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This bipolar life
Are your moods are like an elevator with no control buttons? Mine are.
Ground floor ... I feel normal, content, just quietly getting on with ordinary, everyday life, loving my family and friends. This is as it should be. And maybe there's nothing wrong with me after all. Live.
Going up, top floor. Oh look! There's a shiny thing! I want to sing! Let's go buy stuff! Let's have a big party and invite the world! What could possibly go wrong! Woooooo hoooooooo! Play.
Going up (a different day) top floor. What do you mean you don't agree with me! I'm right! Why don't you think like me? Keep up! How can you be so illogical? I'll f-ing shred you if you don't do what I want! Rage.
Going down, lower ground floor. Flat, listless, can't be bothered. Can still function but it's a drag. Cope
Going down, basement. I'm never getting out of bed again. I'm useless, worthless. Total idiot, how could I ever imagine I could do anything, nothing ever goes right because I'm wrong. I'm a burden to everyone. Hide.
Welcome to my bipolar world. It's always been my world, but it's only recently I've seen it for what it is. About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression during one of my 'basement' times. I had a lot of lower ground floor times too, on and off, and I kept out of the basement (so I thought) with alcohol. Until that took me into the blackest ever basement with only one obvious way out. Having survived doing something very dangerous I realised I had to stop drinking or I really would die.
I never took much notice of the playful times or the anger, that was just me, I was fun sometimes, and sometimes I was a devastating bitch. Ha! Deal with it people!
Well, yes, but in time the elevator started going up and down too quickly and, as I became more aware and more knowledgeable about mental health I realised this wasn't good. Doctor. Diagnosis. Bipolar 2. Lithium.
So, I've started this thread in the hope that other bipolar folks will join me, to share experiences and strategies. In my 'beginners' understanding, we are different from other fellow travellers of the back dog. While we experience depression as many others on this site do, the hypomanic or manic ups and, for some the rapid cycling that can happen, are experiences unto themselves.
I want to learn more, and I want to share with others. I hope my fellow elevators will join me here.
BTW, it's a ground floor day in my head today! Yay!
Hi Kaz. What a descriptive and poignant post! Firstly, I'm really pleased that you are now feeling well enough that you have allowed yourself to finally open up this new thread. From reading posts to the Forums over the past 6 months I can see that there are many people out there who suffer from bipolar. And I expect that many will be able to gain insights and comfort by sharing experiences through this thread.
There does not seem to be a very good understanding of bipolar in the general community. So I am looking forward to gaining a better understanding of the disorder. I'm also thrilled to finally have an appropriate place where I can check to see how you're going, and hopefully give support to you when its needed. (-:
I'm very happy to read that today is a Ground Floor day for you! Thus you are feeling normal and content. It sounds like the new medications have all settled.
Love to you Kaz,
A quick hello from me so I may follow your journey, support you and learn about bipolar.
Much love to you Kaz,
Thank you ladies, what treasures you are. A gift to this site and to me. xx
Sherie - yes it's taken a while to do this, but I had to get something of a grip on it before I felt I could post about it. It's strange ... the diagnosis doesn't change anything (except the treatment) I'm still me like I've always been. But boy has it open an emotional and intellectual can of worms.
There's the looking back - if I'd been diagnosed years ago what things might I have avoided? Maybe I'd never have become an alcoholic, maybe I could have helped my daughter (also bipolar I've just found out! She's know for 10 years and not told me until now), maybe I would have understood my mum better (never diagnosed but knowing what I do now, most definitely - my doc says it's genetic). Maybe I wouldn't have done, bought, committed myself to so many things that didn't turn out right. Maybe I wouldn't have had the 'breakdown' that took me out of a job I loved and into drunken dwelling in the basement for a year.
But then, I know if those things hadn't happened, I wouldn't be who I am and where I am now. I wouldn't have met my Pom, love of my life and everything to me. And I tell myself 'don't look back Kaz, look ahead'.
The trouble with looking ahead though is that knowing how unrealistic and misguided I can be, how I can overreach and 'get a bee in my bonnet' about things, I now doubt myself. I decide to do something - is it a good idea? Why do I think everyone will agree? Will they? Maybe I'm wrong, just having a bipolar moment, tomorrow it will look as ridiculous as it is.
I guess where I'm at now is being aware that I must not let it stop me entirely ... I could be wrong, I might have silly ideas, I might get angry and say the wrong thing, but if I doubt myself all the time I'll be immobilised. And hiding in the darkness isn't an option. Been there too many times, and I survived for a reason. To be here, now, with my love, my kids, my friends, and to help others. And I'm staying.
Thanks for your kind words lovelies. Love youse. xx
I'm such an impatient bugger. Two weeks on new medication and I feel no different. I want it to work NOW.
I'm still cycling ... good for a few days before and during the weekend, then right down on Monday and yesterday, although that was probably inevitable given the events in Orlando.
Last night I was a mix, sad and sinking but couldn't shut my brain down. Not hyper in my body but a million miles an hour in my mind. When I slept I had very strange dreams.
But today so far I'm better than I expected to be.
Anyone out there got good tips for slowing a racing mind? And if anyone has gone onto lithium, how long was it till you knew whether it was having an effect? This is exhausting.
So calming the savage Robbie I do have experience in. I go with the tried and tested distraction followed by something that slows me down. Food, TV, Internet, exercise distracts. The calm comes from the bath, drawing...
Great post! I will be learning at lot from it. I recently saw a movie that actually 'embraced bi-polar' in a caring way which helped me understand the symptoms
"Infinitely Polar Bear" A movie written and produced that respected the illness. It is available and recent.
I had a 'racing mind for so long the anxiety levels exacerbated to such a high level I had to go AD's...as well as the various coping mechanisms the AD's did slow my mind so I could function effectively in life...Paulx
Rob I like the distractions too, I'm just not good at focus when I'm like this. I want to do them all and more all at the same time.
Paul - I'll have a look for that movie. Thanks mate!
At the height of my anxiety, exacerbated by the ADs I was on, my mind was racing like you describe.
Like you I felt the need to do multiple things at once. The combination that worked best for me was watching a very calm tv show, something slow paced. In my case I watched Heartland. I either crocheted or coloured in the adult colouring in books (with gel pens because pencils were too slow), and (you may laugh), I ate carrot sticks because it helped further occupy my senses. I also used a heatpack because of my pain but it is possible that something like that or a hot water bottle might help occupy other senses for you helping the mind to feel occupied. This worked for me until the meds evened out.
I hope this may help in some way.