As I’ve said before, I am trying to keep myself from falling into a major depressive episode. This has resulted in me being in and out of hypomania trying to keep myself balanced. Hypomania with bipolar disorder causes a number of problems.
First, let me say that I also have agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a fear of being in public places. To say that I prefer not to leave home is an understatement. I’ve missed a good bit of things due to my agoraphobia and I absolutely hate it. But because of my agoraphobia and tendency to lean more toward the depressed and reserved type, my hypomania with bipolar disorder is a bit different from that of others.
Hypomania that doesn’t fit the description of hypomania
Many wouldn’t consider me to be hypomanic during these episodes. Most would consider it normal behavior but it is a change and indeed fits into the category for me. It’s a mild version of hypomania compared to others who experience hypomania with bipolar disorder, but it is hypomania for me nonetheless. If I agree to go somewhere without much of a fuss, I’m hypomanic. If I agree to schedule things without a caveat, it’s hypomania. I have to monitor these episodes to make sure I stay within an acceptable range.
When you notice I am a bit more talkative and social than normal, that’s also hypomania. I tend to either talk your ears off or barely speak at all. Not speaking has led some people to think I’m a snob. I’m not. I’m mostly scared of being vocal around strangers or in a crowd. Sometimes when I try my best to act as I think is normal I will stumble into hypomania and become too talkative. That also results in unwanted attention and other types of judgment.
Hypomania with bipolar disorder and agoraphobia
I’m saying all this to say that once again I scheduled something during a hypomanic episode. While this is completely normal behavior for other people, it’s not for me. It’s a tad outside my comfort zone because of agoraphobia. I know that phobias are treated by exposure to fears, but it hasn’t cured me in over a decade and I don’t see it miraculously working any time soon.
So here I am with a book signing scheduled for tomorrow and I am freaking out and hoping for a tad bit of hypomania to get through it without clamming up. This isn’t some kind of crazy outing or outlandish venture. It’s normal behavior that I should be able to do without freaking out over it. I need to be able to do normal things without having mini-meltdowns. Is that really hypomania? For me, yes, because it is a change in behavior.
Agoraphobia: I get by with a little help from my friends.
Thankfully I won’t be alone. I will have family with me, which makes it much easier. I would never be able to do something like that alone. Never. I did avoid these kinds of things for years and only first started doing signings a couple of years ago. This is just my third one. I spent years saying I would never have a signing. I did it. I should be able to do it without issues. And I am doing it again tomorrow and freaking out about it.
I know I will be okay shortly after it starts. I know that my mind will start to kick into go mode and I’ll make it through it just fine. I also know that I will be emotionally exhausted for days. This event has an extra reason for me to freak out. This is my first book signing appearance in my wheelchair. Thanks to an undiagnosed illness I have yet another reason to draw extra unwanted attention.
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♫ Here’s to my future. Goodbye to yesterday. ♫
I really want to say goodbye to agoraphobia. I’m trying to hype myself up. Give me strength (and a short-lived hypomanic episode) to get through tomorrow.