In the last couple of years, I’ve reached out and reacquainted with a couple of others from secondary (high) school. Though I wasn’t really close with them at the time (with the exception of Dan, who was a best friend from day one – literally, we actually met on the very first day), we’ve found commonality as time has gone on.
I have also realised who I am, and the people I get along with. One of these, Harry, who also happens to be a brown guy (Sri Lankan), has a similar story to mine. He is the eldest son in a family of four, also with a younger brother, has had an interesting relationship with his father, was similarly ‘intelligent’ at school, and dropped out of university. He’s also dealt with his own demons, and mental health issues.
I actually shared my blog with him recently and he sent me this message:
After months of radio silence, he got in touch – and I should be seeing him soon. He confessed that he’d had a scare, but was back on the up, and we’re going to catch up when he’s feeling a bit better. When we last met, I remember him saying, “Sometimes I wonder if I’m bipolar, man. I have these ridiculous mood swings”.
We were both comparing how sociable we were around people we were (though reigning myself in at time of writing), yet were introverts and could shut away and turn into hermits for a while. How we experienced real ups and downs. How we seemed to be a couple of weirdos in a world were folks just seemed to be happy in jobs that they really couldn’t give a sh*t about.
As I’ve been paying more attention to my mood and mood swings (e.g. how I tend to feel better in the evening after I’ve ‘warmed up’ during the day – getting out of the house helps), I’ve begun to question whether I am on the bipolar spectrum. I mean, I guess we are all somewhere on the spectrum, but I mean significantly on the spectrum, or at least significantly enough. Aaaaaagh. #overthinking.
It was actually something my psychiatrist suspected and mentioned at one stage, though was reluctant to give me the diagnosis – and then he later backtracked, saying “I don’t think you are”.
Update: I actually saw my psychiatrist last week, and talked to him about this as I’ve been reading others’ experiences online and connecting some dots. He told me that I may be ‘slightly’ bipolar, but that it could also be seasonal affective disorder, or SAD (I feel better in the summer, and get low in the winter) or just this thing beginning with ‘c’ where I just have cycles in mood. Either way, I don’t want any medication as such for the bipolar, I think it’s more just because I like to categorise and make it feel like I have ‘something’ that others have and am not just a weirdo!
The last thing I want to do is incorrectly diagnose myself. But I was thinking about this yesterday. I googled it, and clicked on the first link to take a short test. There were about 10 questions, and I selected a mix of ‘sometimes’ and ‘often’ options for each one. The result was that I possess a ‘moderate risk’ of having bipolar – though continues to say that this was just a test and – of course – could not replace the opinion of a medical professional.
Whilst I’m sure everyone can relate to changes in mood, my swings can be pretty monumental. I can also get hyper when I’m around people, and music. This is also linked to my high-sensitivity (HSP). One of the questions on the test particularly stood out, asking about whether I swing between low-confidence and over-confidence. I thought about this time last year, when I was travelling and watching various sporting events (ah, dreamy), and I became convinced that I was going to become this big-time sports coach and that I had ‘the gift’ – yup, there’s those ridiculously high expectations again. I was in Europe and the US watching tennis and boxing. Acting the part and lapping up the mystique and attention I got from being this guy there on his own. I put on this swagger and this front, tryna act like someone special.
I like it too much. I became a person I’m not used to being. I went ape-sh*t when I thought someone had stolen my wallet at one of the tournaments, and then again at the train station when I missed my train and they couldn’t do something as simple as giving me another ticket at the kid – instead, asking me to go online and booking my ticket from there. It was ridiculous thinking about it, but I really got angry at them, made a scene in the whole place, and it was out of character. I usually avoid conflict or any form of tension at all costs.
I felt like I was an actor playing this part. It felt like O was important, and respected, even though I wasn’t being myself and was actually distancing myself from those around me (kinda like I do now at my gym – a post coming up on this soon). It felt good. Before it all got too much + then it came crashing down.
✏ Written: Tuesday, 13th March 2018 @ 9.20am
What about you? 🤷🏽♂️
Do you find that you have moodswings? Are there any patterns that you have picked up on? Whether you’re bipolar or not, I’d love to hear your experiences – or anything that you feel like sharing 💙