Saturday, September 2, 2006

Mood Watch - 9

I’m wrapping up my trip to Washington and flying home this afternoon. I’ve had a very good time — was interviewed by a film crew making a documentary about Sherman’s March and got to visit with a couple of friends, one of them a fellow Civil War historian, also flown in to be interviewed, whom I hadn’t seen in two years.

As often occurs when I travel, I have been sleeping less than normal. Thursday night it was more or less my own fault: I stayed up late and got up early in order to be as well prepared for the interview as possible. But last night I went to bed around 2 a.m., having spent the evening chatting with my Civil War friend over several pints of Guinness, and awoke around 5 a.m. I was and remain a little bleary but no way was I going to get back to sleep. It just wasn’t in the cards.

It’s always impossible to know for sure what influences my moods — how much is biochemical, how much is existential. Often I have the feeling that, because I am depressed so much of the time, the experience of just feeling normal gets amplified into exhilaration. Thus, paradoxically, feeling normal can feel a bit like the first stirrings of hypomania. And maybe it is the first stirrings of hypomania. To repeat, it’s impossible to be sure, so one just has to be ceaselessly vigilant. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to take a klonopin tablet (an anticonvulsant that, in the Alice in Wonderland world of bipolar biochemistry, is effective as a mild mood stabilizer).

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