On the way to…um…well…

Fast is how I did everything during my college years. I supported myself, so I raced from home to class to job to class to job, repeating this all day long until I had to race home and study. On Thursday night, I sped away from my university campus to another one several hours away to be with my boyfriend until Monday morning when I woke up before 5 am to race back to my first class of the week. The summer before my last year, I decided I needed to quickly take the last few credits I needed, so that I could graduate in December instead of the following May. I bounced from job to job, looking for the elusive “life” that I had spent my twenty-something years sprinting toward.

As the years passed, I collected life experiences through marriage, moving far away from home, having a child and receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. In the same way that I finally realized going 20 mph over the speed limit only saves you a handful of minutes, I began to realize that the mad dash from one minute to the next was getting me nowhere. It’s exhausting to always be in a rush. It’s stressful to my family when I’m rushing for no reason. Sometimes, rushing is a sign that I’m manic.

I’ve learned a few things along the way. Most of the time, not starting the dishwasher before I go to bed does not constitute an emergency, nor does finishing my current book just so I can start the next. If I am not ready to get out of the bed, the dog will have to wait. If my son needs something and I’m in the middle of something, he can either wait or figure out how to do it – he’s old enough. If I want to rush through buying the groceries, I better go early. If I rush my son to get his shoes on quicker, it will take him longer.

Knowing that I tend to get in an unnecessary rush does not altogether prevent me from doing it, but it makes me aware that I sometimes need a timeout. Sometimes I find it utterly depressing to think that I’m rushing my way to death, that I’m not taking the time to enjoy the journey.

via Daily Prompt: Dash

Uh oh!

About 30 mins ago, I realized that I had not taken my morning bipolar meds (It’s now 4pm). Uh oh!

For a couple hours I had been thinking I wasn’t feeling the best: headache, shaky, lower mood, just something not right. Then, the light bulb came on. Now what?

It’s been so long since this has happened that I didn’t know what to do. One of my meds is a sustained release that I take twice per day, so I knew I couldn’t take one now and still take it this evening. I went ahead and took one, knowing that I can’t take another one ’til tomorrow morning. The other is something I take twice per day but I used to take 3 times per day, so I know it’s safe to take it again later this evening. I took that one and will take it again as late as possible before I go to sleep to put as many hours between doses as possible.

I can only hope that I’ve dealt with this in the best way possible. I knew I couldn’t wait many more hours before I got it back in my system. The longer it’s out of my system, the worse the symptoms will get, and I don’t want my moods all over the place anymore than they already are.

Based on your experience, do you think I handled this ok?

 

Not again

I cringe when:

someone interrupts me while I’m reading or writing.

there are loud noises or bright lights

I see certain names on the caller ID

horror movie trailers are on TV

too many people talk at once in the same conversation

I lay down at night and know that I will need more medicine before my brain will go to sleep

someone I’m conversing with says the same thing over and over

I walk outside and it’s 90 degrees at 8 in the morning

the same kid asks me if he can come home with us after school every single day

I realize I’ve said too much

 

 

 

Disillusionment

Today, I’m feeling disillusioned. All the things I felt happy about and content with during the last few days feel stupid and fake now, like I was just pretending to be happy. You may remember that last week I was feeling manic. I felt the symptoms coming and wrote about it briefly in I’m up too early…hypo-mania is here. Because my medicine keeps me from going off the charts, I come back down within a few days/weeks. I believe the downward spiral started yesterday, and today will probably be the worst day. Tomorrow, I could be back up on the top where life is exactly how I think it should be.

Here are a few of the things going through my mind today:

I have wasted so much time. I have a college degree and am not using it. At best, my sociology degree shows that I attended college. Other than enjoying what I learned about, it is useless unless I get a masters or PhD and teach. It sucks. I wish I’d just gone to technical school and picked up trade skills, skills which put me on a particular money-making path, something that is in demand, something that makes looking for a job very specific. Even if I decided to work again in the future, I would have to look for entry-level office or retail jobs, as that is all my sociology degree seems to qualify for. This would not be fulfilling. I hate answering phones.

I detest having a pet. I’m serious. Yes, she is adorable and sweet and cuddly, however the responsibility lies almost completely on me. I only agreed to the dog because my son soooo wanted a puppy for so long. I don’t want to get up and go for a walk first thing in the morning. Even though it’s my son’s responsibility to pick up the poop in the yard, he constantly comes back in saying he can’t find any, forcing me to have to go out and point it all out to him. He complains about having to take an evening walk, picking up poop and having to stop what he’s doing to play with the wide-awake dog that he just had to have. I wish I’d’ve just said no and dealt with him whining about wanting a dog for the rest of the time he lives in my house.

I know that some might think I have a perfect life. After all, my husband is fine with me staying at home. After I’ve spent a short time tidying up the house, doing laundry and dishes each day and having groceries bought and meals prepared, I’ve got the rest of the day to do as I please. My son goes to a day camp all summer long, so I’ve got even more time during the summer than I do during the school year. I feel ashamed that I’m not in a perfect mood every day. I feel like I have turned into a spoiled brat. I hate this about myself.

I hate having these terrible mood swings. I am confused about how I truly feel. Are the good days the way I really feel, or is it the bad? Or, maybe it’s neither. Maybe I’m incapable of actually feeling one way about anything. Maybe it’s only ever going to be “all or nothing” for me, depending on my mood.

 

Wither or Blossom? Neither, please.

I have bipolar disorder. This can mean the difference between wanting to die and staying up all night to solve the world’s problems, depending on whether I’m depressed or manic. I do not wish to wither or blossom. I wish to simply remain alive with green leaves, to have neither too little nor too much enthusiasm for life.

I did not appreciate the diagnosis at first. It has taken me quite some time to accept that taking medicine every day is necessary for my brain to work in a way that will allow me to be the best version of me, that the medicine won’t change who I am.

For a while, I would take the medicine only when I felt severe symptoms, then stop because I thought I was better, just to have the swings happen all over again. It is a brutal cycle.  The highs are bright, full of energy and wonderfully exciting. Then comes the crash. The lows are dark, surrounded by thoughts of death, a feeling that everyone I love would be better off without having to deal with my problems.

At times, I knew that a major shift was taking place, and still would not take the medicine, as I was either too depressed to care or too manic to want to come down. It was important for me to feel as if I could refuse the medicine, not be told by someone else that I had to take it. Only when I was in between the highs and lows was I in a state where I could decide the medicine would help and choose to take it.

I now faithfully take my medicine every day (for over a year now). It doesn’t mean I’m never high or low. It just means that when my mood starts to head one direction or the other, I can be aware of it and make decisions calmly based on that awareness. I tell my husband when I can feel it happening (he usually already knows). I call my psychiatrist, not because I want to change meds, but just to let him know that it is happening, so that we can track the pattern of shifts together. Only a pattern will tell him what he needs to know about any necessary adjustments in my medication.

I look forward to what is discovered through further research on bipolar disorder in the decades to come, as the science of the brain fascinates me.

Despite being a reader, I have not read as many books about bipolar disorder as I probably should; however, I have seen the movie (based on the book) called “Touched with Fire”. I recommend this movie, whether you are bipolar and need to feel like someone understands you or you know/care for someone with bipolar and want to get a glimpse of what bipolar disorder feels like.

via Daily Prompt: Blossom