It would be so nice if being hypomanic and depressed at the same time meant that they cancelled each other out, if the high would make peace with the low so you could find a place in the middle. Instead they antagonise each other, taking it in turns to yell or descending into a muddled bicker.
This is day ninety six million of mixed mood.
Your husband is already up, phone in hand, checking his work emails in his dressing gown. You look at his bare legs where they rest on the foot stool. “I really love your feet,” you tell him. You are completely sincere. How have you not noticed how beautiful they are?
“Okay,” he says. “Feeling chipper this morning, I see.”
Of course you love your husband – you only got married last year – but right now you really, really love him, so much that you can’t stop telling him. Last week in the car you said, “I keep looking at you and thinking that I love you so much I might be sick.” Almost every time you see him it bubbles up out of you – iloveyou. You can see that it’s a bit overwhelming to be told so often, to have random parts become objects of adoration, to be nearly thrown up over, but you can’t stop saying it. You mean it every time.
Despite all the lurve you are kind of keen for him to leave for work. You are desperate to get dressed, get out, go shopping, and you don’t want him to try and stop you. You do not wish to be told sensible things, things like, “Slow down” or “Don’t stay out too long” or “try not to spend too much money”.
You feel fast, agitated, whirling around the bedroom grabbing any old thing to wear because you need to be out. Except when you go to get your bag you suddenly don’t know if you want to go after all. You feel inexplicably exhausted, defeated by life, and you sit down. You stand up again because you still want to go. Or do you? You repeat the sitting down and standing up thing then take your clothes off again and get into bed, needing to hide, needing to shut down.
Half an hour’s dozing and that inner drive, that pressure has returned, so you leave on your mad hypomanic mission. On the bus you are buffeted by anxiety. Why did you rush out so fast? Did you lock the door? Have you even got your keys? You go through your bag, putting everything on the seat next to you: phone (good), travel pass, purse, keys! Everything is all right. You glance around and notice there is now only one other person on the top deck. You are glad that she is there. You, on the top deck alone; that would’ve been… unauspicious. It would have felt dangerous, and not the kind of danger that comes from other passengers. It would’ve felt like a message, and there have been more and more messages for you lately.
Your prime objective is to gather items for what you are calling a “festive branch” – an inexpensive alternative to a Christmas tree. You found the branch itself in the park and now it’s in the kitchen, waiting to be made pretty. There is so much useful stuff in this shop! A vase etched with bare trees, echoing the branch itself. A great base. Glass beads to weigh the vase down – they’re inexpensive, so you throw eight bags into the basket. White LED lights on copper wire, prefect. All kinds of beautiful little silver and white ornaments. You are steadfastly not bothering to add all this up. Who cares if you’ve already spent more than you would have done on an actual Christmas tree?
You wander the rest of the store, picking up a stocking filler here, a joke present there. It’s the middle of the day so your teen daughter’s at college but you text her anyway, laughing aloud in the aisle, to ask if you should buy a piñata. “Um mum? 😂 Why? I meaaaaaan…” You’re not sure. It just seems like an important idea.
You’ve a lot to unload at the checkout. The woman behind you tuts and fusses. “I ain’t waiting around for all this lot,” she says.
“I’m entitled to buy whatever I want,” you snap, and when she continues to grumble, “Oh fuck off.” Instantly you are terrified. Why did you do that? What if the assistant won’t serve you and you lose all your precious stuff? What if someone calls the police? “Some people are so rude,” says the woman the till, but you realise she’s jerking her head at the other customer.
The journey home is hard. Everything is too much, too loud, too busy. You have had enough of other humans. You just want to get home and look over your stuff. It pleases you for a moment, but then you freak out. You cram it all back into the bags and shove them right under the bed. You take the guilt about all the money you have spent and try to shove that right away too.
Dinner happens. Watching TV happens. Nothing out of the ordinary, but you begin to feel sad. You begin to feel beyond sad. Your mood has plummeted with shocking rapidity. “What’s the matter?” your husband asks, seeing you crying, taking your hand.
“I feel awful. It’s happening again, isn’t it? It’s all happening again. This is it, this feeling is my whole life. The drugs aren’t working and I’m going to end up in crisis and I’m going to end up back in hos-”
“Ssh,” your husband says, kissing you on the forehead. “You’re over-thinking things.”
“I’m not. I’m not! I can’t live like this. I feel so terrible, oh God, what am I going to do?”
“But this morning you felt great, remember?”
“I remember what I said and what I did. I don’t remember how I felt. I’m so frightened!”
You take a diazepam to take the edge off the pain. You cuddle up closer to your husband, wrapped in a purple blanket, and try to lose yourself in the TV programme and not think, although you are thinking, you are thinking, “Wow, my teeth are really pointy.”
When you clean them you take a peek but they don’t look weird. You hum a little tune as you swill the mouthwash around. When you’ve finished your husband is already in bed, waiting for you to turn the light off. “Are you sure you want to go to sleep?” you say plaintively. “You don’t want to stay up all night and talk to me, do you?”
“Aren’t you tired?” he asks, opening one eye.
“Not at all.”
“You seem pretty chipper,” he notes. “Oh God.”