The one thing I dislike most about my mood disorder is the fact it is so darn unpredictable.
If being crazy is described as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, I am not sure if I am crazy. Experience tells me my mood is a balancing act and doing the same thing definitely does not give the same outcome!
I can miss a night and nothing changes or miss a night and all sorts of mood shifts happen. Other times I miss a night to get myself out of depression – and it works, but it’s not a given. Even though I know it is not the best way to deal with mood shifts, I think we all at one time or other deal ‘unconventionally’ with it. Yes?
Sometimes I can drink alcohol and all is fine with the world the next day. Other times however, I wake up in a funk that can last a while. I discovered some months ago that when I have a full belly, I can tolerate alcohol without any seeming side effects. Since I love me some dry red wine, I was ecstatic! But because I haven’t been drinking it for years, my memory has made it more delicious than the reality proofs to be. Such a shame :-(
As I am dealing with a lot of tiredness, from work, allergies and diabetes, I sometimes don’t know if I am plain overtired or depressed. In both cases I end up doing nothing and not interested in doing things I previously enjoyed doing. I force myself in going to the gym every Wednesday morning. It helps it is right around the corner at my physiotherapists office in a small group (up to 6 people) under the guidance of a physiotherapist. I really enjoy it. However, I don’t enjoy getting up - which takes me about an hour. And after fitness, most of the time I need a nap to recover!
Of course the biggest unpredictable aspect of a mood disorder is when your mind plays its tricks on you. When you wake up in a funk or hyper for no reason whatsoever. Also, you never are sure about the triggers of a mood swing. I usually know if my mood is triggered and by what or if it is chemical, my brain ‘misfires’. It does help to be able to distinguish between the two.
When a trigger is the cause, I deal with the trigger as best I can, which influences the mood I am in. Or at least, it should :-). If the trigger is a high stake emotional response that I can’t deal with on my own, I know that (usually) within a week I’ll speak with my counselor and we’ll deal with it together. Since about a half a year, through knowledge and experience, I am able to keep going even when the path is rough.
When the reason is a misfiring of the brain – the only thing I do is accept it and ride it out as best as I can. The survival technique I turn to is mindfulness – staying in the moment and not allowing my mind to wander off too much.
Acceptance is the key word in both instances. To accept the fact you are triggered and the trigger itself or to accept the fact that this is the way your brain works at times. This I find not easy, at times it is a real struggle. But when I am able to accept either one, it helps me enormously in continuing my normal life. Whatever normal means, of course!
What is most important to me is to be able to function whichever is the cause. I do not allow my mood disorder to define me – so I want to be the one in charge and not the mood disorder.
What are your ways to deal with the unpredictability? Please share in the comments and link up to your own posts how you deal with this. I won’t be the only one who is interested in broadening the tool box!