Living in a Mixed State
By Laura Yeager, World of Psychology
April 13, 2016

You thought depression was tough. You thought mania was exhausting. Well, get ready for something really awful ó the mixed state. Depression and mania mingle to produce an excruciating, unending, torturous feeling.

The mixed state has got to be the worst feature of bipolar illness. You feel both hopeless and electrified at once. Oneís body and mind do not know how to process the mixture. One is miserable, and one is also miserable to live with. Youíre moving so fast mentally that you have no patience, zero tolerance for anything. If any little thing goes wrong, you fly off the handle and never seem to find your equilibrium again.

Since Iíve been in this mixed state, Iíve developed an awful habit of cussing. Iíve been swearing like a sailor. And mean! The mixed state can make you mean. You canít help it. You feel so terrible, so pulled at both ends. You feel like you might snap in half at any minute.

I got this way because my psychiatrist took me off my antidepressants. He noticed that I was not depressed anymore, and he decided to do away with the drugs. I went off both Cymbalta and Imipramine. Those little pills had kept me stable. When I was on them, I didnít have a cussing problem. I was calm, happy; I rarely got angry. Going off of them has destabilized me, my psychiatrist says. My body is trying to compensate for their disappearance. My body doesnít know whether itís up or down.

The positive side is that Iím incredibly productive. Iíve been writing at least one article a day for the past several weeks. For a writer, this mixed state can be seen as a boon. The energy in the mind seeps out and onto the page. In fact, only when Iím writing do I feel normal. I guess this is because Iím channeling the excessive good and bad energy into something relatively concrete.

Although living with this strange mental state is difficult, the people I feel sorry for are my family members. They never know when Iím going to burst into tears or wet my pants from laughing uncontrollably. My son has begun to eye me suspiciously, like he doesnít really know who I am anymore.

Thank God they love me. And thank God Iíve got some good credit built up with them. All those years I was stable on medication that I (and they) could depend on has made them trust me. Theyíre just waiting for the old me to return.

The worst part is that my psychiatrist wonít do a thing to get me out of this mess. He says heís waiting for me to stabilize, whatever that means. I think it means heís waiting for me to leave this mixed state, for he canít do anything while Iím in it. If he gives me antidepressants for the depression Iím feeling, heíll boost the existing mania. If he gives me anti-mania medication, heíll dampen my mood and might make me even more depressed. So I have to just wait this out. I do find a bit of relief from an occasional Lorazepam. I pop one of these at night to help me sleep.

Focus on the positive. Focus on the positive.

I did get an interesting blog post out of my horrendous condition. Itís a bit self-reflexive. A self-reflexive blog post is better than no blog post at all. Right?