#HAWMC Day 14: Write about moments you feel like you can take on the world. Where, when, and how often does this happen?
This is an interesting question for someone with mood cycling, as this can very greatly depending on my mood state. If I'm hypomanic, I feel best when I'm planning or organizing something. Whether it be a trip, or an event, or a goal/dream for the future, it helps me feel in control, despite the ironic fact that it might well be my thoughts and brain running away from me.
When I'm depressed, or less than hypomanic, I often feel best curled up with a good book or writing my novel. In these cases, the inner calm I'm able to produce even in the worst of lows gives me a feeling of strength. I enjoy the introverted side of myself in these times. My ability to be self-sufficient, to not feel I need or desire external input and validation helps me keep my head above water. I feel myself wanting to shift to a quieter, more serene lifestyle. During depressive cycles my "big plans" include goals like meditate every day, finish writing my novel, do yoga three times a week, eat clean and give up alcohol to cleanse my body and brain. In these times, it's an inward focus that brings me some peace, if I can manage any peace at all.
When I'm towing the middle line, I find myself happier with loved ones. My family has known and loved me for 35 years. That's a really long time. They've gone through ups and downs with me, and they know the truest version of me - at least the truest that anyone sees, for I'm often still trying to figure myself out. With them, I can let my guard down completely. It's not weird for them if I talk about mental health and if I have to suddenly stop and take my meds, or if I'm too tired to do much more than sit on the couch. I can openly tell them when my symptoms start to appear, and they calmly ask how to help. My time with my family brings me back to the more innocent times (i.e. pre-"cyclothymia as a major force in every day life" times) of my youth - sitting around the table playing board games or cards, laughing and talking like when I was a kid. The years roll away, and for a few moments or hours, I don't know I have this condition.
Where, when, how often does this happen? It depends on my cycling. If I'm rapid, it can change every day, every few hours. If I'm in a long hypomanic phase, it can last for a week or so. The tricky part for me is discerning what's actually "me" and what's my condition. Do these goals really make sense? Do I actually want to do yoga three times a week and give up alcohol? When do I really feel best? Am I being influenced by my experiences, or the sodium alterations in my brain? It can be, at times, very difficult for me to tell, and I'm sure exhausting for those around me, who have to adjust to my changing needs. To be clear, it's not that I suffer from delusions or hallucinations (neither of which are part of my particular cycling condition). It's that at times I'm ill in one way, and at times I'm ill in another, and I need to treat each time accordingly. I guess the up side of this, no pun intended, is that I'm constantly expanding my brain and myself in directions I didn't think to previously. I'm learning more about myself every day, and I any time that we're opening ourselves up to new possibilities, I think we're doing something positive.