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I am a 29 year old woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1 and also suffer from general anxiety and panic attacks. I have only been recently diagnosed but have been ill since I was a teenager. I tend to have mixed-manic episodes, hence the name of my blog. I am a regular guest blogger for Black Dog Tribe. I am not a mental health professional. I am just writing from my own experiences with mental illness. If you wish to use any of my blog content please contact me at lababup@gmail.com. Visit me on twitter @lababup

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Am i feeling manic or depressed?

When you have bipolar disorder it can be really hard to identify the mood you are in.  When I experience a depressive episode it's often quite easy to identify it as such. My whole body shuts down and I feel like I can’t do anything. The feelings of despair are overwhelming and the negative voices just won’t leave me alone. I know that I'm depressed but I can't do anything about it.

However, when I'm not depressed it can be really difficult for me to tell what mood I am in. The problem is identifying the difference between just feeling ‘normal’ again and experiencing a swing towards a manic episode. Throw in the possibility of a mixed episode, where you experience mania and depression at the same time, and things get really complicated. 

I went through a stage of obsessive blogging just recently. In hindsight I think it was because I was on the manic side. Only I didn’t recognise it as such because the frenetic drive was tainted by a low mood. In other words I was having a mixed episode.

I thought that my drive was just because I was back to feeling more normal again. I thought now that the fog of despair was lifting, I was back to feeling inspired again. I had all these ideas for blogging and for my creative writing. I finally felt like I had a purpose. The lack of working or studying meant that I had been feeling particularly worthless and this was giving me some sort of self-esteem boost.

My inspiration of the past two months collapsed about a week ago. I suddenly felt drained and all written out. I look back at what I wrote and I see all the mistakes. I realised that my sudden feelings of being inspired were misplaced. It was just mood related and didn’t lead to anything amazing. No one cared anyway! I was caught up in the whirlwind of manic excitement and now it has all collapsed around me.

I don’t even know what mood I'm in now. I feel pathetic and hopeless. I have to email my university department today to tell them I'm not coming back for another term at least. This may mean they cut my funding and so I'll never be able to complete my PhD. Part of me would feel relieved in the sense that I wouldn’t have to go through the stress. However, a much bigger part of me would feel like a real failure and like I've completely wasted the last few years. 

Sounds like I am depressed from that description. However I still feel WIRED. I feel like my brain is buzzing away at me incoherently and like I can’t turn the switch off. I'm ignoring everyone around me because I don’t know what to say or how to describe my mood. I ' just attached to my computer in the hopeless task of distracting my brain from itself. It's doing something nasty and I don’t like it one bit. 

Usually my posts have some kind of point or message but I'm not sure this one does. I guess I mainly wanted to say that I feel all over the place. I'm not manic but I am not exactly depressed either. I guess I'm distressed and confused by this mood state. I just hope it doesn’t last too long.


  1. I have felt exactly as you describe, and am delighted to have found your blog.

    1. Thanks for reading! It is nice to know someone can empathise, although I obviously wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

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