Tag Archives: Bipolar traits

Scared… Am I losing it?

Some days it feels as if a big block of cement is sitting inside my chest. Even worse,  it feels like it can explode at any moment in thousands of pieces,  leaving a big black ball of rage,  irritation,  anxiety,  fear and doubt.

I am anxiously trying not to bump into anything to set it off – I am scared to death to come face-to-face with that big black ball of fire.  I want to keep it there,  hidden,  well away from my consciousness.

This was how I woke up today – I’ve tried to ignore it,  tried to listen to music, tried to read to get my mind on other things,  tried to go to sleep – but I am way too anxious,  so in the end I decided to blog about it – trying to give words to what I feel.  That way,  I hope to get some measure of control over what is happening.  Feeling out of control is frightening,  as we all know…

As much as I want to keep functioning no matter which mood I am in,  there are some moods that are very,  very hard to deal with.  This is clearly one of them.  I am agitated, anxious, afraid.  I want control over my life,  over my mood,  but I know that control can be a oxymoron:  we sometimes are deluded into thinking we have a measure of control,  when in reality we don’t.

That I don’t have control of my moods is at times a hard enough pill to swallow.   In the last several years I have learned ways to cope with my moods and be in more control of how I respond to the unexpected shifts and mood swings.  Feeling like I don’t have control over how to respond to my mood is down right scary.

Last week has been a tough one – I had several appointments outside of the house.  Some tough things to deal with emotionally.  And most of all:  I have been bone tired…  Of course,  having had the flu the week before hasn’t helped either.

I so much want to be able to pick up life outside of my home – getting into a voluntary job for several hours a week,  growing into more and more hours in a pace that suits my needs.

Right now I am scared that the way I feel is due to the past hectic week.  It depresses me to even think that I might not be ready for being busier,  or ready to tackle a voluntary job…

I need to slow some things down – look back and prioritize the things I am involved in.  Taking a step back might feel like defeat – but in actual fact is pure wisdom to not go crazy.  As my counselor said:  “Think about what you want to do,  instead of what you or others say you should be doing,  and do it.”

Photo credit: Strange Cosmos

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A taste of my Bipolar Disorder challenges

Just in case the previous post has given you the idea that my life with Bipolar Disorder is a breeze,  here are some points to take into consideration:

  1. The meds I am taking caused me to gain weight.  A lot of weight.  Trust me,  you don’t wanna know how much.  And it’s not easy to get rid of.
  2. Never thought I would be actually meeting a dietician.  Me on a diet?  Bwahahaha!  Well,  I won’t be.  Which brings me to the second point.

  3. The meds I am taking suck even more, because now I am struggling with the onset of Diabetes.  Cuz,  you know,  I gained a lot of weight.
  4. But even worse,  certain meds that I need from time to time actually seriously increase the chance of getting Diabetes.  Hence the dietician in my very near future.

    I already have made certain food changes, but I need to make some more to combat further development.  No diet – that is temporarily.  Those changes?  They are for real and most likely for life.

    Truthfully – most changes don’t bother me.  Okay – giving up drinking dry,  red wine because the alcohol in combination with my meds make me depressed,  wasn’t fun.  But giving up chips (crisps,  for the British among you) and liquorice?!?!  Real.Bad.News.

  5. I am a night owl and have lived an irregular life since…. well,  forever,  I guess.  BUT.  Right now?  I would serve myself best if I would keep a pretty regular schedule.
  6. You know,  things like going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, taking my meds at the same time every day,  eating all my meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time every day and have regular healthy snacks in between to keep everything on an even keel.

    No big deal, right?  But,  for me, it is.  Cuz changing life-long habits is hard people,  really hard.  Also,  at heart I am a rebel.  I just wanna do things my way,  whenever I want to.  *sigh*  No,  change that to *very BIG sigh*.

  7. Having to cancel whatever plans I have,  because I ended up in one of my funky,  unruly,  unmanageable moods,  be it the up or down swing.  Can be pretty challenging for friendships.
  8. If you have a friend or family member with Bipolar Disorder,  please understand that we do this not on purpose. Truth is,  I hate to cancel plans at the last moment as much as the other party.

    But trust me,  very few friends can handle being around me when I am severely depressed or getting over-the-edge hypo manic.  Even in my hypo manic or ‘just’ depressed state I am pretty intense for them.  It is not fair to expect them to handle more than they are comfortable with.  Difficult and painful for both parties.

