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A Reflection of Mania

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You may be familiar with the term manic depression, where a typical sufferer's moods shifts from manic to depressive in episodes, often triggered by stress, but also brought on by the fact that they are, just manic depressive.

As with most labels, it has been given a trendier name...bipolar disorder. I prefer the old one, it does exactly what it says on the tin. This one somewhat suggests the bisexuality of a polar bear.

Following a recent manic episode I am currently going through the usual 'reflective' phase with my psychiatrist. "Why didn't you ring me and tell me you were manic?" The thing is, the early stages of mania the high phase creeps up on me and to be honest, it's feels good, very good. It's a bit like winning the lottery, so why would I then tear my ticket up? Or winning Britain's Got Talent then going back to the bleak night shifts and daytime TV.

Then, when I've reached the manic phase - possibly because I feel so fabulous I think I don't need my lithium and stop taking it - I've lost sense of what's normal and what's not. I thought it completely acceptable to call the Police with a rambled monologue about how amazing they are and do they know why I've been banned from uniformdating.com, and pop to the shops for a bottle of cava and come back the following day with four hamsters. But alarm bells starting ringing (and cameras flashing) when I fell in the Thames river head first, trying to run along the bank at full speed whilst putting a pair of tights on.

I am aware that I'm a liability when manic. Ironically the hideous lows that follow are accompanied by self-loathing which makes the reflection period a bit like watching an EastEnders' Christmas special with your eyelids staples back whilst sitting on a block of ice.

Now, I live in Hackney in East London. You may remember last July's riots kicking off here on TV and during this time I was amidst my last (prior to above) manic episode and had to be locked indoors by a concerned partner as I was making hundreds of lemon curd sandwiches to take down to the crime scene for the Police, who by the way tend to star in my episodes. But people round here are used to it, we have the highest statistics of people with mental health problems, and if you went to the Museum of Hackney you will discover how many asylums there used to be here. Locals don't even cross the road when they see me coming anymore.

But when I lived in North London they weren't so understanding. One hot summer's day I was roller-skating around Regents Park near Camden listening to my NOW Christmas Album on my iPod, and attempted a daylight disco move thinking I was on par with Torvill and Dean after a gram of cocaine, and I went flying. A 32-year-old woman face down, limbs spread out like a star fish and crying like a four-year-old - those harmonic wails - and a nearby woman who watched the whole thing applied the breaks on the wheelchair she was pushing and rushed over and said breathlessly "Just letting you know that you still have your price tag on your top!" Oh the concern...

So, I make a list - there are many lists in my 'reflection' folder, there is even a list of lists. I write...

"How do I know when I'm high or getting manic?"

Um... Well...
  • I don't sleep - a combination of being too excited about stuff, usually imagined stuff, I fantasize more than I think at this stage.
  • I don't eat - a perk, and one that Woman magazine haven't cottoned onto yet, The Mania Diet, fifties housewives were given amphetamine-based slimming pills and hoovered all day, I guess it's a bit like that.
  • I drink more alcohol than usual - psychiatrists call it 'self medicating', I call it 'I want to drink a bottle of wine by four o' clock and dance round the living room to the the TV adverts because my hands are shaking too much to put a record on.'
  • Spending - and what with rodents also starring in my episodes, at one point I had 16 guinea pigs and 12 rabbits in a maisonette.
  • I'm likely to hit on anyone that stands still for long enough - for that reason a trip to Madam Tussauds is out of the question.

So the above list being my cue to make that call to my psychiatrist. Hmm... maybe I'll just make him some lemon curd sandwiches instead.

Kerry blogs at http://www.seesaw-seatingplan.co.uk/

Around the Web

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