/ Bipolar

The Questionnaires

They send me the same questionnaires every Monday. The data from both of them go into a double graph, which helps to build a picture of recurring patterns in my mood disorder. This is how I answered the multiple choice questions this week on the first of the questionnaires:

Depression

I take more than 60 minutes to fall asleep, more than half the time
I awaken more than once a night and stay awake for 20 minutes or more, more than half the time
I awaken at least one hour before I need to, and can’t go back to sleep
I feel sad more than half the time
There is no change in my usual appetite
I have not had a change in my weight
Most of the time I struggle to focus my attention or to make decisions
I largely believe that I cause problems for others
I do not think of suicide or death

Years ago they asked whether I’d describe it as a mood or a feeling.
It’s both.
They asked what it feels like.
In the mornings a wall; in the afternoons a tunnel; in the evenings a sticky envelope.
They asked if it ever gets better.
It’s always there. The sticky envelope is better than the wall.
They asked if there’s anything that might help it, anything from outside.
There isn’t an outside.
They asked what I thought it was.
I looked at the wall.
I asked what they thought it was.

Mania

This is the second questionnaire they send me every Monday. It’s briefer. The data go into the same graph but in a different colour. I can’t describe its shape. This is how I filled it in this week:

I often feel happier or more cheerful than usual
I often feel more self-confident than usual
I often need less sleep than usual
I frequently talk more than is usual
I have frequently been more active than usual

A long time ago they asked whether I’d describe it as a mood or a feeling.
It’s both.
They asked what it’s like.
Joy, hope, love, breath, communication, a drench of sunshine, sitting under the apple tree, high wind on the moors, a long open vista, energy that will never end; poetry in song, rhythm in poetry. Happiness that pierces and dissolves; the sense that everything is mysteriously connected.
They asked does anything make it better.
It's already the best there is.
They asked why I want it to go on.
Who wouldn’t?
They asked if anything helps it, anything from outside.
There isn’t an outside.
They asked what I thought it was.
You tell me.
They said we’re going to send you two questionnaires to fill in each week.
Why two? I’m one person.

The Questionnaires
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