Content Notice: This story contains references to suicide.
I’ve never been a morning person. If my schedule allowed, I would sleep in until noon and stay up until 4 AM every day. So I knew something was wrong when I started waking up before 6 AM full of energy. I was still going to bed late, but waking up super early with the energy to take my dog on a long walk, or cook a meal to eat later for dinner. I was involved in a drag community where I often went to shows and sometimes even performed. I attended a lot of drag shows at bars during this time and I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I started having racing thoughts where I would choreograph drag routines in my head. The images were so vivid; I felt like I could actually hear the music and lyrics. I had a crush that became an obsession that caused behavior I am embarrassed to admit to today, behavior that was not normal for me. I knew I must be experiencing hypomania— and even though I knew alcohol was likely making it worse, I kept drinking.
About thirteen years before this hypomanic episode, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type 2) at sixteen years old. This was after my first psychiatric hospitalization due to suicidal ideation. Simultaneously, I was questioning and discovering my gender identity and sexual orientation — I came out as transgender and queer during this time of crisis. My medications were changed to mood stabilizers, as a way to treat bipolar disorder instead of what I was previously diagnosed with: major depressive disorder. I continued to have deep depression and was hospitalized two other times in 2004 for suicidal ideation.