Sometimes when there’s a break in my disposition and I turn from crying a few times every hour to have supreme bursts of energy, I worry. You see with Bipolar Disorder, being too happy is often a sign of hypomania which could turn into full blown mania. The tricky thing is that there is such a fine line between those two that sometimes I’ve been squarely in the latter for a good few days before realizing that I am. The sad side of this coin is that I can almost say I am never ever comfortable saying “I’m happy” because it feels like a bad word. Feels like if I acknowledge it, mania will ride in on its coattails and the party will be ruined.
So just now after weeks of randomly bursting into tears, there is a break in my disposition and although I am cautious I have decided to run with it and write hence my second blog post in two hours after months of silence.
I’ve been diagnosed (correctly) with BP for 10 years this March. Next month. 10 years! That’s huge! After about 4 years of keeping my mouth shut about it and being in denial, I decided to use my gift to decrease the stigma. It’s been 5 years since my last suicide attempt and 2 years since my last hospitalization. There is much to celebrate, indeed, however, this season has been the worst in the 10 years since I was diagnosed. Almost as bad as the incidents that got me diagnosed 10 years ago. I have thankfully been in therapy every week religiously for the past 9 weeks. Perhaps the major decade celebration has something to do with it, perhaps its just revving up for decade II.
I’ve pretty much identified my cycles. November to April. If you want a carefree can-do woman, catch me before November or after April. That’s 6 months of the year where the disease ravages my brain and my body so hard it’s a wonder I have made it through all these years. Right through from madly falling in love with total strangers who inevitably prove no good and break my already wounded heart, to taking on the worlds biggest challenges, my fall is manic, hypo if I’m lucky. Come birthday month, I am mad at the world then that slowly crumbles into the world is mad at me and nothing I can do is ever going to right that. Paranoia sets in. A little psychosis is icing. Road Rage? Aint nobody got nothing on me. Me calm level-headed, consensus, let’s talk this over woman, will run you ova and tell you why! End of story! The spending? Oh that?! It’s like an itch. The only Cortizone available is perhaps freezing those credit cards…although now I can use my license. Shade? I throw shade and don’t even realize it and then I am defensive and irritated when I am called out. I talk real loud and real fast. I can’t focus on one hand or I get so much done I make others dizzy and annoyed because I’m pushing them to move at my pace. After this roller-coaster then it’s all so terrible I must get out before anyone finds out how much of a fake I am. My mode of exit always has to do with water and since I can’t swim, it stands to reason that it’s my choice. Top this all over with old grief resurfacing here and there, money problems, general anxiety, and “normal” people stress, I think 6 months isn’t even enough to handle all this. What do you think?
I try not to use the words crazy or mad randomly but during these 6 months I know how the words came to be, and I truly believe no matter what your feelings are about it, that is what I really am in these times. When your own brain is so against you, that nothing you rationally know to be true or people assure you to be true makes sense, mad and crazy are fitting.
This winter, I’ve grown so much because I read a lot. I read a lot about the disease and how it manifests in most people. Although we all experience it differently and the cocktails they have us on make us react in our own unique ways, there are some major glaring symptoms. As I have read, I have gotten more angry. They handed down a diagnosis and left me hanging. Over the 10 years even though I’ve been 80% faithful to meds, I had not known some of these behaviors I was exhibiting were symptoms. I would beat myself up so much after they occurred thinking somewhere in the span of 6 months I’d become a monster. Then spiral into I can’t love me, how then can anyone else? Then down the rabbit hole. If I had known, some of this agony would have been spared.