Imagine you just spent a month accomplishing things other people could only dream of doing. You feel powerful and invincible. Everything you set your mind to do, you are able to accomplish. Things that might otherwise seem out of reach are not only within reach, but easy-peasy. You’ve spent hour after hour conquering goals, creating amazing things, and devising plans for the future.
You have amazing purpose and passion. You’re driven beyond reason to pursue lofty goals. And when you achieve them, it’s like a euphoric drug that makes you want to achieve more and more. You have little need for sleep, but a voracious hunger and thirst for victory over ambitious goals.
One day something startles you so you slam on the brakes, go flying through the window, and land in the mud. Threatened by the sudden change of situation, you turn into The Incredible Hulk.
People try to help you, but in a reflex-like reaction, you attack them to protect yourself.
Unable to understand what is happening, you run away from the wreck and leave a path of carnage behind you. The power that made you feel invincible seems out of control. You struggle with fear, frustration, and anger.
In a fit of inner rage, you return to your home or office and begin to tear up many of the things you worked on, especially the things that were not yet complete or somehow seem imperfect now. You wonder why the projects that previously excited you now frustrate you. The delete key, the shredder, the garbage can—these are your new friends.
Nothing is satisfying. Nothing is meaningful. Nothing is working. In another fit of anguish, you change back from The Incredible Hulk to yourself, stripped of the power you once had, stripped of the relationships you just destroyed, and naked before the world in a moment of shame as you realize what you’ve been doing.
What follows is the only thing that can follow: Depression. You feel more isolated than ever after leaving a path of carnage. You once stood on top of a mountain as conquering hero and now the mountain has crumbled on you and you are left to sort through the debris. But that’s not as easy as it sounds. Your body needs sleep and lots of it. Going for weeks without sleep can take a toll on you. When you finally crash, you may sleep around the clock for as many as three days.
The confidence you once felt has been reduced to doubt and regret. You previously felt purpose and passion, but now you feel panic and pensive fear.
Bipolar depression means looking at the world through negative lenses. Everything changed. In addition to regret for your behavior, you feel lost and directionless.
The days, hours, and minutes move in slow motion. It’s all you can do to get through a day, let alone tackling any of your projects. You are completely disinterested in the projects that once excited you. In fact your whole life feels hopeless and it seems as if this painful existence will never end.
Even though you know it’s just a cycle, it can’t end soon enough. And the negative cycle seems much longer than the positive one. You can barely remember the euphoric cycle, but you would do anything to get back to it. Like a drug addict, you long for the high you have felt. But this isn’t drugs. This is bipolar disorder.