In my previous post I said that I was going to write about how to handle the early stages of hypomania next. And I’ll still write about it, later. But today, much as it interrupts daily living so regularly, my own bipolar disorder is interrupting my blog (about bipolar disorder).
I have been doing very well lately. Since I stopped the anti-psychotics (under close supervision of my psychiatrist, the way it should be done), I’ve been feeling energised, inspired, creative and social. But not TOO much, as I’ve been telling everyone who gives me those “hmmm sounds like the first signs of hypomania to me” looks. I passionately started this blog and some other writing projects. I’ve been looking for ways to become involved in creating awareness about my illness and signed myself up to get involved in a community project at church. I’ve been actively trying to make my life more meaningful.
But then I have a week like this one where it doesn’t rain, it pours, and all my wonderful plans have to take a back seat. Because my brain is a sensitive beast that either shuts down or roars when it gets upset. I received some worrying news about someone dear to me, and it just sent my emotions the wrong way. Then something else went wrong,then another thing, and another. We have also been fiddling with my dosages and I’m taking giant antibiotics pills because an unidentifiable creature bit me. The result is that I have been sporadically sobbing, feeling emotionally drained, tired and demotivated. I can’t get up for work and even fell asleep at my desk two days ago. Just being awake is a huge effort, never mind socialising. I am only writing here because writing and sharing on this blog is very important to me, so it’s a good exercise in doing something while you’re feeling low even if I only feel like watching mindless TV and sleeping. The key is to take up all the projects you started while you were ‘in a good space’ again after you’ve been ‘in a bad space’. It’s not always possible or sustainable.
I’ve learned from experience now that when this happens, I just have to wait it out. The problem is still that I rarely see it coming. The truth is that for the past 3 or so weeks I’ve probably been on some level above ‘normal’ but still below hypomania. Luckily the colour hasn’t drained from the world yet, so I’m still managing, on a level below ‘normal’ but above depression. Guess the mood stabilisers work (at least to a certain extent) after all. Plus I have a gorgeous kitten on my lap who makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
One of the things that makes Bipolar Disorder so difficult to deal with is that every time you just start forgetting that you have an illness, it reminds you again. Even when you’re on your medication and doing all the healthy and right things, life happens, something triggers it, and you are reminded that for the rest of your life you will go through this. I have been described as a sports car stuck in a 100 km per hour lane. I have the capacity to go so much faster and further, but I’m stuck in a slow lane. My Bipolar Disorder is my slow lane, and only occasionally do I have the opportunity to speed along the open road, or in a faster lane at least, before I have to go back. The thing I find most frustrating is having to deal with my own limitations. I use to believe that I could do anything, and everything at once. It’s been very hard for me to accept that I need to take it easy and that there are things I simply cannot do because of the pressure it causes and where that leads me. I am still in the process of restructuring my life and slowing it down to a more manageable pace. I am yet to succeed.
I made a very conscious decision when I started to write this blog that I won’t fill it with my own depressive ramblings and that I want to give the reader something to think about, to learn or to identify with in every post. I don’t know if it’s possible. This disease is certainly not predictable and has many speed bumps to navigate. I sneaks up on you and knocks you off balance. Then the whole process of pulling yourself towards yourself has to start over. The only thing I find comfort in is the fact that the more storms I face, the stronger I become.