When hypo-mania meets a fibro-flare

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It’s 3:21 a.m. and I’ve been awake since 1:37 a.m., if I remember the numbers on the clock correctly. This is usually the first sign that a hypomanic episode is starting. It makes sense, now that I understand the cyclical patterns of cyclothymia, since the previous hypo-manic onset was about a month ago, April 22nd or 23rd. However, I must confess, that I was seriously hoping that it had somehow, miraculously gone away. After all, I don’t officially have any “real” diagnosis. Also, I’m in the midst of the fourth week of my 28 Days to a New Me journey, and I’ve been doing great with it. I’m exercising every single day, regardless of how I feel or what other things are going on in my life. I even exercised two hours with a migraine last week!

Hmmm, migraine, I guess I should have seen this coming. *sigh*

Why should I have seen this coming? Well, last week about this time, I had to struggle and push through a depression episode that was triggered by the fact that Keith was experiencing another disruption in his work/home time cycle and, yet again, our finances are swirling down the porcelain bowl. I did push through it with the support and encouragement of people in the 28 Days group. It also is kind of a requirement that when Keith is home and going through his stuff, that I work through whatever it is I’m experiencing to stay present and engaged with him and Luna.

But, let me tell you, even having all the encouragement and support, prayers and validation that I did, for the first time in what feels like forever, and being open to receiving all of that, only took the edge off. I’m not whining or throwing a pity party here, but I’m just being real and honest.


Being depressed is not just being down and needing a pick me up and a quick change of attitude or perspective to turn things around. Being depressed isn’t a choice. At this point, it is a biological, neurochemical imperative; a downhill slide in an uphill battle, pushing one hand against the mountain that feels like it’s crumbling down around you while you try to reach all the leaking holes in the breaking dam with the other hand.

Having the knowledge and the tools of things like The 12 Steps of Recovery, scriptural promises of God’s love and provision, psycho-social knowledge of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other related treatments, and being responsible for the well-being of a child are the things that help me fight through it without the help of or access to medication and consistent treatment by a professional. I’m grateful to have reached this point. However, let me be clear, it is one of the most exhausting things in life to be in a state of depression. It’s even more exhausting fighting through it when just about everyone around you expects you to continue functioning at the same levels as when depression isn’t active.

And so, I pushed through the latest episode of depression and kept going . . . at a cost.

The weather went from dry and warm back to blustery, cold, and wet at the same time as I was pushing through the depression. Then, I thought trying a Zumba class for the 55+ set would be a great idea. The juxtaposition of all of these things combined to trigger a fibroflare of severe pain and fatigue. I’d already been experiencing severe numbing and tingling, mostly in my hands, arms, and shoulders, but also in my feet. At my last screening via the Lions club, last October?, I wasn’t diabetic and the numbing/tingling thing has been going on for more than 20 years.

So, deep fatigue, brain fog, sharp, shooting pain, deep tissue achiness is all combined with the stiffness and pain from what is probably arthritis in the knee and a herniated disc in the lower back with a pinched sciatic nerve are all happening at the same time as my body is going through the rigors of consistent physical exercise after becoming so sedentary that taking a shower had become a workout.

I have concluded that swimming is the only exercise I can safely and consistently do at this point. Even if I have a migraine or any of the other symptoms, I can still swim. I swam a mile in an hour and a half on Tuesday, then again on Thursday. While I was in the water, I was alert, energized, and feeling fine. I felt strong, powerful even. My body functioning and responsive to my commands. I could feel the engagement of my muscles, throughout my body, as my arms and legs pushed and pulled against the resistance of the water. Smooth, buoyant, and purposeful. I didn’t want to stop when I hit the mile mark. Within 15 – 20 minutes of arriving home, the fatigue settled on top of me like a lead blanket and I slept for an hour to an hour and a half. When I woke, my brain felt sluggish and disoriented.

I have concluded that life would be easier if I could live in the water, like a merperson. This conclusion restores a childhood memory of my enjoyment of the show, The Man From Atlantis, and how I would try to swim underwater with the full body waving movement and arms tucked to my sides. I wonder if merfolk deal with things like depression, hypomania, and fibromyalgia?

It’s 4:15 and I’m exhausted, but not sure if I can sleep. I’ll try anyway. Maybe I’ll dream of the ocean and being the purple mermaid Luna told me she dreamed I was the other night.

One comment

  1. ” I wonder if merfolk deal with things like depression, hypomania, and fibromyalgia?”

    Oh wow I can picture a fantasy book based on this… May e because I fight depression and fibro and I have a love/hate relationship with water.

    Snugs. I’ve been doing the opposite of you. Instead of pushing myself I’ve stopped pushing and given in. I don’t think the break from life is doing much either as my neuropathy and panic attacks are up but that could be because we still don’t have my thyroid back under control… Stupid car accident … Grumble grumble…
    Moving on

    You amaze me with all you keep doing and trying. Just remember it takes time, its a process, and we are doing the best we can right now. You are not alone in this. Many of us are struggling.


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