Mixed episodes are defined by symptoms of mania and depression that occur at the same time or in rapid sequence without recovery in between.
This may seem impossible to anyone that has never experienced this. How can someone be manic and depressed at the same time? The high energy of mania with the despair of depression. I can see why that wouldn’t make sense to none suffers.
People experience bipolar differently. As someone once described to me it’s like your own fingerprint. Unique to each individual.
Today I am suffering a mixed state episode.The mixed episodes are the worst. The most unpredictable and the ones I find difficult to explain.my mind and body are so confused today. Hear is what mixed state is for me.
I woke up early this morning, a little after 6am. It was after 4am by the time I’d dropped off to sleep but I felt refreshed despite only sleeping two hours. Despite feeling refreshed and ready for the day my first thought was. ” I wonder if anyone would miss me if I was to never wake up” then the sadness came. The overwhelming sadness that hits your entire body. I’m sure I can physically feel my heart hurting. I dont know why I feel so sad but the feeling is real. I curl myself up in a ball pull the duvet over my head and cry. I cry so hard my body shakes I cry for no other reason than I’m alive today.
I’m not sure how long I remained under my duvet. My eyes are swollen and sting so much they hurt and the sadness has left me feeling tired. I’m emotionally tired. Emotionally tired because physically I have an overwhelming urge to get out my bed.
I cant sit down any longer I need to move I need to walk/run jump anything but sit. I throw the first items of clothing I grab on I’m ready to start the day.
My daughter is late up today it’s not like her. ” oh my god she is dead” sheer panic has set in now. I cant physically move. I’m frozen to the spot and all I can say is “oh no” over and over again. I work myself up so much I can no longer breath. Shaking uncontrollably, I cant shout out for help nothing is coming out my mouth apart from “oh no” despite me screaming in my head “help me!”. I cant get enough air. I can feel pins and needles over my entire body. “This is it I’m going to die!”
It’s the footsteps coming down the steps that bring me to. Its my daughter coming down for breakfast. “She is ok” “she is not dead”. I’m unbelievably overwhelmed just to see her little face this morning I feel like the luckiest person in the world being her mum. I hug her so tight I struggle to let her go despite her trying to squirm herself out of my grip.
“What will I do if something were to happen to her?” “what if she gets run over?” “What if someone kidnaps her? OH MY GOD HOW WILL SHE COPE IF SOMEONE TAKES HER?
The tears appear once more. My thoughts are constant thoughts of ways she might come to harm and I can do nothing to stop them. I feel a sense off loss. I feel the grief of losing my daughter even though she is sat in the same room as me and I’ve not lost her. The feeling is real. grief has a hold on me in just the same way.
I don’t understand what happend to time from there. The past few hours are a complete blank. It’s like I’ve visited a place of emptiness. A place where you can’t even feel your own presence. Like when you awake from sleep and haven’t dreamed. Your awake and then its day. I wasnt asleep I know that much. It’s a feeling I cant describe when you loose time. All of a sudden you come back to reality. I feel confused and disorientated.
I try to get through the day the best I can. My moods and emotions are so rapidly changing sometimes within just minutes I cant focus on anything. I cant take anything in. My anxiety is that high I’m freezing cold but I’m excessively sweating. I gasp for air because my brain is so confused I forget to breath. I feel so light headed and nauseous because I just keep forgetting to breath.
“What’s that you say”? Confused looks in my direction “I didnt say anything”🤔 I can hear the voices now. I normally only Suffer with auditory hallucination while I’m in a manic state. The voice is hear again now though. The voice I hear is of not one I can recognise but it is always the same voice I hear. It’s not a voice in my head. He is loud and clear. He is in the same room. The voice is as real as if it was an actual person talking to me. I dont understand why no one else can hear him. That is how clear the voice is. “Karen” “karen” he calls out my name. Over and over again. I really dig deep within to block him out. I just want some peice but still the voice calls my name. The voice now is nearer as if a person was sat at my side. The more I try to block it out the more frustrated the voice becomes. “Why haven’t you managed to kill yourself yet?” “Your pathetic, you can’t even do that right” “why dont you try now”? Go on do it. “Hang yourself from the garden tree” “your a burden to your family” this just some of what the voice says to me and encourages me to do. I place my hands over my ears and can do nothing but rock. I cry and cry and cry. I cry so hard I loose all controle weeping outloud. Please go away. Please just stop.
I honestly cant describe what it feels like to be in a mixed phase. There is not a feeling attached to it that I can relate it to. The changes in mood and emotion are so rapid and happen so fast that it’s hard to know just what I’m feeling. Sometimes I dont even have chance to try recognise the mood or emotion because it changes before I can even think about it. I have experienced mixed phrased episodes from each side. The feeling of being manic and having depressive episodes is entirely different to being depressed with manic episodes. Today I think I have depressive episodes with mania, along with symptoms of eupd. I’m not too sure I just know I’ve cried alot. The suicidal ideation has at times been so dominant today it’s taken over at times. But it’s the early hours now and I’m proud I’ve made it this far. I’m still hear I’m still winning. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I don’t know when this phase will pass or even if I’ll have strength left to fight it again tomorrow.
a common misconception about bipolar disorder is that a person with the diagnosis only experiences two distinct moods: either really high highs (mania), or really low lows (depression). Its so very much more than that and can even cause a sufferer like I myself have experienced to have even psychotic episodes. It’s easy for people that have a none diagnosis to be ignorant to just how servear our disorder is. At just how poorly we can become.
It’s taken me four hours to write this post. I’ve had to take many breaks until a mood shifts or the tears stop. Today has been not just a fight but a war I’ve had to face. I am mentally emotionally a physically exhausted and drained. I don’t know if I’ve anything left in me to get through the night if I’m not able to sleep soon. All I can do is take each five minutes at a time. That’s all I can manage for now. Days like today when every single minute has just been hard, when mental health has its hold on me over powering me and taken complete control. I can’t help but wonder how much more I have to face/battle/fight before giving up is okay.
This is just a very small part of my mixed state episode. I spend this phase in so much confusion i have no idea what I’m even doing for most of it, often because I forget what I’m doing as I’m doing it. I could go to the lavatory and sit until my legs are dead because I’ve forgotten to get off it when done. So much confusion i can’t remember simple things. I can’t even tell you my name. This is only A tiny glimpse into what a mixed state episode is for me. If you experience mixed state episodes yourself I salute you. You or a warrior.