The perfect storm

You wake up after 6-7 hours of sleep, feeling energetic and happy. You’re skipping stairs, dancing your way to work. At the office you dazzle everyone with displays of creativity and sheer speed at which you (perfectly) perform your work. After work you have a date, to which you go in your work clothes, but it doesn’t matter, because you’re a fascinating person, you’re fabulous, great to talk to and your smile — never fading from your face — attracts everyone, from the waiter to your date, who is thanking their lucky stars they met someone like you. You don’t drink but you don’t have to, because your inner extrovert is out, and having a field day. When you get home, you write two chapters of your novel before finally going to sleep. It’s a bit hard to fall asleep without a sleeping pill, but you don’t mind, running through the details of your amazing day in your mind over and over.

The perfect storm: the mild hypomania. +1 on your mood chart. You don’t have hallucinations, you don’t do anything scary, you dazzle and amaze. Work is a pleasure. Sunshine feels like it’s caressing your skin. Rain feels that way too, actually, come to think of it. Gods smile at you, and you perform, and create, and attract, and…

…the problem with the perfect storm is that it never lasts long. It either goes further up, and you become irritated, snappy and everything’s too slow, sunshine too hot and rain too wet, or it drops you down without a warning and you wake up with something heavy atop your chest, trying to cope with the fact that everything, but everything in the world is scary, except for your bed. But all of us who experienced this state crave it. It feels like being on really good drugs, nice drugs, free and available at the pharmacy of our brain. But I am yet to meet someone who found a way to get into that mild hypomanic state and actually stay in it.

At Psychforums people sometimes ask: will it get me manic if I drink a lot of coffee? Skip sleep? Take this or that pill? Of course none of them means manic manic. They all want that little buzz when you’re just a bit more dazzling than usual; when sunshine is brighter, grass is greener and rain is glitter. The bad news is: there is no known way of triggering the perfect storm. It comes and goes, whenever it feels like. I got an hour (literally, one hour) of it last weekend, walking from the supermarket, Madonna in my headphones, overjoyed with the very fact I did shopping and it was not raining. It felt incredible, as if I unlocked a secret level of the world where supermarket shopping was exciting. If there was a good-looking guy around, I’d flirt with him, but luckily the street was empty. Which was also perfect. I don’t know how it happened. I did a lot of writing that day, and I had a strong coffee, ate some apples, nice dinner and somehow the combination triggered the perfect storm for an hour. It was so disappointing when the brief encounter with magic ended. I wasn’t depressed, but I almost felt like I should.

Sounds familiar?

Photo: “Super Smile” by Takashi Hososhima (CC2.0)

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