I have Bipolar Disorder and I've known about it for a while. I've had plenty of experience with random switches between extreme ends of the emotional spectrum, and I've got a pretty good idea of what can throw me into a breakdown (in my case, mild and medium-level breakdowns being curling up in a ball, crying and not responding to anyone). But one thing that doesn't quite make sense to me anymore is what gets me out of them. Usually when people buzz around me asking questions and trying to help me (like at school for example), the attention prevents me from getting out of the breakdown as fast as if everyone just ignored me. I hate it when people won't leave me alone and I'm not in the mood, so once it starts to subside I tend to just keep myself in a ball and silent until they give up and go away. The people who've got the most experience dealing with my breakdowns (ie, family and close friends) know to just pat me on the back and leave the room until I come out of it on my own. Depending on whether or not I get solitude, I can take anywhere from an hour to three hours before I'm in control again, and even longer before I'll talk and interact with anyone.
But I recently ran into some extreme changes in my overall emotions, and I'm not sure if they are from Bipolar or if they result from the normal teenage hormone insanity. Throughout middle and high school, I never seemed to hit the same level of thought and feeling of all the other students. I never worried about whether I was thin enough, or pretty enough, or if that guy over there might like me cause he looks hot, or whatever. In fact, I used to slap anyone who suggested I was that petty. My mom thinks it might be that my hormones are just taking their time and coming in late, while my siblings think my "brain disease," as they put it, has just made it difficult to notice hormones because I have to deal with the meds that keep me stable. I just always said I was better than my hormones so they had no effect on me. But now... I think that up until now I've had zero teenage hormones, and now they've all come crashing down on me in the span of one weekend.
Long story shortish, I spent two weeks trying to ignore flashbacks of my worst nightmare-come-true in order to help a friend whose life just fell apart. Since I felt like I needed to be giving emotional support, I fought my own emotions in a desperate attempt not to make her more miserable by making her witness a breakdown. By Friday evening, it was too much. That tiny bottle with years-worth of pain exploded, and I crashed. I can say with complete honesty and accuracy that it was the worse breakdown/panic attack/depression I have ever experienced. I will never admit this to my parents, but even with my medication, I was seriously contemplating suicide. That's never happened before. On a necessary side note, I never log out of my Instant Messenger account, even when I'm not at my computer. So, a guy friend of mine just happened to log on and send me a "Hello". I heard the little announcer noise and got on the computer. When I replied, he could easily tell I was freaking out.
Now here's the kicker: He out-of-the-blue told me the last thing I ever expected to hear. Short, sweet, and completely unbelievable. "I love you." Somehow, my breakdown ended right then and there. Rather than the hours it takes to come out of minor breakdowns, and the days I would have expected for one this severe, the panic and depression just disappeared. Not two days, not two hours; ten seconds. Absolute first time in the six or seven years I've had BD. I was on an emotional high for the next three days--nothing could bring me down. Again, for the first time ever.
It's happened like that three times total now. I have a major breakdown, he sends me a youtube link to a love song, and boom, instant happiness.
I'm eighteen and this confuses the heck out of me. Boys have been generally classified as obnoxious idiots for as long as i can remember, even through my teenage years, and then one guy tells me he loves me and everything changes.
So here's my question: Have my hormones suddenly kicked into hyperdrive, or is this just a weird new spin on my Bipolar?
It does seem a bit irrational that you would all of a sudden get such an overwhelmingly positive response from the guy like that.. unless of course this guy is your soul mate or something. If this isn't some ideal, platonic love, then I'd attribute it to "bipolar" more so than "hormones". Sometimes when we hear things that stroke our egos, our mood rapidly shifts to bliss, for no good reason. The opposite can happen when we hear things that "damage" our egos.. then our mood shifts to a more 'depressed' state. I think it's a matter of sensitivity. According to research and personal experience, people with bipolar are often hypersensitive, and so the smallest things can dramatically alter their mood.
I myself have found hypersensitivity to be a huge problem for me and my life, and so I've striven to cultivate detachment. It's not easy to get to this stage.. you basically have to change completely the way you think and the way you process empirical information. Also, you've got to learn to regulate your emotions without deadening them.. a very complicated process. For me, whenever I would get in a situation were my emotional state would be irrational due to my illness, I would not act on the emotion and instead act as if I was indifferent to how I *felt*. It's tempting to want to indulge in the irrational elevated mood, but in the long run it's much more beneficial to try and regulate your mood so that you can start to process things in a more balanced, rational manner. The trick is to have your center of gravity in your *thoughts* rather than your emotions. If you can accomplish that, then you'll be able to regulate your moods as effectively as is possible for the disorder.