This blog is to show how difficult bipolar disorder can be. I know for me medicine is a touchy subject and for others as well. While this may not happen on a regular basis but hopefully it will atleast give some insight on the disorder. I feel lucky in a way because I do not experience the depression side very often. What I struggle with the most is mania.
The last two weeks I have to admit have been difficult. Either I wanted to come home from work and spend the rest of the day in bed or wake up with the urge to do something insane. Two weeks ago I woke up and decided I wanted to compete in the next Xgames. So I went and got a freestyle bmx bike, road it for three days and decided I didn’t want to do it anymore. I Seriously considerd quitting my job to join The fire department. I also went on a $500.00 shopping spree because I woke up and decided I needed a whole new wardrobe. That same week I also decided I was going to put a pond in the backyard to fish in but like the bmx bike and firefighter idea I soon lost interest. For me nothing about that seemed unusual at the time. In fact when someone tried to talk me out of it I would get angry and my mood would change and be furious the rest of the day. That’s basically been my whole entire life until I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Turns out not everyone thinks and feels the way I do. I seriously believed everyone had these thoughts. That is my normal. I never knew what it felt like to be stable. That is until I was diagnosed and after trial and error found a combination of medication and coping mechanisms that allowed me to think rationally. It was like a little light bulb in my brain switched on and I was like woah that does sound stupid.
After starting and taking my medication regularly I have to say it is nice to not be on an extreme roller coaster ride all the time. That doesn’t mean that I don’t go through phases where I don’t want to take my medication that day or decide I don’t need it anymore. You may be wondering why I didn’t recognize something was off or do anything about it. The answer is simple, I don’t know something is wrong. Even with the highs of feeling euphoric and lows of crushing depression its like I am back in my world. This is my normal. There is one problem though, something is definitely wrong. Completely utterly beautifully wrong. Luckily I have a great support system that recognize what is happening. They help me realize I need help. How do they do it? They start by asking me the “Question”.
When I am in the throes of hypomania there are a ton of things people can say to me that can cause my mood to severely shift from euphoria to shutoff and angry. There is one question though that is the absolute worst thing you could ever ask me when I am in this state and that is “Have you been taking your medication?” For me being asked that question is equivalent of being punched in the face. Whether it’s family, friends or whoever . To me when someone asks me that I instantly get defensive, angry and my thoughts start racing with questions of my own. What right do you have to ask me that? So you wouldn’t like me if I wasn’t on any medication? Have you taken your medication today since you are asking about mine?
I hate it, but it is the exact question I need to be asked when I am in a hypomanic state. I will tell you why, even though I don’t want to hear it I need to hear it. In my mind waking up, deciding I want to be in the next BMX Xgames is a no-brainer. Of course getting a pet goat and have him live in my back yard is the best idea I have ever had. I have no clue why I can’t see anything wrong with the way I have been acting because all those things seem great to me at the time. To the people around though it all sounds insane. They know something is not right, I am not okay at the moment. So here comes the question the one I hate but need to be asked. Have you been taking your medicine? Even though I am overcome with rage it also forces me to start questioning my actions as well. As much as I am upset with them I get upset with myself as well because I couldn’t comprehend that something was wrong. Seriously it is embarrassing to come down from hypomania and realize all the ridiculous things you have said/done. Whether it was the fact I did not want to take them or I needed to go have my dosages adjusted, if it wasn’t for someone asking me I really don’t know how long it would have taken me to realize on my own that something wasn’t right.
So, do I still hate when someone asks me about my meds? Of course, but I am forever grateful to my family and friends for having the courage to ask me. It is easy for me to sit here and say that I struggle with my bipolar and I am constantly trying to win this fight with it but I know it is not easy for the people around me. I admire their strength, I appreciate their compassion and their patience. Without them asking me that tough question I wouldn’t be as stable as I am today.
I say to anyone out there who feels the way I do when asked that question is that remember the people asking you care about your well being. Just try and keep that in mind the next time you are faced with that question.
