Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Hamsters on Crack

When I was a kid, I had this fat, but adorable hamster that simply adored running in his squeeky wheel all night long. Eventually, I had to disable the wheel at night so I could sleep, but the little bastard would run and throw himself into the sides of the cage until I relented and repaired his wheel for him. I don't know how I managed to get the diabolical hamster. Rotten luck, I suppose.

Anyway, I was actually thinking about hypomania which made me think about sex which made me think about prostitutes which made me think about walking in heels which made me think about my hamster's wheel. Somewhere in that convoluted train of thought, I started thinking that hypomania is a lot like sex. Sometimes, it's absolutely mind blowing and earth shattering and amazing (hat tip: Brendan), usually it's marvelous and fun and occasionally, it's just not exactly what you were hoping for.

The strange part of my current hypomania is the sense I have that if my mood is like a whore, I have a slave-driving pimp. Alternatively, if my mood is my hamster, that little fuzzy ball of doom is going to implode if he doesn't run in his wheel all night long.

I'm not only energetic and productive (finally!), but I'm frantic and frazzled and driven by some force my psyche isn't exactly comfortable with. I'm entirely ambivalent about my current state. On one hand (does it have to be a hand? why can't we say on one foot?), I love being ambitious. It brings me back to the days when I was drowning in work, sleeping 3 hours a night and loving every second of it. I feel alive in a way that I haven't in months. I feel like I'm more myself like this than at any other time. When I die, I want people to remember me when I'm this way.

On the other hand, this particular jaunt into the realm of superBeckydom has had drawbacks heretofore foreign to me. My first prolonged sojourn into the manic spectrum of this charming disorder was beautiful. Not only did I feel impervious to the petty machinations of those around me, I also felt intensely coherent and capable. And apparently I was, seeing as how I have this bitchin "Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year" award hanging on my wall. On a big ass urban campus like USC, that award made me feel even better than I already did.

This time is different. It's not that I don't feel great, because I do. It's just that there's a fly in my jello. I'm so easily distracted; I feel like I know what it's like to be one of those C students in grade school. My thoughts seem like those of a drunk on speed—they race enthusiastically around my head and forget where they were going about halfway through their journey. I feel exhausted but I absolutely cannot sleep more than 8 hours a night. (Doesn't seem like a big deal, but from the girl who was averaging 12+, it's quite a change.)

I get anxious in an irritated sort of way. Instead of feeling the impeding doom of a panic attack, I feel this gnawing, grating, persistent anger that warps into an unnerving intuition that all is not right with the world.

I feel more self-destructive than I did before. I've been tempted to throw wild tantrums, an urge I've thankfully resisted as adult rages accomplish very little. I've been contemplating picking up some average bloke at a local bar for a carnal treat. Thankfully, I see Brendan often enough to restrain that urge, but the powerful temptation swells and berates me incessantly. I suppose that aspect of things isn't so different from previous I suspect quite a few of my former neighbors with ambiguous sexual identities could attest to.

Honestly, I try extremely hard to manage this illness well. I have a rough daily schedule. I take my vitamins and my meds (most of the time). I work out. I see my doc.

I know that certain behaviors and impulses I have (ie, the "let's buy a new sound system for my car" impulse or the "let's pick up the first willing male" impulse) aren't the most productive or helpful. I know I shouldn't act on them.

But we don't always do what we should.