It can be so hard to get the person with Bipolar disorder to understand that they’re manic.
I’ve found that with Anon, if I point out why I think she’s sliding into a depressive episode, she can recognise the symptoms pretty easily and admit she’s falling.
When she’s in a really intense manic episode, the worst of the worst, I can get her to recognise symptoms even if I can’t get her to understand she’s extremely ill…it’s kinda hard to ignore the fact that you’re sleeping less than two hours a night, I guess.
Hypomania or lower on the mania front is harder for me to explain to her.
When she’s hypomanic it honestly is easy to mistake her for just being a happy / energetic person. It really is. It’s only the persistence of the mood and when I’m falling asleep trying to keep up with her that I know for sure.
Milder mania, I can tell she is unwell, but she really can’t.
Her sleep is reduced but not drastically (down from 10 hours a night to 7), she is on the go all day, she is impulsive, extremely irritable, she wants me to be on fast speed like she is, and she will spend more money – but usually on things that she does want, or is interested in. It’s not like when she’s sky high and will buy absolutely anything.
At the moment Anon is on the upper end of hypomania.
Reduced sleep, terribly energetic, spending, active, irritable, productive, creative…tiring!!
The other tricky thing is that going out too many days in a row often triggers a manic episode in Anon, or worsens one she’s already in. I don’t mean going out and partying all night, I mean literally any time she leaves the house it pushes her towards mania…shopping, doctors appointments, visiting family, anything.
When she’s manic I try to limit her to two dog walks a day, and nothing else. We’ll go out and do things twice a week, but I try and encourage her to stay as calm and chilled as possible.
Of course this is really difficult when a person is manic, because all they want to do is go out. All. the. time!
I am a carer; it is my job to care for Anon.
A lot of people do not understand this, my dad asked just the other day “you not thinking about getting a job, then?” They don’t understand: I have a job. My job is to keep Anon safe, happy, and as mentally well as possible.
It’s a full-time job and I throw my all into it; I love Anon, she loves me, and to say how ill she is we do well. Even hypomanic, which is her least severe mood episode, I have to be there.
I have to persuade Anon to stay in, and keep her entertained without letting her be too active / stimulating. I have to watch her, prevent her from buying things online, remind her to eat, try help her sleep, try prevent the mania from climbing.
All the while I have to try keep up with her and match my sleep to hers’.
I love her so much. Bipolar is such a fucking ball-ache.