Song of the Day: I Belong to You by Muse
As Bipolar peeps we are encouraged by psychiatrists and psychologists to keep diaries of our moods to help them with diagnosis, medication, and help us to understand what our triggers may be and how we are affected by various events and medication changes. Another use can be in noticing our prodromal symptoms. These are our warning buzzers, symptoms that we notice early on if we are dipping towards depression or elevating towards hypomania/mania. This can be quite an individual thing as what I experience as early warning symptoms might be very different to what you experience. But sometimes it can be difficult to come up with behaviours that you notice, because often these moods can creep up on us and before we know it- BAM!- we’re back in bed cowering under the covers and refusing to get out! Instead of looking for things like “feelings of worthlessness”, “low self- esteem” etc, I prefer to be a bit more specific in looking at my behaviour, so here are my prodromal symptoms a la me!
– Indecisiveness: can’t decide what I want to do, eg. if I want to watch TV I can’t decide what to watch so start watching one thing then find I want to do something else but I don’t know what. This goes on and on for hours sometimes- just can’t settle with one activity.
– “Can’t-Be-Bothered Syndrome”: can’t be bothered to get up/brush teeth/get in shower/walk dog/go to work/read a book/cook/clean/make phone call, etc.
– Snappy Snappy! My evil twin Snappy Rachel comes out to play. Become annoyed and irritable around workmates more easily. Generally want to be on my own.
– Toilet Crying! Oh the amount of toilets I’ve cried in when working- what would I do without them?! This one is usually the point where I go- “yeah, I think I might be depressed again”.
– Wow-isn’t the world- like- totally amazing! I love this one! I’m usually sitting on the bus when I start feeling all excited about the day, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, and feel so totally at one with nature and the universe in general, it’s a high I guess. Brilliant fun! But on a serious note, one to be aware of as it is often the beginning of hypomania for me and so I try to take any over-stimulating events out of my day, eg. cinema trips, social visits, etc.
– Buzz and Glow! This is pretty cool too- I literally feel electricity running through me, buzzing through and surging out, radiating straight out of my body. Sometimes it feels as if I could burst from all the really bright, powerful energy inside me. When I experience this, I’m totally aware that it’s unusual, so I don’t think it counts as delusional!
– Babble, babble, babble! This is one I notice more at work, where I chatter a lot, probably talking over other people too and generally not listening. I get frustrated when they can’t keep up with what I’m saying.
– Can’t sit still! Another one I notice at work generally- I can’t sit at my desk for more than 5 minutes before I have to go and get something/talk to someone etc. I often start planning our next social event in the middle of doing something else, forget what I’m supposed to be doing etc. My energy goes a lot more on talking and being with other people, rather than on the actual work. I get very excited talking to people!
So when I’ve identified some of these behaviours and concluded that I might be going down or up in mood, then I know it’s time to make changes, which I will talk about in another post!