depression. For example, experiencing insomnia seems like a manic state cause you are up all night and require meager sleep when really it’s a state of total exhaustion, which is similar to the experience of depression. It can be like a drunk mania, and you are left with a lack of sleep, no sensibility, no hope, and no relief. When I look back to my mania day, I don’t know how I survived being up all night. How did I manage to get up the next day, and get to work, and then back home living in fear of the night knowing I was not going to get proper sleep? The pressure of knowing that I had to get up the next day and be, “productive” only caused more anxiety and resulted in extreme insomnia, so when I finally had to get up it was like a cloud of depression over me. I have to drag myself out of bed, and find a way to get dressed and “out together” and appear fine among my coworkers.
It wasn’t until years of this ongoing struggle, when I finally got help that I for once I knew what it was like to wake up rested. It was my first medication that allowed me to sleep, and not wake up with unbridled exhaustion. I made me reflect on all those torturous years and I wondered how I manage to survive such a chronic disease. Now, when I reflect and examine the symptom of insomnia, I truly understand why Bipolar disorder is a mixed bag. Insomnia is mania mixed with depression.
I hope we can rethink the term “Bipolar” cause Bipolar disease is not really bi-polar. It is not that simple when you try to wrap your head around how what appears to be polar opposites, depression and mania coincide. It can be confusing, but at the very least self-awareness can help you understand your mixed moods and know that when you are experiencing mania or depression you are actually experiencing them both simultaneously.