I’ve found a new passion! I’ve discovered the fascinating world of fountain pens. I’ve always liked fountain pens, but the messiness of them has put me off. Stumbling across a Facebook group, however, has changed all that. Suddenly, I’m learning about different brands of pens: Sailor, Onoto, TWSBI and many, many more. I thought the members of this group would all be pen snobs and was aware “good” pens could run into thousands of pounds. I’ve discovered, however, that good pens can start at £30. The members of this group have collections of up to ninety pens. And then there are the inks. I never knew there could be more than twenty different shades of pink, and how the search for the perfect purple could engage so many people. I love the names of the inks: names like Monboddo’s Hat - a rich purple, and Writer’s Blood – a deep coppery red.
It was my daughter who told me, although I had half suspected it for a couple of days.
“Mummy,” she said, “You’ve gone into your mania.” Well, actually, she shouted it – because she’s scared of what’s going to happen this time – and she knows it’s inevitably followed by the depression. She could absolutely do without this, just as she’s coming up to her A levels.
I couldn’t tell from the Moodscope scores, because of still being so tired with recovering from this “flare” of my ulcerative colitis, and the hospital stay. Besides, the mood stabilising medication takes care of the worst of it. My family can tell though. I become more irritable, start clearing out clutter, including some things that really should be kept, and I develop new passions – oh, like fountain pens. On past experience, I will throw myself into this new area with great energy and enthusiasm, then drop it when the depression hits, never to take it up again.
Knowledge is power. One of the symptoms of mania is the reluctance to accept that one is in mania, but this time, I can see it. This time there is the possibility of changing the pattern; owing to a new drug my psychiatrist has recommended we add to the mix. I have an appointment with my GP to see if we can go forward with this. I don’t know yet if I can mix it with the steroids and the immune suppressant.
Like my daughter, I am afraid. I feel I can’t deal with the mania/depression at the same time as dealing with the ulcerative colitis and selling my business. I’m feeling overwhelmed. And, all the time, the mania is giving me false energy – a false energy with a gaping emptiness beneath.
Do any of you recognise when you’re in mania and take steps to control it? Do you have support from friends and family, and, if so, what form of support does this take?
Please do comment and share; I’d love to hear from you.