What It’s Like to Experience a Bipolar Mixed Episode

The struggle I’m fighting this week.
A frustrated guy looking at a laptop. | Graphic made by author with Canva.

Extreme fire danger. That’s been the headline here in southeast Tennessee for the last week.

After weeks of no rain, everything is powder dry. Parts of my lawn are bare where the grass dried up and blew away. Then the humidity level dropped to 13 percent. Many of us are sitting on pins and needles, praying no one carelessly flicks a cigarette butt or starts a fire.

The fire warnings remind me of how often we are powerless to fight what’s happening in our life. For example, I’ve been coping with mixed episodes. I think they’re almost worse than depression by itself.

With depression, you feel worthless, but you have no energy. It’s easy to spend days in bed or in a recliner, alternating between sleeping and binge watching mindless videos.

During a bipolar mixed episode, you still feel worthless, but you’re also restless. I feel like I need to be moving, be active, but there’s nothing I want to do.

Part of what I’m dealing with is end-of-the-year frustration. Usually I don’t do a year-end review until the last half of December, but I started early this year.

I hoped to be much farther along with my online content by now. I had a fantasy of gaining 1,000 paid subscribers for the Positivity Club and selling hundreds of printables on Etsy. Neither dream came true.

Even so, I need to stop whining. I may have missed my goal, but 2023 has been a good year. My online content brought in more money than ever. My blog may even make a profit, which would be the first year ever. It’s been a money pit since I started it.

I should be dancing in the streets! Breaking even would be a reason for a parade, so a potential profit deserves fireworks. But my mind won’t let me celebrate. I can’t get past the negative feelings inside.

Another issue bringing me down is empathy fatigue. I just learned the phrase this week. Empathy fatigue: when you’re exhausted from feeling everyone else’s emotions or from having compassion for them.

All the suffering in the world, three years of it, is too much. Between the two wars claiming thousands of lives to the non-stop stream of severe weather events, it all feels too much.

I can’t see one more child crying on the news. Each face sticks with me for weeks, and the heartache is unbearable.

So I turned off the news to regain my peace. I also turned off notifications on my phone so won’t see any headlines. It’s too much, and I need to focus on myself right now and avoid triggers.

Then other bad news reached out to smack me in the head. This week, 12 of my friends tested positive for COVID. While they are all recovering well, it’s brought my worst fears back to the surface.

My parents are three years older now, so I’m terrified the virus could kill them. I fear who I will be after they’re gone. With both of them in their 80s, I know that day will be here before I’m ready.

Do you ever feel like it’s all too much? Like the weight of all the bad is so heavy you can’t breathe? I’m there, but I’m not giving up. You need determination to make it through a bipolar mixed episode.

Graphic made by author with Canva.

I’ve been here before, fighting a bipolar mixed episode. Actually, I’ve been in much darker places before. Like the stories I told about stealing a gun or nearly losing my fight, I know what rock bottom looks like.

I’m not there now, nor do I think I will sink so low. This pain hurts, but it’s been worse. So, I’m giving myself permission to have an extended pity party.

I’m going to cry for the kids on the news. I’m going to whine about missing my goals. Then, I’ll spend a few days in isolation and refuse to answer the phone or reply to text messages.

Everything hurts inside, but I know it won’t last. So I’m going to embrace the suck, let my darkest feelings run free, and eat my fill of empty calories.

In a few days, the worst feelings will pass. When I’m better, I’ll get up and get busy. Maybe 2023 wasn’t my breakout year, but I’m still here. So I’ll try again in 2024. And I hope you’ll do the same. Things will get better again.

Although I felt low, I still released the Q3 2023 Edition of the Best of Speaking Bipolar e-magazine yesterday. Paid members of my Positivity Club received a free copy. You can also buy digital copies from my Etsy store. As with prior issues, this edition includes three months of blog content in 64 pages.

Some weeks, bipolar has the better hand. It beats you down and steals all your chips. Then it walks away, laughing at your defeat.

That’s okay. Accept the bad days and cry your tears. Just never forget you’re still in the game. As soon as you can, get up and fight again. That’s what I’m going to do.

Thank you for joining me in my pity party. I promise to be more positive next time.

Until next time, keep fighting.

Pinterest pin. | A writer with bipolar disorder peels back the curtain to show what it's like to experience a mixed episode. 
#SpeakingBipolar #mentalhealth #mentalillness #bipolardisorder #mentalillnessawareness
Please share on Pinterest. Graphic created with Canva.

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