Doing What I Know

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I am having a very difficult time forgiving myself lately for having bipolar disorder. Even though I know it isn’t something I can help having. I feel like when the delusions are raging and the disease is out of control it is at my own doing that things are falling apart. As if it is all in my control and there is a magic button that will make all the bad parts of this disorder disappear if I just do everything I am supposed to.

Fortunately, that is how it works a majority of the time. If I take care of myself and do the things I lay out for myself in what I call my bipolar care plan I normally don’t have any slip-ups and if I do they are very minor slip-ups and they don’t take but a little tweak and I am back on routine without question.

 I have experienced a major relapse episode of mania

Recently though, I have experienced a major relapse episode of mania. That episode has now put me into a questionable position of being in a mixed state. A mixed state in bipolar is where you are still experiencing symptoms of your mania like some of your inability to sleep, your agitation, irritability, some of your focus, and many other of manias characteristics but you are clearly in a deep depression and not euphoric at all.

 Mixed states are the most dangerous times for those of us living with bipolar disorder. When someone with bipolar disorder is in a mixed state that is most often when they will take action on their threats of suicide and turn the threats into an actual attempt on their life. Most of the time when someone is in a mixed state they are also feeling like they have no will to live at the same time. If they do feel like they have a will to live it will be a last minute decision to take their life and act on the feeling and because it is something they have thought long and hard on in the past they already knew how they would go about taking their life if they even thought they would do so.

 It has been since 2008 since I wanted to take my life

Let me be clear. It has been since 2008 since I wanted to take my life. It has only been in the last 3 months that the thought of suicide has even returned to my thoughts. I had not thought about suicide in so long I thought I was free from ever having thoughts like that again. This disease is a nasty beast. It sucks the will to live out of you because you just want the pain and delusions to stop. You just want to stop hurting everyone else. You just don’t want everyone to hurt because of you anymore. I know that my stopping my hurt in that matter would actually do more harm than good. I would never take my own life. I can’t lie though and say I am not thinking about it again and that once again I am not suicidal. I am. I very much am. I, however, promise you even though I am thinking about it. I do not have a plan in place and I am not going to act on it.

I need to get myself back to a place of recovery and wellness. Bipolar Care plan 101: Step 1: Self-Care; today I went to get a pedicure and to get my nails done at 2:30 I will walk to the gym and jog. I have set a goal to get back to running again, I would like to actually find a 5K and run it with my husband. That seems pretty lofty but manageable. I don’t know how he feels about that, but I like the idea of us doing it together. Once I get through Step 1: Self-Care. I never stopped Step 2: Medication, I kept that up the entire time.

I am one of the lucky ones

I am one of the lucky ones I have said this a million times. I have support. The support of my husband who loves me unconditionally and the support of the rest of my family and friends. I am blessed. Bipolar sucks. If I have to have it, at least I am lucky enough to have it with people around me that love me. Thank you to each of you that take the time to love me, check on me, and send me messages, it doesn’t go unnoticed, I love each of you and you mean so much to me. I am more of a person because of each of you.

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My Bipolar Care Plan: A 3 Legged Stool

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how I cope with manic depression

I often find myself putting other people I meet who have bipolardisorder into two clearly different categories. Either they are like myself and they are manic, or they tend to have depression more of the time. For me, if I have depression, it is normally mixed in with feelings of regret of what has happened in the past. I try hard to not dwell on the past.

As a person with mania, there are many things that I feel are different for me than for other people. For instance, I tend to have manic rage and manic anger. I have manic disappointment as well.

The main thing to remember is when I use the word manic you could also use the word extreme or over the top. I have extreme rage and extreme anger. It would be something that would be measured on a scale of one to ten and would top off way over the ten mark. So high it would be off the chart. My anger matches no one else’s I have ever met. However, in the same respect, I love with the same passion. Mania doesn’t just go one way.

Mania also gives me happiness. Sometimes I can’t even get past the joy I feel. It can be overwhelming. I will feel on top of the world and like I can take it on. The best part is the creative juice that flows from me when I feel like that. It is like words and art flow freely from me and I can’t stop the creativity no matter how hard I try. It is the most amazing thing in the world.

Trying to find balance in the world when you are bipolar is a hard challenge. I have to have strict discipline with my bipolar care plan. My plan is like a three legged stool: if one leg falls my whole plan falls apart.

The first leg is my compliance. I have to take my medicine regularly. I have to not do drugs or drink alcohol. I have to sleep on a regular schedule. I always stay mindful of my moods. I have to take time out when I feel stress. I have to know when I need to step back. I need to know when to call the doctor. My compliance is the most important leg.

The second leg is my medical staff. I have to keep appointments with my psychiatrist and my therapist. I have to be honest with them. Keeping a great relationship with them is important.

The third leg of my stool is my family support system. Family isn’t necessarily just blood relatives. In my support groups I refer to us as family all the time, and we support each other. My husband is my lifeline. I know he is and I tell him thank you often for dealing with me and my illness. He has compassion for me and has known me at my best and at my worst. He has made this balance easier to accomplish.

This three-legged stool is how I make sure to stay balanced throughout my world. If you can put these in place in your world maybe you can find this balance I have learned to accomplish. I don’t have many times that I have that extreme manic anger or manic rage anymore. I don’t experience many manic disappointment episodes anymore. My manic highs do not go over the top very often anymore. Between my family support system, my medical staff and my own mindfulness I am able to know when to make adjustments in my bipolar care plan. I hope you can too.