What is a mood swing

green leafed tree

What do you imagine a mood swing looks like?  In the dump one day and on top of the world the next?  A fiery outburst at work followed by a calm reconciliation?  A typical mood swing is very two dimensional compared to a bipolar mood swing.

I’ve lived in a world that looks like an impressionist painting.  Daubs of brilliant green for leaves.  A smear of yellow sunlight bursting through.  I’ve felt time slow as I walked through this impossible landscape.  Life itself the invisible canvas thrumming underneath.  Distorted time in a moving impressionist painting infused with what can only be God.  This isn’t just happiness, this is extasy.  This is touching heaven.   

I’m connected to the world at the deepest level.  There are no words for this.  That tree a block away?  I can feel the sensation of the bark against my skin as if I were touching it.  Delusions bleed in gradually.  The streetlight overhead went out because I’m emitting an energy.  Just as my surroundings are somehow flowing through me, I’m able to reach back out and affect them.  Time picks up its pace and gradually starts to move faster.  This amazing world, I must understand it!  I must know everything!  I read about neurology, physics, philosophy.  Faster and faster so much knowledge to absorb and I understand it all.  But I don’t just read, I paint, I draw.  Ideas are flooding in and drowning me.  I’m speeding down a highway without breaks.  I have no control.  I’m going to crash.  I know I’m going to crash but there’s no going back at this point.

It all stops very suddenly.  There’s a moment when everything just stops.  I can’t think.  My mind is quiet because I can no longer form thoughts.  Eventually sentences get a staggered start.  This isn’t a peaceful intermission though.  I’m uncomfortable.  Something isn’t right.  It’s coming, isn’t it?  I know what comes next.

Inevitably, a cloud slips overhead.  The painting starts to discolor and peel.  The world is transformed into shades of black and white.  The connection I had to everything has suddenly snapped and now I’m drifting further and further.  The isolation I feel is painful.  Painful.  That’s the perfect word for depression.  It’s physically painful to live.  If I were bleeding out on a table in the ER it would be comparable, but people would then see the damage and understand.  Completely separated from the outside world my mind has turned inwards and it screams.  I visualize myself committing suicide over and over and over, and it’s so real…and I want it.  From the outside it must seem that I’m staring blankly into space but inside I’m watching such horrors.  How do I survive this?  Well, that’s for another time.

This is one mood swing.  They’re not all the same.  It can take days or months to complete its course, but the extremes leave me questioning what is real.  It’s as if someone is dimming then brightening a room with a switch.  The level of light constantly changing.  Shadows coming and going.  Which setting is real or normal?  What do others see?  I have no reference point.  And I have no control.   I know this will happen again, only the presentation will be unpredictable.

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