Earlier this year, I had a weird experience. And I went (a little) crazy. I was diagnosed with hypomania, which on the spectrum of mental illnesses, is really not awful. It’s main symptoms are increased energy, motivation, and creativity. It’s almost funny, except that it’s not. I am terrified of mental illness, even the good kind.
Luckily, my husband, Geoff, noticed the changes in me almost immediately — most notably sleeping only three hours a night — and he insisted that I see a doctor. I did, and hopefully my hypomania will never develop into full-blown mania or bipolar disorder.
Going crazy, for me, felt like someone had laid a subway map over my mind. All of a sudden, I could see a ton of different connections without even trying. It was both cool and disconcerting. I started to make notes of things all the time. For a short time, I made the notes on Post-Its, until Geoff commented on how crazy that seemed. Then I bought a notebook. In my notebook, I made a list of advice for myself, which at the time felt somehow essential. I felt that if I did not write these things down, I might actually forget them. Looking back at this list, it seems obvious yet a little strange to me. What do you think?
1. Start out small.
2. Get a nickname. Get many names; use them all, but only be you.
4. Know yourself. Learn to trust when you are right.
5. First, become whole. Accept yourself. Then divide and piece yourself back together.
6. Do what you need to do.
8. Answer your own questions.
9. Never be afraid to be wrong. If you are wrong, admit it.
10. Don’t close your mind.
12. Forgive yourself for what you regret. Redeem yourself by doing the opposite.
There you go. I can’t say whether I recommend taking my advice or laughing about it. I was crazy when I wrote it, after all.
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