Many of my episodes have been what are called mixed episodes, where I had both manic and depressed symptoms going on. I would have the irritation, grandiosity, and pressured speech of mania with the sleepiness, suicidality, weight gain, anhedonia, and feelings of worthlessness of depression. Often my episodes featured psychosis, which is a loss of touch with reality in some area of your life. Most of my psychotic episodes were rooted in fear delusions (false beliefs)—fear that my husband was going to leave me, fear of some unspecified danger, or fear that something was going to happen to my children because God was angry with me for not taking care of them like I thought I should.
Thankfully, I have never had hallucinations, where I was seeing, hearing, or feeling sensations that were not real. I don’t hear voices, I don’t see dead people, and I don’t feel insects crawling on my skin.
Another one of my symptoms falls outside the definitions and involves self-harm that does not rise to the level of suicidality. When I am extremely stressed, I have the urge to scratch my nails into the skin of my arms. A more extreme form of this impulse is known as “cutting”, where people cut on their arms with scissors or razor blades.