High Stakes Gambling

I wrote some time ago about coming across the idea that bipolar disorder[s] is an ‘allergy to stress’ and oh boy, if that’s true then the run up to a general election, whilst working 3 jobs and having no confirmed employment after August is like bathing in peanut oil/sleeping in a hay bale/other extreme exposure to common allergen.

I have been riding some fairly extreme [within the context of cyclothymia] highs and lows this past month of two. A couple of weeks ago I had one of the most glorious, free wheeling, ‘good god have you noticed how extremely attractive I am’ periods of hypomania I’ve had in literally years. In fact, it was so pure, I began to believe I wouldn’t experience its corollary.

Of course, I was wrong.

It began to float into view last week.  Like the edges of your vision darkening, or when sea mist starts to roll in and you look to the horizon and can’t quite make out where you can normally see too, but you’re sure it used to be further.

This particular low is everything the hypomania was not. Or, more accurately, the absolute inverse of everything the hypomania was. I was confident, felt sexy and sexual, energetic, funny, articulate, optimistic; now I’m defeated, heavy, pessimistic, distracted and forgetful.  Reflections, which began in conversation with a friend, on my own [experience of] gender that had seemed so intriguing and freeing, have become an internal monologue, a weight, and a source of fear.

I started smoking again. I self harmed.

It’s hard to deal with times like this. I write, often, about the ways I try and manage my cyclothymia through my lifestyle. Generally, I try to stamp down on my impulse to really let highs run unchecked and don’t indulge them by drinking and not sleeping.

But sometimes the allure is too great, the release from the everyday is so welcome, and the energy that runs through me from head to toe is just liberating.

I can’t really eat gluten without getting a lot of pain, and getting quite sick. An NHS consultant advised me to avoid it. Every now and again though, I smell fresh bread in the supermarket, or see a particularly mouthwatering-looking cake, and I think ‘fuck it, the pain is worth it’ and I gorge myself for an afternoon, or a day. As I double over in pain the next day – or sometimes just a few hours later – I usually think “I really should stop doing this, it’s not worth it”. But then the pain subsides, I stumble back out into the world and I sort of…forget.

Stress will keep coming; there will always be something to tip me over into another hard cycle. And the option to ride the wave of unsettled mood as far as it goes will keep presenting itself to me. As long as I can survive the lows, actually hang on through them to the other side, is it really the worst thing to take that pay off from time to time?



Filed under hypomania to the rescue!, self harm

3 responses to “High Stakes Gambling

  1. A. B. Parsons

    Hi! I’m just curious to know what sort of pain you get from eating gluten. Is it joint pain? I ask because I have cyclothymia, and also suffer from fibromyalgia. Drinking beer makes the pain worse, so I avoid it, but I haven’t tried (haven’t wanted) to eliminate gluten from my diet entirely.

    • Hey! It is joint pain, but that’s secondary to the cause which is EDS and/or IBS, the latter causes crippling stomach cramps, indigestion, and other assorted troubles. The joint pain accompanies IBS flare ups – probably all tied together by EDS. I loosely follow the low FODMAP diet, after trailing it under supervision of NHS dietician and finding it relieved symptoms. There are quite a lot of gluten free beers out there now – Corona and Sol are not officially gluten free but come out well under limit for gluten in independent tests, for example 😉 If I were you, I’d trial gluten free for a month and record your symptoms. See if there is an objective change otherwise it is a lot of hassle.

      • A. B. Parsons

        I didn’t know IBS can cause joint pain. I have IBS as well. 😦 I rarely drank beer, never liked it too much, so thanks for the tip but I’m okay without beer. I might try to avoid gluten for a while to see if that improves my pain and stiffness. There’s no swelling in the joints, so it’s not arthritis.

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