Last night, I revealed something to my wife because I thought it was important that she know. Since my recent bout with vertigo, I've been hyper-vigilant in paying attention to what is happening to me, most obviously when I get dizzy. I’ve realized, for instance, that I’ve “gotten dizzy” pretty regularly over the years, most likely due to my sinus problems, but in such a mild way that it never seemed worthy of comment. But once in awhile I’d get a little more dizzy than usual, and at times I’d mention this to Robin, in case something serious was about to happen, so she’d be able to pass along the information to the doctors. And the other day, I remembered that once in a great while, my balance gets thrown off, so I’ll walk a straight line but think I’m veering to one side of the other. In short, that scary feeling of vertigo did not come out of nowhere, and it’s a good idea to pass along info about lesser examples to set context.
As I told my wife last night, I assume that I should tell her when I am depressed, for the reasons cited above re: dizziness. Of course, I never tell her, and of course, she can always tell anyway. Well, in my bipolar 2 state, I also experience the “opposite” of depression … it’s why I take “mood stabilizers” rather than just anti-depression meds. So, I thought perhaps I should mention to Robin that recently, I’ve experienced moments of euphoria. If I’m supposed to supply context to my condition by telling about dizziness or depression, then it follows that I should mention if I’m feeling euphoric.
She tried not to laugh. First, she pointed out that euphoria wasn’t the opposite of depression, at least in bipolar terms … mania is the opposite of depression (people don’t max out their credit cards because they feel euphoric, they do it because they feel manic). Second, she said she was glad to hear it, because if I ever did end up in emergency with some oddball excess of happiness, she’d be sure to tell the doctors that I had only recently said, for the first time in my entire life, that I was euphoric.
But here is the real lesson to be learned from all of this: clearly, I think euphoria is a sign of illness. If I feel particularly good, if I have that special feeling inside that turns my frown upside down, my first thought (once the feeling of euphoria has passed) is, “uh oh, I must be sick.” This may also provide insight into why, when I meet someone who is happy, I assume something is wrong with them.