Song of the Day: Neutron Star Collision by Muse
I think a major consequence of bipolar behaviour in my case has been shame and embarrassment after an episode, particularly after hypomania. For those of us who have low self esteem and confidence from past episodes anyway, any more shame and embarrassment just adds to the growing weight- love and approval of ourselves feels even further away!
The symptoms of bipolar are always talked about in such a clinical way online and in books. I prefer to look at the more human side, what it really feels like, how do these episodes really make us feel? What effect do they really have on our lives?
During Hypomania I’ve made some pretty stupid decisions that have caused me great embarrassment and even worse. Here are a few of my escapades:
– Booking myself onto an advanced horse riding trek, injuring my back through lack of fitness and having to halt the ride so I could return to the stables. I had been so out of control of the horse I was bloody terrified and knew that if I didn’t stop then, I was likely to get seriously injured. At least the fear shocked me into making a sensible decision. So embarrassed.
– Taking on a job at a school, then six weeks later depression hit and I found myself cowering in the toilets with sheer panic and terror at the thought of carrying on. I quit, walking out and not telling anyone. Got in trouble for that one- unsurprisingly. I was totally distraught though- there was absolutely no way I could continue in that job. I felt so ashamed.
– Having a major argument with my assistant manager at one job where I attempted to hit him a few times. Ran out in floods of tears, couldn’t believe what I’d done- one minute I was totally raging, then next totally ashamed. This wasn’t me, it was so out of character. Got the sack- devastated, depression followed.
Depression has it’s embarrassments too- much sobbing and crying at work; hardly able to walk around the supermarket due to psychomotor retardation (slowing of movements/thinking), standing still with panic in the middle of the supermarket barely aware of where I was or what I was supposed to be doing. All embarrassing.
Looking back the embarrassing moments in depression have been milder compared with the total shame I have felt as a consequence of hypomanic decisions. I’m so glad they’re over now, but I am learning to accept that the disorder has been the cause of this, not me myself- like being strongly influenced. It was not my fault. I may have hurt and angered people and for that I am sincerely sorry from the bottom of my heart. My regret comforts and reassures me that I am not a bad person- I’ve shown remorse. I’m just a perfectly imperfect human.