  9. Not being understood.  A few examples.  People not understanding why I was not diagnosed earlier.  People thinking that you can or should just ‘snap out of it’.  Or that you should use your will power.
  10. Believe me – if I had a choice in the timing of my diagnosis,  or if I could just ‘snap out’ of depression / hypo mania,  or if I could change it all by will power – I WOULD.

    The problem?  It doesn’t work that way.  The biggest problem?  The people who think they know how to deal with what I have,  but really don’t.

    Because after several years and hard work,  I am now well on my way of accepting my particular life-mood-swing,  it has become easier to deal with the fall out of point 5.  Unfortunately,  it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt.  You know what I mean?

Even though there is a whole lot more to say about it,  this is enough food for thought for now,  me thinks. 😉

Any questions?  Please,  leave a comment.  I am very happy to try to answer them.

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Living with bipolar traits is my normal life. And no, I am not sick or disordered, thank you very much!

One of the hardest things I find myself dealing with on a daily basis, is figuring out why I feel the way I feel.  The answer to this question is important,  because it decides how I will deal with myself and my emotions. 

The problem is:  it is so damn hard to distinguish if I feel as I do because of my brain chemistry,  or because there was a trigger.  In other words: are the chemicals in my brain misfiring and making me feel depressed / manic without any other reason than the fact that is the way my brain is working? 

It is important for me to know the answer as that will cause me to treat myself differently,  depending on the reason why I feel the way I do. 

Say,  if it is my brain chemistry making me feel yucky and depressed,  I will try to ignore the tug to stay in bed,  do nothing and hibernate.  I might not be able to accomplish much,  but I still will try to function to the best of my ability and try to be happy with anything I will be able to accomplish that day.

However,  if something triggered my depression,  then I will have to figure out what exactly  the trigger consists of.  Is it a thought I had that made me sad and pulled me down?  Is it a certain smell that brought bad memories to the surface?  Did somebody say something to me that caused me to start thinking negatively about myself?  Is it because I made an assumption based on a situation, a response, or a lack thereof?  Is it some past trauma that is rearing its ugly head? What is IT?  Sometimes I simply don’t know.  But once I know what the IT is,  I have to deal with IT. 

If there is a good reason to feel low / depressed,  I might give myself a break.  For instance,  right now after returning from my 3,5 week trip to Ukraine I have so many impressions to process.  I am in touch with my key people,  but other than that I keep a low profile and take a lot of rest.  Which means I sleep a lot even during the day.  But that is okay.  For now.  But next week I will pick up my active life,  if I feel like it or not.

Why is it so important to find the answer to the question?  Because if I let  my feelings go,  I might end up in a depressive state that will pull me deeper and deeper,  which might happen slowly or very fast.  Or the opposite might happen,  and I end up being (hypo)manic and maybe even paranoid.  Either state can,  once it is full-blown,  last for months and it will take hard work plus usually additional meds to get out of it.  Neither is to be desired.

That is one big reason of why I am in counseling:  to learn how to deal with all those IT’s that fill my life (un)aware.  IT’s can be so sneaky and creep up on you when you are not looking.  Even when I know what IT is playing it’s part,  I still need to work out how to respond.  Which is different depending on the reason behind IT.

You see,  I refuse to be a victim of this so-called ‘illness’.  I AM NOT!  This is the way I was born,  the way I have been made,  and it is okay.  I want to add a BIG note,  though,  that it has taken me quite a while (years) to come to accept the fact that I am labeled as “suffering from Bipolar Disorder”.  I rebel against being labeled “mentally ill”.  I hate the fact that this label causes me trouble being insured for health and for when I die (because of the chances I might end up in hospital and the higher chances of suicide).

I want to scream from the roof top: I AM ONLY DIFFERENT,  I AM NOT ILL, DISABLED  OR DISORDERED!!! 

Yes,  there will be times when I won’t be able to handle my bipolar traits very well.  So what?  Yes,  I need some close people around me to help me deal with the fall out of my bipolar traits.  So what?  Yes,  there will be times I will talk your head off.  So what?  Yes,  there will be times I will hibernate and be invisible.  So what?  Yes,  my brain functions different from yours and apparently I deal differently with emotions.  So what?

I don’t know any better,  for me it is normal,  it’s just the way I am.  SO WHAT?!?

To be continued!!!

Related post: Are you ‘normal’?

Picture courtesy of: The Franklin Institute

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