It all started in March and it started with the sleep. Or rather the lack thereof.
The Severe Clinical Depression he was diagnosed with last year, which had been going on probably for a good year before that, started with his inability to fall or remain asleep.
Towards the end of February he began acting like he didn’t need to sleep at all, he’d become almost nocturnal. Despite the doctors’ warnings that he be mindful of his sleep he refused to go to bed before midnight then sprang out of bed at 5am.
Of course the new habit of chain smoking and living on coffee and red-bull throughout the day (according to his colleagues) couldn't have helped. The doctor had also warned him about stimulants.
He’d often pass out on the couch right after dinner, sleep for an hour, then get up at 10:30pm, have a cigarette then find some important thing that had to be done before bed. That would generally take a couple of hours.
His nocturnal nature was ruining my sleep; he would often call out to me long after I’d gone to bed and was deep asleep. Or walk into the room banging around like a bull in a china shop. He blamed me for being a light sleeper; suggested I see the doctor to sort out my problem.
Well when someone’s dropping a pocket full of coins onto a wood dresser, while talking to you, after midnight – I think that will do the trick. Or banging the en-suite and wardrobe doors at 5am, that’s a pretty efficient sleep disruptor too.
I told him one night; “I'm worried about you,”
His response was instantly angry. He snapped at me; "Can you stop it!"
He’d started drinking more too and starting earlier. One Saturday morning we had a painter come to give us a quote. When the painter arrived at 11am, He was sitting out the front if the house with a glass of wine in his hand.
His interaction with the painter was incredible. He talked over both of us, I couldn’t get to telling the painter what we wanted done. And He kept cracking odd jokes, then suddenly said “So, cut to the chase - how much?”
I suggested we tell the poor man what had to be done before he gave us a price. The painter looked very uncomfortable, I was embarrassed and He kept acting drunk or high although I was pretty sure it was his first glass.
He told me later that the painter was obviously a simple fellow and enjoyed a good joke. I had thought by his body language and facial expression that the painter couldn’t wait to get out of there.
I was loving his being so positive and high on life after his horrible depression, but he wasn’t being responsible or mindful of the condition he'd had or the medication he still takes. He’d already lost a considerable amount of self-awareness and his ability to notice other people’s reactions to his behaviour.
Sometimes it was like he was on fast forward, interrupting, talking over the top of me when I was speaking to other people. He had complaints at work for the same thing.
In mid-February his bosses called him into a meeting and asked him if he was using cocaine. He thought it was hilarious and he shrugged it off.
He did develop some addictions though: Facebook, listening to loud music all day and half the night, he opened a Twitter account, and of course his smoking went into hyper-drive. Despite sitting Lilli down and promising to stop smoking with an add-on lecture about the importance of keeping your promises “Daddy will always keep his promises to you,” he said. He could barely go an hour without one (or two).
He’d sit out front of our house for 45 minutes smoking, wearing headphones and engrossed with Facebook. Lilli on several occasions was inside screaming her head off.
One Sunday I was having a lie down - I was exhausted having been woken me up at midnight and again just before five am.
Lilli’s screams dragged me out of my stupor; she was on the toilet, she’d been calling her daddy to wipe her bottom, and had ended up with a bad leg cramp. Our poor baby’s face was soaked in tears and she was sobbing and hiccupping. He was out front smoking with music blasting in his ears.
I asked him; “What if she’d fallen down the stairs?”
“She won’t fall down the stairs”, he said.
“She did on Thursday”, I told him, “But luckily I was behind her and caught her.”
If I wasn't around I don't know what would happen, but he promised not to leave her in the house alone anymore while he was outside with headphones on :0(.
That was a risk I stopped taking.
2 weeks later - March
We began experiencing the 'crash' - His hypomanic state, that gave him so much energy and love of our family and life; back-flipped and he began fighting everyone. Anyone who didn't agree with him in every way, including and especially, but not exclusively, me. Suddenly it became all about him and my role was of the studio audience; laugh and applaud but don't contribute. I also became the emotional punching bag.
He was also becoming incredibly distracted to the point where he'd often forget to feed Lilli. On a night where he'd woken me up again, I got up late: 7:30 ish and I asked him if he'd given Lilli breakfast. He didn't look up from the lap-top but he said; "Yes, I fed her."
When I got downstairs Lilli said; "actually mummy, daddy didn't give me breakfast and I'm really hungry."
I made her pancakes and discovered he'd just opened her a tetra box of milk then got distracted.
I did some research at the end of February into the symptoms of Hypomania and what I was seeing was a list of textbook behaviours:
- Excessive happiness, hopefulness, and excitement
- Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable, angry, and hostile
- Restlessness, increased energy, and less need for sleep
- Rapid talk, talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Tendency to show poor judgment, such as impulsively deciding to quit a job
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity -- unrealistic beliefs in one's ability, intelligence, and powers; may be delusional
- Increased reckless behaviors (such as lavish spending sprees, impulsive, abuse of alcohol or drugs, or ill-advised business decisions)