I miss my reality. This one that is the “real” one sucks. It’s hurtful, boring and ordinary. This is what I set out to achieve when I finally got diagnosed with bipolar disorder and decided to get help. To be normal. To live in the real world and see life for what it is and so called what it should be. I thought this was awesome I finally could see just how the world works as someone without a mental illness does. Well I am here two years later and stable. I hate it. It is so ordinary so boring. I feel like I have lost myself more than I have found it. I miss the madness the sheer impulsiveness the grandiosity of all my world consist of. In my world I could wake up on a random day and out of no where decide to get my masters degree to enroll set up classes and buy books all in the same day. Or start a business and get a tax id number for it the same day. I am having a hard time with maintaining stable when all I want to do is go back to my world where everything makes sense or at least to me it does.
“And in the end I want my biggest Accomplishment to be that I was able to find the middle in-between all these Highs and Lows”
This is truly a goal I have set for myself. Some days I feel like I am kicking bipolars ass and somedays it feels like it’s kicking mine. No, I don’t obsess about being bipolar 24/7 but it is something I am aware of and make sure I take precautions when needed. Such as making sure I am taking my medication regularly , strive for a healthy diet (work in progress) and yep I even have a therapist. Which for some reason bothers me the most. Having to sit down and discuss the events or everyday interactions with someone who feels like a stranger. The good thing for me I guess is the fact they are unbiased for the most part. I do feel better after going but its still something a struggle with.
From the outside looking in it may surprise some friends and family that I have bipolar disorder. I have the good job, have a house, nice car, help in my community, love making people laugh, I love to motivate people and provide encouragement. So when I tell people they don’t seem to take me seriously.
Well here it is in group therapy share session 101..Hi my name is Stephanie and have in fact been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have extremely high moments and I have earth shattering low moments. Sometimes even in the same day! I thought finding out and starting treatment was the low for me and it would be smooth sailing from here on out now that I knew.. Little did I know the storm was just beginning.
So shoutout to all the people who struggle with bipolar or any mental illness. You all are an inspiration and so never give up your fight. Reading others blogs about their journey and resilience has inspired me to start my own. This blog is more than just my life. It is an outlet for everyone whether you have bipolar or not to share their expierencs, struggles, achievements, gain information and hopefully it will encourage everyone to keep fighting. Sometimes it may not feel like it but every day you wake up, put your feet on the ground and get yourself up is a win for not only you but for us all.
“We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges. Think of it as an opportunity to be heroic — not ‘I survived living in Mosul during an attack’ heroic, but an emotional survival. An opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorder. That’s why it’s important to find a community — however small — of other bipolar people to share experiences and find comfort in the similarities.” – Carrie Fisher
There is wrong and there is right. Absolutely sure or 100% its not. It’s one extreme or the other there is no grey area for me. This is how I see the world and have seen it all my life. I think in extremes of overly happy to world crashing sadness. I thought that everyone thought this way because it is my normal. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the summer of 2015 and every day since then I am still trying to figure out if it is a good thing knowing or wishing I don’t. The signs were all there though: the implosive buying, 2 motorcycles purchased and sold withen a 3 month period, I was right and everyone else was wrong. The one thing that is most frustrating for me is waking up some days and think to myself why in the world am I with this person, I don’t like them, I don’t love them, why am I friends with them. I can literally be on my way to work and on my drive think of a million reasons I don’t like this person. Sad thing though these are my friends, my family, my partner. To be clear I love all these people but only after I have calmed down do I start to process rational again. It has been this way all my life. Through the years it happened so much that I would have to stop dead in my tracts and reassure myself that I love and care about them and I am just having one of those “moments again” and this worked or I thought it was working. I have lost way to many people because of this. I know no ones struggle is the exact same but if anyone with bipolar is reading this and may struggle with the same thing I would like to know how do you cope with this feeling or have any suggestions of what has helped you in the past.